Thursday, January 22, 2015

In the Gaza Strip, Egyptian authorities keep the Rafah border crossing open for a 3d day. Meanwhile, unknown assailants blow up the car of a local Fatah leader using a flammable liquid. Off the coast nr. al-Sudaniyya, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats, causing damage. Meanwhile, IDF troops e. of Rafah open fire on agricultural land along the border fence, causing damage. In the West Bank, Israeli forces demolish several residential and storage structures owned by Palestinians nr. Jerusalem and deliver a stop-work order to a construction site nr. Hebron. The IDF patrols nr. Hebron and Jenin; raids 3 homes in Tulkarm overnight belonging to friends and family of the Palestinian man who stabbed 13 Jewish Israelis in Tel Aviv on 1/21, arresting 2. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces conduct arrest raids in al-Tur. In West Jerusalem, around 10 Jewish Israelis attack a Palestinian Druze university student, severely injuring him, after they hear him speaking in Arabic. (MNA, WAFA 1/22; HA 1/23; PCHR 1/29)

PA PM Hamdallah meets with Swedish consul-gen. Ann-Sofie Nilsson in Ramallah. Hamdallah calls on the international community to pressure Israel into unfreezing the transfers of tax revenue to the PA, which have been held since 1/2. Meanwhile, reps. of the PA and Russia meet and sign 2 bilateral agreements, which will establish joint comms. to supervise economic cooperation between them. (MNA 1/22, 1/23)

In Israel, the major non-Zionist parties— Hadash, Balad, Ta’al, and Ra’am—announce that they have agreed to run on a joint list in the 3/17 election. Ayman Odeh, newly elected chair of Hadash, will lead the list. Earlier in the day, the Knesset House Comm. approved the request to split the Ra’am and Ta’al parties, which were joined at the United Arab List in the current Knesset under Ahmad Tibi’s leadership. (HA, TOI 1/22; +972, HA, NYT 1/23)

The State Dept. announces that neither Pres. Obama nor Secy. of State Kerry will meet with Israeli PM Netanyahu when he visits Washington to address a special session of Congress on 3/3. A State Dept. spokesperson cites “long-standing practice and principle” when explaining why the pres. would not meet with another head of state 2 weeks ahead of his or her national election. (HA, JP 1/22; JTA 2/1)

Sixty-three of the 751 mbrs. of the EU parliament send a letter to foreign affairs chief Mogherini asking her to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which has governed the trade relationship since 2000. The 63 MEPs cite serious violations of international law committed during OPE. (WAFA 1/27; EI 2/4)