Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon (firing tear gas and percussion grenades at stone-throwing youths who confront them, causing no serious injuries); conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in `Ayn Bayt al-Ma’a r.c. nr. Nablus and Qalqilya, and nr. Tulkarm (arresting 1 Palestinian released in the recent prisoner swap that freed IDF Cpl. Shalit). Israel approves construction of 600 new settlement housing units in Shiloh settlement, deep in the West Bank. (NYT, PCHR 2/2; PCHR 3/1; OCHA 3/2)

Israel’s High Court repeals (6-3) the 2002 Tal Law that exempted ultraOrthodox Jews who attend yeshivas from mandatory military service; the provision was already set to expire in summer 2012 and Netanyahu had indicated he would not renew it. Some (see WT 2/23) fear the decision could spark a coalition crisis. (NYT, WT 2/23)

Hamas’s internal and external leadership hold a 14-hr. meeting in Cairo (2/22) to discuss their differences over the 5/2011 Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement. The Gaza leadership makes new demands that Mishal take numerous stands that run contrary to the 5/2011 deal and that Abbas would certainly reject (including demanding that Hamas be allowed to control the PA Interior Min. in the transitional government, to name Abbas’s deputy to oversee Gaza during the transition, and to maintain its independent security structure in Gaza. (REU 2/23; JP 2/26)