Monday, March 16, 2015

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts a house search and raid in Jericho, arresting 2 Palestinians; patrols in Nablus, al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron, and 1 village nr. Jenin. Israeli settlers park a group of mobile homes on Palestinian land nr. Nablus, establishing a new settlement outpost. Elsewhere, Palestinians in a village nr. Ramallah say that the Israeli authorities have informed them that they are planning on opening a major road e. of the city, having kept it closed since 2001 (Israeli forces will open the road on 5/25). Israeli authorities also inform farmers nr. Salfit that they plan to demolish 20 olive trees in the area. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces and settlers surround and attempt to evacuate a Palestinian-rented home in the Old City, but the tenants’ lawyer secures a stay on a 3/15 eviction order until 5/2015; small clashes break out. Separately, Israeli forces conduct house searches and raids in Issawiyya and Ras al-Amud, arresting 7 Palestinians. (HA, MNA, WAFA 3/16; PCHR 3/19; EI 3/25)

Israeli PM Netanyahu says that if he is chosen to serve a 3d consecutive term as PM, there will be no Palestinian state, responding to the confusion on 3/8 when his office refuted a Likud Party statement that said he was disavowing his 2009 Bar Ilan speech, in which he 1st came out in favor of the 2-state solution. (AFP, HA, MNA, TOI, YA 3/16)

Palestinian amb. to Iraq Ahmad Aqil says that the Iraqi Higher Judicial Council has issued a res. applying equal status as Iraqi citizens to Palestinian refugees in Iraq—except for full Iraqi nationality. While it is consistent with existing law protecting the rights of Palestinian refugees that passed under Saddam Hussein, those laws were not thoroughly enforced after his overthrow and around 22,000 Palestinians left Iraq. (MNA 3/16)

Iranian FM Zarif and U.S. Secy. of State Kerry, along with other reps. of Iran and the U.S., meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, for a week of negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. Zarif travels to Brussels to meet with envoys from several EU mbr. states as well as EU foreign policy chief Mogherini. (AFP, JP, TOI 3/16)