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.

November 30th

PM Fayyad explains the state-building program. Palestinians object to Israel's latest settlement expansion plan in occupied East Jerusalem. Leaked cables suggest Israel considered Pres. Abbas to be weak and unpopular and Pres. Peres called the Oslo agreements a mistake. A former PLO leader dies in Jordan. Fayyad is named among the world's top 100 thinkers. Aid groups say the Gaza blockade remains devastating. Israel has a new spy chief. The Non-Aligned Movement calls on Israel to cease settlement activity. Palestinians mark the 63rd anniversary of the UN partition plan. Gaza farmers are now exporting to Europe. Akiva Eldar calls PM Netanyahu unreliable. Israeli hummus is the target of a boycott campaign at Princeton. Abbas calls settlements a time bomb. Likud MKs and members call for Netanyahu's ouster. Hassan Barari says the Arabs must make continuing the occupation more costly than ending it. A sick Palestinian toddler's fight for her life is complicated by the occupation.

November 29th

Israeli companies cash in on global counterterrorism. The UN marks the international Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Leaked US diplomatic cables suggests Israel tried to coordinate the Gaza war with the PA, but the PA says it did not cooperate. They also cite Egyptian officials as saying neither Hamas nor Fatah was serious about Palestinian unity. Kadima leader Tzipi Livni says they show a common interest in peace. Tony Blair says Israel must do more to ease conditions in Gaza. Gaza resumes limited exports to Europe. Israeli soldiers wound four Palestinians in Gaza. Israeli officials approve another 137 housing units in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli human rights workers have video of soldiers shooting bound Palestinian prisoners. Israel launches another effort to improve its international image. The Independent profiles a Palestinian extremist in Gaza. Arab leaders accuse PM Netanyahu of rejecting peace. Hussein Shabokshi says Israeli secularism is dying. Rami Khouri says the lack of an Arab or Palestinian strategy facilitates one-sided US support for Israel. The Arab News says peace cannot depend on Israeli referenda.

November 24th

PM Fayyad says Palestinians are committed to green development as well as independence. Palestinian state building efforts extend into occupied East Jerusalem. The eviction of a Palestinian family by settlers in Jerusalem and new Israeli legislation requiring referendums on peace deals stir tensions. Palestinian courts differ on punishing land sales to Israelis. Occupation forces destroy a Palestinian home in Jerusalem. Pres. Abbas says PLO headquarters will eventually be in Jerusalem. Hamas officials say Fatah officials can only leave the Gaza Strip if Hamas operatives are released in the West Bank. Doubts persist about progress on peace. Israel's claims to Jerusalem leave it internationally isolated. Ha'aretz says Israel's leaders have handcuffed themselves to the extreme right. Amira Hass says Israeli generals and not just soldiers should face charges over the use of human shields. Palestinians clash with occupation forces over home demolitions. 100 leading Norwegians call for a cultural boycott of Israel because of the occupation. Alon Ben-Meir says Robert Wexler would make a good Mideast envoy. Palestinians might use the Kosovo model for a declaration of independence. The Forward profiles an Israeli Bedouin diplomat. PLO officials say they will insist on a complete settlement halt.

November 23rd

Israel is going forward with a bill that would require a referendum for some withdrawals of occupied territory. Palestinians denounce the move. Pres. Obama faces a tough audience in the Middle East. Nablus' governor speaks about an alleged Hamas assassination plot against him. Right wing settlers are trying to force a Palestinian family out of their home in occupied East Jerusalem. Akiva Eldar says US will not allow Israel to build in Jerusalem flashpoints. Ha'aretz says settlers are turning water sources in the West Bank into tourist sites. A leader of Palestinian nonviolent protests is held in Israeli prison after completing his sentence. A Jaffa imam is released from jail. Larry Derfner looks at the treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli legal system. Gershon Baskin says time is running out for Israel to make peace. The Israeli military prepares for more settler violence. Oliver Miles looks at the difficulties in applying international law to the conflict. The Independent profiles an Israeli-Palestinian marriage. The campaign to free convicted spy Jonathan Pollard continues. Mary Robinson and Lakhdar Brahimi say the Gaza blockade harms women. Ghassan Khatib says settlements make Israel less secure. Yossi Alpher says the US should promote Palestinian state building rather than focus on settlements.

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