July 30th

The Arab League approves direct negotiations, but analysts believe Pres. Abbas will wait until September to initiate them. Jeffrey Robbins says some of Israel's critics are being unfair. UN officials criticize the seizure of Palestinian residential building in occupied East Jerusalem by settlers and police as “provocative.” A UN committee tells Israel to end the blockade of Gaza. A rocket fired from Gaza hits southern Israel. Palestinian security forces have created a new climate in the West Bank. Yossi Sarid says Palestinians have fulfilled most of their roadmap obligations but Israel hasn't. Daniel Seidemann says Palestinians in Jerusalem are a barely tolerated minority. UN summer camps in Gaza compete with those of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The Financial Times interviews PM Fayyad. Ahmad Majdoubeh says security is essential for peace. George Giacaman doubts direct negotiations will change much.

July 29th

The CSM describes Peace Now's monitoring of Israeli settlement activity. Aaron David Miller says direct talks may be a political trap for the Obama administration. Israel seizes a Palestinian building in occupied East Jerusalem. Pres. Abbas says he needs written assurances, but Egyptian officials say he has. Roadblocks continue to complicate life in the West Bank. Abbas says reunification must precede peace. The Arab League is set to reject direct negotiations, but PLO officials insist this is a purely Palestinian decision. PM Netanyahu says his government will fall if the moratorium is extended. Palestinian citizens of Israel say they have no choice but to build without permission. Israel speeds up construction of a barrier that will cut off a Palestinian village from its land. Larry Derfner says many Israelis who denounce Palestinian violence defend pre-state Jewish violence. D. Bloomfield worries about the prospect of Rep. Ros-Lehtinen becoming Chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee. Hamas bans lingerie displays in Gaza shops. Mahmoud Habboush says in spite of everything, Gaza is still his home. Daoud Kuttab describes the suffering of Palestinians trying to cross the Allenby Bridge in the summer heat. Michael Jansen says the easing of the Gaza blockade is largely cosmetic. The Arab News says PM Cameron was right to describe Gaza as a “prison camp.” Hussein Ibish describes the Catch-22 facing the Palestinian leadership on direct negotiations.

July 28th

A dispute erupts over who will pay the medical bills of an American student badly injured by Israeli forces at a West Bank protest. Commercial pilots complain about Israel's interception policies. Pressure mounts for direct talks. Israel destroys 45 homes in a Bedouin village. PM Netanyahu discusses peace with Jordan's King Abdallah. Fatah officials say the PA government will be reshuffled. Egypt seizes control of 10 Gaza smuggling tunnels. Six Palestinians are injured in clashes with settlers in occupied East Jerusalem. The PA warns it may face a financial crisis if pledged donations are withheld. Pres. Abbas is reportedly set to tell the Arab League that conditions are not sufficient for direct negotiations. Israel is planning to demolish the yeshiva of the settler rabbi recently arrested for incitement to kill non-Jews. Ha'aretz interviews former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk. Hamas may impose military conscription in Gaza. Ehud Yaari says the Obama administration has decided to cooperate with Israel. PM Cameron says Gaza cannot remain a “prison camp.” Jonathan Freedland says “one-state” proposals from the Israeli right don't offer much to the Palestinians. Ghassan Khatib says all negotiations must be about substance and not form. Yossi Alpher says continued proximity talks may be preferable to direct negotiations.

July 27th

Roger Cohen profiles the American killed by Israeli commandos in the flotilla attack. The Washington Post interviews DM Barak. Israel appears to be cooperating more closely with the UN on Gaza. Ben White says Israel's policies are making peace more difficult. Settler violence continues in the northern West Bank. PLO officials say Pres. Abbas, who is reportedly under heavy US pressure for direct negotiations, will request an extension of proximity talks. Gazans want a “Marshall Plan.” Hearing-impaired children in Gaza struggle to overcome the difficulties. Shaul Arieli says the settlement project will destroy Zionism. A top settler rabbi arrested for incitement to kill non-Jews is released by Israeli police. Turkey is reportedly working to prevent additional Gaza flotillas from Lebanon. Alon Ben-Meir says Israel needs a Palestinian state. Yaakov Katz says when the settlement freeze expires in September the Israeli government will have to choose between confronting the settlers or Pres. Obama. Hassan Barari says upgrading the PLO mission in Washington is a good thing but does not advance the cause of liberation. John Whitbeck argues that if Kosovo can unilaterally declare independence, then Palestine can too.

July 26th

Israel confirms soldiers killed an unarmed Palestinian near a West Bank settlement. Settlers and Palestinians clash during an outbreak of “price tag” violence, and the Israeli military says it will curb such incidents. Pres. Abbas tells the AU that Israeli policies are promoting a cycle of violence. Uri Avnery describes proposals from the Israeli right to annex the West Bank as “Rosemary's baby.” The PA says merchants selling banned settlement goods will be punished beginning in August. A leading settler rabbi is arrested for incitement to kill non-Jews. A report from the GAO says Israel is interfering with US efforts to enhance Palestinian security forces. Ha'aretz interviews bereaved Gaza Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish. Israel bombs three targets in Gaza. Abbas says the “entire world” is pressuring for direct talks but Palestinians need more clarification. Seth Freedman says a controversial nine-year-old video of PM Netanyahu is no surprise. The Guardian interviews Palestinian MK Haneen Zoabi. As the blockade eases, a new mall opens in Gaza. The Pennsylvania Senate race turns into a competition of TV ads between Jewish American groups.

July 23rd

Israel kills a Palestinian militant in southern Gaza. Women in Gaza seek new work due to economic difficulties. Israel says a new aid ship from Lebanon won't reach Gaza. Smugglers are cutting through Egypt's wall under the Gaza border. Pres. Mubarak says he will continue peace efforts. The US upgrades the diplomatic status of the PLO mission in Washington. Pres. Abbas issues a stark warning to Fatah about its future viability. Israel approves armored vehicles for Palestinian security forces. The head of the Israeli military internal investigation into the flotilla attack says political means were available to resolve the crisis. Israel expects to purchase F-35 jets from the US. Abbas says Pres. Obama needs to provide more clarity to the Palestinians on key issues. Former Israeli and Palestinian fighters use theater to promote peace. Osman Mirghani says Palestinians should unite to deal with PM Netanyahu. The Arab News says Israel isn't the world's most isolated country, as its diplomats claim, but it should be.

July 22nd

Palestinians say a Palestinian killed by Israeli forces near a West Bank settlement was unarmed. Gaza flotilla organizers continue planning campaigns. Israel continues to jail a leader of Palestinian nonviolent protests. Eight Palestinian buildings near Ramallah are destroyed by Israeli forces. Pres. Abbas signals he will resist pressure for direct talks. Israeli shelling kills two Gaza militants, injures six other people. PM Fayyad continues to plan a cabinet reshuffle. Israel's approach to civilian casualties appears to be changing following the Gaza war. More doubts surface about Israel's new anti-rocket system. US officials say final status issues will only be discussed in direct negotiations. A Palestinian man is severely beaten for talking with a Jewish girl in Israel. D. Bloomfield says trust is the missing element for peace. The Forward looks at controversies over Caterpillar. Felice Friedson of the Media Line says if Israel doesn't make its policies clear the UN will decide for it. Michael Jansen says arming Israel is not the path to peace.

July 21st

The new Israeli anti-rocket system is not considered foolproof. The PA urges Israel to release seized oxygen machines. Israel will seek to limit civilian deaths in future wars. Pres. Abbas says he needs more assurances from the US on borders, but PLO officials deny he sent a secret letter to Pres. Obama. Some Gaza factories are reviving due to the easing of the blockade. Palestinian warn against Israel seizing more property in Jerusalem. Israel declares a Palestinian village in the Jordan Valley a “military zone” and destroys it. PM Netanyahu says he is willing to take risks for peace, and Ha'aretz looks at what kind of agreement he may have reached with Obama. More than 70% of Israelis favor peace talks. Israel's outgoing ambassador to the UN fears delegitimization. Israel allows a major inflow of cash to Gaza banks. A Palestinian man is convicted in an Israeli court of “rape by deception” for telling a woman he is Jewish. The Jordan Times says Obama has nothing to show for his peace efforts. Lebanese officials say Palestinians may be allowed work permits while retaining their refugee status. Ori Nir describes an event featuring young Israeli and Palestinian peace activists including the joint APN/ATFP summer interns.

July 20th

An Israeli group gives young Palestinians from the West Bank trips to the beach. Israel is pressuring Egypt to help start direct talks, and analysts say the next two weeks are decisive. The EU's foreign policy chief calls for the opening of Gaza borders and is asked by Palestinians to send observers to Jerusalem. An Israeli soldier convicted of shooting a British protester is granted early release. Israel is set to deploy a new anti-rocket system. Israel arrests Hamas members accused of shooting a police officer. Israel denies presenting Egypt with the map of a potential Palestinian state. Residents of the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem say their children live in fear. Gershon Baskin says settlement building is suicidal for Israel. David Newman says Israel needs to revise its security approach. The first internationally-funded development project for Gaza since the Hamas takeover is launched. Carlo Strenger says existential anxiety is why Israel keeps moving to the right. The David Project hires a veteran pro-Israel activist.

July 19th

Hamas enforces a ban on water pipes in Gaza, especially for women. Egyptian Pres. Mubarak urges direct negotiations, and analysts say the parties are preparing for them, but Egyptian officials express pessimism. Israel destroys Palestinian structures in the Jordan Valley. The EU and PA launch a program to rebuild the Gaza economy. A Gaza family struggles to survive in a tent. PM Netanyahu says African immigration is threatening Israel's Jewish character. Akiva Eldar says he wouldn't accept a loyalty oath. Alon Ben-Meir says PM Fayyad deserves all possible support. The PA is moving to end a telecommunications monopoly. The BBC profiles the house-by-house struggle over Jerusalem. A woman in Gaza is killed by Israeli shelling. A controversial nine-year-old video surfaces of PM Netanyahu speaking candidly, and The National says it shows that he is not held back by extremists but is one of them. Raghida Dergham says a regional war might serve Israeli and Iranian interests at Arab expense. Rami Khouri says direct talks are likely to fail. The Arab News says Israel must have defined borders. Hussein Ibish says any solution must reflect the basic interests of all parties.

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