March 2, 2011

An anonymous Israeli official says that Israel has been discussing with the U.S. a unilateral “phased approach to reaching a final status accord” in absence of negotiations with the Palestinians. PLOEC mbr. Saleh Rafaat warns that the PLO will refuse any interim or partial solution and any call for creating a Palestinian state with temporary or undefined borders. (REU 3/2; NYT 3/3)

Israel’s Jerusalem municipal authority approves construction of 14 Jewish settlement housing units in Ras al-Amud in East Jerusalem. In Gaza, Israel permanently closes the Qarni crossing, shifting all import and export of goods to Kerem Shalom. It also allows Gazans to export tomatoes for the 1st time since 6/2007. Meanwhile, IDF troops on the n. Gaza border twice fire on Palestinian farmers who stray nr. the border fence, forcing them to leave. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes 20 structures in Khirbat Tana, marking the 6th major demolition of the village; patrols and sets up checkpoints in Tulkarm town and r.c. in the morning; bulldozes a well nr. a settleronly bypass road outside Hebron; conducts late-night patrols in al-Til village nr. Tulkarm and late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron. (AFP, AP, MNA 3/2; NYT, PCHR, WP 3/3; JP 3/9; PCHR 3/10; OCHA 3/18)

In Yemen, antigovernment protests have steadily picked up since 2/16, particularly in Sana’a and Taiz. Some scuffles between protesters and govt. supporters (thought to be plain-clothed security forces) have been reported, but protests are still largely nonviolent. (Amnesty International reports at least 27 protesters killed to date.) By this time, 10 MPs fr. Pres. Ali Abdullah Saleh’s ruling party have resigned in solidarity with protesters, and medical unions, entire tribes and villages, and lawyers’ and labor groups have joined demonstrations. Today, opposition figures, tribal leaders, and influential clerics present Saleh with a plan for his peaceful transition fr. power and meet with him late into the night to discuss it, but there is no immediate deal. Meanwhile, protests grow in size to 10,000s of participants. (NYT, WP 3/3; see also NYT, WP, WT 2/23–24 NYT 2/28; WP 3/1; NYT, WP, WT, 3/2)