Sunday, June 20, 2010

Under continued pressure fr. Obama and Quartet special envoy Tony Blair, Israel’s security cabinet agrees in principle to switch fr. a blanket ban on entry of goods to Gaza to a prohibited list of items considered “weapons and war-supporting materiel” and to allow “a significantly greater volume of goods” into the Strip. The easing would affect overland transportation only. The naval blockade and all restrictions on exports and the entry and exit of individuals remain. Separately, the U.S. and Israel announce that the Obama-Netanyahu meeting originally set for 6/1 will be held at the White House on 7/6. In addition, Mitchell, who has just returned fr. meetings with the Palestinian (6/18) and Israeli (6/19) peace teams, reports that the sides are ready to consider renewing proximity talks. (NYT, WP 6/21; WP 6/23; JPI 7/9)

The IDF makes a brief incursion into the no-go zone in n. Gaza to investigate a heavy explosion, searching the area and pulling back into Israel without incident. In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas at Palestinians staging a nonviolent demonstration against the separation wall nr. Bethlehem, also violently beating 3 Palestinian cameramen for Palestinian and foreign news outlets; conducts synchronized late-night patrols in villages w. of Jenin, making no arrests. Israeli police in Jerusalem seal the Ilaf Association for Education Support, which provides student loans for some 160 college students, for allegedly hosting Hamas meetings and thereby supporting a “terrorist organization.” (PCHR 6/24; OCHA 6/25)