Thursday, January 24, 2013

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid to have the 1st discussions about forming a coalition. Lapid reportedly sets 2 conditions for joining a governing coalition: (1) a universal draft bill (see Quarterly Update in JPS 165) and (2) the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians. Meanwhile, Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman says that domestic issues will be the priority of the next government. (HA, YA, JP 1/24)

Secy.-gen. of the PLO Executive Comm. Yasir ‘Abid Rabbuh says that Pres. Abbas wants to meet and talk with centrist mbrs. of the new Knesset in coming weeks, including newcomers such as Yair Lapid. (YA 1/24)

Nominated U.S. secy. of state John Kerry tells his Senate confirmation hearing that he intends to invest effort in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and hopes that the Israeli election can help restart talks. (JP 1/24)

Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza coast nr. al-Waha, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes 4 homes in 2 communities in the n. Jordan Valley; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Salfit at night. The IDF also patrols in 3 villages nr. Jenin, 2 each nr. Jericho and Ramallah, and 1 nr. Tulkarm in the morning; in Tulkarm and 1 village nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon; and in ‘Ayn al-Sultan r.c. nr. Jericho, 2 villages each nr. Jenin and Qalqilya, and 1 village each nr. Jericho and Ramallah at night. (MNA 1/24; PCHR 1/31)

The International Federation of Journalists condemns a week of arrests of journalists by Hamas security forces in the Gaza Strip, and calls for the release of 6 detained media workers. (MNA 1/24)

Israeli security agency Shin Bet announces that for the 1st year since 1973, there were no Israeli casualties from a Palestinian attack in the West Bank. The report covering 2012 says that there was an uptick in so-called popular terror in the West Bank, referring to stone-throwing and Molotov cocktails. The report notes that 10 Israelis were killed in security-related incidents during 2012, and that more than 2,500 rockets and mortar shells were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. However, Shin Bet reports that since Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, no rockets have been fired. The report also records that 8 rockets were fired at Israel from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, and that there were 11 attempts to fire anti-aircraft weaponry at IDF planes, up from just 1 effort in 2011. (HA 1/24)

A number of Fatah leaders who fled the Gaza Strip during the Fatah-Hamas fighting in 2007 return to the territory, including former PA preventive security service head in Khan Yunis, Nasser al-Saqq. (MNA 1/24)

UN special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism Ben Emmerson announces that the UN is launching an inquiry into the impact on civilians of drone strikes that will focus on 5 locations, including the Palestinian territories. The other 4 are Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. (BBC 1/24)