Sunday, August 12, 2012

A day after the PA urges Egypt to destroy smuggling tunnels on the Gaza border, saying they pose a threat to Egyptian security and undermine Palestinian national unity efforts, Hamas officials in Gaza say that they will close tunnels on the Rafah border if Egypt opens the border to trade. (JPI 8/24)

An unconfirmed report says that unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Salfit late in the evening, firing warning shots at a Palestinian car (no injuries reported) and ordering it to stop; the car is searched and allowed to go on its way. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Nablus, and Salfit. Jewish settlers fr. Susia settlement nr. Hebron spread poison on nearby grasslands used by local Palestinian shepherds, killing 7 sheep. (Mivzak Live [Internet] 8/12; PCHR 8/16; OCHA 8/18)

IDF Central Command formally reclassifies Bruchin outpost as a legal settlement, implementing a 3/2012 cabinet decision to legalize 3 outposts retroactively (see QU in JPS 163). The formal reclassifications of Rachelim and Sansanna have not been implemented yet. (JPI 8/24; PCHR 8/16)

Israel’s daily Ha’Aretz for the 2d time in recent days reports that a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) by the Obama admin. has added a ‘‘lastminute update’’ on Iran stating that Iran has ‘‘boosted efforts’’ to advance its nuclear program. The U.S. meanwhile has not announced that a new NIE has been written. U.S. officials refuse to comment except to say that U.S. intelligence continues to believe: (1) that Iran has not made a decision on whether to develop a nuclear weapon and (2) that Iran’s is years away from being able to produce a nuclear bomb. Meanwhile, Israel’s dep. FM Danny Ayalon calls on the international community to issue a declaration that diplomacy toward Iran has failed, raising fears that Israel is preparing a military strike. (HA, REU 8/12; NYT, WP 8/13)