Monday, March 4, 2013

PA Pres. Mahmud Abbas meets with U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry in Saudi Arabia to discuss regional developments, the first such meeting between the two men since Kerry replaced Hillary Clinton. Abbas requests Washington pressure Israel to adopt a settlement construction freeze and release Palestinian prisoners as a condition for the resumption of peace talks. Kerry’s regional tour does not include a visit to Israel or the o.t. this time. (JP 3/4)

Hamas keeps the Kerem Shalom crossing closed reportedly due to a dispute over the collection of customs revenue with the Palestinian company operating the terminal. Israel shut the crossing on 2/26 after a rocket was fired out of the Gaza Strip into southern Israel. (MNA 3/4)

IDF forces make a brief incursion into Gaza to level land and clear lines of sight along the border fence nr. Juhr al-Dik. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning, and in al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron in the afternoon (where there are clashes, but no injuries. At night, the IDF conduct house searches and arrest raids in 3 villages nr. Hebron and 2 villages each nr. Nablus and Qalqilya. (PCHR 3/6)

U.S. VP Joe Biden tells the American Israel Public Affairs Cmte. (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington that sanctions and diplomacy must be exhausted before the U.S. would consider using force to attack Iran’s nuclear program. (AP, REU 3/4)