Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Israeli governmentt announces it will confiscate the VAT tax revenues it has collected for the PA during 11/2012, and use the NIS 460 m. of funds to offset the PA’s debt to Israel’s Electric Corporation. On 11/11, Israel’s fin. min. Yuval Steinitz had warned of such a measure in response to the UN bid. (HA 12/2)

The Israeli newspaper Ha’Aretz reports that 5 senior European ambassadors—from Britain, France, the EU, Germany, and Holland—have communicated strong opposition to Israel’s 11/30 plan to expand settlements and develop the E1 area outside of East Jerusalem. An anonymous British diplomat tells the paper that ‘‘London is furious with the decision over the E1 corridor.’’ UN secy.-gen. Ban Ki-moon describes Israel’s plan as an ‘‘almost fatal blow’’ to prospects for peace. Israeli PM Netanyahu dismisses the international criticism at the weekly cabinet meeting, saying that Israel ‘‘will carry on building in Jerusalem and in all the places that are on the map of Israel’s strategic interests.’’ (AFP, HA, REU 12/2)

Addressing 1,000s of Palestinians in Ramallah on his return from the UN, Palestinian pres. Abbas says he will resume national reconciliation efforts soon. Jamal Ubeid, a mbr. of Fatah’s High Comm. in Gaza, announces that Hamas will allow 20 senior Fatah mbrs. who fled the Gaza Strip in 2007, when Hamas took over, to return. (AFP, MNA 12/2)

In the West Bank, Jewish settlers s. of Hebron set fire to a Palestinianowned car and vandalize a Palestinian house. The IDF patrols in Jenin, 2 villages nr. Qalqilya, and 1 village each nr. Jericho and Tulkarm at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in Tulkarm in the afternoon, and in 1 village nr. Salfit at night. (PCHR 12/6)

Syrian rebels open fire on a Lebanese border patrol approaching the border, the 1st such clash between the 2 parties. There were no casualties. (REU 12/2)