Saturday, November 24, 2012

Khalil Assaf, the chair of the Palestinian Public Freedoms Comm., established in order to implement the May 2011 Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal, announces that Egypt will invite all Palestinian factions to Cairo to resume national unity talks after the upcoming UN session in New York on 11/29, at which it is expected the Palestinian request for upgraded status will be debated. Separately, Amin Maqboul— secy.-gen. of Fatah’s legislative body, the Fatah Revolutionary Council—says he will lead an 11-mbr. Fatah delegation on a visit to the Gaza Strip on 11/23. Meanwhile, senior Hamas official Abu Marzuq says Hamas will not oppose Mahmud Abbas’s UN recognition bid, but believes that it is a waste of time, since ‘‘occupation needs resistance, not negotiations.’’ Meanwhile, Israeli officials continue to threaten unspecified consequences if Abbas moves forward with the UN bid; Ramallah officials in turn reiterate Abbas’s determination to go ahead. (AP, JP, MNA 11/24)

Hamas officials in Gaza say that Egypt has notified PM Haniyeh that Israel has agreed to extend the permitted fishing zone off the Gaza coast from 3 nautical miles (naut. mi.) to 6 naut. mi. and to reduce restrictions on Palestinian farming along the Gaza border (not further specified). However, and though the cease-fire continues to hold, the IDF opens fire on Palestinian farmers nr. Bayt Hanun and Jabaliya in the afternoon, causing no injuries. Meanwhile, groups affiliated with the Fatah-affiliated al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Gaza claim they fired over 500 projectiles during the recent Israeli operation. (REU 11/24; PCHR 11/29)

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin and 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning, 1 village nr. Ramallah in the afternoon, and 5 villages nr. Jenin and 1 village nr. Salfit at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in Nablus and 4 villages nr. Hebron at night. (PCHR 11/29)

The UN and UK government express their hope that a conference aimed at banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East would take place soon, despite what the U.S. has called a ‘‘deep conceptual gap’’ relating to participants’ views on Israel’s presumed nuclear arsenal. (REU 11/24)