Monday, March 18, 2013

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s new coalition government officially takes office. Speaking in the Knesset, Netanyahu says that Israel is ready for a ‘‘historic compromise’’ with the Palestinians. (JP, REU, WP 3/18)

In the West Bank, unidentified Palestinians open fire on and injure a Jewish settler at a bus stop nr. Nablus. The IDF patrols in al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron in the afternoon, and conducts house searches and arrest raids in al-‘Arub r.c. and 1 village nr. Hebron, and 1 village nr. Nablus at night. (AP 3/18; PCHR 3/21)

A UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) fact-finding mission releases its report on Israel’s West Bank settlements, describing them as a ‘‘creeping form of annexation,’’ and calling on Israel to cease construction immediately and ‘‘initiate a process of withdrawal.’’ The report, presented by mission leader Christine Chanet, urges the international community to cut economic links with the settlements. The U.S. refuses to take part in the Council’s debate. Meanwhile, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay states that Israeli settler violence ‘‘continues to be perpetrated with impunity,’’ and further notes that excessive force by the IDF has resulted in Palestinian fatalities. (AFP, HA, JP, UNNC 3/18)

Lebanon reports that Israeli warplanes entered Lebanese airspace earlier in the day. Israel routinely conducts aerial surveillance over Lebanon even though this explicitly violates the 2006 Israel-Hizballah cease-fire agreement laid out in UN Res. 1701. (AP 3/18)

Iran and P5+1 group nuclear experts meet in Istanbul to review proposals put forward during the last round of talks in Kazakhstan (2/26-27). (AFP, XIN 3/18)