This update is a quarterly summary of bilateral, multilateral, regional, and international events affecting the Palestinians and the future of the peace process. More than 100 print, wire, television, and online sources providing U.S., Israeli, Arab, and international independent and government coverage of unfolding events are surveyed to compile the quarterly Update. The most relevant sources are cited in JPS ’s Chronology section, which tracks events day by day. JPS Chronologies are archived on the JPS website at www.palestine-studies.org.
Highlights of the Quarter: The Palestinians continue pursuing a diplomatic track in international forums as feelers are put out on the possibility of returning to peace negotiations with the new right-wing Israeli government. Hamas takes steps toward an internationally brokered long-term cease-fire agreement with Israel, leading to an increase in tension with Ramallah that further obstructs the work of the consensus government. Small Islamist groups in Gaza respond to an ongoing Hamas crackdown by sporadically launching rockets into Israel, threatening both sets of negotiations and a possible return to large-scale cross-border violence. International activists sail Freedom Flotilla III to Gaza and are blocked from entering the territory by Israeli naval forces. Reconstruction in Gaza advances slowly as Israel loosens restrictions on Palestinian movement and access one year after Operation Protective Edge (OPE). The P5+1 (the 5 permanent mbrs. of the UN Security Council plus Germany) and Iran reach a final agreement, trading sanctions relief for limits on the Iranian nuclear program.