Thursday, February 26, 2015

In c. Gaza, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian homes nr. the border fence, causing damage. Off the coast nr. Bayt Lahiya, Israeli naval forces fire on Palestinian fishing boats, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, IDF troops conduct raids in 1 village each nr. Qalqilya and Bethlehem, sparking clashes with stone-throwing residents in both and arresting 2 in the former. They also patrol in 1 village each nr. Ramallah and Qalqilya, and 2 areas nr. Hebron; arrest a Palestinian man n. of Hebron who attempted to stab an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint; assault a Palestinian at a checkpoint nr. Jenin. The IDF violently disperses Palestinian and international activists nonviolently protesting in 2 villages nr. Qalqilya, detaining 2 Palestinians, moderately injuring 2, and lightly injuring several. Israeli forces deliver demolition notices to a school and 2 homes in Hebron. Israeli settlers deface the walls of a Palestinian school nr. Nablus, leaving price-tag graffiti. Separately, Israeli settlers assault a Palestinian youth from another village nr. Nablus, forcing him to remove his clothes in the cold weather. In East Jerusalem, Jewish Israelis set fire to a Greek Orthodox seminary and leave price-tag graffiti. An Israeli court bans 4 Palestinian women from entering Haram al-Sharif for periods ranging from 10 to 60 days. They were detained on 2/25. (HA, MNA, TOI, WAFA 2/26; MNA 2/28; PCHR 3/5)

The IEC agrees to stop cutting power to areas in the West Bank (as it did on 2/23 and 2/25) in exchange for the Israeli govt.’s promise to offset the Palestinians’ debts with the tax revenues that it has punitively withheld from the PA since 1/2. The PM’s office also announces a deal that will connect Rawabi, the 1st planned Palestinian city, to the water grid, enabling new residents to move in to the city. The agreement will also connect several Israeli settlements in the area to the grid. (HA, TOI 2/26; NYT 2/27)

On the 6 mo. anniversary of the 8/16 cease-fire that ended Operation Protective Edge (OPE), 30 UN agencies and other international organizations in Gaza jointly express their alarm at the slow pace of reconstruction and the dire conditions in the Strip. In their statement, they say, “We must not fail Gaza,” and that “since 7/2014, the situation has deteriorated dramatically.” (WAFA 2/26)

The Jordanian and Israeli govts. sign a deal that will govern the construction of a pipeline to link the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, the 1st phase of a Dead Sea revitalization project that has been debated and discussed for over a decade. They plan to begin preparing tenders to offer to construction companies in the coming weeks. They ultimately plan to build a desalinization plant n. of Aqaba, Jordan. In 12/2013, reps. of Jordan, Israel, and the PA signed a memorandum of understanding at the World Bank to guide their joint efforts on the project. (AFP, TOI 2/26)