Wednesday, March 4, 2015

In separate incidents off the coast of Gaza nr. al-Sudaniyya and Bayt Lahiya, Israeli naval forces fire on Palestinian fishing boats, causing damage but no injuries. In the West Bank, Israeli forces destroy several tents and corrugated tin dwellings in the Jordan Valley. Nr. Nablus, unknown assailants open fire on an IDF jeep, causing light damage. The IDF increases restrictions at checkpoints nr. Nablus in response. The IDF also conducts raids in a village nr. Hebron, arresting 1 Palestinian; patrols in 2 villages nearby. Israeli settlers light 2 Palestinian vehicles on fire nr. Ramallah and leave price-tag graffiti in the area. In East Jerusalem, 56 Israeli settlers tour Haram al-Sharif to commemorate the Jewish holiday Purim. (MNA, TOI, WAFA 3/4; HA, PCHR, TOI 3/5; PCHR 3/12)

The PA Finance Ministry confirms that Israel’s freeze on tax revenue transfers to the PA is continuing for a 3d mo. and that, as a result, the PA can only afford to pay many of its employees 60% of their salaries. Employees who earn less than NIS 2,000 (around $500) per mo. will be fully paid on 3/5. (MNA, WAFA 3/4)

Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Yoav Mordechai, announces that the amount of water annually allowed into the Gaza Strip will be doubled from 5 to 10 million m3 . (HA, MNA, TOI 3/4)

The Palestinian Central Council (PCC) meets in Ramallah to discuss several issues, including the PA’s economic crisis and the possibility of suspending or cutting security coordination with Israel. At the request of PA Pres. Abbas, they review the interim agreements made with Israel in the 1990s that created the PA. Abbas says that he recently turned down an Israeli offer to unfreeze the transfers of tax revenues in exchange for the Palestinians abandoning their efforts at the International Criminal Court (ICC). (AFP, JP, TOI, WAFA, YA 3/4)

The day after Israeli PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says that Congress should not pass new sanctions-related legislation until the negotiators have had a chance to produce an agreement. Also, 10 senators send a letter to Majority Leader McConnell criticizing his procedural move on 3/3 to circumvent comm. consideration of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. (HA, JTA 3/5)