January 29th

PM Fayyad says Palestinians are working with Special Envoy Mitchell to ensure conditions are right for negotiations. Israel cracks down on nonviolent protesters in the occupied West Bank. The film Avatar stirs controversy in Israel. Human Rights Watch disputes Hamas' claim that it did not target civilians. Hamas demands Palestinian unity before peace talks with Israel. Pres. Obama says the US supports Israel but is sympathetic to the Palestinians. A survey chooses the Palestinian best of 2009. Hamas claims one of its operatives was assassinated by Israel in Dubai. Palestinians object to a new Israeli light rail service in occupied East Jerusalem. A Ha'aretz commentary says a binational state is impossible, and another says Israel must investigate its conduct in the Gaza war. PM Netanyahu promises confidence-building measures with the PA. Historians say Israel destroyed tens of thousands of Palestinian books after its establishment. An Israeli court protects the right to protest. A former PA official says corruption will allow Hamas to seize power in the West Bank. Israel has stolen billions in Palestinian workers' insurance money. Eyad El-Sarraj describes the suffering in Gaza.

January 28th

Hussein Ibish explains why Palestine must be a secular state. Hamas clears itself of Goldstone report war crimes charges. PM Netanyahu says Israel's relief efforts in Haiti have boosted its image. Israel appoints a more moderate chief military rabbi. Pres. Abbas says the Palestinian capital must be in Jerusalem. An outspoken Palestinian MK denounces Holocaust denial. Gideon Levy says Holocaust remembrance cannot excuse the occupation, and Ha'aretz says settlers who attacked Palestinians are terrorists. At Davos the head of the Arab League presses for a Palestinian state. The long-neglected cinema in Jenin is being renovated. A financial dispute threatens a key Gaza power plant. The new Fatah charter does not call for the elimination of Israel. Israel plans to relocate the separation barrier at the site of nonviolent protests. Palestinians are divided in supporting the Egyptian and Algerian soccer teams. Gaza fishermen defy dangers. The Jordan Times backs PM Fayyad's warning on peace, and Daoud Kuttab says Jerusalem is the key. Hani Almadhoun says Hamas benefits from the siege of Gaza.

January 27th

The PA issues a major new state and institution building document. The Obama administration scales back expectations on Middle East peace, but along with Israel and Egypt continues to pressure Palestinians to return to talks. Israel's partial settlement moratorium impacts Palestinian laborers. The term of the Palestinian parliament expires. PM Fayyad says Europe should be more engaged. Settlers attack Palestinians in retaliation for the demolition of an outpost settlement. The PA cabinet regrets the lack of elections. 54 House members urge the Obama administration to seek the end of the siege of Gaza. Special Envoy Mitchell may engage in "shuttle diplomacy." Another diplomatic dispute is brewing over the Goldstone report. The UN expresses frustration on Gaza rebuilding. A settler rabbi is arrested in connection to a mosque arson in the occupied West Bank. Israel plans to absorb 7,000 Indian villagers purportedly from a "lost Jewish tribe" near Myanmar. The Daily Star says anger at Israel's actions is understandable.

January 26th

An aide to Pres. Abbas explains his conditions for resuming negotiations, and Palestinians say they are studying new US proposals for lower-level talks. PM Netanyahu plants trees in a settlement, settlers use tents to skirt the moratorium, and a Ha'aretz commentary says only an idiot would say Israel has frozen settlement activity. Israel confirms it will not set up an independent inquiry into its Gaza war conduct, but the PA establishes a committee to look into allegations about its own conduct. DM Barak says Israel's lack of an agreement with the Palestinians is a greater threat than Iranian nuclear weapons. Palestinians seek closer ties to Saudi Arabia. A diplomatic dispute intensifies over treatment of official US cars at checkpoints in the occupied territories. Sami Abdel-Shafi says Palestinians will return to negotiations, but with no expectations. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman says because of the occupation Israel is in danger of ceasing to be Jewish and democratic.

January 25th

PM Netanyahu says Israel will keep some settlements forever, angering Palestinians. The LA Times profiles Tzipi Livni. The Obama administration reiterates its commitment to peace but lowers expectations. Activists fear a new intifada. Gaza clans say Hamas is undermining tribal justice. A former Israeli negotiator says an agreement is impossible. Several commentaries examine the state of the peace process and Israel's policies. Joel Beinin looks at Palestinian nonviolent resistance. Meron Benvenisti says that Israel has imposed a binational reality that cannot be undone. Hussein Ibish analyzes the dangers of political certainty among Arabs and Israelis.

January 22nd

Special Envoy Mitchell meets with Pres. Abbas. A Ha'aretz commentary asks who is to blame for stalled talks, as Obama administration officials say they underestimated the obstacles. Controversy continues to surround Israel's aid effort in Haiti. Hamas asks media to stop describing it as "deposed," and one of its leaders denies he said it recognizes Israel. PLO officials say Israel is imposing a one-state reality. UNSG Ban says the Middle East conflict is intensifying. The Jerusalem mayor defies a court order to remove Jewish settlers from a Palestinian house. Settlement construction is continuing in spite of the "freeze." A commentary in The National says there are lessons for Gaza in Haiti's devastation. Rami Khouri speculates about Europe's role and George Hishmeh says Israel needs introspection. PM Fayyad leads a civil society effort against settlement activity. Gaza faces a dangerous fuel crisis. Jeffrey Goldberg interviews Elliot Abrams on West Bank development.

January 21st

Israel deports the American editor of the Ma'an news agency. Special Envoy Mitchell continues his trip to the region. Saeb Erekat says Israel is sabotaging peace. Pres. Peres says that without new negotiations there could be a third intifada. Yossi Sarid says DM Barak is legitimizing the evils of Israeli occupation. Palestinians claim Jewish worshippers vandalize a cemetery. PM Netanyahu says Israel must retain a presence in the West Bank even after a peace agreement. A Hamas leader says the group recognizes Israel's right to exist. Motorola may relocate from the occupied West Bank. A yeshiva preaches hate and terrorism. Critics accuse Israel of exploiting the disaster in Haiti for public diplomacy. Israel eases its ban on Gaza's strawberry exports.

January 20th

The occupation poses problems for Israel's bid to join the OECD. Palestinian rights groups press for investigations into Gaza war conduct. The PLO is pushing for a temporary settlement freeze in occupied East Jerusalem. Israel is withholding work permits for NGO employees in the occupied territories. A Ha'aretz commentary says the GOP victory in Massachusetts is a gain for PM Netanyahu. The Israeli government accredits Ariel University in the occupied West Bank. The Vatican says the occupation foments conflict. Fatah members complain that PM Fayyad's policies are weakening their party. Gershon Baskin says Israel's generosity in Haiti contrasts with callousness towards the Palestinians. The UN says the siege of Gaza is creating health risks. The BBC profiles the struggle over occupied East Jerusalem. Israel's press freedom ranking plummets due to Gaza policies. Osama Al Sharif says FM Lieberman is the future of Israeli politics.

January 19th

Special Envoy Mitchell arrives in the Middle East amid further speculation about the Obama administration's latest peace initiative. Pres. Abbas urges the US to pursue an "endgame" to the conflict. The EU pledges €160 million to the PA. A Hamas leader admits the organization receives financial support from Iran. Palestinians host their first diplomatic meeting in Jerusalem in many years. A Ha'aretz commentary says it's time for the US to start twisting arms on peace, and another says Israel's compassion for Haiti can't hide its cruelty towards Gaza. Jordanian sources claim Iran ordered the failed attack on the Israeli diplomats in Jordan. Israeli settlers are arrested in a West Bank mosque arson attack investigation. Palestinian human rights groups call for internal Palestinian investigations into abuses during the Gaza war. Israel is failing to allow an access road to the first Palestinian planned city in the occupied West Bank. Concern grows about spitting incidents against Christians by Jewish extremists in Jerusalem. Israel continues to target Palestinian nonviolent protesters. Palestinians counter Birthright Israel with Birthright Unplugged. Concern grows about the prospects for another war in Gaza.

January 15th

National Security Advisor Jones meets Israeli and Palestinian leaders, as the US and Egypt reiterate their determination to restart negotiations. Israel says it's open to "proximity talks." Jordan arrests a taxi driver on suspicion of placing a roadside bomb that misses an Israeli diplomatic convoy. Palestinian reconciliation talks are stalled. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is stymieing potential marriages. International tourists are flocking to see the West Bank separation barrier and meet Palestinian nonviolent protesters, two of whom have been released from jail by Israel. Turkey reportedly warns Lebanon of a possible Israeli attack. Elections for the Kadima leadership may be held soon. The National describes Israel's handling of relations with Turkey as "immature," but Hassan Haidar says Arab hopes for a major rift are unrealistic. Miko Peled says the US and Israel must move in the direction of Palestinian independence. Abdel-Moneim Said writes a second article denouncing those who are more interested in attacking Egypt than helping the Palestinians.

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