Three militants are killed in an explosion at a Gaza training camp. PM Fayyad says the Palestinian state will be in the 1967 borders. Pres. Abbas visits Egypt. Hamas is challenged by more extreme Jihadists. A holy site near Nablus becomes a new flashpoint in the occupied territories. Aaron David Miller says now is not the time for diplomatic action by the US. Activists in Gaza warn Israel not to block an upcoming flotilla, but Israel says its navy is ready to board ships again. A Palestinian artist develops passport stamps. Turkey's foreign minister is highly critical of Israel in an interview with Reuters. Israeli commandos get special training for the flotilla. Hamas' founder is memorialized in a new museum. Controversial archeology continues in Jerusalem. Palestinians are planning their approach to the UN in September. Akiva Eldar says Jerusalem is already divided. FM Lieberman may be charged with corruption. Tensions are rising between Palestinian residents and occupation forces in East Jerusalem. A Knesset bill seeks to change the names of Jerusalem neighborhoods. Israel arrests 12 alleged Palestinian extremists in the West Bank. Gershon Baskin says it's crucial to salvage the two-state solution. Greg Philo says Israel successfully spins images of conflict. A majority of both Israelis and Palestinians expect a third intifada. Israeli towns want to the screen residents for "social suitability," which Palestinians say will be code for ethnic discrimination. Egypt says the opening of the Gaza border doesn't lessen Israel's responsibilities. Egyptian analysts say major changes to the relationship with Israel are unlikely under any new government. Yossi Alpher says PM Netanyahu's strategy is all about popular opinion and Ghassan Khatib says he offered no new ideas in his Washington trip.

May 27th

Despite Israeli objections, Egypt will open its border with Gaza. The New York Times says bold ideas are required to salvage the peace process. Charles Krauthammer claims Pres. Obama has abandoned Israel, but William Quant says both sides lost out. Hussein Ibish looks at the demand for Palestinians to recognize Israel as a "Jewish state." Robert Satloff explains Israel's objections to Obama's positions. Tony Blair warns extremists could exploit the lack of a peace process. Israel focuses on weapon smuggling by sea. Analysts say PM Netanyahu has strengthened his right-wing coalition. The former head of Mossad says Israeli attempts to block a Palestinian statehood bid at the UN would backfire. The latest G8 statement does not mention 1967 borders. Yoel Marcus says Israel cannot survive more "victories" like Netanyahu's Washington trip, and Yossi Verter says any sense of triumph will be short-lived. Alon Ben-Meir says Netanyahu's positions jeopardize Israel's security. A new study estimates the value of Israeli settlements at $18.8 billion. Former PM Olmert says bold moves, not speeches, are required for peace. Orly Azoulay says Netanyahu missed an opportunity, D. Bloomfield also criticizes his performance, and Matt Duss says it made the Palestinian case. A new poll shows only 12% of Jewish Israelis think Obama is pro-Israel. The BBC profiles the West Bank economy. Israeli military paramedics help Palestinians. Netanyahu and his supporters appear pleased with his US trip. Patrick Seale says Obama shows no signs of acting on peace. George Hishmeh says Pres. Abbas should be invited to address Congress. Uri Avnery says Palestinians should go ahead with their UN plans. Raghida Dergham says the Arab response should focus on the API. ATFP Executive Director Ghaith al-Omari and WINEP's David Makovsky promote respectful dialogue at UCLA.

May 26th

Israel becomes a partisan issue in US politics. Almost all Israeli analysts agree PM Netanyahu's US trip was a diplomatic failure, but his poll ratings soar. Egypt is moving to reopen the Gaza border. Israel and the Palestinians are moving farther apart on peace. Fareed Zakaria says Netanyahu failed himself and Israel. The US and Israel urge Europeans not to support a UN state bid, as Palestinians call on the UN to enforce the 1967 borders. Dan Simon says settlements are destructive to Israel's security and prosperity. Ibrahim Sharqieh says Netanyahu's speech set peace back by many years. The head of the PIF announces a $1 billion fund for reconstruction in Gaza. Pres. Abbas says Netanyahu has made peace much more difficult. Senior Israeli officials attend the dedication of new settlement expansions in occupied East Jerusalem. Deep divisions continue to grow within Hamas. AP examines Netanyahu's claim that the 1967 borders are "indefensible." Netanyahu's speech pleases many in Washington but angers Ramallah and settlers. Tony Blair says Obama is concerned for Israel's future. Ari Shavit says Netanyahu is driving Israel into a wall and Gideon Levy says he will be forgotten by history. Israeli officials fear growing boycotts. Haim Saban says US-Israel relations are "good." Larry Derfner questions where Netanyahu is leading Israel. Israel quietly extends emergency laws that date back to the 1940s. The Forward looks at possible land swaps and says Netanyahu should not make Jewish Americans choose between support for their own country or Israel. The National condemns congressional applause for Netanyahu's "lies," and looks at rhetoric about Palestinian state-building at the AIPAC conference. Daoud Kuttab says Obama's speech points the way to Palestinian statehood. The Arab News says Israel will have to be coerced into peace. Hussein Ibish parses Netanyahu's Washington talking points.

May 25th

PM Netanyahu makes no concessions in a speech before Congress, and Ha’aretz says he wasted a golden opportunity. Israeli experts say these represent “starting positions,” while Palestinians call it “an obstacle to peace.” AP and Ha’aretz both fact check the speech. Both Thomas Friedman and Jeffrey Goldberg warn that if Israel does not change course it will become an “apartheid state.” Jackson Diehl says Netanyahu was speaking to Congress but Obama was speaking to the Europeans. The Palestinian leadership reiterates its determination to approach the UN in September. Palestinian officials describe Congress’s reaction to the Netanyahu speech as “pathetic.” A Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar, says national unity doesn’t mean adopting Fatah’s positions, and challenges the authority of Politburo chief Khaled Mashaal. US skepticism about the Palestinian unity deal poses new challenges. Pres. Abbas says solutions cannot come before negotiations. Israeli MKs are divided on Netanyahu’s speech. Ron Ben-Tovim says Menachem Begin outlined the logic for Palestinian statehood. Settlers say they will never live in a Palestinian state. Obama says both sides must make “wrenching concessions.” David Horovitz explains how he thinks Palestinians will be able to use a UN vote in September to advance statehood. Jane Eisner says lots of Jewish Americans don’t agree with Netanyahu. Israel has again become a partisan issue between Democrats and Republicans. Tariq Alhomayed says that Netanyahu’s speech betrayed signs of panic. Rami Khouri says Obama understands the implications on Palestine of the “Arab Spring,” but Netanyahu doesn’t. Osama Al Sharif says the US and Israeli positions are now clearly at odds.

May 24th

PM Fayyad suffers a heart attack but is expected to recover. Richard Cohen says it’s time for PM Netanyahu to stop stalling and make peace. Robert Wexler and Zvika Krieger say Pres. Obama's speech was misunderstood. Palestinians say some names for a new government have been agreed. Analysts say the Palestinian unity agreement is a consequence of the failure of negotiations. Russia expresses strong support for the deal, and Pres. Abbas defends it against US criticism. Netanyahu repeats Israel will not return to the 1967 borders. Israel arrests Jewish activists in the West Bank. Palestinians will be going into unknown territory by approaching the UN for recognition. Hamas repeats it will not recognize Israel. Ha’aretz urges Jewish Americans to support Obama. Nehemia Shtrasler says Netanyahu is not ready for any deal with the Palestinians. Aluf Benn looks at the impact that Netanyahu’s speech to Congress may have on his relationship with Obama, and The National says he may offer concessions. Palestinians condemn Netanyahu’s policies as “fraudulent.” Kadima leader Livni says that a two-state solution is good for Israel. An Israeli MK declares “Jordan is Palestine.” Amr Moussa complains Israel is “not serious” about peace. Gershon Baskin describes brutal Israeli responses to Palestinian nonviolent protests. Palestinians are divided over Obama’s policies. AIPAC advocates a hard line with Congress on the PA. The Arab News says UN recognition can only strengthen Palestine’s hand. Ghassan Khatib says the 1967 borders as a baseline are crucial for peace. Yossi Alpher says an Arab initiative at the UN in September, if handled properly, may be the last hope for progress. Hussein Ibish asks what really angered Netanyahu about Obama’s policy speech.

May 23rd

Pres. Obama says Israel must make “hard choices.” Palestinians see prospects of a peace agreement dwindling. Roger Cohen says Obama got it right that peace requires Palestinian independence and Israeli security. Aides to PM Netanyahu play down the dispute with the United States, although he was highly critical of Obama’s speech. Israeli analysts say the mutual mistrust is evident. The CSM praises Obama’s emphasis on the 1967 borders. The Quartet and the EU back Obama’s stance. Hamas says it will not heed Obama’s call to recognize Israel. UK officials say they are “deeply disappointed” by Israeli settlement plans. Ramallah is flourishing because of the state-building program. Palestinians are uncomfortable with Obama’s reference to Israel as a “Jewish state.” Obama’s AIPAC speech seems to mollify some Israelis. Palestinian officials say Obama’s speeches lay the basis for a new peace process. Ha’aretz doubts there will be a third intifada. Merav Michaeli says it’s no wonder that Obama can’t understand why Israel will not act in its own interests. Ahmad Tibi says when addressing Congress Netanyahu will have to defend his policy of "doing nothing." David Halperin and Peter Joseph defend Obama’s positions against criticism from other Jewish Americans. Israel announces more settlement plans in extremely sensitive areas around occupied East Jerusalem. The BBC interviews Obama. Palestinians plan more border protests for June 5. Jewish students in California seek legal action against pro-Palestinian campus activists. The National says Palestinians have a chance to seize the initiative. Tariq Alhomayed says Hamas needs to stop being an obstacle to negotiations.

May 20th

Pres. Obama insists that the 1967 borders must be the starting point of any negotiations. PM Netanyahu calls the borders “indefensible.” New York Times says that the US and its allies need to put a map on the table. Jackson Diehl calls Obama’s Speech a "gaffe". ABC says there has been a subtle but significant shift in the US position on the ‘67 borders. Pres. Abbas calls Palestinian leadership meeting to discuss the speech. The PA is cracking down on “honor killing” mitigation defenses. Israel’s military attaché in Russia is expelled on espionage charges. Palestinians condemn new Israeli settlement plans. Abbas welcomes Obama’s call for renewed negotiations. Hamas condemns Obama’s speech. Abbas says UN support for statehood is essential. Ha’aretz says there may not be a third intifada. Huge files of Haganah reconnaissance on Arab villages in the 1940s are released. Zeev Sternhell warns that Israel is on course to becoming a pariah state. Israeli sources say tensions between Obama and Netanyahu have reached a new high, their meeting is likely to be tense, and opposition leader Livni says Netanyahu is risking the relationship with the United States. An Israeli official admits that the timing of the announcement of new and highly controversial settlements near occupied East Jerusalem is “not coincidental” and intended to send the message that “Jerusalem is not up for negotiations.” State Department statements continue to distinguish between Jerusalem and Israel. Herb Keinon says the Obama speech portends a confrontation and Robert Satloff says there has been a subtle US shift towards the Palestinian position. The ZOA urges AIPAC to withdraw its invitation to Obama. The National says Obama missed an opportunity to lead on peace. Even some of his allies are pushing Netanyahu to negotiate on the basis of 1967 lines. The Arab News says to win Arab trust Obama must deliver on Middle East peace. Hussein Ibish argues that Israelis and Palestinians need to recognize the legitimacy of each other's national narratives and embody them in two states.

May 19th

Tensions grow in the Middle East in advance of Pres. Obama's speech tonight. Mustafa Barghouthi says the world should welcome Palestinian unity. A Likud MK says if Palestinians move toward statehood, Israel should annex large chunks of the occupied territories. Jackson Diehl accuses Pres. Abbas of “setting the stage for another conflict.” Abbas is taking major risks for Palestinian national unity. DM Barak says PM Netanyahu must take bold steps towards peace. The LA Times says the US must persist in trying to achieve a peace agreement. Netanyahu has reportedly abandoned the idea of presenting new peace initiatives. Israel plans more settler housing units in a key and hotly-contested area of occupied East Jerusalem. A Fatah official says his party is ready for elections. Analysts say Netanyahu’s US trip is not likely to accomplish much. Palestinians blame Israel for the impasse. Israel arrests six Palestinians in the West Bank. PM Fayyad will reportedly not be retaining his position in a new government. Ari Shavit Says Netanyahu must clearly accept the 1967 borders. Gideon Levy says Israel must own up to Palestinian suffering. The Israeli government will host a discussion on settlement expansion while settlers announce plans for more outposts. Israeli officials warn European recognition of Palestine would lead to violence. Yariv Oppenheimer says Israel’s mainstream must unite against the extreme left and right. Larry Derfner says the status quo keeps getting worse. Daniel Barenboim writes about his peace concert outreach in Gaza. D. Bloomfield says Israel is no longer a high priority issue in Washington. Karma Nabulsi says more refugee protests are likely. Elliot Jager recalls how David Ben-Gurion dealt with US leaders. Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid says there are no prospects of conflict between Egypt and Israel. George Hishmeh says US diplomacy has failed. Michael Jansen says Palestinian nonviolent resistance won’t work with Israel. Raymond Helmick and Nazir Khaja say Israeli Palestinian peace is essential for Middle East democracy.

May 17th

Pres. Abbas calls on the UN to create a Palestinian state. PM Netanyahu outlines his positions before his US trip, especially criticism of Hamas, but expectations have fizzled. The Washington Post says Syria is responsible for Israeli forces killing Palestinian protesters, and the CSM says both sides were at fault. David Makovsky asks how far Netanyahu will go for peace. Palestinians say they are making progress in forming a new government, which Netanyahu already says will not be a peace partner. Italy is the latest country to upgrade the status of the Palestinian mission. The UN says 149 Palestinian children have been displaced by Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes so far this year. Unity agreements and protests are giving some Palestinians a sense of empowerment. Reuters says the Nakba Day protests were the Palestinian version of the “Arab Spring,” and analysts say they may have found a new tactic. Refugees in Syria and Lebanon bury those killed in the protests. Likud members demand annexation of West Bank settlements. Israeli officials exchange accusations about intelligence failures. Ha’aretz says the protests were not a threat to Israel. Amir Oren says Netanyahu’s failings as a leader have been exposed. Palestinians say peace is possible “within days” but Israel isn’t interested. Pres. Obama is expected to endorse Palestinian statehood along 1967 lines but not a UN statehood bid. Gershon Baskin says Palestinians are feeling a new wave of confidence. Aluf Benn says more conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is likely.

May 16th

Israeli forces kill at least 12 Palestinians, possibly as many as 20, and injure scores, in border incidents on Nakba Day. Experts say Israel’s actions may have violated international law. Pres. Abbas says the deaths are “not in vain,” and the Daily Star agrees. Some Palestinians say this marks a turning point. The Syrian government is accused of orchestrating one of the incidents, and the BBC looks at the overall background. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon call for a “third intifada,” and the protests again raise the refugee issue. Mordechai Kedar warns that Israel “doesn’t want to share a cell” with regional dictators. Under international pressure, Israel agrees to release Palestinian tax revenues, and salaries will be paid on Monday. Abbas orders the “utmost punishment” for “honor killings.” Tensions surround the burial of a Palestinian teenager killed in occupied East Jerusalem. Special Envoy Mitchell resigns, but The National says negotiations are bigger than any one official. DM Barak says the weekend protests were just the beginning of new challenges facing Israel. Ha’aretz says they show the regional dimensions of an unresolved conflict. PM Netanyahu’s speech before the Knesset might be a preview of his US remarks. Major protests occur at the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. Ghanem Nuseibeh and Naava Mashiah look at changing GCC-Israeli relations.

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