April 9th

Following Avigdor Lieberman’s recent controversial statements, President Obama reaffirms the importance of the Annapolis meeting in his speech before the Turkish parliament (1), while the Jewish Telegraphic Agency discusses potential clashes between the Netanyahu and Obama governments (2). A planned exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Toronto inflames tensions over ownership of the historic documents (4). According to negotiators, Palestinian accord government talks have hit a deadlock (6) (9). A recently released report shows that record numbers of Israeli Arab students are leaving Israel to complete their higher education in Jordan (10). Hamas calls on the Palestinian Authority to cut security ties with Israel (13).

April 8th

The Los Angeles Times profiles the South African judge picked to head the U.N.'s fact finding mission on the Gaza war (1). Middle East Progress features an interview with Robert Drumheller, vice-president of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, about the work being done to help build the Palestinian economy (2). Elliot Abrams argues against an Israeli settlement freeze (3), while Abbas Al Lawati thinks that new Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman's extreme views will be good for the Arabs (8). 16 Palestinians are injured in a clash with settlers in the West Bank village of Khirbat Safa (10). Following Lieberman's recent controversial remarks, the U.S. State Department reaffirms its commitment to a two-state solution (11).

April 7th

Ahmad Tibi calls for more attention to the Palestinian minority in Israel (1). President Obama reiterates his commitment to a two-state solution (2)(5)(6)(8). A Palestinian motorist is shot dead by Israeli police (3). Police question Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman for the 3rd time since he took office (4). George Mitchell, announces his plans to return to the region next week (7). Jordan's King Abdullah II urges Israel to join an Arab peace initiative (9). Ghassan Rubeiz responds to both Arab and Israeli critics in discussing the Arab-Israeli conflict (10). Donald Macintyre emphasizes the need for the US to press for a two state solution (11). Stuart Reigeluth opines that despite American and European support for a two-state solution, the current conditions make it nearly impossible (12). The appointment of Lieberman is a reflection of Israeli distrust of its Palestinian minority (13).

April 6th

The Washington Post reports that Israel expected a stronger military performance from Hamas during the Gaza War (1). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visits Iraq for the first time since the 2003 U.S. invasion (2). The WHO warns that feuding between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority is putting the lives of critically ill Gaza patients at risk (3). The Times examines the controversial planned E1 settlement corridor in the West Bank (4). Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups say they have evidence that Israeli troops attacked Palestinian medical workers during the Gaza war (6). Israeli forces shoot and kill a 16 year-old Bedouin girl after she opens fire on a police base in southern Israel (8).

April 3rd

Raghida Dergham evaluates how Arab governments and the Obama Administration can work together to improve the situation in the Middle East (1). An op-ed in Haaretz attempts to put the ax attack in the West Bank attack into context (2), while the rabbi of the settlement in question insists that his community is not seeking revenge (4). Newly appointed Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is questioned by police regarding allegations of fraud (3) (11), as opposition leader Tzipi Livni condemns his recent speech rebuffing Annapolis conference agreements (7). An Italian news publication reports that at least 19,000 Palestinian homes have been destroyed since 1967(5). Palestinian unity talks in Cairo are suspended, and set to resume in three weeks (10). The United Nations appoints a former war crimes prosecutor to investigate alleged offenses by both sides during the Gaza war (14).

April 2nd

In his first official speech as Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman declares that Israel is not bound to the understandings reached at the 2007 Annapolis Conference (1). A Palestinian man wielding an ax kills an Israeli teenager in the West Bank (2). A series of articles discuss how the new Netanyahu-led Israeli government may handle the peace process (4) (5) (6). The new Israeli government is also warned that a refusal to continue with serious peace negotiations could result in the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority (8). Hamas pledges to continue weapons smuggling into Gaza (11).

April 1st

Benjamin Netanyahu is sworn in as Israel’s new Prime Minister, (1) (6) along with his coalition government (10) (13), while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urges international pressure on Netanyahu to continue negotiations towards a peace agreement and a Palestinian state (9). A study released by the United Nations Development Program shows that 70% of Palestinian youth oppose violence as a solution to the conflict with Israel (3). An op-ed in The National stresses the importance of Arab unity in moving peace talks forward (8). Israel’s Knesset heatedly debates alleged misconduct by IDF soldiers (11), while an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle accuses Israel of flouting international law (5).

March 31st

Benjamin Netanyahu is to be sworn in as Israel’s prime minister today (1), prompting speculation about how the new Israeli government will interact with the Obama administration in Washington (3) (5) (6) (7) (15). The Israeli military closes their investigation into allegations of misconduct by soldiers in the Gaza war (2). In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Peace Now urges an end to settlement construction (4). Palestinian Authority officials announce that Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will stay on until a new government is formed (8), as national accord government talks resume in Cairo (9) (10). Two Palestinians are killed in a clash with the IDF on the Gaza border (11).

March 30th

The National Journal examines the rapidly approaching crisis in the viability and credibility of negotiations towards a two state agreement (1), while an op-ed by Saeb Erakat, chief Palestinian negotiator, urges swift action to save the peace process in light of the new Netanyahu government (5) (6). The Arab League tells Israel that it must move towards the Arab Peace Initiative or it will be rescinded (2). Several senior Israeli military officials meet with the press in an attempt to explain civilian deaths in Gaza (3). A senior Israeli intelligence official admits that smuggling of weapons into Gaza has continued despite the recent war (4). Haaretz reports that construction activity in West Bank settlements has increased since the Israeli general elections in February (7).

March 27th

Ben Caspit, chief political commentator for Ma'ariv, examines the coalition government taking shape in Israel (1). The Media Line reports on the troubled state of the Palestinian health care system (2). The Israeli military denies claims that it used white phosphorous shells unlawfully during the Gaza war (3). Israel is suspected to be behind an airstrike earlier this year against alleged smuggling convoys in Sudan (5). Following continued criticism of IDF conduct (7), an Israeli soldier faces disciplinary action for a reckless shooting during the Gaza war (6). Palestinian officials report that Israel has revised the list of prisoners it might release in exchange for captured soldier Gilad Shalit (8).

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