Sunday, January 15, 2017

Along Gaza’s border, unidentified Palestinians open fire on Israeli forces doing maintenance work on the border fence nr. Rafah, hitting a military vehicle and causing minor damage. In response, IDF troops and artillery fire on a Hamas post along the border, causing an unspecified amount of damage. Earlier in the day, Israeli forces conducted a limited incursion to level land nr. Khan Yunis. In the West Bank, IDF troops violently suppress a Palestinian demonstration in Bethlehem calling for the Israeli authorities to return the corpses of slain Palestinians; there are no serious injuries. They also arrest 14 Palestinians during late-night raids nr. Ramallah and Hebron, and patrol nr. Hebron and Qalqilya during the day. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest 9 Palestinians during raids in Jabal Mukabir and Hizma, and assault and arrest 2 Palestinian youths in Silwan. Israeli settlers smash furniture and other personal property outside a Palestinian home in Silwan. (HA, JP, MNA, TOI, WAFA, YA 1/15; PCHR 1/19)

Representatives from more than 70 countries, including U.S. secy. of state Kerry, gather in Paris for a conference aimed at restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. After reportedly intense negotiations, the conferees unanimously agree to a joint declaration calling on both the Palestinians and Israelis to officially restate their commitments to a 2-state solution and to demonstrate that commitment through policies and actions. Conferees also welcome the prospect of closer cooperation between the Middle East Quartet and the Arab League; and agree to meet again within a year; inter alia. (BBC, GDN, HA, JP, MNA, REU, TOI, WAFA, WP, YA 1/15; HA 1/20)

The Israeli govt. and the PA agree to restart the Joint Water Comm. after 6 years of inactivity. The comm. will discuss allocating additional water to the West Bank and Gaza, increasing water sources with new drilling, environmental issues, agricultural water use and other hydrological matters. The agreement also gives the PA autonomy to deal with select water projects in the West Bank. (JP, YA 1/15; JP 1/17)

Israel’s security cabinet grants Israeli banks dealing with Palestinian banks immunity from terrorism-related lawsuits in Israel and indemnity from similar suits filed abroad. Two Israeli banks have threatened to end partnerships with Palestinian banks because of the prospect of litigation in the U.S. (HA, TOI 1/22)