NEWS: Palestine's UNESCO membership sets off a confrontation over US funding, and there are concerns it could have significant costs to Palestinians as well. Palestine will seek world heritage status for various sites in the occupied territories. The US has initiated an initial cut off of funding to UNESCO. The CSM looks at ramifications for four key players. Palestinians now may try to join 16 other multilateral agencies. Israeli forces demolish 5 Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem. A prominent Israeli NGO says Israel is forcing Palestinians out of Jerusalem. Egypt says Israel has agreed to delay further military actions in Gaza. Bosnia says its federation cannot agree on the Palestinian UN membership application and will abstain, meaning a Security Council majority in favor is virtually impossible. COMMENTARY: Judge Goldstone says Israel is not an “apartheid state.” Dimi Reider says freedom of speech is under attack in Israel. Akiva Eldar says PM Netanyahu is pursuing a policy of acquisition of territory by force. Amos Harel says Israel's military now prefers its soldiers to be killed rather than captured. Gershon Baskin says would be disastrous for the US to cut off all aid to the PA except security support. Susan Hattis Rolef says Israelis need to decide what they mean by “Jewish state.” The Daily Star says it's high time Palestine was admitted to UNESCO. Yossi Alpher says the latest Quartet initiative is pointless and depressing. Ghassan Khatib says Israel's new settlement construction plans are a direct challenge to the authority of the Quartet. Bernard Avishai says anyone who thinks boycotts are bad should be disturbed by the Israeli reaction to Palestine's UNESCO membership.

UNESCO: Boycott For Boycott?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Talking Points Memo
by Bernard Avishai - (Blog) November 1, 2011 - 12:00am

The admission of the Palestinian Authority into UNESCO has occasioned a fuss about the American response, the automatic cutting of $70 million in funding to the organization, triggered by existing, AIPAC-inspired Congressional legislation. (M.J. Rosenberg's good column on the subject here.) But the thing nobody seems able to explain is what possible interest Israel, or even the Netanyahu government, has in keeping Palestinians out of an organization that focuses on the the sharing of scientific information and universal artistic and cultural values?

A serious challenge
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) October 31, 2011 - 12:00am

One of the motives behind the Palestinian appeal to the United Nations is to gradually escape the United States' monopoly over mediation in the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis, seeking instead an even-handed mediation that is sensitive to the position of the international community, international law and the agreed-upon peace process terms of reference, like the roadmap.

Bosnia stalemate may signify end to Palestine vote
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Google News
by Aida Cerkez - November 1, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian hopes of rallying the required nine vote majority in a U.N. Security Council vote on Palestinian statehood suffered a major blow Monday with a Bosnian presidential adviser saying the country will be forced to abstain. Palestinian officials have said they already have eight votes, and had counted heavily on Bosnia to give them the ninth.

Pointless and depressing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) October 31, 2011 - 12:00am

Last week, representatives of the Quartet met with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators and declared they had extracted a commitment from both sides to submit their final status negotiating positions on borders and security within three months. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat proceeded to deny any such Palestinian commitment, while Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Mahmoud Abbas intimated he might soon consider dissolving the Palestinian Authority.

Egypt: Israel delaying expanding Gaza offensive
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Ibrahim Barzak - November 1, 2011 - 12:00am

An Egyptian official said Tuesday that Israel has agreed to briefly delay expanding its military operations in the Gaza Strip to give Egypt time to try to persuade Palestinian militant factions to halt rocket fire on southern Israel. Israeli aircraft have targeted rocket squads in Gaza in recent days, but the Egyptian official says Israel has also planned a wider operation. The official says Egypt asked for 24 hours to try to bring all factions into an informal cease-fire and Israel agreed to give Cairo until around midnight Tuesday.

Israel forcing Palestinians out of East Jerusalem-NGO
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Crispian Balmer - November 1, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel is forcing Palestinians out of East Jerusalem as part of a deliberate policy that might constitute a war crime, a prominent Israeli non-governmental organisation said on Monday, a charge rejected by Jerusalem's mayor. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) has presented the United Nations with its findings and demanded an inquiry, saying Israel targeted Palestinians by demolishing homes, revoking residency and eroding quality of life.

It’s about time
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
(Editorial) November 1, 2011 - 12:00am

The state of Palestine finally exists – in the eyes of UNESCO, the United Nations body responsible for science, education and culture. Anyone with knowledge of how the U.N. works could remark that in procedural terms, the move is not particularly significant Representatives of Palestine regularly attend such bodies’ meetings. The website of the U.N. organization ESCWA, for example, lists Palestine as one of the “country” members.

Israel – Jewish state or state of the Jewish people?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Susan Hattis Rolef - (Opinion) November 1, 2011 - 12:00am

The winter session of the Knesset opened Monday. One of the items on the agenda is a bill initiated by MK Avi Dichter (Kadima) and cosigned by another 39 MKs, entitled “Basic Law: Israel – The National State of the Jewish People.”

Encountering Peace: Unintended consequences
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) November 1, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the entire PLO leadership decided to take the Palestinian issue back to the United Nations. This was not an easy or a hasty decision. It was taken with a great deal of deliberation and after carefully weighing all of the possible consequences.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017