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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
28 February 2015


Division for Palestinian Rights

Chronological Review of Events Relating to the
Question of Palestine

Monthly media monitoring review

February 2015

Monthly highlights

Prime Minister Netanyahu will freeze an additional 400 million NIS from the Palestinian tax revenues for January. (2 Feb.)

• HRC Commission of Inquiry Chair submitted his resignation. (2 Feb.)

• HRC President appoints Mary McGowan Davis as chair of the Commission of Inquiry on Gaza . (3 Feb.)

• Secretary-General appointes Nickolay Mladenov of Bulgaria as Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. (5 Feb)

• Municipality of Jerusalem approves a call for bids to build 64 new settlement houses. (9 Feb.)

• Israel published tenders for 580 hotel rooms in East Jerusalem. (9 Fe)

• Palestine says Israel’s freeze on Palestinian tax revenue was costing the PA 70 per cent of its budget. (10 Feb.)

• More than 20,000 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem are said to have been short listed for demolition. (15 Feb)

• UNRWA stated that $100 million in aid is urgently needed in the first quarter of 2015. (22 Feb)


1

Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian teenager near the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Old City of Hebron, claiming he was carrying a knife. (Ma’an News Agency)

Prime Minister Hamdallah said that a portion of governmental employees’ salaries would be provided “soon.” He said that, despite Israel’s non-transfer of tax revenues, the PA would try to provide employees with as much cash as possible from local resources. Hamdallah called on the employees to be patient, stressing that this was the first time the PA had been late paying salaries in 19 months. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli soldiers opened fire at Palestinian protesters marching near the border fence in the Gaza Strip. A spokesman for the Gaza Committee to Break the Siege said the march was in protest against the continued Israeli occupation and the Israeli refusal to allow reconstruction materials into Gaza in the wake of the conflict in the Strip in the summer of 2014. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Palestinian community in Cyprus has reached an agreement with the Cypriot authorities, ending a stalemate for Palestinian refugees who fled to the country from Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria, a representative of the community said in a statement. The refugees will be moved to more permanent residences and they will then be allowed to submit applications for asylum in order to move freely about the country, the statement said. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israel’s Ofer military court issued administrative detention orders for nine additional prisoners, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society stated. Sentences range from three to six months. Some of the nine prisoners have had their orders renewed multiple times. (IMEMC)

2

Israeli soldiers arrested sixteen Palestinians in different parts of the West Bank. The IDF installed roadblocks at the main entrances of Sa’ir and Halhul towns and north of Hebron, stopping and searching hundreds of cars. The arrests led to clashes between soldiers and local youths, a number of Palestinians were treated for tear gas inhalation. In the Gaza Strip, soldiers arrested four Palestinians allegedly after they breached the security fence. (IMEMC, WAFA)

A settler shot and injured a 17-year-old Palestinian teenager in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan, according to witnesses. (Ma’an News Agency)

A settler vehicle crashed into a car belonging to PA security forces near Arroub refugee camp north of Hebron, injuring seven security officers, Palestinian officials said. Initial reports indicate that the incident was deliberate. (Ma’an News Agency)

Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry met in Cairo with the UN Special Coordinator Robert Serry, to discuss “the Palestinian issue in light of latest updates including the new West Bank settlements,” said a Foreign Ministry spokesperson. He added that discussed were also potential ideas to resume the peace talks between Palestine and Israel as well as possible ways to implement the recommendations of the Gaza reconstruction conference. (www.dailynewsegypt.com)

Israel Today reported that Prime Minister Netanyahu decided to freeze an additional 400 million NIS ($100 million) from the Palestinian tax revenues for January, in addition to the $128 m that Israel had frozen in December. Sources close to Netanyahu told the newspaper that he promised a continuous tax freeze as strong punishment for the Palestinian leadership joining the ICC. (Palestine News Network)

Following a mission to East Jerusalem and Ramallah, the IMF warned that the Palestinian economy, which went into recession last year as a result of the war in Gaza, faced a deepening fiscal crisis this year due to the non-transfer of tax revenues from Israel to the PA. The PA’s fiscal position could become “untenable” if the payments were delayed for more than a few months, with a growing risk of social unrest and strikes that could lead to political instability, the report warned. (www.publicfinanceinternational.org)

UAE Human Appeal International (HAI) has stepped up its winter aid campaign. The $1 million in aid targets 15,000 Palestinian families overall, including the poor, orphans and Bedouins who were affected by the snowstorm. (Gulftoday.ae)

Germany’s Foreign Ministry expressed grave concern over Israel’s recent tenders to erect new settlement units, adding that such steps represent a new challenge put in the way of the two-State solution. (WAFA)

Israeli forces demolished two small farmhouses, a water well and stone walls in the West Bank village of Qusra, south of Nablus, a Palestinian official said. The structures were located near the illegal outpost of “Esh Kodesh”. Settlers from the outpost have in the past committed so-called “price tag” attacks against local Palestinians. (Ma’an News Agency)

IDF bulldozed 800 dunums of agricultural land, and damaged crops in Yatta village south of Hebron. (Palestine News Network)

Israeli navy ships opened fire, at dawn, on a number of Palestinian fishing boats northwest of Gaza city. (IMEMC)

Israeli Prison Police last night raided cells of Palestinian prisoners incarcerated in the Eshel prison in Israel, assaulting them and beating them up, according to the PA Committee on Prisoners’ Affairs. (WAFA, Palestine News Network)

A lawyer with the Palestinian Detainees Committee informed that she managed to meet a number of Palestinian children imprisoned by Israel, who described the horrific torture and abuse they had experienced at the hands of the Israeli interrogators, and by the soldiers who arrested them. (IMEMC)

UN Special Coordinator Robert Serry called on the PA and Hamas to come to terms with each other in order to complete Gaza’s reconstruction process. In an interview with Al-Arabiya TV channel, Serry said it was hoped that the Palestinian unity Government will take full responsibility but that did not happen which affected the donors who did not want to invest money in a “black hole”. Serry also referred to the attack on the UN office in Gaza, hoping that the security forces in Gaza will make sure that such violent acts would not happen again. (Palestine News Network)

Yachad Youth, the youth division of the British branch of the liberal Zionist Yachad group, has launched a campaign to raise money for a lawyer to represent Palestinian minors questioned by Israeli military authorities. The “Kids Court in Conflict” initiative aims to ensure all West Bank Palestinians under the age of 18 have access to legal representation. (www.thejc.com)

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights issued its weekly report for 22-28 January. (www.pchrgaza.org)

Armed Israeli settlers opened fire at a 17-year-old Palestinian sheep herder in Jabal al-Mukabir in East Jerusalem. He sustained a fractured foot. (WAFA)

The Chair of the Commission of Inquiry on the Gaza conflict established by the Human Rights Council, William Schabas, submitted his resignation. The move followed an official complaint from Israel on 30 January accusing him of “clear and documented bias against Israel”, citing a “contractual relationship with the Palestinian side” prior to becoming head of the commission. In his resignation letter, Mr. Schabas acknowledged that he received $1,300 for a legal opinion he wrote for the PLO in 2012, but said it was of a “technical legal nature” drawn from scholarly work he had published. (AP)

3

Israeli troops opened fire at Palestinian farmers in the central Gaza Strip near the border fence. No injuries were reported. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli navy ships opened fire towards a number of Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. (IMEMC)

Israeli forces detained at least 12 Palestinians during raids in the West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage reported that a total of 965 Israelis had stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in January alone, including 722 settlers. (WAFA)

Israeli settlers bulldozed over 50 dunams of Palestinian land in the village of Iskaka in Salfit. (IMEMC)

OCHA released a report on the Bethlehem governorate, in which it said Israeli policies and practices applied since the beginning of the occupation had resulted in the increasing fragmentation of the governorate and its population. (www.ochaopt.org)

A group of Israeli settlers broke into a Palestinian housing complex in Khalayil al-Lawz near Bethlehem and raised Israeli flags. (Ma’an News Agency)

Following the resignation of William Schabas as Chair of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict, the President of the Human Rights Council decided to appoint current Commission member Mary McGowan Davis to replace Schabas as Chair. (www.ohchr.org)

4

Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian farmers as they were working on their land near the border east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported. (WAFA)

Israeli forces broke into an elementary school in Nablus and forced teachers and students out of the building at gunpoint, without providing any explanation. (WAFA)

Israeli forces detained 11 Palestinian teenagers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Israeli army is reportedly planning to indict five soldiers on charges of looting Palestinian homes during the 2014 Gaza operation. (Haaretz)

5

Three Palestinian security officers were injured in armed clashes with gunmen in the Balata refugee camp east of Nablus. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces apprehended two young Palestinian men and a teenager in the Hebron district, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society reported. (Ma’an News Agency)

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar told reporters in the Gaza Strip that Lebanese and Syrian branches of Hamas’ armed wing should launch attacks on Israel “to help us liberate Palestine.” (Al-Akhbar)

Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire Daniel Kablan Duncan affirmed his country’s absolute support for Palestinian independence and statehood as well as reaching a just and comprehensive solution to the conflict in the Middle East. He said during a meeting with the Ambassador of Palestine that his country wishes to sign bilateral agreements in the political, economic and cultural fields. (WAFA)

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah met with a representative of the EU and demanded the Union put pressure on Israel to release Palestinian tax funds. Palestinians believe Israel will not transfer the tax revenues until after the March election. (Ynetnews)

Foreign Ministers of Egypt and Norway wrote an open letter to Gaza donors to remind them to keep their pledges of providing $5.4 billion in aid. “It’s not my role here to have a ‘name and shame’ list, but we do have an overview of this and we will specifically follow up on the countries that have not been able to deliver so far,” Norway’s Foreign Minister Brende said. (Haaretz)

UNRWA said it had begun distributing its 2015 emergency food assistance to needy refugee families in the Gaza Strip. (UNRWA)

A group of Israeli settlers stormed an outskirt of village of Beita south of Nablus and set up a new settlement outpost, a PA official said. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that the current number of Palestinians, held by Israel under administrative detention without charges or trial, has reached 500. (IMEMC)

At least 151 Palestinian children are currently being held as “security prisoners” in Israeli jails, Palestinian legal monitor, Military Court Watch said in a statement. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces for the third time have dismantled the symbolic village of “Jerusalem gate”, hours after it was rebuilt in the morning. The tent village was set to protest the new settlement project “E-1” which confiscates thousands of dunums from East Jerusalem for settlement expansion. (IMEMC)

Robert Serry, the United Nation’s outgoing Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said during a farewell speech he delivered at the Netanya Academic College that Israel and the Palestinian territories have months to avoid a one-state reality. “If we do not advance matters in the coming months, we will reach despair and a reality of one state,” Serry said while addressing a crowd of Israelis. “I believe you have a partner in Ramallah. You must formulate a strategy regarding the topic of Gaza.” (JTA)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Nickolay Mladenov of Bulgaria as his Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and his Personal Representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. In this capacity, Mr. Mladenov will also be the Envoy of the Secretary-General to the Quartet. Mr. Mladenov brings with him extensive experience in public service and international affairs. He is currently Special Representative for Iraq and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). He served as Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria (2010-2013) and Minister of Defence of Bulgaria (2009-2010). Previously, he was a Member of the European Parliament (2007-2009) and a Member of the Parliament of Bulgaria (2001-2005). Mr. Mladenov held several positions in the inter-governmental and non-governmental sectors, including at the World Bank and the European Institute. (United Nations)

Hamas said that the continuation of Israel’s eight-year blockade will force the political movement to take action, according to a spokesman for the group. Demonstrators had gathered in the southern city to protest against Egypt’s closure of the border crossing and the decision to label Hamas’ military wing as a “terrorist” group. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Palestinian Minister of Public Works said that around $12 million of aid donations will be distributed by UNDP to Palestinians displaced by Israel’s military offensive on the Gaza Strip last summer, $6 million in $300 payments to those affected by the conflict and another $6 million to Palestinians whose homes were destroyed. Rent payments will be covered for a further four months for those who had already been receiving support, while rent for those yet to have received money will be covered for eight months. (Ma’an News Agency)

6

The Belgian Parliament voted to recognize Palestine “at the right time”, taking into account several parameters: the positive impact of this recognition to restart a negotiation process between Israel and Palestine, the evolution of cooperation within the European Union and the existence of a fully functioning Palestinian Government. The opposition, voting against the text, demanded the immediate recognition of the State of Palestine without any conditions. (dpa)

Egypt and Norway urged donors, including Gulf States squeezed by low oil prices, to keep promises of providing $5.4 billion in aid for the Palestinians after the devastating war in Gaza last year. The two nations, who led a donors’ conference in Cairo in October when the cash was pledged, wrote an open letter to donors and said people in Gaza were suffering with a slower-than-expected pace of reconstruction. (The Cairo Post)

Over 400 rabbis signed a letter calling for an end to the demolitions of Palestinian homes that fall outside Israeli zoning laws. Addressed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the letter sought to find a solution by having Palestinians plan the development of their communities jointly with administrative bodies so that they comply with legal frameworks. (PNN)

Israeli settlers opened fire at Palestinians participating in a peaceful protest near Beit Ummar, near Hebron in the West Bank, a local official said. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli authorities released Ashraf Ali Awad, 32, a Palestinian prisoner from the Gaza Strip who had spent eight years in Israeli jails, family told Ma’an. Awad had been forbidden by Israeli prison authorities from seeing his family for the last five-and-a-half years. (Ma’an News Agency)

7

An Israeli settler opened fire at several Palestinian cars near the village of Aqraba south of Nablus. (Ma’an News Agency)

President Mahmoud Abbas ordered the formation of a committee to oversee cases to lodge with the International Criminal Court. The new committee will be headed by chief negotiator Saeb Erakat and include various figures from the Palestinian political scene, universities and human rights organizations. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Palestinian Environment Quality Authority said that any individual found responsible for exporting hazardous waste from Israel to Palestinian lands will be sentenced to lifetime imprisonment and hard labor. The statement comes amid increasing concern over Israeli companies dumping toxic materials in Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank, with implicit Israeli government support and the use of local Palestinian collaborators. (Ma’an News Agency)

A Palestinian man from Gaza City sustained critical burns after he torched himself. Witnesses believed the dire economic conditions could be the motive behind the man’s decision to set fire to himself. (Ma’an News Agency)

8

The Middle East Quartet powers called for a speedy resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, urging both sides to avoid any action that could undermine efforts to settle the conflict. “The Quartet underlined the importance of the parties resuming negotiations as soon as possible with a view to reaching a just, lasting and comprehensive peace,” a statement said. The Quartet also “recalled the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative – with its vision for a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict– and the vital role of Arab partners,” it said. “Pending the resumption of negotiations, the Quartet called on both parties to refrain from actions that undermine trust or prejudge final status issues.” The four parties on Sunday also expressed deep concern “over the difficult situation in Gaza” where reconstruction needed to be accelerated to repair the massive destruction of last year’s war. (AFP)

The Palestinian Ministry of Finance announced that, because of Israel’s persistence to illegally withhold the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian authority (PA), for the second month in a row Palestinian public employees will only receive 6 per cent of their salaries. (WAFA)

UNRWA said that cash payments would be distributed to hundreds of families in Gaza whose houses were destroyed or damaged during Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2014, with $1.1 million allocated for distribution to some 800 families in the Strip starting next week. (Albawaba News)

A high-ranking Egyptian official said that Egypt would open the Rafah crossing to allow Muslim pilgrims from Gaza to leave for pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, stated that Egypt would coordinate with Palestinians in Gaza on “the humanitarian level” and that Egypt would defend the Palestinian cause in international settings. Meanwhile, Egyptian forces would continue to create a 5,000-meter buffer zone with Gaza and destroy tunnels used to smuggle goods into the Strip. (Ma’an News Agency)

For the fourth time in a week, Israeli forces tore down a protest camp that Palestinian activists had set up in the E1 area east of Jerusalem. The camp had been built in protest against an Israeli plan to build Jewish-only settlements in E1 corridor east of Jerusalem on the way to Jericho where Palestinian Bedouins have been dwelling for decades. Activists are preparing to rebuild the protest camp for a fifth time. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the decision of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to demolish around 400 European Union-funded Palestinian structures in Area C of the West Bank, which is under complete Israeli jurisdiction. The building project – locally known as the “EU Settlements – was intended to pave the way for development and more authority of the Palestinian Authority over Area C of the West Bank. (WAFA)

9

Israeli forces opened fire on a march east of Gaza to protest delays to reconstructing the Gaza Strip following Israel’s devastating military offensive last summer. Dozens of demonstrators took part in the march, which was organized by a national committee to end the eight-year blockade of the coastal territory. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Israeli authorities continued its closure of the entrance leading to the village of Tura in Yabod town to the southwest of Jenin for the fifth consecutive day, according to local residents. The Israeli army placed a military checkpoint at the entrance of the village five days ago preventing residents, including students, from getting in or out of the village. (WAFA)

A three-judge High Court panel headed by Judge Asher Grunis ordered the state to dismantle nine homes in the settlement of Ofra which it says were built on Palestinian land. The judges gave the state two years to follow through with the demolition, giving the families who have been living there for the past years to find alternative housing. (Ynet News)

A local planning and construction committee of the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem has approved a call for bids to build 64 new settlement houses in Ramot settlement in the northern outskirts of East Jerusalem. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israel has published tenders for 580 hotel rooms in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabber. The rooms would be built on an area of 70 square kilometers that Israel confiscated when it occupied East Jerusalem in 1967. They are part of a larger plan to build 1,350 hotel rooms, a project approved in 2010. The plan has been in the works since 2003, and was approved during a visit by US President Barack Obama, stirring controversy. Israeli authorities plan to build 3,000 hotel rooms in Jabal al-Mukabber, Sheikh Jarrah, Beit Safafa, and Wadi al-Joz. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have been affected by Israel’s refusal to transfer Palestinian tax revenue to the Palestinian National Authority, having not received their canteen budget for two months. The prisoners use this money to buy their food, clothes, blankets and other items. (Gulf News)

An Israeli central court has released Mahmoud al-Hadra, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy, finding him innocent after six months in custody without trial. Al-Hadra had been on trial for allegedly possessing weapons and using them against the Israeli army. (Ma’an News Agency)

In Hebron, Israeli soldiers broke into the home of the parents of a Palestinian whom Israel accused of kidnapping and killing three Israeli teenagers in June. He was shot dead by Israeli troops in last September. The soldiers ransacked the house, seized about 50,000 shekels they found in the house, and handed the father a summons demanding he go to an Israeli police station for questioning. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces physically assaulted and detained the acting head of the Palestinian Committee against the Wall and Settlements, Jamil al-Barghouthi, while he was participating in an olive tree planting event on lands threatened with confiscation in Silwad, east of Ramallah. He was appointed by President Abbas to replace Ziad Abu Ein, who died after being assaulted by Israeli soldiers during a similar demonstration last December. (Ma’an News Agency, WAFA)

The Israeli army declared part of the desert area in the West Bank east of Jerusalem a “closed military zone”. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli bulldozers infiltrated more than 100 metres into Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip and razed land in the area. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli navy boats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within the six-mile fishing zone off the Gaza coast imposed by Israel. No injuries were reported. (WAFA)

Israeli forces detained 12 Palestinians, including three minors, in the West Bank. (WAFA)

Member of the Fatah Central Committee Mahmoud Al-Aloul said the Palestinian Government was planning to ban the entry of products manufactured by six Israeli companies into the West Bank market in response to a recent surge of Israeli violations, including the takeover of Palestinian land for settlement expansion and the freezing of the transfer of Palestinian tax revenues. (WAFA)

Israeli settlers cut down over 70 Palestinian olive trees near the town of Sair in the Hebron district. (Ma’an News Agency)

10

The Israeli army razed 30 dunums of Palestinian land planted with olive saplings in the village of Artas, south of Bethlehem, for the expansion of the nearby “Efrat” settlement, according to a local activist. (WAFA)

Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian home in Silwan in East Jerusalem, displacing 14 family members. (Ma’an News Agency)

More than 400 rabbis from Israel, Britain and around the world with Rabbis for Human Rights called on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to stop the demolition of Palestinian homes in an open letter. It came after Mr. Netanyahu announced the destruction of more than 400 Palestinian homes in Area C. (The Independent)

Visiting Sweden for the first time since its recognition of the State of Palestine in October 2014, President Abbas called on other nations to follow Sweden’s example. Sweden announced a 159-million-euro aid package for Palestine and Prime Minister Stefan Loefven stressed that the recognition came with responsibilities. “According to us Palestine is now a State. Our expectations of Palestine and their leadership will therefore increase”. “There is no contradiction between keeping good relations with Palestine and keeping good relations with Israel,” Loefven added. During the visit President Abbas inaugurated the new headquarters of the embassy of the State of Palestine in Sweden. (AFP)

The EU is preparing new sanctions against Israeli settlements which are to be enacted following the national election, the Walla! News site reported. The report came a day after it emerged that Israel is planning a major expansion of several West Bank settlements. Walla! said that the EU is seeking to deepen the distinction between the territories within the Green Line, and those beyond it. The measures reportedly do not differentiate between West Bank settlement blocs, isolated outposts and [settlements] in East Jerusalem. (Haaretz)

Addressing the 2015 opening session of CEIRPP, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson called for a resolution of the long-standing Israel-Palestine conflict, as the entire Middle East is facing the threat of terrorism and violent extremism. While originally designated as the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, 2014 “was a grim one for Palestinians and Israelis, and all those who seek peace,” he said on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. (www.un.org)

UN Deputy Special Coordinator James Rawley called for lifting the siege imposed by Israeli on the Gaza Strip, starting the reconstruction process to repair the destruction caused by the latest Israeli war as well as opening the Rafah border crossing. Rawley said in a press conference held in al-Shifa hospital in Gaza city that the siege had greatly affected health and humanitarian services and the blockade should be lifted to end the suffering of Gaza’s patients. He demanded that donor countries which pledged to reconstruct the Strip fulfil their obligations. (WAFA)

11

Israeli forces assaulted and raided the house of a local activist in Hebron and physically assaulted his elder mother, according to the activist. Local sources said the army conducted predawn raids in the West Bank districts of Hebron and Jenin, where they arrested 20 Palestinians. Meanwhile, Israeli forces broke into the nearby town of Beit Ummar and arrested seven Palestinians. (WAFA)

Israel announced that it would be seizing up to 2,000 dunums belonging to Ash-Shuyukh town to the northeast of Hebron, said a local activist. (WAFA)

Israeli forces’ bulldozers started the demolition of a stone manufacturing facility in Al-Tur village East Jerusalem under the pretext of it having no building permit. Israeli forces confiscated $130,000 worth of machinery and goods. (Palestine News Network)

Israeli forces have demolished the last remaining tunnel from the Gaza Strip into its own territory, the military said. Some 31 tunnels have been destroyed in the recent efforts and while the army admits that there is a margin for error, it believes its task is complete. The Times of Israel, quoting army sources, said a cache of weapons and explosives was found in the tunnel. (www.tunnelsonline.info)

Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces in the West Bank in 2014 fell victim to a pattern of abuse designed to coerce confessions, according to Defence for Children International - Palestine. DCIP said that among the most troubling experiences were prolonged periods of solitary confinement. In 2014, the average time an individual child spent in solitary confinement for interrogation purposes was 15 days, according to DCIP research. In one case, Israeli authorities kept a child in isolation for 26 total days. (WAFA)

Israeli Navy forces intercepted a boat three weeks ago with a shipment of a ton’s worth of materials for rocket manufacturing, intended for Hamas in Gaza. The operation was captured on camera and was cleared for publication. (Ynetnews)

A PLO delegation hopes to head to Gaza soon in order to work on implementing potential solutions to the reconstruction crisis there, Fatah official Yahya Rabbah told Ma’an, adding that the delegation is awaiting the results of a meeting between Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad and Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouq scheduled to take place in Cairo soon. (Ma’an News Agency)

Following her meeting with President Abbas in Brussels, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini said in a press release: “Israel should resume transferring the Palestinian Authority tax revenues in line with its commitments and as an immediate measure to address the Palestinian Authority’s critical financial situation.” (Palestine News Network)

Palestinian activists tore down an iron gate separating the neighbouring villages of Jabaa and Surif near Bethlehem constructed by Israeli 14 years ago. The gate had long split families and relatives apart. (Ma’an News Agency)

12

Israeli forces detained two Palestinians from the Nur Shams refugee camp in Tulkarm, a military spokeswoman told Ma’an. (Ma’an News Agency)

President Abbas and former Israeli President Shimon Peres were on the verge of signing an initial peace agreement between Israel and the PLO in Jordan in 2011, but Prime Minister Netanyahu called off the deal at the last moment, Israeli media reported. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian Finance Minister Shukri Bishara said that Israel’s freeze on Palestinian tax revenue was costing the PA 70 per cent of its budget. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Government of Finland responded with a contribution of €2.5 million to the cash flow problems of East Jerusalem hospitals which are the result of the PA financial crisis. The contribution will help to cover part of outstanding costs of referrals of patients for treatment to East Jerusalem Hospitals by the Palestinian Ministry of Health. (PNN)

About 1,000 students from the Gaza Strip, who are studying at universities abroad, have been stranded in Gaza since last summer’s war with Israel. (Haaretz)

Malak al-Khatib, 14, the youngest Palestinian currently held by Israel, will be released tomorrow after finishing a 2-month jail term, a Palestinian NGO has said. (Anadolu Agency)

As part of its ongoing commitment to enhancing employment prospects for young Palestine refugees in Gaza, UNRWA is piloting a new social enterprise, the Gaza Gateway. The initiative is designed to help young IT graduates gain work experience and employability. South Korea is contributing $1.3 million to the cost. (UNRWA)

UN Humanitarian Coordinator James Rawley, presented the 2015 Strategic Response Plan in an effort to raise the $705 million required to help 1.6 million Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank with their sharply increasing humanitarian needs. “Right now, things are not going well and we’re very concerned about the possibility of a further conflict,” Rawley told AFP. “To have a complete recovery of Gaza, even to go back to where we were [before the 50-day conflict] requires more than construction material going in. It requires a lifting of the blockade… In parallel, we have to see a commitment from the militant groups in Gaza to stop firing rockets at civilians in Israel... and Palestinian reconciliation moving forward” to reassure donors that building materials were not falling into the hands of militants, he added. (AFP, UN News Centre)

The latest poll by the Palestinian Centre for Public Opinion found that 60.6 per cent of Palestinians are in favour of halting the security coordination with Israel, 56 per cent support the reintroduction of the Palestinian -Arab resolution to the Security Council, and 59 per cent evaluate the position of the UN-Secretary General as “negative”. (PNN)

Israeli forces detained a group of Palestinian activists for two hours near the “Beit El” settlement adjacent to Ramallah. The group was holding a sit-in protest at a checkpoint to protest Israeli restrictions on the freedom of movement. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki arrived in Seoul and held talks with Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se. South Korea and the PA have agreed to begin consultations for the launch of a diplomatic mission in Seoul as the two sides explore ways to step up political, economic and cultural exchanges (www.koreaherald.com)

IMF Resident Representative for the West Bank and Gaza, Ragnar Gudmundsson, said the PA’s efforts regarding the current economic and financial conditions could only contain the crises for a few months. It would be difficult to cope in the long-run as a result of the increasing risks of social disturbances that could lead to political instability. However, these major risks could be mitigated if Israel promptly resumed the transfer of tax revenues and international donors disbursed their pledged assistance. (WAFA)

The Palestinian Ministry for Foreign Affairs called on the international community to impose sanctions on Israel to end the ongoing takeover of the Palestine’s land. The Foreign Ministry condemned “particularly the military operations and raids across Hebron, Jerusalem and Jenin,” military orders to take over more than 2,000 dunums of land belonging to Ash-Shuyukh town to the northeast of Hebron, and home demolitions, assaults and arbitrary arrests. (WAFA)

13

IDF forces stationed near Khan Yunis on the Gaza border opened heavy fire toward the houses of Palestinian east of the city and their agricultural lands. (Palestine News Network)

Outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz in recent weeks spoke again and again about the fragile security reality in the West Bank. The army has warned the Government that Israel’s decision not to transfer tax revenues was cause of further concern and at any given moment the PA could collapse. (The Jerusalem Post)

The residents of the village of Nabi Samuel, or “Prophet Samuel,” can see the Tomb of Samuel from a distance but they are forbidden by Israeli authorities from actually visiting it. Trapped by a settlement on one side and the Separation Wall on the other, locals are forced to apply for permits to leave the village and can be sent to jail if stray too far from it in any direction. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces shot a 17-year-old Palestinian man with a live bullet in the leg during a weekly protest in Kafr Qaddum in the West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces opened fire at farmers in the northern Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israel released a 14-year-old Palestinian girl from prison. She was arrested on her way home from school on 31 December. The Israeli army charged her with stone-throwing and possession of a knife. She was sentenced to two months in prison and fined 6,000 shekels (about $1,500). (Haaretz)

Over 100 British artists announced that they were launching a cultural boycott of Israel. They said in a letter published by The Guardian: “Along with more than 600 other fellow artists, we are announcing today that we will not engage in business-as-usual cultural relations with Israel. We will accept neither professional invitations to Israel, nor funding, from any institutions linked to its government. Since the summer war on Gaza, Palestinians have enjoyed no respite from Israel’s unrelenting attack on their land, their livelihood, their right to political existence.” (The Guardian, Haaretz)

14

The Chairman of the PLO’s Jerusalem Affairs Department, Ahmed Qureia, warned of repercussions of an Israeli tender to start excavation work under the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on 20 February. (WAFA)

Israeli authorities began construction work for the expansion of the “Tzur Hadassah” settlement west of Bethlehem. (WAFA)

15

The Palestinian Ministry of National Economy said the Israeli control of the Dead Sea deprived the Palestinians of nearly $1 billion every year. (MEMO)

Quartet Representative Tony Blair visited Gaza and met with Ministers, local business and community leaders, and families and workers at the UN-supported emergency accommodation. Mr. Blair said, “The last conflict left Gaza devastated and its people word down and impoverished. Twenty years after Oslo we need a new approach to Gaza and a new approach to peace.” (www.quartetrep.org)

Jordan’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources and the Head of the Palestinian Energy Authority signed a memorandum of understanding to promote cooperation in the field of energy and gas extraction. The two sides discussed the completion of the integration process in the electricity power sector by linking Jordanian and Palestinian networks via the Arab electricity linkage project. They also discussed Jordan’s intent to import natural gas from Gaza shores. (Petra)

A group of Israelis assaulted and injured a Palestinian taxi driver in West Jerusalem. (WAFA)

The Jerusalem Centre for Social and Economic Rights revealed that more than 20,000 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem had been shortlisted to be demolished by Israeli authorities. (IMEMC)

16

At least seven Palestinians were arrested by the Israeli police and army in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. (WAFA)

Israeli authorities distributed notices to uproot about 2,000 trees in Haaris village, north-west of Salfit, claiming that the land was “State property”. (PNN)

Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, announced funding of €4.7 million to UNRWA and the UN’s Emergency Fund as part of the country’s programme of assistance to the Palestinian people. (www.dfa.ie)

17

Israeli forces opened gunfire at farmland and houses east of Gaza City, after two mortar shells fired by Palestinians landed in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported. (WAFA)

Israeli forces uprooted with bulldozers dozens of Palestinian-owned olive trees in the town of Tayasir, east of Tubas. (WAFA)

Israeli forces apprehended 11 Palestinians in the West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned Israeli authorities’ decision to take over around 500 dunums of Palestinian land in East Jerusalem to establish a solid waste landfill. (WAFA)

Israeli settlers, protected by Israeli police, stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and conducted tours. (WAFA)

Dozens of Israeli settlers, protected by Israeli forces, visited the Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus and performed religious rituals. Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters at Palestinian residents who attempted to prevent the settlers from visiting the site. No arrests or injuries were reported. (WAFA)

Guards at Israel’s Ofer military court severely beat and injured four Palestinian prisoners. (WAFA)

Senior member of Hamas’ Political Bureau Mousa Abu-Marzouk disclosed five conditions put forward by Quartet Envoy Tony Blair that Hamas has to meet to allow for the reconstruction after last summer’s 51-day war in Gaza: accept Palestinian reconciliation; accept the political programme based on a Palestinian State on pre-1967 borders; reiterate that Hamas was a Palestinian faction with only Palestinian goals and it was not part of any Islamist movement with regional goals; adopt the two-State solution as the final solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; send assurances to Egypt that Gaza would not be a base for terrorism in Sinai and hold talks with the Egyptian Government to “prevent terrorism”.(Middle East Monitor, Ma’an)

Following a meeting with 22 EU representatives and Ambassadors, Senior Palestinian official Nabil Shaath warned that financial and political problems within the Palestinian Authority could lead to violence if not addressed. The EU must play a bigger role in reaching a peace agreement, he added. He also condemned Israel’s freeze on PA tax revenues and urged the EU to activate a fund to replace the money Israel is withholding. “I told them that if money isn’t transferred to us, there will be an outbreak of individual violence rather than collective violence,” Shaath said. (Ma’an News Agency)

Members of Fatah’s Central Committee, the National Committee for Boycotting Israel, the Independent Committee for Human Rights, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and other activists announced their absolute refusal of the Palestinian-Israeli gas deal and the idea that Palestinians buy gas from Israel, Arabs48.com reported. They called for turning to other international markets such as Venezuela, Turkey, Qatar, etc. Fatah’s Central Committee member Abbas Zaki said that importing gas from Israel is a “strategic mistake” that gives room for Israel to control the Palestinian economy. The head of the Palestinian Power Authority, Omar Kittaneh, agreed to a gas memorandum, according to which Israel is to supply more than $1 million of gas over a 20 year period to the Palestine Electricity Company. (Middle East Monitor)

Israeli soldiers arrested a Palestinian woman from Jerusalem while she was leaving the Al-Aqsa Mosque and took her to an interrogation center in the city. (IMEMC)

Settlers attacked a Palestinian man in the Nablus-area village of Jalud, a Palestinian official said. He was taken to hospital for treatment. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian medical sources have reported that three children were seriously injured when an explosive object dropped by the army during the offensive on Gaza last summer, detonated near them in northern Gaza. (IMEMC)

Israeli forces opened fire towards Palestinian shepherds near the cemetery in Jabaliya, in the northern Gaza Strip. Also, Israeli gunboats targeted fishing boats in Khan Younis, last night, in Gaza’s southern region. (IMEMC)

The student senate at California’s prestigious Stanford University approved a resolution to support divestment from corporations identified as complicit in human rights abuses in Israel and Palestine, The Stanford Daily reported. The resolution was proposed by the Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine campus organization in the wake of last summer’s conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. A petition against divestment was also launched January 21 by the Coalition for Peace against Israel divestment, amassing signatures from 1,600 students, faculty and alumni. (The Jerusalem Post)

Instro Precision, a subsidiary in Kent of Israeli arms company Elbit Systems, was occupied by activists responding to the Palestinian call for solidarity and BDS. According to a press release from London Palestine Action, Instro was owned by Israeli arms company Elbit Systems, who made drones that were used to kill Palestinian civilians in Gaza. The site is the second Elbit-linked company to be targeted by activists in the UK, after a successful occupation last summer of a drone engine factory near Birmingham. (Middle East Monitor)

18

The IDF conducted predawn raids across the West Bank districts, searching homes and arresting at least 13 Palestinians, according to local media and security sources. (WAFA)

The IDF later this year will deploy new unmanned ground vehicles that can carry remote-controlled weapons and sensors for surveillance missions to patrol the Gazan border. Defense industries are investing many resources to develop platforms for the Ground Forces Command, catching up with the air force in the unmanned world. In the coming years, the Ground Forces Command plans to complete the development of a robot that will serve infantry and combat engineering units engaged in tunnel warfare. (The Jerusalem Post)

PLO Executive Committee member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi addressed members of the Belgian Federal Parliament and Flemish Parliament in a briefing at the PLO Headquarters in Ramallah. In the meeting, Dr. Ashrawi said: “As we express our appreciation to the Belgian Parliament for voting to recognize Palestine, our right to self-determination and the establishment of a Palestinian State is inherent in international law and not dependent on the outcome of negotiations or other pre-conditions.” “We are encouraged by recent European moves, and it is time for Europe to put its own initiative on the table,” she added. (Palestine News Network)

Despite approval by the Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank, the Israeli National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Minister, Silvan Shalom, has refused to connect the newly built Palestinian city Rawabi near Ramallah to the water network. Palestinians accuse Shalom of blackmailing authorities by making approval of the Rawabi connection dependent of connecting water to other Israeli settlements in the West Bank. (gulfnews.com)

The European Union released €212 million as part of its first tranche of 2015 financial support to the Palestinian Authority and to UNRWA. The Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, commented: “The EU remains committed to the two-State solution and will therefore continue to support the Palestinian Authority in its state-building efforts and in delivering basic social services.” He said that first tranche of €212 million consisted of two components; €130 million of direct financial support to the PA through the PEGASE mechanism, in addition to €82 million financial support to UNRWA, enabling refugee families and their children to attend school, receive medical attention and to survive economically. (WAFA)

Japan extended a grant of 12 mio. Yen ($103,000) for the East Jerusalem YMCA –Vocational Training Center in Jericho to reconstruct the old building. The project will provide trainees from vulnerable communities with a safe and adequate training environment, targeting around 180 students and center staff annually. (Palestine News Network)

Israeli settlers uprooted around 550 newly planted olive saplings in the town of ash-Shuyukh to the northeast of Hebron, according to local sources. (WAFA)

Israeli authorities allowed the entry of 14 British diplomats to the Gaza Strip through Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing in a humanitarian mission to get acquainted with the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza. (Alray)

A Palestinian 16-month-old died in a fire caused by an electrical shortage at the UNRWA-run al-Shawa school and shelter in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip. His parents and two brothers were also injured during the incident. Thousands of Palestinians are still living in UNRWA refugee shelters after having lost their homes after the Israeli war in Gaza. (Palestine News Network)

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who chairs Israel’s far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party, has proposed a bill calling on Israel to legalize capital punishment for Palestinian prisoners who were convicted of murder. “We have to signal that we’re changing direction. No more deals [to release Palestinian prisoners]. Rather, the opposite: The first law that we will propose in the next Knesset will be the death penalty for terrorists. We must not give them hope,” he was quoted by Israeli media. (WAFA)

In the monthly briefing to the Security Council, USG Feltman stressed how the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians continues to threaten further escalation. If this occurred it may have highly damaging, and potentially irreversible, consequences for both parties and for the two-State solution. The Palestinians are facing acute fiscal challenges that must be urgently addressed. Turning to Gaza, he stressed that the circumstances were becoming increasingly worrisome at the six-month mark since the end of last summer’s conflict. Four months after the Cairo Conference, donors had yet to fulfill the vast majority of their pledges. This was unacceptable, he said, and cannot continue if another escalation in Gaza should be avoided. The combination of the failure to rectify the persistent governance and security issues and the slow pace of reconstruction had created an increasingly toxic environment. Failure to deliver the necessary support was putting an almost unbearable strain on an already highly fractious environment. In conclusion, he hoped that the international community, possibly through a reinvigorated Quartet, could help the parties avoid a downward slide and support a return to negotiations. (un.org)

Jordanian BDS campaigners have planned a “Day of Action” for Friday February 20, to protest the country’s proposed gas deal with Israel. In September 2014, the Jordanian National Electric Power Company signed a letter of intent to import gas from the Leviathan fields, located in the Mediterranean waters controlled by Israel. The fields are operated by US company Noble Energy and co-owned by three Israeli companies. According to Jordanian BDS activists, the import of natural gas from Israel to Jordan was worth $15 billion, of which $8.4 billion would go directly to the Israeli treasury that sustained occupation and apartheid and funded Israeli terror operations and atrocities.” (Middle East Monitor)

Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian farmers near the border of the central Gaza Strip. Witnesses said that similar shootings have recently been occurring almost daily along the Gaza border. (Ma’an News Agency)

Settlers from the “Metzad” settlement near Bethlehem uprooted over 500 newly planted olive tree saplings. (Ma’an News Agency)

19

The Italian Parliament was preparing to discuss the recognition of the State of Palestine with a series of motions to be presented in the House, perhaps as early as this week. (Palestine News Network)

In response to Hamas’ claims that Quartet Representative Tony Blair has set additional conditions for Hamas to meet before reconstruction can take place, after his visit to Gaza this week, Mr. Blair’s office said that no conditions had been set and Mr. Blair expects confidence-building measures from all the partners to improve the situation in Gaza. (Haaretz)

Israel’s military Advocate General Maj. Gen. Danny Efroni said he was not concerned about an ICC investigation into Israel’s conduct during last year’s Gaza war. He said Israel’s own internal probes were “full and thorough” and sufficient to stave off a probe by the international court. (AP)

Israeli forces detained 11 Palestinians in the West Bank. (WAFA)

The Government of Norway and UNDP’s Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People signed a US$ 3 million agreement to fund shelter assistance packages for non-refugees as part of their on-going support to early recovery efforts in the Gaza Strip. (www.ps.undp.org)

A group of 78 Israelis toured the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. They attempted to perform religious rituals during the tour, but Muslim worshipers prevented them from doing so. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli settlers attacked and injured a 55-year-old Palestinian shepherd east of Yatta in the southern West Bank. (IMEMC)

Palestinian official Mustafa Barghouthi said a PLO delegation was due to visit the Gaza Strip but the date had not yet been confirmed. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Italian Parliament postponed voting on a non-binding bill calling for the recognition of a Palestinian State, reportedly under pressure from Israel. The bill urges recognition of the State of Palestine as a step towards restarting negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. (i24 News)

21

US Secretary of State John Kerry warned of the consequences of Israel continuing to withhold the tax revenues. “If the Palestinian Authority ceases, or were to cease security cooperation, or even decide to disband as a result of their economic predicament, and that could happen in the future if they don’t receive additional revenues, then we would be faced by yet another crisis,” Kerry told a news conference. (WAFA)

Israeli settlers chopped down more than 35 olive trees in southern Hebron area, a popular committee official said. (Ma’an News Agency)

A senior Palestinian official condemned Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman for calls to execute Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails, saying that that Liberman’s statements “violate all international laws and conventions, mainly the fourth Geneva convention.” (Xinhua)

22

Israeli forces stationed along the southeastern border of the Gaza Strip opened fire at Palestinian farmers in their fields. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli authorities in Jerusalem were investigating a possibly nationalistically-motivated stabbing attack by a Palestinian against an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man. The suspect was apprehended. (Jerusalem Post)

The 27th session of the PLO Central Council (PCC) will be held on 4 and 5 March in Ramallah, the head of the PNC, Salim al-Zanoun, announced. The session will discuss ongoing developments, along with effective tools to thwart Israel’s settlement and Judaization schemes. The council is also expected to tackle the mechanisms of national reconciliation, including decisions to call general elections, to press ahead with Gaza’s reconstruction file, and to mobilize popular resistance. (The Palestinian Information Center)

Senior Palestinian official Nabil Shaath said President Abbas had warned European leaders on a trip to Europe last week that Palestinian officials would discuss ending security coordination with Israel during a PLO Central Council meeting next week. “We have told the international community that we will not be able to continue the security coordination and the Palestinian Authority itself may not be able to continue functioning if Israel continues stealing our money,” Shaath said. (AP)

Speaking to Voice of Palestine radio, Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erakat demanded world action to pressure Israel into releasing monies owed to the PA. “Israel is aiming to collapse the Palestinian Authority with all its institutions, so the international community should do much more than stating what the results of such move might be,” Erakat said. (AFP)

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby said the dispute between Hamas and the PA was hindering efforts to reconstruct the Gaza Strip. Elaraby told Al-Hayat newspaper the Arab League is asking donors to channel funds to the Gaza Strip through UNRWA and predicted that these consultations soon would result in an agreement on a mechanism for delivering the funds. (Jerusalem Post)

UNRWA stated that $100 million in aid is urgently needed in the first quarter of 2015 for families affected by the Israeli Gaza offensive, to allow refugee families with minor damage to repair their homes and to provide ongoing rental subsidies. According to the agency, “If we cannot restart the provision of rental subsidies, people […] may be forced to return to [UNRWA shelters].” (UNRWA)

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC) said that the Israeli authorities issued administrative detention orders against 26 Palestinian prisoners. Twenty-four of these prisoners had their administrative detention renewed for the third and fourth times, including some who have served years under administrative detention, either continuously or intermittently. (WAFA)

The detainees and ex-detainees affairs committee stated that Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are set to carry out a hunger strike on 10 March. Their demands include ending solitary confinement and administrative detention without charge or trial, providing prisoners with the necessary medical treatment, and ending the policy of collective punishment against prisoners, including surprise night raids on their cells. (WAFA)

23

At least four Palestinians were injured with live bullets fired by an Israeli army force, which raided Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem. (WAFA)

Shadi Othman, the EU media and communication official in Jerusalem, said that “the EU believes that it is not Israel’s right to withhold the Palestinian cash and use it politically to put pressure on the Palestinians under any justifications. There are ongoing contacts and debates between Israel and the Palestinian Authority over the consequences of withholding the Palestinian money.” (Xinhua)

The Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) cut off power to Jenin and Nablus for about 45 minutes as a warning regarding the Palestinian debt to the company. The PA as well as the Jerusalem District Electricity Company – the Palestinian utility with jurisdiction over East Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jericho and other cities – owe the IEC over $486 million, the Israeli company said. (The Jerusalem Post)

The West Bank economy has witnessed a decline in aggregate demand for the second consecutive month, mainly due to partial payment of public sector salaries, due to Israel’s withholding of revenues, according to the Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA). The PMA Business Cycle Index declined around 2.4 points in February, compared to 3.9 points in the previous month, reflecting a significant drop in Gaza, with a relative decline in the West Bank. (WAFA)

Palestinian farmers break new ground with ostrich and mushroom farms, the former in the southern West Bank and the latter near Jericho. The two projects are among a growing number of ventures in Palestinian agriculture that seek to fill gaps in the market, both for business purposes and to cut reliance on Israel. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned Israel’s act of pumping large amounts of rainwater into the Gaza Strip, which flooded dozens of homes and caused injuries among Palestinians. Israel’s COGAT rejected these allegations. (Ma’an News Agency, WAFA)

An Israeli military analyst has warned of an imminent “outburst” of the situation in Gaza, due to a stalled reconstruction process. In an op-ed in the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv HaShavua, military analyst Alon Ben-David said so long as Israel’s blockade of Gaza continues, an outbreak against Israel, rather than Egypt, would be inevitable in the long run. (WAFA)

Just over five per cent of the money pledged to rebuild Gaza has been delivered. “Approximately $300 million” has been received so far, according to a source at the office of the Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa who is heading the Government’s reconstruction efforts in Gaza. (PNN)

Palestinian students from Gaza are still prevented by Israel from studying at West Bank universities, after an announcement by COGAT last week of 50 permits for Gaza students was retracted as a “clerical error”. (PNN)

Israeli forces raided the “Gateway to Jerusalem” protest camp for the ninth time in two weeks, activists said. The camp was set up three weeks ago by Palestinian activists to protest Israeli plans to displace Bedouin families from their dwellings in the corridor known as “E1”, between Jerusalem and Jericho. (Ma’an News Agency)

Aida refugee camp north of Bethlehem has been submerged after the Israeli settlement “Gilo” opened its drains, releasing all excess rain and melted snow water onto the camp. Camp official Sami Hmedan said that Israeli occupation authorities flooded the camp with disregard for the Palestinians and without any official concerns. (PNN)

A Palestinian child from Gaza was allowed to visit her imprisoned father, detained in Israeli jails, for the first time since his arrest in 2003, reported the PPC. (WAFA)

24

Speaking at a press briefing in Jerusalem, Isaac Herzog, Israel’s opposition leader, promised to revive peace talks with the Palestinians and to curtail Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank, should he win the upcoming March 17 elections. (Xinhua)

In a survey released by Gallup found that 42 per cent of the 837 American surveyed backed a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, 38 per cent were against one, while 20 per cent had no opinion on the issue. The percentage in favor of a State was down slightly from 46 per cent a year ago and among the lowest levels since 2000. (www.gallup.com)

The EU and UNICEF jointly marked the completion of the first component of a desalination plant which will provide over 75,000 Palestinians with clean, drinking water in Gaza. The first component saw the installation of an 18-kilometer long pipeline which will transfer 6,000 cubic meters of desalinated seawater from the desalination plant to at least 35,000 Palestinians living in Khan Yunis, and 40,000 in Rafah. EU Representative John Gatt-Rutter said that the needs in Gaza were huge and 95 per cent of water was unfit for human consumption. He added that this completed pipeline was just a part of the EU’s commitment to supporting access to clean water for Palestinians. UNICEF Special Representative in Palestine, June Kunugi, also commented saying, “The advancement of the project is also a welcome sign of hope, six months after a ceasefire took hold in Gaza, (UNICEF)

25

Israeli settlers were suspected of setting fire to a Mosque in the Jabaa village south-west of Bethlehem. Damage was caused to the door and parts of the Mosque and hate anti-Arab graffiti in Hebrew was sprayed on the walls. Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said the army was getting ready to inspect the arson. (dpa)

Autopsy results for 19-year-old Jihad al-Jaafari who was killed the previous day by Israeli forces near Bethlehem showed that the young Palestinian was shot in the upper body at close range, a forensic expert said. (WAFA)

Witnesses said Israeli soldiers stationed in military towers on the border east of Deir al-Balah opened fire at farmers in the Gaza Strip. Farmers fled the area, with no injuries reported. (Ma’an News Agency)

According to the private Palestinian Northern Electricity Company, electricity in the West Bank districts of Nablus and Jenin was cut by the Israeli Electric Company for an hour due to the large debt owed to the Company. (WAFA)

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry condemned today’s arson attack and desecration of Al-Huda Mosque in the village of Al-Jaba’a near Bethlehem in the West Bank, expressing his concern for this and all other religiously-motivated attacks and provocations. He called for a timely and thorough investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice. (UNSCO)

A group of Israeli settlers from “Tal Romeida” attacked a Palestinian shop in Hebron, damaging many goods, and assaulted and injured the owner and his son. Israeli soldiers standing a few metres away from the store did not attempt to intervene. (IMEMC)

26

Suspected settlers torched a monastery in Jerusalem and sprayed anti-Christian graffiti in Hebrew on its walls, said a WAFA correspondent. (WAFA)

Israeli forces detained at least 10 Palestinians, including a minor, and summoned another for interrogation, said the Palestinian Prisoner Club. (WAFA)

Israeli forces prevented Palestinian villagers from opening an agricultural road in the village of Azmut near Nablus, as settlers assaulted a local youth from the village. Israeli forces said the area was a closed military zone. (WAFA)

Russia said that it is hosting an OIC ministerial contact group on Israel and Palestine. Speaking in Moscow alongside Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov told reporters a delegation was in Russia for two days of talks. (Anadolu Agency)

The Arab League has called on the UN and other international human rights bodies to uphold their responsibilities in providing protection for the Palestinian people and their holy sites, from ongoing Israeli attacks. (IMEMC)

A statement by 30 international NGOs and UN Agencies operating in Gaza said, “The international community is not providing Gaza with adequate assistance… A return to hostilities is inevitable if progress is not made and the root causes of conflict are not addressed. Israel, as the occupying power … must fully lift the blockade… Egypt needs to open the Rafah Crossing, most urgently for humanitarian cases, and donor pledges must be translated into disbursements.” (www.reliefweb.int)

At current rates it could take more than 100 years to complete essential building of homes, schools and health facilities in Gaza unless the blockade is lifted, Oxfam warned as new figures show the amount of vital construction materials entering Gaza dropped last month. (WAFA)

Middle East researcher Aaron Magid claims to have discovered a draft that the US and Europe supported by Jordan tried to push in the Security Council – which would have granted the PA authority over Gaza governance and crossings – which the Palestinian leadership rejected. (The Jerusalem Post)

The Israeli Electric Company (IEC) has warned that it would disconnect power to vast areas in northern and southern West Bank due to piling up debts of the PA, according to the Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority. (WAFA)

Senior Palestinian official Nabil Shaath said the PA and the PLO intend to appeal a ruling against them by a US Court, and said the Palestinians will head to the ICC. (WAFA)

Japan announced a new $32.2 million contribution to UNRWA, in support of urgent relief and recovery needs in Gaza, emergency assistance for Palestine refugees affected by the conflict in Syria, and the continuation of essential UNRWA services in the OPT, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. This donation is the largest ever one-time contribution from Japan to UNRWA. (UNRWA)

In today’s visit to the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City and the Old City of Hebron, UN Humanitarian Coordinator James Rawley, together with diplomats from seven countries, learned first-hand about children’s difficulties in accessing education. “Israeli authorities must ensure that this right [to education] is fulfilled, and that those responsible for attacks against defenceless children are brought to account,” he concluded. (www.ochaopt.org)

An entourage of about 20 people, among them the leaders of the Palestinian campaign to boycott Israeli products and a number of Fatah officials, made their way through Ramallah, telling shop owners to do their “national duty” to pull Israeli products from the shelves. (Ynetnews)

Israeli forces opened gunfire on Palestinian houses in the central Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported. (WAFA)

Israel allowed two Gaza-based Palestinian Ministers to travel to the West Bank through the Erez crossing for a cabinet meeting for the first time since the unity government took office in June. (AFP)

The Israel Electric Corporation agreed to stop cutting power to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for the Israeli Government’s promise to use some of the withheld Palestinian tax revenues to partially defray the PA’s debt. (Haaretz)

About 16 Israeli settlers stormed the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque from the Mughrabi Gate under tight police protection. (IMEMC)

Jordan and Israel signed a deal to build a pipeline to link the Red Sea with the shrinking Dead Sea and combat regional water shortages. The conduit known as the Two Seas Canal will carry some 100 million metric cubes of water to the north annually to slow down the desiccation of the Dead Sea. A joint water purification plant will be formed, and Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians will share the water. (Ynetnews)

A 14-year-old female from the village of Beitin, near Ramallah, has been held in Israeli custody since 31 December 2014. She was sentenced to two months in prison and fined NIS 6,000 shekels ($1,523) for alleged rock throwing and the possession of a knife. (palestinemonitor.org)

27

The Italian Parliament endorsed a non-binding resolution urging the Government to recognize Palestine as an independent State. (KUNA)

Israeli settlers sprayed graffiti reading “Death to Arabs” on the walls of a school in Urif village in Nablus. (WAFA)

Israeli soldiers entered Kuful Hares town near Salfit in the northern West Bank to accompany Israelis touring archaeological sites in the town, and forced local shops to close and restricted Palestinians’ movement. (IMEMC)

Senior Israeli officials said Prime Minister Netanyahu had intervened to allow the newly constructed Palestinian city of Rawabi in the West Bank to connect to Israeli-controlled water sources. (The Washington Post)

28

Three Palestinians were injured with rubber-coated bullets while dozens of others suffered from tear-gas inhalation during clashes between soldiers and rock throwing youths near the Attara checkpoint north of Ramallah. (Ma’an News Agency)

One man was killed and his brother wounded as result of the explosion of a suspicious object east of Rafah in Gaza. (PNN)

A delegation of Islamic Jihad leaders met with Egyptian officials in Cairo to discuss the need for Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah crossing. (Ma’an News Agency)

An Egyptian court ruling declared Hamas, according to Egyptian law, a terrorist organization. (PNN)

The US Consul General in Jerusalem condemned settlers’ attacks on Holy Sites as hate crimes, while the EU Missions urged an investigation into the attacks on a mosque and a church. (WAFA)


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