Monday, December 17, 2012

Israel approves 1,500 new housing units in the Ramat Shlomo settlement in East Jerusalem. The government is expected to approve a total of 6,500 settlement housing units over the next week, including almost 4,000 in Givat Hamatos–a new settlement nr. Bayt Safafa–and 1,000 units in Gilo South. Palestinian envoy to the UN Riyad Mansour urges permanent members of the UNSC to take action to stop Israel’s settlement plans in East Jerusalem. (JP, REU, MNA 12/17)

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen working 7 naut. mi. off the Gaza coast nr. Wadi Gaza (wounding 1) and nr. al-Waha (causing no injuries). In the West Bank, the IDF shoots and injures a Palestinian man in a village nr. Nablus, after Jewish settlers entered the village and clashed with residents. Israeli forces also raid Jaba village in the n. West Bank, ransacking several homes and taking photographs of a number of buildings. The IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Tulkarm in the morning, and in 1 village nr. Jenin, and Tulkarm and 1 nearby village in the afternoon; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon, and in Salfit, Hebron and 3 nearby villages at night. (MNA 12/17; PCHR 12/20)

Teachers in the West Bank go on strike to protest the delay in the payment of their salaries. The PA has not set a target date for paying back salaries. Meanwhile, the PA civil servants union accuses Israel of collective punishment for withholding Palestinian tax revenues and calls a strike from 12/18 to the end of the week. (MNA 12/17)

Hamas’s Interior Ministry in Gaza says that Fatah will be allowed to celebrate its 48th anniversary in Gaza, in order ‘‘to promote the atmosphere of unity.’’ (MNA 12/17)

Syrian rebels take control of Yarmuk r.c. nr. Damascus after a fierce battle pitting rebels and anti-Asad Palestinians against the pro-Asad PFLP–GC. PLO official in Syria Anwar Abdul-Hadi says that over half the Palestinian population of Yarmuk r.c. has fled; Palestinian amb. to Syria puts the figure at 95%. (MNA, REU 12/17)