October 12th

NEWS: Israel and Hamas agreed to a prisoner swap. The CSM looks at the reasons for the deal. Analysts say Hamas will now claim “resistance” succeeds where negotiations fail. A senior Israeli commander says a cut off of aid to the Palestinians would be disastrous and that Jewish extremism is also a serious threat. Pres. Abbas has not won Colombian support for Palestinian UN membership. The Quartet calls for talks to resume on October 23. Israel formally apologizes to Egypt over the death of soldiers. Israeli occupation forces destroy a mosque in a Bedouin village for the 3rd time. UNRWA is trying to promote understanding between Lebanese citizens and Palestinian refugees. COMMENTARY: Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel say Hamas was forced to compromise on the prisoner swap. Yaakov Lappin says the agreement boosts Hamas at the expense of Fatah. Yaakov Katz says the "Arab Spring” played a role in Israel's calculations. Donald Macintyre says both Hamas and Israel's right-wing government are bolstered by the agreement. Tony Karon asks who gains and loses. Dan Ephron says it exposes Abbas' “weakness.” Robert Danin looks at the implications. Shlomo Avineri responds to Sari Nusseibeh.

October 11th

News: Pres. Abbas continues his tour of Latin America. A Palestinian official claims 9 countries are committed to vote in the Security Council for Palestinian UN membership. Occupation forces kill a Palestinian man near the Gaza border. PM Fayyad urges support for a Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike. PM Netanyahu says he's ready for new talks, and so does Abbas. Hamas says foreigners must now apply for visas to visit Gaza. The UN says Palestinians must be protected from settler attacks. The Israeli government is planning to recognize “unauthorized outpost” settlements built on private Palestinian land. DM Barak says violent settlers are “almost like terrorists.” Commentary: David Rosen and Edward Rettig say Israel faces a turning point with the latest mosque burning. David Newman agrees Israel must stamp out Jewish extremism. Gershon Baskin says he believes in peace, and this doesn't make him a “self-hating Jew.” David Miliband says that Gaza represents the total failure of politics. Jay Michaelson says there's nothing wrong with Jewish Americans taking sides in Israeli politics. Lawrence Davidson looks of the limitations on democracy for Israel's Palestinian citizens. Daniel Bethlehem says peace will require negotiations and dialogue. Wendy Pearlman says a new intifada is not imminent. Tony Karon says cutting aid to the PA might hurt Israel and the US more than the Palestinians. The JC interviews Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni. Ray Suarez says there are no simple solutions to Jerusalem.

October 10th

NEWS: PM Fayyad will address the October 19 ATFP Annual Gala. The Quartet says they'll ask Israelis and Palestinians to meet again soon to resume talks. The PA says the Quartet must act on provocative Israeli settlements. Pres. Abbas arrives in Colombia, a key UN Security Council state. There is a rise of Jewish extremist violence among Israelis. A Hamas leader says Palestinians should capture more Israeli soldiers to exchange for Palestinian prisoners. Palestinians plan to push for UNESCO's “world heritage status” for numerous sites. Gazans are infuriated by increasing Hamas taxes and fees. Senior Israeli defense officials visit Egypt to discuss security. Tunisia blocks Palestinians from an Arab bloggers conference. COMMENTARY: Roy Arad says in Jaffa, Jewish racism towards Arabs is commonplace. Carlo Strenger says Abbas should appeal directly to the Israeli public. Akiva Eldar says Israel doesn't really accept the Quartet statement, though it pretends to. Deputy FM Ayalon says Israel isn't isolated at all. Leonard Fein says Israel must fight against Jewish extremists. Ian Buruma looks at the adoption of Israeli maximalism as a cause for the Western far right. Daniel Levy says PM Netanyahu has never wanted peace and may have created a political structure in Israel that agrees. Ariel Sharon's son claims Israel is "under attack.” Salman Shaikh asks what to do now that the peace process appears to be “dead.” A.B. Yehoshua says a two-state solution based on dividing what Jews consider the “land of Israel” is a moral imperative.

October 7th

NEWS: Israeli Arab Bedouins are angered by the torching of a mosque. Pres. Abbas urges more European support for Palestine. Former Pres. Carter says Pres. Obama should earn his Nobel Peace Prize by crafting Israeli-Palestinian peace. There is more cooperation between Israel and Hamas than either admits. The PA accuses Israeli occupation forces of protecting violent settlers, and the Israeli NGO B'Tselem agrees. COMMENTARY: Yoel Marcus says it's only a matter of time before PM Netanyahu looses power. Nehemia Shtrasler says Hanan Porat was the architect of a settlement strategy designed to make it impossible for any Israeli government to withdraw from the occupied territories. Yishai Rosen-Zvi says the near-lynching of leftists in Israel is alarming. Uri Savir says peace is the only way to avoid disaster in a changing Middle East. Larry Derfner says Congress' threat to cut aid to the PA would only reduce US influence. Joseph Dana and Omar Rahman look at what comes next following the Palestinian UN statehood bid. Amir Taheri says Palestine must decide if it wants to be a cause or a state. Ronen Bergman recounts the founding of Israel and the role of the UN. Colum Lynch looks at Congressional threats to defund UNESCO and other UN agencies that upgrade the status of Palestine. Zvika Krieger says Israel does not want the US to defund UN agencies that work with the Palestinians. Israeli reservists are summoned for a surprise drill. Swedish academics call for a boycott of Israeli institutions due to the occupation. Palestinians are already feeling the effect of cuts in US aid.

October 6th

NEWS: The UNESCO executive committee votes overwhelmingly to include Palestine as a new member, but Sec. Clinton expresses strong US opposition. Hamas' popularity is at an all-time low following its opposition to the UN statehood initiative, and Palestinian anger is rising against American opposition as well. Former Israeli security officials warn that settler “price tag” violence could spark another intifada. The PA insists it is still working with Quartet envoy Tony Blair. A strike by UNRWA teachers in Gaza continues. Israeli officials say they are considering expanding Palestinian security jurisdiction in the West Bank. European states are pushing for a renewed settlement freeze. French Pres. Sarkozy reportedly describesrl as “silly” demands for Palestinians to recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.” COMMENTARY: Nicholas Kristof says Israel is its own worst enemy. Scott MacLeod recalls Pres. Sadat's accomplishment of peace with Israel. John Hughes says Turkey's bid for Middle East leadership is being hampered by its quarrel with Israel. Gideon Levy says Israel didn't learn anything from the 1973 war. Alon Ben-Meir says PM Netanyahu's policies are threatening Israel. David Greene looks at two new books on Palestinian citizens of Israel. Zoltan Grossman asks why Kosovo should be a state but Palestine not. Dick Staub says Christians, Muslims and Jews should be careful about allowing their religious beliefs to shape attitudes hostile to Israelis or Palestinians. Haim Malka says the US cannot solve Israel's problems for it.

October 5th

NEWS: Israeli cost-of-living protesters now must try to develop political momentum. Pres. Abbas is touring Europe and Latin America to shore up support for Palestine's UN membership application. The hunger-strike by Palestinian prisoners held by Israel grows. A small group of Palestinians berate US officials in Ramallah. The US says both Israel and the Palestinians have accepted the new Quartet statement. There may be a generation gap in US rabbis' support for Israel. Palestinians demonstrating against the torching of a mosque in Israel are met with tear gas. Egypt may be preparing a sharp increase in the price of its gas exports to Israel. Congress now is considering reducing but not eliminating aid to the PA. Palestine requests membership in UNESCO. Pres. Obama's team develops strategies to win support from Jewish voters and donors. COMMENTARY: Walter Rodgers says GOP presidential candidates are showing more loyalty to Israel than their own country. A group of Palestinian lawyers expresses concerns about the impact of the UN bid on the status of the PLO. Shlomo Avineri says there's no realistic chance for peace under present circumstances. Zohir Andreus says there's so much racism in Israeli society, no wonder mosques are being torched. Mohammad Darawshe says no lessons have been learned between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel in the last 10 years. Ravi Menon says Mohandas K. Gandhi was not a supporter of Zionism. Ori Nir looks at the development of "price tag terrorism." Emily Cadei says members of Congress are trying to blackmail the UN over Palestinian statehood. Hussein Ibish says Gilad Atzmon spreads anti-semitic hate and John Mearsheimer was wrong to endorse his new book.

October 4th

NEWS: The torching of a mosque in northern Israel prompts fears of clashes between Palestinian citizens of Israel and the authorities, and may be the latest example of “price tag” violence by Israeli extremists. The Obama administration is looking ways to unblock $200 million for Palestinian development projects being withheld by Congress. Defense Secretary Panetta criticizes the congressional action. Palestinian public employees will receive full salaries in September. Noted Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali passes away. A major leader of the settlement movement also dies. Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry is backed by some Jewish extremists. Nigeria's Foreign Ministry says it has not decided how they would vote in the Security Council on a Palestinian membership resolution. PM Fayyad says the West Bank separation barrier will fall like the Berlin wall. COMMENTARY: Akiva Eldar says PM Netanyahu is counting on no one reading the fine print of the Quartet statement he has accepted. Natasha Mozgovaya says Washington's stance on peace is now murky. Hagai Segal says only deranged people could think burning a mosque is a good idea. Gershon Baskin says both parties have said “yes, but” to the Quartet statement. Yaakov Katz says Jewish terrorism in Israel is gaining steam. Logan Bayroff says J Street U is pioneering a new path for peace on US campuses. Zuheir Kseibati says the Palestinians are not only facing an American veto at the UN, but also an Iranian one on the ground. Steve Hochstadt questions whether embracing the extreme Christian right makes any sense for Jewish Americans. Herb Keinon asks why Netanyahu approved the new settlement project in occupied East Jerusalem.

October 3rd

News: In a suspected “price tag” attack, a mosque in northern Israel is burned down. Defense Secretary Panetta says Israel is becoming increasingly isolated, and that Congress is making a big mistake withholding aid from the PA. Palestinian leaders say the cut in aid could be devastating. The Israeli government and the Palestinian leadership have both accepted the Quartet statement, but with reservations. Israeli ministers say they will demand changes to the document. The EU reportedly says it will not cut aid to the PA. Pres. Abbas will visit Colombia to discuss its position on the UN initiative. Abbas' aides say he's planning to propose early presidential and parliamentary elections. The West Bank is enjoying boom in construction in spite of Israeli restrictions. US Republicans have become almost entirely and unconditionally pro-Israel. The Syrian regime angrily accuses Hamas of funding the opposition. Commentary: ATFP President Ziad Asali explains the raison d'être of the American Task Force on Palestine. Raghida Dergham interviews Abbas, and says a new regional order is emerging in the UN. Akiva Eldar says Israel and the Palestinians must accept each other's legitimacy. Bradley Burston says the U.S. Congress could kill the two-state solution by cutting funds to the PA. Avi Yesawich says extremist rabbis are using religion as a cover for radical politics. Renee Ghert-Zand looks at the relationship between Palestinian identity and their national cuisine. Former Australian PM Fraser says it's time for the West to recognize Palestine. Sari Nusseibeh explains Palestinian objections to recognizing Israel as a “Jewish state.” Hussein Ibish looks at five options Palestinians have now that they've submitted their UN membership application.

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