Sunday, June 21, 2015

In Gaza, the IDF bars a Palestinian journalist from passing through the Erez border crossing, despite the fact that he was issued a permit on 6/20. In the West Bank, Israeli forces demolish 2 Palestinian structures nr. Salfit. IDF troops conduct raids and house searches in 2 villages nr. Ramallah, confiscating property and arresting 3 Palestinians. Israeli settlers spray price-tag graffiti on walls in Tiberius; assault Palestinians in c. Hebron; cut down 70 olive trees nr. Nablus. In East Jerusalem, a Palestinian stabs and seriously injures an Israeli border policeman nr. Damascus Gate of the Old City. The policeman then shoots the Palestinian man multiple times, leaving him in critical condition. Israeli forces consequently raid the Palestinian man’s home nr. Hebron. Israeli forces later clash with Palestinians gathering nr. Damascus Gate and separately with Palestinians leaving Haram al-Sharif; 4 Palestinians are injured. They conduct late-night raids in Silwan, Jabal Mukabir, and Issawiyya, arresting 3 Palestinians. In n. Israel, thousands of Christians attend a protest rally to condemn the 6/17 arson attack on a nearby church. (HA, MNA, WAFA, YA 6/21; MNA 6/22)

In response to the 6/19 shooting nr. Ramallah and today’s stabbing in East Jerusalem, Israeli PM Netanyahu and DM Ya’alon annul the 6/16 announcement permitting 500 Palestinians to fly abroad via Ben Gurion Airport during Ramadan. Additionally, they instruct the Defense Ministry to revoke the work permits of all Palestinian residents of the village nr. Hebron where today’s perpetrator is from, and say they will consider further punitive restrictions. (HA, TOI 6/22)

In Ramallah, French FM Fabius meets with PA pres. Abbas to discuss the French initiative to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, including a French-drafted UNSC res. Fabius then meets with Netanyahu in Israel to discuss the same issues. Ahead of the meeting, Netanyahu opposes the French initiative, saying “we will forcibly reject any attempt to force upon us international dictates”. (JP 6/17; HA, MNA, NYT, TOI, WAFA 6/21)

The Egyptian govt. announces the appointment of a new amb. to Israel, Hazem Khairat, who will travel to Tel Aviv in the coming mos. Egypt has not had an amb. to Israel since 2012, when Atef Salem was recalled in the midst of Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense. (HA, YA 6/21)

Israeli mbr. of Knesset (MK) Basel Ghattas (Joint List) announces his plans to join the Freedom Flotilla III, an international activist effort to deliver aid to Gaza and call attention to the Israeli blockade (the flotilla will set sail on 6/25). He calls on Netanyahu and the IDF to allow the flotilla to reach Gaza without their interference. (HA 6/21; MEE, MNA, WAFA 6/22)

Iranian parliamentarians approve amendments to the bill introduced on 6/17 to increase oversight on implementation of any agreement made with the P5+1. The amendments shift oversight responsibilities, and the power to end the deal, from parliamentarians to the Supreme National Security Council, which is chaired by Pres. Hassan Rouhani and controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. The bill must still be approved by the parliament and ratified by the Khamenei-controlled Guardian Council to become law. (AFP, REU 6/21)