Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the c. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm and 2 villages in Ramallah in the morning; in 1 village each nr. Jericho and Ramallah in the afternoon; and in Jericho and 1 village nr. Jenin late at night. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Jenin, Nablus, Salfit, Tulkarm, and 1 village each nr. Hebron and Qalqilya. Jewish settlers fr. Tekoa settlement nr. Bethlehem vandalize Palestinian homes in nearby Taqqua’ village; IDF troops observe but do not intervene. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that in the previous week: (1) Israeli authorities demolished a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem’s al-Tur neighborhood (marking the 1st residence demolished in East Jerusalem for 2 mos.) and ordered a Palestinian family to demolish an addition to their home; (2) the IDF removed a major roadblock on the main north–south road to Hebron, significantly reducing travel times between Hebron and 4 villages to the east; and (3) 2 Palestinians died and 4 (including a teenager) were injured in 4 smuggling tunnel accidents on the Rafah border. (PCHR 5/23; OCHA 5/25)

At the close of 2 days of talks in Tehran with Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, IAEA head Yukiya Amano announces that Iran has agreed in principle to provide the IAEA with access to Iran’s nuclear scientists and facilities, but it has not yet signed a formal statement to this effect. P5+1 nations (the 5 permanent UNSC members plus Germany) call the deal ‘‘a step in the right direction,’’ but say they will judge Iran by its actions. Israeli DM Ehud Barak comments: ‘‘It looks like the Iranians are trying to reach a technical agreement that will create a deception of progress in talks in order to reduce the pressure ahead of talks tomorrow in Baghdad and postpone harshening of sanctions.’’ (WP 5/23)