Monday, October 11, 2010

In his first statement since the 10/8 Arab League decision, Netanyahu, at the opening of the fall session of the Knesset, publicly offers a “limited” extension of its partial settlement freeze if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Abbas rejects this as a key concession that Israel seeks as a basis to reject Palestinian refugees’ right of return to their homes in Israel, noting that the PLO formally recognized the State of Israel in an exchange of letters before signing the 1993 Oslo Accord. The State Dept. suggests that Abbas make a counter offer to keep the process going. (AFP, NYT, WP 10/11; AFP, HA 10/12)

Meanwhile, Israel’s ministerial comm. on legislation sends a bill to the Knesset for a second reading that would require a national referendum before any territory could be ceded in a peace agreement. (JTA, NYT 10/11)

Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, IDF undercover units make an incursion into Silwan in East Jerusalem, arresting 4 Palestinian boys (ages 12–13), firing rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades at stone-throwing youths who confront them, seriously wounding a 14-yr.-old Palestinian boy; all 4 boys arrested are released on 10/12. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Qalqilya. An Israeli military court sentences Abdullah Abu Rahma, head of the Popular Committee Against the Wall in the West Bank village of Bil‘in who organizes the weekly demonstrations against the separation wall, to 1 year in jail (including time served) and a $1,250 fine; Abu Rahma was arrested in 12/09 and convicted in 8/2010 of incitement and participating in illegal demonstrations. PA PM Salam Fayyad holds a groundbreaking ceremony to inaugurate a new agroindustrial park in the Jordan Valley, which is expected to create 10,000 new Palestinian jobs. (JTA 10/12; Israel National News, WT 10/13; PCHR 10/14; OCHA 10/15; Irish Times 10/21; UNSCO 10/22)