Monday, May 18, 2015

In n. Gaza, a mbr. of Hamas’s armed wing, Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades (IQB), dies in a tunnel collapse nr. Bayt Lahiya. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and raids in and around Hebron, al-‘Arub r.c., 2 villages nr. Jenin, 1 nr. Bethlehem, and al-Fara‘a r. c. near Tubas, arresting 15 Palestinians and issuing an arrest summons to 1. Israeli settlers set fire to Palestinian agricultural lands nr. Hebron, destroying 250 olive trees. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority security forces (PASF) conduct raids in and around Hebron, Nablus, Bethlehem, and Tubas, arresting 4 Palestinians affiliated with Hamas and issuing arrest summons to 3 others. In East Jerusalem, an Israeli police officer assaults a Palestinian tour guide after an argument at Haram al-Sharif. Late at night, Israeli forces demolish 3 Palestinian-owned stores and a home under construction in Silwan. (MNA 5/18; JP 5/19; PCHR 5/21)

The Israeli PM’s office confirms that Dep. PM Silvan Shalom has been appointed to oversee any resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians. Former justice min. Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) filled this role in the previous govt. (AFP, HA, JP, TOI 5/18; AFP 5/19)

PA pres. Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesperson calls PM Netanyahu’s 5/17 remarks about Jerusalem a clear violation of UN res. and states that there will be no peace in the Middle East unless the Palestinians have a capital in East Jerusalem. (HA, TOI 5/18)

After a meeting of the European Union (EU) FMs in Brussels, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says that the EU is “ready and willing” to play a major role in a new round of peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians. Mogherini will be traveling to the region to meet with Netanyahu and Abbas on 5/20–21. (JP, REU 5/18; TOI 5/19; HA 6/7)