Sunday, January 5, 2014

Off the coast of the Gaza Strip nr. Bayt Lahiya, Israeli naval vessels attack Palestinian fishermen, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village each nr. Ramallah and Jenin at night; patrols in 1 village nr. Salfit in the morning, in 2 villages nr. Tulkarm, in Salfit and 1 nearby village, and in Hebron in the afternoon, and in 1 village and al-Fawar r.c. nr. Hebron and in Tulkarm at night. (PCHR 1/9)

U.S. Secy. of State Kerry visits Jordan and Saudi Arabia before returning to Jerusalem, in a day of whistle-stop diplomacy focused on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In Amman, Kerry meets with Jordan’s King Abdallah II and FM Nasser Judeh, and then with King Abdallah in the Saudi monarch’s desert residence. Following 3 days of talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, an anonymous Palestinian official says that Kerry demanded Abbas recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland, in exchange for Israel’s acceptance of its pre-1967 borders as the basis for talks. Meanwhile, Israeli FM Lieberman tells a meeting of Israeli diplomats that he supports a comprehensive agreement with the Palestinians in the context of U.S.-led negotiations, but also says that he would only accept an agreement including the exchange of land and population, a reference to his longstanding proposal to move a number of Palestinian citizens into a putative Palestinian state. (See document C2 in JPS 171 for extended excerpts of Lieberman’s remarks.) Separately, Israel’s ministerial cmte. on legislation rejects 2 bills proposed by the Labor Party that would have facilitated a two-state solution by placing restrictions on settlement construction and preventing unilateral annexation. (AFP, AP, HA, JP 1/5)

UNRWA workers in the Gaza Strip go on strike over pay and employment conditions, joining West Bank-based UNRWA employees, who went on strike on 12/3. (MNA 1/5)

The Israeli PM’s Office passes responsibility for creating and implementing govt. development plans for the Bedouin communities in the Negev to the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry. Until now, the legislative measure set to codify the Prawer Plan was being overseen by former minister Benny Begin. (ToI 1/3; ToI 1/5)