Monday, March 5, 2012

Obama and Netanyahu meet at the White House to discuss Iran. Obama reiterates that the U.S. wants time for diplomacy to work but has left all options, including a military strike, on the table. He also says that Israel has the right to act in its own national interests. Afterward, Netanyahu tells a cheering AIPAC audience that sanctions have done nothing to slow Iran’s progress toward achieving a nuclear weapon and warns that time for diplomacy is running out. Observers say (WP 3/6) Obama’s statement “could easily be considered green light for Israeli action. And if Obama is flashing a green light, Israel’s advocates in Congress are waving a starter’s flag.” (NYT, WT 3/6; MA, Raidió Teilifís Éireann, REU, WJW 3/8; OCHA 3/9)

After 6 mos. of negotiation with the UN, Israel permits the 1st 2 truckloads of Palestinian exports to the West Bank (date bars for distribution to needy children through the UN’s World Food Program) since the beginning of the siege in mid-2007; the UN notes that this does not mark the resumption of regular trade between Gaza and the West Bank. The IDF patrols in `Ayn al-Sultan r.c. and 2 villages nr. Jericho, 3 villages nr. Jenin, and 2 nr. Qalqilya during the date; patrols in Tulkarm town and r.c., 2 nearby villages late at night; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron (including Bayt Umar) and Nablus. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights notes (3/8) that 45 Bayt Umar residents (including 20 children) have been arrested by the IDF since 1/1/2012. Dozens of Palestinians march to the IDF’s Atara checkpoint outside Ramallah to mark the 2d anniversary of the death of a local Palestinian family when a IDF jeep collided with their taxi; IDF troops at checkpoint fire tear gas and stun grenades at the marchers who respond by throwing stones; during the exchange, an IDF soldier fires a tear gas canister at a Palestinian teenager 20 meters away, hitting him in the head and fracturing his skull, critically injuring him. (PCHR 3/8)