Thursday, December 22, 2011

The IDF makes a brief incursion into n. Gaza in the morning to level lands and clear lines of sight along the border e. of Jabaliya r.c., firing on nearby residential areas to keep Palestinians indoors. In Dura and Ithna villages nr. Hebron, the IDF destroys 1 Palestinian home, part of 2 other homes, 9 agricultural pools and irrigation networks, 4 water tanks, and 5 wells, also confiscating 15 water pumps and other agricultural equipment. The IDF also patrols in 3 villages nr. Qalqilya and 1 nr. Jenin in the evening; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Bethlehem and neighboring Dahaysha r.c. Washington Jewish Week reports that in the previous wk., Israel’s Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court rejected 2 lawsuits demanding the eviction of Palestinian families fr. their Silwan homes; the suits were brought by Eldad, an organization seeking to Judaize Jerusalem in part by settling Jews in the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, nr. the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount. (WJW 12/22; PCHR 12/29; OCHA 1/5)

At the close of 2 days of talks in Cairo, Fatah’s Abbas and Hamas’s Mishal agree that they will both sit on the comm. that will prepare for the next elections of the PLO’s parliament-in-exile, the Palestinian National Council (PNC), marking a major step toward Hamas joining the PLO. They also agree to form an interim unity government by the end of 1/2012 and to bring elected Hamas-affiliated legislators back into the PA’s parliament, the Palestinian Council (PC), in 2/2012. (NYT, AP, WP, WT 12/23; HA 12/28)

Reports indicate that Hamas is scaling back its presence in Syria because of violence there, but overall feels buoyed by the Arab Spring. Senior Hamas official Mahmud Zahar states that Hamas feels strengthened and validated by the popular support shown for Islamist parties in countries affected by the Arab Spring, suggesting that the new Tunisian model of power-sharing among Islamist and secular nationalist parties could be a model for the Palestinians. (WP 12/22)