Wednesday, December 28, 2016

In the West Bank, the IDF closes the 2d major entrance to Shuqba village nr. Ramallah, having closed the first one in the wake of the killing in nearby Bayt Rima on 12/18. IDF troops arrest 2 Palestinians during raids nr. Hebron and Ramallah, and patrol nr. Hebron. Late at night, Israeli settlers visit Kifl Haris village nr. Salfit to pray at Jewish shrines. Their IDF escort sets up mobile checkpoints and roadblocks to facilitate their visit. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolish 3 agricultural containers and a steel structure, as well as parts of a store in Silwan. Approximately 176 right-wing Jewish activists tour Haram al-Sharif in the morning; Israeli forces meanwhile detain 1 Palestinian guard at the sanctuary. (MNA, WAFA 12/28; MNA, PCHR 12/29; PCHR 1/5)

U.S. secy. of state Kerry gives a speech in Washington outlining his principles for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as he pledged to do in the wake of the UNSC’s adoption of anti-settlement Res. 2334 on 12/23. Citing the so-called regulations bill that is percolating through the Knesset, Kerry says that current trends on the ground, particularly settlement growth and the legalization of settlement outposts, are eliminating the possibility of a 2-state solution, that Jerusalem must be the shared capital of Israel and a future state of Palestine, and that a final agreement must be based on negotiated land swaps, inter alia. Israeli PM Netanyahu calls Kerry’s speech a “big disappointment” and reiterates his desire for the U.S.-Israel relationship to improve under Pres.-elect Trump. Trump himself tweets, “Stay strong, Israel, JANUARY 20 is approaching fast.” PA pres. Abbas says that he would be open to restarting peace talks with Israel as long as the Israeli govt. freezes settlement growth and upholds previous agreements. (BBC, EI, HA, JP, MNA, NYT, REU, TOI, WP, YA 12/28)

A senior PLO official says that the Palestinian leadership wants the ICC to “expedite” its preliminary examination of alleged war crimes committed during Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2014 and “proceed to opening a full investigation” into Israeli settlements in the wake of the 12/23 UNSC res. condemning them. (JP 12/28)