Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The White House abandons efforts to persuade Israel to impose a 90-day settlement construction freeze and takes its generous package of diplomatic and security incentives off the table. The message comes days before senior Israeli and Palestinian negotiators plan to meet in Washington for further talks on the peace process and before U.S. Secy. of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to make a major Middle East policy statement on 12/10. (NYT, WP, WT 12/8)

The IDF makes a brief incursion e. of al-Bureij r.c. in c. Gaza to level lands along the border fence, firing on surrounding areas, causing no reported injuries. Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Late in the evening, the IDF responds with air strikes on a poultry farm nr. Khan Yunis (an alleged arms cache) and at a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, IDF escorts plain-clothed individuals into Rafat village nr. Salfit in the morning; the group pauses outside the local mosque, pointing at it and taking notes. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron and nr. Nablus, and patrols in Anabta village nr. Tulkarm. In Israel, 47 state-employed Israeli rabbis issue an open letter distributed in synagogues and religious journals saying that it is prohibited by the Torah to sell or rent a house or a field in the land of Israel to non-Jews. Netanyahu denounces the letter. (JP 12/7; WT, YA 12/8; PCHR 12/9; OCHA 12/10; JPI 12/17)