Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Higher Planning Council of the IDF’s Civil Admin. meets to advance plans for 3,400 new settlement homes in the E1 area between Ma’ale Adumim and Jerusalem. Construction is expected to begin in 1–2 years. (HA, JP 12/5)

In Berlin, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu meets German chancellor Angela Merkel, who expresses dismay at settlement expansion. Israeli media reports say that Merkel’s message is that Netanyahu must choose between the peace process and establishing a Palestinian state on the one hand, and continued settlement growth and international isolation on the other. Meanwhile, the E.U. summons Israel’s amb. for a meeting, following similar moves by Britain, Denmark, France, Spain, and Sweden on 12/3. Palestinian pres. Abbas says he is determined to block the proposed settlement construction E1 with all legal and diplomatic means. Islamic Jihad issues a warning Israel to expect recent actions, such as settlement expansion and demolitions, to provoke a response. (REU 12/4; AP, HA, MNA, REU 12/5)

Hamas-affiliated Reform and Change mbr. Nasser al-Shaer tells Palestinian media that national reconciliation is the PA’s top priority following the successful UN bid. Senior Hamas official Ahmad Yousef cautions, however, that political instability in Egypt could delay unity talks mediated by Egyptian officials. (MNA 12/5)

In the West Bank, Jewish settlers uproot around 200 Palestinian-owned olive trees in a village nr. Bethlehem. The IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Jericho, and 6 villages nr. Hebron at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in Tubas, 2 villages nr. Jenin, and 1 village each nr. Nablus, Tulkarm, and Tubas at night. (IMEMC 12/5; PCHR 12/13)

A mortar shell fired during an exchange inside Syria accidentally lands inside the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, nr. an IDF base, causing no damage or injuries. Israel lodges a formal complaint with the UN. Meanwhile, the UN Disengagement Observer Force, deployed in the Golan since 1974 to monitor the Israel-Syria cease-fire, announces that it will reinforce its security due to threats of cross-border violence posed by Syrian rebels. (JP 12/5)

Armed clashes take place in Tripoli as Syria’s civil war continues to spill over into Lebanon, with gunmen loyal to opposing sides in the Syrian fighting clashing in the city. The fighting has killed 6 people and wounded around 60 since the beginning of the week, sparked by the deaths on 11/30 of over a dozen Lebanese fighting with the rebels. (AP 12/5)