Tuesday, January 3, 2012

In Amman, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators meet with Quartet reps. (including special envoy Blair) and then with Jordanian FM Nasser Judeh. Judeh says that the Palestinian team, as requested, turned over its position papers on security and borders and that the Israeli team formally received them. The sides have agreed to hold talks “on a continual basis” in Jordan to explore reviving formal negotiations and to observe a media blackout, with only Judeh issuing public statements after the sessions. Israel does not submit its own comprehensive position papers, but pledges “that through this continuing dialogue there will be an Israeli counterproposal or an Israeli response.” (WJW 1/3; NYT, WP 1/4; WT 1/5)

IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials inside the demolished Erez industrial zone, forcing them to flee. IDF troops make a brief incursion into s. Gaza to level land and clear lines of sight along the border fence e. of Abasan and Khuza, firing toward nearby residential areas to keep Palestinians indoors (causing no reported injuries). Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts morning patrols in Jenin and (synchronized) in 3 villages nr. Ramallah; conducts evening patrols in Tulkarm and 1 village nr. Jenin; conducts latenight arrest raids, house searches nr. Qalqilya. OCHA reports that since 12/21, the IDF has demolished 25 water-related structures (wells, cisterns, water pools, and water storage tanks) used for domestic and agricultural purposes; 21 were in Hebron governorate, 4 in Salfit governorate. OCHA also reports that in the past 2 wks., the IDF has demolished the remaining structures on the Palestinian side of the Qarni crossing, which Israel closed on 3/2/11 when the Kerem Shalom crossing became fully operational. (OCHA, PCHR 1/5)

The Israeli High Court accepts an agmt. reached between the state and settlers under which the state agrees to suspend plans to demolish immediately 9 structures in the Ramat Gilad unauthorized settlement outpost, giving the settlers until 3/2012 to remove the structures themselves. The settlers claim that the state has agreed in exchange to expand the zoning boundaries for nearby Karnei Shomron settlement to include Ramat Gilad (retroactively legalizing the outpost), but the official documents submitted to the court do not say this. (JPI 1/3)