Friday, March 27, 2015

IDF troops on the Gaza border e. of Khan Yunis fire on a group of Palestinians approaching the border fence, causing 3 to suffer from tear gas inhalation. Separately, IDF troops stationed e. of Rafah open fire on agricultural lands nr. the border fence, causing damage. In 2 incidents off the coast nr. Jabaliya, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, IDF troops violently disperse Palestinian, Israeli, and international protesters at demonstrations to commemorate Land Day, upcoming on 3/30, and protest Israel’s occupation in 6 areas nr. Ramallah (Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, Nabi Salih, Silwad, outside Ofer Prison, and Jalazun r.c.), and Kafr Qaddum nr. Qalqilya; 10 Palestinians are moderately injured. The Israeli soldiers also cut off a main waterline into Kafr Qaddum, denying the village water for several hours. IDF troops also violently disperse Palestinian and international activists gathering in Abu Dis at the site of the “Gate of Jerusalem” protest tent camp. The IDF conducts house searches and raids in and around Hebron, arresting 1 Palestinian; conducts patrols in 2 villages nr. Hebron and 1 each nr. Jenin and Jericho. (MNA 3/27; PCHR 4/2)

The Israeli PM’s office announces that it is unfreezing tax revenue transfers to the PA that it has held as a punitive response to the Palestinian accession to the ICC since 1/2015. A statement announcing the move says that the total will be reduced by an undisclosed amount to pay portions of the PA’s debts to Israeli utility providers, such as the IEC. The PA FM criticizes the announced deductions, saying in a statement that they are “an unjustified and illegal procedure that could cause complications.” (AP, HA, JP, NYT, TOI 3/27; AFP, WAFA 3/28; JP 3/29)

French FM Fabius announces that, now that the 3/17 Israeli election has passed, he plans to explore the prospect of introducing another United Nations Security Council (UNSC) res. laying out parameters for a new round of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Meanwhile, an EU spokesperson announces that Hamas will remain a designated terrorist organization pending a decision on an appeal of the General Court’s 12/17/2014 removal of Hamas from the list. Similarly, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, which the U.S. claims funneled money to Hamas, has been removed from the list since it was last published in 7/2014. (AFP, AP, HA, REU, TOI 3/27; AFP 3/28)

The PA unity govt. delegation led by PM Hamdallah meets with Fatah and Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip, concluding its 3-day trip. (MNA 3/26) The Egyptian attorney, Samir Sabri, who filed the original motion to designate Hamas a terrorist organization in Egypt withdraws his case, saying he hopes to remove “obstacles which Egypt’s political leadership might face in serving its role in the Palestinian reconciliation.” The Court of Urgent Matters, which designated Hamas a terrorist organization 2/28, is expected to reconsider its initial ruling, though it was only in part based on Sabri’s motion. (AHR, MNA 3/27)

The 28th regular session of the UNHRC concludes today after a mo. of meetings, with the council having agreed on 3 res. on the Palestinians. They reaffirm the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, confirm Palestinian rights to sovereignty over their natural resources, and condemn ongoing settlement growth in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. (TOI 3/27; MNA 3/28)

PA Pres. Abbas arrives in Sharm al-Shaykh, Egypt, to participate in an Arab League summit on 3/28 and 3/29. Ahead of the summit, the Arab League agrees to send a delegation to Washington to lobby the U.S. Congress and promote the Arab Peace Initiative. (WAFA 2/25; MNA 3/27; HA 3/28)