Monday, September 20, 2010

Israeli DM Ehud Barak comes to the U.S. with a backchannel proposal for Israel to extend its temporary settlement freeze (set to expire on 9/26) for a short period in exchange for rewards and guarantees from the U.S. He shuttles between New York and Washington discussing the proposal with various senior U.S. officials. Separately, Israel’s chief negotiator Yitzhak Molcho, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat arrive in the U.S. for their own meetings with U.S. officials regarding the upcoming expiration of the settlement freeze and the consequences for peace talks. (NYT 9/21; WT 9/22; JPI 10/1)

Israel for the 1st time since 6/07 allows 20 used cars to be imported to Gaza. Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them back to shore. Unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts morning patrols in 2 villages nr. Qalqilya, randomly checking Palestinian IDs, but making no arrests; late-night patrols in a village nr. Tulkarm, making no arrests. Jewish settlers fr. Ramat Gilad settlement nr. Qalqilya begin working a Palestinian olive grove near the settlement, telling local Palestinians who challenge them that they purchased the land; they leave when the Palestinian owner arrives. In East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities stage a predawn raid on several houses in Silwan village, arresting 4 Palestinians. In addition, Jewish settlers seize a Palestinian house in the suburb of Bayt Safafa (home to 20 people), sparking fights between settlers and the Palestinian owners. Israeli police and municipal officials intervene, arresting 2 Palestinians, and issuing an order to demolish the house (not immediately implemented). (JP 9/20; NYT 9/21; PCHR 9/23; OCHA 9/24)