Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Russian pres. Putin meets with PA pres. Abbas in Ramallah and tours holy sites in Bethlehem. Putin calls the Palestinian conditions on resuming negotiations with Israel ‘‘responsible’’ and reiterates that Russia would recognize a Palestinian state. (WT 6/27) 

Jewish settlers begin evacuating Ulpana outpost, moving into new mobile homes placed on an Israeli border police base next to neighboring Beit El settlement. Meanwhile, Israel’s Jerusalem planning comm. approves construction of 180 new housing units for Armona Hanatsiv settlement on 67 d. of confiscated Palestinian land in Sur Bahir. (NYT, WP 6/27)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 4 Grad rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing light damage in 1 instance but no injuries; 2 of the rockets are intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome antimissile system. Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the c. Gaza coast forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron, and nr. Bethlehem and Jenin. The IDF also makes a late-night raid into Salfit, searching the offices of Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Council (PC) mbrs. Omar ‘Abd al-Raziq and Nasser ‘Abd al-Jawwad as well as a nearby house. OCHA reports that in the previous week, the IDF demolished another 3 residential structures, 9 animal pens, and 1 portable kitchen in Wadi al-Malih village in the Jordan Valley nr. Tubas (an area designated as an IDF firing zone), where several structures were demolished on 6/5/12. (JP 6/26; PCHR 6/28; OCHA 6/29)

As civil war escalates in Syria, Palestine Liberation Army (PLA) col. Ahmad Salih Hassan is shot dead near Damascus. The PLA is technically a wing of the PLO but is incorporated into the Syrian army. Government sources blame the Free Syrian Army (FSA) for Hassan’s killing, whereas opposition groups claim he was killed by government forces for refusing orders to target the FSA. Hassan is the 6th PLA officer to be killed since 1/2012. A new charity funded by 3 Russian Jewish billionaires and comanaged with the Israeli government plans to offer a $1-m. ‘‘Genesis Prize’’ for excellence in any field. The prize is intended to ‘‘honor those who attribute their success to Jewish values’’ and to ‘‘recognize the role of Jewish identity in encouraging universal achievements.’’ (NYT 6/27)

An Iranian detained in Kenya ca. 6/20 on charges of plotting an attack on Israelis there says that he was interrogated by Israeli agents. Israel’s amb. to Kenya refuses to comment other than to say the matter is an internal Kenyan issue. (WT 6/28)