Thursday, November 6, 2008

U.S. Secy. of State Rice begins her final 4-day Middle East tour of Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank to discuss efforts to achieve “lasting peace in the region consistent with the goal of a two-state solution.” The U.S. had announced the trip on 10/30, when optimism surrounding the Gaza ceasefire was high, hoping that the visit would end with the signing of an Israeli-Palestinian joint statement on future negotiations at a high-level Quartet meeting on 11/9. In the wake of the 11/4–5 violence, however, the White House declares today, as Rice begins her meetings, that it intends to leave IsraeliArab peacemaking to the Obama admin. and no longer thinks any Israeli-Palestinian peace deal will occur before Bush leaves office in 1/09. Rice meets with Livni today. (BBC 11/6; NYT, WP, WSJ 11/7) (WT 10/31; HA 11/8; IFM, NYT, WP, WT 11/9; WP 11/10)

IDF troops on the s. Gaza border fire on Palestinian farmers working their fields nearby, forcing them to leave. The IDF also makes an air strike on a group of Palestinians nr. Jabaliya r.c. allegedly preparing to fire a rocket, injuring 1. Palestinians fire 4 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, in the morning, the IDF sends undercover units into Qalqilya driving a car with Palestinian plates to raid a store, arrest the owner; conducts a similar undercover raid into Nablus later in the day, raiding another store and arresting the owner; sends troops into al-Khadir village at midday, forcing stores to close, patrolling streets, withdrawing early in the evening; makes an evening incursion into Azun nr. Qalqilya, imposing a curfew, beating Palestinians who do not quickly leave the streets, withdrawing before midnight. Abbas accuses Hamas forces in Gaza of detaining nearly 50 Fatah members and supporters in a political move to undermine upcoming Cairo unity talks; at least 9 of those arrested, including a Fatah PC mbr., are released by the end of the day. A Palestinian woman dies of injures receive in the 11/4 IDF attacks on Gaza. (HA 11/6; MM 11/7; OCHA 11/12; PCHR 11/13)