Sunday, December 29, 2013

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces strike an area nr. al-Maghazi r.c., wounding 2 Palestinians. In the West Bank, 1 Palestinian man dies at a mobile checkpoint nr. Jenin, after soldiers hold up a car en route to a hospital. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Hebron and 3 nearby villages at night; patrols in Qalqilya in the morning and in 3 villages and al- ‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron at night. (MNA 12/29; PCHR 1/2)

The Knesset’s Ministerial Cmte. for Legislation advances a proposed law to annex the Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley by a vote of 8–3. The bill will proceed for consideration by the full Knesset with govt. backing, despite opposition from Justice Minister Livni and Fin. Min. Yair Lapid. Netanyahu is reported to have advised Likud ministers against voting for the law. Meanwhile, EU Amb. to Israel Lars Faaborg-Anderson lodges a protest over the 12/26 decision to build 1,400 new housing units in West Bank settlements. (HA 12/29)

Two Katyusha rockets are fired from within Lebanon land nr. Israeli town Kiryat Shmona, causing no damage or injuries. Three other rockets fall within Lebanese territory. In response, Israeli forces launch 33 shells into the border region of s. Lebanon, also causing no injuries. (AP, HA, JP, REU 12/29)

Israel reopens the Kerem Shalom border crossing following a 4-day closure, allowing the entry of goods such as industrial fuel to run the Gaza Strip’s sole power plant, which resumes a cycle of 8 hours on, 8 hours off. In addition, 8 truckloads of strawberries and tomatoes pass through the crossing into Israel; the goods are bound for European markets. (MNA, WAFA 12/29)

U.S. Defense Secy. Hagel speaks on the telephone with Egypt’s DM Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and expresses concern about recent developments. Hagel urges for political inclusiveness ahead of the constitutional referendum scheduled for 1/2014. (REU 12/29)