July 17th

Coverage continues of emerging economic growth in parts of the West Bank (1, 12, 17). The Washington Post features an op-ed by former Israeli PM Olmert arguing against a focus on the question of Israeli settlements, and another by crown prince of Bahrain Shaikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa urging Arab states to communicate their desire for peace directly to the Israeli public (2, 3). In the Guardian, an anonymous Israeli writer questions Israel’s housing minister’s stance on keeping Arabs and Jews in separate towns, while Jerusalem's legal adviser has ordered the demolition of settler structures adjacent to the old city (5, 7). In Ha’aretz, Ari Shavit argues that Israel must make progress with the Palestinians before it can push the international community for a harder line on Iran, but Aluf Benn suggests that the Obama administration is still far from presenting a detailed peace plan of its own (8, 6). Two articles consider the state of both the traditional and the more peace-oriented pro-Israel groups in Washington (13, 15).

July 16th

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discusses Palestine in her address to the Council on Foreign Relations yesterday (1). Former U.S. diplomat Thomas Pickering meets with Hamas officials in Switzerland (2). The group of U.S. Jewish leaders that met with President Obama on Monday report that the meeting has allayed their concerns about his approach to Israel and Mideast peace (3). The Palestinian Authority shuts down the Al Jazeera television network in the West Bank (5) (12). Prime Minister Netanyahu is reportedly considering attending and speaking at the UN General Assembly meeting in September (15). Quartet envoy Tony Blair lauds improvements made by the Palestinian Security Forces in the West Bank (18).

July 15th

An interview with Bassem Khoury, Palestinian Minister of National Economy lays out the PA economic policies (1). A group of Israeli soldiers speak out about widespread abuses they allege took place during the Gaza war (3) (7), while Defense Minister Ehud Barak says that any criticism of the IDF should be directed at him (12). The International Monetary Fund says the Palestinian economy is showing strong signs of growth (6). The World Bank pledges $33.5 million for Palestinian infrastructure initiatives (15). President Obama meets with U.S. Jewish leaders to discuss his approach to Israel and Mideast peace (16).

July 14th

The American Charities for Palestine reports on the progress of a major public works project in the West Bank village of Beit ur al Tahta (1). Middle East Progress features a piece by Ian Bomberg examining the importance of economic growth in the West Bank (2). The Christian Science Monitor looks at visits being made by locally based U.S. diplomats to Israeli settlements (3). Quartet envoy Tony Blair praises recent steps taken by the Israeli government to ease the quality of life in the West Bank (6). The World Bank pledges $12.5 million for Palestinian Authority reconstruction operations in Gaza (7). Haaretz speculates on the slowed construction of the West Bank barrier wall (12).

July 13th

The European Union’s foreign policy chief calls on the UN Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state (1). Britain revokes several arms exporting licenses from companies selling weapons parts to Israel (2). An article in the Jordan Times looks at how Palestinian children are being paid to work in the dangerous Gaza smuggling tunnels (6). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterates his refusal to resume peace talks until Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu accepts the two-state solution and halts settlement activity (9). A series of opinion articles examine the ongoing issue of a proposed Israeli settlement freeze (3) (10) (11) (12).

July 10th

The West Bank city of Nablus sees signs of renewed economic growth (1) as Israel begins to relax restrictions on movement for Palestinians (9)(13). Tensions between the EU and Israel continue during a visit by the German foreign minister (2). Six months after the cessation of the war in Gaza, the outlook for the area remains grim (3)(7). Israeli National Security Adviser Uzi Arad rules out a total withdrawal from the Golan Heights during a discussion about possible talks with Syria (4). Egypt claims progress in negotiations for the release of captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit (8)(10). Israel may permit a specially trained Palestinian counterterrorism unit to operate in the West Bank (12).

July 9th

On the 5th anniversary of the International Court of Justice decision declaring the Israeli barrier in the West Bank to be in violation of international law (1)(7), the Israeli Defense Ministry reveals that further construction has been relatively nonexistent in the past 15 months (8). The U.S. plans to welcome 1,350 Iraqi Palestinian immigrants in Southern California (2). Allegations of espionage heighten tensions between Fatah and Hamas (3). The State Department denies reports of an agreement on settlement construction (5). The European Commission backs away from earlier criticism of continued Israeli occupation (9). Debate in Israel continues over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s performance in the first 100 days of his government (10)(11).

July 8th

While the U.S. continues to engage Israel for a settlement freeze (1), American and European officials discuss the responsibilities of Arab countries in the dispute (6)(8). Polls reveal widespread discontent with Hamas in Gaza leading up to Palestinian reconciliation talks (2). Oxfam decries the Israeli barrier in the West Bank, calling for the ‘triumph of the rule of law’ (3). The UN war crimes investigation in Gaza concludes hearings on the recent conflict (4). Israel seeks to facilitate Palestinian economic growth by extending the hours of a vital crossing on the Jordanian border (7). Kadima leader Tzipi Livni criticizes the performance of the Netanyahu government in its first 100 days (13).

July 7th

The Christian Science Monitor looks at the economic boom in the West Bank town of Nablus, after Israel relaxes surrounding checkpoints (1). BBC News interviews three Gaza residents about their views on Hamas (2). Israel has reportedly released former U.S. congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney, after detaining her and other activists on board a ship attempting to break the Gaza blockade (4). Israeli Defense Minister reports that progress was made in his second round of talks with Special Mideast Envoy George Mitchell (5) (12). A new poll shows that 61% of Israelis support Prime Minister Netanyahu’s policy of allowing “natural growth” in settlements (11).

July 6th

Tensions continue over a proposed Israeli settlement freeze (1) (14). Israel pledges to compensate the UN for damage caused by shelling its facilities during the Gaza war (2). Israel’s Defense Minister approves the transfer of weapons to the Palestinian Security Forces in the West Bank (3). Israeli authorities plan to deport the activists who attempted to break the naval blockade of Gaza last week (4). Israeli President Shimon Peres is set to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo this week (5). Hamas and Fatah trade accusations of misconduct (7) (8). At a conference in Aspen this weekend, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad says that Jews would be welcome as full citizens of a future Palestinian state (10).

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