Audio recording and transcript now available: Owning a Piece of Palestine: Syria’s Assad Regimes and the Palestinian Question
Press Release - July 29, 2011 - 12:00am

On Wednesday July 27, 2011, The American Task Force on Palestine co-sponsored with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace the event entitled “Owning a Piece of Palestine: Syria’s Assad Regimes and the Palestinian Question.”

NEWS: US officials reaffirm a commitment to Israel’s security. Settlers attack international observers. Israel is considering an attenuated apology to Turkey for last year’s flotilla incident. The PLO Central Committee backs a UN statehood bid, but international concerns are growing. The atmosphere in Gaza for Ramadan is colored by the financial crisis. Pres. Peres has reportedly been holding intensive but secret talks with Palestinians. Israel is planning new military intelligence collection systems. Palestinian workers remain central to Israel’s economy. Palestinians continue to press for Canadian support. COMMENTARY: Larry Derfner looks at Israeli reactions to the Norway massacre. Hussein Ibish and Michael Weiss look at the activities of Alastair Crooke and Conflicts Forum. Gal Beckerman says Deputy FM Ayalon’s YouTube video is a remake of a settler video, and Dan Murphy looks at the fallout. Tablet follows a twitter debate between Ayalon and Jeffrey Goldberg about the video. Frédéric Burnand says a UN bid is a last roll of the dice for Palestinians. Ali Younes explains what Palestinians hope to achieve at the UN. Michael Walzer confronts at the situation facing Palestinians in Hebron. Wasseem El Sarraj looks at the economic crisis in Gaza. Alon Ben-Meir says Pres. Obama needs to seek a creative solution to a confrontation with Palestinians at the UN.

The costs and benefits of Palestinian UN options
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ibishblog
by Hussein Ibish - (Blog) July 29, 2011 - 12:00am

I’m going to look at what looms ahead potentially at the United Nations in September, because that seems to be the most immediate diplomatic and political context, from a Palestinian perspective anyway, and has huge repercussions. First of all, I’d like to put this whole conversation in its context, at least the way that as I understand it, and also the way the Palestinian leadership and a lot of Palestinians who are talking about some kind of U.N. initiative in September, understand it.

Gaza’s economic mirage
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Wasseem El Sarraj - (Opinion) July 28, 2011 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY — A predominant, if misguided, narrative holds Gaza to be a Mediterranean secret, where food is plentiful and joy is unabated. Such statements are not exactly false. As a Gazan, I can say I have laughed, dined out (not just falafel), and been able to embrace my proclivity for consumption -- recently purchasing a 37" flat-screen TV. But this has been a product of the stubbornness and creativity of capitalism under an enforced closure (where goods flow into Gaza, but what goes out is very limited).

Hebron (Walzer)
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Utopian
by Michael Walzer - (Blog) July 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Last week, with a few friends, I visited Hebron, taken there by one of the leaders of Breaking the Silence, the organization of ex-soldiers that aims to educate Israelis about the meaning and character of the Occupation. (Its collection of “testimonies” about IDF conduct in the territories has recently been published.) Toward the end of the visit, while my friends took a quick look at the Tomb of the Patriarchs—I have an aversion to religious shrines—I sat with our guide, drinking coffee in an Arab shop. Settler kids warned us not to sit there; the owner wasn’t a Jew.

The Palestinian Statehood Strategy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Arabiya
by Ali Younes - (Opinion) July 29, 2011 - 12:00am

From the Palestinian perspective, the absence of any meaningful effort to restart the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations that will eventually lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders is the driving force behind the current efforts to submit an application to the UN to recognize Palestine as a state.

Last roll of the dice for Palestinians at the UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Frédéric Burnand - (Opinion) July 28, 2011 - 12:00am

The Swiss government has yet to publicly state its position on formal recognition of a Palestinian state. “We are going to the Security Council to obtain full membership of the United Nations and the recognition of Palestine according to the 1967 borders,” affirmed Abbas during a meeting of the central council of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in Ramallah on Wednesday. But such a move goes against the wishes of supporters of a Palestinian state such as the United States, which argues that peace negotiations are the correct format for such debates.

Ayalon vs. Goldberg, on Twitter
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Tablet Magazine
by Marc Tracy - (Opinion) July 28, 2011 - 12:00am

In one corner, in gray suit, we have former ambassador to the United States and current Israeli deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon, purveyor of a recent viral YouTube video (nearly 200,000 hits) that, shall we say, elides much of the complexity surrounding Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. In the opposing corner, in khaki slacks, we have contributing editor Jeff Goldberg, who noted (via the Forward) that the video is an almost word-for-word copy of a video made by a settlers’ organization, and concluded, “The Israeli Foreign Ministry Is Now Part of the Settlement Movement.”

To jazz soundtrack, Israeli official insists settlements are legal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Dan Murphy - (Opinion) July 28, 2011 - 12:00am

Danny Ayalon, Israel's deputy foreign minister from the ultranationalist Yisrael Beiteinu Party, has kicked up an Internet storm with a slickly produced video that argues Israel is within its rights to hold on to the West Bank in perpetuity. Accompanied by a bouncy jazz soundtrack, Mr. Ayalon – a former ambassador to the US – stands in front of a simple white background while he makes his case in avuncular tones, illustrated by cartoons behind him. For instance, a sheesha-smoking character in a fez is run over by a tank to illustrate the Ottoman Turkish defeat in World War I.

The Palestinians’ treacherous path to the UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Alon Ben-meir - (Opinion) July 29, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinians’ plans to seek UN recognition are a bad omen for both themselves and Israel. Instead, US President Barack Obama should seek a UN resolution that reflects his own conviction of a two-state solution.

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