Tuesday, January 27, 2015

In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops e. of Khan Yunis open fire on Palestinian farmers nr. the border fence, causing damage. Meanwhile, unknown assailants set fire to the Dept. of Prisoners Affairs building in Jabaliya r.c., causing moderate damage. In the West Bank, IDF troops violently disperse Palestinians protesting the closure of the entrance to their village nr. Ramallah. In the ensuing clashes, 3 Palestinians are injured with rubber-coated metal bullets. The IDF conducts house searches, arrest raids, and patrols nr. Jenin and Hebron. They also arrest 3 Palestinians at a checkpoint nr. Jenin. Israeli authorities deliver demolition notices to a village nr. Hebron for 2 animal barns and a residential building. Dozens of Palestinian youth throw stones at an IDF watchtower s. of Bethlehem, sparking clashes in which 1 Palestinian is moderately injured and detained. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces conduct house searches and arrests in the Old City. (MNA, WAFA 1/27; PCHR 1/29)

UNRWA suspends the operation of its cash assistance program in Gaza, which provides aid for the 96,000 refugee families whose homes were partially or completely destroyed during OPE. Director of Operations Robert Turner says that the agency has received only $135 m. of the $720 m. pledged by international donors. (+972, AFP, REU 1/27)

From Syria, 4 rockets are fired into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and 2 land nr. the Hermon ski resort, causing no injuries. The IDF responds by firing 20 artillery shells into Syria. Meanwhile, Iran sends a message to the U.S. govt. saying that Israel should expect retaliation for its 1/18 attack that killed 6 Hizballah fighters and 6 mbrs. of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. (AFP, HA, JP 1/27; AFP 1/28)

In the U.S. Senate, Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) introduce the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015 after weeks of deliberation and debate. It would increase congressional oversight on the P5+1’s negotiations with Iran and reinstate sanctions should the negotiations fail to culminate in a final agreement. Earlier in the day, Menendez and 9 other Democratic supporters of the bill send a letter to the White House saying that they will not push for a vote until after the end of 3/2015, the deadline that the P5+1 and Iranian negotiators have set to reach a political accord. (POL, REU 1/27; TOI 1/28)