Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The day before U.S. Pres. Obama arrives in Israel, the IDF and Israeli police raze 6 structures in 2 unauthorized Jewish settler outposts in the West Bank (Oz Zion and Ramat Migron). In retaliation, Jewish settlers vandalize 18 Palestinian cars and a bus in Nablus. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in al-Fawar r.c. nr. Hebron in the afternoon, and conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Jenin at night. (MNA, YA 3/19; PCHR 3/21)

Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton sign a deal in Brussels for the EU to provide $9 million of new funding for Palestinian development, aimed at supporting the Palestinian presence in West Bank Area C (under full Israeli civilian and security control). Fayyad and his delegation then attend the annual meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC)—the main donor body responsible for formulating broad policy for development assistance to the Palestinians. There he presents a paper on how the Israeli occupation affects the Palestinian economy. Donors are asked by the Palestinian delegation to protect projects in Area C and are told how irregularities in aid transfers to the PA and Israel’s withholding of tax revenue have worsened a financial crisis. After talks, Norwegian FM and AHLC head Epsen Barth Eide says that progress was made towards securing the $1.2 billion needed to fund the PA this year (see QU 168). (AFP, MNA 3/18; HA 3/19)

A World Bank report warns of the continued deterioration of the Palestinian economy, citing Israeli-imposed restrictions and the impact of closures (See Docs in JPS 168). The report also notes a drop in donor funding, and the PA’s large debts to banks and suppliers. Palestinian gross domestic product grew 6.1% in the first three quarters of 2012, down from an 11% average in 2010 and 2011. (HA 3/12)