December 8th

The US abandons efforts to secure a settlement freeze, and considers reviving indirect negotiations. Palestinians criticize the move, say talks are in crisis and explore international recognition for a Palestinian state. The CSM looks at why Argentina and Brazil have recognized Palestine. The UN says it is concerned about Hamas' closure of an NGO in Gaza. Three Palestinians are wounded by Israeli shelling in Gaza. Israel will allow flower exports from Gaza. The US will hold separate talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials. The Israeli military resumes use of tear gas canisters that have caused death and injuries. An effort to provide an alternative to Israeli-owned hummus at Princeton fails. The National says Turkey is driving Latin American recognition of Palestine.

December 7th

Israel is upset of series of diplomatic recognitions of Palestine by Latin American states and says it damages the prospects for peace. 20 international diplomats attend a hearing for a leader of Palestinian nonviolent process. A Hamas court orders the execution of an alleged collaborator. A group of leading Israeli rabbis says land should not be sold or rented to non-Jews. A Palestinian blogger who has been arrested but not charged apologizes for blasphemous remarks. Pres. Abbas says dissolving the PA is not an option. Fatah and Hamas bicker over new reconciliation talks. Akiva Eldar says European aid over the fire proves that their boycotts are indeed against the occupation and not Israel. Gershon Baskin says the occupation is a much bigger threat than any fire. Palestinians discuss establishing a US lobby group. Hussein Ibish says the struggle over a Palestinian road in Area C is an indication of how state building confronts the occupation.

December 6th

Andrew Bacevich says US-Israel relationship is imbalanced. Only 51% of Israelis support equal rights for Palestinian citizens. A civil service program allows Palestinian citizens of Israel public, but not military, service. Turkey pledges support for a Palestinian state. Human Rights Watch urges the PA to release a blogger. Pres. Abbas says he expects new US proposals shortly. Palestinian firefighters aid Israel's battle against a massive fire, prompting a rare phone call between Abbas and PM Netanyahu. Abbas says as a last resort Palestinians might dissolve the PA, but an official says it's not under active consideration and welcomes Brazil's recognition. Bradley Burston says Israel depends on a Jewish majority, which is incompatible with the occupation. Akiva Eldar says trouble battling the fire has undermined Israel's military deterrence. A leading British politician says settlement goods must be labeled. Sec. Clinton is due to issue a major statement on negotiations. Palestinians plan to rebuild a West Bank road destroyed by Israel. John Whitbeck says linguistic clarity is needed for peace.

December 3rd

Israeli settlers and Palestinians struggle over houses in occupied East Jerusalem, and clashes interrupt between Palestinians and occupation forces. A new collection of the writings of Mahmoud Darwish is published in English. The US is quiet on efforts to restart negotiations, and analysts say the talks remain in limbo. Noam Chomsky calls the peace process "a charade." A Palestinian is shot in the leg by Israeli soldiers. Israel bars a PLO official from leaving the West Bank. Ha'aretz says Israel's discrimination against Palestinian citizens undermines its democracy. Childcare experts denounce Israel's treatment of stone-throwing Palestinian youths. David Axelrod says the US is committed to peace and Israel's security. Israeli and Palestinian officials trade accusations over stalled negotiations. Gazans begin to eat well again but animals face starvation. A fired AIPAC staffer vows to prove that the organization typically trades in secrets. George Hishmeh says all three governments need major changes to facilitate peace. The Arab News says Hamas' announcement that it would respect the results of a Palestinian referendum on peace with Israel is a challenge for Israel and the United States.

December 2nd

A Hamas leader says it will accept the results of a Palestinian referendum on peace. Leaked cables suggest Syrian support for Hamas may be negotiable. Pres. Abbas is still waiting for an American response on settlements and appears frustrated. Two Palestinians are killed at the Gaza border. Palestinians under 40 are blocked from the al-Aqsa mosque. A PA cabinet reshuffle may have been postponed. Palestinians blame Israel for the failure of talks. Israel announces yet another settlement expansion project, angering Palestinians. Israel unveils new anti-rocket technology. Palestinians ask Israel to drop opposition to WTO membership. The Palestinian ambassador in Washington says Congress shouldn't interfere in the peace process. Libyan leader Qaddafi proposes a binational state at the UN. An Israeli rabbi says houses should not be rented to Palestinians. Leonard Fein says the ZOA is deliberately distorting Palestinian poll results. There may have been a falling out between Abbas and Mohammed Dahlan. Michael Jansen says George Mitchell may be preparing to step down as Middle East envoy. The Arab News says Washington needs to take more responsibility for Israeli policies.

December 1st

Aid agencies say little has changed with the easing of the Gaza blockade. Fatah blames Hamas for failed reconciliation talks. The US denounces a Palestinian report challenging the history of the Western Wall, and Palestinians remove it from the Internet although the author defends the report. Pres. Abbas says Palestinians have “other options” if peace talks fail. Hamas denies Al Qaeda is operating in Gaza. In spite of security successes in the West Bank, Palestinians remain uneasy. Israel arrests a Hamas official in the West Bank. Yehuda Ben Meir says the lack of a settlement freeze extension is due to political cowardice in Israel and the United States. An Israeli court rules an interrogation of Palestinian minors illegal. A Palestinian citizen of Israel is indicted for working for Hamas. New poll numbers suggest half of Jewish Israelis object to having Arab neighbors and a majority want Palestinian citizens to be encouraged to leave. PM Fayyad says Palestinians will be ready for independence by August and that they will rebuild a road they constructed in Area C that was destroyed by occupation forces. Murad Bustani says Palestinians should reject violence.

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