June 5th

President Obama's historic speech from Cairo yesterday elicits varied responses (1) (2) (3) (4) (9) (11) (13). Tensions surrounding efforts to secure an Israeli settlement freeze continue (5) (12) (18). After meeting in Dresden, President Obama and German Chancellor Merkel vow to "redouble" their efforts towards Mideast peace (6). The UN team investigating alleged war crimes during the Gaza war announces that it will hold public hearings with victims later this month (7).

June 4th

President Obama delivers his historic speech to the Muslim world from Cairo (1) (3) (12). Senior Israeli officials accuse Obama of breaching alleged understandings on settlement growth reached with President Bush (2), as the issue of a settlement freeze remains tense (4) (5). Four are killed in the West Bank as Palestinian security forces clash with Hamas militants (6). A report issued by the World Bank finds that Israeli restrictions are holding up many of its projects in the West Bank and impeding Palestinian development (7). A Tel Aviv University poll finds that Israeli support for settlements in the Occupied Territories is at an all-time low (8).

June 3rd

President Obama arrives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to kick off his highly anticipated Mideast tour (1) (10) (11). Speculation continues regarding the issue of a potential Israeli settlement freeze (3) (4) (5). Before leaving for the Mideast, President Obama joins a White House meeting between National Security Advisor Jim Jones and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak (15). Israeli police remove a West Bank settler outpost and two roadblocks in Ramallah (17).

June 2nd

The U.S. and Israel remain divided on the issue of a settlement freeze (1) (2) (13), as Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak begins meetings with U.S. officials in Washington (4). A clash between Hamas and Palestinian security forces over the weekend leaves six dead in the West Bank (3). Ex-Pink Floyd rocker Roger Waters visits a Palestinian refugee camp and urges Israel to remove the West Bank separation barrier (8). Quartet envoy Tony Blair voices his optimism on the possibility of a diplomatic breakthrough in the coming weeks (9). American officials oppose Israeli plans to build a new hotel near the Old City in Arab East Jerusalem (12). Israeli settler council accuses U.S. of using “political terror” (14).

June 1st

The Obama Administration weighs options for increasing the pressure on Israel to agree to a full settlement freeze (1) (2). Jewish settlers attack Palestinian workers in the West Bank (3). The United Nations fact finding team arrives in Gaza to begin its investigation into allegations of war crimes (4). Israeli settlers seek the eviction of dozens of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem (5). In an interview with Raghida Dergham, General David Petraeus insists that resolving the Palestinian-Israeli issue would decrease threats to U.S. troops (7). The Palestinian Authority confronts Hamas in the West Bank (11) (13) (16). In a posting on Ibishblog.com Hussein Ibish argues that ATFP was right to keep focusing on settlements over the past year (6).

May 29th

Following yesterday's meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, President Obama reaffirms the U.S. commitment to Roadmap principles and reiterates his call for an end to Israeli settlements (1) (2) (4) (16). Several articles discuss the increasing importance of a settlement freeze (6) (7) (14). The New York Times reports on the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza (3). Israeli police shut down a Palestinian theater in East Jerusalem hosting an international literature festival (9). More than three-quarters of the U.S. House of Representatives sign an AIPAC backed letter urging "every effort" be made for Arab-Israeli peace, but calling on the US not to pressure Israel (11).

May 28th

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphatically reiterates the Obama Administration’s call for an end to all Israeli settlement activity (1) (3) (6), while an Israeli government spokesperson announces that “natural growth” expansion of settlements will continue (3) (5). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is set to meet with President Obama in Washington this afternoon (7) (15). A report issued by Amnesty International accuses Israel of violating the laws of armed conflict during the Gaza war and of breaking the ceasefire with Hamas (13). A special Israeli police unit kills a senior Hamas military commander in Hebron (14).

May 27th

As Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrives in Washington, the U.S. moves to bolster the Palestinian Authority (1) (3). The New York Times remembers Amos Elon’s warnings on the dangers of building settlements in the Occupied Territories (2). Israel evacuates two more settler outposts in the West Bank (13) (16). The Canadian government urges a halt to all settlement activity (4). Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu pledges to abide by existing Israeli agreements (12), while Vice-Premier Moshe Ya’alon rules out the creation of any “Palestinian entity” (17).

May 26th

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu tells his cabinet that construction will continue in existing Jewish settlements in the West Bank, despite calls from President Obama to halt all settlement activity (1) (8). Other reports suggest Israel might be willing to dismantle “outpost” settlements (12) (16). An Israeli government panel backs a new bill that would ban Palestinians in Israel from commemorating the Nakba (3). French President Sarkozy says that a Palestinian state is vital to a larger Mideast peace (5). Recent Israeli restrictions severely impact Gaza fishermen (11). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is set to meet with President Obama in Washington later this week (14) (17) (18), as speculation continues about Obama’s role in the peace process (8) (9) (13).

May 22nd

The Los Angeles Times features an interview with bereaved Palestinian doctor and peace activist Izzeldin Abuelaish (1). In the Jewish Daily Forward former Israeli military governor of the West Bank Ephraim Sneh criticizes threats to the peace process (2). Israeli troops kill two Palestinian militants on the Gaza border (3). Raghida Dergham analyzes the possibility of multi-track negotiations (7). Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu vows that all of Jerusalem will always be under Israeli sovereignty, provoking anger from Palestinians (10). Israeli settlers begin immediately rebuilding the West Bank settlement of Maoz Ester following the military evacuation yesterday (12).

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