Friday, March 20, 2015

IDF troops on the Gaza border e. of Khan Yunis fire warning shots at 3 Palestinians approaching the border fence, moderately injuring each of them; e. of Jabaliya fire warning shots at Palestinian farmers nr. the border fence, causing no injuries. Off the coast nr. Rafah, Egyptian naval forces detain 9 Palestinian fishermen. 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 6 areas nr. Ramallah (Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, Nabi Salih, Silwad, Jalazun r.c., and outside Ofer Prison), and Kafr Qaddum nr. Qalqilya; 7 are injured. The IDF conducts house searches and raids in Hebron and 1 village nr. Ramallah, arresting 1 Palestinian and issuing summons to another; patrols in al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron, in and around Qalqilya, 2 villages nr. Tulkarm, and 1 nr. Jenin. The PASF clashes with stonethrowing Palestinians in Balata r.c. nr. Nablus; 2 young boys are injured in the crossfire. (MNA 3/20, 3/21; PCHR 3/26; MEE 5/6)

UN Secy.-Gen. Ban Ki-moon calls Israeli PM Netanyahu and urges him to renew his commitment to the 2-state solution. Meanwhile, the UN Commission on the Status of Women approves a res. condemning Israel for the grave situation of Palestinian women under occupation. (MNA, YA 3/20; AP, MNA, TOI 3/21)

The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) submits a formal res. to FIFA, the body governing international soccer, calling for the Israel Football Association (IFA) to be suspended until Palestinian players and coaches are allowed to move freely, facilities can be developed without obstruction, Israeli settler soccer clubs are banned from playing in IFA competitions, and the IFA takes “firm action” to eliminate racism in its leagues. The res. is scheduled for a vote at the annual FIFA conference on 5/29. (REU 3/31)

On the 5th day of bilateral nuclear negotiations between reps. of the U.S. and Iran in Lausanne, Switzerland, Iran’s delegation is forced to return to Tehran 2 days early after Pres. Hassan Rouhani’s mother dies. The negotiations will resume on 3/26. Meanwhile, an IAEA report on Iran’s compliance with the JPOA is leaked to the press. It concludes that Iran is upholding its commitments, including capping uranium enrichment at 5% and holding any “further advances” at its enrichment facilities and the Arak heavy water reactor. Separately, 367 mbrs. of the U.S. House of Representatives send a letter to Pres. Obama calling for congressional oversight on any agreement between the P5+1 and Iran to review the proposed sanctions relief. The letter will be released on 3/23. (AP, GDN, REU, TOI 3/20; YA 3/23)