Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Unidentified Israeli officials tell the Jerusalem Post that unofficial, informal talks under EU auspices are taking place between Israeli and Palestinian academics and former political and military leaders. These discrete dialogues are looking at final-status issues like Jerusalem in order to come up with recommendations for steps that could be taken by both sides. (JP, REU 1/8)

Israel’s Jerusalem municipality demolishes a Palestinian home in Silwan in East Jerusalem on the basis that it was built without a permit. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron, ‘Ayn Bayt al-Ma’ r.c. nr. Nablus, and 1 village nr. Bethlehem at night. (WAFA 1/8; PCHR 1/10)

Israel’s education min. Gideon Sa’ar convenes an unscheduled meeting of the Council for Higher Education in order to officially endorse the university status of Ariel settlement’s college. Speaking at Ariel University on the same day, PM Netanyahu says the settlement will ‘‘always remain under Israeli sovereignty.’’ (HA, JP 1/8)

Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad says that the PA is on the verge of bankruptcy, but that he is not afraid of popular protests against the PA similar to those that took place in 9/2012 (see Quarterly Update in JPS 166). Fayyad points out that international aid to the PA dropped from $1.8 b. in 2008 to $1 b. in 2011. (JP 1/8)

PA pres. Abbas appoints the new leadership of the Fatah comm. in the Gaza Strip, a group tasked with increasing the movement’s membership in Gaza. (MNA 1/8)

A military court in Gaza City sentences Fatah military leader Zaki al-Sakani to 15 yrs. in jail on charges of terrorism and illegal possession of explosives and weapons. Fatah denounces the verdict. (MNA 1/8)

Pro-Asad Palestinian factions in Damascus call for a cease-fire after a month of fighting in Yarmuk r.c. A statement signed by the PFLP–GC, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Nidal Front says that Palestinians in Syria must remain ‘‘neutral.’’ (AJE, Guardian 1/8)