November 30th

NEWS: The UN General Assembly votes overwhelmingly to grant Palestine "nonmember observer state" status. 138 countries voted yes, 9 no, and 41 abstained. Palestinians react with euphoria. The US strongly opposes the resolution.Israel and the Palestinians now both consider their next moves. Palestinians could try to seek access to global courts. PM Netanyahu is visiting Germany in the wake of its unexpected abstention, and condemns Pres. Abbas UN speech as "hostile and poisonous." Abbas says he will soon visit Gaza. Many Palestinians see the UN success as the possible prelude to national reconciliation. Israel is marketing its antimissile defense system. A Hamas militant is killed as war remnant ordinance explodes in Gaza. Israel says it will "retaliate" against the Palestinians by building 3,000 new settlement units, including in the highly sensitive E-1 corridor between East Jerusalem and the West Bank. COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish says the PLO UN upgrade was entirely re-contextualized by the Gaza conflict. Barak Ravid looks at how Israel lost almost all European votes. Avi Issacharoff says Israel did Abbas a huge favor by hyping his UN initiative as "state terror." Abbas' UN speech is published in full. Hamas leader Meshaal says the Gaza war and the UN upgrade are complementary. Hassan Haidar says the UN victory is a win for Palestinian realism. The Daily Star says the UN vote was necessary and overdue. Ahmad Majdoubeh says Britain's abstention is a big disappointment. Imad Mrammel says Hezbollah learned important lessons by looking at the recent Israel-Hamas conflict. Raphael Ahren says the lopsided UN vote shows even some of Israel's allies blame it for the peace process impasse. Meir Javedanfar explains why he and some other Israelis supported the PLO UN initiative.

November 29th

NEWS: The US and Israel are trying to limit the impact of the PLO's mission status upgrade at the UN. Palestinians are certain of victory in today's vote, and will get support from at least 13 European states. Surprisingly, Germany and Australia indicate both will probably abstain rather than voting no. Israeli officials are quoted as saying, "we lost Europe." PM Netanyahu says the vote will make it more difficult for Palestinians to achieve statehood. Former PM Olmert says is no reason for Israel to oppose the resolution. Settlers call for massive annexation of occupied territories in "retaliation." Republican senators issue language calling for further aid cuts to the PA in "retaliation." Hamas revives calls for a restructured PLO in which it can play a leading role. Israeli naval forces seize to fishing vessels off the coast of Gaza, throwing claims of eased fishing limitations into doubt. Palestinians executed as "collaborators" with Israel during the recent conflict were reportedly in custody before the violence began. Pro-Israel advocates are facing new setbacks at several American universities. COMMENTARY: ATFP executive director Ghaith Al-Omari and David Makovsky of WINEP analyze the repercussions of the PLO UN bid. The New York Times says it won't bring Palestinians any closer to statehood and resumption of negotiations is urgently required. The Washington Post says Palestinians may achieve an empty triumph at the UN. Nabil Sha'ath appeals to the international community to support the Palestinian initiative. Hanan Ashrawi says a vote for the resolution is a vote for peace. The Guardian says the resolution gives the UN a chance for a fresh start. Israeli Amb. Oren says Hamas deliberately tries to maximize civilian casualties. J.J. Goldberg says the Palestinians are sounding increasingly reasonable but Israel isn't. Leonard Fein says the resolution defends the two-state solution and should be supported by Jews. The National says the UN bid shows Israel increasingly isolated. Ephraim Sneh says the initiative is good for Israel and the United States. Mark Leon Goldberg says Israel needn't fear charges against its officials at the ICC.

November 28th

NEWS: PLO leaders say they have already submitted their UNGA resolution, and have reportedly reassured member states they will not rush to try to join the ICC. A large group of Palestinian factions in Gaza say they support the initiative. France and Spain reiterate they will vote for the resolution. Palestinians confidently predict victory. The Boston Globe outlines the key players and their positions on the resolution. Israel seems to be backing away from dire threats of retaliation. PM Erdogan says he's still considering a trip to Gaza. Polls show PM Netanyahu well-positioned to win January's Israeli election. Gaza factions thank Iran after the conflict with Israel. The Washington Post outlines a series of Israeli decisions that led to the killing of the Abu Zor family in Gaza. The PA says it will seek legal action if it discovers the late Pres. Arafat was murdered. Cairo says it plans to convene Palestinian factions for more reconciliation talks after the UN initiative this week. An unnamed senior Israeli official reportedly describes Qatar as "a bitter enemy." Efforts are underway off the coast of Israel to raise the wreck of the Altalena, a ship that was sunk in a confrontation between the nascent Israeli military and Jewish militants. COMMENTARY: Jonathan Adelman says Hamas is no winner in the recent Gaza conflict. Chemi Shalev says, despite its tough talk, Israel is unlikely to overreact to the Palestinian UN initiative. Zvi Bar'el says Israel should recognize its interests in the creation of a Palestinian state. The Jerusalem Post says Palestinian leaders are making a mistake with the UN initiative. Abdel Rahman Al-Rashed says he hopes Hezbollah follows through with threats to attack Israel, because that would result in the end of the group's power and be a great boon to Lebanon and the Syrian revolution. Daniel Nisman argues Iran still controls Gaza. Carlo Strenger says Israel is missing another historic opportunity by opposing the Palestinian UN initiative. Elisheva Goldberg lists extremist statements regarding annexation of the occupied Palestinian territories by the newly elected hierarchy of Israel's ruling Likud party. Aaron David Miller says Pres. Obama will probably again engage in Palestinian-Israeli peacemaking and he hopes it will be more successful this time. Michael Lerner says Israel and the US should welcome the Palestinian UN initiative.

November 27th

NEWS: Palestinians say the UNGA will vote on Thursday on their request for "nonmember observer state" status, and are circulating a draft resolution. Israeli officials say they are negotiating with the Obama administration to try to get Palestinians to soften the language of the resolution and seem divided on how they want to respond. In the wake of the Gaza conflict, the UK is considering supporting the resolution. Israel is focusing on making sure the PLO doesn't try to join the ICC as a consequence. Hamas says it supports the UN effort. Analysts believe success in the UN bid is essential for Pres. Abbas and the PLO to remain politically relevant. The remains of the late Pres. Arafat have been exhumed for testing for cause of death, but his relatives again express their opposition. An Israeli officer posts online a picture of his face covered in mud and calls it "Obama-style." Ex-FM Livni announces her return to politics as the head of new party. Oil prices fall given that the Israel-Hamas cease-fire is holding. Hamas officials predict quick rebuilding in Gaza after the recent conflict. The EU is considering banning entry to violent Israeli settlers. Israeli police reportedly throw Palestinians off buses at the request of Israeli settlers. Israeli soldiers say they're willing to fighting Gaza again. COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish says all parties must now decide whether to empower Hamas or the PA. Yossi Beilin says Israel and the United States should be the first to support the Palestinian UN bid and recognize Palestinian statehood. Bloomberg says the Gaza conflict puts the PLO UN initiative in a new light and may be needed for the PA's survival which is in the US and Israeli interest. David Rohde says the only way to undermine Hamas is by achieving a two-state solution. Aluf Benn says Shulamit Aloni represents the Israeli left that used to be viable and powerful. Moshe Dann claims, in spite of the upcoming UN resolution, Palestinians don't really want independent statehood. Kenneth Bandler says Abbas should return to negotiations with Israel, which he says he wants to do. Akiva Eldar says no matter how much Israelis want it, Gaza will not become part, or the responsibility, of Egypt. Seyed Hossein Mousavian says Iran and Hamas were the winners of the Gaza conflict. Scott McConnell asks why Americans don't understand Palestinians and their predicament.

November 26th

NEWS: DM Barak says he may retire from public life, and that the Netanyahu government should have done more to advance peace with the Palestinians. The New York Times profiles a cactus grower in Gaza. Parties differ over the status of talks on the details of the Hamas-Israel cease-fire. Both sides seem to have hardened their positions as a result of the conflict. The head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad praises Iran. The Gaza cease-fire raises hopes for more reconstruction efforts, as recent Israeli airstrikes are estimated to have cost at least $300 million in damage. Hezbollah claims to have rockets that can strike anywhere in Israel in the event of a future conflict, as Israel says it has successfully tested a new missile defense system. In yet another reversal on the question, Hamas leader Meshaal says he supports Pres. Abbas' UN bid, and says he is finally going to visit Gaza next week. Palestinians are being increasingly drawn into both sides of the Syrian conflict. The UK urges the US to refocus on the peace process. Fatah leaders say they will hold a conference in 2013 to "reboot" the party. Abbas heads to New York as the PLO insists that opposition to its upcoming UN initiative will only signal armed struggle is more effective than diplomacy. Members of Congress reiterate they may punish the Palestinians for the UN initiative. The BBC looks at the death of a child in the Gaza conflict. COMMENTARY: Jackson Diehl says a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas is better than periodic conflicts. Natan Sachs offers Pres. Obama advice on how to win the trust of Israelis. Barry Rubin criticizes Egypt's performance as a mediator. Jonathan Freedland says Israel and Palestine's leaders and friends have both failed them. Nathan Jeffay says Israel learned important lessons from the last Gaza war. The Forward says the Gaza conflict proves the status quo between Israel and the Palestinians is untenable. The National argues it's important for the PA to fully investigate the death of the late Pres. Arafat. Asharq Al-Awsat interviews Hamas leader al-Zahar. Raghida Dergham says Palestinians have to choose between the Hamas and PLO approaches, and the West and Israel hold the keys to that decision. Abdullah Al Shayji says the conflict shows that Israel needs to stop relying on constant wars and become a normal country. Gareth Evans says Israel should treat the new PLO UN initiative as an opportunity, not a challenge. Danny Rubinstein says Egypt is understandably reluctant to open the crossings with Gaza. Mohammed Yaghi says Hamas' confrontation with Israel was half-victory, half-defeat. Meir Javedanfar says Iran was not a central feature of the Israel-Hamas conflict. Daniel Levy says there are seven important lessons to be learned from the Gaza conflict. Peter Beinart looks at the risks attached to the PLO's new UN initiative.

November 21st

NOTE: Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, ATFP's World News Round-Up will resume service on Monday, Nov. 26. NEWS: Several Israelis are wounded in a bus bombing in Tel Aviv. Gaza continues to come under heavy Israeli bombardment. The US steps up efforts to help mediate a cease-fire, which is proving elusive. Haaretz details its account of Tuesday's negotiations. UNSG Ban calls for an end to the violence. Israeli airstrikes kill three Palestinian journalists, and attack international media centers. The conflict may be returning the Palestinian issue to center stage in the Middle East. Palestinian mourners clash with Israeli forces during several protests in the occupied West Bank. The PA appears sidelined by the conflict. PM Erdogan accuses Israel of "ethnic cleansing." A major challenge facing Hamas in a truce would be convincing or coercing smaller groups to cooperate. A 15-year-old Egyptian cyber activist helps Gaza residents prepare for a possible Internet shutdown. COMMENTARY: Israeli Amb. Oren explains his country's policies towards Gaza as self-defense but Seumas Milne says Palestinians are the ones who have a right to defend themselves. David Makovsky says Egypt has a crucial role to play in forging a truce. Lara Friedman highlights the American role. David Ignatius says conflict is only inevitable if peace is ignored. The Washington Post says the conflict highlights the importance of American engagement. Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff say neither Israel nor Hamas think a truce would last indefinitely. Nahum Barnea says although Israel has achieved its goal, its government is looking to convey a sense of "victory." Leonard Fein says Israel and the Palestinians seem trapped in an endless cycle of violence. Tariq Alhomayed says the conflict has restored Khalid Mishal's role as Hamas' leader and regional figure. Rami Khouri says if it's just a temporary fix, a cease-fire will be futile. Alsir Sidahmed says Israel's goals in the operation go far beyond Gaza. Bassem Sabry says Egypt is trying to forge a new role for itself through the cease-fire negotiations. Brent Sasley says Israel has an interest in Palestinian national reconciliation. Hussein Ibish, looking mainly at Israeli examples, says demonization doesn't justify violence, and David Pollock looks at similar coverage in Palestinian media.

November 20th

NEWS: Six more Palestinians are killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza, bringing the Palestinian death toll to at least 131. Sec. Clinton is visiting the Middle East to try to help defuse tensions. The Gaza crisis is increasingly seen as strengthening Hamas at the expense of the PA. Egypt is trying to balance mediating between the two sides and blaming Israel. Palestinians bury three generations of the Dalu family killed in an Israeli bombing attack. Egypt says it believes the conflict may end on Thursday. Israel has been planning its current offensive for many years. Militants in Gaza kill six alleged collaborators with Israel. Israeli forces in Hebron kill a 22-year-old Palestinian protester. An Arab League delegation arrives in Gaza. PM Netanyahu says he prefers "a diplomatic solution" to the conflict.Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel are deeply divided on the current conflict. Israeli strategic thinkers admit they have no solution to long-term security concerns about Gaza. Amira Hass profiles some of the Gaza residents killed in Israeli attacks. Israel's Knesset speaker says the conflict might delay upcoming elections. COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish explains how an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire would benefit almost all parties, except the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, which he says looks "lost." Jonathan Spyer says Hamas has overplayed its hand. The New York Times says all parties share blame, but Hamas is primarily responsible. Roger Cohen says, like it or not, Israel and the US must deal with Hamas. Richard Cohen says Hamas is putting everyone in Gaza at risk. Eugene Robinson says a Israeli-Palestinian peace process might be difficult, but any alternative is much worse. Ari Shavit says Israel has already achieved most of its goals and should secure them with a cease-fire. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish says Israelis and Palestinians have to talk to each other to achieve peace. Harry Enten looks at American polling on the conflict. The Jerusalem Post says toppling Hamas rule in Gaza isn't, and shouldn't, be a goal. The National says Israel's policies boil down to endless wars. The Daily Star says Palestinians can't achieve anything without national unity. Shlomi Eldar says the conflict and the assassination of its military commander may radicalize Hamas. Steven Cook says the conflict shows Palestine remains the Middle East's central problem. Aaron David Miller says Hamas will probably be the political beneficiary no matter what happens on the ground. Hanin Ghaddar asks how Arab "leftists" can possibly support a reactionary religious right-wing movement like Hamas.

NEWS: Gaza-Israel violence continues in spite of cease-fire efforts ongoing in Cairo. Hamas is reportedly trying to link a truce to the end of the blockade of Gaza, trying to leverage the growing clout of regional Islamists. An Israeli attack on an apartment building in Gaza kills 11 Palestinian civilians, with the Palestinian death toll now exceeding 91, mostly civilians, including many children. Longer-range missiles, which Israel insists are from Iran but Tehran denies supplying, give Gaza militants a deeper reach into Israel. Israel attacks a media center in Gaza, injuring six journalists. Pres. Abbas says Israel is trying to undermine a renewed Palestinian UN bid. Residents of southern Israel say they are frightened but determined. Gaza children are trying to cope with the terrors of war. Pres. Obama reiterates Israel's right to self-defense, but recommends against any ground offensive. Israeli government websites are under a massive hacking attack. Gaza doctors say they are running low on medicine and equipment. Palestinians blame settlers for a fire at a West Bank mosque. COMMENTARY: ATFP calls for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Gaza militants. Yossi Alpher says the Israel-Palestine conflict simply isn't going to go away. Max Fisher says Israel is trying to use social media to support for its Gaza campaign. The LA Times says the two-state solution is still the only answer for Israel and the Palestinians. Amos Harel says Israel's leaders need to think very carefully before launching a ground campaign in Gaza, but the Jerusalem Post thinks it's a good idea. Aluf Benn says PM Netanyahu will take any credit and give DM Barak any blame for the conflict. Shaul Arieli says Abbas wants peace, not the right of return. Nehemia Shtrasler says the current Israeli government is comfortable dealing with Hamas, but not with the PA. Musa Abumarzuq defends Hamas' actions. Sam Bahour says the Israeli-Palestinian relationship is unsustainable. Leonard Fein says Abbas lacks a peace partner in Israel. The National says de-escalation requires US leadership. Dalia Hatuqa says Hamas is trying to use the conflict with Israel as an exit strategy from a sustained crisis. Hugh Naylor says pragmatists are losing out in the leadership struggle within Hamas. Tariq Alhomayed says the people of Gaza, as always, will pay the price for the conflict. The Daily Star calls Israel's actions "rampant butchery."Jonathan Schanzer says there are eight outstanding questions about the conflict that have to be answered. Nahum Barnea says it would be politically catastrophic for Netanyahu for Israeli soldiers to be killed on the battlefield in Gaza. Reuters says Hamas may be politically benefiting from the conflict.

November 16th

NEWS: Egypt's Prime Minister visits Gaza in his official capacity, further eroding Hamas' diplomatic isolation. Exchanges of fire between Israel and militants in Gaza continue in spite of the Egyptian visit. Hamas is testing its strength in the new Middle Eastern strategic environment. Pres. Morsy finds himself trapped between popular and ideological sympathy for Hamas and Egypt's foreign policy. Pres. Obama urges Morsy to help promote calm, and Morsy urges Obama to restrain Israel. Signs are increasing of a possible Israeli ground attack in Gaza. The conflict is also being played out in social media. Rockets fired from Gaza land near Tel Aviv, with both Hamas and Islamic Jihad claiming responsibility. The UN says one of its teachers in Gaza is among the civilians killed during Israeli attacks. Gaza residents are repeating defensive measures they learned in 2008 in order to survive. It's not clear how far Israel wants to take the conflict. Palestinian protesters are increasingly turning to closing roads as a form of nonviolent protest. Palestinian refugees in the Sidon area are trying to stay out of Lebanese sectarian tensions. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood organizes demonstrations protesting Israel's actions in Gaza. COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish says militant groups in Gaza, particularly Hamas, may be seeking to force Morsy's hand. Zvi Bar'el says Morsy's challenge is to arrange an Israel-Hamas truce that sticks. Dan Williams says Israel is not keen to invade Gaza. AP says the current Israeli offensive is similar to that in 2008, but with more limited aims. The LA Times says it's urgent that Israel and the Palestinians resume negotiations instead of exchanging attacks. Amira Hass says the conflict will probably end up strengthening Hamas politically among Palestinians.Jonathan Freedland says the conflict will resolve nothing. The National says Hamas hasn't learned from previous conflicts and is wrecking chances of Palestinian national reconciliation. Rania Elhilou says Gaza is not going to become unlivable, it is unlivable already.Chelo Rosenberg says Israel must disengage from Gaza altogether. Daniel Kurtzer says the conflict shows why it is vital for the United States to resuscitate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Daniel Byman says both Israel and Hamas have to be very careful in how they proceed, because both have much to lose in the current conflict.

November 15th

NEWS: Rocket and missile attacks continue between Israel and Gaza, with 3 Israeli civilians and at least 13 Palestinians, including several civilians, killed. Egypt reportedly asks the US to intervene to stop the violence and recalls its envoy to Israel. The US is reportedly trying to stop the conflict from breaking Egypt-Israel relations. The violence prompts a rise in international oil prices. AP recalls Israel's long history of assassinating Hamas leaders. Pres. Abbas calls for an urgent Arab meeting on the conflict, and PLO officials ask the UN to intervene. For Israel, the new conflict comes in the context of the changed regional political landscape.Ma'an provides an obituary for slain Hamas commander al-Jaabari. Peter Beinart is banned from an Atlanta Jewish book festival. The Student Senate at UC Irvine urges university divestment from companies “complicit” in human rights violations by Israel. COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish says the price for the new round of violence between Israel and Hamas, motivated by their internal politics, will be paid by the ordinary Palestinians of Gaza. The New York Times says it's hard to see how a new war in Gaza will benefit Israel and that its policies would be more defensible if it were engaged in serious negotiations with the PLO. Some experts say Israel's escalation is an effort to restore deterrence. Eric Yoffie says progressive Jewish Americans should support Israel's “get tough policy” in Gaza. Barak Ravid says before the assassination, Israel did its best to lull Hamas into a false sense of security. Ha'aretz calls for calm. Eitan Haber says without a peace agreement Israel faces endless wars. Jonathan Rosen says, beyond rhetoric, its policies show the Netanyahu government wants a strong Hamas in power in Gaza. Eva Illouz looks of the disturbing pattern of Jewish and other critics of Israel's policies being automatically branded “anti-Semitic.” Elias Harfoush says the latest PLO UN initiative is pointless, but the Daily Star says it makes no sense for Hamas to engage in a conflict with Israel while the PLO is trying to achieve something at the UN. Yossi Alpher analyzes the strategic dimensions of Israel's decision to escalate in Gaza.

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