Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Israeli cabinet approves (16–3, with 1 abstention) a plan for the Bedouin communities in the Negev that would see thousands of so-called unrecognized villages destroyed and their populations forcibly relocated to governmentapproved towns. The plan covers landownership issues, compensation, and investment in the region. The PM’s Office calls it a ‘‘compromise,’’ but Bedouin activists and human rights campaigners denounce it entirely. (JP 1/27, JP 1/28)

Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza coast nr. al-Waha, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin and 1 nr. Salfit in the afternoon, and in Tulkarm at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon, and in Aida r.c. nr. Bethlehem, Tulkarm, and 1 village each nr. Hebron and Tubas at night. (PCHR 1/31)

Tunisian pres. Moncef Marzouki postpones his visit to the Gaza Strip (see 1/20) until 3/2013, following discussion with Palestinian pres. Abbas, in order to ‘‘allow the path of reconciliation to progress.’’ Meanwhile, spokesperson for the Palestinian reconciliation comm., Abdul Aziz Qudaih, says that Morocco has pledged $500 m. to support reconciliation efforts, money to be used for compensation payments for those injured or who suffered property damage during Hamas-Fatah fighting in 2007. (MNA 1/27)

Turkish media report that the country’s dep. min. for energy and natural resources, Murat Mercan, has told Israeli Foreign Ministry official Michael Lotem that Israel’s energy cooperation with Cyprus would stand in the way of any proposed Israel-Turkey natural gas pipeline. The unofficial conversation took place during the Eurasian Economic Summit held in Istanbul. (REU 1/27)