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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
28 February 2013



Division for Palestinian Rights

Chronological Review of Events Relating to the
Question of Palestine

Monthly media monitoring review

February 2013

Monthly highlights
    • OIC report says that Palestinian lost a total of approximately $7 million annually due to the Israeli occupation (5 February)

    • White House confirms first trip by President Obama to the Middle East in the spring (5 February)

    • The Transparency International chapter in Palestine says that the PA lost $43 million in border fees between January 2008 and January 2012 ( 8 February)

    • US Secretary of State Kerry is reportedly working to free up aid for the Palestinians held up by Congress (11 February)

    • UNRWA launches emergency appeal for over $300 million for most disadvantaged Palestinians (14 February)

    • UN officials express concern about Palestinian detainees, in particular, those on hunger strike (14 February)

    • Prime Minister Netanyahu says that three security issues would take top priority in his meetings with President Obama during his Middle East visit: Iran, Syria and the Palestinians (17 February)

    • Israel expands delivery of goods to the Gaza Strip through Kerem Shalom (20 February)

    • PA officials demand international investigation into the death of a Palestinian prisoner in Israeli custody (22 February)

    • Grad rocket is fired from Gaza and lands in Ashkelon (26 February)

    • UN Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People convenes in Rome (27 February)

    • EU Heads of Missions report for 2012 says Israeli settlements endangered two-State solution (27 February)
1

Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian from the village of Yatta and installed various military checkpoints throughout the Hebron Governorate. (Palestine News Network)

According to eyewitness accounts, Israeli forces detained two Palestinian brothers in Bethlehem. (Ma’an News Agency)

The head of the Central Command of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Major-General Nitzan Alon, had instructed commanders of units stationed in the West Bank to act with restraint and moderation when dealing with the civilian population. (Haaretz)

The speaker of the defunct Palestinian Legislative Council, Aziz Dweik, said that the legislative body should resume work before any new national election. The Council had not sat in session since 2007. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli soldiers reportedly stormed the northern West Bank city of Nablus and the Balata refugee camp, east of the city, breaking into homes of several prisoners and former political prisoners. (IMEMC)

According to reports, Palestinian experts were finalizing Palestine's 2013 submission to the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization proposing the ancient Bethlehem village of Battir as a heritage site. (Ma’an News Agency)

2

Israel’s President Shimon Peres said that he had tasked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a coalition Government, as recommended by six parties representing 82 of 120 legislators. Mr. Netanyahu said that he hoped to form "the widest possible national unity Government”. He called on Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to enter peace talks, saying that every day that passed without negotiations was a day wasted. (DPA)

Israeli soldiers used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse some 150 Palestinians following clashes with settlers and troops who had removed tents that activists had set up to protest building restrictions from land adjacent to the village of Burin. Light injuries on both sides were reported. (AP, Reuters)

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) released the following statement: “The ICRC is concerned about the health of Palestinian detainees currently on long-term hunger strike. The Organization urges the Israeli authorities to find a prompt solution in order to save the lives of Samer Issawi, Tareq Qadan, Jaffar Ezzedin and Ayman Sharawneh. The ICRC has also reminded the detaining authorities of their obligation to allow the detainees' families to visit them.” (www.icrc.org)

3

In separate telephone calls to Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas, newly appointed US Secretary of State John Kerry stressed "his personal commitment and that of President [Barack] Obama to support Israel's security and to pursue a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians." PA Presidential Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that the President and Secretary Kerry discussed "the necessity to hold meetings in the near future to talk about a number of issues which help maintain the peace process”. Mr. Kerry was expected to visit the region in mid-February. (Haaretz, Reuters, WAFA)

Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erakat reiterated Palestinian conditions to return to the negotiating table: that Israel stop settlement construction and the release of Palestinian prisoners. He said that “these are not Palestinian conditions but obligations that Israel is required to fulfil.” He also said that there would be no European Union initiative to resume peace talks without US involvement. (The Jerusalem Post)

The PA had asked Israel to allow the exiled Secretary-General of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Nayef Hawatmah, to return to the West Bank from Syria, senior DFLP leader Qais Abdel Karim said. He said that Israel had not responded to the request. (Ma’an News Agency)

At a preparatory meeting of senior officials ahead of a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a statement had been prepared calling on Islamic nations to donate under the OIC banner to a financial "safety net" for the State of Palestine. The funds will go towards a strategic plan to develop the City of Jerusalem that was approved by the Organization in August 2012. The Summit was also set to hold a session on Israeli settlement activities. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Governor of Nablus, Jibril al-Bakri, said that the IDF reopened several roads which had been closed for 13 years. The roads connected the villages of Awarta, Yanun, Aqraba and surrounding areas. (Ma’an News Agency)

4

Hamas officials said that the IDF arrested 20 Hamas members, including three lawmakers, in a raid across the West Bank. The Israeli military confirmed that arrests had been made. One of those arrested had been in charge of the reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah. (AP)

A Palestinian teenager attempted to stab an Orthodox Jewish youth in Jerusalem but the knife failed to penetrate the victim’s coat. Police Spokesman Shmuel Ben Ruby said that the suspect had nationalistic motives and had attempted to carry out a “terror attack”. (The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli forces closed a Nablus checkpoint after arresting three people in the area. (Ma’an News Agency)

Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was to take part in a summit of the OIC in Egypt, had expressed his desire to visit the Gaza Strip. (Reuters)

US State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland expressed the Administration’s concern about the fiscal plight of the PA, stressing that “tax revenue money should continue to flow”. (www.state.gov)

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad met with Israeli Labor faction head Isaac Herzog and expressed his fears regarding the potential collapse of the PA due to Israel's decision to suspend the transfer of tax funds it collected on behalf of the PA. "The situation, in which we must wait for Israel's Prime Minister to decide on a monthly basis, whether or not money is transferred to us, places us in an impossible situation. If Israel doesn't come to its senses, we will be in danger of collapsing", Yedioth Ahronoth had quoted Mr. Fayyad as saying. (Ynetnews)

A delegation from Saudi Arabia headed by the Vice-Chairman of the Saudi Development Fund, Yousef al-Bassam, opened the biggest housing project in the Gaza Strip. Saudi Arabia had financed the 752-home neighbourhood in Rafah for families whose homes had been destroyed by the Israeli army. It has four schools, a market, a mosque, a clinic and a community centre. The delegation pledged a further $34 million to restore 7,000 homes and $54 million to build 1,100 homes and six schools as part of a programme by the Gulf Cooperation Council. The building of the Rafah neighbourhood had been overseen by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). (Ma’an News Agency)

The Japan International Cooperation Agency and the PA Ministry of Local Government signed a $10 million agreement on developing solid waste treatment plants in the West Bank. The project will start in September and end in July 2014. (WAFA)

A US State Department-funded study showed that both Israeli and Palestinian schoolbooks largely presented one-sided narratives of the conflict and tended to ignore the existence of the other side, but rarely resorted to demonization. The study, prepared by Israeli, Palestinian, and American researchers, undermined the claim by Israel that Palestinians taught hatred of Israel and glorified violence. (The Washington Post)

Palestinian residents complained that measures implemented by the newly-appointed Jerusalem police commander, Major General Yossi Prienti in some neighbourhoods had been too disruptive. Measures included numerous arrests, roadblocks to inspect vehicles, tax collection, and house demolitions, shutting off water, various fines, searches and random checks of IDs. (Haaretz)

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said that the Palestinians would never give up their right to return to their homeland, occupied by Israel since 1948. (KUNA)

In an op-ed article in Haaretz, Palestinian Chief Negotiator Erakat said that the UN report on Israeli settlements should be read by every single Israeli citizen and insisted that it was time for Israel to relinquish its current state of denial and confront reality. (Haaretz)

Crews from the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem handed demolition notices to a number of residents in a building in the Al-Sawwanah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem under the pretext of constructing without permit without specifying a date or a deadline. (WAFA)

Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi condemned the recent arrests of Palestinian lawmakers saying, "Israel is deliberately breaching international law and conventions relating to the immunity of democratically elected Palestinian officials… to meddle in Palestinian domestic affairs and to undermine reconciliation efforts." She called on the international community to hold Israel accountable and to ensure the release of the lawmakers. (Palestine News Network)

5

A Palestinian tried to break through an IDF roadblock with his car near the West Bank village of Beit Arye. The driver eventually managed to escape. (Israel Army Radio)

Seven Israeli military vehicles and two bulldozers entered the southern Gaza Strip, east of Rafah, opening fire at Palestinian farmers. No injuries were reported. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces arrested 12 people, including at least three Hamas-affiliates, in raids across the West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency)

A new report by the OIC found that Palestinian lost a total of approximately $7 million annually due to the Israeli occupation. The losses had come as a result of Israeli control over and use of Palestinian natural resources, environmental pollution, delays and difficulties in industrial and economic development, and Israeli restrictions on the movement of Palestinians. The report focused specifically on the deterioration in the living conditions of Palestinians due to the strong economic link the Palestinians had with Israel. The report also found that Israeli control over Palestinian land and the ongoing expansion of settlements reflected an attempt to change the demographics of the region in order to annex a greater portion of the West Bank through occupation. (Palestine News Network)

Jewish settlers set fire to two Palestinian vehicles in the village of Deir Jreer, north-east of Ramallah, and sprayed anti-Palestinian graffiti in the area. (Palestine News Network)

PA President Abbas met with Iranian President Ahmadinejad along the sidelines of the Twelfth Summit of the OIC. (WAFA)

The White House had confirmed that President Obama will travel to Israel in the spring. For his first trip to the region, the US President is also expected to visit Jordan and the West Bank. (The White House)

The Socialist International issued a declaration stating that the tense situation in Palestine and the peace process stalemate threatened the two-State solution. (WAFA, Palestine News Network)

The Palestinian Public Freedoms Committee, that had been formed to implement national reconciliation, would meet in the West Bank, according to a Committee member. The Committee was to discuss returning property to its owners, suspending laws enacted since the Hamas and Fatah split, and the application of Palestinian law and respect for freedoms. (Ma’an News Agency)

PA Minister of Finance Nabil Qassis announced that the Palestinian Government was working on a draft budget of $3.6 billion for 2013. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israel allowed the opening of the Karam Abu Salem commercial crossing in the southern Gaza Strip for the export of two truckloads of flowers, tomatoes and peppers to Europe. It also allowed 320 truckloads of various goods, including building materials and limited quantities of cooking gas, into Gaza. (Palestine News Network)

Israeli bulldozers demolished a residential shed in Al-Ashqariyeh area in the Beit Hanina neighborhood, north of Jerusalem, under the pretext of building without permit. The bulldozers, protected by Israeli police, entered the area at dawn, giving the family of six ten minutes to evacuate the shed before demolishing it. (WAFA)

The IDF demolished a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem leaving 30 people homeless. (Ma'an News Agency)

Samer Issawi, a Palestinian held by Israel, who had been on hunger strike since November, was reportedly close to death. Mr. Issawi was arrested in July, less than a year after being freed as part of the Shalit swap deal. (Timesofisrael.com)

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, at its first meeting in 2013, elected the members of its Bureau and approved its programme of work. Speaking at the meeting, the Secretary-General urged the swift resumption of negotiations towards a two-State solution to the Middle East conflict, stressing that “we cannot afford a year without tangible results” and citing Israeli settlements and delays in Palestinian reconciliation among obstacles to be overcome. (Division for Palestinian Rights, www.un.org)

The latest report by Jan Selby from the University of Sussex entitled “Cooperation, domination and colonisation: The Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee", published online by the journal Water Alternatives, concluded that the Israeli Government had been forcing the PA into approving water infrastructure for illegal West Bank settlements for the past 15 years. The research was based on minutes of the Joint Water Committee, an Israeli-Palestinian body, and interviews with participants. Dr. Selby said: "None of the parties emerge very well from these findings. Israel has been exploiting Palestinian desperation for improved water supplies. The Palestinian Authority has been pressured into consenting to its own colonization and has not contested Israel's cynical tactics as forcefully as it might have done. And international donors have variously stood by or been complicit in activity which is contrary to international law, and contrary to their own policies on the peace process, and which has helped to undermine the possibility of a two-State solution."

6

The IDF arrested a 17-year-old Palestinian girl near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, the second such arrest in the past two days. (Palestine News Network)

The IDF arrested eight Palestinians across the West Bank, including six between the ages of 16 and 23. (WAFA)

During the opening of the Preparatory Meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs for the Twelfth Summit of the OIC, the Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Kamel Amr, stated that the Palestinian issue was one of the top challenges faced by the Islamic world on a political level and a cornerstone to achieving security and stability in the Middle East. The Summit opened with the participation of 27 Heads of States or Governments. (AP, Xinhua, Middle East Monitor)

PA President Abbas urged Islamic leaders at the OIC Summit to end Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip. He also criticized the recent political visits made to the Gaza Strip stating that such visits would lead to a "strengthening of the division" with Hamas. (Ma’an News Agency)

PLO Executive Committee member Ashrawi welcomed President Obama’s planned visit to the region and said that “any initiative must have defined objectives and a binding time frame. This must happen before Israel succeeds in finally destroying the two-State solution and hence the chances of peace”. (WAFA)

Fatah and Hamas officials would meet in Cairo to follow up on prior reconciliation agreements and elections. (Ma’an News Agency)

According to local sources, a Palestinian shepherd was attacked near Nablus by settlers who had attempted to steal his herd. The shepherd was evacuated to a Nablus hospital to receive treatment for head injuries. (Ynetnews)

The Israeli authorities demolished ancient Islamic structures in the plaza of the Western Wall, in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem near the Al-Aqsa Mosque. (WAFA)

The IDF demolished a well in the Al-Fawwar refugee camp south of Hebron. (WAFA)

The IDF was examining 70 cases in which non-combatant Palestinian civilians had been killed during Operation Pillar of Defense, Military Advocate General Danny Efroni revealed. The IDF said that most of the cases under scrutiny were examined even though there had been no legal obligation to do so as no complaints had been filed. (Ynetnews)

The Turkel Committee that investigated the 2010 IDF raid on the Mavi Marmara as it tried to break the Gaza blockade, had recommended that Israel pursue legislation that would adhere to international war crime investigation norms that were not already covered by existing Israeli law. (Ynetnews)

Khulood Badawi, a staffer of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Jerusalem, had been “separated” from the UN, according to officials in New York. An email from the UN had revealed that an investigation that had been launched on her 2012 Twitter post had finally been completed, and that the organization had opted not to renew her contract. Ms. Badawi had posted a picture of a child who had been killed in an accident in 2006. (The Jerusalem Post)

7

Israeli occupation forces arrested at dawn a youngster from Tubas and handed another a notice to meet with the Israeli Intelligence. Israeli forces also raided several Palestinian houses in the Al-Azzeh refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. (Palestine News Network)

Israeli forces arrested three Palestinians, including two children, from Hebron, and demolished the municipal building in Bait-Awla, causing severe damages, according to Palestinian security sources. (WAFA)

The Jerusalem District Police arrested an 18-year-old Israeli for allegedly assaulting Arab cab drivers with tear gas. Another teen had also been implicated. (Ynetnews)

Israeli soldiers invaded the school area in the village of Ya’bod, south of Jenin, clashed with dozens of school students, and fired rounds of live ammunition, gas bombs and rubber-coated metal bullets. At least 10 students were reportedly treated for the effects of tear gas. (IMEMC)

Israeli forces detained a 17-year-old Palestinian in Hebron's Old City. (Ma’an News Agency)

PA Prime Minister Fayyad addressed the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, predicting slim chances for its advancement during the expected visit of US President Obama in the coming spring. Mr. Fayyad said: "The success of the peace process is dependent on how committed the United States and other countries promoting the process are, in their investment in the process, and in the existence of an autonomous, sovereign Palestinian State on the lands that Israel occupied in 1967." (Ynetnews)

Following talks with PA Minister for Foreign Affairs Riad Malki, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, said that the Palestinian diplomatic mission to her country had been upgraded to embassy status, adding that the upgrade was in line with Cyprus' recognition of Palestinian statehood in 1988. (AP)

Israeli senior officials in the Prime Minister’s Bureau said that "Netanyahu will be able to make compromises during negotiations with the Palestinians, but it will depend on the price he is forced to pay… Netanyahu understands that it is essential to make progress; he is committed to doing so, and will be able to show progress." (Ma’ariv)

US President Obama’s former adviser, Dennis Ross, said that "the President [Obama] will speak to the Prime Minister [Netanyahu] about advancing the peace process and on the importance of a Government able to carry forward initiatives." (MSNBC)

The construction of settlements in the West Bank “is causing Israel to lose the support even of its best friends in the West”, Yaakov Amidror, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s National Security Adviser, was quoted as warning at closed-door meetings, ahead of his trip to Washington, D.C., to prepare President Obama’s trip to Israel. "It's impossible to explain settlement construction to German Chancellor Angela Merkel or even to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper”. In response to the debate, outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor, speaking to Israel Public Radio, stated that, "construction outside the Green Line is inconsistent with Israel's stance on seeking a two-State solution, and harms Israel's image abroad.” (Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post)

At a press conference following talks with Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül, Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsy said: “We have discussed Egyptian efforts to achieve Palestinian reconciliation. We have agreed that Palestinians from different factions will meet in Egypt next week to continue their talks on reconciliation,” and added that the talks also explored efforts to end the settlements issue. (www.dailynewsegypt.com)

President Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal were to meet in Cairo in a renewed bid to form a Palestinian unity Government. Mr. Mashaal said: "We are forging ahead with the reconciliation. We are consulting about forming a Government of national accord. Preparations for presidential, parliamentary and executive council elections are under way. We are reinvigorating the PLO and organizing its meetings until the new National Council and Executive Committee are elected." Hamas official Ismail Ashqar said that consultations for establishing a national consensus Government would be initially confined to Fatah and Hamas, and then presented to the other factions. (BBC, Ma’an News Agency, The Jerusalem Post)

Representatives from the Palestinian Industrial Estate and Free Zone Authority and the United Nations Development Programme, in the presence of the Representative Office of Japan to the PA, signed a $1,487,532 agreement on the establishment of an administration building for the Jericho Agro-Industrial Park. (www.undp.ps)

The Minister of Forestry and Water Works of Turkey, Veysel Eroglu, received the Palestinian Ambassador in Ankara, Nabil Maarouf, and said that a cooperation agreement in forestry between the two sides was being drafted. (www.worldbulletin.net)

Clashes erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinians as 10 buses of Israeli settlers visited Joseph's Tomb in Nablus after midnight accompanied by Israeli soldiers, according to locals. Soldiers fired tear gas and stun grenades. No injuries were reported. (Ma’an News Agency)

The IDF had broken a pledge to the High Court of Justice to remove two illegal fences around settlements that prevented Palestinian farmers from reaching their land. (Haaretz)

The Israeli human rights group Yesh Din criticized the Israeli army for not indicting a single soldier despite more than 100 criminal investigations into the troops' alleged offenses in the Palestinian territory the previous year. (The Daily Star)

Palestinian prisoner Akram Rekhawi, who had spent 100 days on hunger strike the previous year, had been released to the Gaza Strip after nine years in Israeli jail. (Ma’an News Agency)

According to the PA Ministry for Prisoners’ Affairs, Israeli forces in Nafha prison attacked prisoners, forcing 64 out of their cells and destroying their belongings, including electronic devices. (WAFA)

8

Former Israeli Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon said there may be more hope for bringing the sides to the negotiating table following Israel's recent election. (AP)

President Abbas had reportedly asked Iranian President Ahmadinejad, during their meeting on the margins of the OIC Summit in Cairo, to make more public statements about creating a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders, and fewer public attacks against Israel, as his anti-Israeli remarks harmed the Palestinian cause, an Egyptian source said. (Haaretz)

According to the spokeswoman for the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, IDF soldiers fired rubber bullets and tear gas at a demonstration for Palestinian prisoners in Nabi Saleh. (The Jerusalem Post)

The Transparency International chapter in Palestine said that between January 2008 and January 2012, the PA had lost $43 million in border fees as it failed to demand that Israel stick to revenue-sharing agreements and had not put in place proper financial controls. (Ma’an News Agency)

9

Israeli forces arrested six Palestinians during raids in the West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency)

Hundreds of farmers marched towards Gaza’s border with Israel to demand a boycott of Israeli agriculture farms. The Union of Agricultural Work Committees in Gaza said in a statement that protesters had also gathered in dozens of European cities to protest against the Israeli company Mehadrin that operated in settlements. “The boycott of Israeli agriculture companies are so important as the Israeli occupation had destroyed our farming production and denied us the possibility of exporting our own products,” one of the farmers said. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces removed tents set up by Palestinians in Yatta, south of Hebron, in an attempt to secure farmland for local villagers in areas where Israel planned to build new settlements. Israeli soldiers attacked activists, declared the area a closed military zone and took down most of the tents. (DPA)

10

Palestinian Minister of Justice Ali Muhanna said that his Ministry was considering setting up a committee to discuss the Palestinian constitution. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Israeli Ministry of Defense confirmed it had approved the construction of 346 new homes in two settlements in the southern West Bank – 200 in “Tekoa” and 146 in “Nokdim”. (AFP)

A group of settlers vandalized a Palestinian community centre in Hebron, uprooting trees and flowers in the backyard. (Ma’an News Agency)

Protesters in Beit Safafa, in East Jerusalem, formed a human chain and set up tents to protest the construction of a highway, which would confiscate part of the neighbourhood’s land and divide the area into two. An Arab member of the Knesset, Ahmad Tibi, joined the hundreds of protestors. Israeli police arrested three protesters. (Ma’an News Agency)

11

Israeli forces arrested a young Palestinian from Jenin and ordered four others from surrounding villages to report for interrogation by Israeli intelligence. (Palestine News Network)

Ahead of President Obama's visit to Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu, addressing a delegation of US Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, reaffirmed his commitment to the two-State solution, as outlined in his 2009 Bar-Ilan speech: “A demilitarized Palestinian State that recognizes the Jewish State." He called for a resumption of talks without preconditions. (Ynetnews)

Presidential Spokesman Abu Rudeineh said in a statement that the Israeli decision to build 90 housing units in the settlement of “Beit El” aimed to obstruct efforts by the US Administration to revive the peace process. He said that settlement activities were the main obstacle to resuming negotiations and returning to a serious peace process. (WAFA)

Palestinian electoral officials had begun the process of updating voter rolls in the West Bank and Gaza in a vital step towards eventual elections. “We hope that accomplishing it would be the first step to ending the division,” Central Elections Commission Chief Hanna Nasser said when he announced the start of the week-long operation at a news conference in Gaza City. (AFP)

Hamas announced that it had set up its own news agency called Al Rai meaning “Opinion”. (AFP)

US Secretary of State Kerry had been working to free up almost $700 million in aid for the Palestinians which had been held up by Congress, a State Department official said. "The Secretary feels extremely strongly that it is time now to get this support to the Palestinian Authority," Spokeswoman Nuland said. (AFP)

Israel authorized the passage of Turkish trucks into Gaza carrying materials for the construction of the Turkish-Palestine Friendship Hospital, the most symbolic Turkish humanitarian assistance project to date for the people of Palestine. The hospital’s inauguration was expected to bring Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the Gaza Strip within the year. (Hürriyet)

Gaza authorities had denied reports that Egypt had closed smuggling tunnels, a spokesman said. The statement followed claims by Egyptian security officials that they had arrested 10 suspected smugglers in Rafah and shut down two tunnels. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli Army Radio reported that the building of 90 new housing units in the “Beit El” settlement was underway as part of a compensation plan for the evacuation of the “Ulpana” outpost that had been agreed upon the previous year. (The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli forces demolished a residential structure, a shed and water well in Beit Awwa in Hebron. Eight members of a family had been made homeless by the demolition. Israeli forces also demolished a residential trailer in the town of Idhna, west of Hebron, leaving a family of eight homeless. (Ma’an News Agency)

12

Israeli soldiers attacked a number of Palestinians, including children, in Hebron after setting up a random military checkpoint south of the city, according to witnesses. Youths threw stones at the soldiers, who used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse them. (WAFA)

Israeli forces arrested 14 Palestinians from across the West Bank, including a senior Hamas member, according to local and security sources. A large military force raided several homes in Tulkarm, in the north, in a search and arrest campaign that targeted mainly Hamas activists. Hamas said that Israel was trying to sabotage Palestinian reconciliation. (The Jerusalem Post, WAFA)

Two young brothers had been seriously wounded after an explosion in Gaza City. It was suspected that they had found an unexploded IDF device. (WAFA)

Israeli police and Shin Bet officers arrested five Palestinians who broke into the Ramah Base in northern Jerusalem and stole a gun from a soldier. The five had also stolen a gun from a guard in the Israeli settlement of “Ma'ale Michmash”, north-east of Jerusalem. (Ynetnews)

The IDF arrested 15 Hamas members in pre-dawn raids on their homes in various West Bank cities. Hamas said that the arrests were aimed at foiling efforts to achieve Palestinian national reconciliation. (The Jerusalem Post)

PA President Abbas welcomed the planned visit by President Obama to the Middle East region slated for March 2013. (Xinhua)

Azzam al-Ahmad, a senior Fatah official, said that PA President Abbas would issue several decrees announcing elections and declaring a new unity Government. Mr. Abbas had started consultations to form a unity Government of technocrats which would be sworn when the Central Elections Commission finished updating the voter registry by the end of March, Mr. Al-Ahmad added. (WAFA, Ma'an News Agency)

The PA Ministry of Finance said that Israel continued to withhold Palestinian tax revenues. (Ma'an News Agency)

Jordan and the PA signed a trade promotion programme. Jordanian Minister of Industry and Trade Hatem Halwani called for joint ventures and removing barriers to trade, adding that workshops would be held in both countries to familiarize their private sectors with the programme. He noted that while Palestine’s trade with Israel amounted to $4 billion, trade with all Arab countries had not exceeded $100 million. PA Minister for the National Economy Jawad Naji said that a permanent centre for Jordanian industries will open in Palestine and a similar Palestinian facility will open in Jordan. (petra.gov.jo)

Der Spiegel reported that the European Union was expected to move soon to prohibit the sale of goods produced in Israeli settlements and those falsely labelled “Made in Israel”. (Der Spiegel)

Work had begun on a section of the controversial Mughrabi Gate wooden bridge leading to Al-Haram Al-Sharif, one of Islam’s most sacred sites, in Jerusalem’s Old City, according to witnesses. Palestinians said that the work was a prelude to the construction of a more permanent steel bridge in order to bring police into the yards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in case of an eruption of violence. They feared that Israelis want to demolish the Islamic site to build a Jewish temple on its ruins. (WAFA)

The European Union and UNRWA awarded full university scholarships to 50 Palestinian students in Lebanon who had achieved the highest grades on their exams. The EU-funded Scholarship Fund had enabled 418 qualified refugee students to pursue higher education at universities in Lebanon since 2005. (ansa.it)

The PA said that an exhibition devoted to Herod that had opened in the Israel Museum was a violation of international law because much of its material had been taken from Bethlehem and Jericho. An Israeli group of archaeologists and activists had complained that the museum was helping the settlement movement advance its contention that the West Bank should be part of Israel. (The New York Times)

Human Rights Watch said that at least 18 Israeli air strikes during Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip in November 2012 were in apparent violation of the laws of war. The air strikes killed at least 43 Palestinian civilians, including 12 children. (Human Rights Watch, AP)

PA President Abbas sent an urgent letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about the harsh conditions affecting striking prisoners in Israeli prisons. (WAFA)

13

The IDF arrested 12 Palestinian youths from across the West Bank. (WAFA)

Israeli police continued to close off the northern neighbourhoods of Jerusalem preventing hundreds of Palestinian students and workers from reaching their schools and workplace. The police claimed that there had been intelligence reports of a possible attack in these neighbourhoods. (WAFA)

The US believe that there may be a way to rekindle peace talks but want to hear ideas first from regional leaders, US Secretary of State Kerry said after talks with Jordanian Minister for Foreign Affairs Nasser Judeh. (AFP)

Almost 200 smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip had been shut down since Egyptian President Morsy had taken office. The network of tunnels was a vital lifeline for the Gaza Strip, bringing in an estimated 30 per cent of all goods to the enclave. (Reuters)

The PA Minister of Public Works said that the PA could not afford to repair roads in the West Bank and that the Ministry had only $10 million of the $100 million needed annually for such projects. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Israeli Magistrate Court had ruled that a 13-year-old Palestinian boy from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan, who was arrested the previous week for the fourteenth time since he was nine years old, would be released from prison and placed under house arrest for a month. (WAFA)

PA Minister for Prisoners' Affairs Issa Qaraqe said that prisoner Samer Issawi, who had been on hunger strike for 196 days, was in serious but stable condition. Mr. Issawi had stopped taking vitamins and sugar supplements during the past three weeks taking only drinking water. (Ma'an News Agency)

Israeli settlers, accompanied by the IDF, razed a Palestinian-owned agricultural land east of Bethlehem. Palestinian local sources saw this as a prelude to take over the land to establish a new settlement outpost in the area. (WAFA)

The Israeli Supreme Court President had issued a temporary injunction on preventing the evacuation and demolition of the “Ma’aleh Rehavam” outpost after security forces razed nine structures in a surprise raid. “Ma’aleh Rehavam” was included in a long-standing petition by Peace Now asking the Supreme Court to enforce the destruction of six unauthorized West Bank outposts. (The Jerusalem Post)

14

A Palestinian was shot at a checkpoint near the settlement of “Karmei Shomron” and sustained moderate injuries. (Ynetnews)

Eight Israeli military vehicles crossed 300 metres into Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, levelling land. Israeli forces opened fire in the direction of Palestinian farmers to force them to leave the land. (Ma’an News Agency)

Two young Palestinian men were injured by Israeli fire east of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. An Israeli army spokesman said that several Palestinians had approached the border fence and tried to damage the fence. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian sources in Gaza reported that a five-year-old Palestinian boy had been pronounced dead and three other children, between the ages of three and five, had been injured in two separate explosions involving Israeli ordnance. (IMEMC)

A Palestinian was shot by an Israeli police officer near the “Karmei” settlement in the West Bank. The Palestinian, who sustained moderate injuries to his back, had allegedly broken through a checkpoint with his vehicle and had attempted to run over a police officer. (Ynetnews)

An Israeli undercover force detained a 25-year-old Palestinian man in the southern West Bank town of Beit Ummar. (Ma’an News Agency)

PA Minister for Foreign Affairs Malki said that Palestine was willing and ready to engage in a peace process with Israel if it could show more of a readiness in the process. His remarks were made at a press conference in Tokyo at the Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestine Development. (Xinhua)

During talks with US Secretary of State Kerry in Washington, D.C. on a range of issues, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “We all need to make special efforts to forge a two-State solution before the window of opportunity closes. It is important that the right of Israel to exist should be respected and also the viable Palestinian authorities, in terms of the political and financial situation, be supported so that both can live side by side in peace and security. That is a two-State solution.” (UN News Centre)

Fatah Executive Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad met with Spain’s Envoy Alfonso Vázquez in Ramallah. Mr. Al-Ahmad called on Spain, Europe and the international community to intervene and pressure Israel to resume the transfer of Palestinian tax revenues. (Ma’an News Agency)

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that, at the invitation of the President of Pakistan, PA President Abbas will visit Islamabad from 16 to 18 February. (www.mofa.gov.pk)

President Abbas said that elections would be the basis to end division, but that Hamas opposed a vote “at this stage”. “An agreement has been reached with Hamas that we form a unity Government to be headed by me, then we have parliamentary elections and Palestinian National Council elections three months after the Central Elections Commission is ready for elections", President Abbas said at a meeting in Ramallah with newly-elected mayors and a delegation of senior officials. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli police said that vandals had sprayed a dozen Muslim graves in a Jerusalem cemetery with graffiti in a politically motivated act. Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that the phrase "price-tag" was sprayed in Hebrew. (AP)

The American Task Force on Palestine welcomed reports that following a year of holds and delays, the US Congress appeared to be preparing to release all outstanding US aid, totalling more than $500 million, to the PA. (www.americantaskforce.org)

At the Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestine Development, PA Prime Minister Fayyad urged East Asian donors to share their wealth and knowledge for nation-building efforts in his region. (channelnewsasia)

Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs of Singapore, Masagos Zulkifli, announced at the Tokyo Conference on Cooperation that his country would increase its technical assistance to the PA with an enhanced package worth $5 million over five years. (channelnewsasia)
The Jerusalem District Court convicted four former Israeli Border Guard officers of abusing a Palestinian in 2009.
(Ynetnews)

The Jerusalem District Court convicted Former Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Khaled Abu Arafa and Palestinian Legislative Council member Mohamed Tutach, two senior Hamas figures, of belonging to a terror organization and residing in Israel illegally. (Ynetnews)

Israel had paid Hebron settler Menachem Livni, a former member of the “Jewish Underground” group convicted in a 1983 attack that killed three Palestinian students and wounded 33, and later released, over NIS 1.3 million in compensation for damage to the land in the West Bank village of Bani Naim he farmed without authorization. Local Palestinians had attacked the land, and Livni had been awarded compensation by the Israeli Tax Authority. (Haaretz, Ma’an News Agency)

UNRWA had launched an emergency appeal for just over $300 million to provide vital aid to the most disadvantaged in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The largest component of the appeal – $78 million – was for food assistance to nearly three quarters of a million impoverished beneficiaries in Gaza, which had been under an Israeli blockade for six years. “As political leaders and donors are called upon to respond to new disasters around the globe, the man-made humanitarian crisis right here in Gaza and in the West Bank remains and intensifies with no sign of abating after more than six decades,” UNRWA Deputy Commissioner-General Margot Ellis said at the launch event in Gaza. (UN News Centre)

UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the Occupied Palestinian Territory James W. Rawley issued a statement expressing concern about Palestinian detainees, in particular, three on hunger strike, following his meeting with PA Minister for Prisoners' Affairs Qaraqe. Statements on the subject had also been issued by UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay and Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. (www.un.org)

15

Israeli soldiers detained seven Palestinians in Silwan in East Jerusalem. The Israeli army also arrested a Palestinian at a military checkpoint in Jenin. (IMEMC)

The IDF detained seven Palestinians during clashes that had taken place after the army entered the Silwan neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. (IMEMC)

The IDF arrested seven Palestinians, including five teenagers, in the village of Beit Fajar, after they were suspected of carrying out a shooting near the settlement of “Migdal Oz” in the “Gush Etzion” block. (Ma’an News Agency, The Times of Israel)

Hundreds of Palestinians protested across the West Bank in support of prisoners on hunger strike, sparking clashes with Israeli soldiers. Outside Ofer prison near Ramallah, hundreds gathered in solidarity with Samer Issawi, Tareq Qaadan and Jaafar Azzidine. Youths threw stones at Israeli forces and 156 were treated for tear gas inhalation. (Ma’an News Agency)

Quartet Representative Tony Blair called on Israel to quickly resolve the issue of four Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails on hunger strike for several months. (WAFA)

During a visit to a prisoners' solidarity tent in Ramallah, President Abbas said that the Palestinian people would never forget the prisoners in Israeli jails. (Ma'an News Agency)

The Swedish photographer Paul Hansen won the 2012 World Press Photo Award with a picture of two Palestinian children killed in an Israeli missile strike being carried to their funeral. (AP)

16

Photographs of Palestinian detainees humiliated by IDF soldiers had been posted online. The IDF said that the cases would be handled with all due severity. (Ynetnews)

Israeli authorities detained at the Allenby Bridge the Palestinian cartoonist Muhammad Abdul-Ghani Sabanah who had been on his way back to the West Bank from Jordan. (Ma'an News Agency)

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said that Israel must adhere to international human rights obligations regarding Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike. (The Jerusalem Post)

Forty Palestinians protesting in solidarity with detainees on hunger strike were injured during clashes with the IDF in the village of Biddu, north-west of East Jerusalem. (Palestine News Network)

17

Ten Palestinians were arrested by the IDF in the West Bank. (The Jerusalem Post)

The Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights reported that a child had been killed and three others had been injured by unexploded ordnance in the Gaza Strip. (Al Mezan)

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that three security issues would take top priority during his meetings with President Obama during his Middle East visit: Iran, Syria and the Palestinians. (Israel Hayom)

Prime Minister Netanyahu told a meeting of Likud ministers that he wanted to establish a coalition as broad as possible to promote an agreement with the Palestinians. (Haaretz)

Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya confirmed that Hamas was conducting indirect talks with Israel over the implementation of a ceasefire deal that had been agreed upon the previous year. (Ma'an News Agency)

A “price-tag” attack carried out by Israeli settlers took place in the Palestinian village of Yasoof, near Nablus. (The Jerusalem Post)

The “Shavei Shomron” settlement in the northern part of the West Bank had routed its sewage pipes to dump directly into the historic Palestinian village of Sebastia. (IMEMC)

League of Arab States Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby called on the international community to uphold its responsibility regarding Palestinian prisoners whose prolonged hunger strike was endangering their lives. (WAFA)

PA Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Qaraqe had reported that Ayman Sharawna, a detainee on hunger strike, had been moved to the Soroka Israel hospital in Beersheba due to a serious deterioration in his health condition. (WAFA)

A lawyer for the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society stated that a Palestinian prisoner held in solitary confinement by Israel for two years was losing his ability to recall language and had speech impairments. (WAFA)

18

Gaza sources reported that the Israel navy had fired at two Palestinian fishermen, injuring them, off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip. (IBA Radio, IMEMC)

High tension was reported between Israeli settlers and Palestinians living in Hebron. An Israeli soldier and a Palestinian man were injured ahead of the anniversary of the [1994] Cave of the Patriarchs massacre when 29 Palestinian were killed by an Israeli settler. (Haaretz)

The IDF arrested three teenagers in the West Bank village of Salfit. (Ma'an News Agency)

An Egyptian security official said that an Egyptian delegation would visit Israel for talks on the ceasefire with Hamas and border restrictions. (Ma'an News Agency)

The Central Elections Commission had extended the registration of new voters in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for two more days. (Xinhua)

The municipality of Jerusalem demolished a house in Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem. (WAFA)

Chief Palestinian Negotiator Erakat wrote to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Ashton, urging her to immediately help free Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. (WAFA)

Palestinians blocked roads and held marches across the West Bank to protest the fate of thousands of prisoners held in Israeli jails and demand the release of four detainees on hunger strike. A few hundred marched in Hebron, with at least 20 of them being injured during clashes with the IDF. Demonstrators blocked the entrance of the UN compound in Ramallah to protest the UN’s silence on the issue. They tried to prevent workers from entering the premises but were stopped by PA police. (The Jerusalem Post, IMEMC, Ynetnews)

The Palestinian human rights organization Addameer said that several lawyers were to file a petition in the Israeli High Court to challenge an Israeli military order allowing a military committee to sentence released prisoners based on secret evidence. (WAFA)

The IDF had issued several orders to seize 120 dunums of Palestinian land in an area near Yatta, south of Hebron. (Ma'an News Agency)

19

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said that an Israeli gunboat attacked a Palestinian fishing boat, arresting two fishermen, one nautical mile off the Gaza coast. (Palestine News Network)

An Israeli soldier had provoked an outcry by publishing on the Internet a photograph showing the back of a Palestinian boy's head seen through the cross-hairs of the soldier’s rifle. The IDF said that it would investigate the conduct of the soldier. (Reuters)

The IDF entered an area east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, as well as in the town of Jabalia in the north, with military vehicles and bulldozers. (Ma'an News Agency, Jordan News Agency)

Israeli soldiers had taken control of a house in the village of Yabad near Jenin. Residents said that soldiers had regularly harassed residents, particularly children. (WAFA)

Palestinian representatives were expected to request the personal involvement of President Obama in the peace process during their visit to Washington, D.C., the following day. Mohammad Shtayyeh, Adviser to President Abbas, and Chief Negotiator Erakat would be travelling. (Haaretz)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Jewish Agency Board of Governors that the PA must accept a demilitarized State and recognize Israel as the “Jewish homeland”. (The Jerusalem Post)

It had been announced that former Israeli Minister for Foreign Affairs and Hatnua party Chief Tzipi Livni will serve as the Government’s chief representative in negotiations with the Palestinians, reporting to Prime Minister Netanyahu. According to the agreement signed between Hatnua and Likud-Beitenu, she would receive the portfolio of Minister of Justice. Any draft agreement with the Palestinians would require the Government's approval. (Ynetnews)

The United Arab Emirates Red Crescent Authority had agreed to build four schools in Palestine, its Chairman, Ahmed Humaid Al Mazrouie, announced after a meeting with UNRWA officials. (Emirates News Agency)

According to updated figures, the Israeli Government had invested considerably more in settlements activities in 2011 and 2012 than in previous years, confirming a trend of greater investments in settlements than inside Israel proper. (Calcalist)

Israel’s Lands Administration had acknowledged that privately-owned Palestinian lands in the West Bank’s northern plains had been used for the expansion of “Kibbutz Meirav”. (Haaretz)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France said in a statement that it was “very worried about the situation of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, particularly those in administrative detention, whose health has deteriorated recently.” The statement called on Israeli authorities to be sensitive to the risk of a tragic outcome and to take urgent appropriate measures. (WAFA)

Some 800 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails declared a one-day fasting in solidarity with four inmates whose hunger strike had fuelled large protests across the West Bank. (WAFA)

Four Palestinian protesters were injured after a “violent disturbance” broke out near the Ofer prison in the West Bank. (The Jerusalem Post)

An Israeli court had ruled that Samer Issawi, who had been on hunger strike for over 200 days, must remain in custody until the next hearing in a month. (Ma’an News Agency)

In a press statement, the League of Arab States announced that it held Israel fully responsible for the lives of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike and demanded their immediate release. (Middle East Monitor)

Israeli soldiers arrested eight Palestinians at the southern entrance of Nablus after the army had attacked a non-violent protest held in support of Palestinian detainees. (IMEMC)

The Spokesperson for the Secretary-General had issued the following statement:


20

Two IDF soldiers were slightly injured by stone-throwing in the Qusra village in the West Bank when the forces were responding with “crowd dispersal means”. Israeli bulldozers had arrived in the village and destroyed an electricity grid, cutting off power to dozens of residents, PA official Ghassan Daghlas said. (Ma’an News Agency, Ynetnews)

Hamas official Alaa Rafati said that Egypt's crackdown on tunnels to the Gaza Strip would not succeed unless alternatives for importing goods were provided. (Ma'an News Agency)

Israeli soldiers entered the town of Borqeen, south of Jenin, and clashed with local youths, wounding one and detaining two others, with dozens treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation. (IMEMC)

The Wadi Hilweh Information Centre said that Israeli soldiers detained two Palestinian youths, 14-year-old Amir Froukh and 17-year-old Eyad Ahmad Rweidy in Silwan, in East Jerusalem, and took them for interrogation. (IMEMC)

An Israeli security delegation made a short visit to Egypt and met with the country's Intelligence Chief, General Raafat Shehata, Egyptian sources reported. The meeting reportedly focused on securing the border and reinforcing the ceasefire agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Israeli sources reported that an agreement was being negotiated between Hamas and Israel to end the Gaza blockade in exchange for halting the flow of weapons to Hamas. Smuggling tunnels would also be demolished that had been denied by Hamas. (Ma’an News Agency, Ynetnews)

Hamas and Islamic Jihad had rejected the statement made by Prime Minister Netanyahu that he would "accept a future demilitarized Palestinian State". Hamas Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri explained that the Palestinian people aspired to an independent sovereign State that was capable of defending itself. (Middle East Monitor)

Kadima party's leader, Shaul Mofaz, called for a regional conference to coincide with the formation of the next Israeli Government and President Obama's visit to the region. The main purpose of the conference, he said, was to activate negotiations with the Palestinians and the peace process. According to Ma’ariv, Mr. Mofaz said: "We do not need the Palestinians to recognize us as a Jewish State, and the negotiations must begin without preconditions." (Middle East Monitor)

Palestinian officials in Ramallah said that Israel was impeding the delivery of the updated electoral registers from the Gaza Strip to the Central Elections Commission in the West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency)

Jamal Muheissen, member of the Fatah Central Committee, said that the [indirect] talks Hamas had been reportedly conducting with Israel were “unacceptable”. Mr. Muheissen said that only the PLO was authorized to conduct such negotiations. Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahhar said that the Cairo talks dealt with the reopening of Gaza borders, the ceasefire and the detainees on hunger strike. “We are not negotiating about core issues like lands and Jerusalem,” he said. (The Jerusalem Post)

Israel informed the PA of expanding the delivery of goods to the Gaza Strip through Kerem Shalom, said Nazmi Muhana, director of the Palestinian Borders and Crossings Administration. The Palestinians will be able to import four more truckloads of fuel, two more cooking gas shipments and increased weekly car imports to 125, Mr. Muhana said. Israel will also provide an additional telecommunication line to Gaza. (Xinhua)

Kuwait renewed its support for programmes by the International Labour Organization in Palestine through its contribution of $500,000. (www.ilo.org)

Newly appointed Israeli Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni responded to a speech by Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett, saying that she conceded neither the “Ariel” settlement nor Jerusalem in the [2008] negotiations with the Palestinians. (The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli bulldozers demolished a house and poultry farm under construction in the village of Beit Iksa, north-west of Jerusalem. Beit Iksa, with a population of 2,000, had become one of the latest villages affected by Israel's construction of the separation wall. The village had received notices on the confiscation of its lands. (Palestine News Agency)

Palestinians said Israel was using tax raids, fines and arrests to quell protests against a road that would bisect the neighbourhood of Beit Safafa in East Jerusalem. The Jerusalem police stated that it allowed legitimate protests but would prevent interference with road works, attacks and stone-throwing. The highway would serve mainly the settlers of “Gush Etzion”. (Haaretz)

Protesters in Nazareth erected a solidarity tent to show support for Palestinian prisoners and detainees on hunger strike, a local group said. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian medical sources reported that several students of the Birzeit University, near Ramallah, were mildly injured after Israeli soldiers attacked a non-violent protest held in support of Palestinian prisoners. (IMEMC)

Chief Palestinian Negotiator Erakat stated that Egypt and several other countries were trying to talk Israel into resolving the issue of detainees but that the talks had remained fruitless. He added that sending the prisoners into exile was not an option. The PA and President Abbas were also holding extensive talks on the issue with European Union officials, in addition to several other countries and the UN. (IMEMC)

Palestinian journalists in Ramallah and Hebron held sit-in protests against the arrest of two reporters by Israel. Journalists in Ramallah held their protest outside Ofer military camp where a hearing had been scheduled for Amer Abu Arafeh, who had been under administrative detention for four consecutive terms. It was also in support of cartoonist Muhammad Sabaneh who was recently arrested at the Allenby Bridge. (WAFA)

Archbishop Theodosius Atallah Hanna visited a solidarity tent in al-Bireh, near Ramallah, for prisoners on hunger strike. He called on all people to intensify solidarity campaigns in support of prisoners. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian human rights and civil society organization demanded from the Gaza military court to explain its decision reducing the sentence of two Palestinians convicted of abducting and killing Italian activist Vitorio Arigoni from life to 15 years. (WAFA)

21

Palestinian officials said that Nayef Hawatmeh, the head of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was lightly wounded by a car bomb that killed more than 30 in Damascus. (AP)

Israeli gunboats attacked a Palestinian fishing boat and arrested three fishermen. One fisherman was wounded and the fishing boat was damaged. (IMEMC)

According to the PLO Mission in Washington, D.C., Palestinian Chief Negotiator Erakat was to meet with US Secretary of State Kerry at the State Department to discuss the tensions in the Middle East. (The Jerusalem Post)

At a meeting with President Abbas, Jordanian Foreign Minister Judeh stressed Jordan’s continued efforts to revive the peace process between Israel and Palestine and briefed the President about King Abdullah's recent visit to the US and the Russian Federation. (Palestine News Network)

A poll conducted by the Arab World for Research and Development showed that 95 per cent of Gaza residents and 82 per cent of West Bank residents supported the holding of immediate legislative and presidential elections. Support for Hamas had declined by 4 points to 18 per cent since December while support for Fatah rose by 5 to 42 per cent. (www.awrad.org)

The Palestinian Union of Health Workers announced a strike in all health facilities for two weeks, until 10 March. (Ma’an News Agency)

PA Prime Minister Fayyad condemned the Israeli army sabotage of electricity poles and settlers’ arson of cars in the village of Qusra near Nablus. (WAFA)

Armed settlers from the “Esh Kodesh” outpost attacked the village of Qusra, south of Nablus, torching six cars, a PA official said. Eight Palestinians were injured in the ensuing clashes. The “Esh Kodesh” leader, Aharon Katsuf, vehemently denied the allegations. (WAFA, Ynetnews)

Palestinians said that six Israeli military vehicles entered east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip and levelled farmland near the border while soldiers in watchtowers along the border opened fire. No injuries were reported. (Ma’an News Agency)

Several hundred Palestinians marched from the West Bank village of Bituniya to Ofer Prison in protest against the continued administrative detention of four Palestinians who were on hunger strike. An Israeli journalist sustained light injuries when Palestinian teens clashed with Israeli security forces. Palestinian Legislative Council member Mustafa Barghouti, one of the leaders of the protests, said: "Should anything bad happen to [prisoner] Issawi, I predict that the entire West Bank will rise up and a new, non-violent intifada will break out.” (Ynetnews)

A Jerusalem court sentenced Samer Issawi to an eight-month term including time already served. He thus may be released on 6 March. (The Jerusalem Post)

A number of human rights non-governmental organizations including Addameer, Al-Haq and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel expressed their grave concern for the health of four Palestinian detainees on hunger strike and outrage at the continued use by Israel of administrative detention, and called for their release. (Palestine News Network)

Hamas had rejected proposals to send prisoners on hunger strike to Gaza as a condition for their release. Hamas leader Al-Zahhar said that the exchange agreement for the release of Gilad Shalit did not allow Israel to re-arrest prisoners, and called for their immediate release. (Middle East Monitor)

Israeli forces handed four Palestinian residents of Beit Dajan, east of Nablus, demolition orders for their homes, said Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official monitoring settlement activities. (WAFA)

An Israeli court extended the administrative detention period of Palestinian Legislative Council member Fathi Qraawi for three more months. (Middle East Monitor)

22

Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian at a military checkpoint in Bethlehem and raided several neighbourhoods and villages and searched a house in the old city of Hebron. (PNN)

Israeli police arrested five suspects in Issawiya for allegedly throwing stones at police forces. No injuries were reported. (The Jerusalem Post, IMEMC)

According to Palestinian medical sources, two Palestinian were injured after Israeli soldiers opened fire at Palestinian agricultural lands east of Jabalya, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. (IMEMC, The Jerusalem Post)

Palestinians and IDF forces clashed following Friday prayers at the Al-Haram Al-Sharif in Jerusalem. No injuries were reported. Several dozen Palestinians demonstrated near the “Beit Hadassah” settlement in Hebron. Further clashes in solidarity with prisoners took place in Arroub and Fawwar refugee camps in the Hebron district. Hundreds of Palestinians also protested near Ofer Prison. Dozens of them hurled stones at soldiers and border guards. Twelve young men were hurt by tear gas and rubber-coated bullets. Additional clashes erupted near the village of Nabi Saleh. In Tulkarm, in the northern West Bank, young Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops. (Ma’an News Agency, Ynetnews)

Commenting on the appointment of Tzipi Livni as Israel’s Justice Minister who would also be responsible for reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee told Ma’an News Agency: “Our needs are obvious. If Livni will negotiate on the basis that the Palestinian State is based on the 1967 borders, then we will be back to real negotiations”. (The Jerusalem Post)

In an interview with Haaretz, UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights Ben Emmerson, who had been tasked with delivering a report on drone strikes in which civilians have been killed, said: "it would be extremely helpful if Israel cooperated and it would be remiss of me to ignore Israel in an investigation of technology used by three States, one of which is Israel”, adding that “it is in Israel's strategic interest for its voice to be heard in this process and it would be unfortunate if the only State against this was Israel." (Haaretz)

The European Union had renewed its support to mental health services in Gaza through a new grant of nearly €600,000. (Palestine News Network)

The Norwegian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Espen Barth Eide, announced that the Norwegian Government would disburse the whole amount of its budget support to Palestine for 2013 immediately because “Palestinian public sector employees urgently needed to be paid again”. (Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Israeli soldiers clashed with participants of a weekly non-violent protest against the separation wall and settlements. Dozens of protesters had to be treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation. (IMEMC)

A group of Israeli settlers reportedly established a new settlement in Ras Hazem Mountain, east of Nablus, on land belonging to residents of Salem village. (IMEMC)

Palestinian detainees on hunger strike Tarik Hussein, Jafar Azzidine and Ayman Sharawna had reportedly been hospitalized. (Ynetnews)

PA officials had demanded an international investigation into the death of Arafat Jaradat, 30, a detainee who had just died in an Israeli jail. While Israeli officials claimed that Jaradat had died of a cardiac arrest, the PA alleged that he might have been tortured. Family members of the deceased prisoner insisted that he had been in good health before his arrest. (Ma’an News Agency, The Jerusalem Post, Ynetnews)

23

According to a local activist, Israeli soldiers arrested a Palestinian resident of Yatta, a town south of Hebron, and prevented other residents from reaching their land adjacent to the “Otniel” settlement. (WAFA)

Israeli settlers shot and injured two Palestinians in the village of Qusra, south of Nablus, in the northern West Bank. The IDF announced that it would launch an investigation into the circumstances. (Ma’an News Agency, The Jerusalem Post)

According to eyewitness accounts, Israeli settlers and Israeli forces had attacked a number of farmers in southern Hebron. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli authorities released detainee Yousef Shaban after he went on hunger strike for 63 days. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian detainees in Israel's Nafha jail announced that they would launch hunger strike action the following day in protest against the death of Arafat Jaradat. (Ma’an News Agency)

24

A Fatah official was prevented by Hamas from leaving the Gaza Strip to attend a meeting in Ramallah. (Ma’an News Agency)

According to Egyptian security officials, Egyptian forces in Rafah seized 20,000 litres of fuel ready to be smuggled into Gaza. (Ma’an News Agency)

According to medical sources, Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian farmer from Jabalya, north-east of the Gaza strip. (Ma’an News Agency)

A Palestinian youth suffered a fracture in his leg after allegedly being rammed by an Israeli military jeep during clashes between Israeli soldiers and several Palestinian youths near the Al-Jalama Israeli military roadblock, north of Jenin. (IMEMC)

According to an IDF spokesperson, some 50 Palestinians rioted at Rachel's Tomb in Hebron. (The Jerusalem Post)

An IDF soldier was injured by stones thrown by Palestinians close to the “Beit Hadassah” settlement in Hebron. (The Jerusalem Post)

The Israeli army detained nine Palestinians in raids across the West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency)

A senior Fatah official claimed that the PA had supported and helped organize an escalation in popular resistance in the West Bank. "Resistance is a natural right and we agree unanimously on escalating popular resistance,” Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of Fatah's Central Committee told the Beirut-based al-Mayadeen satellite channel. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu called on the PA to stem a surge of anti-Israeli protests ahead of US President Obama's visit to the region the following month. (The Jerusalem Post, Ynetnews)

Ahmad al-Hilou, director of Palestinian customs, taxes and VAT, announced that Israel had officially notified the PA that it would transfer Palestinian tax revenues the following day. (Ma’an News Agency)

According to locals, Israeli settlers uprooted more than 50 olive trees in the Hebron village of Beit Awwa. (Ma’an News Agency)

The PA Ministry for Prisoners’ Affairs said that an autopsy had revealed that Arafat Jaradat had died of extreme torture in Israeli custody rather than as a result of a cardiac arrest. Israeli authorities said that the results were inconclusive. (BBC, Ma’an News Agency)

The PA Ministry for Prisoners’ Affairs announced that lawyers representing Palestinians would boycott Israeli courts the following day in protest against the death of Arafat Jaradat. (Ma’an News Agency)

Dozens of Palestinians were wounded at demonstrations across the West Bank after Arafat Jaradat died in Israeli custody. (The Jerusalem Post)

According to reports, Israeli soldiers fired rounds of live ammunition at Palestinian protesters near the Ofer Israeli prison, west of Ramallah. Three Palestinians were injured. (IMEMC)

At a rally to protest the death of prisoner Arafat Jaradat, senior Hamas leader Salah al-Bardawil urged resistance fighters to kidnap Israeli soldiers. (Ma’an News Agency, The Jerusalem Post)

25

A 13-year-old boy from the Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem was shot with live fire during clashes with IDF forces, Palestinians said. He was rushed to a hospital in Beit Jala in serious condition. Several hours later, Palestinian sources told Ynet that a 16-year-old had sustained a head injury during clashes and had been taken to a hospital in Jerusalem. (Ynetnews)

A Palestinian was struck in the head with a tear gas canister in Nablus after clashing with Israeli forces, medics said. (Ma’an News Agency)

A Palestinian woman from Jerusalem was attacked by a number of extremist Jewish women. (IMEMC)

Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak met with the IDF Commander-in-Chief, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, and other security officials. They discussed the uprisings in the Palestinians territories and proposed how possible confrontations will be dealt with. (The Jerusalem Post)

PA President Abbas said that Israel was deliberately seeking to stoke unrest in the West Bank but that Palestinians would not be provoked. (The Daily Star)

President Abbas said that he did not expect a new Israeli Government to change Israel's policy towards the peace process but he was hopeful that President Obama's upcoming visit to the region “could revive the peace process, which has been completely frozen over the past four years". (The Jerusalem Post)

The United States urged both the Palestinians and the Israelis to "refrain from provocative actions" and consider "positive steps to re-establish trust and de-escalate the current tensions". Deputy State Department Spokesman Patrick Ventrell said that the US "expects all parties to consider the results of the [Jaradat] autopsy calmly and without inflammatory rhetoric,” adding that Israel and the US are in discussion over the hunger strikes and administrative detentions. (The Jerusalem Post, www.state.gov)

According to the Deputy Political Chief of Hamas, Moussa Abu Marzouq, Hamas had asked Fatah and the Egyptian authorities to postpone their next scheduled meeting to be held in Cairo on 27 February in order to ensure that the talks would be positive. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian sources said that Israeli police raided a school for orphans in East Jerusalem and arrested a number of the students. (WAFA)

The Al-Aqsa Foundation reported that some 40 Jewish worshipers, accompanied by Israeli forces, entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The troops allegedly evacuated Muslim worshipers as the group performed Jewish prayers. Meanwhile, Israeli forces banned Palestinians under the age of 45 from entering the Mosque for the second day in a row. Dozens of Palestinians, who had gathered near the main gates to protest the ban, clashed with Israeli forces. (Ma’an News Agency)

A lawyer representing Palestinian Government agencies had sent letters to New Balance, an American footwear company, and the InterContinental Hotel Group, threatening a boycott and legal action if they did not withdraw their sponsorship of the upcoming Jerusalem Marathon that Palestinians said constituted a “serious breach” of international law because it would run through East Jerusalem. (The New York Times)

The Israeli Government had banned Palestinians from building on more than 1,000 acres of land adjacent to the separation barrier, which was under Palestinian civil control under the Oslo Accords. (xinhuanet.com)

Some 4,500 “security prisoners” in Israeli jails had sent back their breakfast in a show of solidarity with Palestinian hunger strikers in Israel's jails. (The Jerusalem Post)

The Palestinian Women's Union denounced the death of Arafat Jaradat, calling on the international community to hold Israel responsible. The Fatah Youth movement demanded that Israeli leaders be tried at the International Criminal court over the death of Jaradat. (Ma’an News Agency)

Thousands attended the funeral of Arafat Jaradat, who was buried with military honours in the village of Saeer, near Hebron, while masked Palestinian gunmen fired into the air. (Haaretz, Reuters, Ynetnews)

President Abbas accused Israel of deliberately killing Palestinian children in order to "sow anger" among the Palestinians. "The death of young Arafat Jaradat shall not pass easily," Army Radio quoted the Palestinian leader as saying. (The Jerusalem Post)

The Israeli Prison Service announced that a majority of the Palestinian security prisoners held in Israel had ended their symbolic 24-hour hunger strike. (Xinhua)

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry called for "an independent and transparent investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Jaradat's death, the results of which should be made public as soon as possible... The United Nations is closely monitoring the situation on the ground where mounting tensions present a real risk of destabilisation,” he said. (UN News Centre)

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A Grad rocket fired from Gaza landed in Ashkelon, Israeli media reports said, causing some damage to a road but no injuries. The Fahd El-Lil (Night Leopard) group issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack. The group said that it was an offshoot of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades of Fatah and that the rocket was fired in response to the death of prisoner Jaradat. “No known party has claimed responsibility for firing the rocket and we are still following up on the matter,” said Ihab Al- Ghussein, head of Hamas’ media office. (Xinhua)

An Israeli military source stated that the “cycle of violence” in the West Bank was far from being over despite the relative calm that had taken place. He added that the army was preparing for possible escalation. (IMEMC)

A court in Cairo had ruled that the Government must destroy all tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, removing a route for smuggled weapons and other goods. The National Security Adviser to President Morsy, Essam Haddad, said that Egypt will not tolerate the two-way flow of smuggled arms through the tunnels that was destabilizing the Sinai Peninsula. (Aljazeera, Reuters)

The Israeli army had confirmed that live ammunition was used in clashes with Palestinian protesters and that two Palestinian teenagers were critically wounded the previous day. (The Guardian)

Defence for Children International-Palestine said that Israeli soldiers had used a young Palestinian boy as a human shield while they confronted Palestinian demonstrators near Ofer prison outside Ramallah on 17 February. (IMEMC)

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Serry said that he was deeply troubled by resumed indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza which was totally unacceptable. (UNSCO)

Israeli forces arrested 17 Palestinians in Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Nablus and Tulkarm, Palestinian sources said. (Petra)

A five-year-old Israeli boy was slightly injured by stones on the road adjacent to the “Beit Illit” settlement. Palestinians threw rocks in a settlement near Hebron, and a settler was slightly injured (The Jerusalem Post)

Explosives experts in the Gaza Strip detonated unexploded ordnance left behind from Israel's war on the territory in November, Gaza’s deputy police chief said. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian children at a Hebron school bordering a settlement suffered from tear gas inhalation fired by Israeli soldiers during confrontations near the school, local sources said. (WAFA)

President Obama will not bring a peace plan during his trip to the region but rather intends to listen, US Secretary of State Kerry said. “We really hope everybody will step back a little and try to find a way to proceed very calmly and very thoughtfully in these next days [and] leave the opportunities for peaceful resolution open,” Kerry added. (Haaretz)

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Serry said that the two-State solution was “on life support” and it was “make or break time” for the Israelis and Palestinians. (Haaretz)

The Palestinian Ministry of Finance announced that the remaining half of the January salaries of public employees would be paid on 27 February. (WAFA)

President Abbas said that Palestinian forensics had proven that prisoner Arafat Jaradat had died as a result of torture but that the PA would wait for the results of an international commission of inquiry. Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said that Israel was exploring the possibility of involving international agencies in the investigation into the death of Jaradat. (The Jerusalem Post, WAFA)

PLO Executive Committee member Erakat had delivered an official letter from President Abbas to the UN that calls for a committee to investigate the death of prisoner Jaradat. (WAFA)

A court hearing for two Palestinian long-term hunger strikers Tareq Qaadan and Jafar Azzidine had been postponed until the following day due to the ill health of both prisoners, a lawyer said. (Ma’an News Agency)

Mahmoud Tayyem, who was released in the October 2011 prisoner exchange between Hamas and Israel, was sentenced by an Israeli military court to serve the remainder of his term, 11 months, a statement by a prisoners’ advocacy group said. (WAFA)

Archbishop Theodosius Atallah Hanna condemned the death of Arafat Jaradat, a statement said, calling it a crime committed by the Israeli occupation. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestine refugee camps in Lebanon will go on general strike today in solidarity with prisoners on long-term hunger strikes in Israeli jails, a statement from factions in the country said. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Addameer prisoner support group confirmed that 12 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails were currently on hunger strike. (IMEMC)

At the Security Council briefing on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman called for "an independent and transparent investigation" by Israeli authorities into the death of a Palestinian prisoner, adding that that the results of the probe into the death of Arafat Jaradat should be made public as soon as possible. Mr. Feltman also condemned the firing of a rocket from Gaza into Israel, saying "this was the longest period without projectiles fired from Gaza in recent years, and both sides should work to consolidate the calm that prevailed before today.” (www.un.org)

Campaigners called for the British private security corporation G4S to be held accountable for its involvement with Israel's unlawful detention of Palestinians, War on Want said in a press release. (Palestine News Network)

The Students Union at Oxford University was set to hold a vote during the week on whether to boycott Israeli companies, products and institutions. (The Jerusalem Post, Ynetnews)

The head of the Palestinian Football Association, Jibril Rajoub, said that the atmosphere in the region was not appropriate for holding a friendly match between the Barcelona football club and a team of Israelis and Palestinians planned for 31 July. (The Jerusalem Post)

27

According to Palestinian security sources, Israeli forces arrested eight Palestinians in the West Bank, including six from the Bethlehem area, three of them teenagers. (IMEMC, WAFA)

Clashes erupted between Palestinian students and Israeli soldiers near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron’s old city. Israeli soldiers stormed the town of Beit Kahel, north-west of Hebron, and arrested two Palestinians. (IMEMC, WAFA)

A Palestinian woman was injured during an Israeli police raid in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan. Witnesses said that Israeli police arrested three people, including a female physician. (WAFA)

EU Heads of Missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah visited Gaza and met with the representatives of Palestinian civil society and international organizations. The group of more than 20 European officials visited Kerem Shalom and a housing project for Palestine refugees close to Rafah. In a statement, the Heads of Missions called on Israel to open Gaza crossings for the free movement of people and goods. (Palestine News Network, WAFA)

Following a rocket strike from Gaza, Israeli authorities closed the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing for a second consecutive day. (Petra, Xinhua)

The agreement between the West Bank teachers’ union and the Government that would improve teachers’ conditions had been officially signed. However, many West Bank teachers had disagreed with the union’s decision to end the ongoing general strike in protest against irregular salary payments. “The second academic semester … has not begun as yet in the West Bank despite the fact that it had officially started by the end of January… due to the declared strikes,” union official Naeem Al Ashqar had said. (Gulfnews, Ma’an News Agency)

The EU Heads of Missions report for 2012 said that Israeli settlements endangered the two-State solution. Seven of the report’s 10 recommendations deal with imposing direct or indirect sanctions by the EU on bodies and organizations involved in construction in the settlements, including the recommendation to actively encourage European divestment from the settlements. The report called for strict application of an EU-Israel trade pact to ensure products from settlements do not receive preferential treatment and urged EU States "not to support ... research, education and technological cooperation" and to discourage financial investment in Israeli businesses operating in occupied territory. European countries, the report added, should consider barring entry to their territory of "known violent settlers”. Yigal Palmor, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, called the report unhelpful to efforts to further peace in the region. PLO Executive Committee member Ashrawi welcomed the report. (Haaretz, Reuters, WAFA)

During a meeting with the British Government’s National Security Adviser, Kim Darroch, in Ramallah, President Abbas expressed his opposition to Israel’s plan to build in the “E-1” area between Jerusalem and “Ma’aleh Adumim” saying that Palestinians considered the plan a red line. (The Jerusalem Post)

Egyptian sources said that Egypt was engaged in talks with the Israeli authorities to reach a solution in the case of the Palestinian hunger striking prisoners and to bring an end to administrative detentions. (Al-Hayat)

A prisoners’ rights group said that three Palestinian prisoners had started a hunger strike at Ofer prison. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Palestine Liberation Organization said that Israel was responsible for the well being of Muhammad al-Tag, a detainee whose health had deteriorated after 70 days on hunger strike. The PLO called on human rights organizations to demand his release. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said that the Palestinian detainees Tareq Qaadan and Jafar Azzidine had suspended their 93-day hunger strike after a hearing held at a hospital near Tel Aviv. (Reuters)

Members of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries Caucus in the Security Council delivered a statement before the press on the death of Palestinian detainee Jaradat. (UN TV)

UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk called for an international investigation under the auspices of the Human Rights Council into the death of Jaradat. (www.ohchr.org)

The UN Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People — challenges and opportunities in the new reality of a State under occupation, convened under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, opened at the Headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome. A message by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was delivered by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco. Abdou Salam Diallo, Chairman of Committee, Nabil Qassis, Minister of Finance of the State of Palestine, Fernanda Guerrieri, Directeur de Cabinet of FAO, as well as representatives of other Governments and intergovernmental organizations spoke. (UN press release GA/PAL/1255)

Stéphane Hessel, a French resistance fighter, prominent human rights activist and supporter of the Palestinian cause, had passed away. He was recently involved with the Russell Tribunal on Palestine. (Division for Palestinian Rights)

The Oxford students’ union voted against a boycott of Israeli companies and products. (Ynetnews)

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Palestinian witnesses said that a number of protesters had been injured during confrontations with Israeli forces near the Ofer military camp and Atara checkpoint near Ramallah. The clashes had come as a result of the regular demonstrations while Palestinian detainees continued their hunger strike. (WAFA)

Clashes broke out between Israeli security forces and dozens of Palestinians near the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus. (The Jerusalem Post)

Hamas official Ahmed Yousef said that the scheduled reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas in Cairo had been postponed, adding, “I believe the recent trading of accusations between the two sides led to the postponement.” Another possible reason he suggested was that both sides preferred to meet after President Obama’s visit. (DPA)

Speaking at the Global Forum 2013 of the UN Alliance of Civilizations in Vienna, Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan said: “Just like Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, it becomes unavoidable that Islamophobia must be regarded as a crime against humanity.” (Hürriyet)

Palestinian Minister of National Economy Jawad al-Naji welcomed the report by the EU Heads of Missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah calling for economic sanctions on Israeli settlements. He pointed out that settlement produce labelled as "Made in Israel" was misleading and that the PA had seized tons of settlement produce from West Bank markets during year. During a meeting with the British Consul in Ramallah, PLO Chief Negotiator Erakat also welcomed the report and called on European countries to adopt its recommendations. (Ma’an News Agency)

PA settlement affairs official Ghassan Daghlas said that a group of Palestinian students in the village of Burin clashed with settlers who entered the village, hurling stones at each other. No injuries or arrests were reported. (WAFA)

Israeli forces handed notes to Palestinians in the Ras al-Ahmar village of Tubas to vacate their homes on 5 March in order for the forces to conduct military training. The Jordan Valley Solidarity movement said that such training was “extremely dangerous” with many Palestinians having been injured as a result of previous shooting exercises and mines left behind. (Palestine News Network)

Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said that Israel may allow an international organization to examine the results of the autopsy performed on Palestinian detainee Jaradat. He also said that the four Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike had been hospitalized but none were in mortal danger. The Israeli Health Ministry said that there were "no signs of other contusions" found on the body of Jaradat during the autopsy.” The toxicology tests had come back negative. (The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz)

Palestinian Minister for Prisoners’ Affairs Qaraqe said that the PA would not allow that the two detained hunger-strikers who hailed from the West Bank be sent either outside the Palestinian territories or their areas of residence. The prisoners, Samer Issawi and Ayman Sharawneh, had been fasting since the summer of the previous year, protesting their incarceration without a trial months after they had been released in the prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel. (Xinhua)

The Ofer Israeli Military Court sentenced a Palestinian boy under the age of 18 to 19 months in prison for allegedly throwing stones at Israeli soldiers in Hebron. (IMEMC)

Israeli authorities released on bail Amani Mousa Odah, 26, putting her under a 10-day house arrest for alleged incitement against Israel. (IMEMC)

Israeli forces detained six Fatah leaders in East Jerusalem for alleged incitement to violence and public disorder. Four were released after interrogation. (IMEMC, Palestine News Network)

The General Delegate of Palestine to the EU, Leila Shahid, sent a letter to the diplomatic missions in Brussels and EU bodies saying “Jaradat's death has once again highlighted the deplorable conditions of Palestinian political prisoners and Israel's unconcern for international canons and conventions.” (Palestine News Network)

The UN Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People convened its second day of meetings at FAO Headquarters in Rome. Plenary II and III were addressed by experts on the respective subthemes of “Palestinian National Development Plan 2011-2013 – current priorities, challenges and opportunities” and “urgent need for international assistance in support of the Palestinian economy following the UN vote.” (UN press release GA/PAL/1258)

The UN Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People concluded in Rome. (UN press release GA/PAL/1259)


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