November 12th

At Arafat memorial, Pres. Abbas reaffirms Palestinian determination for statehood, lays out strict conditions for talks. French leaders voice doubts about Israeli interest in peace. Hamas may sign Egyptian reconciliation proposal by end of the month, and Fatah leaders say the scheduled election may be postponed. Israeli settlers go on tree felling spree, build fences to keep Palestinians off of their own land in the occupied West Bank. The Guardian highlights the plight of Palestinian student Berlanty Azzam deported by Israel from the West Bank to Gaza and the implications of this practice. Reports suggest Pres. Obama asked PM Netanyahu at their meeting to take steps to bolster Abbas in light of his possible resignation. Numerous commentaries argue that the peace process is hopelessly deadlocked. Ameen Estaiteyeh says that ATFP deserves more recognition as a pro-Palestine, pro-peace organization. The Media Line interviews ATFP President Ziad Asali.

November 11th

Palestinians commemorate the fifth anniversary of the death of Pres. Arafat, and debate the possibility of a unilateral declaration of statehood. Hamas reiterates that it will never negotiate with Israel, and bans all public commemorations in Gaza of Arafat's death. Tony Blair welcomes the latest economic progress in the West Bank, while the New York Times profiles the struggle of Gaza shopkeepers. White House officials express disappointment at the meeting between Pres. Obama and PM Netanyahu. Israeli military intelligence is re-examining the notorious "Lavon Affair" of the 1950s in which Israel plotted terrorist attacks against Western targets in Egypt. The JTA argues that Obama has quietly adopted Israel's position on negotiations without preconditions. In Bitter Lemons, Ghassan Khatib explains that a settlement freeze is crucial to peace negotiations. On the Washington Post website, Hussein Ibish tries to explain the frustrations of the Palestinian leadership and people.

November 10th

Speculation mounts as President Abbas is reported to be considering resigning not only the presidency but also leadership of Fatah and the PLO. Abbas says an agreement was close with former PM Olmert. President Obama and PM Netanyahu meet in Washington, and former Sharon adviser Dov Weisglass says the silence after the meeting signals either broad agreement or disagreement. In Ha'aretz, former Israeli minister Ephraim Sneh says Abbas' possible resignation is the result of Israeli mistakes. The Media Line interviews Palestinian-American businessman Farouk Shami. In Bitter Lemons, Yossi Alpher says Netanyahu has shown that he understands Washington better than the Palestinians, but Joharah Baker argues that Abbas deserves credit for a firm stance. Aaron David Miller says that without the needed toughness to "crack heads," the Obama administration should not attempt Middle East peace-making.

November 9th

The Washington Post notes that even if he left the Palestinian presidency, Mahmoud Abbas holds several other powerful posts. A new poll suggests that a large majority of Palestinians want him to change his mind, as large crowds in the occupied West Bank were urging over the weekend. The election commission says it has no plans to delay the scheduled January elections. On the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, nonviolent protesters from the village of Ni'lin tear down a section of Israel's separation barrier. An influential rabbi publishes a new book saying Jews may kill any Gentile who "threatens" Israel. Rep. Eric Cantor says attitudes are changing towards Israel in Congress. A number of commentaries from the Arab press analyze Abbas' move. In the Guardian, Hussein Ibish argues his speech was a complex set of messages and a warning, not a resignation.

November 6th

Palestinian Pres. Mahmoud Abbas announces he will not seek another term in office. PLO and Fatah officials urge him to reconsider and the US and Israel express concern, while Hamas dismisses the announcement as a ruse. Fawaz Gerges and Daoud Kuttab consider the implications. Several papers question whether this means Abbas will cease to be the Palestinian president and speculate as to potential successors. The UN General Assembly passes a resolution in support of the Goldstone report, but Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman expresses satisfaction at the result. A new State Department report finds that Israel is not a tolerant, pluralistic society. Ghassan Khatib explains that the absence of Abbas could be a serious blow to the peace process.

November 5th

Secretary of State Clinton renews her calls for a resumption of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, amid analysis of the fallout from her Middle East trip. The UN General Assembly is set to approve the Goldstone report on the Gaza war. On the anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Israel moves to contain right-wing extremists. Palestinians fear further evictions in occupied East Jerusalem. Hamas reiterates its opposition to Palestinian elections, with a new poll showing that 52% of Palestinians say they would vote for Pres. Abbas as opposed to 15% who would vote for Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat says that Palestinians may have to consider abandoning the two-state solution.The Arab News profiles ATFP's new book on the one-state agenda. Palestinian political scientist Said Zeidani says that there is no obvious successor to Pres. Abbas. Hussein Ibish summarizes the state of the peace process following the Clinton trip.

November 4th

Media analyses suggest that the Obama administration is lowering expectations on Middle East peace, and is focused on preventing a meltdown. The LA Times profiles nonviolent Palestinian resistance in the occupied West Bank. Controversy surrounds a draft UN General Assembly resolution on the Goldstone report. The U.S. House of Representatives passes a bill criticizing the report, while Rep. Brian Baird critiqued its language on the House floor. Ha'aretz suggests that the Israeli leadership may be preparing public opinion for another possible Gaza war. UN chief Ban Ki-moon urges Israel to end its "provocative actions" in the occupied East Jerusalem. A commentary in Ynet says PM Netanyahu is essentially a cautious politician who avoids both war and peace, while another in Ha'aretz urges US to get tough with Israel. Michael Lame interviews Palestinian entrepreneur Bashar Masri, and Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic Monthly interviews ATFP Senior Fellow Hussein Ibish.

November 3rd

Secretary of State Clinton insists that the US position on an Israeli settlement freeze has not changed after a firestorm of criticism from Palestinian and Arab officials and media regarding her comments earlier this week in Israel. The Christian Science Monitor interviews and This Week in Palestine profiles Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who complains Israel is being allowed to set the agenda for peace. Jewish settlers seize control of a Palestinian home in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli military officials claim Hamas rockets could reach Tel Aviv. The BBC explains that the occupation has forced Palestinian artists in Jerusalem "underground." Fatah co-founder Sakher Habash dies at 70. The PLO is considering all factions running on the united ticket against Hamas in Palestinian elections announced for January.

November 2nd

Israeli police arrest an American-born Jewish terrorist accused of killing both Palestinians and Jewish Israelis, while a commentary in Ha'aretz says that if he had confined his attacks simply to Arabs he would not have been caught. Secretary of State Clinton seemingly softens the US stance on an Israeli settlement freeze, while Palestinian Pres. Mahmoud Abbas insists this is a precondition for resumption of negotiations. Reuters analyzes his options, and The National looks at a future without Abbas. The Washington Post says the Jordan Valley could be a sticking point in any future talks. James Wolfensohn, former head of The World Bank, says that the PA's two-year state building plan is "a very smart move." Raghida Dergham lays out a strategy for Palestinians to advance the Goldstone report through the UN General Assembly rather than getting buried in the Security Council. In the Guardian, Hussein Ibish argues that the PA state and institution building plan complements Palestinian diplomacy and constitutes an effective program of practical resistance to the occupation.

October 30th

Scott MacLeod defends Human Rights Watch against criticism that it's been unduly critical of Israel. A Reuters analysis argues that President Abbas is seeking to use Palestinian elections to reunite the West Bank and Gaza, and the President warns that Israel's measures are leading to potential violence and that Prime Minister Netanyahu "hasn't changed" since his first term in the 1990s. Special Envoy George Mitchell and Secretary of State Clinton are set to meet with Palestinian and Israeli leaders. Rabbi Eric Yoffie argues in Ha'aretz that settlements are antithetical to peace. The Independent highlights the exemplary plight of a student expelled by Israel from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip just before graduation. The National argues that Hamas opposition to Palestinian elections exposes its motivations and Daoud Kuttab says that elections are essential to the Palestinian people.

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