February 13th

MJ Rosenberg reviews yesterday’s congressional hearing on Gaza at which ATFP testified (1). Numerous analyses examined the results of Israel’s election (2), (3), (4), (5), (9), (11), (15). Speculation continues on a Hamas-Israel truce including the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit (6), (7), while violence continues to flare up (10), (13). The Daily Star analyzes the future of the Palestinian Authority after the Gaza war and the Israeli elections (8), while Hamad Al-Majid it considers what a process of “Somalization” would look like for the Palestinian political scene (12). Raghida Dergham argues that President Obama’s commitment to “justice and moderation” does not bode well for Middle Eastern figures hoping to evade tribunals and trials (14).

February 12th

ATFP President Ziad Asali testifies before Congress regarding the aftermath of the Gaza war (1). Israeli elections result in political gridlock as the Kadima party winds up with a one seat victory over Likud (2) (3) (7). The Christian Science Monitor looks at the rise of Avigdor Leiberman’s ultra-right wing party (4). A pair of articles by Aaron David Miller discuss the Israeli elections and the future of the peace process (5) (6). Israel allows a temporary easing of the blockade for Gazan farmers to export flowers to Europe (8). IDF planes strike a Hamas post in southern Gaza (15).

February 11th

ATFP President Ziad Asali is one of the first contributors to a new blog for the Israel Policy Forum (1). With 99% of Israeli votes counted the Kadima party has a one seat advantage over its main rival, Likud (2), though the composition of the parliament could end up favoring the latter (3) causing concern for the future of peace talks (6) (9). The Palestinian Authority presses the International Criminal Court to investigate allegations of war crimes by Israel (4). The UN signals that they intend to hold Israel accountable for attacks on its facilities in Gaza (5). Israeli and Hamas officials signal that Egyptian-brokered talks regarding a long-term truce will continue, despite uncertainty over the new Israeli government (7).

February 10th

The race between Israel’s main political parties, led by Livni and Netanyahu, is too close to call as Israelis head to the polls today (1). Even on the eve of elections violence continues between Gaza and Israel (2) (9). The Palestinian Authority stops paying Israeli hospitals for the treatment of West Bank and Gaza patients (3). An op-ed by Israeli President Shimon Peres urges support of the two-state solution (4). An original ATFP translation of an article by Hassan Al Battal in Al-Ayyam daily criticizes Hamas’ claims to “victory” (5). Amnesty International accuses Hamas of using violence to eliminate opponents in Gaza (7). The UN expresses frustration over Israel’s refusal to allow paper into Gaza, where it is needed for new school textbooks (8).

February 9th

The Washington Post reports on the various obstacles delaying rebuilding in Gaza (1). With Israeli elections only two days away, a still-tight race prompts discussion (2) (3) (9). The UN resumes delivery of aid to Gaza after Hamas returns the food it had seized last week (4). An op-ed by Thomas Friedman speculates on where Middle East peace will fit amongst President Obama’s priorities (5). A pair of articles discuss the challenges ahead for Mideast envoy George Mitchell (6) (12) Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak says that a broader ceasefire agreement may be achieved in the next week (10). A new poll published in Haaretz shows that only a quarter of Gazans are in support of Hamas (13).

February 6th

The director of operations for the UN's refugee agency in Gaza criticizes both Israel's blockade and Hamas' leadership (1). The Christian Science Monitor examines how Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's angry remarks at the Davos conference may have damaged his credibility as a go-between (2). After accusing the Hamas government of stealing hundreds of tons of food supplies intended for civilians, the United Nations suspends all shipments of aid into Gaza (3). With Israeli elections set to take place next Tuesday, speculation about outcomes continues to grow as the gap between the parties appears to have narrowed considerably (4) (11). Recently released poll results show that Israel's Gaza offensive has boosted Palestinian support for Hamas (6), as the political divide between Hamas and Fatah continues to grow (10). The National looks at Egypt's role as regional mediator (9). A commentary article in the Daily Star by ATFP Senior Fellow Hussein Ibish examines the rise in Arab political discourse of the myth of "the martyrs versus the traitors." (13).

February 5th

The war in Gaza has strained the alliance between Israel and Turkey (1). The debate continues over Israel’s reported use of white phosphorous munitions in attacks on population centers in Gaza (2). In the New York Times, Thomas Friedman paints a bleak picture of the fractured state of affairs in both Palestine and Israel (3). The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court announces that it will examine the various requests to investigate possible war crimes by Israel (4). The Egyptian mediated talks involving Hamas and Israel fail to generate an agreeable ceasefire, (9) prompting further analysis of Egypt’s role as a broker in the region (5). Palestinian officials report that Mideast envoy George Mitchell plans to meet with President Mahmoud Abbas on February 26, in his second visit to the region this month (10).

February 4th

The New York Times profiles how the Israeli incursion has affected the small Gazan farming village of El Atatra (1). Israel prepares to defend itself against possible war crimes charges from the International Criminal Court (2) (8). An op-ed in The Washington Times analyzes Obama’s recent television interview with Al-Arabiya (3). UN officials report that Hamas policeman have seized a large amount of aid intended for Gaza civilians (4). National security dominates the debate as candidates prepare for Israeli general elections next week (5). Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority announces a $600 million reconstruction program for Gaza (7). Mideast envoy George Mitchell requests to have a regional office for dealing effectively with day-to-day developments (9). A top Hamas official tells The Jerusalem Post that a ceasefire agreement is likely to be reached by the end of the week (11).

February 3rd

Israeli planes bomb Gazan smuggling tunnels on the border with Egypt (1), after a rocket fired from Gaza lands in the Israeli city of Ashkelon (2). The Associated Press looks at how the Israeli incursion has damaged Gaza’s previously fragile educational system (3). Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan pledges that his country remains committed to mediating a Palestinian-Israeli peace, despite his heated comments last week (4). Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak proposes the construction of an underground tunnel linking the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (5). Responding to increasing skepticism the UN clarifies that the 43 fatalities at an UNRWA school on January 6 were due to IDF mortar fire landing just outside of the school itself (6). UK daily The Guardian examines the impact of the Gaza incursion on Israel’s upcoming general elections (7).

February 2nd

Mideast envoy George Mitchell wraps up his weeklong tour of the region (1). As Israel prepares to hold general elections next week, the situation in Gaza is a central issue (2). In Paris today Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attempts to increase diplomatic support for reconstruction of Gaza (4) while public tensions persist between Hamas and Fatah (11) (13). Work continues in Cairo to broker a ceasefire acceptable to both Hamas and Israel (5). An editorial in Haaretz criticizes Israel’s recent decision to invest in a new Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem (12).

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