Thursday, January 3, 2013

In a meeting chaired by Pres. Abbas, the PLO Executive Comm. affirms the need for a UNSC resolution against Israeli settlement construction. Abbas also signs a decree changing the name of the PA to the ‘‘State of Palestine,’’ with all stamps, signs, and official letterheads set to carry the new name. (MNA 1/3; ToI 1/4)

IDF soldiers make a brief incursion into c. Gaza, e. of Juhur al-Dik, to level land 100 m inside the border fence. In the West Bank, Israeli undercover forces launch an arrest raid into Jenin, sparking a clash with a large crowd of stone-throwing Palestinians; troops open fire on the crowd, wounding 1 man in the leg. The IDF also patrols in 1 village each nr. Jericho, Ramallah, and Salfit in the morning, in 2 villages nr. Jenin in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Salfit and 1 village each nr. Jenin, Jericho, and Tulkarm at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Jenin in the morning and in 1 village each nr. Hebron and Salfit at night. (MNA 1/3; PCHR 1/10)

An anonymous Israeli security source says that the IDF is planning to escalate arrest raids targeting Hamas mbrs. in the West Bank due to a ‘‘certain awakening’’ or simmering unrest. (YA 1/3)

Around 30,000 people participate in a festival in Nablus to mark Fatah’s 48th anniversary. Meanwhile, the movement’s supporters in the Gaza Strip begin to gather in preparation for their rally on 1/4. (MNA 1/3)

The Israeli organization Ir Amin reports that in 2012, publication of tenders for settlement apartments in East Jerusalem showed a three-fold increase compared to 2011 (rising to 2,386 units), and units approved for future construction a four-fold increase (to 6,932 units). (HA 1/3)

Head of Operations, Logistics, and Property at Israel’s Defense Ministry, Bezalel Treiber, says that in light of the war in Syria, the government is looking to improve the border fence with Syria and may do the same with Jordan, funds permitting. (NYT, ToI 1/3)

Speaking at an annual conference for Israel’s ambassadors abroad, PM Netanyahu says that Iran has not yet crossed the ‘‘red line’’ set by Israel on its nuclear program. The same gathering receives a Foreign Ministry paper predicting that the Syrian civil war has weakened the ability of Asad and Hizballah to respond in the event of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. (JP, ToI 1/3)