Saturday, September 3, 2011

U.S. admin. sources say Pres. Barack Obama’s admin. has “launched a last-ditch diplomatic campaign” to convince the Palestinians to abandon their statehood initiative at the UN by making it clear that the U.S. will veto and by presenting (soon, via the Quartet) a proposal for renewed talks as an alternative. The sources say that the Quartet proposal is aimed primarily at swaying UN member states to vote against a Palestinian statehood resolution and is not expected to result in a resumption of serious peace talks. (NYT 9/4).

The IDF conducts afternoon and evening patrols in Jenin and 4 nearby villages, 2 village nr. Tulkarm, and 1 nr. Hebron; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron. In Israel, as many as 400,000 Israelis turn out nationwide (more than 300,000 in Tel Aviv) for protests calling for social justice. July 14th movement organizers had called for a million-person march today to revive the Saturday protests, which fell off after the 8/18 Elat attack. After the rally, demonstrators begin taking down tent camps, as organizers switch attention to forming local committees to press for social reforms. (WP 9/4; PCHR, WJW 9/8; OCHA 9/9; Foreign Policy [Internet] 9/12; see also NYT 9/1)

Egypt, in effort to improve relations with Israel by strengthening border security, begins an operation to close smuggling tunnels under the Rafah border. Meanwhile, the Israeli emb. in Cairo hires contractors to erect a 12-ft. wall around the emb. in effort to deter the 100s (and sometimes 1,000s) of Egyptian who have gathered outside since the 8/18 Elat incident to protest the deaths of 3 Egyptian soldiers. (WP 9/4, 9/5)