February 26th

Israel's mayor is attempting to relocate Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem as Israel is planning more settlement activity. Clashes continue in Hebron over Israel's claim on holy sites, PM Netanyahu seeks to defuse tension, and J.J. Goldberg says this is the last thing Israel needs. The UAE seeks justice in the Mabhouh assassination but has no leverage, as Israel faces a mounting international backlash. Some Palestinians in Gaza favor closing smuggling tunnels. The UN is not satisfied with either Israel's or Hamas' responses to the Goldstone report. The PA denies that proximity talks will begin next week. Hamas bars a Fatah delegation from visiting Gaza. A newspaper claims Special Envoy Mitchell sought to resign. PLO officials threaten to adopt a one-state policy. A poll suggests growing support for Israel in the United States. Henry Siegman says Israel's legitimacy and future as a Jewish state depends on a two-state agreement. The EU rules that settlement goods are not Israeli. Tariq Alhomayed says the Palestinian issue is a source of emotional blackmail. Palestinians in Lebanon form a new faction.

February 25th

Coverage continues about the son of a Hamas founder who spied for Israel. Dubai names more suspects in the Mabhouh assassination. Israeli officials insist the botched killing hasn't harmed relations with Western intelligence services, but Australia says forging passports isn't the act of a "friend." Israel becomes an issue in a California Senate race. The PLO says Israel's claims on holy sites in Hebron invalidates peace talks, and the US adds its condemnation. Sec. Clinton is upbeat about resumed negotiations. Pres. Abbas expresses satisfaction with EU support for East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. Ari Shavit says to save Zionism, Israel must end the occupation. Gideon Levy mocks Israeli propaganda. Palestinians in Hebron march to commemorate the Goldstein massacre. Larry Derfner comparison the Mabhouh hit with the 1997 attempted assassination of Khalid Mishaal. Ghassan Khatib says peace is the strongest Palestinian weapon. Nathan Jeffay examines the challenges to peace posed by settlements. Daoud Kuttab asks if serious negotiations are really about to start.

February 24th

Jerome Segal says Palestinians should declare statehood. A new Israeli missile defense system sparks controversy. Mark LeVine says student protesters at UC Irvine should not face harsh punishment. Pres. Abbas says Israel's claims upon sites in the occupied territories could spark religious war, and Islamic Jihad says it may resume attacks against Israel. The Gaza fishing industry continues to struggle. With Mideast peace talks stalled, alternative scenarios proliferate. A Hamas leader suggests Israel may have infiltrated the organization. Israeli forces invade parts of Gaza. The son of one of Hamas' founders reportedly served as an Israeli agent for many years. Aluf Benn says Israel faces opposition from both settlers and Palestinians. Gabi Sheffer asks why Israel is so resistant to US peace efforts. Israel is moving olive trees to the east of the separation barrier. An aide to an assassinated Hamas operative is arrested in Damascus. The parents of killed US peace activist Rachel Corrie sue the Israeli military. US Jewish leaders press PM Fayyad on incitement. ATFP President Ziad Asali analyzes the Palestinian state and institution building project.

February 23rd

The LA Times outlines the history of Israeli assassinations, and its use of identity theft in Dubai. Israel seeks to use ordinary citizens to improve its image. Israel reimposes a ban on foreign nationals using a Bethlehem bus line. A report says Israel is planning another settlement in occupied East Jerusalem. Jordan adds it's condemnation of Israel's claim over two sites in Hebron, and the UN reiterates its concern. Accidents claim the lives of four Palestinians in Gaza. Akiva Eldar says PM Netanyahu's approach to Jewish heritage sites is dangerous. Yoel Marcus says the Dubai assassination doesn't mitigate the urgent need for progress with the Palestinians. The PA says it thwarted a suicide attack aimed at Israel. The UN General Assembly takes up the Goldstone report. President Sarkozy backs the goal of Palestinian statehood. Palestinians are accused of selling land to Israel. Tariq Alhomayed looks at the possibility that Hamas officials were involved in the Mabhouh assassination, and Linda Heard and Michael Glackin both say Israel miscalculated in the killing.

February 22nd

Israel's designation of two sites in Hebron, deep in the occupied West Bank, as National Heritage sites sparks EU, UN condemnation, clashes with Palestinians. More fallout from the Mabhouh assassination: EU condemns the killing; the UK offers help to identity theft victims; Dubai police say other Hamas officials played a crucial role and that Hamas must launch an internal probe; Hamas retracts accusations against the PA, rejects any internal probe and demands proof of Palestinian involvement; and the Times publishes a detailed account of the hit. PM Fayyad calls on the US to take urgent measures to stop Israeli raids, settlement activity. The PLO seeks further clarifications, assurances from the US on new talks, and Ghassan Khatib says clear terms of reference are essential. The EU is considering an initiative to recognize a Palestinian state in 18 months. Amira Hass says Israel is severing East Jerusalem from the West Bank. Ha'aretz interviews PM Netanyahu. Amir Oren says the US prefers to deal with Israeli military leaders rather than politicians. Donald Macintyre says better public relations won't improve Israel's image.

February 19th

Fallout from the al-Mabhouh assassination continues to dominate coverage: reports increasingly focus on the botched nature of the operation; Hamas retracts accusations against the PA; criticism in the Israeli press extends to cartoonists; Israeli officials say they expect a manageable backlash; the AP reviews the history of Mossad assassinations and Ha'aretz profiles its Kidon unit; the BBC asks why al-Mabhouh went to Dubai and The Independent interviews his brother; Israel's UK embassy issues a provocative tweet apparently boasting about the murder. Palestinian officials say their state and institution building plans extend into Area C and US officials suggest the Quartet will support this. Ha'aretz says Palestinians have agreed to begin proximity talks next week. A YNet commentary asks why Israel is so opposed to Palestinian nonviolence. PM Fayyad tells US Jewish leaders Israeli incursions undermine the PA. A new survey in the occupied territories shows Hamas would lose new elections and Fatah enjoys a 33% advantage in popularity.

February 18th

Today's news is dominated by controversy surrounding the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh: Mossad comes under fire in Israel for its tactics and competency; Dubai says it's 99% sure Israel is responsible; European states demand explanations over fake passports; accusations grow that other Hamas officials were involved; Brian Whitaker profiles the victim and Robert Fisk questions Britain's role. Israel tries to mobilize ordinary citizens for public diplomacy. Erwin Chemerinsky says shouting down is not free speech. Bill Fletcher Jr. says the world should support Palestinian nonviolent protests. The PA Economy Minister urges a boycott of settlement goods in Italy. Palestinian FM al-Maliki hints at indirect negotiations with Israel. Larry Derfner says Israeli youths are being trained to be bullies. The Red Cross condemns the occupation. Ali Ibrahim says the PA is not more corrupt than Hamas but allows more public criticism, and Daoud Kuttab says that Fatah should follow the anti-corruption example of PM Fayyad.

February 16th

Palestinians seek international investment. Dubai police release photos, videos of 11 sought in the assassination of a Hamas operative, and arrest two Palestinians. The PA settles a major lawsuit. Hamas predicts progress on reconciliation. Palestinians detail how they say they have been cheated out of billions by Israel. Most Gaza police applicants want jobs, not to join Hamas. Two are killed in a refugee camp in Lebanon. FM Lieberman says Palestinians are smearing Israel, dismisses peace. Jordan's King Abdallah says peace is at a critical stage. Pres. Abbas says he still waiting for US clarification. A Palestinian police officer is arrested on suspicion of plotting assassinations. Carlo Strenger calls for a rebirth of the Israeli left and Hassan Barari calls for Arab reform. The Arab News says Israel faces a crisis of legitimacy. IPS profiles the new film "Ajami." Joel Beinin describes efforts to counter settlement expansion in occupied East Jerusalem.

February 15th

An aide to Pres. Abbas is suspended following sexual harassment allegations. Hamas detains a British journalist for 15 days. Sec. Clinton says US can't force Israel and the Palestinians into talks, and meets with Palestinian negotiators in Qatar. The PIF plans a new IT Park. Rep. Baird says the US should break the blockade of Gaza. Hamas is being increasingly challenged by more extreme Islamists. Palestinian protesters pose as Na'vi from "Avatar." Israeli soldiers kill a Palestinian in Hebron. Ha'aretz profiles PM Fayyad, and Ziad AbuZayyad says he deserves congratulations for his Herzliya speech. Israel's Defense Ministry identifies settlements in violation of the partial settlement freeze. Amira Hass describes the arrest of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy by occupation forces. Robert Fisk asks what has happened to Israel's self-image, and Donald Macintyre says a new Israeli McCarthyism is stifling internal criticism. The Israeli military is actively working with Human Rights Watch. Asharq Al-Awsat interviews Israeli Deputy FM Ayalon. Helga Baumgarten says Pres. Abbas' successor is likely to be a Palestinian security figure.

February 12th

Saree Makdisi and Marvin Hier have contrasting LA Times op-eds about a museum being built on a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem. Ben White says Palestinian nonviolent protests could be transformative. Hamas boycotts a meeting over municipal elections. Quartet Envoy Blair will intensify his work with Special Envoy Mitchell. Fatah urges Hamas to sign the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation plan. Jordan calls for a time frame for a two-state solution. Experts say an explosion of violence is unlikely despite a flare-up in Israeli-Palestinian clashes. Israeli soldiers kill two Palestinians at Gaza border. Israel faces a global delegitimization campaign. An Israeli court approves a Jews-only housing complex in Jaffa. Israel confirms no independent probe into Gaza war, but a Jerusalem Post commentary says the controversy is far from over. An Israeli soldier's alleged killer "was tired of life." Several Arab commentaries call for tough stances towards Israel on peace talks.

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