Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter

Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
31 March 2014





Division for Palestinian Rights

Chronological Review of Events Relating to the
Question of Palestine

Monthly media monitoring review

March 2014

Monthly highlights

    • Japan pledges $200 million in financial assistance and infrastructure development to the Palestinian Government (1 March)

    • Arab Ministers for Foreign Affairs reject Israel’s demands that the Palestinians recognize it as a Jewish State (9 March)

    The League of Arab States and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People jointly appeal for international support to the Palestinians (10 March)

    • An internal European Union report states that Israel was largely responsible for Gaza’s economic and humanitarian woes (11 March)

    • Israeli army uncovers the “most advanced ever” Gaza tunnel extending several hundred metres into Israel (21 March)

    • The UN International Meeting on the Question of Palestine “Engaging for peace – the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” opens in Quito (25 March)

    • The Palestinian leadership accuses Israel of trying to blackmail the PA with new conditions for continuing the diplomatic process after delaying a fourth release of 26 Palestinian prisoners
    (28 March)

1

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) reported that the recent months had seen a sharp rise in the number of intelligence alerts warning of Palestinian plots to kidnap IDF soldiers in the West Bank. (The Jerusalem Post)

Large crowds turned out to mourn the death of a 57-year-old Gazan woman hours after Israeli forces shot her dead as she walked near the separation wall in the southern Gaza Strip. (Ma'an News Agency)

Israeli forces blocked all access roads leading to Yaʻbad, west of Jenin. (WAFA)

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah inaugurated the Palestinian National Industries Expo in Jakarta where he stressed the importance of developing the industrial and economic sectors in Palestine. (WAFA)

The Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development (CEAPAD), held in Jakarta, ended with a $200 million pledge from Japan, mostly in financial assistance to the Palestinian Government and for infrastructure development. At the event, representatives of 22 nations reiterated their support for Palestinian development and peaceful dialogue in the Middle East. The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Filippo Grandi, also said at the conference that more attention should be paid to Palestine refugees, describing appalling conditions in the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus. (AP, WAFA)

Israeli forces prevented Palestinian farmers in the Hebron district from accessing their privately owned land. (IMEMC)

IDF ordered that construction work on a kindergarten in the village of Tawani, south of Hebron, be stopped without giving any specific reason. (WAFA)

It was reported that the Jerusalem District court had sentenced a 14-year-old Palestinian boy to 9 months in prison after being convicted of throwing stones and empty bottles, and a 16-year-old Palestinian boy to 6 months, for the same charges. Both are residents of the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem. (IMEMC)

2

Israeli forces stormed a kindergarten and a high school in the town of Yaʻbad, west of Jenin, spreading fear and panic among the children and students. (WAFA)

Speaking before the board of the Yasser Arafat foundation in Cairo, in the presence of Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmi and senior Egyptian politician Amr Mousa, Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erakat reportedly accused Israel of propping up the Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip, and warned that if peace negotiations failed, the Palestinians would become “a State under [Israeli] occupation.” (The Times of Israel)

Palestinian Representative at the League of Arab States Mohammad Sbeih said that the extension of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations would be determined by the upcoming meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and US President Barack Obama. (Ma’an News Agency)

It had been reported that US President Obama would tell Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to the White House, that Israel could face a bleak future if he refuses to endorse a US-drafted framework agreement for peace with the Palestinians. The report further stated that the US President would also make the case that Mr. Netanyahu had the strength and political credibility to lead his people towards peace. (Bloomberg View)

Egypt kept the Rafah crossing in the southern Gaza Strip closed for 23 days in a row, leaving thousands stranded on both sides of the borders. (Xinhua)

Hamas authorities urged Egypt to reactivate mutual commercial cooperation after an eight-month halt following the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. (Xinhua)

Israeli settlers uprooted more than 180 olive saplings in the town of Kafr Qaddum, east of Qalqilya. (Ma'an News Agency)

An elderly Palestinian died of injuries a few hours after he was run over by an Israeli settler east of Ramallah. (Turkish Press)

Oscar-nominated Palestinian film “Omar” by Hany Abu-Assad was listed with Palestine as its country of origin for the first time in the history of the Academy Awards. (Aljazeera)

Twenty Belgian human rights organizations launched a campaign to boycott the sale of goods from settlements. (Haaretz)

Canadian speed-skater Cindy Klassen, a six-time Olympic medallist, helped inaugurate a $1.2 million indoor gym for Palestinian women in Bethlehem. (AP)

3

An Israeli air strike on the northern Gaza Strip killed two Palestinians and wounded two others. The Israeli military spokesman’s office said that it had “targeted terrorists preparing to launch rockets”. (AFP)

Israeli forces detained 10 Palestinians in the West Bank and another from the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. (IMEMC)

US President Obama said before a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu at the White House: “It’s my belief that ultimately it is still possible to create two States, a Jewish State of Israel and a State of Palestine. … The time frame that we have set up for completing these negotiations is coming near and some tough decisions are going to have to be made.” Mr. Netanyahu said, “The people of Israel expect me … to stand strong against criticism, against pressure, stand strong to secure the future of the one and only Jewish State.” (Reuters, www.whitehouse.gov )

US officials cooled expectations ahead of President Obama’s meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, saying that there would not be any major announcements coming from the Oval Office. Upon arriving in the United States, Mr. Netanyahu declared, “It takes at least three to tango in the Middle East. We already have two−Israel and the US. Now, we just have to see if the Palestinians are there too.” (Yediot Ahronot, Ynetnews)

Palestinian Chief Negotiator Erakat urged Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to take into consideration the views of US President Obama in order to reach a comprehensive peace that would satisfy all parties. (Xinhua)

In a news conference, the labour union of civil servants in Gaza said that Hamas had only paid partial salaries to its 46,000 workers over the past four months. (AP)

According to new data published by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, new Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank increased by more than 120 per cent in 2013 from the previous year. (Ynetnews)

Norway’s YMCA-YWCA called for support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel until it ends the occupation. (IMEMC)

4

Israeli soldiers arrested 22 Palestinians during raids in the West Bank. At a checkpoint south of Hebron, soldiers attacked a 19-year-old man, and he suffered a fracture in the leg, as well as cuts and bruises. (IMEMC)

An IDF unit working undercover in Hebron arrested Ayoub al-Qawasmi, one of the commanders of the military branch of Hamas in the West Bank and one of Israel’s most wanted suspects. Mr. Qawasmi, 50, was suspected of being involved in terrorist attacks against Israelis during the second intifada and had recently sought to renew Hamas’ terror infrastructure in the West Bank. He was imprisoned by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in January 2010 and was released only two weeks ago. Since then, Israeli security forces had launched a manhunt for him. (Ynetnews.com)

Israeli forces raided the northern Jordan Valley and issued notices ordering Bedouin families in Wadi Ibziq to leave their homes the following day in order for the army to conduct military exercises in the area, locals said. (Ma’an News Agency)

A court in Egypt banned all activities of Hamas and ordered the seizure of its offices and assets. (BBC)

Prime Minister Netanyahu urged Palestinian President Abbas to recognize Israel as a Jewish State and to “abandon the fantasy” of flooding Israel with Palestinian refugees. But his remarks sparked a furious reaction from the Palestinians who denounced his demand and said that it had effectively put the final nail in the coffin of the US-led peace talks. Addressing delegates at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Mr. Netanyahu said that he was prepared to make an “historic peace”, but not without a Palestinian acceptance of the Jewish State. Palestinian official Nabil Sha’ath said that Mr. Netanyahu’s demand for such recognition, and his insistence on keeping Israeli troops deployed in a future Palestinian State were “totally rejected”. Mr. Netanyahu’s speech was tantamount to “an official announcement of a unilateral end to negotiations”, he said. (AFP)

To support agricultural projects in Palestine, an agreement worth $4.1 million was signed between the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture and Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal Foundation to support the reduction of poverty programme with the establishment of small income-generating agricultural enterprises. (WAFA)

The Ahrar Centre for Detainees Studies and Human Rights reported that Israel was currently holding 11 Palestinian legislators under administrative detention, as well as 21 women under dire conditions. (IMEMC)

Students at the University of Windsor in Ontario passed a referendum supporting the BDS movement. (Haaretz)

5

Israeli naval boats opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the coast of As-Sudaniya, north-west of Gaza city, causing damage to fishing boats. The fishermen fled the scene with no injuries or arrests reported. (WAFA)

Israeli naval forces raided a ship in the Red Sea and seized dozens of advanced, rockets allegedly from Iran, destined for Palestinian militants in Gaza that would have significantly boosted their ability to strike Israeli citizens, the military said. The ship, the KLOS C, sailing under Panamanian flag, was carrying Syrian-made M-302 rockets with a range of up to 100 miles (160 kilometres) and was intercepted off the coasts of Sudan and Eritrea, a military spokesman told reporters. (AP)

Israeli Minister for Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman said that Israel would not accept any conditions for a continuation of talks with the Palestinians, rejecting Palestinian demands that Israel freeze settlement construction and release more Palestinian prisoners in order to continue negotiations past the April deadline. (The Jerusalem Post)

The Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People issued a statement expressing its alarm at recent developments and increased tensions in Occupied East Jerusalem, in particular the increasing incursions by Israeli extremists and political leaders on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The Bureau called upon the Security Council to act without delay to address the alarming developments in defiance of the Council’s resolutions. (UN News Centre)

Palestinian farmers detained an Israeli settler after they caught him chopping down olive trees in their fields in the Nablus-district village of Talfit, in the northern West Bank, an official said. The settler was later released to Israeli authorities. (Ma’an News Agency)

Dozens of extremist settlers, accompanied by Israeli police, stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for a tour. (Palestine News Network)

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released new information according to which an estimated 300,000 Palestinians reside in Area C of the West Bank. Residents of Area C were among the most vulnerable in the West Bank in terms of humanitarian needs, including access to basic services, OCHA reported. ( www.ochaopt.org )

Israeli forces arrested 13 Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. (Ma’an News Agency, WAFA)

Qatar welcomed the designation by the United Nations of 2014 as the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, wishing that the decision would help in ending the Israeli occupation and enforce the rights of the Palestinian people. Assistant Foreign Minister for International Cooperation Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani made the remarks as he addressed the twenty-fifth session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. (www.menafm.com )

Mohammad Lahham, head of the Freedoms Committee in the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, said that the Syndicate had documented 237 violations against Palestinian journalists working in the West Bank, Jerusalem, Gaza , as well as against journalists working with foreign satellite channels around the world, during the year 2013. At a press conference held at the Union’s headquarters near Ramallah, Mr. Lahham said that the violations by the Israeli authorities was the highest so far against journalists; 56 journalists were shot and injured; 38 were injured by tear gas suffocation, where in some cases canisters were deliberately fired directly toward journalists; in addition, 22 journalists were injured by acoustic bombs. He said that the Israeli authorities had prevented journalists from covering 67 events, physically assaulted 45 journalists and arrested 30 others as well as barred four journalists from traveling. (WAFA)

Egypt detained and deported Northern Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire, who had intended to join a delegation of women activists going to the Gaza Strip. (AFP)

6

Israeli forces arrested four Palestinians in Jenin and two in Hebron. In Tubas, Israeli forces severely beat an 18-year-old Palestinian before arresting him. (WAFA)

Israeli forces detained four Palestinians in raids across East Jerusalem, including two during a raid in Al-Issawiya. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Representative of Japan to the PA signed contracts with the mayors of four Palestinian municipalities and local councils under Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP). (WAFA)

The International Islamic Relief Organization signed a $1 million agreement with UNRWA to support the Agency’s Job Creation Programme (JCP) in the Gaza Strip. (WAFA)

Sixty-four settlers broke into Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem under the protection of Israeli police. (IMEMC)

Israeli police officers assaulted a 42-year-old Palestinian man after he tried to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound where he studies Islamic law. He sustained bruises, fainted and was evacuated to a hospital. (Ma’an News Agency)

More than 40 Israeli military vehicles escorted dozens of settlers who brought bulldozers and started to level private Palestinian land in the Beit Hassan neighbourhood in the northern Jordan Valley. (Ma’an News Agency)

A group of settlers from “Kokhav Hashahar” assaulted three Palestinian youths while picking plants near Al-Mughayyir village, north of Ramallah. They sustained bruises and were sent to a hospital. (Ma’an News Agency)

In response to a letter by the Palestinian Ministry of Information on Israeli restrictions of media activities in Palestine, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton stated that the EU had repeatedly called for sustained improvements in movement and access both across the West Bank and to and from the Gaza Strip, and that the EU continued to do so at different levels within the framework of the EU-Israel Association Agreement. (WAFA)

American scholars Judith Butler and Rashid Khalidi launched an online petition condemning censorship and intimidation of Israeli critics, particularly those who supported the BDS movement. (Haaretz)

7

US Secretary of State Kerry arrived in Jordan for talks with King Abdullah on a framework accord that would set the parameters for a possible comprehensive peace treaty. (The New York Times)

In comments published by WAFA news agency, Palestinian President Abbas said that there was “no way” he would recognize Israel as a Jewish State and accept just a portion of Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital, adding that he withstood US pressure when he sought UN recognition for a State of Palestine and he could do so again. (AP)

At a meeting in Ramallah with the General Consul of Britain in Jerusalem, Alastair McPhail, PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi stressed that Europe and Britain should play a more effective role in obliging Israel to comply with the rules of international law. (WAFA)

According to Egyptian Day Seven news, Egyptian authorities planned to reconsider the citizenship of 13,757 Hamas members for being affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and who were granted Egyptian citizenship during the rule of ousted President Mohamed Morsi. (Ma’an News Agency)

8

According to witnesses’ accounts, numerous Palestinian women suffered excessive tear gas suffocation during a peaceful demonstration marking the International Women’s Day at Qalandia checkpoint to the north of Jerusalem. (Ma'an News Agency )

In an interview, Abu Bakir al-Ansari, leader of one of Gaza’s secretive jihadi groups, said that the al-Qaida-inspired movement now had several thousand armed fighters in Gaza, posing a formidable threat to both Israel and Hamas. (AP)

Palestinian officials announced that Egypt had agreed to open the following day the Rafah crossing with the Gaza Strip for two days. (Ma'an News Agency )

Speaking to the PA-based Arabic-language Al-Quds newspaper, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said that “The American position is clear, Israel is a Jewish State. However, we do not see a need that both sides recognize this position as part of the final agreement.” (israelnationalnews.com)

According to local activists, Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian residents and international activists near Shuhada Street in the centre of the southern West Bank city of Hebron. (Ma'an News Agency )

The Palestinian Minister for Prisoners’ Affairs, Issa Qaraqe, announced that a European parliamentarian fact-finding mission was due to arrive in Palestine on 19 March. The mission was formed by the European Union with a view to visiting Israeli prisons and looking into the treatment of Palestinians. (Ma'an News Agency )

In a letter, 50 youth members of an Israeli pacifist group informed Prime Minister Netanyahu of their refusal to serve in the military because of its role in the occupation of Palestinian land. The youths referred to “human rights violations” in the West Bank, including “executions, settlement construction, administrative detention, torture, collective punishment and unfair distribution of water and electricity”. (Google news)

9

According to security sources, the Israeli army arrested numerous Palestinians, including two brothers in Jerusalem and in Nablus. The army also summoned three other residents of the Bethlehem area for interrogation. (WAFA)

According to security sources, Israeli forces erected temporary checkpoints at the entrance to the northern West Bank villages of Madama and Burin south of Nablus. (Ma'an News Agency )

In an Israel Radio interview, Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated that he regarded the guidelines US Secretary of State Kerry was drafting for a future deal as an “American document of American positions”, adding that any peace deal with the Palestinians would take at least another year to negotiate should both sides accept US-proposed principles. (Reuters)

Arab Ministers for Foreign Affairs rejected Israel’s demands that the Palestinians recognize it as a Jewish State, saying that such a move would undermine the rights of Palestinian refugees. In a resolution, the Foreign Ministers called the issue of Palestine refugees an integral part of a comprehensive and just peace, blaming Israel for the floundering of peace negotiations. (AP)

Speaking to the media after a meeting with Palestinian President Abbas in Ramallah, visiting Chinese Special Envoy to the Middle East Wu Sike urged Palestinians and Israel is to make efforts to achieve substantial progress in the ongoing peace talks. (xinhuanet)

After returning from a visit to the US, Chief Palestinian Negotiator Erakat said that the Palestinians had received a commitment from the US that Israel will, on 29 March, as part of the final stage in the release of prisoners who were convicted before the 1993 Oslo Accords, release 30 Palestinian prisoners. (Haaretz)

According to eyewitness accounts, two Palestinians were injured and eight were detained after Israeli forces dispersed dozens who were planting trees on their confiscated land east of Jerusalem. (Ma'an News Agency )

During a speech at the opening of the 10th annual Israel Apartheid Week in South Africa, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said that Israel's treatment of Palestinians reminded him of South African apartheid. He reiterated his support for the BDS movement. (Haaretz)

10

Israeli troops killed a Palestinian man near Ramallah, according to sources. It was reported that Israeli forces had opened fire at Palestinians who had been throwing stones at cars on Route 60, near the illegal settlement outpost of “Givat Assaf”. (Ma’an News Agency)

According to eyewitness accounts and the Israeli army, Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man at the Allenby Bridge crossing with Jordan. Jordanian Minister for Foreign Affairs Nasser Judeh summoned the Chargé d’affaires of the Israeli Embassy in Amman demanding that Israel open a full investigation and urgently provide Jordan with a full report in the killing of the man, Raed Zeiter. Mr. Zeiter was a judge who held Jordanian nationality, sources said. (Ma’an News Agency)

As the May visit of Pope Francis to Palestine and Israel nears, a letter signed by 20 American Bishops had been sent to the Pontiff asking him to speak out against the targeting of Palestinian children by the Israeli military. (IMEMC)

Muhammad Mafarji, a Palestinian man convicted the previous year of planting a bomb on a bus in Tel Aviv during Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense, was sentenced to 25 years in prison. (The Times of Israel)

During a three-day visit of the Palestinian Anti-Corruption Commission to Singapore to learn from the country of its experience in fighting corruption, it was announced that Singapore remained committed to assist the Palestinian Authority in its development efforts. (Channel News Asia)

More than 100 people attended a major conference in Prague during the weekend to discuss an economic initiative designed to bring about transformative change and substantial growth in the Palestinian economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. The conference was convened by the Aspen Institute, Partners for a New Beginning, and the Office of the Quartet Representative, the US Chamber of Commerce's Middle East Commercial Center, and UCLA's Center for Mideast Development and co-chaired by Quartet Representative Tony Blair and former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. (Palestine News Network)

The Palestinian Public Works and Housing Minister, Yousef Aziz, announced that the United Arab Emirates had informed the PA of its decision to suspend a project to build a compound for freed prisoners in the centre of the Gaza Strip. ( Ma'an News Agency )

The League of Arab States and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) jointly appealed for international support to the Palestinians. The two sides convened a meeting under the co-chairmanship of the League's Secretary General, Nabil Elaraby, and CEIRPP Chairman Abdou Salam Diallo. Addressing the meeting, Mr. Elaraby lauded the efforts being made by Mr. Diallo and his Committee to help the Palestinian people attain their legitimate rights, including the rights to self-determination and the establishment of an independent State, with East Jerusalem as its capital. (Kuwait News Agency)

Four Palestinian-owned plots near Qalqilya had been returned to their owners after having been previously seized by Israeli companies claiming ownership to the land. The Qalqilya Governorate said in a statement that “brokers have long attempted to forge documents relating to the ownership of the land which is adjacent to settlements and the apartheid wall”. The statement said that recently published Israeli documents and maps, indicated Israel’s desire to keep four settlement blocks−Karne, Shomron, Ma'ale Shomron and Kedumim, in addition to another block, in its Jerusalem district. (WAFA)

Israeli forces destroyed part of a privately owned Palestinian park near Burqa, a village to the north of Nablus, witnesses said. The owners said that they had been previously notified about the demolition of one of the rooms under the pretext of 'unlicensed building'. (WAFA)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France condemned an attack carried out by Israeli settlers on 7 March that had targeted an Agence France-Presse photographer who had been covering an event in the West Bank. In a statement, the Qais d’Orsay said that it “recalls its attachment and commitment in international fora for the defence of the freedom of expression and information. Everywhere in the world, journalists must be able to practice their profession freely”. “We call on the Israeli authorities to shed full light on this incident and to prosecute its perpetrators,” added the statement. (WAFA)

11

An Israeli air strike killed three Palestinians in Gaza near an area where an unmanned Israeli surveillance aircraft had crashed earlier in the day, a Palestinian official said. The Israeli military said that it was responding to mortar fire. Israel uses drones to gather intelligence on militant activity in Gaza. Hamas said that it recovered the aircraft in southern Gaza and handed it over to security forces. No further details were immediately available. (AP)

A rocket fired from Gaza landed in an open area in Sderot. (Ynetnews)

A Palestinian died after Israeli troops fired on his car near Tulkarem in the northern West Bank, Palestinian security sources said. The car reportedly veered off the road, and it was not clear whether the gunfire or the subsequent crash killed him. There was no immediate comment from the Israeli army but the police described the incident as a traffic accident. (AFP)

A photographer from the Palestinian news agency WAFA was shot and injured with a metal bullet and five others were arrested during clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem. (WAFA)

Israeli forces arrested five people, including a minor, from the districts of Bethlehem and Hebron, security sources said. (WAFA)

Five Palestinians, including a minor, were injured during clashes with Israeli soldiers north of Ramallah, witnesses and medics said. After Israeli forces raided al-Jalazun refugee camp, youths hurled stones towards them and soldiers fired back live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets. Locals reported that Israeli forces were in al-Jalazun camp in response to reports that Palestinians had fired gunshots at a residential building in the illegal Israeli settlement of “Beit El”. A spokeswoman for the Israeli army confirmed the clashes in al-Jalazun camp, but denied that the soldiers used live bullets. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Israeli navy confiscated the boats of three Palestinian fishermen while fishing off the shores of Gaza and took them into custody. (WAFA)

Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, James W. Rawley, voiced in a statement his deep concern at reports that three Palestinians had died in separate security-related incidents in the West Bank within a 24-hour period, and called for restraint by all concerned. (unsco.org)

Jordanian Members of Parliament delivered strongly worded and emotional speeches during a Lower House session, demanding a firm response to the killing of Jordanian Judge Raed the previous day by Israeli forces at Allenby Bridge. The parliamentarians demanded that their Government expel the Israeli Ambassador to Amman and recall the Jordanian Ambassador from Tel Aviv. (The Jordan Times)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu told members of his ruling Likud faction that recent statements by Palestinian leaders refusing to recognize Israel as a Jewish State and renounce the right of return made prospects for peace even more distant. “They said this week that they will never recognize a Jewish State or give up the right of return,” the Prime Minister said. “I won't bring a deal that doesn't cancel the right of return and doesn't involve the Palestinians recognizing a Jewish State. These are just fundamental conditions. The Palestinians aren't showing any sign of willingness to reach a practical and fair deal.” (The Jerusalem Post)

Some two thirds of Israelis said that they distrust the US-brokered peace talks, according to a poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University. (Xinhua)

A European Union mission report stated that the Gaza Strip’s fortunes could significantly improve if Hamas stopped using violence to accomplish its goals. The internal report also added that Israel was largely responsible for Gaza’s economic and humanitarian woes. (Haaretz)

The IDF handed over notifications of demolition for three privately owned Palestinian houses south of Nablus, in addition to orders to demolish two wells near Hebron. (WAFA)

An Israeli court had ruled that Israeli settlers were the lawful owners of a long-disputed building in the heart of the of the West Bank city of Hebron. The Supreme Court ruling brought to an end a legal dispute that had nearly seven years after a Palestinian family said that its four-storey building had been taken over by Israeli settlers. (AFP)

A spokesperson for the Israeli police confirmed that Jewish extremists slashed the tyres of 19 vehicles and sprayed slurs in the Arab town of Jaljulia, in central Israel, in another “price-tag” attack. (Xinhua)

12

The Israel Air Force carried out strikes at 29 targets in the Gaza Strip in response to a barrage of rockets targeted at southern Israel. At least 70 rockets had been fired from Gaza, of which 41 struck Israeli territory, causing no injuries. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attacks. (Haaretz)

Egypt’s military said that it had destroyed 1,370 smuggling tunnels under the border with the Gaza Strip. (AFP)

Five Palestinians were injured after Israeli forces fired live and rubber-coated steel bullets during clashes in Beit Ummar, north of Hebron. (Ma’an News Agency)

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement condemning the rocket attacks. (UN News Centre)

The IDF detained 13 Palestinians in overnight arrest raids across the West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency)

In his first visit to Israel as British Prime Minister, David Cameron urged Israel to pursue a peace deal with Palestinians that could mean “an end of all conflict” in the Middle East and backed the current drive led by US Secretary of State Kerry. In a speech to the Knesset, Mr. Cameron described himself as a Prime Minister whose belief in Israel is “unbreakable” and whose commitment to its security is “rock solid”. He added that he would always defend the country's right to defend its citizens against attack. (The Press)

PLO Executive Committee member Ashrawi strongly condemned in a press release Israel’s extrajudicial killing of six Palestinians in a 24-hour period: “The Israeli Government is undermining the credibility of the peace negotiations which have become a cover for Israel to buy the time needed to change facts on the ground while blatantly provoking the Palestinian leadership to withdraw from the talks.” (Palestine News Network)

The Knesset passed a law requiring a national referendum to approve any future withdrawal from East Jerusalem. (AP)

Israeli settlers under army protection razed hundreds of dunums of Palestinian land east of Tubas in the northern Jordan Valley and surrounded it with barbed wires for settlement expansion. (WAFA)

The IDF demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib for the 66th time, leaving dozens of people in the open despite heavy rains. (Ma’an News Agency)

A large number of Israeli troops and military vehicles raided the Jabal al-Baba area of the al-Eizariya town in East Jerusalem and demolished a residential building, a car wash and a shop. (Ma’an News Agency)

13

Israel Air Force jets attacked seven sites in the Gaza Strip in response to a rocket barrage towards Ashkelon and Ashhod. Three Palestinians were wounded in Rafah as a result of the attack. (Haaretz)

An IDF spokeswoman said that a rocket was fired from Gaza, the first to strike Israel in more than 12 hours, and the sixth to hit since Islamic Jihad declared an Egyptian-brokered truce. (AFP)

Israeli forces arrested five Palestinians in Jenin and Bethlehem and two others in Jerusalem. (WAFA)

At a press conference jointly held with visiting British Prime Minister Cameron in Bethlehem, President Abbas stated that the Palestinian leadership did not receive any request to extend negotiations, and if it did, it would examine it and define its position in this regard. Mr. Cameron announced British investments in Palestinian businesses to empower the economy. He described both parties as partners and said that “They both will have to take difficult and unpalatable decisions and sometimes unpopular decisions for their constituencies in order to achieve that settlement, but I sense it is possible”. (The Jerusalem Post, WAFA)

At a meeting of the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, when asked to clarify the official US Administration position on the matter of Palestinian recognition of the “Jewish State”, Secretary of State Kerry said, “I think it's a mistake for some people to be raising it again and again as the critical decider of their attitude towards the possibility of a State and peace, and we’ve obviously made that clear.” (Ynetnews)

EU High Representative Ashton issued a statement strongly condemning the recent rocket attacks on Israel, for which Islamic Jihad had claimed responsibility. (europa.eu)

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a press release, condemned the “deliberate escalation” led by the Israeli Government against the Palestinian people and their leadership through what it described as “daily assassinations”, in addition to the ongoing aggression against the Gaza Strip, the non-stop settlement construction and the Judaization of Palestinian land, including Jerusalem. It further denounced a decision by the Supreme Court of Israel giving settlers the right to purchase a Palestinian-owned building in Hebron for settlement purposes as well as a decision by the Israeli Government to build 287 settlement units in the “Ramat Shlomo” settlement. (WAFA)

A three-year-old Palestinian boy died while waiting for the Rafah crossing to open to go to Turkey to receive medical care. (IMEMC)

The International Business Times reported that the BDS movement was about to launch a smartphone app that would allow users to search for a company’s links to Israeli settlements and would include a large database of product information researched by volunteers, as well as a barcode scanner to make it easier to search for products. (Ynetnews)

14

Israeli soldiers shot a 16-year-old Palestinian boy in the head with a live bullet and critically injured him during a protest in Beit Ummar, north of Hebron. Nearly 40 other protestors were injured across the West Bank after Israeli forces opened fire on them. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces detained at least six Palestinians during overnight raids in the West Bank, and assaulted a Palestinian at a roadblock near Nablus, who was brought to a hospital with moderate injuries. (IMEMC, Ma’an News Agency)

The Israel Air Force fired missiles at 29 targets in the Gaza Strip. (IMEMC)

The Palestinian Prisoners Society said that the health of four Palestinian prisoners who had been on hunger strike for more than 63 days had dramatically deteriorated. (IMEMC)

According to two polls carried out over the past two months on behalf of the Washington, D.C.-based S. Daniel Abraham Centre for Middle East Peace, 69 per cent of the Israeli public said that it was more important “that the entire Arab world sign peace agreements and maintain normal relations with Israel” compared to 21 per cent who said that the Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish State was more important. (Haaretz)

Thousands of worshippers prayed in the streets of Jerusalem after Israeli authorities prohibited Palestinians under 40 years of age from praying inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli settlers uprooted 30 olive trees south-east of Yatta near Hebron. (Ma’an News Agency)

15

Israeli forces arrested four Palestinians from Hebron and Jenin. (WAFA)

16

Israeli forces arrested six Palestinians in Qalqilya and an elderly woman in the Old City of Jerusalem. (WAFA)

The Palestinian Central Elections Commission started a five-day voter registration process in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. (Xinhua)

Israeli special forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, throwing stun grenades and shooting rubber bullets at worshippers. Several were wounded. Five hundred students studying at religious schools inside the compound were denied access. (IMEMC)

Israeli settlers destroyed 55 olive trees in the village of Jalud near Nablus using toxic chemicals. (Ma’an News Agency)

17

Israeli security forces detained a Palestinian man for possession of a knife at the Qalandiya checkpoint in the West Bank. According to Israeli security sources, the man had revealed during investigation, that he had come to the checkpoint with the intention of committing a stabbing. (The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli sources alleged that Palestinian gunmen riding on boats exchanged fire with Israeli navy ships close to the Gaza shore. (IMEMC)

Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters in Beit Ummar, injuring three. (Ma’an News Agency)

At the start of a meeting at the White House between President Obama and President Abbas, Mr. Obama said , “I think everybody understands the outlines of what a peace deal would look like, involving a territorial compromise on both sides based on ‘67 lines, with mutually agreed upon swaps, that would ensure that Israel was secure but would also ensure that the Palestinians have a sovereign State in which they can achieve the aspirations that they’ve held for so long.” Mr. Abbas said, “We have an agreement with Israel … brokered by Mr. Kerry concerning the release of the fourth batch of prisoners, and we are hopeful that the fourth batch will be released by the 29th of March because this will give a very solid impression about the seriousness of these efforts to achieve peace.” (AP, www.whitehouse.gov )

In a statement, the League of Arab States affirmed its support for President Abbas in the ongoing US-sponsored Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. (WAFA)

Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah urged European countries to intensify their support for East Jerusalem and Area C, especially for the marginalized areas. (WAFA)

The Gaza Strip’s sole power plant resumed operations after Israel allowed the entry of Qatari-paid fuel. The plant had shut down on 15 March after Israel closed off the Kerem Shalom crossing following three days of fire exchange. (Haaretz)

The Ministry of Health in Gaza announced that hospitals had run out of 30 per cent of basic medicines and essential medical supplies due to the closure of the Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt. (middleeastmonitor.com)

Israeli forces raided several Palestinian homes in Huwwara, in Nablus, after Palestinian youths hurled Molotov cocktails at a settler vehicle. (Ma’an News Agency)

Following a meeting with 28 European Minister for Foreign Affairs in Brussels, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Ashton noted that while she was not in favour of boycotting Israel, she opposed Israel’s construction and expansion of Jewish settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. (IMEMC)

The Israeli Civil Administration informed residents of Hares, a Palestinian village in the Salfit Governorate in the West Bank, of its intentions to confiscate 25 acres of private land within village perimetres and near the “Revava” settlement. (IMEMC)

Israeli police restricted the entry of Palestinians under 50 years of age into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound while allowing Jewish extremists to perform religious rituals. (WAFA)

Israel’s Civil Administration informed residents of the village of Hares in the central West Bank of its intention to confiscate 100 dunums of private land near the “Revava” settlement. (IMEMC)

The Provincial Government of Buenos Aires suspended a proposed $170 million water treatment plant deal with the Israeli national water company Mekorot. The decision came following a campaign by local trade unions and human rights groups against Mekorot’s role in Israel’s theft of Palestinian water resources. (IMEMC, www.alternativenews.org )

UN Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for the OPT Rawley helped launch the Strategic Humanitarian Response Plan for the State of Palestine for the period 2014 to 2016. (un.org)

18

According to eyewitness accounts, Israeli forces detained several Palestinians across the West Bank overnight . (Ma'an News Agency )

According to Palestinian security sources, Israeli forces briefly closed a military checkpoint east of Tulkarem for a military training exercise in the area. (Ma'an News Agency )

Chief Palestinian Negotiator Erakat said that the meeting between President Obama and President Abbas “was difficult and the meeting was long”. “Contrary to what people expected – that we will come out of this meeting with an official American proposal document – this has not happened,” he said. US officials confirmed that no document had been presented to the Palestinians. (AFP)

During a meeting of the Likud faction in the Knesset, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Israel has to demonstrate a positive attitude on the peace process so that the international community would understand that the Palestinians were responsible for the deadlock. (Haaretz)

According to Palestinian officials, Israel will reopen the Kerem Shalom crossing with the Gaza Strip the following day after closing it for six consecutive days. (Ma'an News Agency )

Hamas Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement that Egypt’s closure of the Rafah border crossing and Cairo’s tightening of restrictions on Gaza was a “crime against humanity”. (AFP)

PA Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Mohammed Mustafa announced plans for the exploration of oil in the West Bank and called for proposals from international firms. He explained that the project was among a series of initiatives that had been drawn up by Quartet Representative Tony Blair to help develop the Palestinian economy, and that the Government would be accepting bids from potential partners through June. (AP)

The signing ceremony for a Japanese-funded project worth $119,432 to rehabilitate the water network in Jericho was held in Ramallah. The contract was signed by Junya Matsuura, the Representative of Japan to the State of Palestine, and Mohammad Jalayta, the Mayor of Jericho. (www.ps.emb-japan.go.jp )

In an interview with Israel Radio, Israel’s Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said that Israel’s fourth and final release of Palestinian prisoners as a gesture for resuming peace talks was uncertain to take place at the end of March, given that peace negotiations had discontinued. “Whoever is unwilling to recognize Israel as the nation State of the Jewish people is not a partner in dialogue,” he said. (The Jerusalem Post)

A new survey conducted by the Macro Center for Political Economics, in cooperation with the Israeli organization Blue White Future, revealed that about 30 per cent of the settlers (outside the major blocks) in the West Bank, would voluntarily evacuate if compensated and even if there were to be no peace deal with the Palestinians. (Palestine News Network)

The access road to the “Amona” settlement in the West Bank, which runs exclusively over private Palestinian property and was torn up in July as part of a promise that had been made by Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to the Israeli High Court of Justice, was currently being rebuilt by the Israeli Government. (Haaretz)

Israeli Justice Minister and Chief Negotiator Livni warned that the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners – set to be freed at the end of March – will not be released if Israel and the Palestinians do not reach a broad framework agreement by then. “The prison keys are in the hands of Mahmoud Abbas and the decisions he makes over the next few days,” Ms. Livni said, adding that “there was never an automatic commitment that was not connected to the state of the talks and what would happen by the release date”. (Haaretz)

US State Department Spokesperson Psaki said that the US supports the prisoner release. “It’s part of what was agreed to between the parties,” she said. (AP)

PA Minister for Prisoners’ Affairs Qaraqe said that any delay in releasing Palestinian prisoners would be “political blackmail”. Palestinian official Sha’ath said that if the prisoner release is called off, the Palestinians would “immediately” turn to the United Nations. (AP, Ma’an News Agency)

According to a lawyer of the Palestinian Ministry for Prisoners’ Affairs, the health of two Palestinian detainees, including the oldest Palestinian prisoner currently in an Israeli jail, had been deteriorating because of Israel’s reluctance to provide them with appropriate medical care. (IMEMC, Ma'an News Agency)

The Palestinian Ministry for Prisoners’ Affairs announced that Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails had decided to go on hunger strike for one day to “protest […] the ongoing aggressive attack[s] against them …” (Ma'an News Agency )

The Geneva-based Euro-Mid Observer, an independent human rights organization, reported that the number of Palestinian children detained by the Israeli army had increased by 80 per cent in 2014. (WAFA)

The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, briefed the Security Council on developments in the Middle East, noting that the latest surge of fighting showed that the fragile status quo between Israelis and Palestinians was not sustainable (UN press release SC/11322)

19

Israeli forces shot and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian near the separation barrier close to Al-Ramadin village near Hebron, for allegedly attempting to cross the separation wall, a Palestinian security source said. The Israeli army confirmed the shooting but said that the incident occurred in a different location, some 10 kilometres to the north. (AFP, Ma’an News Agency)

A Palestinian official said that President Abbas had asked US President Obama to press Israel to release Palestinian prisoners and freeze Israeli settlements for the extension of the peace talks. (Xinhua)

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned statements made by Israeli Economy Minister Bennett in which he attacked President Abbas and held him responsible for the failure of the peace negotiations. (WAFA)

Fatah Central Committee member Sha’ath said that the Palestinians were considering “going the South African way” and supporting a full boycott of Israel , in addition to resuming their push for recognition in international bodies, including the International Criminal Court. (The Financial Times)

League of Arab States Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby said that the Palestinian cause will be a key issue in the Arab Summit which will be held in Kuwait on 25 and 26 March. (WAFA)

The Jerusalem City municipality said that it had granted building permits for 184 housing units in East Jerusalem [settlements]. Hagit Ofran of Peace Now said that the building permits would cap a lengthy approval process and construction could begin in weeks. (AP)

The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage said that several ancient archaeological sites and antiquities had been destroyed as a result of a controversial dig by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem. (Ma’an News Agency)

An Israeli military court imposed prison sentences on two 16-year-old Palestinians from the town of Jalboun, near Jenin. One, who was suffering from a neurological disease, was sentenced to 57 months, while the other, who was shot and injured during his arrest, was sentenced to 48 months. (WAFA)

Israeli Deputy Minister of Defense Danny Danon threatened to resign from his position if the promised release of 30 long-term Palestinian prisoners that had been delayed during the week was carried out. (IMEMC)

20

The IDF arrested six Palestinians, all in their early twenties, from the Qalqilya and Salfit districts. (WAFA)

Israeli forces arrested nine Palestinians in overnight arrest raids across the West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli soldiers raided the town of Zabbouba, near Jenin, and clashed with dozens of residents before arresting 12, and wounding dozens. (IMEMC)

Assailants threw a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli bus near Nablus, causing damage to the vehicle. The IDF searched the area for suspects. No injuries were reported. (The Jerusalem Post)

In a speech he delivered to thousands of supporters in Ramallah who had gathered to welcome him back from Washington, D.C., President Abbas pledged to commit to Palestinian fixed principles. President Abbas stressed that he will not give up Palestinian rights or betray their trust. (WAFA)

US State Department Spokesperson Psaki told reporters: “We are not surprised that there has been an increase in rhetoric over the past couple of weeks given where we are in the process in the pivotal period. But we’re just going to keep our head down and focus on the process.” (www.state.gov )

PLO Executive Committee member Ashrawi strongly condemned Israel’s latest approval of 186 settlement units in East Jerusalem; the previous day’s killing of a 15-year-old in Hebron, and the Knesset legislation which severely limits the reunification of Palestinian families for “security reasons”. (Palestine News Network)

Following a Fatah-organized rally in support of President Abbas during his visit to the White House, Palestinian Foreign Minister Malki stated that “It is really a decision of the international community that has not done much to see a breakthrough to the Palestinian question and to give Palestinians their basic rights”. (Ynetnews)

Palestinian Minister of Agriculture Waleed Assaf said that the Ministry had spent $16.7 million in compensation for Palestinian farmers with the assistance of several international organizations. (WAFA)

The European Union and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched the construction of a major seawater desalination plant which would provide 75,000 Palestinians with safe drinking water in Gaza. (eeas.europa.eu)

The spokesperson for the French Foreign Ministry stated that France condemned the recent Israeli decision to issue permits for the construction of 186 homes in the settlements of “Har Homa” and “Pisgat Ze’ev” in East Jerusalem, and reiterated that settlement activity was illegal under international law and undermined the trust required for the current negotiations to succeed. (www.ambafrance-us.org )

Hundreds of Palestinian youths gathered on the Temple Mount [Al-Haram Al-Sharif] in the morning to protest Likud MK Moshe Feiglin’s visit to the holy site. Israeli police arrested two youths for hurling stones toward Mr. Feiglin and a group of right-wing activists who accompanied him. (The Jerusalem Post)

It was reported that President Abbas asked the US Government to mediate with Israel for the release of Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti who was jailed a decade ago over a spate of suicide bombings. (Ynetnews)

UNRWA announced that its photograph of crowds of Palestinians lining up for food parcels, which had emerged as an icon of the Syrian conflict, was to be displayed simultaneously on massive electronic billboards in New York’s Times Square and in Tokyo’s Shibuya district. (unrwa.org)

21

Israeli forces stormed the headquarters of the Palestinian Civil Defence Forces in Salfit and detained three members, a public relations official said. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Israeli army announced that it had uncovered the “most advanced ever” Gaza tunnel extending several hundred metres into Israel. (Haaretz)

A six-month study by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah said that a breakdown of the PA would turn the West Bank into a violent, criminal, chaotic place. But even though most Palestinians want the PA to survive, and so does Israel, it could collapse before too long if Israel continued to thwart Palestinian aspirations for independence. (Haaretz)

“Israel’s settlement activity caused the negotiations to fail and led them to an impasse,” PA Presidential Spokesman Rudeineh told AFP. He was reacting to the decision of an Israeli Ministry of Defense committee made the previous month and revealed the previous day, to push forward with plans to build 2,269 new homes in “Beit El”, “Almog”, “Ariel”, “Shvut Rachel” and “Shavei Shomron”. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces suppressed a Palestinian marathon that was launched in Jerusalem in protest against an Israeli marathon, and arrested a number of participants. (Palestine News Network)

At a meeting of the German-Palestinian Steering Committee held in Berlin, it was agreed that the German Government would build and refurbish eight police stations and foster the Civil Police structures in the West Bank with German and EU funding. Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah also signed two agreements worth €55 million in the areas of water supply, wastewater treatment, vocational education and training, local Government institutions and civil society institution-building. (WAFA)

Despite Israel’s refusal to cooperate with a European fact-finding mission to assess the conditions of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, a European Parliament delegation travelled to Israel to begin its work. (WAFA)

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Richard Falk, called for an assessment by the International Court of Justice of the legal status of the prolonged Israeli occupation of Palestine, and allegations that it had legally unacceptable characteristics of “colonialism”, “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing”. ( www.unog.ch )

22

According to medical officials, Israeli forces shot and injured two Palestinians east of Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. (WAFA)

Israeli forces killed three Palestinians and wounded at least seven others when their attempt to arrest a person suspected of being a militant in the Jenin refugee camp erupted into a violent clash. (The New York Times)

Hamas urged the PA to halt security cooperation with Israel after Israeli forces killed three militants in the refugee camp of Jenin. (Xinhuanet)

The Foreign Press Association in Israel condemned “in the strongest of terms” the text messages that had allegedly been sent by Hamas to Israeli cell phone users, including dozens of journalists, warning recipients to leave the country or face al-Qassam Brigade rockets. (Xinhuanet)

Luxembourg’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean Asselborn, stressed his country’s support for the establishment of an independent Palestinian State within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the complete halt of all settlement activities. (WAFA)

Speaking at an emergency meeting of the Fatah Central Committee in Ramallah, Palestinian President Abbas briefed officials on his recent trip to the US. He noted that the Palestinians won’t accept anything less than a fully sovereign State, with East Jerusalem as its capital. (Ma'an News Agency )

The Fatah Central Committee issued a statement noting that the “The Palestinian leadership is committed to keep[ing] the talks with Israel [going] until …[the] nine-month ultimatum ends in late April … we will exert every possible effort for the US efforts made to rescue the peace process to succeed.” (Xinhuanet)

United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Serry voiced grave concern at the Israeli Government’s reported plans to advance over 2,300 settlement units, many of them deep inside the West Bank.

Activists around the world held a day of action entitled “Return Unifies Us” in support of the implementation of the right of all Palestinian refugees to return. (Ma'an News Agency )

23

President Abbas met with the US Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations Martin Indyk to discuss recent developments. (WAFA)

The Deputy Permanent Representative of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, Feda Abdelhady-Nasser, sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General, the President of the Security Council and the President of the General Assembly, on recent Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people and continued illegal settlement activities. The letter states that “Although serious efforts are being exerted internationally, regionally and by the Palestinian leadership to advance the [peace] process, Israel, the occupying Power, persists in bad faith, in both word and deed, aggravating the volatile situation on the ground and threatening the viability of the process.” (WAFA)

After the Israeli Government announced the construction of additional settlements, Chief Palestinian Negotiator Erakat said that Israel valued settlement expansion more than peace. (Ynetnews)

Hamas leader Haniyeh warned Israel that it would pay dearly if it heeded Foreign Minister Liberman’s call to reoccupy Gaza. (Ma'an News Agency )

The Rafah crossing was opened for two days to allow pilgrims to travel to Saudi Arabia. (Ma'an News Agency )

Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters rallied in the Gaza Strip to mark the tenth anniversary of the assassination of the movement’s founding father and spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. (Haaretz)

During an event in Ramallah that focused on the issue of Palestinian prisoners, Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah called upon the international community and human rights organizations to pressure Israel to halt all kinds of inhumane treatment of Palestinian prisoners. (WAFA)

24

Palestinian activists tore through the separation wall surrounding Aida refugee camp, marking the fourth day in a row of clashes between residents and Israeli forces. (IMEMC)

According to eyewitness accounts, Israeli forces notified 18 families in the area of Wadi Ebzeq in the northern Jordan Valley to evacuate their property for several hours due to planned military exercises in the area. (WAFA)

Israeli forces arrested at least 18 Palestinians in the West Bank (Bethlehem, Hebron and Nablus) and summoned another Palestinian for interrogation. (Palestine News Network, WAFA)

Israeli and Palestinian lawmakers met at a conference in Jerusalem to launch the Prague Forum of Israeli, Palestinian and other Middle Eastern parliamentarians. At the event, the participants discussed the Arab Peace Initiative and called for its renewal saying that such a gesture would give the US-backed peace talks a much-needed boost. (The Jerusalem Post, Ynetnews)

US officials were reportedly considering a bid to resuscitate the negotiations by making a significant move that would win the approval of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coalition, one that may include the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. (The Jerusalem Post)

The Human Rights Council held an interactive dialogue with Special Rapporteur Falk during which Mr. Falk introduced his final report to the Council. (www.unog.ch )

“Israeli settlement-related activities and settler violence are at the core of many of the violations of human rights in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay told the Human Rights Council. She also expressed concern at a recent surge in violence in and around the Gaza Strip by both local groups and Israeli forces. (Ynetnews)

The Human Rights Council debated five resolutions – including one that called for a business boycott of Israeli settlements. (www.unog.ch )

25

The IDF arrested Fatah’s secretary-general in Bethlehem’s Aida refugee camp, Mohammed al-Azraq. (Palestine News Network)

The IDF uncovered two bombs planted along the Gaza Strip border during routine security activities. The army forces detonated the bombs in a controlled explosion. There were no injuries in the incident. (The Jerusalem Post)

The Israeli army arrested 11 Palestinians in detention raids across the West Bank, Palestinian security sources and a military spokeswoman said. (Petra)

Israeli military vehicles crossed into Gaza from two locations, witnesses said. (Ma’an News Agency)

US intelligence analysts and Middle East security officials questioned the Israeli claim that the shipment of rockets seized in the Red Sea earlier during the month was destined for Gaza, noting that the 5.5 m rockets would be very difficult to smuggle in the current climate. (The New York Times)

At the Arab Summit that opened in Kuwait, a draft resolution “categorically” refused to recognize Israel as Jewish State, and called upon Arab States to provide $100 million to the PA each month. (Ynetnews)

President Abbas assailed Israel claiming that it had never missed an opportunity to sabotage the American-led talks on an Israeli-Palestinian agreement. Israel, he charged in his address before the Arab League Summit in Kuwait, continually violates the international community’s decisions on the Palestinian issue, as well as bilateral agreements and understandings. It is accelerating settlement construction on the one hand, while destroying houses in Palestinian villages and neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem on the other, and also killing Palestinian civilians, he said. Rather than seeking to achieve a just and viable peace, he added, Israel has recently erected new obstacles to such a peace, like its demand for recognition as a Jewish State. (Haaretz)

US Secretary of State Kerry will travel to Amman, interrupting a visit to Italy, to meet with President Abbas. Mr. Kerry’s surprise trip aims “to continue to narrow the gaps between the parties”, State Department Spokeswoman Psaki said. The Secretary of State would also be in touch with Prime Minister Netanyahu “over the phone or by video conference”, she added. (AFP)

President Abbas held meetings in Kuwait with Interim President of Egypt Adly Mansour, Lebanese President Michel Sleiman and the Envoy of Russian Federation President Mikhail Bogdanov. President Abbas discussed the peace process and bilateral relations. (WAFA)

A press statement announced that a European Union delegation visited Palestine to strengthen their understanding of the circumstances of the Palestinian people and assess the state of the peace process. The delegation included Chris Davies (Liberal Democrat), Norbert Neuser (Social-Democrat) and Nicole Kiil-Neuser (Green), members of the European Parliament from the UK, Germany and France, respectively. The delegation expressed its disappointment and outrage “to hear yet again of the injustices of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine − of confiscations and of demolitions, of settlement building and of the exclusion of Palestinians from so much of their own land, of humiliations and of killing, with the Israeli perpetrators facing nothing by way of punishment”. (WAFA)

Israeli Foreign Minister Liberman received a classified legal opinion on making Arab areas of Israel part of a future Palestinian State. According to the document obtained by Haaretz, such an arrangement, even if carried out without the explicit consent of the population involved, “is not wrongful under international law, as long as the transferred population has a clear citizenship of some kind after the transfer”. (Haaretz )

Some 65 per cent of Palestinians interviewed by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research would support talks continuing to the end of the year “if Israel agreed to release more Palestinian prisoners”; 51 per cent would support continuation of the talks if Israel froze settlements; 75 per cent believed that the chances for the establishment of a Palestinian State in the next five years were non-existent, yet 72 per cent opposed a one-State solution. (Ma’an News Agency, The Jerusalem Post)

The Emir of Qatar, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, criticized Arab States gathered in Kuwait for not following through on a resolution they adopted the previous year to set up a $1 billion fund for East Jerusalem, declaring that Qatar would go ahead with the $250 million it had already pledged. (Ynetnews)

The PA Ministers of Health and Finance will visit the al-Maqasid Hospital in East Jerusalem to discuss the severe financial crisis the hospital had been facing for several years. (Ma’an News Agency)

Activists reported that Israel had cut off water supply to the Shuafat refugee camp. A third of inhabitants have no water at all, and rest can get only very weak dribble. Israeli authorities blamed overcrowding which swelled the Shuafat population from 15,000 to 50,000. (Haaretz)

In a press statement, British Consul General in Jerusalem Alastair McPhail condemned the attacks by settlers against Palestinian properties that occurred the previous day in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Beit Hanina. (WAFA)

In a statement , the Government of Japan deeply deplored “the Government of Israel’s approval of plans for the construction of new housing units in Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank”, stating that “This clearly goes against the ongoing efforts by the international community toward realizing a two-State solution.” (www.ps.emb-japan.go.jp ).

A group of opposition Knesset members called on Prime Minister Netanyahu to freeze settlement construction instead of releasing prisoners. (Ynetnews)

The Israel Lands Authority published tenders to build some 3,050 residential units in the first quarter of the year, 55 per cent of which would be in the West Bank or East Jerusalem [settlements]. (WAFA)

Former US President Jimmy Carter said that he and the other retired senior leaders known as the “Elders” had decided not to endorse the BDS campaign, but called for settlement products to be clearly labelled so buyers can make an informed choice (The Daily Star)

The Manufacturers Association of Israel complained to the Economy Ministry over the use of the label “Made in Israel” on [settlement] products saying that factories located in the settlements received an unfair advantage by not always meeting quality standards or upholding workers’ rights. (The Jerusalem Post)

At the Arab League Summit in Kuwait, President Abbas said that the Israeli Government was trying to get out of releasing a fourth group of veteran Palestinian prisoners: “The Israeli Government is trying to dodge an agreement it had with the US administration to release pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoners.” (Ma’an News Agency)

The Kairos Palestine group was currently preparing an Easter Alert, in order to raise awareness about the deteriorating situation in Jerusalem and the impact of the occupation among churches, parishes, lay persons and clergy all around the world. (WAFA)

The UN International Meeting on the Question of Palestine “Engaging for peace – the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” opened in Quito. (Division for Palestinian Rights)

UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi said that Israel and Egypt had legitimate security concerns but that the plight of the 1.8 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip should also be taken into account. “Their security is worth the same as everybody else’s security so we appeal to the humanitarian sense of all.” (Ynetnews)

Lakhdar Brahimi, Joint Special Representative of the UN and LAS for Syria, delivered a message on behalf of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the Arab League Summit in Kuwait. In his speech, the Secretary-General urged “both parties [Israel and Palestine] to make the necessary compromises to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.” (www.un.org )

The Rolling Stones announced plans for an Israeli concert in June, prompting BDS activists to say that it would be equivalent to performing in apartheid South Africa. (Ma’an News Agency)

26

The IDF arrested 13 Palestinians across the West Bank overnight. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli warships early morning fired at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, injuring four fishermen, witnesses and medics said. (Ma’an News Agency)

His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan received US Secretary of State Kerry, who briefed the King on the latest developments relating to the Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations. King Abdullah voiced his support for the Palestinian-Israel i peace talks. (Petra)

PLO Executive Committee member Ashrawi called upon the US to stand up for international law and to have the political will to curb Israeli violations of international and humanitarian law. She stressed: “Unless there is an American commitment to treat Palestinians equally and to hold Israel accountable, there is no hope for peace.” (Palestine News Network)

Israeli Economy Minister Bennett expressed skepticism over a report that the US had offered to release Israeli spy Pollard in order to prolong Israeli-Palestinian peace talks past their initial April deadline and that he had not received confirmation from Prime Minister Netanyahu about the US offer. State Department Spokeswoman Psaki declared that there was no plan at the moment to release Pollard. (The Jerusalem Post, Ynetnews )

Rola Ma'aya, PA Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, met with the Ambassador of Indonesia to Jordan and Palestine, Teguh Wardoyo, and Fariz Mahdawi, Palestine’s Ambassador to Indonesia. The Indonesian Ambassador expressed his pleasure for being in Palestine, adding that his country would remain committed to supporting Palestine on many fronts, especially tourism. During the meeting, the three parties agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding concerning the issue. (Palestine News Network)

Hamas announced that the Rafah crossing will reopen for three days starting 29 March. (Hurriyet Daily News)

Israeli bulldozers demolished a Palestinian-owned building that housed a mosque, a medical centre and apartments in East Jerusalem. (Ma’an News Agency)

The UN International Meeting on the Question of Palestine “Engaging for peace – the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” was in its second day in Quito. (Division for Palestinian Rights)

27

Assailants threw a Molotov cocktail at an Israel vehicle near Hebron. The IDF scanned the area. No injuries were reported. (The Jerusalem Post)

According to media reports, an Israeli soldier, who had claimed to have been stabbed and lightly injured in Jerusalem, admitted to have made up the story. (Haaretz )

Israeli soldiers searched numerous homes across the West Bank and arrested at least four Palestinians in Bethlehem. (IMEMC)

US Secretary of State Kerry and President Abbas held “constructive” talks on the Middle East peace process. (Ma'an News Agency )

During his meeting with President Abbas, US Secretary of State Kerry aimed to find an “agreement formula” for negotiations with Israel instead of announcing the failure of his efforts, a senior PA aide said. (Middle East Monitor)

According to Palestinian officials in Ramallah, President Abbas may agree to continue negotiations after the 29 April deadline if Israel went through with the fourth prisoner release at the end of March. (The Jerusalem Post)

Hamas slammed the Arab League Summit which concluded in Kuwait the previous day for having failed to call for an end to the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. (Xinhuanet)

Palestinians in Jerusalem petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court over alleged negligence that had led to water supplies to tens of thousands of people being cut. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel stated that many homes in the ‘Shuafat refugee camp’ had “either no water at all or water pressure was so weak that it stops periodically’. (Reliefweb)

Israel’s Transportation Ministry is planning major infrastructure projects in the West Bank with construction set to start in the next few years. The various transportation projects are expected to cost more than $57 million. (Haaretz)

Amid reports that Turkey and Israel may be on the verge of healing their rift, Israeli Defense Minister Ya’alon approved plans by Turkey to bring construction, communication and medical equipment into the Gaza Strip in order build a hospital there. (The Jerusalem Post, Middle East Monitor, Xinhuanet )

In partnership with the EU's Partnership for Peace programme, the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Strategic Dialogue at the Netanya Academic College conducted research on the ramifications the establishment of a Palestinian State would have on security, politics and the normalization and economies of all three States. The research concluded that “Peace is good business for Israel … [and] Palestine ...” (Ynetnews)

Israeli bulldozers continued to build a section of the separation wall around the disputed Cliff Hotel in Abu Dis, lawyer Bassam Bahar said. Mr. Bahar, who also heads a local committee to defend Abu Dis lands, stated that the Israeli Supreme Court had decided that the wall should run around the Cliff Hotel for security reasons. (Ma’an News Agency)

According to Israeli officials, Radical Jewish settlers were readying to move into a major property in the commercial heart of East Jerusalem, overlooking the walls of the Old City. A large part of the property, which also housed East Jerusalem’s main post office and an Israeli police station, was purchased the previous year by the radical settler group “Ateret Cohanim”, which bought it from Israel's Bezeq telecommunications company. (AFP, Ma’an News Agency)

In a letter sent to EU High Representative Ashton, 29 Members of the European Parliament called upon the European External Action Service to take action to discourage European businesses from trading with illegal Israeli settlements. (WAFA)

A group of 30 Palestinian students arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau in what was believed to be the first organized visit by Palestinian students to a Nazi death camp. The students were spending several days in Kraków and Oświęcim guided by two Jewish Holocaust survivors. The students from Al-Quds University and Birzeit University were participating in a joint programme on Reconciliation and Conflict Resolution with the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany, and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. The programme’s aim was for Israeli and Palestinian students to learn about the suffering that had helped shape the historical consciousness of the other side. (Haaretz)

28

In a message to the participants of the 25th Arab League Summit, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin vowed that his country will continue “working for a fair and stable resolution of the Palestinian problem by means of creating an independent, viable, territorially integral Palestinian State that would co-exist in peace and security with its neighbours.” (Kremlin.ru, Middle East Monitor )

The Palestinian leadership accused Israel of trying to blackmail the PA with new conditions for continuing the diplomatic process after the Israeli Government delayed a fourth release of 26 Palestinian prisoners slated for the following evening, said Deputy Minister for Prisoners’ Affairs Ziad Abu Ein. He added that the Palestinians considered the delay a major violation of the agreement on which the current round of peace talks were based. On the other hand, Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Danon slammed the Palestinians for failing to make concessions in the peace process and for only being interested “to free terrorists”. (The Jerusalem Post)

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Serry expressed worry over the prisoner-release impasse, saying negotiations will collapse if no solution was found. (Times of Israel)

According to a report released the previous day, EU diplomats stationed in Jerusalem and Ramallah warned of a regional conflagration over the Haram al-Sharif [Temple Mount]. An 18 March internal document to Brussels raised caution around the changing status quo at the Jerusalem holy site and the growing tension triggered by the demands of right-wing Jewish groups. It also included an implicit criticism of the tendency by Muslim religious authorities and Palestinian politicians to deny the historic affiliation Jews have to the site. The document also stated that almost 100,000 East Jerusalem residents were in danger of losing their homes due to building restrictions Israel imposed. (Haaretz)

UN Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for the OPT Rawley expressed concern over the demolition by Israeli authorities of a two-storey building in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of At Tur on 26 March. The building included two apartments, a mosque and a medical centre. The demolition resulted in the displacement of a family of 7 refugees, including 5 children, and directly affected 24 other Palestinians, including 10 children. ( www.ochaopt.org )

The Human Rights Council adopted, by 46 votes to 1, four Palestine-related resolutions. The resolution on settlements urged all States “to ensure that they are not taking actions that assist the expansion of settlements or construction of the wall,” “to implement the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights” in relation to the OPT, and “to provide guidance and information to individuals and businesses of the financial, reputational and legal risks, as well as the possible abuses of the rights of individuals, of getting involved in settlement-related activities.” (www.unog.ch )

The Human Rights Council decided to delay a vote on 18 incoming special rapporteurs, including the replacement for the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Richard Falk, by one month. (The Times of Israel)

29

Israeli police used force to break up a Palestinian Land Day march in East Jerusalem, injuring several people including two journalists, news photographers said. (AFP)

Hamas Spokesman Eyad al-Bozum said that Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah border crossing after it was closed for 49 days. He said that it would remain open for three days and that there were about 6,000 Gazans seeking to cross into Egypt, including patients, students and people whose residence visas were close to expiring. (AP)

Filippo Grandi ends his four-year term as UNRWA Commissioner-General. Pierre Krähenbühl, a Swiss national, and Director of Operations at the International Committee of the Red Cross for the past 12 years, is to assume his post. (Middle East Monitor)

30

American mediators held urgent lengthy contacts with Israeli and Palestinian officials in hopes of salvaging the peace talks, searching for a formula to bring the sides back together and extend the negotiations beyond the deadline, officials on both sides said. (AP)

The issue of the prisoner release “could be resolved or it could fall apart” in the next few days, Prime Minister Netanyahu told a closed meeting of Likud officials, according to participants speaking on conditions of anonymity. “In any case, there won't be any deal without getting something in return.” According to a Palestinian official, Israel had presented President Abbas with a draft agreement to extend the talks. The proposal, a Palestinian source said, “included the release of 420 other prisoners chosen by Israel” and a partial settlement freeze, excluding East Jerusalem, or tenders already launched. (AFP, AP)

The League of Arab States demanded the release of all Palestinian women and child prisoners, and particularly the agreed upon final batch held by Israel. It called for the lifting of the siege of Gaza by Israel and stressed its total rejection to Israel’s plans to Judaize Jerusalem. (WAFA)

Egyptian authorities denied entry to a Malaysian delegation seeking to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing, Gaza officials said. (Ma’an News Agency)

An Israeli settler opened fire at a Palestinian man near Nablus, injuring him in the foot, a Palestinian official said. (Ma’an News Agency)

31

Israeli soldiers opened fire at Palestinian activists planting trees in the southern Gaza Strip, witnesses said. The activity was organized by the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine to mark Land Day. There were no injuries. (Ma’an News Agency)

US Secretary of State Kerry rushed back to the Middle East to try to salvage the peace talks. He met for two hours with Prime Minister Netanyahu, before entering talks with Palestinian negotiators at his Jerusalem hotel. Earlier in the day , he held a second two-hour meeting with Mr. Netanyahu, with sources close to the talks saying that they discussed a deal to free spy Jonathan Pollard as a way of breaking the logjam in the negotiations. Mr. Kerry will return to Ramallah to meet with President Abbas the following day. (AFP, Reuters, Palestine News Network)

Israeli leader of the opposition Isaac Herzog (Labor), met with King Abdullah of Jordan in Amman to discuss current peace talks. “There is an opportunity now that will not repeat itself to reach a peace deal in the Middle East and it needs to be reached so the talks do not end in failure,” the King said during the meeting. (The Jerusalem Post)

PLO Executive Committee member Ashrawi expressed her lack of faith in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace process during a John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Harvard University Institute of Politics. She particularly highlighted the obstacles faced by the current peace process and described the negotiations as “not truly bilateral” and “characterized by a power asymmetry.” (The Harvard Crimson)

President Mahmoud Abbas met with Fatah officials to discuss the latest developments in peace negotiations with Israel. (Ma’an News Agency)

Kuwait donated $2,000,000 to UNRWA and contributed $500,000 to support the Decent Work Agenda in the OPT of the International Labour Organization. (KUNA)

The Israeli Government issued confiscation orders to Palestinian landowners in Nablus to seize over 300 dunums to expand nearby settlements, PA official Ghassan Daghlas said. (Ma’an news Agency)

The Palestinian Prisoners Society said that Israeli courts extended the detention of 51 prisoners under the pretext of continuing investigations and judicial procedures against them. (Palestine News Network)


___________

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter