NEWS: As expected, Palestine's UN membership application will be referred by the Security Council to the Membership Committee. Hamas prohibits any celebration in Gaza of the UN process. Events at the UN last week create a critical moment for the peace process. A Palestinian official says nonviolence is the key to their strategy. Both Pres. Abbas and PM Netanyahu are enjoying a surge of popularity. Israeli extremists demand the annexation of the West Bank. Israel announces more than 1,000 new settlement housing units in occupied East Jerusalem. Members of Congress repeat threats to cut funding to the PA. The US says it opposes “preconditions” for resumed negotiations. COMMENTARY: Akiva Eldar says peace is the answer to Israel's long-term security needs. David Newman says if Israel took real steps towards peace, its call for negotiations would be taken more seriously. Gershon Baskin says both Abbas and Netanyahu should take unilateral steps to make renewed negotiations possible. Robert Fisk says even many Israelis open to a Palestinian state draw the line at compromising on Jerusalem. Nathan Guttman says Pres. Obama may be deliberately stepping back from a prominent Mideast peace role for election purposes. Joschka Fischer says the only rational Israeli response to the Arab uprisings is to quickly move towards peace with the Palestinians. Yossi Alpher says the three main UN speeches on the Middle East offered no progress. Ghassan Khatib says Palestinians now face a difficult quandary over whether to accept insufficient Quartet terms or enter a confrontation with world powers. Elliott Abrams says Abbas gained politically but achieved nothing to advance Palestinian independence. Hussein Ibish says Abbas gave a moving, historic speech, one Yasser Arafat was never able to produce.

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