Monday, March 9, 2015

In Gaza, Egyptian authorities open the Rafah border crossing for the 1st time since 1/22 (it will remain open until 3/10). Off the coast nr. Bayt Lahiya, Israeli naval forces fire on Palestinian fishing boats, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian’s home nr. Tulkarm; deliver demolition notices to several residential buildings in a village n. of Jerusalem. The IDF conducts a military drill in c. Hebron and soldiers fire tear gas at Palestinian bystanders; house searches and raids in Nablus, 1 village each nr. Qalqilya, Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Jenin, arresting 21 Palestinians and issuing arrest summons to 4; patrols in 4 areas nr. Ramallah and 1 village nr. Hebron. Israeli settlers destroy over 40 olive trees nr. Nablus. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces deliver demolition notices to several buildings nr. Qalandia. (JP, MNA, WAFA 3/9; MNA, TOI 3/10; PCHR 3/12)

Hamas in Gaza releases a statement criticizing the PASF’s arrest of over 100 Hamas affiliates in the past 2 weeks, including 40 on 3/8. They accuse the PA unity govt. of using the arrests as retaliation for the detention of senior Fatah official Mamoun Sweidan in Gaza over the past few days. (MNA, YA 3/9)

Led by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), 47 Republican senators sign and release an open letter to the leaders of Iran. It says that they will consider any agreement the Obama admin. signs with the P5+1 in their negotiations with Iran to be merely an executive agreement, and that such an agreement could be revoked or modified in the future. Meanwhile, IAEA officials arrive in Tehran for talks on Iran’s nuclear program, specifically the results of the IAEA’s recent (2/19) report on Iran’s compliance with the JPOA, which governs its negotiations with the P5+1. (AFP, AP, JP, MDW, TOI 3/9; AP, TOI 3/10)