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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
28 February 2014




Division for Palestinian Rights

Chronological Review of Events Relating to the
Question of Palestine

Monthly media monitoring review

February 2014

Monthly highlights

    • President Abbas proposes an American-led NATO force to patrol a future Palestinian State (1 February)

    • Negotiations between Turkey and Israel on compensation to victims of the 2010 Mavi Marmara raid were nearing completion (3 February)

    • Palestinian Chief Negotiator Erekat said that the Palestinian response to Israel’s continued construction in East Jerusalem would be to join the Geneva Convention and bring Israel to the International Criminal Court (6 February)

    • Fatah and Hamas representatives met for a two-day meeting to discuss steps towards reconciliation (9 February)

    • Israeli ministers vote down a bill to annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank (9 February)

    • Australian investigative documentary alleges physical abuse, forced false confessions and targeting of Palestinian children to gather intelligence on Palestinian activists (10 February)

    • Palestinian Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs says that the treatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails amounted to “intentional medical crimes” (17 February)

    • The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People holds a screening of the award-winning documentary “5 BROKEN CAMERAS” at UN Headquarters
    (19 February)

    • League of Arab States reports that more than 5,000 Palestinian and other Arab prisoners held in Israeli jails suffered repeated and ongoing violations of their rights (23 February)

    • United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Richard Falk, issued his final report in this capacity (25 February)

    • Jordan warns that it might review a 1994 peace treaty with Israel after Knesset members began a debate on allowing Jewish prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound (26 February)

    • Palestinian Chief Negotiator Erakat rejected US moves to extend an April deadline for another nine months of talks with Israel to culminate in a framework peace deal (27 February)

1

Israeli soldiers stormed a hotel near Bethlehem’s northern entrance and detained two Palestinian men who were taken to an unknown destination. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli soldiers stormed the tent village that some 30 activists had set up in an attempt to maintain Palestinian presence in an area of the northern Jordan Valley that Israel was trying to take over. Army vehicles stormed the area, took down the tents and detained the activists for several hours before ordering them to leave the area. (WAFA)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas proposed to Secretary of State John Kerry that an American-led NATO force patrol a future Palestinian State indefinitely, with troops positioned throughout the territory, at all crossings, and within Jerusalem. Mr. Abbas, in an interview, said that Israeli soldiers could remain in the West Bank for up to five years − not three, as he previously stated − and that Jewish settlements should be phased out of the new Palestinian State along a similar timetable. Palestine, he said, would not have its own army but a police force, and therefore, the NATO mission would be responsible for preventing the smuggling of weapons and terrorism that Israel feared. (The New York Times)

The European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, said that the meeting of the Middle East Quartet members on the side lines of the Munich security conference was “an opportunity to recognize the tremendous efforts that are going on”. “From the European Union perspective, we were talking about the way in which we have described what would be unprecedented support for both sides in the event that they are able to reach their conclusions,” Ms. Ashton noted. (www.kuna.net.kw)

At a panel discussion on the Middle East peace process at the Munich Security Conference, a heated argument erupted between the Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat and his Israeli counterpart, Tzipi Livni, when the latter used “Judea and Samaria” to describe the West Bank, and urged the Palestinians to stop using Arabic names for cities like Haifa and Jaffa and to back down from demanding the return of Palestinian refugees to those cities. “Israel has to choose between three choices, one of which is the two-State solution which I am proposing,” Mr. Erekat said. The second choice, he added, was that if the Israelis want to call Jericho “Yeriho” and Nablus “Shkheim”, [then it] is one State for both peoples. The third choice, Mr. Erekat said, is the use of security pretexts to justify “apartheid” in the West Bank. “Now in 2014, there are streets in the West Bank which I can’t use as a Palestinian,” he added. Ms. Livni, according to Mr. Erekat’s office, responded that “Saeb says that if I want to use the Jewish name ‘Yeriho’ to describe his city Jericho, I can do that, but in that case there will be one State.” (Ma’an News Agency)

The US State Department hit back at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who warned that calls for boycotts of Israel to pressure it over settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories were “immoral and unjustified” and would not achieve their goal. In a public spat that reflected tensions over slow-moving Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the State Department rebuked Mr. Netanyahu for misrepresenting the words of the US Secretary of State Kerry who had warned that “Israel could find itself increasingly targeted by a boycott if it fails to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians.” Another senior rightwing minister accused Mr. Kerry of serving as a “mouthpiece” for anti-Semitic views. (The Guardian)

Palestinian President Abbas and a senior Hamas movement leader met in Ramallah on Palestinian reconciliation. The meeting lasted for two hours, according to Nasser al-Din al-Sha'er, a Hamas leader. “We believe that there is an overwhelming Palestinian consensus to achieve an internal reconciliation, end division and go for general elections as soon as possible,” he added. (Shanghaidaily.com)

Israel’s Minister of Finance Yair Lapid suspended the transfer of public funds to West Bank settlements pending a probe into their alleged misuse, his office said. The move came after it emerged that some funds earmarked for compensating West Bank communities were transferred to the settlement leadership for political activity. The decision was not expected to affect controversial plans for settlement expansion. (AFP)

2

Israeli forces stormed the northern West Bank towns of al-Jalamah and Qabatia near Jenin and ransacked several homes. (Ma’an News Agency)

Hamas had withdrawn a special security force tasked with preventing rocket launches at Israel from their position near the border, a security source said. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said that while the 600-strong rocket-prevention force had been removed, regular security forces remained in place. The move came a day after Israeli fighter jets had attacked Hamas military positions in the Palestinian enclave in response to a rocket attack at a southern Israeli town. (AFP)

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, met with a Palestinian delegation from Jerusalem who briefed the Emir on the latest developments in Jerusalem, including its religious sites. (QNA)

Israeli forces evacuated five settlers who claimed that they had mistakenly entered the Ein Hijla encampment protest near Jericho. (Ma’an News Agency)

3

A group of Israeli settlers kidnapped two Palestinians from the town of Jaba’a, south of Jenin. Both men were released after more than two hours following the intervention of the Palestinian military liaison. (WAFA)

Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) detained 18 Palestinians in arrest raids across the West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency)

The EU Ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, warned that Israel would likely endure “increasing isolation” if peace talks with the Palestinians collapse. He added that such a scenario wouldn't necessarily be a result of European policy, but rather the actions of private companies. (AP)

At a meeting chaired by President Abbas, the Fatah Central Committee stated that there can be no peace with Israel without an independent Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital. The Committee met to address the latest developments in the region, and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. (IMEMC)

In a statement, a Hamas spokesperson in the Gaza Strip, Sami Abu Zuhri, said that the declarations made by President Abbas on reaching a permanent peace agreement with Israel represented “his own personal ideas”. “These ideas don't express the reality of the Palestinian consensus and the stances of the Palestinian factions, which oppose the peace talks or any solution that neglects the Palestinian merits and their legal rights,” said Mr. Abu Zuhri. (Xinhua)

Jordanian Minister for Foreign Affairs Nasser Judeh, during a parliamentary session devoted to a discussion of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace plan that Jordan will not agree to a violation of Palestinian refugees’ right of return and due compensation, said: “Jordan, as a country that hosts the Palestinian refugees, needs to protect their rights.” (Ynetnews.com)

Israel agreed to several steps meant to facilitate the shipment of goods between Israel and the West Bank in both directions at al-Jalameh terminal in the northern West Bank, according to the Nablus Chamber of Commerce. The steps agreed upon between officials of the Chamber and the United States Aid for International Development will help improve the import and export process, reduce financial burdens and save time and effort. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Palestinian Electricity Transmission Company Ltd. (PETL) was launched in Ramallah marked by an event that was attended by high-ranking officials, including Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and the EU Representative for the West Bank, Gaza Strip and UNRWA, John Gatt-Rutter. PETL would be the first national Governmental company established in Palestine to build, own and operate the Palestinian electricity transmission system and would be the sole designated buyer of electricity for transmission to Palestinian market. (WAFA)

The UAE Red Crescent Authority (RCA) earmarked Dh 300 million for its proposed humanitarian and relief initiatives in Palestine over the next three years until 2016. The funds would be channelled into health, educational, agricultural, environmental and services sectors which were most vital in addressing the critical economic circumstances of the Palestinian people. (www.uaeinteract.com)

Palestinian Minister of Agriculture Waled Assaf accused Jewish settlers in the West Bank of attacking olive groves owned by Palestinians and uprooting about 1,700 seedlings in two villages north of Ramallah. He said that the Palestinian Government will help the villagers with new seedlings to plant. Israeli police said that they were investigating the incident. (AP)

Israeli Minister for Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman announced that a new inter-ministerial team had been established to fight efforts to boycott Israel and products manufactured beyond the Green Line. (Israel Hayom)

Denmark's largest bank, Danske Bank, had blacklisted Israeli Bank Hapoalim because it finances construction of illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the West Bank. Citing its corporate accountability rules, the bank said that Bank Hapoalim was acting against the rules of international law. The Danish bank had already withdrawn its investments from Africa Israel Investments Limited and Danya Cebus for the same reasons. Sweden's Nordea Bank – the largest in Scandinavia – followed Danske Bank and had also taken steps against Israeli banks involved in construction in the settlements. In January, PGGM, the managing company of Netherlands largest pension fund, divested all investments from Israel's five biggest banks. (www.ibtimes.co.uk)

Following appeals from human rights groups, Israel would hand over some 30 bodies of Palestinian assailants, enabling families to arrange funerals. The Israeli human rights group HaMoked appealed to Israel's Supreme Court in 2011 to seek the release of the remains of 31 assailants. The group said that the court did not hand down any ruling but that Israel's Ministry of Defense decided towards the end of 2013 to hand over 30 bodies. (AP)

Negotiations between Turkey and Israel on compensation to victims of the 2010 Mavi Marmara raid were nearing completion. Israel had apologized to Turkey on 22 March 2013, and diplomats from both countries had met at least four times in 2013, and chances of an agreement appeared to be rising. “The amount of compensation for those who were killed and wounded in the Mavi Marmara operation, plus the damages inflicted on the vessel, will be around a few million dollars,” sources said, without giving further details. (www.hurriyetdailynews.com)

The European Union’s Partnership for Peace Programme is using of the innovative form of educational theatrics to target hundreds of Palestinian children in four Governorates of the West Bank. Aptly named ‘Through the Children’s Eyes’, the activity is geared to students from the fifth to ninth grades, taking place in cooperation with the Safar Theatre, local municipalities and village councils. The events included a performance of the play “O Hearers of the Sound”, with the objective of educating children about the importance of dialogue and democracy, reconciliation and non-violence. Cooperating organizations and institutions had expressed the vital role the European Union had played in terms of society development, environmental stability, civil peace, dialogue and democracy. (www.eeas.europa.eu)

4

An IDF officer was killed by friendly fire near the border in the northern Gaza Strip. (The Jerusalem Post)

Hamas sent security forces back to the Gaza Strip borders with Israel to prevent rocket fire. Islam Shahwan, a Hamas Ministry official, said that the role of the Ministry was to “secure and fortify the home front and the agreements approved by resistance factions to realize our people’s interests, security and stability.” (Ma’an News Agency)

In response to an interview President Abbas gave to The New York Time the previous day in which he rejected the possibility of recognizing Israeli as a Jewish State, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “It is absurd to think that in an agreement in which we will recognize the nation-State of the Palestinian people, they will not recognize the Jewish State.” (Ynetnews)

According to US officials, negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians would likely require more time than had previously been anticipated. (The Jerusalem Post)

Khaleda Jarrar, a senior leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said that the idea of having an international [NATO] force in the West Bank would influence the Palestinian sovereignty, adding “Abbas’ suggestions are dangerous.” Objections had also been raised by Hamas. (Xinhua)

Jordan’s Prime Minister, Abdullah Ensour, told deputies that Jordan was a key player in the efforts to ensure a fair Israeli-Palestinian agreement, adding that President Abbas had provided assurances that Jordan would be kept apprised of the progress in the talks and any decisions that would be taken ahead of time. “Jordanians will not be taken by surprise,” Mr. Ensour stressed, adding: “We take the Palestinian commitment in this regard seriously.” (The Jordan Times)

The Israeli Supreme Court ordered the Government to explain why it had refused to alter the route of the wall near the Palestinian village of Beit Jala, south of Jerusalem that, according to petitioners, would cut off the village from farmlands and schools. (Haaretz)

The Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing in the southern Gaza Strip until 6 February. (Ma’an News Agency)

In a statement, the EU Missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah expressed their concern about the demolition of nearly all structures in the herding community of Ein Al Hilweh/Um Al Jamal in the Tubas District on 30 January, which resulted in the displacement of 66 people, including 36 children. (eeas.europa.eu)

More than a dozen Israeli intelligence officers entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound through the Moroccan Gate and toured different areas of the compound before storming the Dome of the Rock and climbing to the roof. (Ma’an News Agency)

5

Israeli soldiers shot and injured a 20-year-old Palestinian man and arrested another during a raid in the Far’a refugee camp in Tubas. (WAFA)

Israeli forces arrested three Palestinians in Dura, south of Hebron, and two others in the Jerusalem area. (WAFA)

Israel had refused an American offer to reconvene a joint Israel-United States-Palestinian Authority (PA) anti-incitement committee to discuss PA incitement against Israel. According to Ma’ariv, Intelligence and International Relations Minister Yuval Steinitz explained that “There is no point in convening a committee that will be a cover-up for continued incitement by the Palestinian Authority.” (www.israelnationalnews.com)

A Palestinian had been indicted in an Israeli military court on suspicion of being an Al-Qaida activist and in possession of biological weapons, with plans to train other Palestinians in their use. He had been in administrative detention without trial for the past three years. (Haaretz)

A group of hard-line Israeli rabbis warned US Secretary of State Kerry to cease his mediation between Israel and the Palestinians or face divine retribution. (Haaretz)

The Palestinian Cabinet approved the budget for the 2014 fiscal year and sent it to President Abbas for ratification, according to a Cabinet statement. The budget was set at $4.216 billion with a $1.279 billion deficit. (WAFA)

A Jerusalem Municipality spokeswoman said that the local planning committee had approved requests by contractors for construction work to begin on 558 homes in the settlements of “Har Homa”, “Neve Yaakov” and “Pisgat Zeev”. Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Pepe Alalu (Meretz) condemned the announcement as a cynical attempt to derail a final status agreement. Executive Committee member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Hanan Ashrawi condemned the announcement, and the demolition of Palestinian homes in Beit Hanina and Sur Bahir. (Reuters, The Jerusalem Post, WAFA)

Israeli authorities notified a Palestinian resident from the village of Irtas, south of Bethlehem, of their intention to take over 20 dunums of her land under the pretext that is was “State land”, according to a local activist. (WAFA)

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) stopped providing tents for Palestinians in the Jordan Valley whose houses had been demolished by the IDF. The tents were torn down by IDF forces and ICRC had been prevented from making further deliveries. (The Jerusalem Post)

A bill calling for the application of Israeli law to all West Bank settlements and all roads leading to them will be discussed by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on 9 February. The bill, which was sponsored by Knesset member Miri Regev (Likud), would also bar the Government from restricting settlement construction due to diplomatic considerations, unless it received the Knesset’s explicit permission to do so. (Haaretz)

Israeli settlers beat a 49-year-old Palestinian man with stones and sticks in the village of Turmusayya in the central West Bank. The man sustained a deep cut and fractures. (Ma’an News Agency)

Three settlers from the outpost of “Gilad Farm” had been charged in a “price-tag” attack which took place on 19 November 2013 in the Palestinian village of Far’ata during which two vehicles were torched and graffiti sprayed. (The Jerusalem Post)

A Jerusalem court charged four East Jerusalem Palestinians with planning a shooting attack on a Jerusalem wedding hall. (Haaretz)

Settlers from “Itamar” cut down more than 100 olive trees in Wadi Yanoun in the Nablus district. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israel’s Jerusalem municipality demolished two Palestinian homes in Beit Hanina and Sur Baher in East Jerusalem. It also handed out demolition notices for five Palestinian homes in Silwan. (WAFA)

The Israeli army expelled 35 Bedouin families from their homes in the northern Jordan Valley. (WAFA)

An Israeli court in Jerusalem sentenced six Palestinians from Jerusalem to jail terms of up to seven years for involvement with Hamas. They had already been kept in Israeli prisons or under house arrest for up to two years without trial. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Tulkarm-based al-Shira TV, according to it director, Mohammad Zeidan, stopped broadcasting following Israeli army threats of seizure of its equipment under the pretext that they disrupted army telecommunications. (WAFA)

6

Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers entered the Al-Fukhari neighbourhood in the southern Gaza Strip and levelled agricultural land. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Israeli military said that a third rocket fired by militants in the Gaza Strip fell into southern Israel. There were no immediate reports of injuries. (AFP)

Israeli forces detained 10 Palestinians during overnight raids across the West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency)

Speaking at an interfaith breakfast in Washington, D.C., US President Barack Obama expressed his appreciation for US Secretary of State Kerry’s peace efforts in the Middle East. (Israel National News)

Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erakat met in Jericho with US Middle East Peace Talks Envoy Martin Indyk. No details on the content of the meeting were made available, but it was made clear that the visit was part of Mr. Indyk’s shuttle diplomacy and not in connection with the recent settlement construction announcements. (Haaretz)

In an interview with Al-Jazeera, Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erakat said that the Palestinian response to Israel’s continued construction in East Jerusalem would be to join the Geneva Convention, in preparation for declaring the settlements a war crime and bringing Israel to the International Criminal Court. (Haaretz)

Israeli forces bulldozed five dunums of land planted with olive and almond trees in Wadi Fukin, west of Bethlehem, and also uprooted around 120 palm trees in Al-Zubeidat, north of Jericho. (WAFA)

According to a report released by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 390 structures were demolished and 590 people were displaced in the Jordan Valley in 2013, compared to 172 and 279, respectively, in 2012. (AP, www.ochaopt.org)

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said that 27 homes in the Jordan Valley had been demolished during the month of January, leaving 147 people homeless. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli authorities forcibly evacuated hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators from an improvised camp that had been set up the previous week by the Palestinian Popular Struggle Coordination Committee in Ein Hijleh in the central Jordan Valley. (CNN)

The Permanent Arab Commission on Human Rights, at its thirty-fifth session in Cairo, recommended the formation of a committee of doctors to visit Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. (Ma’an News Agency)

Farid al-Masmi, spokesman of the union of Palestinian employees of UNRWA, confirmed that an agreement had been reached to end their 65-day-old strike. (Ma’an News Agency)

7

Palestinian medical sources reported that a young Palestinian man was shot and injured by Israeli military fire in the Al-Arroub refugee camp in Hebron. (IMEMC)

British Foreign Secretary William Hague told BBC HARDtalk that the world will see peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators as a “last chance” at a two-State solution. (BBC)

According to a report by Channel 10, Danish Parliament Speaker Mogens Lykketoft was set to visit the West Bank and Gaza during the weekend. (Press-TV)

A team from the International Monetary Fund led by the Chief for the West Bank and Gaza, Christoph Duenwald, visited East Jerusalem and Ramallah from 28 January to 6 February to assess recent economic developments in the West Bank and Gaza and the financial situation of the PA. (www.imf.org)

Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip after keeping the terminal open for three days. A Gaza border crossing officer stated that it would be re-opened on 9 and 10 February to allow a group of Umrah pilgrims to continue their journey home from Saudi Arabia. (Ma’an News Agency)

A spokesman for ICRC said, “We're suspending the distribution of tents and shelter materials because we have seen a pattern of [Israeli] obstacles and confiscations since the beginning of 2013.” (AFP)

8

A large group of Israeli forces gathered south of Nablus near the “Itzhar” settlement after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at an Israeli settler’s vehicle earlier in the day. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket into southern Israel. The IDF said that it was the fourth attack during the week. No casualties or damage were reported. (AFP)

9

A Palestinian was in critical condition after an Israeli air strike on central Gaza that the IDF said had targeted Abdallah Kherati, a member of the Popular Resistance Committees, a “key” figure responsible for cross-border rocket fire. (AFP)

Israeli extremists vandalized a cemetery in the Palestinian town of al-Muzayria, in the district of Ramla in central Israel. (Ma’an News Agency)

Fatah and Hamas representatives met for a two-day meeting to discuss steps towards reconciliation and pave the way for forming a consensual cabinet and holding general elections. Hamas Gaza Chief Ismail Haniyeh said that President Abbas needed to “take serious steps to provide a positive climate for reconciliation”. (Anadolu Agency)

Israeli ministers voted down a bill to annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Only Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel and Pensioners' Affairs Minister Uri Orbach, both of the Bayit Yehudi party, voted in favour of the legislation proposed by Knesset Interior Committee Chairwoman Miri Regev (Likud Beytenu). (The Jerusalem Post)

Prime Minister Netanyahu organized a meeting amidst a “climate of secrecy” to discuss counter-measures that Israel could take against the increasing risk of an economic international boycott if peace negotiations with the Palestinians failed. The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Liberman, Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett, Minister of Strategic Issues Yuval Steinitz as well as Shin Bet and Mossad representatives. (ANSAmed, Ma’ariv)

10

Rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in the Hof Ashkelon area of southern Israel. No injuries or damage were reported. The Israeli military said that it had hit an underground rocket launcher and a “terror site” in two air strikes in the occupied Gaza Strip. (Al-Jazeera)

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel landed in the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council area. No injuries or damage were reported. (The Jerusalem Post)

President Abbas met in Ramallah with the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, to discuss the current peace process. (WAFA)

King Abdullah II of Jordan met with US Secretary of State Kerry and discussed ongoing peace efforts and the Syrian crisis. (Petra)

Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah met in Jericho with European Parliament President Schultz and briefed him on the latest developments in the peace process, as well calling for tougher EU sanctions against Israeli settlements. (WAFA)

Chief Palestinian Negotiator Erakat said that Prime Minister Netanyahu would wage a war on the Gaza Strip to foil an expected peace plan of US Secretary of State Kerry. (Xinhua)

Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah and European Parliament President Shulz cancelled a scheduled visit to the Area C village of Al-Khan Al-Ahmar after Israeli authorities threatened to prevent the visit from taking place. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli police said that Israeli settlers slashed car tires and sprayed anti-Arab graffiti in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan near the Old City. (AFP)

The Kingdom of Belgium contributed €1.35 million to support UNRWA’s activities in Syria. (diplomatie.belgium.be)

Israeli human rights group HaMoked said that an Israeli officer in the military prosecution had distorted the truth to justify the closure of a West Bank checkpoint near Ramallah that seriously burdened tens of thousands of Palestinians. “It’s very grave when the military commander’s legal adviser lets himself submit inaccurate information and thus excuse the undermining of the human rights of 100,000 Palestinians who are not allowed to cross a checkpoint and are forced to travel on narrow, long and winding roads,” said HaMoked attorney Yadin Elam. The IDF stated that the checkpoint in question was closed for security reasons. HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice to open the road. (Haaretz)

In an investigative documentary titled “Stone Cold Justice”, produced by a team of Australian journalists and aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor conceded that human rights abuses of Palestinian children in the West Bank were “intolerable” and that having soldiers arrest young kids in the middle of the night was problematic. The admissions contained in the investigative documentary alleged that some Palestinian children were being physically abused, forced into false confessions and targeted in order to gather intelligence on Palestinian activists. (Haaretz, ABC Radio Australia)

11

Israeli naval forces arrested three Palestinian fishermen off the northern Gaza coast. (KUNA)

Israeli Air Force jets fired missiles at two locations in the central Gaza Strip, causing no injuries. (WAFA)

Israeli forces arrested 11 Palestinians across the West Bank and five teenagers in the Old City of Jerusalem. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Japanese Government announced a new contribution of $62 million to the Palestinian people. (Palestine News Network, www.ps.emb-japan.go.jp)

The head of the Israeli-Palestinian Chamber of Commerce, David Simha, told journalists hosted by The Israel Project in Jerusalem that Israeli leaders now realize that they “cannot afford the risk of not reaching an understanding [with the Palestinians]”, and that failure to reach a peace agreement will have “catastrophic” results for both Israel and the Palestinians. (The Times of Israel)

The Egyptian army destroyed five smuggling tunnels on the Gaza border. (Ma’an News Agency)

In an interview with Channel 10 News, PA Religious Affairs Minister Mahmoud Al-Habash said that Jerusalem’s Western Wall must be brought under Palestinian sovereignty in any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. (The Times of Israel)

The Jordanian Minister of Endowments and Islamic Affairs accused Israel of exploiting current political turmoil in neighbouring Arab countries to step up violations against the Al-Aqsa Mosque and warned Israel of the potential eruption of a “revolution that will show that desecrating [Islamic] holy places will not be tolerated by Arabs and Muslims”. (Turkishpress.com)

According to Hamas Member of Parliament Jamal al-Khudari, 80 per cent of factories in the Gaza Strip were either fully or partially closed. (Palestine News Network)

Israeli Housing and Construction Minister Ariel and 27 settlers visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound under armed guard. (Ma’an News Agency)

During a visit to Jerusalem, European Parliament President Schultz said that the EU had no intention of passing a resolution boycotting Israel. He said that should any moves towards boycott were to be made, these would be by individual countries and not by the Union itself. (Haaretz)

12

Israeli forces arrested six Palestinians in the West Bank and two others in Jerusalem. (WAFA)

Israeli military and security sources said that Border Guard Police stopped a Palestinian car and arrested five Palestinians “who planned to attack Israeli targets” in the West Bank. Two homemade rifles with magazines were found under the back seat. (IMEMC)

Three Palestinians were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets and dozens of others suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation in clashes with Israeli forces in Beit Ummar, north of Hebron. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Israeli army conducted a large-scale military training in a populated area in the northern Jordan Valley, forcing about 100 Palestinians, mostly women and children, to leave their homes for six hours. (WAFA)

Palestinian Chief Negotiator Erakat called on Prime Minister Netanyahu to prepare the Israeli people for “tough concessions”. Speaking on Army Radio, Mr. Erakat publicly called on Mr. Netanyahu to accept the pre-1967 borders. (www.israelnationalnews.com)

Jordan's King Abdullah II and US Vice President Joe Biden met in Washington, D.C. The Jordanian monarch stressed that the establishment of an independent Palestinian State alongside Israel would foster security and stability in the region. (The Jerusalem Post)

Yasser Abed Rabbo, Secretary-General of the PLO, accused Israel of hindering peace efforts after the Knesset approved a bill that would require all decisions regarding land concession to be put to a referendum. The bill would not apply to the West Bank or the settlements in the area because that territory had not been annexed by Israel. (Haaretz, Xinhua)

According to Palestine Monetary Authority, the Business Cycle Indicator (PMABCI) for February witnessed an improvement at the national level by increasing from -3.34 in January to around 3.87. The PMABCI is a monthly index based on business surveys with an aim to capture the state and evolution of economic activity in Palestine by noting performance of the industrial sector, especially fluctuations in production, and employment levels and implications for the economy at large. (WAFA)

Palestinian officials said that Israeli authorities prevented 70 patients from Gaza from entering Israel to receive medical treatment because their transfer documents were marked with the “State of Palestine” logo. (AFP)

Prime Minister Netanyahu accused European Parliament President Schulz of “selective hearing” for repeating during a visit to the Knesset a claim that Israelis used four times as much water as Palestinians. Mr. Schulz' statement prompted a walkout by Habayit Hayehudi MKs, led by party leader Naftali Bennett. (Haaretz)

A municipal planning committee advanced a plan to build a nine-storey Yeshiva in the heart of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem, triggering angry Palestinian accusations that Israel was undermining already troubled peace efforts. A Jerusalem municipality spokeswoman said that the vote was only a recommendation to build the seminary, and that the project needed more approvals before it can be built. (AP)

Israeli settlers uprooted about 150 olive seedlings in Al-Khader, west of Bethlehem. In Yatta, south of Hebron, settlers from “Susiya” cut down about 150 olive trees belonging to Palestinians. Also, a group of settlers protected by Israeli forces took over 250 dunums of land east of Bethlehem. (WAFA)

Israeli forces demolished tents set up by Palestinian residents in the village of Khirbet Ein Karzaliyah in the Jordan Valley after the village was completely destroyed by Israel in January. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces handed out demolition notices for a house and two sheds in Barta’a Ash Sharqiya, south of Jenin, under the pretext that they were unlicensed. (WAFA)

On the occasion of his visit to the Gaza Strip, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry expressed his concern about its deteriorating situation. Mr. Serry visited the Gaza City paediatric hospital, which had been affected by frequent power cuts. “I was heartened to see that this children’s hospital is one of the facilities that benefit from the fuel emergency safety net created by the United Nations through the generous contributions of Turkey and the Islamic Development Bank, which is securing continuity of vital services. However, this is but a stop-gap measure, and more must be done to address Gaza’s chronic energy problems. … Energy is the basis for everything – whether desalination, private sector growth, or health services. Short-term solutions, such as the generous donation of Qatar to the Gaza power plant, remain essential,” Mr. Serry said. (www.unsco.org)

13

A Palestinian man was shot dead and another injured by Israeli forces east of Gaza City, medics reported. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces raided the Palestinian town of Deir Nidham, north of Ramallah, detained a young man and assaulted a middle-aged woman. Clashes subsequently broke out between the IDF and young Palestinians from the village. (Ma’an News Agency)

The IDF shot dead a Palestinian man near the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip. The Israeli army said that the man had been observed behaving suspiciously in a restricted area close to the border fence where explosive devices had been detonated close to troops since the beginning of the year. According to Hamas authorities, the Palestinian man had been collecting gravel. (AFP)

Palestinians hurled a firebomb at an Israeli bus traveling south-west of Nablus. The IDF reported that the bus sustained damages, but no passengers were injured. The Israeli army eventually launched a sweep of the area for suspects. (The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli soldiers attacked and fired gas bombs at dozens of schoolchildren in Silwan, in East Jerusalem, leading to dozens of injuries and tear gas inhalation, the Wadi Hilweh Information Centre and local medics reported. The army also detained several students and searched them, leading to clashes. (IMEMC)

King Abdullah II met with leaders of American Jewish organizations in Washington, D.C., and discussed ways to support efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East. (The Jerusalem Post)

PA President Abbas held talks over the telephone with Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoðan on Palestinian developments and the Middle East peace process. The talks also focused on bilateral relations and means of pushing them forward. (WAFA)

The Foreign and Defense Ministers of Egypt and the Russian Federation issued a joint statement calling for continued talks between Israel and Palestine stressing the need for Israel to leave the occupied territories and for a viable Palestinian State to be created. (www.voiceofrussia.com)

Representatives of various Palestinian political parties held a meeting in the Gaza Strip to discuss negotiations and national reconciliation. Fatah spokesperson Fayiz Abu Aita said that national factions were unanimous over the importance of achieving national reconciliation, and called on Hamas to accept Fatah's recent initiative in order to push the reconciliation forward. (Ma’an News Agency)

Emad Alami, a senior Hamas leader, told reporters in Gaza that his group would not be committed to any future peace agreement reached with Israel that denied the basic legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. (www.china.org.cn)

Israel allowed the entry of some 35 Palestinian medical patients from the Gaza Strip after initially barring them because “State of Palestine” appeared on the letterhead of their application. A Palestinian official said that Israel had relented and had permitted the patients’ entry without any change to the logo. An Israeli official said that the letterhead had been changed to “Palestinian Authority”. (Reuters)

The second session of the Palestinian-Romanian Intergovernmental Committee was held in Bucharest. The session was chaired by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki and his Romanian counterpart, Titus Corlatean. Mr. Malki said that the Committee aimed to promote Palestinian-Romanian relations and that there were many areas of mutual cooperation, including economy, agriculture, energy, tourism and security, among others. (WAFA)

Following the Knesset debate on the amount of water allocated to Israelis and Palestinians, B’Tselem published Questions & Answers about the undeniable inequality in the distribution of water between the groups. (btselem.org)

Thousands of Israeli teenagers marched from the Israeli settlement of “Ma’ale Adumim” to the adjacent area known as “E-1” to protest Israeli negotiations with the Palestinians and the decision by Prime Minister Netanyahu to block construction in the region. Several member of Mr. Netanyahu's coalition joined the march, including Housing and Construction Minister Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi), Knesset members Yair Shamir and Yisrael Katz (Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu), along with several deputy ministers and Knesset members. (Haaretz)

Dozens of Palestinian popular resistance activists held a demonstration near the Israeli settlement of “Ma'ale Adumim” to protest potential Israeli settlement construction in the key “E-1” area. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Israeli Central Court of Jerusalem ordered the demolition of steel structures used by the Palestinian al-Maslamani family as domiciles in the al-Tur neighbourhood in East Jerusalem. Omar al-Maslamani reported that the court had rejected an appeal by the family and informed him and his father that they should demolish the structures in 60 days. Otherwise, the municipality demolition teams would proceed with the demolition and the family would pay the costs, he said. (Ma’an News Agency)

Activists organized a sit-in in front of the EU office in East Jerusalem in protest of the Israeli policy of house demolitions. Participants handed a letter to the EU Representative explaining the sufferings caused by the demolitions, and emphasizing the role of EU in protecting Palestinians. (Ma’an News Agency)

It had been reported that Hamas authorities had blocked UNRWA from introducing textbooks promoting human rights into local schools, saying that it ignored Palestinian “ideology and philosophy” and focused too heavily on “peaceful” means of conflict resolution. Chris Gunness, UNRWA’s spokesman, said that the agency had “no plans to change its education programmes in Gaza,” although he said that UNRWA would have further discussions with Hamas. (AP)

14

Relating to US Secretary of State Kerry’s framework agreement, Hamas Spokesman Sammy Abu Zohari said that Hamas would treat any and all international presence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory as an occupation force. (Haaretz)

Palestinian Chief Negotiator Erakat warned during a conference at the Oxford University that Palestinians would take Israel to “international tribunals and join calls for economic sanctions” should “Kerry’s talks” fail. He also warned that the worst result would be the “collapse of the PA” which would force the Israeli Prime Minister to take control of the West Bank. (Ynetnews)

15

Israeli forces opened fire at a vehicle traveling on a main road near the Israeli settlement of “Yitzhar”, south of Nablus, and injured a 17-year-old Palestinian girl. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian medical sources reported that a Palestinian cameraman was injured after being attacked by Israeli soldiers in the town of Wad Fokkin, south-west of Bethlehem. Local sources said that the cameraman was part of a crew documenting the life of Palestinian workers trying to get to work in Israel. (IMEMC)

An Israeli tank fired shells at an open area in Gaza City. (Ma’an News Agency)

The West Bank Union of Gas Station Owners reported that gas stations across the West Bank had begun refusing to fuel vehicles of the PA security forces after the PA’s failure to pay their gas bills for the past six months. Deputy speaker of the union, Nizar al-Jaabari, said that the PA’s accumulated debts totalled $15.7 million. (Ma’an News Agency)

Egyptian border forces destroyed 10 tunnels and 7 homes in the Sinai as part of a new campaign to create a buffer zone along the border with the Gaza Strip that would extend 500 metres in some places. The campaign had begun with a military operation in the Palestinian border town of Rafah, where tunnels leading into the Strip were targeted. (Ma’an News Agency)

It had been reported that UNESCO had agreed to a Palestinian request to consider registering the ancient agricultural terraces of the West Bank town of Battir on its World Heritage list. Palestinian officials had initially requested an emergency procedure to recognize the terraces in the hope that that would block the planned construction of part of the separation barrier in the area. If approved by the middle of the year, it would be the second site, after the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, to be registered to “Palestine” since UNESCO agreed in 2011 to recognize it as a State and award it full membership rights in the organization. (Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post)

16

The IDF raided several East Jerusalem neighbourhoods and detained five Palestinian teenagers. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces detained nine Palestinians in overnight arrest raids across the West Bank, according to locals and IDF. (Ma’an News Agency)

The IDF arrested Fatah leader and preventive security officer Jamal al-Nabulsi at the Zaatara checkpoint south of Nablus. (Ma’an News Agency)

President Abbas stated before a group of young Israeli activists visiting his West Bank compound that he had no intention of flooding Israel with Palestinian refugees, adding that any solution must be “just and agreed upon”. (AP)

President Abbas said that Palestinians did not want to divide Jerusalem, but rather to keep it as an open city to be a capital for two States, with Arabs and Israelis living together in the city. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli rights groups had asked the Supreme Court to overturn a law that banned Israelis from calling for a boycott of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The court was expected to deliver its ruling in the coming months. (AP)

The Ayyad family, owners the Cliff Hotel located in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Abu Dis, had managed to stop the construction of a stretch in the separation wall near the hotel, which if completed would have rendered that property under Israeli control. (WAFA)

Israel’s High Court of Justice rejected a 2012 petition from a Palestinian family against settlers taking over Palestinian land close to the “Susia” settlement in the southern Hebron Hills. (Haaretz)

Israeli settlers and the IDF prevented Palestinian farmers of the Assakrah town, east of Bethlehem, from entering their land under the pretext it was “State property”. (IMEMC)

17

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that it was time Israel fought back against those who boycott the Jewish State, dubbing them “anti-Semites”. (AP)

Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah said that US Secretary of State Kerry’s economic initiative, coupled with political progress, would decrease the unemployment rate. Mr. Hamdallah’s comments came after a meeting with US Senators Tim Kaine and Angus King. He briefed them on the latest developments in the peace talks. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli Finance Minister Lapid made a plea for peace saying that his country must do everything in its power to reach an accord with the Palestinians since the current situation posed a “threat to the future of the State of Israel”. (AP)

The Israeli military demolished dwellings belonging to the Bedouins of the al-Jahaleen tribe in the E-1 area in East Jerusalem under the pretext that they had been constructed on “State land”. (WAFA)

The Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center said in a statement that it had succeeded in retrieving the lands of Rateeb Na’san from the West Bank town of al-Moghayer, near Ramallah, after a “legal battle” with Israeli authorities on giving the land to Israeli settlers. (Saudi Gazette)

The Head of the water monitoring committee in the Old City, Ashraf al-Zerba, said that the Israeli water company Hagihon removed metres from 50 homes in the Old City of Jerusalem without prior notice for accumulated debts. (Ma’an News Agency)

It had been reported that UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi discussed the issues of the Palestinian refugees in the region with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi. Mr. Grandi said that he paid a visit to thank the Egyptian Government for the support it offered to UNRWA, not only in Egypt, but also in the whole region, in New York and with international organizations. (Middle East Monitor)

Palestinian Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Qaraqe said at a news conference at the Ministry of Information in Ramallah that the treatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails amounted to “intentional medical crimes”. (Ma’an News Agency)

18

IDF Chief West Bank Prosecutor Lt. Col. Maurice Hirsch officially announced that the IDF would initiate a pilot programme which may end its long-standing policy of night arrests of certain Palestinians. (The Jerusalem Post)

The IDF raided the town of Nabi Saleh, west of Ramallah, and detained three young Palestinian men as well as two teenagers. (Ma’an News Agency)

Hamas denied reports that its head in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, had asked Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu not to launch military operations against the Gaza Strip following recent border tensions. “These claims are completely fabricated,” said Ghazi Hamad, a Hamas Foreign Affairs official. (Anadolu Agency)

Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers entered a border area in the southern Gaza Strip. (Ma’an News Agency)

The President of Peru, Ollanta Humala, said on his first visit to Ramallah that Peru supports the establishment of an independent Palestinian State and that it previously supported Palestine’s membership in the United Nations. Speaking at a press conference after concluding a meeting with President Abbas, Mr. Humala said that his country had strong relations with Palestine, mentioning in particular the large Palestinian community in Peru, which he said contributed a great deal to his country’s culture and development. (WAFA)

The US reportedly had recently offered to compile a list of Palestine refugees interested in settling in Israel under the assumption that a small number would be approved to do so by the Israeli Government, according to a Palestinian source cited by the Army Radio. Israeli officials denied the report saying that the issue had never come up, and that they would reject it if it did. (Times of Israel)

In a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Hamdallah, UNDP and the European Union launched a new €5 million tourist development programme at the historic site of Nabi Musa in the Jericho Governorate. UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and EU Representative John Gatt-Rutter participated in the ceremony launching the programme. (WAFA)

The Wadi Hilweh Information Centre said that Israel planned to build a Jewish tourist centre on private Palestinian land east of Silwan in East Jerusalem. (Ma’an News Agency)

19

Israeli military vehicles entered the southern Gaza Strip, near the town of Al-Qarara. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli navy boats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats along the Gaza coast. No injuries were reported. (WAFA)

Israel’s Army Radio reported that the US would demand that Israel implement a partial settlement freeze after Secretary of State Kerry presents his framework for extending peace talks. (AFP)

Ideas floated by Washington so far for an Israeli-Palestinian peace framework do not provide a basis for serious talks, a Palestinian official said, signalling continued deadlock as an April deadline approaches. (AP)

In a phone call, US President Obama urged Turkish Prime Minister Erdoðan to complete the reconciliation negotiations with Israel after the Gaza flotilla incident. (Haaretz)

Suspected Jewish extremists punctured the tyres of 30 Palestinian vehicles and sprayed racist graffiti near Beit Safafa in East Jerusalem. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli settlers demolished a Palestinian-owned agricultural shed in Al-Khadr, south of Bethlehem. (WAFA)

A group of settlers from “Yizhar” severely beat a 50-year-old Palestinian in the village of Burin, south of Nablus. (WAFA)

Israeli settlers uprooted more than 700 olive seedlings from land near the village of Turmus Ayya, north of Ramallah. (WAFA)

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced the Israeli Prime Minister’s campaign of intimidation against companies and organizations which boycott Israeli businesses involved in supporting settlement construction in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. (WAFA)

UNRWA Commissioner-General Grandi said, “I am shocked and outraged to have to report that at least 18 people were killed yesterday, including five Palestine refugee school children and an UNRWA staff member” when an explosive struck near an UNRWA school in southern Syria. At least 20 were injured, including two staff members and eight school children, 2 of who have lost limbs. (www.unrwa.org)

The Palestinian Ambassador to Turkey said the Turkish Government had agreed to grant residency permits to Palestinians who had fled Syria to Turkey. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Working Group of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People screened at UN Headquarters the award-winning documentary “5 Broken Cameras”. A Q&A with co-director Emad Burnat followed the screening. (Division for Palestinian Rights)

20

Israeli police arrested an engineer and three of his staff for fixing a run-down water pipe inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem under the pretext that they did not obtain permission from the police to do the work. (WAFA)

Israeli sources reported that Israeli navy boats came under fire close to the Rafah shore, in the southern Gaza Strip after the navy opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. (IMEMC)

According to Major Ayalon Peretz, the operations branch officer for the Etzion Regional Brigade, the West Bank was seeing an increase in popular violence. (The Jerusalem Post)

The Israeli navy fired rounds of live ammunition at Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza territorial waters, targeting a Palestinian security base close to the Palestinian-Egyptian border. (IMEMC)

US Secretary of State Kerry and Palestinian President Abbas met again after spending more than two hours discussing Israeli-Palestinian peace the previous day, a senior US official said. “They had an in-depth discussion about the core issues and agreed that it would be beneficial to continue that discussion today,” said the official. (Reuters)

PLO Central Committee member Nabil Sha’ath said that he had met with a number of European Ambassadors to discuss the ongoing peace talks with Israel. (Ma'an News Agency)

US Government officials expressed concern over comments made by Palestinian Chief Negotiator Erakat who recently threatened to promote economic boycott on Israel if US-brokered peace talks fail to result in an accord. (Ynetnews)

The Turkish Government, under the $10 million agreement signed in 2011, was to transfer $5 million to the PA in the coming two days, the Palestinian Ambassador to Turkey, Nabil Maroof, said. The money would be used to buy private lands from current Palestinian owners to establish an industrial zone in Jenin. (Ma'an News Agency)

Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah discussed with visiting Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulidis cooperation between Palestine and Cyprus on various levels, particularly energy. (WAFA)

The director of the Israel Electric Corporation, Yiftach Ron-Tal, sent a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu demanding that the Israeli Government collect PA electricity debts or allow him to cut off supplies to the West Bank starting on 23 February. (Palestine News Network)

Following Israeli media reports that a Palestinian-Israeli environmental committee had been formed to resolve ecological problems faced by Palestinians and Israelis in the West Bank, Vice-President of the Palestinian Environment Quality Authority Jamal al-Motwar denied the reports, telling Xinhua that a meeting was held in Tel Aviv with Israeli Environment Minister Amir Peretz. “The only conclusion after the meeting was an Israeli promise to study the problems,” he added. (The Jerusalem Post, Xinhua)

Six Palestinians were injured in clashes after Israeli settlers attacked the Burin High School south of Nablus, according to a PA official. (Ma'an News Agency)

In an official letter sent to Prime Minister Netanyahu, 21 Israeli Knessset members from the Likud, Yisrael Beitenu and Jewish Home parties stressed that halting construction in any [settlement] would be “totally and utterly unacceptable”. (The Times of Israel)

Reach Out To Asia (ROTA), Qatar's leading NGO, and Qatar Charity, signed an agreement to work together to improve the quality of education in Government schools in the West Bank. (QNA)

21

Six Palestinians were arrested for throwing stones at Israeli police after [Al-Haram Al-Sharif] Friday prayers in Jerusalem. (The Jerusalem Post)

A young Palestinian was injured by Israeli forces east of Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, and was taken to the hospital with moderate injuries, medics said. (Ma'an News Agency)

Asked on Israeli Channel 2 what personal price the settlers will have to pay as part of any agreement, US Secretary of State Kerry said, “I’m not at all certain they will have to leave their homes.” (The Jerusalem Post)

About 3,000 Israelis, including Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar and Coalition Chairman Yariv Levin, took part in a protest march in the Jordan Valley. Minister Sa’ar said to the participants of the march: “We are here with a simple and clear message – the Jordan Valley is Israeli”. (Ynetnews)

22

IDF forces arrested two Palestinians who were in possession of two pipe bombs and a Molotov cocktail, during a patrol of the village of Anabta, east of Tulkarm. (Ynetnews.com)

Hamas was seeking to privatize the crossing points either with Israel or with Egypt to deal with an economic deterioration, a senior Hamas official said. Hamas authority economy head Alaa Rafati told Xinhua that the plan was to transfer the management of the crossing points to the Palestinian private sector, mainly businessmen, in order to overcome an economic crisis and Israel’s blockade on the enclave. However, PA Economic Minister Jawad Najji said that the Palestinian Government had not received any plan from Hamas or the Gaza private sector on transferring the administration of the crossings to private hands in Gaza. (xinhuanet. com/English)

The Fatah movement and the PLO had lost control of the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, a Lebanon-based Fatah official said. He said that Lebanese authorities told the PLO to adjust the situation in order “to avoid more aggravations” which they warned could have “negative impacts” on the refugee camps and on Lebanon more broadly. The statement came two days after a Palestinian was identified as one of the culprits of a double suicide bombing targeting the Iranian cultural centre in southern Beirut. Officials were increasingly worried that economic deprivation in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon had laid fertile ground for Wahhabi militant groups. A delegation headed by a Fatah Central Committee member was expected to visit Lebanon soon in order to address the situation in the camps. (Ma’an News Agency)

Dozens of settlers from the Israeli outpost of “Havat Gilad” attacked private homes and smashed vehicles in the village of Jeet near Nablus, a Palestinian official said. He added that the settlers attacked local farmers who were planting seedlings near the village located close to the Israeli outpost. Clashes subsequently broke out between settlers and residents. (Ma’an News Agency)

Some 15 Israeli settlers attacked a farmer and his sons in the Wad Abu Rish area near Beit Ummar, in the vicinity of the Israeli settlement of “Bat Ayin”, while they were working on their land, a popular committee spokesman said. The settlers hurled rocks but no casualties were reported. He added that Israeli forces arrived at the scene and forced the farmer and his sons to leave the area at gunpoint. (Ma’an News Agency)

23

Israeli soldiers arrested three Palestinians in the West bank and summoned two others, according to local and security sources. Meanwhile, forces stormed several areas in the Hebron area and set up a flying checkpoint at the entrance of al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron. (WAFA)

Israeli forces on closed the Huwarra and Zaatara checkpoints south of Nablus in order to examine suspicious items in the area. (Ma’an News Agency)

King Abdullah II of Jordan said that whenever there was a serious effort towards resolving the Palestinian issue, a talk about the so-called “alternative homeland” was revived and stressed that “Jordan is Jordan and Palestine is Palestine and nothing but that, not the in the past or the future”. He made the remarks in a meeting with the Prime Minister, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the Lower House, the President of the Judicial Council, the President of the Constitutional Court and members of the permanent offices of both chambers of the parliament, in order to reassure that his recent visit to the United States had not changed the situation. (www.petra.gov.jo)

A day before German Chancellor Angela Merkel and nearly her entire Cabinet were arrive in Israel, her Minister for Foreign Affairs, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, published an op-ed in an Israeli newspaper encouraging Israel to take the “difficult but necessary decisions” to allow US-led peace efforts to succeed. In her weekly video message, Ms. Merkel made clear over the weekend that she would be pressing Prime Minister Netanyahu on the peace talks. (AP)

The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) held a special session outside the gates of the Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt. “More than 1.8 million Palestinians have been suffering under an eight-year siege imposed on the Gaza Strip,” a PLC deputy speaker told the session. “The closure of the Rafah crossing has tightened the blockade on the strip and left thousands of students and patients in suffering,” he added. The top lawmaker went on to call on Egyptian authorities to permanently open the Rafah terminal to help ease the siege on the Palestinian seaside enclave. (Anadolu Agency)

Some 27 settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Al-Quds from the Magharba gate under Israeli police protection, a Mosque guard reported, during which a Palestinian worshipper was reportedly arrested. Israeli officials could not be reached for comment. (Anadolu Agency)

Israeli forces entered the village of Ithna, west of Hebron, and delivered stop-work orders for buildings that were being constructed without permits. The head of the Ithna municipality noted that the buildings were located within Area C, which was under complete Israeli control. He saw the move as an attempt to evict Ithna residents. Figures from the Israeli NGO Bimkom show that about 95 per cent of applications for building permits had been rejected in Area C. (Ma’an News Agency)

The League of Arab States released a report on Palestinian and other Arab prisoners currently in Israeli custody. More than 5,000 Palestinian and other Arab prisoners held in Israeli jails suffered repeated and ongoing violations of their rights, dire humanitarian conditions and abuse of their dignity, according to the report. Although the majority of the detained were Palestinians, several dozen individuals from other Arab countries were also being held in Israeli prisons. The report said that several Palestinian prisoners, who had been previously released, were subsequently detained again by Israeli authorities, who either imposed new sentences or forced prisoners to finish previous sentences despite the fact that they had already been pardoned and released. Since 1967, more than 650,000 Palestinians had been detained by Israel, representing 20 per cent of the total population and 40 per cent of all males in the occupied territories. (Ma’an News Agency)

24

The Shin Bet, together with the IDF and Israel Police, arrested more than 15 Hamas suspects in the West Bank in recent months, on suspicion of being behind fire bombings and rock attacks on Israeli vehicles. (The Jerusalem Post)

Palestinian sources reported that two Palestinian men were wounded in Teqoa town, south-east of Bethlehem, after Israeli soldiers opened fire at local youths who hurled stones at them. (IMEMC)

Israeli forces raided Nablus and detained two Palestinian human rights activists, locals said. An Israeli army spokeswoman said that 4 Palestinians were arrested overnight in Nablus, 3 in Burqin, 2 in Atara, southwest of Ramallah, 1 in Birzeit and 2 in Hebron. (Ma’an News Agency)

Gunmen opened fire at an Israeli military post near Ramallah, Israeli Radio said. There were no injuries. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces arrested nine Palestinians from Hebron, Bethlehem, Jenin and Nablus. (Palestine News Network)

According to a press release, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called upon the US Congress to pressure the Israeli Government to activate the US-Israeli-Palestinian Tripartite Anti-Incitement Committee and to commit to it. (WAFA)

According to a senior Palestinian official, Palestinian President Abbas received an invitation to meet US President Obama at the White House in March. He stopped short, however, of clarifying when the invitation was received or give a date for the meeting. (Anadolu Agency)

Russian Federation Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was holding talks with Chief Palestinian Negotiator Erakat on the peace talks with Israel. A Foreign Ministry official said that during the present consultations, the sides would focus on “the state of affairs in the Palestinian-Israeli dialogue and its further prospect”. Detailed consultations between Mr. Erakat and Sergei Vershinin, Mr. Lavrov’s special representative on the Middle East peace process, had been planned as well. (voiceofrussia.com)

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that the Israeli settlement policy was “disruptive” to negotiations with Palestinians, and that it would be raised during two days of meetings with Israeli leaders. (Ynetnews)

Presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said: “We are on the same page with King Abdullah II − that Jordan is Jordan and Palestine is Palestine. Resettlement and alternative homeland are outright rejected.” (WAFA)

Presidential spokesperson Rudeineh said that President Abbas was firmly committed to national reconciliation. “We are waiting for Hamas to confirm its willingness to implement the Doha and Cairo agreements based on the formation of a neutral Government that will prepare for general elections”, he said in a statement. (WAFA)

The Palestinian Health Ministry was experiencing a serious shortage of drugs after the Union of Palestinian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (UPPM) announced that it would not supply medicines to the Ministry because the PA’s outstanding debt had passed 270 million Shekels. The Head of the UPPM said that the PA had failed to settle debt instalments for the past two and half years, and that had negatively affected pharmaceutical manufacturers and importers. He said that the Union was not punishing the Ministry, the Palestinian Government or the Palestinian public, but that it should be understood that the warehouses of all the pharmaceutical companies were empty. The Palestinian Health Ministry spoke with the Union and addressed the debt issue, vowing to pay off the debt in monthly instalments. (gulfnews.com)

Knesset member Yoni Chetboun (Jewish Home) chaired a special discussion in the Knesset attended by a number of diplomats from UNRWA donor countries about UNRWA schools in Palestinian “refugee” neighbourhoods. They were presented with “background about UNRWA finances and their use for incitement against Israel”. (www.israelnationalnews.com)

UNRWA Commissioner-General Grandi toured the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus and said that the refugees he spoke to were “traumatized by what they have lived through” UNRWA had resumed aid distribution in the camp. (The Daily Star, European Commission ECHO)

Over the weekend, Palestinian scout troops in Nablus, Jerusalem, Syria and Lebanon organized a unified event to rally Palestinians on key issues of national concern. The event was organized by the Palestinian Scouts’ Association in cooperation with the Yafa Cultural Center in Balata refugee camp. In a press release, the Association said that it was the first time Palestinian scouts had gathered across borders in a forum and included scout marches and messages of solidarity and unity with Palestinians in Syria, demanding the right of return. The events were connected via video conference to affirm the unity of all Palestinians everywhere in the struggle for liberation and return. (Palestine News Network)

25

Two youths were injured after Israeli army opened fire on a peaceful demonstration in the east of Gaza, according to Palestinian media sources. According to the IDF spokesperson, a crowd had thrown stones and rolled burning tyres at the soldiers. (The Jerusalem Post, WAFA)

The PLO Negotiation Affairs Department said in a report that, since the resumption of negotiations in July 2013, Israel had killed 44 Palestinians, conducted 3,360 military raids, arrested 2,702 Palestinians, demolished 154 Palestinian homes, and advanced the building of 10,489 housing units in settlements. (Palestine News Network)

The Palestinian Water Authority, Coastal Municipalities Water Utility, Khan Yunis Municipality and UNDP’s Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People signed a $58 million agreement to construct the Khan Yunis Waste Water Treatment Plant in the Gaza Strip. The project is being funded by the Government of Japan and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development through the Islamic Development Bank. (www.undp.ps)

Palestinian Legislative Council member Salem Salama announced that the Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip had discovered a natural gas field close to the coast. (Middle East Monitor)

German Chancellor Merkel said that she does not support boycotts of Israel, but that Germany was obliged to follow EU guidelines on the labelling of settlement goods. She was in Israel with a delegation of 16 Ministers to mark 50 years of diplomatic ties. (Haaretz, Ynetnews)

Jordan’s Islamist opposition urged the Jordanian Government to freeze the peace treaty with Israel as the Knesset prepared to debate a bill on “Israeli sovereignty” over the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. (The Guardian)

A number of Palestinians were wounded after violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Israeli police arrested three Palestinians. The Palestinian Presidency condemned the Israeli incursions. (Petra, WAFA, Ynetnews)

Israeli bulldozers levelled land in the Al-Tur Mountain area in East Jerusalem for tourist facilities. (IMEMC)

The family of a Palestinian prisoner, who died while in Israeli custody, said that he was assaulted by guards several weeks prior to his death, Ma'an News reported. The Israel Prison Service claimed that he had suffered a heart attack. (The Jerusalem Post)

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman briefed the Security Council on the Mideast situation including the Palestinian question. (UN TV)

Israel's policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip appeared to amount to apartheid due to its systematic oppression of the Palestinian people and de facto expropriation of their land, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Richard Falk, said in his final report. He said Palestinian rights were being violated by Israel’s prolonged occupation of Palestinian territory and “ethnic cleansing” of East Jerusalem. Gaza, despite the disengagement in 2005, remained “occupied” under an unlawful Israeli blockade, he said. Member States of the United Nations should consider imposing a ban on imports of produce from settlements. (Reuters)

It was reported that Luxembourg’s general pension fund, the Fond De Compensation, had decided to boycott five major Israeli banks and a number of investment companies over their involvement in supporting construction in illegal settlements in the West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency)

26

Israeli military sources reported that three soldiers were injured after a Molotov cocktail struck their vehicle close to the “Migdalim” settlement, near Nablus. (IMEMC)

Israeli forces raided Nablus and arrested a student leader affiliated with Hamas, locals said. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces arrested four people from Kherbat Al-Fakhet to the east of Yatta in the Hebron district, according to the coordinator of the anti-settlement and wall campaign. He said that army officers arrested them while they were farming their land, searched their cars and seized their harvest. (WAFA)

More than 23 Palestinian families living in the area of Ras Al Ahmar in the northern Jordan Valley were evacuated by Israeli soldiers from their Bedouin dwellings in order to conduct military exercises. (WAFA, www.petra.gov.jo)

Israeli forces arrested 16 Palestinians in the districts of Hebron, Bethlehem and Qalqilya. (WAFA)

Jordan warned that it might review a 1994 peace treaty with Israel after Israeli Knesset members began a debate on allowing Jewish prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. “If Israel wants to violate the peace treaty on this issue, the entire treaty, its articles, details and wording will be put on the table,” Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur told Qatar’s Al-Watan newspaper in an interview. Under the peace treaty, Jordan is the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. Mr. Nsur’s remarks came as the Jordanian Parliament had passed a motion urging the expulsion of Israel’s Ambassador to the Kingdom. “The Jordanian custodianship is not a privilege granted by Israel. It is the Hashemites' historic responsibility that is emphasized in the peace treaty,” Government Spokesman Mohammad Momnai told news agency Petra. (AFP)

Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah was scheduled to arrive in Jakarta on 28 February to participate in the Second Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development (CEAPAD II). (Antara News) The Palestinian Presidency welcomed a call by the Arab Group in the United Nations to file a complaint to the Security Council against continuing Israeli attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. (WAFA)

Palestinian Ambassador to Egypt Barakat al-Farra said that Palestine had submitted a request to the League of Arab States to hold an emergency session to discuss recent visits of rightists protected by the Israeli army and police to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. (Ma’an News Agency)

A retaining wall close to houses adjacent to the Moroccan Gate in Jerusalem collapsed due to continuing Israeli excavations beneath Al-Aqsa Mosque. (WAFA)

Israel’s Jerusalem municipality forced a family in Shufat in East Jerusalem to demolish a part of their house. (WAFA)

PA settlement affairs official Ghassan Daghlas said that settlers had announced plans to operate armed patrols across the West Bank. (WAFA)

Israeli settlers destroyed 150 olive trees in the village of Al-Khader, south of Bethlehem. Settlers also attacked a 65-year-old Palestinian shepherd in Beit Furik, south-east of Nablus. (IMEMC)

In a press release, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said that the health conditions of a group of Palestinian detainees had recently deteriorated due to medical neglect by the Israeli prison administration. (Palestine News Network)

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Israeli security forces shot dead a Palestinian in the town of Birzeit, north of Ramallah, after he ignored calls to leave his hideout and surrender. Military sources said that the suspect had taken part and had planned a series of terror attacks across the West Bank, and claim that he was affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Two additional suspects were arrested in the raid. (AFP, The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli soldiers arrested 15 Palestinians, including two minors, in the cities of Hebron, Bethlehem, Jenin, Nablus, Salfit, Jerusalem and Ramallah. (WAFA, www.petra.gov.jo)

Israeli forces raided the village of Nabi Saleh in the Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorates and arrested an activist from the popular resistance committees. Clashes then erupted in response to the continuous intimidation that the Israeli forces carried out in Nabi Saleh and in other villages, such as arrests, night raids and repeated attacks. Palestinian youths rushed into the streets and started throwing stones at the jeeps, while the Israeli forces fired stun grenades before withdrawing from the village. (Palestine News Network)

Palestinian Chief Negotiator Erakat rejected US moves to extend an April deadline for another nine months of talks with Israel to culminate in a framework peace deal. “There is no meaning to prolonging the negotiation, even for one more additional hour, if Israel, represented by its current Government, continues to disregard international law,” Mr. Erakat said in response to comments made by US Secretary of State Kerry who told reporters in Washington, D.C., that more time would be needed and that he hoped first to an agreed framework to guide further talks. (AFP)

Israeli media reported that Palestinian President Abbas had threatened to leave talks with Israel after learning that a draft framework document called to designate the neighbourhood of Beit Hanina, and not the whole of East Jerusalem, as the capital of a future Palestinian State. (The Jerusalem Post)

US President Barack Obama was to host Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu at the White House in the coming week. He was expected to demand a partial settlement freeze when Secretary of State Kerry unveils his formula for extending the peace talks. Yediot Aharonot reported that Mr. Netanyahu’s cabinet had quietly begun a de facto freeze on expanding settlements outside the major Jewish population centres. The paper said that the move was revealed to a West Bank settler leader in a conversation with Cabinet Secretary Avihai Mandelblit. (AFP)

A senior Fatah official warned that should peace talks fail, with no hope or prospect, the next Palestinian leader might return to violent resistance, Israel Radio reported. (Ynetnews.com)

Prime Minister Netanyahu, ahead of his scheduled visit to the US, said that “in the past 5 years, we have navigated the ship [of State] with responsibility and wisely while pushing back pressures and keeping the vital interests of Israel intact”. (Xinhua)

Fatah Revolutionary Council member Ziad Abu Ein said that several Arab countries, through US efforts, were now willing to recognize Israel as a Jewish State if the PA agreed to do so, adding “We wish [for] all the Arab States’ support for the Palestinian principles and not to allow Israeli demands to thwart the Palestinian struggle”. (Middle East Monitor)

The United States will be convening an investors’ conference to help the Palestinian economy. The conference, scheduled to take place on 8 and 9 March in Prague, would include Palestinian officials, figures who had been deeply involved in Israeli-Palestinian peace brokering such as Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, and Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State, and representatives of the private sector. (The Jerusalem Post)

According to a press release issued by An Najah University, Palestinian Minister of Justice Ali Muhanna and Deputy EU Representative David Geer launched a three-year project to support legal education in three Palestinian universities. The EU-funded project will contribute to the development and strengthening of the Palestinian legal and judicial system by supporting Palestinian legal education in the three universities. Some 30 highly qualified law undergraduates would be targeted, including those working in private and public sectors, judges, prosecutors and lawyers, with priority given to qualified female and disabled applicants. (WAFA)

Gaza’s 1.6 million inhabitants were beginning to see solar power not just as a viable alternative, but perhaps as the only solution to the energy crisis, the worst fuel shortage they were enduring. A project at the local children’s hospital, which had been partly funded by British relief charity Sawaed, was set up in January 2013 at a cost of $100,000 and was now providing 20 kilowatts of electricity per day. A Kuwaiti donation of $6 million was paying for the construction of five new schools, all of which will be equipped with solar panels, the Education Ministry said. But the solar drive is not limited to large-scale foreign-funded projects. Individual families, if they can afford the initial outlay, were also switching to solar, which promises to be a safer alternative than generators. (The Daily Star- Lebanon)

Israeli authorities embarked on a large-scale razing operation and expansion for the so-called “Shvut Rachel” settlement near the Jalud village, south of Nablus. A Palestinian official in charge of the settlements file in the northern part of the West Bank told Petra that Israeli bulldozers had begun expansion activity on land owned by a Palestinian citizen. (www.petra.gov.jo)

Israeli settlers from the “Shvut Rachel” outpost bulldozed private Palestinian land near the village of Jalud, south of Nablus, to expand a settlement outpost, a PA official said. (Ma'an News Agency)

According to a local activist, Israeli forces set up two caravans on land belonging to a Palestinian in the town of Al-Khadr, south of Bethlehem, and then levelled the land. (WAFA)

Israeli settlers wrote anti-Arab graffiti and set fire to a Palestinian house east of Ramallah. The house was empty when it was attacked. (Ma'an News Agency)

Hundreds of settlers under the protection of Israeli forces entered Joseph's Tomb to perform religious rituals. (IMEMC)

The Israeli Civil Administration confiscated playground equipment donated by the Italian Government to a school at the Khan al-Amar Bedouin encampment, east of Jerusalem. (Haaretz)

The Swiss Federal Council approved a contribution of CHF33.7 million to UNRWA. The contribution would cover the period 2014-2015. Switzerland's contribution was intended to support UNRWA activities, including the provision of quality education for half a million Palestinian refugee children and access to health care for almost three million beneficiaries per year. The Swiss contribution would also help UNRWA continue its work to support Palestinian refugees affected by the Syrian conflict and other crises in the region. (www.sdc.admin.swiss.ch)

Amnesty International issued the report “Trigger-happy: Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank”, describing mounting bloodshed and human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territory as a result of the Israeli forces’ use of unnecessary, arbitrary and brutal force against Palestinians. In all cases since January 2011 examined by the organization, Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers did not appear to be posing a direct and immediate threat to life. In some, there was evidence that they had been victims of wilful killings, which would amount to war crimes.

According to a report commissioned by the Israeli Peace Initiative Group “Yisrael Yozemet”, some 63 per cent of Hebrew-speaking Israelis were likely to support a regional peace agreement in principle, even without knowing its full details. That support increased to 76 per cent after they had been briefed on the likely details, based on the assumed components of US Secretary of State Kerry’s framework document, and the Arab Peace Initiative. Fifty-five per cent believed that “without intervention by the Arab States and the Arab League, the Palestinians will never reach an agreement with the Israelis”. (Haaretz)

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Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono held a meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah to discuss developments in the peace negotiations. (Xinhua)

Thousands of Palestinian worshippers could not perform the weekly prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque due to Israeli access restrictions, allowing only those aged over 50 into the Mosque. (Anadolu Agency)

The US Department of State released the 2013 Country Report covering human rights in the Occupied Territories and Israel. (www.state.gov)


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