Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Obama admin. invites Palestinian officials to Washington to discuss conditions under which they might drop their UN statehood bid. The PA says chief negotiator Saeb Erakat and Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina will head to Washington soon. (JP 8/4)

As a gesture to the PA to mark the start of Ramadan, Israel releases 200 Palestinian prisoners who were set to complete their sentences soon, including senior Hamas official Shaykh Hassan Yousef (arrested in 2006 and set for release in 9/2011). At the same time, however, Israel’s Interior Min. gives final approval for the construction of 930 new settlement housing units in East Jerusalem’s Har Homa/Jabal Abu Ghunaym. Meanwhile, the PA orders its security forces to prevent violence after the UN vote in 9/2011 and informs Israel of its intention to keep the peace and avoid confrontation. In Gaza, unidentified Palestinians fire 2 Qassam rockets into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF retaliates late at night with 2 artillery shells and 7 air strikes on 5 Hamas sites in c. and s. Gaza, injuring 2 Hamas mbrs. and killing 500 chicks at a poultry farm. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Tulkarm, 2 nr. Ramallah, and 1 nr. Jericho; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Tulkarm. (AFP, HA, JTA, MNA, WAFA, YA 8/4; PCHR 8/11; OCHA 8/12)