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




Division for Palestinian Rights

Chronological Review of Events Relating to the
Question of Palestine

Monthly media monitoring review

January 2014


Unedited version

Monthly highlights
    • The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said that the projected number of Palestinians in the world in 2013 was 11.8 million: 4.5 million in Palestine, 1.4 million in Israel, 5.2 million in Arab countries and some 665,000 in other foreign countries (2 January)

    • Peace Now said that Israel had made a decision to construct 250 units in the settlement of “Ofra” and 22 units in “Karnei Shomron” (5 January)

    •Israeli Government officials say that accepting the principle of a Palestinian “right of return” was a complete non-starter for Prime Minister Netanyahu (8 January)

    • Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon dies at the age 85 (11 January)

    • The Emir of Qatar orders work visas to be granted to 20,000 Palestinians, 20 years after Palestinians were prevented from acquiring such visas (13 January)

    • Prime Minister Netanyahu says that the Palestinian demand of a “so-called right of return” is “not right, not justified and not legitimate” (16 January)

    • Palestinian Rights Committee launches the UN International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (16 January)

    • Prime Minister Netanyahu ’s office announces that Mr. Netanyahu has no intention to force any settlers to leave the West Bank even under a permanent peace deal with the Palestinians (26 January)

    • Palestinian President Abbas says that he could accept an Israeli military presence in the West Bank for a three-year transition period as part of a peace deal (28 January)

    •US Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations Indyk said that Secretary of State Kerry would propose a framework accord within a few weeks, with the new goal to sign a treaty by the end of 2014 (30 January)

1

A Palestinian minor was shot and injured by Israeli forces in the Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. (WAFA)

US Secretary of State John Kerry left for Jerusalem on the first of what are expected to be repeated trips to the region in January and February. His goal is to secure a framework agreement quickly, before his target of the end of April for completing a comprehensive peace treaty between Israelis and Palestinians. A senior State Department official said that Mr. Kerry would test ideas for bridging gaps. He would meet separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas soon after his arrival. (Ma’an News Agency, The New York Times)

Marking the 49th anniversary of the Palestinian Revolution, President Abbas asserted that the negotiations with Israel were part of “our people’s struggle” aimed at reaching a final peace agreement. He also confirmed his objection to an interim or transitional State solution that could prolong the Israeli occupation. (WAFA)

Israeli Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett and leader of the Jewish Home-Bayit Yehudi party stated that the latter would not remain in the Prime Minister’s Government if it officially adopts the proposals of US Secretary of State Kerry. (The Jerusalem Post)

Ma’ariv reported that Israel had raised the idea of transferring parts of the territory in “the triangle”, south-east of Haifa, to a future Palestinian State in return for annexing West Bank territory including settlement blocks. (The Times of Israel)

A spokesman for the hospital that had been treating former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that “there has been a deterioration in his medical condition” because of kidney failure. Mr. Sharon had been comatose for nearly eight years. (The New York Times)

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) demolished the Canaan protest village immediately after Palestinian activists set it up in the Jordan Valley. Eight activists were arrested. (WAFA)

An Israeli official said that the Government would delay an expected announcement of bids for new settlement construction while US Secretary of State Kerry was in the region for the next few days to avoid a potential high-profile clash over the contentious issue. (The New York Times)

Prominent Palestinian and religious figures stated that Israel was intending to establish a new settlement project with the name of a “heritage village” on the Mount of Olive in East Jerusalem. (Palestine News Network)

In a report, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) claimed that Palestinian children in Israeli detention for minor crimes had been subjected to “public caging”, threats and acts of sexual violence and military trials without representation. Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni called for the practice of keeping children in cages to be stopped as soon as she learned of the situation and, in a subsequent statement the Israeli Prison Service said that the situation had been improved following the “criticism”. PCATI quoted figures from Defence for Children International’s Palestine section and report that “the majority of Palestinian child detainees are charged with throwing stones, and 74 per cent experience physical violence during arrest, transfer or interrogation… and that Israel was the only country to systematically prosecute children in its military courts, while no Israeli children come into contact with the military court system”. The Knesset’s Public Petitions Committee, that was holding a hearing on the issue, said that current Israeli law was being violated by the manner of arrest and detention conditions of Palestinian children. (The Independent)

2

Dozens of Israeli soldiers raided the town of Tabaqa in the southern Hebron district. They searched several homes and arrested several children. Another Palestinian was arrested in the town of Al-Ezariyya, south-east of East Jerusalem. (IMEMC)

The IDF raided Bethlehem in broad daylight and detained two Palestinian men after ransacking their homes. Two other Palestinians were arrested in a shopping centre along Jerusalem-Hebron road and on Saff Street in Bethlehem by undercover Israeli soldiers who were driving a local Palestinian car. (Ma’an News Agency)

An 85-year-old Palestinian man died overnight after inhaling tear gas used by the IDF to disperse a march near Nablus. (AFP)

A 16-year-old Palestinian was shot and wounded by Israeli soldiers near the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip. (AFP)

In a statement, Shin Bet announced that they had arrested four suspected members of Islamic Jihad from the West Bank town of Bethlehem, in connection with the previous month’s bomb attack on a bus in a Tel Aviv suburb. (Reuters)

A secret report by one of the Palestinian security services obtained by Ynetnews painted a worrying picture of a possible explosion of the situation in the West Bank in the coming year. The report warned that there was a high probability of a third intifada erupting in the Occupied Palestinian Territory if the current round of US-backed peace talks was unsuccessful. (Ynetnews)

According to a report authored by one of its security apparatuses, the Palestinian Government anticipates that Hamas would seek to kidnap Israelis as well as commit drive-by shootings against Israeli motorists in the coming months. (The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu offered a gloomy assessment of peace prospects with the Palestinians as US Secretary of State Kerry began his tenth visit to the region. “There is growing doubt in Israel that the Palestinians are committed to peace,” said Mr. Netanyahu, speaking with Mr. Kerry at his side, and accusing Palestinian officials of orchestrating a campaign of “unabated incitement” against Israel. (Reuters)

Israeli Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Ze'ev Elkin told Israel Radio that while negotiating peace was good, it shouldn’t be done “at the risk of suicide for the State of Israel” and that Israel must insist on retaining sovereignty over the Jordan Valley. (The Jerusalem Post)

Responding to a Twitter comment by Ofir Gendelan, Spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister, Fatah said in a statement that the movement would “continue to resist [Israel’s] occupation and the presence of [Israeli] soldiers and settlers on [Palestinian] land”. The statement came in response to Mr. Gendelman's criticism of the Fatah movement for posting a profile photo on its Facebook page of armed fighters with keffiyehs covering their faces. (Ma’an News Agency)

According to the London-based newspaper al-Hayat, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour of Jordan confirmed, during an unannounced meeting with members of the Parliament, that Jordan would reject any Israeli plans regarding the Jordan Valley and that the bill attempting to annex it to Israel would constitute a violation of the peace treaty signed between the two countries. (The Jerusalem Post, Palestine News Network)

Hours before Secretary of State Kerry arrived in Israel for his latest trip, senior members of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party staked out their stance on territorial concessions with a tour of the Jordan Valley. The tour included Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Coalition Chairman MK Yariv Levin and MKs Miri Regev and Ruby Rivlin. Mr. Sa’ar stated that he placed the cornerstone for a new settlement in the Jordan Valley where he said Israel should boost and maintain the presence of its soldiers and settlers under any peace agreement with the Palestinians, adding that the area was essential for what he called “Israel’s strategic interests”. (Ynetnews)

According to Ambassador Maen Rashid Areikat, Head of the Delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington, D.C., the United States will increase its aid to the Palestinian Government by $14 million, bringing the total amount up to $440 million. (Palestine News Network)

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said that the projected number of Palestinians in the world in 2013 was 11.8 million: 4.5 million in Palestine, 1.4 million in Israel, 5.2 million in Arab countries and some 665,000 in other foreign countries. (IMEMC)

The IDF informed residents of the Palestinian town of Rujeib, east of Nablus, to stop construction in six houses that would be demolished. (WAFA)

The military court at the “Ofer” army base acquitted, for the first time, Palestinians charged with throwing rocks at an Israeli settler. (Haaretz)

Human rights groups, including the Israeli non-governmental organization Breaking the Silence, condemned Israel after a reported rise of soldiers taking up positions in Palestinians homes during mock raids in the West Bank and of Palestinians being detained for hours without explanation. (Al Jazeera)

3

Israeli air forces struck militant targets in Gaza in retaliation for a rocket attack on southern Israel from Gaza the previous day, the IDF said. The projectile launched from Gaza exploded in an open area, causing no injuries or damage. (Xinhua)

Palestinian medical sources said that two Palestinians were shot and wounded by the Israeli military in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. (IMEMC)

The Jordan Valley was not “essential” for Israel's security, former director of Mossad Meir Dagan said, but rather a purely political issue. (Ma’an News Agency)

PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo said that there was no need to start new talks about the implementation of a new framework agreement, adding that the only way to achieve a breakthrough was by drawing full borders between a Palestinian State and Israel on the basis of the pre-1967 lines, including East Jerusalem. (The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli Minister for Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman met with US Secretary of State Kerry to discuss efforts at formulating a framework agreement that would present principles for solving the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry, Mr. Liberman told Mr. Kerry that “continued dialogue with the Palestinians is of great importance”, and that an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians must be based on solid foundations of security for Israel and a stable economy for the Palestinians. (Haaretz)

Speaking at a ceremony with Hamas security forces in Gaza, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh stated that Hamas was not interested in a new war with Israel. Touching upon the issue of national reconciliation, he said that Hamas would soon make “important decisions” in order to create a positive atmosphere for national Palestinian reconciliation with Fatah, adding that “we are prepared now, more than ever, to achieve reconciliation and to end the split between Gaza and the West Bank”. (Times of Israel)

More than a hundred universities in the United States have openly rejected the decision by the American Studies Association to academically boycott Israel. (Yediot Ahronot, Ynetnews)

Three former temporary staff members of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) were taken to a hospital for treatment after six days of hunger strike, with reports that there were 23 former UNRWA employees also on hunger strike in protest of UNRWA’s layoffs of 55 employees in late 2013. UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunnes said that the employees who were on hunger strike were temporary employees whose contracts had not been renewed following salary funding cuts from $40 million to $25 million. (Ma’an News Agency)

4

Medical sources said that two Palestinians were wounded, one seriously and one moderately, when an object exploded near an Israeli military installation along the Gaza-Israel border. (Ma’an News Agency)

President Abbas welcomed the visit of Pope Francis scheduled for 24 May. (WAFA)

US Secretary of State Kerry’s offer was the best Israel would get, Israeli Minister for Foreign Affairs Liberman said. But he opposed the right of return of “even one” Palestinian to Israel, and called for the transfer of Israeli Arab towns to Palestinian sovereignty. “This [transfer] … is a plan of one person – Liberman,” MK Ahmed Tibi said. “And even if the proposal were raised, it would be rejected.” (Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli forces claimed that they had foiled an attack against the Israeli settlement of “Migdal Oz” south of Bethlehem and arrested four Palestinians. (Ma’an News Agency)

5

“Security must remain in our hands. Anyone who proposes a solution in the Jordan Valley by deploying an international force, Palestinian police or technological means ... does not understand the Middle East,” Israel’s Minister of Intelligence Yuval Steinitz told Israeli Public Radio. (Ma’an News Agency)

A total of 12 illegal weapons were found at the Palestinian Embassy complex in Prague where a possible booby-trapped safe killed the Ambassador on 31 December, police said. Deputy Palestinian Minister for Foreign Affairs Taysir Jaradat, however, denied that the weapons were illegal. (AP)

Human Rights Watch reported that Israeli authorities had not provided any evidence that a 15-year-old Palestinian teenager, who was fatally shot in the back by Israeli forces the previous month in the Jalazoun refugee camp near Ramallah had posed “any threat to life that would justify such a killing”. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Palestinian Ministry of Health was to send medicines and medical equipment worth $1.5 million to the Gaza Strip, the Minister of Health said. (Ma’an News Agency)

The head of the Palestinian Energy Authority, Omar Kittaneh, said that the contract signed between privately-owned Palestinian and Israeli power companies would keep electricity prices low in line with his Government’s goal. The Jenin-based Palestinian Power Generating Company and the joint American-Israeli Delek Drilling-Noble Energy signed a contract in Jerusalem to supply natural gas to generate electricity from a power plant that would be built in Jenin and was expected to operate in two years. (WAFA)

Peace Now said that Israel had made a decision to construct 250 units in the settlement of “Ofra” and 22 units in “Karnei Shomron”. (IMEMC)

Jerusalem municipality workers, accompanied by Israeli police, issued demolition orders for houses, shops, storage buildings and a sports field in the Silwan area of East Jerusalem, residents said. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Palestinian workers’ union at UNRWA announced a strike during the day in Gaza to protest the agency’s dismissal of workers and its refusal to increase salaries. (Ma’an News Agency)

6

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip fell on Israeli territory adjacent to the border, local media reported. (Xinhua)

A firebomb was thrown at an Israeli civilian vehicle near Qalqilya, according to an IDF spokesperson. There were no reports of injuries. (The Jerusalem Post)

Two Palestinian youths were arrested near the village of Hizma, north of Jerusalem, for throwing stones at cars driven by Israelis, Israel Radio reported. No injuries were recorded and the suspects were interrogated by the police. (The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli forces entered the Nablus and Hebron districts and detained five Palestinians from the Balata refugee camp, the Rafidia area and the Doura town. Local sources in Nablus said that the IDF broke into several houses and confiscated cars, motorcycles and spare parts. (IMEMC)

Hours after a grenade was thrown at an IDF base in Bethlehem, a pipe bomb was hurled near Rachel’s Tomb, slightly wounding an Israeli. (Ynetnews)

In clashes with Palestinians, the IDF opened fire in the village of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, injuring two with rubber bullets and causing breathing problems due to excessive tear gas. (Ma’an News Agency)

Local sources reported that Israeli soldiers seized Palestinian journalist Mohammad Omar Ad-Deek, 24, in Kufur Ni’ma village, west of Ramallah. In the village of Burqa, soldiers arrested a 19-year-old youth after searching his house. In Hebron, Israeli forces arrested a youth and handed summons for interrogation to three people, including the coordinator for the National Campaign against the Apartheid Wall and Settlements, Rateb Jabour. (IMEMC, WAFA)

The Tel Aviv District Attorney's office filed an indictment against Mahmoud Abu Anza, from Tel Sheva, Israel, accusing him of driving the perpetrator of the 22 December bus bombing in Bat Yam from Bethlehem. (The Jerusalem Post)

Sources with the Israeli defence establishment estimated that currently some 80,000 Palestinians who had crossed illegally resided in Israel, and some 6,000 cross the separation barrier each month. (Ynetnews)

According to a statement released by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, the IDF had arrested a Palestinian man from Gaza at the Beit Hanoun [Erez] crossing who had been on his way to receive eye treatment at a West Bank hospital. (WAFA)

After meeting with Secretary Kerry, Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog said: “We’ve reached a historical moment in decision-making. I feel that we have no alternative other than separation from the Palestinians and the establishment of two States.” He added, “All other options will lead to a bi-national State that will put an end to both the Zionist vision and an independent Palestinian State.” (The Jerusalem Post)

US Secretary of State Kerry left the Middle East after four days of diplomatic efforts during which met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas, and surprise visits to Jordan where he met with King Abdullah II, and to Saudi Arabia. Despite not having reached any agreement on a framework to guide Israeli-Palestinian talks, Mr. Kerry still said that progress had been made. On the same day, he met with Quartet Representative Tony Blair in Jerusalem and briefed him on the talks. Mr. Kerry said that his team, led by Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations Martin Indyk, would carry on working during the week, and that he would return soon to the region. Regarding his talks with Saudi King Abdullah, he said that “His Majesty was not just encouraging, but supported our efforts and hopes that we can be successful in the days ahead.” (AFP)

At the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, President Abbas said that he was determined to achieve peace with Israel. After attending the Christmas Eve midnight liturgy for the Eastern Orthodox Church, Mr. Abbas said, “If we reach peace with Israel, it will spread to include the Arab and Islamic worlds, and the Israelis will be part of that peace.” (WAFA)

A presentation purporting to show negative and hate-mongering statements about Israel and Jews in official Palestinian Authority (PA) media and textbooks was shown to international reporters by Israeli Minister of Intelligence Steinitz. The presentation that had been delivered at a Cabinet meeting two days prior was part of a campaign in which Prime Minister Netanyahu and others have emphasized “incitement” as a prime obstacle to peace. Palestinian leaders dismissed the renewed focus on incitement as a ruse to distract from disagreements over final status issues. (The New York Times)

An opinion poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute showed that majority of Israelis believed that the US and Secretary Kerry were committed to reaching a signed peace agreement between the Palestinians and Israel. The poll showed that 64 per cent of Jewish Israelis and 78 per cent of Arab Israelis believed that the US was committed to ensuring Israel’s security. (Ynetnews)

Hamas leader Haniyeh telephoned President Abbas telling him that he wished to end the division by increasing trust between Fatah and Hamas, a Hamas statement said. (Ma’an News Agency)

An undisclosed Palestinian official said that US Secretary of State Kerry had proposed to President Abbas the return of 80,000 Palestine refugees to Israel in order to reach a framework peace agreement. The proposal was similar to that made by former US President Bill Clinton during the Camp David peace talks. Mr. Abbas, however, proposed increasing the number to 200,000, and the demand was still under discussion with Mr. Kerry, said the official. (Xinhua)

Prime Minister Netanyahu told his Likud party at the Knesset that he opposed evacuating settlements like the ones in Hebron and “Beit El”, despite their being outside the major settlement blocks. He said that the conflict was about the Palestinians’ unwillingness to recognize Israel as a Jewish State and even if they did, there would be no guarantees. He said, “There’s a problem that the Palestinians are there, and I have no intention of removing them. It’s impractical and inappropriate. I don’t want a binational State, and I don’t want them as either citizens or subjects. On the other hand, I don’t want another Iranian State or Al-Qaida State. Currently, we have no solution.” (Haaretz)

Secretary Kerry told Jordan that he would not allow the extension of the negotiations, as requested by Prime Minister Netanyahu, without a positive announcement regarding the outline agreement, according to Al-Quds newspaper. A Jordanian official said Mr. Netanyahu was trying to buy time for settlements. (Ynetnews)

Israeli Minister of Finance Yair Lapid said in a Yesh Atid faction meeting that the progress in the peace negotiations was genuine: “We’re a lot closer than it appears… Yesh Atid will back all of the brave decisions that will be made in order to reach an agreement to separate from the Palestinians.” (Ynetnews)

The Bayit Yehudi faction Chair threatened to leave the coalition if a peace deal was based on the pre-1967 lines. (The Jerusalem Post)

Hamas and Fatah had secretly resumed reconciliation talks in an attempt to finalize an agreement, Fatah spokesman Ahmad Assaf said. (Ma’an News Agency)

The President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, started an official visit to Palestine, and met with President Abbas. The respective Foreign Ministers signed two cooperation agreements, one of which envisaged the opening of a vocational training centre in Ramallah. (WAFA)

Hamas leader Haniyeh said that some Fatah members who had fled from Gaza would be allowed to return, and some Fatah cadres in Hamas prisons freed. He said that Fatah lawmakers who had settled in the West Bank would also be allowed to return to or visit Gaza. (Haaretz)

Three Israeli partners in the Leviathan gas field said that the Palestinian power utility had agreed to buy $1.2 billion worth of gas over a 20-year period for the plant to be built near Jenin. (Haaretz)

Several Jewish fanatics entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and provoked worshippers when they attempted to hold rituals on the site, according to the Al-Aqsa Foundation. Israeli police removed them from the compound to prevent escalation on the ground. (WAFA)

Israeli security forces arrested two Palestinians the previous week in the Al-Bireh district in connection with the stabbing of a 9-year-old Israeli girl in neighbouring “Psagot” settlement in October, the Army announced. Shin Bet said that the motive was criminal. (The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli settlers attacked the Nablus area village of Urif and caused damage to Palestinian property, Palestinian settlements affairs official Ghassan Daghlas said. He said that Israeli forces that had been present at the scene fired tear gas canisters at local residents. (WAFA)

Israel allowed recently released prisoner Naim Shawamreh to leave the West Bank for Jordan for medical treatment, according to officials. (WAFA)

A Palestinian prisoner from Bethlehem had been seriously tortured while in Israeli prison custody, his family said. (Ma’an News Agency)

Demonstrations were held for the second day in Bethlehem in protest against UNRWA policies as one of 27 employee hunger strikers was taken to a hospital. The protest, that was a result of the Agency’s termination of the contracts of 55 workers, also continued at a protest tent near the UNRWA headquarters in Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem. (Ma’an News Agency)

Representative of UNRWA met with representatives of its workers’ union and Palestinian legislators to find a solution to end the strike in the West Bank. (unrwa.org)

7

After an Israeli soldier suffered burns from a Molotov cocktail that had been thrown at an Israeli tower near the entrance of the town of Beit Awwa, south-west of Hebron, a large number of Israeli soldiers besieged the town. (IMEMC)

The IDF arrested nine Palestinians in Jerusalem. (Petra)

Israeli forces and intelligence officers raided the homes of two Islamic Jihad members and former long-term hunger-strikers, Khader Adnan and Tariq Quadan, in Jenin. (Ma’an News Agency)

During a visit to the IDF's Central Command in northern Jerusalem, Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said that the current focus of peace talks was to reach a framework that extends contacts beyond the nine-month period set last year. He said it was clear there were big gaps but “our interest is certainly to continue the talks and to continue to act to stabilize the situation, and relations between us and the Palestinians”. He praised the Central Command for “standardizing relations with the Palestinians” by coordinating joint security activities, and promoting economic cooperation. He said the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank does not have an interest to spark a third intifada, but that its incitement to hatred and violence was creating lone attackers. (The Jerusalem Post)

US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki responded to Israel’s claims of Palestinian incitement against Israel by saying that it won’t be helpful to “give an analysis of every action and what is incitement and what is not incitement”. She added that “there are political pressures from all sides” and that the US was focusing on promoting the peace process. (Ynetnews)

US Secretary of State Kerry asked the Kings of Jordan and Saudi Arabia to support the recognition by Palestine of Israel as the nation-State of the Jewish people, a senior Israeli official said. (Haaretz)

Israeli Foreign Minister Liberman said that his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, would only support a peace treaty if there were territory and population transfers of Israeli Arabs into a future Palestinian State. (The Jerusalem Post)

Israel’s Finance Minister Lapid told Army Radio that Foreign Minister Liberman’s proposal to transfer Arab Israelis to PA control was unfeasible. “I don't think that the State of Israel will get rid of Israeli citizens,” Mr. Lapid said, adding, “One of the things that we expect from a final-status agreement is that it would bring about a complete change in our relations with the world, which have been in constant decline these last few years.” He called on the Israeli Government to “take more seriously” US Secretary of State Kerry’s efforts to move the peace process forward. (The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli Minister of Economy Bennett addressed US efforts in negotiations during a speech at the Institute for National Security Studies where he stated that the “67 borders” where not up for negotiations. (Ynetnews)

The US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said that a framework proposal on all issues at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be presented to both sides in a few weeks’ time. He told Israel Radio that the proposal will include security arrangements, borders, Jerusalem and all the other “core issues”. (AFP)

President Abbas received a call from European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton who was briefed on the latest developments in the peace process. (WAFA)

During a telephone conversation, Jordan’s King Abdullah discussed with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin the current peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis based on international legitimacy resolutions and the two-State solution. (Petra)

Fatah Central Committee member Muhammad Shtayyeh said that Azam al-Ahmed, an official from Fatah’s reconciliation team, was to visit the Gaza Strip to discuss progress on unity talks. Mr. Shtayyeh also stated that Fatah was prepared for reconciliation and to end the division. (The Jerusalem Post, Ma’an News Agency)

According to the Saudi Press Agency, the Kingdom’s Permanent Envoy to the League of Arab States, Ahmed Abdulaziz Qattan, had said in Cairo that Saudi Arabia had made a $40 million payment to the Palestinian Ministry of Finance, representing the Kingdom’s share of support of the Palestinian budget for the months of October and November. (Palestine News Network)

Palestine’s Ambassador to Egypt, Barakat al-Farra, said that Egypt will open the Rafah crossing with Gaza for two days beginning the following day. (WAFA)

Palestinian Presidential Spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh condemned the latest Israeli decision to build 272 new housing units in the West Bank and also Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s latest statements regarding his opposition to evacuate the settlement outposts located outside the settlement blocks in Hebron and “Beit El”, near Ramallah. (WAFA)

Israeli right-wing activists punctured tires of five cars belonging to residents of the Tel-Aviv neighbourhood of Jaffa. They also painted racist slogans reading “death to Arabs”. (Palestine News Network)

Palestinians beat and detained eight Israeli settlers who had sparked clashes after entering the Palestinian West Bank Village of Qusra near Nablus. Palestinian security sources said that the settlers were eventually released and handed over to the Israeli army. (AFP)

Several clashes erupted after the IDF entered the Al-Arroub refugee camp north of Hebron. Fifteen young Palestinians were injured in the clashes that culminated in the soldiers firing rubber bullets. (Palestine News Network)

The Palestinian community in Britain announced the start of an unprecedented initiative to aid Palestinian refugees in the Yarmouk refugee camp in the Syrian capital Damascus. (Middle East Monitor, Palestine News Network)

8

Israeli police reported that several Palestinians threw rocks at two young women in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, injuring one of them before fleeing. (The Jerusalem Post)

The IDF denied any involvement in a reported shooting incident in the Gaza Strip where an Islamic Jihad militant had been killed. (Xinhua)

The IDF arrested 14 people in the Hebron, Nablus and Bethlehem areas. (WAFA)

Palestinians threw three Molotov cocktails at an Israeli bus near Halhul, north of Hebron, Israel Radio reported. (The Jerusalem Post)

A 32-year-old Palestinian was killed when Israeli troops shelled the Al-Shijaiya neighbourhood, east of the Gaza Strip. (Petra)

Palestinian medical sources reported that at least one Palestinian was wounded after the IDF attacked the funeral procession of a member of the Al-Quds Brigades, east of Gaza City. (IMEMC)

An Israeli woman was slightly injured near the Palestinian town of Kafr Laqif, east of Qalqilya, when rocks were thrown at her vehicle. She was evacuated to the hospital. (Ynetnews)

The IDF and Israeli police found a weapons cache in the Palestinian town of Abu Dis near Jerusalem. (The Jerusalem Post)

At a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah, Palestinian President Abbas said that the Palestinian Government was keen on coordinating stances with Jordan during its peace talks with Israel. King Abdullah reiterated Jordan’s support to the Palestinians’ legitimate rights in establishing their independent and viable Palestinian State. (Petra, Xinhua)

The Knesset, in a preliminary vote, rejected the so-called “two-State solution bill” that would prohibit the Israeli Government from unilaterally annexing land. The bill, proposed by MK Hilik Bar (Labor), would have allowed land in the West Bank or Gaza Strip to be annexed only as part of a peace treaty leading to two States. (The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli President Shimon Peres addressed the peace process during a visit to the Technion in Haifa, expressing his opposition to the land swaps proposed by Foreign Minister Liberman: “This proposal is not practical. Israel cannot deny citizenship to its citizens because they are Arabs.” (Ynetnews)

At the daily US State Department press briefing, Spokesperson Jen Psaki stated: “The Secretary was in Jordan and Saudi Arabia this weekend to brief King Abdullah of Jordan and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on the status of the negotiations as well as efforts to agree on a framework for moving forward. As a part of that, they discussed all of the core issues … but it would not be accurate to say that there was an attempt to change the Arab Peace Initiative.” Ms. Psaki was responding to a question concerning media reports that US Secretary of State Kerry had asked both Kings to amend the Arab peace proposal to include a recognition of Israel as a Jewish State. (www.state.gov)

Jordan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriate Affairs Nasser Judeh discussed with the Quartet’s Representative to the Middle East Peace Process, Tony Blair, the peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. The Minister stated that progress had been made in the negotiations. (Petra, Ynetnews)

The Foreign Minister of Indonesia, Marty Natalegawa, stated that his Government would strengthen its support to Palestine, pushing for the long-delayed realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. (Antara News, Palestine News Network)

A senior Jordanian official told the Arab daily Al-Hayat that Jordan was opposed to acting as the prime partner for the peace negotiations because of the concern that it would be blamed for any Palestinian concession. (Ynetnews)

Saudi Arabian Minister for Foreign Affairs Prince Saud al-Faisal warned that Israel’s policies on settlements and Jerusalem could lead to a breakdown in the ongoing peace talks, saying that the success of the negotiations “depends on Israel’s agreement to the principles of peace”. (Ynetnews)

Hamas and Fatah were holding direct and positive contacts over ending their internal split that had been going on for almost seven years, a senior Palestinian official said. (Xinhua)

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, signed an agreement with the Bank of Palestine to support smaller firms, especially those owned by women, to drive economic development. (WAFA, Palestine News Network)

The Ambassador of Japan to the Palestinian Authority, Junya Matsuura, inaugurated a project for the rehabilitation of the electric network in the town of Salem, near Nablus, worth over $120,000. (WAFA)

Accepting the principle of a Palestinian “right of return” was a complete non-starter for Prime Minister Netanyahu, Government officials said. (The Jerusalem Post)

A group of sick Palestinian refugees who were to leave the Yarmouk camp in Damascus for treatment were unable to be transferred out of the camp after rebel militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant opened fire at the camp’s popular relief committee and at members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah met with UNRWA Commissioner-General Filipo Grandi to discuss an ongoing general strike by the Agency's Palestinian employees. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian Government Spokesperson Ihab Bseiso used the word self-defence to describe the incidents that had taken place between Israeli settlers and Palestinian residents in the town of Qusra near Nablus. He denounced the Israeli settlers’ attacks on civilians, particularly the “Price Tag terror group”, and called upon the international community to protect Palestinians. (WAFA)

According to Israeli media outlets, Israeli security sources warned of settler attacks on Palestinian towns and claimed that the IDF would stand up and prevent the settlers from attacking Palestinians. (Palestine News Network)

Israeli settlers torched two Palestinian cars and sprayed “price-tag” graffiti in the town of Madama near Nablus in an apparent revenge attack. Following these events, Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon stated that “the unacceptable phenomenon named “price-tag” is terror in every sense and we are working against its perpetrators with zero tolerance and great determination”. (Ma’an News Agency, Ynetnews)

B'Tselem posted a video documenting Israeli settlers while they attacked the town of Urif, south of Nablus, under the protection of Israeli soldiers. (www.btselem.org)

Several leaders and heads of local authorities in Palestine expressed their resentment and anger at the idea of swapping the area in Israel known as “the Triangle” in exchange for settlement blocks in the West Bank, such as “Ariel”, the “Gush Etzion” and “Ma’ale Adumim”. (Middle East Monitor)

The IDF demolished four residential facilities in the town of Jeftlek in the Jordan Valley, under the pretext of building without authorization. (Palestine News Network)

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Centre for Studies revealed that the Israeli prison authorities had transferred Marwan Al-Barghouti to the Ramla prison hospital to treat a mild illness. (Middle East Monitor)

Hamas announced that it would release seven imprisoned Fatah members held in custody for security reasons as a unity gesture. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian Minister for Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe said that a unit from the Israeli prison administration “brutally assaulted” a Palestinian inmate in Rimon prison. (Ma’an News Agency)

PGGM, a major pension fund manager based in the Netherlands, said that it would divest from five Israeli banks over their dealings with settlements in the West Bank. (Reuters)

The Governmental Committee against the Siege on Gaza said that “Miles Of Smile 24”, a humanitarian convoy, arrived in the Gaza Strip through the Rafah terminal, bringing urgently needed medical and humanitarian supplies. (IMEMC)

The Palestinian Student Forum in Turkey, in cooperation with The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms, launched an urgent fundraising campaign for the purchase of medicines for the Gaza Strip. (Alray-Palestinian Media Agency)

9

Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian man from the village of Halhoul north of Hebron. (Palestine News Network)

In a statement, the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine took responsibility for launching mortar shells at a group of Israeli tanks that had invaded an area east of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza. The military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said that it had fired two mortar shells at an Israeli military site east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinians threw rocks at the City Inn hotel in Ramallah, shattering windows and breaking up a meeting of Israeli and Palestinian peace activists. One Israeli participant stated: “There is more anger here than in Israel because the Palestinians suffer more than us.” (The Washington Post, Ynetnews)

The IDF shot and injured three Palestinians in the Deheisha refugee camp in Bethlehem. (Ma’an News Agency)

The IDF raided the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem that resulted in violent clashes between the Israeli forces and residents. (Palestine News Network)

The Israeli authorities arrested a 12-year-old boy from the town of Hizma, east of Jerusalem. (WAFA)

Israeli forces arrested six people from Jerusalem, Salfit, Jenin, Ramallah and Hebron. (WAFA)

The Israeli Air Force struck several targets in the Gaza Strip in response to three mortar shells that had earlier been fired towards an IDF force near the fence. No injuries were reported. (Ynetnews)

Taysir Khaled, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said that the US had implied that it would stop its financial aid to the PA and would not be able to prevent Israeli expansion of settlements if a framework for a long-lasting accord was not agreed upon, Ma’ariv reported. (The Times of Israel)

PLO Central Committee member Azzam al-Ahmad said that he would visit the Gaza Strip to meet with Hamas leader Haniyeh in the coming days, adding that Fatah had proposed that the date for legislative and Presidential elections be set after six months, and that Mr. Haniyeh had requested time for discussion among Hamas leaders. (Ma’an News Agency)

A rapprochement between Hamas and Tehran was under way almost three years after a breach over the Palestinian party’s refusal to back the Syrian Government in the civil war, and amid its current political isolation following the demise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. “Relations between us are now almost back to how they were before [the crisis over Syria]. We believe we will soon be back at that point,” said Taher al-Nounou, an aide to Hamas leader Haniyeh. (The Guardian)

Egyptian authorities were not taking the humanitarian crisis in Gaza seriously, a Gaza official said, as ongoing closures of the Rafah crossing continued to prevent people from leaving the coastal territory. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Israeli Civil Administration refused to allow the operation of a landfill funded by the World Bank to serve the Palestinian population south of Jerusalem demanding that it should serve the region’s Israeli settlements as well. (Haaretz, Palestine News Network)

The Israeli Culture Ministry and the Civil Administration were financing the construction of an archaeological park at a cost of NIS 7 million. Critics on the left said that the project, located on an ancient site near the Jewish settlement in Hebron, was a cover for the expansion of the settlement. (Haaretz)

Backed by Israeli police and special forces, 45 Israeli settlers entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound through the Mughrabi Gate. (WAFA)

A group of Israeli settlers from the “Shilo” settlement sprayed anti-Arab graffiti, including “Death to Arabs” on a house in the town of Sinjil near Ramallah. (Ynetnews, WAFA)

Peace Now urged the Government to dismantle the “Esh Kodesh” outpost after violent clashes erupted in the area between settlers and Palestinians. (Ma’an News Agency, Ynetnews)

Hundreds of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship demonstrated in Beersheba outside of the office for The Authority for the Regulation of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev to protest ongoing house demolitions. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli authorities delivered demolition orders against structures, including an animal barn, in the northern Jordan valley and gave the Palestinian residents one week to evacuate their houses. (WAFA, Palestine News Network)

According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, Israeli forces freed an 80-year-old woman after she spent two days in custody for allegedly smuggling a mobile phone to her son, an inmate in a Negev prison. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Israeli authorities indicted a 12-year-old boy from the town of Hizma, east of Jerusalem, the Palestine branch of Defence of Children International (DCI) said. According to a DCI statement, the prosecutor had asked for two months in prison in addition to a fine ranging between $600 and $1,200. (WAFA)

Representative of Qatar Charity and UNRWA signed an agreement to support the Agency’s health programme in Gaza worth $1 million. (unrwa.org)

In the wake of the boycott of Israel and Israeli universities announced by the American Studies Association announced (ASA) the previous month, Shurat Hadin - Israel Law Center, had threatened to sue the ASA for unlawful discrimination. (The Jerusalem Post)

PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi welcomed the decision by Dutch pension fund manager PGGM to divest from five Israeli banks. (Palestine News Network)

Palestinian activists tried to prevent a joint Palestinian-Israeli organization, the Public Negotiating Congress, from holding a conference in Ramallah, accusing the conveners of normalization with Israel. Israeli media reported that the conference participants including former members of the Israeli army and Israeli settlers, in addition to Palestinian ex-prisoners, security officers and businessmen. (Ma’an News Agency)

A Palestinian football club in the Chilean capital of Santiago had refused to give in to an intensive Jewish campaign demanding that the club apologize and remove a map depicting “Historic Palestine” from their team’s official jerseys. (Middle East Monitor)

10

Senior Israeli officials said that Prime Minister Netanyahu had told Likud Cabinet Ministers and other Israeli officials that he would not accept any reference to Jerusalem in the framework agreement being drafted by US Secretary of State Kerry, and stressed that he would not agree to any mention of the establishment of a Palestinian capital anywhere in Jerusalem. (Haaretz)

Ahead of a planned trip to Israel by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in late February for annual talks between the two Governments, German Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier will travel to Israel and the Palestinian territories the following week to lend backing to ongoing peace efforts. (AFP, The Daily Star)

In an interview with The Telegraph, referring to the peace plan proposed by the US, Israeli Foreign Minister Liberman said, “It’s the best proposal we can get and we really appreciate the efforts of Secretary of State John Kerry. He has really put a lot of energy into the issue". (Haaretz)

A survey conducted by Haaretz showed that nearly 42 per cent of Israeli Arabs stated that they would support an exchange of territories in general, and 31 per cent of the respondents stated that they personally would want to see their community transferred to Palestinian jurisdiction under a peace deal. (Haaretz)

Israel’s Housing Ministry announced plans to build 1,400 new homes in settlements, including 800 in the West Bank and 600 in East Jerusalem. Palestinian Presidential Spokesman Abu Rudeineh condemned the announcement saying that it undermined the “American efforts aimed at creating a peace track towards a two-State solution”. (AP)

Israeli forces issued a notice to a Palestinian family ordering them to demolish their own house, located east of Jerusalem, before 14 January, Fatah official Mohammad Helwa said. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Netherlands rejects boycotts or sanctions against Israel, Dutch Minister for Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans told local media, adding that the Netherlands was committed to its anti-settlements stance and discourages Dutch companies from doing business with them. “That has been the policy for years,” the Foreign Minister said. (Haaretz)

11

Palestinian President Abbas spoke to hundreds of Palestinians activists from Jerusalem whom he had invited to his headquarters in Ramallah, telling them that Palestinians “won't kneel” and won't drop demands for a capital in east Jerusalem. He said, “There will be no peace” without a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem and that he would not recognize Israel as a Jewish State. He also suggested that he would not continue negotiations beyond a set target date of the end of April. Instead, he said, he would resume his quest for broader international recognition of the State of Palestine by the United Nations and its various agencies. (AP)

Former Israeli Prime Minister Sharon died at age 85 after eight years in a coma that was brought on by a stroke that he had suffered in 2006. (Reuters)

Palestinian President Abbas rebuked Israel for announcing the building of more housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements in return for the release of Palestinian prisoners. “This is wrong and we will issue a response to this,” President Abbas said, addressing a delegation representing residents of east Jerusalem. He vowed to respond within 48 hours. (Xinhua)

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Ashton said in a statement: “I was deeply concerned to hear the latest announcement by the Israeli authorities to advance settlement plans once more.” She reiterated her call on Israel to cease its settlement building and said that current efforts at peace talks were a “unique opportunity” for both sides. (AFP)

The following statement was issued by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the death of former Israeli Prime Minister Sharon:


​The Secretary-General calls on Israel to build on the late Prime Minister's legacy of pragmatism to work towards the long overdue achievement of an independent and viable Palestinian state, next to a secure Israel. At this time of national mourning, the Secretary-General renews the commitment of the United Nations to work alongside the Government and the people of Israel for peace and security.

12

The IDF entered the City of Bethlehem and the nearby Aida refugee camp, detaining three young Palestinian men. An Israeli army spokesperson said that two Palestinians were detained in that area for “involvement in illegal activity”. (Ma’an News Agency)

The IDF set up a flying checkpoint near the entrance to the West Bank village of Beit Ummar, checking Palestinian vehicles and identification papers, a Popular Committees spokesman said. (Ma’an News Agency)

At the request of US Secretary of State Kerry, Arab Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Arab peace process follow-up committee met with him in Paris. Mr. Kerry briefed the Ministers on the outcome of his recent tour in the Middle East and efforts towards reaching a final settlement for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinian Minister for Foreign Affairs Riad Malki was quoted by Voice of Palestine radio as saying that the Foreign Ministers were to inform Mr. Kerry of a unified Arab stance rejecting the recognition of Israel as a Jewish State. They will also inform Mr. Kerry of their support for east Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian State and their rejection of Israeli military presence on the Palestinian State’s eastern border with Jordan. (Xinhua, KUNA)

In an interview with CTV’s Question Period, Israel’s Ambassador to Canada, Rafael Barak, said that Israel had entered the new round of peace talks by agreeing to certain conditions, including the release of more than two dozen Palestinian prisoners that had been done in late December 2013. “We accomplished our promise to the Americans and to the Palestinians, this was the only condition,” Mr. Barak said, adding, “Settlements have never been an obstacle to peace. We withdrew from Gaza, we withdrew from Sinai and for real peace we are ready to make very serious compromises. So the importance is if the Palestinians are ready to come to the table and to act and decide the important issues.” (CTV News)

Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah met with the new British Consul General in Jerusalem, Alastair McPhail, in Ramallah. He praised the British Government’s continued support and briefed him on the economic situation, saying, “The utmost challenge we face lies in establishing an independent Palestinian State based on democracy, transparency, honouring human rights and the freedom of speech”. (WAFA)

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted against Knesset Member Miri Regev’s proposal, requiring at least 61 MKs to pre-approve any negotiations on Jerusalem or the status of Palestinian refugees. (The Jerusalem Post)

Egypt demolished 10 smuggling tunnels under the city of Rafah’s shared border with Gaza, Egyptian security officials said. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Al-Aqsa Foundation said in a statement that Israeli archaeologists had recently started new surface and underground excavations near the Silwan tunnel to build a 2,200-square metre biblical park in the area alongside the City of David. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli police detained Hiba al-Taweel, a student at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound as she tried to enter the compound through the Chain Gate. Israeli Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that he was not familiar with the incident. Separately, more than 30 Israelis led by right-wing extremist Yehuda Glick toured the Al-Aqsa compound on the same day. (Ma’an News Agency)

13

Israeli media reported that hours after Palestinian militants had fired rockets into southern Israel not reaching land but into the sea, the Israeli Air Force hit a training camp of the Islamic Jihad and a Hamas military site. The Israeli army confirmed the attacks. (DPA)

Witnesses said that Israeli military vehicles crossed into the northern Gaza Strip for surveillance activities. Separately, Israeli warships opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza coast. No injuries were reported. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israel heightened up security measures for former Prime Minister Sharon’s funeral near the Gaza border and passed a message to the leaders in the Gaza Strip not to allow rocket fire during the ceremony. (Reuters)

Israel honoured former Prime Minister Sharon with a three-part state funeral, beginning in the Knesset plaza and ending with his burial at his beloved Sycamore Ranch, the family home in the Negev. The Knesset ceremony was attended by dignitaries from around the world, including US Vice President Joe Biden, Quartet Representative Blair, Czech Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok, German Foreign Minister Steinmeier and Russian Duma Chair Sergey Naryshkin. (Ynetnews.com)

The Palestinian leadership met to discuss scenarios in the event of a breakdown of talks with Israel. A senior Palestinian official said that President Abbas was intent on keeping to the time frame for the talks, but in the event that a deal is not reached, that could include an agreement to extend the deadline, the Palestinian leadership would have no option but to turn to the UN. (Haaretz)

“The one place [in the region] where there’s a possibility for an island of stability ... is between the Palestinian people and the Israeli people, in two secure States,” US Vice President Biden said during his meeting with Israeli President Peres after attending former Israeli Prime Minister Sharon’s funeral. “And President [Obama] believes and I believe that this is one of those opportunities, one of those moments in history where it has to be seized.” The Vice President also met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and other leaders. (AFP, Reuters)

PLO Executive Committee Member Erakat sent a letter to EU High Representative Ashton expressing his deep concern over the previous week’s visit of the Czech Republic’s Ambassador to Israel to the “Ariel” settlement. He warned that the Ambassador’s visit undermined the EU’s efforts to support the political process and the two-State solution by legitimizing the Israeli occupation. (WAFA, www.nad-plo.org)

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, had given orders to grant work visas to 20,000 Palestinians, after 20 years when no such visas were granted, Palestinian Ambassador to Qatar Muneer Ghannam said. (Ma’an News Agency)

According to an alert on the Facebook page of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs-OPT, Israeli authorities had seized the tents provided to shelter Palestinian families whose homes in Bani Manieh in the Jericho area had been demolished the previous week. (WAFA)

14

Israeli security forces stopped the motorcade of Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah at a checkpoint outside Ramallah, and held him for an hour before allowing him to continue, according to Palestinian Spokesman Ehab Bseiso. Israeli Police Spokesman Rosenfeld said that the motorcade was stopped for speeding. But Mr. Bseiso accused the Israelis of setting up the checkpoint to “harass” the Prime Minister. (DPA)

Israeli forces arrested 17 Palestinians in the West Bank. (WAFA)

Israeli Defense Minister Ya’alon accused US Secretary of State Kerry of an “incomprehensible obsession” with his push for Middle East peace, according to Yediot Aharonot. “The American plan for security arrangements … isn't worth the paper it was written on,” Mr. Ya’alon was quoted as saying in private conversations with Israeli officials. He also said that “The only thing that might save us is if John Kerry wins the Nobel Prize and leaves us be.” State Department Spokeswoman Psaki told reporters that Mr. Ya’alon’s “remarks … if accurate, are offensive and inappropriate”. (AFP)

“Abu Mazen [Abbas] is alive and well thanks to us,” Israel Defense Minister Ya’alon was quoted as saying, adding, “The moment we leave [the West Bank] he is finished”. Presidential Spokesman Abu Rudeineh said that the attacks on President Abbas reflected the “depth of the rejection of the Israeli Government of any real and viable peace.” (The Jerusalem Post)

A poll by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research found that 68 per cent of Palestinians were pessimistic about the chances for success in the peace talks. Findings showed that 50 per cent supported the resumption of talks, while 47 opposed it; 46 per cent would support and 53 per cent opposed a deal based on the Clinton Parameters and the Geneva Initiative, while 76 per cent rejected a 10-year IDF presence in the Jordan Valley. (The Jerusalem Post)

“It is clear that the continued building of settlements really hurts the [peace] process,” German Foreign Minister Steinmeier told reporters before his meeting with Israeli Chief Negotiator Livni and before travelling to Ramallah for a meeting with President Abbas, while stressing that Berlin also expected the Palestinians “to do their part”. He said that he would discuss settlements with his Israeli counterpart, Mr. Liberman, when they met later on. (AFP)

Dozens of Israeli settlers protected by soldiers took over a plot of Palestinian land east of Hebron and began planting olive trees. (WAFA)

A group of settlers hurled rocks at a vehicle belonging to the Palestinian Ministry of Health near Nablus. The vehicle’s windows were smashed and several passengers sustained light injuries. (Ma’an News Agency)

15

Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers entered an area several hundred metres east of Khan Yunis and levelled land. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces arrested six Palestinians from Hebron. (WAFA)

US Secretary of State Kerry responded to Israeli Defense Minister Ya’alon’s attack, saying “We can’t let one set of comments undermine peace efforts.” “I will work with the willing participants who are committed to peace,” Mr. Kerry told reporters in Kuwait. (www.state.gov)

Suspected Jewish extremists torched the entrance to a mosque in Deir Istiya village in the northern West Bank in an apparent revenge attack for the previous week’s beating and detaining of Israeli settlers by Palestinians. The attackers scrawled “Arabs out” and “Revenge for blood spilled in Qusra” in Hebrew on the walls of the mosque. (AFP)

The US condemned the acts of vandalism committed on a Palestinian mosque in the West Bank. The Deputy Spokeswoman stated that “The United States believe that such hateful and provocative actions against a place of worship are never justified. We look to Israeli law enforcement officials to quickly investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators of this attack. And we encourage local authorities to work together with the community to reduce tension, to defend religious freedom, and to work against incitement. We agree with the sentiment of the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land that any attacks on the sites of one religion are, in effect, an attack on all religions.” (www.state.gov).

Israeli bulldozers from a nearby settlement outpost, protected by soldiers, razed some 60 dunums of Palestinian land in the village of Jalood, south of Nablus. (WAFA)

Israeli authorities agreed to free two Palestinians from Jerusalem, Palestinian Legislative Council member Muhammad Tutah and former Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Khalid Abu Arafah, but would be deported from the city. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah met with representatives of the workers’ union of UNRWA and refugee camp popular committees to discuss a letter he had received from UNRWA Commissioner-General Grandi regarding contractual issues and salaries. (Ma’an News Agency)

16

Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted five rockets fired at the city of Ashkelon from the Gaza Strip, and the military responded with a series of air strikes on the Hamas-controlled territory. No group had taken responsibility for firing the rockets, but Israel said that it held the Hamas responsible for all cross-border rocket fire. (Reuters)

Local residents said that Israeli forces detained three prominent Hamas leaders in Hebron, including Issa al-Jaabari, the Local Government Minister in 2006. An Israeli army spokeswoman said that five people were detained in Hebron and two in Ramallah overnight, but could not comment on the political affiliation of the detainees. (Ma’an News Agency)

King Abdullah II of Jordan met with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu during an unannounced visit to the Kingdom to discuss the latest developments in the peace process, and stressed the importance of the time factor, calling for seizing the current opportunity and building on efforts exerted by US Secretary of State Kerry. (The Jordan Times)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu made clear that there was “no room to maneuver” on the Palestinian claim of a right of return for Palestinian refugees. According to government officials, Mr. Netanyahu had said that the Palestinian demand of a “so-called right of return” was “not right, not justified and not legitimate.” (The Jerusalem Post)

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, at its 357th meeting, launched the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, with senior officials urging that the observance be used to redouble efforts to achieve a durable peace between Israel and Palestine. “The Secretary-General and I urge all in the international community to work together to translate the solidarity and desire for peace expressed on this occasion into positive action for security and for justice,” Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said in his remarks. General Assembly President John Ashe told the meeting that he hoped the Year would lead to “robust” support for the people of Palestine. “… I hope the Year helps foster an atmosphere of dialogue and mutual understanding between the two sides of this decades-long conflict,” he said. “Now is the time for vision, compromise and deepening of respect. Let us make this year – 2014 – the decisive year for achieving peace between Israel and Palestine,” said Mr. Ashe and continued: “I implore all those who have a stake in this outcome – Governments, international organizations, and people everywhere – to do their part.” The General Assembly adopted resolution 68/12 proclaiming 2014 as the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on 26 November and requested the Committee to organize activities around the observance. (www.un.org)

During the meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the Director of UNRWA’s liaison office in New York briefed the Committee on the appalling humanitarian situation at Yarmouk, in Syria, where some 18,000 Palestine refugees had been left without any support from UNRWA or the NGO community due to the ongoing strife in that country. (www.un.org)

In an official statement to the media on the launching of the UN International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN Ron Prosor said that “the UN continues to oil the Palestinian propaganda machine and produce highly publicized events on their behalf”. “Rather than putting an end to Palestinian incitement, the UN is now the primary platform for Palestinian propaganda. The organization allocates endless resources to advancing lies and half-truths of the Palestinian leadership instead of dealing with pressing issues facing the international community and the Middle East region,” he added. (The Times of Israel)

The Israeli Government said that would take over an area around the Ibrahimi Mosque [Cave of the Patriarchs] in Hebron. Residents found a notice posted by the Israeli army on the Mosque walls, threatening to take over the land and properties surrounding the Mosque for military reasons, stating that the land would come under full army control. This would be an attempt to implement Israel’s settlement plan of turning the heart of the city of Hebron into a city for their settlers and to completely isolate the Ibrahimi Mosque from its Palestinian surroundings. (WAFA)

The annual rate of settler attacks against Palestinians had almost quadrupled in eight years, according to UN figures. There had been 2,100 so-called “price-tag” attacks on Palestinians since 2006, the year the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs started counting. The annual totals were up from 115 in 2006 to 399 in 2013. Member of the PLO Executive Committee Erekat, quoting the UN report, said that attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians had increased by 41 per cent in 2013. Dozens of Israelis released giant helium balloons on 15 January at different sites simultaneously to protest settler attacks against Palestinians, (WAFA, Haaretz)

After Britain, France, Italy and Spain called in Israeli ambassadors to hear protests against Israel’s latest announcement of settlement construction, Israel summoned envoys of those European States to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, to protest their “one-sided” stand in favour of the Palestinians, Israeli Foreign Minister Liberman said. Prime Minister Netanyahu called the European criticism “hypocritical”. (Reuters)

At the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Oscar ceremony, “Omar”, a Palestinian film nominated in the foreign language category, had been described as being from “Palestine”, a reference the Academy reportedly had carefully avoided in the past. (AP)

17

A senior Israeli military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Hamas was probably not responsible for the recent rocket fire out of Gaza, but would be held accountable if the rocket fire continued, adding that Hamas should intervene to stop the rockets. (Reuters)

Palestinian President Abbas and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt Nabil Fahmy met in Marrakech and discussed the outcome of the recent Arab Peace Initiative meeting in Paris. (Daily News Egypt)

Advocacy group Adalah is working to overturn the military order barring West Bank Palestinians from appealing the confiscation of their property in a military court, after the Israeli army changed its stance last month. (Haaretz)

PLO Executive Committee member Ahmad Qurei spoke against the visits by Jewish groups to the Al-Aqsa compound, saying the visits violated international law. Mr. Qurei criticized Israeli police for arresting Palestinian youths who attempted to stop the groups from entering the compound. (Ma'an News Agency)

Dozens of Israeli settlers, accompanied by Israeli forces, began farming on approximately 150 dunums (37 acres) of land confiscated from Palestinian farmers in the village of Al-Hathaleen, south of Hebron. (Ma'an News Agency)

Less than a week before the start of an exhibit titled “The People, the Book, the Land − 3,500 years of ties between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel”, UNESCO postponed the event, slated to open at its Paris headquarters on 19 January, out of concern that it could be harmful to the ongoing peace process. (The Jerusalem Post, Ha’aretz)

18

In a statement, the East Jerusalem Hospitals Network said that the growing debt of the Palestinian Government to hospitals had created major cash flow problems threatening services provided to thousands of Palestinian patients. (WAFA)

The IDF quelled a peaceful march near Jiftlik, north of Jericho, organized by activists to protest Israeli attempts to take over the Jordan Valley. (WAFA)

19

Several Palestinians suffered from suffocation from tear gas fired by the IDF during raids in the Jenin area. (WAFA)

The IDF arrested 13 Palestinians and beat two teenagers in the West Bank and arrested two others in the Jerusalem area. (WAFA)

The IDF opened fire on Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza Strip coast. (IMEMC)

Israel said that it had carried out an air strike against a Gaza militant whom it blamed for the previous week’s cross-border rocket attacks. Palestinian medics said that two people, including a 12-year-old, had been wounded. (The New York Times, Reuters, Ma'an News Agency)

A Palestinian official said that Israel had threatened to arrest the head of the Palestinian anti-corruption committee who had interrogated a suspect bearing an Israeli-issued ID card and accused of forging documents to evade customs duties on cars imported through Israel. (Xinhua)

Hamas warned against a “US-enforced solution based on Palestinian concessions to Israel in ongoing peace talks”. “We warn against a new Oslo and we express our fear that the worst is yet to come,” said Taher al-Nounou, a Hamas spokesperson. (Xinhua)

President Abbas said that despite Secretary of State Kerry's efforts, Palestine had so far gotten nothing out of the ongoing peace negotiations with Israel. (Ma'an News Agency)

Kuwaiti officials opted to boycott a regional conference on renewable energy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the presence of an Israeli delegation. UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said that the participation of an Israeli Minister did not mark a turning point in his country not having diplomatic ties with Israel. (Arabian Business, Xinhua)

In a move that could complicate US-backed efforts to reach a peace accord, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu told US Secretary of State Kerry that he wanted to annex a fourth block of West Bank settlements that would include “Beit El”, “Ofra” and “Psagot”, north of Ramallah, in addition to the “Etzion” block in the south; “Ma’aleh Adumim” east of Jerusalem; and the “Ariel” bloc in the north. That would leave 13 per cent of the West Bank in Israeli hands, Israel's Army Radio said. (Reuters, AFP, Israeli Army Radio)

On the eve of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to Israel, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa issued an updated policy paper on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stating that Canada believed that the settlements were illegal and an obstacle to peace. (Haaretz)

Israeli municipality workers distributed orders for the demolition of eight buildings in the Silwan neighbourhood in East Jerusalem. Witnesses said that the workers were accompanied by Israeli police. (Ma'an News Agency)

The Israeli police arrested two youths in the West Bank who were uprooting olive trees in a field owned by Palestinians. (Artuz Sheva)

Israel released a prominent Hamas leader, Hassan Yousef, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, who had spent more than two years in prison. (AFP)

Israel had begun to exhume the remains of a number of Palestinian militants to return them to their families for burial, the Israeli army said. (Reuters)

20

An Israeli border police officer shot and wounded a Palestinian man near the settlement of “Telem” in Hebron. Israeli Police Spokesman Rosenfeld said that a Palestinian man had approached an Israeli female border police officer and did not respond to warnings. (Ma'an News Agency)

Israeli soldiers raided various areas in the district of Hebron, demolished Palestinian property, including shops, and arrested two Palestinians. (IMEMC)

In an interview with The New Yorker, US President Obama estimated that the chances of a permanent peace agreement being reached between Israelis and the Palestinians were less than fifty-fifty. (The New Yorker)

The Middle East could erupt into violence if the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed, Israel’s President Peres warned after meeting with Romanian President Traian Băsescu. (The Daily Star)

Israel’s leading businessmen and businesswomen will fly to the World Economic Forum to be held in Davos, Switzerland, the following week to urge Israeli and Palestinian leaders to reach a diplomatic solution to the conflict, as part of an initiative called Breaking the Impasse (BTI). In a statement, BTI said that “The world is beginning to lose its patience and the threat of sanctions is becoming more imminent from day to day.” (Ynetnews)

Canadian Prime Minister Harper announced $66 million in new economic aid to the Palestinians during a visit to Ramallah. As part of his first official visit to the Middle East, Mr. Harper met with President Abbas. Later in the day, the Prime Minister addressed the Israeli Parliament, the first Canadian Prime Minister to address body. (CTV News, The Huffington Post/Canada, Anadolu Agency)

The Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions called on Israeli employers of Palestinian labourers without work permits to bring them under health coverage and implement safety measures. (Gulf News)

PLO Executive Committee member Ashrawi asked for a clarification of remarks made by Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, who said that Israeli settlements might not be illegal under international law. (Haaretz, WAFA)

The Palestinian Negotiations Affairs Department, in a statement, said that the complaints filed by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Liberman to the EU about “Palestinian incitement” were baseless and part of an overall campaign by senior Israeli officials to undermine international efforts and to draw attention away from Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise. (Palestine News Network)

Palestinian villagers and Israeli settlers clashed in Beit Furik village, east of Nablus. (Ma'an News Agency)

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council during the open debate: “My message to President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu is clear: If you are prepared to take the bold decisions required, I will push ahead on the positive agenda of peace dividends for both sides and ensure the United Nations works towards realizing the legitimate aspirations of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples within the framework of a comprehensive regional settlement.” (www.un.org)

A report entitled “So near and yet so far: Implications of Israeli-imposed seclusion of the Gaza Strip on Palestinians’ right to family life”, by the Israeli human rights watchdogs B'Tselem and HaMoked, said that Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement between Gaza and the West Bank were separating relatives and making family life impossible for tens of thousands of people. (AFP, Haaretz)

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Israeli soldiers shot and injured a young Palestinian man in the Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, medical sources said. Scores of Palestinians suffered from tear gas during clashes between soldiers and local youths. (IMEMC)

Undercover Israeli agents detained the 25-year-old son of jailed Hamas leader Sheikh Jamal Abu al-Hayja near Jenin. (Ma'an News Agency)

Israeli Prime Minister Spokesman Ofir Gendelman said that Prime Minister Netanyahu had warned Hamas by saying “We foil terrorist attacks when we identify that they are in the making and we respond against those who attack us… If Hamas and the other terror organizations forgot this lesson, they will learn it again the hard way and very soon.” (AFP)

Hamas Interior Ministry Spokesman Islam Shawan said that Hamas had deployed forces to “preserve the truce” after rockets had been fired into Israel. (AFP)

Palestinian President Abbas met in Ramallah with his Romanian President Băsescu. At a press conference following the meeting, stressing his commitment towards peace with Israel based on the two-State solution, President Abbas stated that the negotiations will not be extended beyond the nine months set when they were relaunched, adding that “We have to concentrate the talks for the time left”. President Băsescu said that Romania supported the US-led peace initiative despite the challenges both parties faced. (WAFA)

Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat told Ma'an News Agency that the issue of extending the ongoing negotiations past the agreed-upon nine month deadline has not been raised, and would not be accepted. Mr. Erekat also denied that there have been any negotiations through secret channels in Washington. (Ma'an News Agency)

Egyptian authorities partially opened the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza for three days, for students, the elderly and those seeking urgent medical attention. (ahramonline.com)

The rector of the University of Thessaloniki, Greece, Yiannis Mylopoulos, and the new Ambassador of Palestine in Greece, Marwan Toubassi, announced a collaboration between the University and Palestinian institutions. (The Greek Reporter)

Peace Now Spokesman Lior Amihai said that the Israeli Government had approved plans to build 381 new settler homes in “Givat Zeev” in East Jerusalem. (AFP)

Palestinian Presidential Spokesperson Abu Rudeineh denounced an Israeli plan to build an additional 381 units in East Jerusalem settlements. (Ma'an News Agency)

Israeli settlers vandalized eight Palestinian-owned cars and sprayed graffiti on the walls of several Palestinian homes in the town of Qabalan south of Nablus, according to a local activist. (WAFA)

Israeli police officers, together with inspectors from the Jerusalem municipality, raided the house of freed Palestinian prisoner Samir Issawi in East Jerusalem, and took photos of the interior and exterior of the house. (Ma'an News Agency)

22

Israel killed two Gaza gunmen in an air strike, one they believed was responsible for firing rockets across the border during the funeral of former Israeli Prime Minister Sharon the previous week. Palestinian residents identified them as members of the Islamic Jihad. (Reuters)

Dozens of students were injured at the Al-Quds University in Abu Dis after Israeli soldiers fired gas bombs, concussion grenades, fire bombs and rubber-coated metal bullets in a clash that broke out after they entered the campus. (IMEMC)

At a flying checkpoint at the entrance of Kafr Qaddum near Qalqilya, Israeli forces arrested Muhammad Shaker Ishtawi, a PA police officer. (Ma’an News Agency)

A 12-year-old Palestinian boy from the village of Aqraba, south-east of Nablus, was injured when an explosive device left over by the Israeli army went off. (WAFA)

An Israeli army unit razed agricultural land in the village of Qalqas near Hebron. (WAFA)

“If [Hamas] doesn’t know how to impose its authority on terrorist organizations operating from its territory, we will continue to act to make [Hamas], and those who are active in terror and fire at Israel, pay a heavy price,” Israel’s Defense Minister Ya’alon warned in a statement. (The Times of Israel)

Israeli forces arrested three Palestinian teenagers from Beit Awwa, south-west of Hebron, and four other Palestinians near Bethlehem and Nablus. (WAFA)

A source within Egypt’s Government told Al-Ayam that “Egypt has been conducting talks with Hamas to preserve the quiet in the Gaza Strip, to protect the Palestinian people and prevent an Israeli aggression.” (Ynetnews)

At a seminar organized by the Palestinian Lawyers’ Union in Jericho, Fatah Central Committee member Shtayyeh, a former member of the Palestinian negotiating team, said that “The talks would not be extended even for one day. The talks will end in failure, and then we will bid farewell to the two-State solution as Israel continues its policy of settlement and creating new facts on the ground.” Mr. Shtayyeh said that the current conditions do not help the Palestinians in establishing their own State. He added, “Whether we accept or reject [US Secretary of State] John Kerry’s proposals [it] would not help in anything ... No deal is better than a weak one. The Palestinian Authority cannot continue in its present form. It should change its function to a resistance authority and not one that provides services”. Mr. Shtayyeh said that the PA leadership was planning to seek membership in the UN if the talks failed so as to prosecute Israel for “war crimes. (The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli President Peres in conversations with diplomats had called Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence on the Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish State “unnecessary” and a possible impediment to peace. (Israel Hayom)

Speaking to reporters in Jerusalem, EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen warned that both Israel and Palestine would have a “price to pay” if the US-led peace talks collapsed. He said that persistent Israeli construction on land seized during the 1967 war was fuelling private European moves to boycott products and services linked to the settlements. Asked what kind of price the Palestinians could be expected to pay, he said, “It has been made very clear to the Palestinians that the option of just sitting around waiting isn’t really an option.” The Ambassador also responded to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s charges that the EU was unbalanced, saying: “Any action taken that undermines the talks we are critical of.” ((AFP, The Jerusalem Post)

The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage said that Israeli excavations at the entrance to Wadi Hilweh, in the Silwan neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, were destroying deep-rooted Islamic antiquities. It added that previous excavations adjacent to the area had demolished an Islamic cemetery. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Israeli army demolished two residential and two agricultural structures in an area north-east of Tubas. (WAFA)

Israeli settlers uprooted around 800 olive seedlings in the village of Sinjel near Ramallah that had been planted as part of a land reclamation project supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross. (WAFA)

Palestinian residents of the village of Beit Fourik, east of Nablus, confronted Israeli settlers who had come to vandalize the village. Soldiers present in the area fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets at the Palestinians, injuring at least two of them. (WAFA)

Israel moved forward with plans for new homes in two settlements located deep in the West Bank, the Peace Now settlement watchdog said. Plans would include 256 housing units in “Nofei Prat” and 5 in “Ariel”. (AFP)

Hamas-affiliated lawmaker Sheikh Yasser Mansour entered his sixth day on hunger strike to protest being detained without trial by Israel since November 2012. (Ma’an News Agency)

UNESCO said that it was considering a June date for an exhibit on Jewish ties to the Holy Land, after it had cancelled the scheduled opening following Arab pressure. (The Jerusalem Post)

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Israeli forces arrested six Palestinians in Bethlehem and two others in Hebron. (Ma’an News Agency)

Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin met with President Abbas in Moscow. “Relations between Russia and Palestine rest on a historically strong foundation. … We still need to develop our trade and economic relations,” President Putin said. The previous day, Fatah official Nabil Sha’ath said that: “Abbas’ visit takes place at the time when our talks with Israel are deadlocked… Russia has played a huge role in reaching agreement with Iran and we are also seeing progress on Syria. This brings us hope that the visit will ensure progress in settling the Palestinian-Israeli issue.” (RIA Novosti, WAFA, www.kremlin.ru)

Following his address at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, responding to a question on the ongoing peace negotiations, said that he was “ready for a real, genuine, secure peace,” adding that he hoped “Abbas is too, because if he is, I’m sure our American friends will only help... I believe we can get there. It is difficult, but it is like riding a bicycle...you have to keep going. In order to make peace in the world, it takes two to tango and the Middle East needs at least three”, Mr. Netanyahu said. “It will not be a perfect peace, but it is important for us, and I think it is important for our Palestinian partners as well”, the Prime Minister said, stressing that “mutual recognition is vital to the solution. And because of the nature of the Middle East, we need very specific security arrangements on the ground”. (Ynetnews)

A document prepared and distributed for the meeting between Russian Federation President Putin and Palestinian President Abbas said that during the year, the Russian Federation would supply Palestine $2 million worth of flour, as in previous years, as a regular donor contribution to the World Food Programme. It added that Moscow was considering a “purchase of major batches of fruit and vegetables as well as the construction of a canned food plant in Palestine worth $2 million”. The Russian Federation was also interested in building a power plant in the West Bank and Gazprom was looking into the expediency of developing gas fields on the Mediterranean shelf of the Gaza Strip for a project estimated at around $1 billion. (ITAR-TASS)

The Israeli military uprooted some 1,000 olive trees in the Wadi Qana area near Salfit. (WAFA)

The Government of Germany was reportedly conditioning grants to Israeli high-tech companies, as well as the renewal of a scientific cooperation agreement, on the inclusion of a territorial clause stating that Israeli entities located in West Bank settlements or East Jerusalem would not be eligible for funding. (Haaretz)

A Twitter account of the armed wing of Hamas, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, @AlqassamBrigade, had been suspended by administrators, the movement said, and accused the social media site of censorship. (AFP)

Israeli police ordered a resident of Silwan neighbourhood in East Jerusalem to remove a tent he and other Jerusalem residents had set up the previous night in front of the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Sheikh Jarrah to protest Israeli demolition of homes in the city. (WAFA)

An imprisoned Palestinian lawmaker, Yasser Mansour, from Nablus, currently held in an Israeli prison in the Negev, had decided, according to his wife, to end his hunger strike in order to allow the prison administration to respond to his demands. (Ma’an News Agency)

UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness said on the situation in the Yarmouk Palestine refugee camp in Syria: “The humanitarian community has continued to attempt to take desperately needed food to thousands of people trapped in Yarmouk, amid reports of children with malnutrition and women dying during childbirth because of a lack of medical services. … UNRWA made another attempt to deliver food Tuesday, but after waiting all day was permitted to deliver only 26 food parcels, which means to date, we have delivered just a few hundred food parcels.” (UN News Centre)

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Israeli police arrested two youths for spraying “Death to Arabs” graffiti on two streets in Tel Aviv. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces shot dead a 20-year-old Palestinian man and injured another during a protest against the buffer zone imposed by Israel in the northern Gaza Strip. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli soldiers raided homes in Palestinian communities in Bethlehem and Hebron, and detained two Palestinians. (IMEMC)

In an interview with Palestinian magazine Tariq, senior PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo said that US Secretary of State Kerry’s plan included security arrangements that would unfold over many years. They would be joined by criteria that would depend on the improvement of the Palestinian security establishment. Israel would be the one to examine and decide whether the Palestinian security performance was adequate or not. However, the US would take part and be present in the evaluation of the Palestinian Authority’s security establishment so that Israel would withdraw and evacuate some of the areas in the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley. In addition, Israel would have security arrangements in mountain tops and in the airspace. Israel would also maintain the right to perform live chases within the Palestinian territory if any threat would dictate the need to do so. Mr. Abed Rabbo argued that under such parameters, all components of Palestinian sovereignty would be taken apart and destroyed, and all components of the 1967 borders geographic unity would be shredded to pieces. (Ynetnews)

US Secretary of State Kerry said at the World Economic Forum in Davos: “We all know what the endgame looks like: an independent State for Palestinians wherever they may be; security arrangements for Israel that leave it more secure, not less; a full, phased, final withdrawal of the Israeli army; a just and agreed solution to the Palestinian refugee problem; an end to the conflict and all claims; and mutual recognition of the nation-State of the Palestinian people and the nation-State of the Jewish people.” (www.state.gov)

Russian Federation Minister for Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov said during a meeting with Palestinian Minister for Foreign Affairs Malki in Moscow: “A mechanism expected to significantly extend our trade, economic and investment ties, was agreed – a high level work group has been created for these purposes. Within the framework of this group, we need to coordinate several projects in the area of energy, construction and other areas. … There are specific plans in the agricultural area.” (www.mid.ru)

Israeli Foreign Minister Liberman said that the return of Palestine refugees to the Palestinian State would constitute “a security threat to Israel”. “Even if all the obstacles have been overcome with the Palestinians,” he said, “the biggest problem on the day following the agreement would be the refugees.” Mr. Liberman said that the transfer of refugees would turn the economic situation of the Palestinian refugees “to hell”, adding that “Violence will also return along with the deterioration of the security situation.” Any agreement, he insisted, must lead to Israel’s security and a stable economy for the Palestinians. (Middle East Monitor)

Some 20 settlers beat and injured a Palestinian man and a woman from Khirbet Umm al-Khair in the southern West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency)

A former Israeli left-wing leader and Cabinet Minister, Shulamit Aloni, who had championed Palestinian and women’s rights, died at the age of 85. (Reuters)

25

Israeli naval ships fired at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Gaza City, forcing them to sail back to shore. No injuries were reported. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces arrested three Palestinian youths from the Bab Al-Amud neighbourhood in Jerusalem and another at a checkpoint south of Jerusalem. (WAFA)

Israeli settlers severely beat a 13-year-old Palestinian boy in central Hebron. Israeli police then detained him and his father, accusing them of trying to assault the settlers. Settlers from “Karmiel” and “Beit Ayin” also attacked several Palestinians, including elderly men, in Um Al-Khair and Beit Ummar near Hebron. (WAFA)

26

An official in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office said that Mr. Netanyahu did not intend to uproot settlements anywhere in the West Bank and would not force any settlers to leave, even under a permanent peace deal with the Palestinians. Rather, he would insist that settlers be given the free choice of remaining in place and living under Palestinian rule or relocating to areas under Israeli sovereign rule, the official added. (The Times of Israel)

Dozens of settlers uprooted Palestinian trees in Wad Rahhal village, south of Bethlehem. Israeli soldiers detained a Palestinian who tried to stop the settlers as well as two journalists. (IMEMC)

27

Israeli soldiers shot in the chest and critically injured a 34-year-old Palestinian man east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip following an explosion in the area. (Ma’an News Agency, WAFA)

Israeli forces arrested 17 Palestinians during raids in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. (IMEMC)

According to Western diplomats, British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were to visit the Middle East in February to pressure Israelis and Palestinians to move forward with the peace talks. (Middle East Monitor)

Celebrating the sixty-fifth Republic Day of India, India’s Representative to Palestine, B.S. Mubarak, said in Ramallah that India welcomed the peace talks between Palestine and Israel and hoped that they would lead to an independent and sovereign Palestinian State. (News Track India)

Hamas leader Haniyeh said that 120 Fatah members would be allowed to return to the Gaza Strip in order to push reconciliation forward. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israel demolished three buildings in Issawiya and Beith Hanina in East Jerusalem under the pretext that they were unlicensed. (WAFA)

Two UNRWA employees on a hunger strike were taken to the hospital, the fifty-sixth day of the strike by the refugee agency’s employees. (Ma’an News Agency)

28

Shin Bet announced that Israeli security forces had arrested 16 Palestinians in East Jerusalem in recent weeks, on suspicion of being members of a cell funded and directed by Hamas. (Xinhua)

Israeli Defense Minister Ya’alon said: “We counted 1,040 cases [of Palestinian militants] that were handled by the Palestinian security services in 2013. How many of them went to trial? Zero.” President Abbas said in videotaped interview: “All the security forces are devoted to performing their duty to prevent arms smuggling and their use within the Palestinian Authority or Israel… It is not a secret that this is done with the full cooperation of the Israeli and the American security apparatuses.” A US official told Reuters on condition of anonymity: “It’s true that we haven’t seen trials” by the PA, but that does not mean there was no Palestinian security enforcement. (Reuters)

Israeli soldiers manning a checkpoint on the northern entrance to Ramallah stopped the convoy of Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah, the fourth time during the month, for a security check, and kept him at the area for an hour. Israeli forces also detained Ramallah and al-Bireh Governor Laila Ghannam on her way from Jericho to Ramallah. Her convoy was released a while later, a statement issued by her office said. (Ma’an News Agency, WAFA)

Israeli forces launched multiple raids across the West Bank, detaining at least 22 young Palestinian men. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Palestinian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, in a statement, called upon all States, particularly the Middle East Quartet, to stop Israeli violations against the Palestinian people such as the recent demolitions near Jerusalem. (WAFA)

“The Americans are working to solidify American positions,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said at the Institute for National Security Studies annual conference. “Israel does not have to accept every American position.” He said that the American proposal would be presented soon. (The Times of Israel)

Palestinian negotiators were in Washington, D.C., to try to bridge the gaps on all issues in the Israeli-Palestinian framework agreement that US Secretary of State Kerry was aiming to draft. (Haaretz)

Palestinian President Abbas said in an interview that he could accept an Israeli military presence in the West Bank for a three-year transition period as part of a peace deal. He also said that “Whoever proposes 10 or 15 years for a transition” was not serious about an agreement. (The New York Times)

Dutch Ambassador to Israel Caspar Veldkamp asked Israel in an interview with Israel Army Radio to halt settlement development and push forward in negotiations with the Palestinians. He also said that while peace with the Palestinians would benefit both sides, Israel had the most to gain in the international sphere. (The Jerusalem Post, Israeli Army Radio)

Israeli settlements watchdog Peace Now was including in its settlements tour Palestinian towns that are the targets of “price-tag” attacks. (Arutz Sheva, Maariv)

The Jerusalem Municipality approved the building of 1,800 new housing units in the south-east “Armon” neighbourhood. (Petra)

Israeli bulldozers escorted by military vehicles entered the Gaza Strip and destroyed agricultural land near Khan Younis in the south. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israel’s leading strategic think tank, the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, recommended that Israel unilaterally withdraw from 85 per cent of the West Bank − between the separation wall and the Jordan Valley − if the diplomatic process with Palestinians failed. (Haaretz)

Israel’s Attorney General, Yehuda Weinstein, had given the green light to a bill legalizing force-feeding of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, the Israeli Ministry of Justice Ministry said. A spokesperson said that the bill was expected to be referred to the Government for approval. (Xinhua)

29

Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian who the military said had opened fire on their position near the “Ofra” settlement. (Reuters)

Israeli forces arrested 10 Palestinians from Nablus, Bethlehem and Tulkarm, witnesses and security sources said. (WAFA)

Israel’s Minister of Intelligence Steinitz said that Palestinian President Abbas was the world’s most anti-Semitic leader following the departure of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from office. “Since Ahmadinejad left the political stage, Abu Mazen is the number one leader in injecting anti-Semitic and anti-Israel poison,” Mr. Steinitz told a security conference in Tel Aviv. (AFP)

Dozens of Jordanians staged a sit-in near the US Embassy in Amman to protest US Secretary of State Kerry's peace proposals. Demonstrators carried banners supporting the Palestinians and rejecting partial solutions. The demonstrators said that Mr. Kerry’s plan would seek to make Jordan an alternative homeland and would neglect the legitimate rights of the Palestinians over statehood and the right of the Palestinian refugees to return. Palestinian officials had warned that what Mr. Kerry was proposing was a Palestinian State without a capital and without borders, and that he was trying to get the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. (ww.shanghaidaily.com)

At a security conference in Tel Aviv, Israel’s Minister of Finance Lapid warned that the country could be targeted by an economically costly boycott if peace talks failed, signalling concerns about growing isolation. Mr. Lapid said that the Treasury had examined various scenarios, and even in the case of a limited boycott that reduced Israeli exports to the European Union by 20 per cent, the damage would amount to about 20 billion shekels ($5.7 billion) in exports annually. Israel’s gross domestic product − just under $260 billion in 2011 − would lose about $3 billion each year. Responding to Mr. Lapid, Minister of Intelligence Steinitz told Israel Radio that any deal that would endanger Israel’s security would do far more economic damage than a boycott. (AP)

Sources from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Office said that Israeli Minister of Economy and Jewish Home leader Bennett must apologize for his harsh criticism of the Prime Minister over the peace process, or he was “endangering the coalition”. (The Jerusalem Post)

Israel’s Supreme Court considered two Palestinian appeals against the planned route of the West Bank security barrier. During the morning, the Supreme Court heard a case lodged by residents of Beit Jala, south-west of Jerusalem, where the barrier could separate them from their olive groves and split the Roman Catholic Salesian order by leaving the monastery on the Israeli side and the convent on Palestinian territory. Later in the day, the Court heard an appeal lodged by the residents of Battir, who said that the barrier would destroy an ancient irrigation system that they relied on to grow crops. Both cases had adjourned, with no date set for a final ruling. (AFP)

Speaking at a press conference in Ramallah, EU Representative to the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza John Gatt-Rutter said: “We will be with you as you take these [difficult] decisions and to make them work out.” When asked about settlement products, he said that those “are coming from what we consider illegal settlements and should not be coming into Europe as Israeli products”. (WAFA)

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Israeli soldiers raided the residence of a Palestinian in Jalazoun refugee camp near Ramallah hours after shooting him dead, local sources said. (WAFA)

An Israeli army spokesman said Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian man who allegedly had attempted to break through an Israeli checkpoint in the southern West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency)

Local residents said that two Palestinians were injured during clashes with Israeli soldiers who were escorting buses carrying Israeli settlers near Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus. (Ma’an News Agency)

US Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations Indyk, in a conference call with Jewish leaders in the US, said that Secretary of State Kerry would propose a framework accord within a few weeks, and if it were to be accepted by both sides, the peace talks could be extended beyond the nine-month time frame set over the summer. The new goal, he said, would be to sign a treaty by the end of 2014. Mr. Indyk said that both sides could “lay down reservations” to parts of the framework while agreeing to use it as a basis for talks. (The New York Times, Palestine News Network)

Israeli President Peres met with Quartet Representative Blair, who was on a visit to Israel. In a joint statement, President Peres said that “This is the time to make historical decisions and not political ones.” (Ynetnews)

Palestinian Presidential Spokesman Abu Rudeineh strongly criticized comments made by Israeli Cabinet Minister Steinitz calling President Abbas “the No. 1 leader in injecting anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli poison” that he described as dangerous and harmful to peace efforts. (AFP, WAFA)

An adviser to Hamas leader Haniyeh, Issam Al-Daalee, said in a news conference that the first important step towards national reconciliation would be to hold [trade] union and university elections in which all Palestinians would participate. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli weekly military magazine Bamahane reported that an increasing number of settlers hold army command positions, with 16 per cent of those who attended the latest training course of battalion commanders being residents of West Bank [settlements]. (AP)

The Israeli army demolished some 50 structures, including residences, displacing 13 families in the northern Jordan Valley, according to a local official. (WAFA)

According to the mayor of Idna, west of Hebron, Israeli military authorities had ordered two residents of the town to stop construction on their homes as they were located in Area C that was under full Israeli military control. (WAFA)

At the invitation of the non-governmental organization Geneva Call, nine Palestinian factions attended a roundtable discussion on the protection of children from the effects of armed conflict and violence in Mieh Mieh refugee camp in Lebanon. The event led to the adoption of a declaration by the factions’ two main umbrella organizations in Lebanon: PLO and the Forces of the Palestinian National Coalition (‘Tahaluf’). The factions committed to the highest international standards on the protection of children. It condemned “the use of children in all forms of armed action, regardless of its aims” and included a pledge “to take all practical means to ensure that children under eighteen will not take any direct part in hostilities”. The Palestinian factions present at the roundtable discussion included Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, Palestinian Liberation Front, Palestinian Arabic Front, Nidal Front, People’s Party and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. (www.genevacall.org)

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Israeli air strikes on Gaza injured 7 Palestinians, including a child. (Ma’an News Agency)

Two Palestinian youths were shot and injured by Israeli forces at the Al-Zaayyem checkpoint near Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem. (Ma’an News Agency)

EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Ashton will chair the schedule meeting of the Middle East Quartet. She will be joined in the meeting that would take place on the margins of the Munich Security Conference by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State Kerry, Russian Federation Minister for Foreign Affairs Lavrov and Quartet Representative Blair. (Reuters)

The European Union’s Partnership for Peace Programme made use of the innovative form of educational theatrics to target hundreds of Palestinian children in four Governorates of the West Bank. Aptly named “Through the Children’s Eyes”, the activity is geared to students between the 5th to 9th grades, taking place in cooperation with the Safar Theatre, local municipalities and village councils. The events include a performance of the play “O Hearers of the Sound”, which aims to educate children about the importance of dialogue and democracy, reconciliation and non-violence. Cooperating organizations and institutions had expressed the vital role the EU had played in terms of society development, environmental stability, civil peace, dialogue and democracy. (www.eeas.europa.eu)

UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the OPT James W. Rawley called for a halt to the displacement of Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, expressing concern over the demolition by the Israeli authorities of 36 Palestinian-owned structures in the Jordan Valley community of Ein al Hilwe the previous day. The demolitions had resulted in the displacement of 66 people, including 36 children. (www.ochaopt.org)

Upon recommendation by its ethics council, Norway’s $820 billion pension fund had blocked investment into two Israeli companies − Africa Israel Investments and its subsidiary, Danya Cebus − owing to their construction activities in East Jerusalem [settlements]. (AP)


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