Monday, December 9, 2013

In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops open fire on agricultural lands nr. Khan Yunis, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon, and in 3 villages nr. Hebron at night; patrols in Tulkarm in the morning, in 1 village each nr. Jenin and Tulkarm in the afternoon, and in 4 villages nr. Ramallah, 2 villages and al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron at night. (PCHR 12/12) 

Israeli PM Netanyahu tells his Likud-Yisrael Beitenu faction at the Knesset that the govt. is not on the way to a final-status agreement with the Palestinians, ahead of U.S. Secy. of State Kerry’s on 12/11, his 9th trip to the region since taking office. Netanyahu also reportedly rejects the U.S. Gen. John Allen’s security plan, saying it was important to maintain Israeli forces on the border shared with Jordan. Meanwhile, PLO Secy.-Gen. Yasir ‘Abid Rabbuh also rejects the U.S. security proposals, which he says will lead to a “total failure” of Kerry’s efforts. Separately, PA Minister of Prisoners Issa Qarage says that any delays to the scheduled release of a 3rd group of Palestinian prisoners on 12/29 will be considered a serious blow to the peace process. (AFP, AP, JP 12/9)

Israel, Jordan, and the PA sign a watersharing agreement that includes the proposed construction of a desalination plant in Jordan on the Gulf of Aqaba, and a pilot study for a pipeline linking the Red Sea-Dead Sea. Israel also intends to sell more water from the Sea of Galilee to Jordan and to sell water to the PA at reduced rates. The agreement is signed at the World Bank in Washington. (See document A2 in JPS 171 for more on the water-sharing agreement.) (AFP, REU 12/9)

Ahmet Uzumcu, head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), says that the removal of chemical weapons from Syria, scheduled in 2 stages for 12/31 and 2/5/14, may be delayed slightly due to the difficulties of operating during the ongoing violent conflict. (REU 12/9)

Mohamed Badie, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, appears in a Cairo court for the 1st time since being detained on 8/20. Meanwhile, Egyptian armed forces shoot and kill an Islamist militant nr. Shaykh Zuweidi in the Sinai Peninsula, describing him as a leader of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. (AP, JP, REU 12/9)