Friday, January 16, 2015

In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops e. of Jabaliya r.c. open fire on a group of Palestinians, moderately injuring 1. Also, 100s of Palestinians pray outside the Rafah border crossing, protesting its closure since 12/23. Meanwhile, police officers dismantle a 1,000 kg piece of unexploded Israeli ordnance left in Gaza City after OPE. Late at night, unknown persons vandalize the French Cultural Center, leaving slogans criticizing French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo’s recent publication of a cartoon featuring a likeness of the Prophet Muhammad. Also, the Gaza power plant resumes operation of a 3d turbine (out of 4 total), following the receipt of aid from the Qatari govt. for additional fuel. Daily scheduled power outages in Gaza decrease from 18 to 12 hours. In the West Bank, IDF troops violently disperse Palestinian, Israeli, and international protesters at weekly demonstrations against Israel’s separation wall, settlements, and occupation in 3 villages nr. Ramallah (Bil‘in, Nabi Salih, and Ni‘lin), and 1 village nr. Qalqilya (Kafr Qaddum), and nonweekly demonstrations in Surayf village nr. Hebron and outside Ofer detention center. In total, 10 Palestinians are seriously injured (2, Bil‘in; 7, Kafr Qaddum; 1, Surayf). Also, IDF troops conduct house searches and arrest raids nr. Ramallah, Qalqilya, and in al-‘Arub r.c.; patrol nr. Jenin; arrest a Palestinian man at a border crossing n. of Jenin. Separately, a Palestinian throws stones at Israeli settlers’ vehicles between Jerusalem and Ramallah, injuring 1. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest a Palestinian in al-‘Izzariya. Meanwhile, 100s of Palestinians gather at Haram al-Sharif after Friday prayers to protest the Charlie Hebdo cartoon. In s. Israel, Palestinian bedouin residents of Rahat observe a general strike called for by the Arab High Follow-Up Comm. in protest of the 1/14 killing of Sami al-Ajar by Israeli police. The comm. also called for a strike on 1/18. (MNA 1/16; AFP, TOI 1/17; +972 1/19; PCHR 1/22; OCHA 1/23)

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda opens a preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine to cover the time period since 6/13. Meanwhile, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women Rashida Manjoo cancels her fact-finding mission to the oPt because Israeli authorities refused to give her a visa. (MNA, TOI 1/16; EI, MNA, WAFA 1/17)

Speaking at a joint press conference, U.S. Pres. Obama affirms that he will veto any new sanctions legislation that the new Republicanled Congress may pass, and UK PM David Cameron criticizes the sanctions proposals. Meanwhile, U.S. Secy. of State Kerry meets with Iranian FM Zarif in Paris and discusses the negotiations over Iran’s disputed nuclear program, as U.S. and Iranian officials meet in Geneva for bilateral talks. Zarif also meets with French FM Fabius. (AFP, AP, MNA, TOI 1/16)