Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Israeli media report on an internal Foreign Ministry document that predicts that the EU will increase efforts in 2013 to pressure Israel and the Palestinians to reach an agreement. The report suggests that the EU may try to promote the establishment of an actual Palestinian state independent of negotiations with Israel. Other Israeli media report that the PA is seeking to join a number of international organizations in the light of their successful UN statehood bid, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Israel’s Foreign Ministry is apparently seeking to stymie these efforts through its ambassadors in countries where the organizations’ headquarters are located. Meanwhile, Palestinian officials in Ramallah claim that Israel is refusing to renew the VIP cards of several senior PA officials, complicating their ability to move freely around the West Bank and Israel. (HA, JP, ToI 12/26)

Israeli and Palestinian officials confirm that Israel will allow materials for private construction into the Gaza Strip for the 1st time since mid-2007. The deal will allow up to 20 trucks of gravel to enter the territory daily through Kerem Shalom crossing in the south. (MNA 12/25; AFP 12/26)

In the West Bank, the IDF raids the Palestinian village of Yatta in the south, sparking a clash with stone-throwing Palestinians; 1 Palestinian is injured when he is hit in the head by a tear-gas canister. The IDF patrols in Tulkarm, nearby Nur Shams r.c., and 1 village nr. Jericho at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in Hebron and 3 nearby villages, 1 village nr. Bethlehem, and 1 village nr. Jenin at night. (PNN, WAFA 12/26; MNA, PCHR 12/27)

Fatah’s Revolutionary Council meets in Ramallah to discuss internal and national issues, including the next steps to take following the UN bid and subsequent Israeli settlement expansion. (MNA 12/26)

Anonymous Israeli officials confirm a story in al-Quds al-Arabi that PM Netanyahu secretly met Jordan’s King Abdallah in Amman recently (no dates reported) to discuss the risk of Syria’s chemical weapons falling into the hands of armed Islamist groups. (REU 12/26)