Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Israel’s Housing and Construction Ministry publishes tenders for construction of West Bank settlement housing units in Karnei Shomron, Efrat, and Givat Ze’ev as part of the government’s decision to build 3,000 new settlement units to punish the Palestinians for their successful UN bid. The U.S. expresses disappointment with what it calls Israel’s ‘‘pattern of provocative action’’ with regard to settlement construction, saying the repeated announcements and plans ‘‘run counter to the cause of peace’’ and put the two-state solution ‘‘further at risk.’’ Britain, France, Germany and Portugal–European members of the UNSC–issue a joint statement condemning Israel’s 12/17 decision to construct homes in Ramat Shlomo settlement in occupied East Jerusalem. (ToI, AP, HA 12/18)

IDF forces make a brief incursion into s. Gaza to level land along the border fence. In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinians nr. Aida r.c. in Bethlehem, causing no injuries; this marks the 6th day of confrontations since Israeli forces killed a Palestinian youth in Hebron’s Old City on 12/12. The IDF also conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 each village nr. Bethlehem and Hebron at night. (PNN 12/19; PCHR 12/20)

Israeli military sources say that there are cracks appearing in the co-operation between the IDF and the PA’s security forces, though the operational relationship remains generally positive. One example of this deterioration is the PA security forces stopping IDF troops from pursuing their activities on at least 2 occasions in the past few weeks. (YA 12/18)

Reports suggest that more than 1,000 Palestinian refugees living in Syria crossed over the border into Lebanon in just 24 hours, fleeing fighting in Yarmuk r.c. (REU 12/18)