Sunday, December 1, 2013

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces shoot at Palestinian farmers working close to the perimeter fence nr. Rafah, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Hebron and 2 villages and al-‘Arub r.c. nearby, and 1 village each nr. Bethlehem and Ramallah at night; patrols in Hebron and al-‘Arub r.c. in the afternoon, and in 1 village nr. Hebron, and 1 village nr. Qalqilya at night. In East Jerusalem, Israeli security forces escort 24 Jewish Israelis at Haram al-Sharif, prompting clashes with worshippers. (MNA 12/1; PCHR 12/5)

An anonymous official in Israeli PM Netanyahu’s office says that the govt. will not be proceeding with the preliminary planning procedures for 24,000 settlement homes, as previously indicated on the Housing Ministry’s website. Israeli TV reports that the PA directly appealed to U.S. Secy. of State Kerry about the matter, threatening to quit the negotiations if the tenders were not cancelled. Meanwhile, PA Pres. Abbas meets with opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog in Ramallah, and tells him he is keen to reach an agreement with Israel. In a statement released after the meeting, Herzog says, “We have a partner that is ready to go the distance for peace and take original, brave steps on core issues.” (HA, JP 12/1) 

Iranian pres. Ruhani says construction will soon start on a 2nd nuclear power plant, according to local media reports. Meanwhile, Iranian FM Zarif meets with his Kuwaiti counterpart Shaykh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah, on his 1st official visit to a Gulf Arab country. Following the meeting, Zarif says that the 6-mo. interim deal with the West is in the Gulf states’ interests. (AFP, JP 12/1)

Egyptian security forces violently disperse anti-govt. demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, as the cmte. charged with amending the constitution approves changes to the text in the 2nd day of discussions. The new constitution give women and Christians “suitable representation” and also stipulates there must be elections, either parliamentary or presidential, within 90 days of the document’s adoption. The use of military tribunals for civilians is also scaled back, to be permitted only in cases of attacks on military personnel or property. However, the armed forces are given the exclusive right to name the defense minister for the next 2 presidential terms. The draft constitution is now handed over to Egyptian interim pres. Adly Mansour who has 1 mo. to call a national referendum. (AP, REU 12/1)