Sunday, February 17, 2013

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon, and in 1 village each nr. Jericho, Ramallah, and Salfit at night; conducts house searches and arrests in 2 villages nr. Hebron in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Salfit and 1 village each nr. Hebron, Qalqilya, Tulkarm, and Aida refugee camp (r.c.) in Bethlehem at night. Schools across the West Bank are on strike to protest the failure of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to pay 1/2013 wages, with a second day of industrial action planned for later in the week. (MNA 2/16; PCHR 2/21)

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu tells Likud ministers that he intends to create a broad coalition following January’s elections in order to advance negotiations with the Palestinians from a position of strength. (AP, HA 2/17)

Israeli security officials visit Cairo for the second time in a week to discuss the regional security situation with Egyptian intelligence officials. Items for discussion include the security situation in Sinai and the indirect talks with Hamas. Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya confirms that the organization is indeed conducting indirect talks with Israel over the details of the cease-fire deal that ended Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense in 11/2012, including possibly allowing the entry of Qatari-donated construction materials to Gaza and the export of Gaza’s agricultural products to Israel. (MNA, ToI 2/17)

Hizballah forces controlling 8 Syrian border villages expand into other adjacent villages, prompting the fighting between Hizballah fighters and Free Syrian Army rebels in Syrian territory nr. the Lebanese border. (AP, REU 2/17)