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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
31 October 2009



Division for Palestinian Rights

Chronological Review of Events Relating to the

Question of Palestine

Monthly media monitoring review

October 2009

Monthly highlights

• Human Rights Council defers vote on report of UN Fact-finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (2 October)

• Israeli police bar access to Al-Haram Al-Sharif, injuring nine protesters (4 October)

• Security Council holds open debate on “the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question” (14 October)

• Human Rights Council endorses recommendations of report of UN Fact-finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (16 October)

• PA President Abbas signs decree calling presidential and parliamentary elections on 24 January; Hamas bans elections in Gaza (23, 28 October)

• Arab League requests General Assembly debate in early November on report of UN Fact-finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (27 October)

1

Israeli jets bombed two smuggling tunnels in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip overnight. One Palestinian was killed by an electric shock as he took cover in a nearby tunnel. Also, near the Kissufim crossing in the south, Palestinian gunmen and the Israeli military exchanged mortar and shell fire, causing no casualties. (AFP, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), Ma’an News Agency)

Two Palestinian children were moderately injured when ordnance left by Israeli forces exploded at the Al-Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. (Ma’an News Agency)

At the British Labour Party Conference, Member of Parliament Richard Burden called on visiting Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak to respond to the findings set out in the report of the UN Fact-finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict. Mr. Burden, Chair of the Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group, also presented Mr. Barak with a copy of the Group’s own report following its fact-finding visit to Gaza. “Israel chose not to cooperate with the UN investigation, even though it was conducted by someone as eminent as Judge Goldstone. Now Israel is trying to rubbish Goldstone’s conclusions before the ink in his report is barely dry,” Mr. Burden said. (WAFA)

It was announced that the Greek Government would be providing a €500,000 contribution through PEGASE, the EU mechanism for assistance to the Palestinians, to help the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the field of security and the rule of law. Greek Consul-General Sotirios Athanassiou said: “Greece has been steadily supporting the Palestinian State-building efforts and is constantly contributing to strengthening both the private sector and the Palestinian Authority institutions.” (WAFA)

A video of captured Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier Gilad Shalit was aired on Israeli television, showing him holding a Palestinian newspaper dated 14 September. In the video, Shalit was seen saying that he was feeling healthy and being treated well by his captors. (Haaretz)

In an interview with Palestine Radio, Jamal Muheisen, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, said that Fatah had agreed to hold legislative elections on an 80 per cent proportional and 20 per cent constituent basis, adding that Hamas had confirmed its acceptance of a 70/30 split. “This means we are now only 10 per cent off from each other now,” he said, noting that a disagreement on the percentage remained. He said that Egypt was currently working on a plan to bridge the difference. (Ma’an News Agency)

At the start of a Cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, with regard to the report of the UN Fact-finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, : “It will strike a severe blow to the war against terrorism, since it will afford total legitimization to terrorists who fire upon civilians and who hide behind civilians. To those who – from international platforms and using international law – attack and condemn the victim who legitimately defends himself, this is a mortal blow to the war on terrorism.” (Haaretz, www.pmo.gov.il)

In Washington, international Judge Richard Goldstone rejected Prime Minister Netanyahu’s claim that the report of the Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict “would strike a fatal blow to the peace process” by denying Israel’s right to self-defence. Mr. Goldstone said that the report did not deny the right to self-defence and that international law gave that right to both Israel and the Palestinians. Both sides, he said, had violated such law by targeting civilians. (The Jerusalem Post)

2

Palestinian militants fired a Qassam rocket into Israel’s western Negev region. No injuries or damage were reported. (Haaretz)

The official spokesman of the PA Presidency, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said Israeli policies and the international community‘s inability to pressure Israel to fulfil its obligations would make the upcoming period difficult because the Palestinians wanted negotiations based on a clear frame of reference, adding that their side considered East Jerusalem a red line. He called upon the international community not to lose the opportunity at hand, warning that the alternative could have negative repercussions on the entire Middle East. (WAFA)

In a deal brokered between Israel and Hamas with German and Egyptian mediation, Israel released 19 female Palestinian prisoners in exchange for a one-minute videotape recording of detained IDF soldier Shalit . Hundreds of family members, along with PA Minister for Prisoner Affairs Issa Qaraqi, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Prisoners Kadura Fares and Deputy Minister for Prisoner Affairs Ziad Abu Ein, greeted the prisoners upon their arrival at the Bitunia checkpoint. Eighteen of the prisoners returned to the West Bank and one to the Gaza Strip. The Palestine Today agency reported that PA President Abbas was expected to receive the released prisoners. (Ynetnews)

The Human Rights Council, at the request of Pakistan, deferred until its March session action on the draft resolution on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which deals with, among other things, the report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict. Pakistan’s envoy Zamir Akram, speaking for Arab, Islamic and African sponsors of the resolution, formally asked the Council to defer action on their text until the next regular session to be held in March 2010, explaining that it would “give more time for a broad-based and comprehensive consideration”. Mr. Akram told journalists: “There is agreement to defer, given immense pressure from the United States”. Hamas official Fawzi Barhoum accused PA President Abbas of trying to rescue Israeli leaders from being brought before international courts. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, PA presidency spokesman, noted that the Goldstone report had not been retracted and that it was still on the Council’s agenda. “It was only postponed,” he said. (Reuters, www.unhchr.ch,)

It was announced that Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills area would be planting trees on privately owned Palestinian land in a valley near the expanding Israeli settlement “Ma’on”. In a press release, Christian Peacemaker Teams and Operation Dove said the action would take place the following day in response to the expansion of the settlement on Palestinian land – where at least six mobile homes had been added while work continued daily – in addition to fields previously confiscated for “Ma’on.” (WAFA)

3

Israeli planes carried out strikes on smuggling tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border and on a building east of Gaza City, causing damage but no casualties. (Reuters)

In an interview with Der Spiegel, Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahhar said that a prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas under German mediation could be completed within weeks or months. (DPA)

4

A 16-year-old Palestinian, Ashraf Abu Suleiman, was critically wounded by Israeli gunfire near the border fence close to the town of Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip, medics said. (AFP)

Israeli police barred access to the Al-Haram Al-Sharif compound (the Temple Mount) in Jerusalem and fired tear gas towards Palestinian protesters who were hurling rocks and bottles nearby. Nine people were treated for minor injuries, including tear gas inhalation. Israel said two policemen had been injured and five protesters arrested. (Reuters)

Israel freed to the Gaza Strip a Palestinian woman prisoner, Rawda Saed, the last of 20 prisoners it had swapped for a videotape showing Gilad Shalit. (Reuters)

Israel released a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) from Nablus, Raed al-Amla, who had been held in prison for more than three years. According to Palestinian officials, 25 PLC members, including 22 from Hamas and two from Fatah, were still being held in Israeli prisons. (AFP)

5

Israeli forces arrested 12 Palestinians in the West Bank. (WAFA)

An Israeli soldier was stabbed by a Palestinian after having boarded a bus at a roadblock in Shu’fat, in East Jerusalem, Israeli military and police spokesmen said. Palestinian youths hurled rocks at Israeli policemen and burned cartons and trash in the streets after Israel had arrested a teenager suspected in the attack. Clashes spread to Ramallah, where about 50 Palestinian teenagers hurled rocks at Israeli soldiers, whom reporters saw firing tear gas and rubber bullets. (AP, CNN, Reuters)

Jordan’s King Abdullah II told visiting Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman, “Palestinian reconciliation is a key necessity to restore Palestinian rights, mainly the right to create an independent State,” according to a palace statement. He described the Egyptian efforts to end Palestinian differences as valuable. (AFP)

A Syrian official said that Syria had postponed a planned visit by PA President Abbas without specifying the reason. (AP)

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said, after talks with PA President Abbas in Amman, “We agreed to hold a meeting for Palestinian factions in Cairo on October 25 before signing a reconciliation agreement on October 26.” (AFP)

The Peace Now group said that construction work was taking place in approximately 34 settlements for a total of 800 housing units. (AFP, www.peacenow.org.il)

The PA Cabinet urged the world to “force [Israel] to put off its attempts to take over Jerusalem and Judaize it,” condemning what it called a plan by Jews to “perform religious rituals” in the Al-Haram Al-Sharif (Temple Mount) compound. It called on Palestinians “to confront Israel and its plans”. “Israel is lighting matches in the hope of sparking a fire, deliberately escalating tensions in occupied East Jerusalem rather than taking steps to placate the situation,” Saeb Erakat, Head of the Negotiations Affairs Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said in a statement. (Reuters)

King Abdullah II of Jordan condemned Israel’s “provocative measures” in East Jerusalem and called for immediate action by the world community to force Israel to halt its violations of the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa mosque. (DPA)

The Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People adopted a statement on the situation in Occupied East Jerusalem, in which it said, inter alia: “Most recently, the violent incidents at the Al-Haram Al-Sharif compound demonstrate how tense and explosive the situation in the city is. Any illegal or provocative actions, in particular at or near the city’s holy sites, are prone to escalate into large-scale violence with far-reaching implications. The Bureau of the Committee states most emphatically that continued house demolitions, eviction of Palestinian residents, settlement construction, transfer of settlers or any other legal or administrative measures aimed at altering the status and physical and demographic character of occupied East Jerusalem constitute violations of international law and must be rescinded by the occupying Power. These unilateral policies and actions also sabotage the important efforts by the Quartet and its partners to relaunch permanent status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Moreover, they call into question the credibility of official declarations by the Israeli Government regarding its readiness to resume serious negotiations with the declared goal of reaching a two-State solution to the conflict on the basis of the 1967 borders.” (UN Press release GA/PAL/1137)

Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon called off a visit to Britain because of concern that he could be arrested on suspicion of having committed war crimes, a spokesman said. The decision by Mr. Ya’alon, a former military Chief of Staff, came a week after Palestinian activists had tried unsuccessfully to have Israeli Defence Minister Barak arrested during a visit to Britain. (AP)

6

Several Palestinians were injured as a result of Israeli shelling east of Gaza City, witnesses and medics said. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that thousands of police, including those from other areas of the country, had been called in to secure Jerusalem. He described the reinforcement as exceptional. (The Washington Post)

Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said that the Goldstone report on the Gaza conflict was unlikely to affect Palestinian reconciliation, including the expected signing of a reconciliation accord. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

In an interview with Haaretz, Jordan’s King Abdullah II asked the Israeli public to abandon the illusion that the status quo could be perpetuated. He said that, as a result of the diplomatic impasse, “we are sliding back into the darkness,” adding, “because if there is no two-State solution, what future do we all have together?” (Haaretz)

Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa told Asharq Al-Awsatthat: “The Arab stance is based on a number of factors: the Arab Initiative, the need to halt the settlements because they contradict the bases of negotiations, and all the issues of the final settlement – Jerusalem, the sovereignty of the State, peace, borders, the refugees and the water – ought to be on the agenda… no side has the right to drop them from the table of negotiations. … We are ascertaining the Palestinian stance. The question is: have we reached a stage in which the settlements are built and the Goldstone report is being marginalized without a deterrent, or even a clear stance?” (Asharq Al-Awsat)

PA President Abbas opened a new Palestinian mission in Rome. (Ma’an News Agency)

The PA said it had asked the International Telecommunication Union to press Israel to release additional frequencies for a second mobile phone operator. (Reuters)

“President Abbas is seriously studying the possibility of asking the Arab and Islamic bloc to officially take the Goldstone report to international bodies, including the UN General Assembly and the Security Council,” Saeb Erakat, head of the Negotiations Affairs Department of the PLO, told AFP in a phone call from Amman. (AFP)

A senior State Department official in Washington told Haaretz that the US had “closely monitored developments around the Al-Aqsa mosque in recent weeks… . We urge all parties to refrain from actions that could inflame tensions or lead to violence.” The official went on to say, “Our continued priority is re-launching negotiations in an atmosphere conducive to their success.” (Haaretz)

7

IDF troops arrested 20 Palestinians during West Bank operations. (WAFA)

Hamas asked Egypt to postpone a ceremony for the signing of a reconciliation pact with Fatah, saying no deal would be cemented until PA President Abbas had apologized for having agreed to delay the vote on the report of the UN Fact-finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, according to Salah al-Bardawil, a Gaza-based senior Hamas leader. (DPA)

Pope Benedict XVI held talks with PA President Abbas at the Vatican. After the meeting, the Holy See issued a statement in which it said: “The dialogue focused on the situation in the Middle East and, in particular, on the need to find a just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which the rights of everyone are recognized and respected.” (DPA)

Javier Solana, European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, said in a statement: “I have been closely following the situation around the Al-Aqsa mosque in recent days. I would like to urge all parties to refrain from provocative actions that could further inflame tensions or lead to violence.” (The Jerusalem Post)

According to the latest figures compiled by Defence for Children International/Palestine Section, 326 Palestinian children were being held by Israel as of the end of September. (WAFA)

The Security Council was to hold a closed meeting to discuss Libya’s request for an emergency meeting of the Council on the report of the UN Fact-finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, Viet Nam’s Permanent Representative, Le Luong Minh, current President of the Council, told AP. The Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the UN issued a press release saying it fully supported the Libyan request for an emergency meeting on the report. (AP, Petra, WAFA, Xinhua)

The US backed a delay of the Human Rights Council vote on the report of the UN Fact-finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, with Department of State spokesman Ian Kelly insisting that the US was focused solely on reviving the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process and wanted “to clear the decks of any issues that might impede our progress towards this.” (www.state.gov)

8

An IDF soldier was arrested on suspicion of having beaten a Palestinian during a nighttime raid in the West Bank village Bil’in, Israeli activists opposed to the Wall said. The IDF spokesman’s office confirmed the report and said a gag order had been imposed regarding the information about the soldier. (Haaretz)

Israeli soldiers blocked a school in Tarrama, near Hebron, and fired tear gas at the facility, according to local teachers and PA security services. Several students suffered gas inhalation. An Israeli army spokeswoman said the army had no information about such incidents. (Ma’an News Agency)

In Jerusalem, US Special Envoy George Mitchell met with Israeli President Shimon Peres, expressing hope that peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians could soon be restarted. He said President Obama was committed to bringing peace to the region. Mr. Mitchell said he would also be meeting with Defence Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. In addition, he would meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu the following day, and over the weekend he would visit Ramallah for talks with PA President Abbas. (Haaretz)

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman told Israel Radio that it would be many years before there was any chance of a permanent settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, suggesting that both sides should instead strive for interim agreements that would create stability and leave the tough issues between them “to a much later stage”. (Haaretz)

In Stockholm, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said that he supported the report of the UN Fact-finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict. He said that Judge Richard Goldstone was a person of “high credibility and high integrity” and that his report carried weight. Mr. Bildt said the probe into the claims made in the report was worthy of consideration. Earlier, Mr. Bildt had told Swedish Radio that Israel had made “a mistake” by not cooperating with the probe, which he called “independent” and “serious”. Sweden currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU. (AP)

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Israel should re-examine its relations with Sweden after the latter had voiced support for the report of the UN Fact-finding Mission on the Gaza conflict. (Ynetnews)

In a statement, the Fatah Central Committee called for a general strike on 9 October protesting “fierce and planned Israeli attacks” on Jerusalem holy sites. The Committee called for peaceful demonstrations. (Ma’an News Agency)

PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki called on the UN Secretary-General to intervene to prevent Israel from further escalating the tension in Jerusalem. (AFP)

Following Libya’s request that an urgent Security Council meeting be convened to discuss the report of the UN Fact-finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, diplomats said that the Council’s monthly discussion of the Middle East situation, originally slated for 20 October, would be held on 14 October. (BBC, Reuters)

Palestinian officials called on the Security Council to discuss the report of the UN Fact-finding Mission on the Gaza conflict at its next meeting on the Middle East situation, to be held on 14 October. The PA also requested that the Human Rights Council soon hold a special meeting on the report. Meanwhile, PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki said that the “crisis about the report proves that the Hamas position is really trying to exploit it to its own favour, trying to take advantage of it and really score points, rather than having a genuine principled position regarding the report.” (AFP, AP, DPA)

Former US Permanent Representative to the UN Alejandro Wolff said the US would not support any potential action by the Security Council on the Goldstone report, adding that the US believed that the appropriate platform for discussing the report was the Human Rights Council in Geneva. (Ma’an News Agency)

After having visited the Al-Aqsa compound, Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said: “Incitement from any quarter regarding holy sites, as well as provocative actions in East Jerusalem, do not serve the sanctity of the city or the cause of peace and must stop… . I trust that we will see immediate practical steps of de-escalation on the ground and messages of calm and responsibility in public statements.” (UN News Centre)

9

At least two Israeli F-16 warplanes dropped three bombs on the tunnel area in Rafah. Five Palestinians were injured as a result of the attacks. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli leaders and PA President Abbas congratulated US President Obama on having won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” as the Nobel Committee put it. They expressed the hope that this would boost the peace process. Hamas, however, said the award was premature. (AFP, DPA, Haaretz)

Israeli security forces clashed with stone-throwing Palestinians near Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound as authorities restricted access to the site. Eleven officers were injured and two Palestinians were arrested. (AFP)

Physicists from Comet-ME, a group of pro-peace Israeli scientists and activists, installed solar panels and wind turbines to illuminate Palestinians’ homes in Susiya, a West Bank village with no electricity. (AP)

11

US Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell completed his tour of the region after spent more than an hour conferring with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak. The Prime Minister’s Office said they had “continued their discussions on moving the peace process forward”. The source also said that two lower-level Israeli officials would be heading to Washington later that week for further discussions. (AP)

A senior source at the Israeli Foreign Ministry said officials there had called an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis between Israel and Turkey, marked by the cancellation of a joint military exercise that was to have included the Israeli air force. Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, acknowledged that Israel’s military operation in Gaza was the reason for his country’s exclusion of Israel from the drill. (Haaretz)

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said that the signing of a Palestinian reconciliation agreement would be postponed for “several weeks”. (Haaretz)

PA President Abbas said in a televised speech: “The Al-Aqsa mosque has become a specific target of the occupation and the extremists. So has Judaizing Jerusalem and changing the Islamic and Arab features of the city.” (AP)

Israeli police lifted restrictions on access to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound. (AFP)

In a televised address to the Palestinian people, PA President Abbas said that he had instructed his envoy to the Human Rights Council in Geneva to resubmit a proposal for a vote on the report of the UN Fact-finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (Goldstone report). He said the Council must reach a decision “to judge anyone who committed crimes against the Palestinian nation”, adding that the PLO had formed a committee of inquiry to determine why the decision had been made earlier to defer the vote. He told viewers that the initial decision to defer the vote had been made after consultations with a number of sources and that it was meant to last only six months. “If the committee finds any mistake in the decision to defer [the vote], we have enough courage to take responsibility and say ‘we erred’,” said Mr. Abbas. (Haaretz)

UK Permanent Representative to the UN John Sawers told Israel ArmyRadio that the Goldstone report contained “some very serious details which need to be investigated by both the Palestinian authorities and the Israeli authorities,” adding that “serious information” in the document had given rise to the suspicion that violations of the laws of war had been committed. Israeli officials warned in response that any British support for the report would boomerang. Britons could also be placed in the dock for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, they said. (The Independent)

In Damascus, Hamas Political Bureau Chief Khaled Mashaal said: “Israel was in a corner [at the Human Rights Council] and this Palestinian team came to its rescue.” Mr. Mashaal added: “All the land of Palestine is our land and will return to us... . Our strategic choice is the path of resistance in order to free our lands.” (Haaretz)

12

Mahdi Abu Ayyash, a 17-year-old Palestinian from Beit Ummar near Hebron, died of wounds that he had sustained during confrontations with Israeli forces on 4 March. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces detained five Palestinians during overnight raids around Bethlehem and Hebron. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian medical officials said 47-year-old Nasser An-Nadim, an engineer from Gaza City, who had sustained serious injuries during the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip the previous winter, died after months of hospitalization, bringing the death toll from Operation Cast Lead to 1,383. (Ma’an News Agency)

Ghassan Daghlas, a senior PA official who holds the northern West Bank settlements portfolio, said Israeli forces had prevented Palestinian farmers from gaining access to their olive groves south of Nablus for the annual olive harvest, despite prior coordination with military liaison authorities. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said Muslim extremists had been behind recent violence in Jerusalem, spreading “baseless lies” in order to “undermine the peaceful life” in the holy city. He said Arab protests around the site had been fuelled in part by the rumours spread by local Muslim leaders, that Israel was digging tunnels under the Al-Aqsa mosque and was planning to take over the site. “This is an unfounded lie,” Mr. Netanyahu told his Cabinet. (AP)

Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian house and dismantled the foundation of another home in the Al-Marwaha and Ash-Ashqariyya neighbourhoods of Beit Hanina, in East Jerusalem, witnesses said. A warrant for the demolition of the house had been sent a year earlier by Israel on charges that it had been built without a permit. (Ma’an News Agency)

Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Knesset: “We will not agree to a situation where Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni, who sent our soldiers to defend our cities and citizens, will sit on the defendants’ bench in The Hague… . We will not agree to a situation where IDF commanders and soldiers are branded war criminals after they defended the citizens of Israel with bravery and honour from a cruel enemy.” (AFP)

The Palestine Investment Fund (PIF) announced the establishment of a real estate project with an initial capital investment of $220 million. PIF Chairman Mohammad Mustafa said the goal was to create 30,000 new housing units over the next five to 10 years. The newly founded Amaar Real Estate Group would take over existing housing and tourism construction projects worth about $1 billion, Mr. Mustafa said, adding that the PIF, which administers public funds, expected to double the investment, to $2 billion, over the next five years. (Reuters)

The Ministry of External Affairs of India said India’s contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) would increase to $1 million. “UNRWA is marking its 60th anniversary this year, and the enhanced contribution is in keeping with India’s consistent and principled support for the people of Palestine,” the Ministry said in a statement. (WAFA, www.meaindia.nic.in)

An Israeli human rights group, Yesh Din, said the Israeli military, deliberately trying to dim chances of any prosecution, had taken months to investigate whether its soldiers had committed crimes against Palestinians in the West Bank. The group released a report providing its analysis of more than 130 cases of alleged soldier violence against Palestinians in the West Bank. (AP, www.yesh-din.org)

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had a telephone conversation with PA President Abbas on 11 October 2009 and discussed issues related to the Goldstone report and the current situation in Jerusalem. During the call, the Secretary-General affirmed his support for President Abbas and for the Palestinian Authority as a credible partner for peace in the Middle East. He also expressed his support for President Abbas’ engagement with Member States on an appropriate process for the consideration of the Goldstone Report. President Abbas brought to the attention of the Secretary-General a statement by Special Rapporteur Richard Falk to which the PA President took strong exception. (WAFA)

13

Israeli soldiers arrested at least 16 Palestinians in the West Bank. (IMEMC)

Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad said Fatah had accepted Egypt’s plan for separate signings of a reconciliation deal with Hamas after Hamas had baulked at attending a unity ceremony. Hamas said it had still not decided whether to agree to the proposal put forward by Egyptian mediators. (Reuters)

Haaretz reported that the US had sent a message to Egypt stating that it did not support the proposed reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, as it would undermine negotiations with Israel. On 11 October, US Special Envoy George Mitchell had met in Cairo with Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman and had told him that the US would not support an agreement not aligned with the principles of the Quartet. (Haaretz)

US Assistant Secretary of State Philip Crowley told reporters that the US supported an effective PA Government and the reconciliation process, but that any unity government must be guided by the Quartet principles and must be committed to non-violence, the recognition of Israel and the acceptance of previous agreements and obligations. He said that the US would work with whoever was in a Palestinian Government that supported the Quartet principles. He added that progress towards peace would ultimately be up to the Israelis and the Palestinians. “We’re bringing [Israeli and Palestinian] teams back to Washington this week and next to see if there’s a basis to move forward,” he said. (www.state.gov)

The Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights said Israeli authorities were planning to demolish some 150 Palestinian homes in various locations in East Jerusalem. Demolition orders had been signed by previous and current Israeli mayors Uri Luplianski and Nir Barkat. The Center estimated that more than a thousand Palestinians would be displaced if the plans were implemented. (Ma’an News Agency, www.jcser.org)

“Our argument is that, as long as the Goldstone report is on the table and everywhere they are quoting it and supporting it--also States that are considered our friends--we cannot make progress in the peace process,” Israeli Permanent Representative to the UN Gabriela Shalev said. “We will not sit at the table and will not talk with bodies and people who accuse us of war crimes. That is simply unacceptable,” she said in an interview with Israel Radio. “[US] Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that the United States will impose their veto in case of a vote by the Security Council,” she added. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak telephoned the foreign ministers of France, Britain, Spain and Norway, urging them not to support the report of the UN Fact-finding Mission. (AFP, AP, DPA, Haaretz)

14

An Israeli air raid on smuggling tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Egypt wounded four people, Palestinian medics said. (AFP)

Israeli forces seized three Palestinians in the town of Beit Duqqu, north-west of Jerusalem, witnesses said. (Ma’an News Agency)

Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad said Fatah had signed the Egypt-proposed reconciliation deal with Hamas and would bring the signed papers to Cairo the following day. “Hamas is still studying the Egyptian proposal and will give its answer,” spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told reporters in Gaza. (DPA)

Israeli authorities released PA Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Hatem Abdel Qader after having arrested him the previous day and having interrogated him about the Al-Aqsa riots. According to Mr. Abdel Qader, he and Islamic Movement leader Ali Sheikha had been seized by undercover Israeli agents at the Qalandiya military checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah. (Ma’an News Agency)

A new report by B'Tselem and HaMoked state that Israel was holding 335 Palestinians in lengthy administrative detention without trial. Nine Gazans were being held pursuant to the Internment of Unlawful Combatants Law. The organizations called on Israel to release the detainees or to prosecute them in accordance with due process. (www.btselem.org)

An estimated 90 per cent of the water in the Gaza Strip was unfit for human consumption, Munthir Shublaq, Director-General of the Coastal Municipality Water Utility, said. He blamed the December-January Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip for having exacerbated the water problem. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Israeli military suspended two officers pending an investigation into charges that they had torched Palestinians’ cars, the army said. The acts had been videotaped near Hebron by Palestinian witnesses. (AFP)

The Security Council held an open debate on “the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.” Referring to the Goldstone report, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe reiterated the Secretary-General’s appeal that all parties should carry out a credible investigation into the conduct of the Gaza conflict without delay, noting a “worrying increase in violence” in the area. He stressed that “the repeated call of the Quartet on Israel to refrain from provocative actions in East Jerusalem and on the Palestinian Authority to refrain from incitement remains more relevant than ever”. PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki called for global action to punish Israel, warning that the credibility of the UN and of international human rights law was at stake. The UK, the US and France urged Israel to conduct independent investigations into the Gaza conflict, while Israel said the report “favours and legitimizes terrorism” and “denies Israel’s right to defend its citizens”. (AP, UN News Centre)

Richard Falk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, apologized to PA President Abbas in an official letter. Mr. Falk wrote: “Having now examined the ownership records of al Wataniya Mobile, I find no evidence of any company ownership by members of the family of the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mr. M. Abbas, in particular on the part of his sons.” (WAFA)

15

According to PA police, Israeli forces seized six Palestinians in the West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency)

The B’Tselem human rights group said it had documented the vandalization of eight Palestinian vehicles, apparently by Israeli soldiers, near Jenbah, in the southern Hebron hills. (Ma’an News Agency, www.btselem.org)

Egyptian police raided a North Sinai warehouse stocked with food and electronics being prepared for smuggling into the Gaza Strip. The police reportedly also seized four trucks carrying cement destined for Gaza. (AFP)

Hamas said it would not sign the Egypt-mediated reconciliation deal with Fatah. “The Palestinian factions will not sign the accord ... unless the text includes the principles and the rights of Palestinians, especially that of resisting the Zionist occupation,” said a spokesman of a group that included Hamas and seven smaller factions. He said that the deal proposed by Egypt should also address the question of “Jerusalem and the dangers of ‘Judaization’ and permanent aggression that threaten this holy city”, as well as “the right of return for Palestinian refugees to their homes”. (AFP)

Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero met with Israeli President Shimon Peres, saying that he was in Jerusalem to contribute to the peace process in the Middle East and to “reinforce” the friendship between the two countries. He was also scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Mr. Zapatero assured President Peres that Spain would be balanced and impartial and that it would show understanding both to the Israeli interest and to the Palestinian interest when it held the EU presidency starting in January 2010. (DPA, Ynetnews)

After a meeting with PA President Abbas in Ramallah, Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero said the EU wanted to “speed up” both the creation and the international recognition of a Palestinian State. “We have Americans and others playing a constructive role in supporting us. … We’re in agreement on establishing a State in a reasonable amount of time,” Mr. Zapatero said. He also said: “The complete halt and freeze of settlements is a fundamental issue. We need to see that happen despite the difficult conditions so we can continue the political negotiations.” (Ma’an News Agency, Ynetnews)

A Palestinian border-crossings official said Israel would open one Gaza border crossing for food, humanitarian provisionsand some commercial goods. (Ma’an News Agency)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay told the 12th special session of the Human Rights Council that she endorsed the report of the UN Fact-finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict and said that Israeli and Palestinian leaders should launch investigations into alleged war crimes in Gaza in order to help rebuild trust and support peace. A draft resolution was sponsored by Palestine, Egypt (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Nigeria (on behalf of the African Group), Pakistan (on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference) and Tunisia (on behalf of the Arab Group). (AP, www.ohchr.org)

Actress Mia Farrow, Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, said during her tour of Gaza that she was outraged by the conditions endured by children in the territory caused by Israel’s military offensive during the previous winter. She also criticized the militants’ firing of rockets, advising Gazans “not to give the international community ammunition to view you in a negative way”. (The Canadian Press)

16

Israeli ships fired at Palestinian fishing boats off the Gaza coast. No injuries were reported. (Ma’an News Agency)

An Egyptian official said Egyptian mediators had postponed their deadline for Hamas to sign a unity deal with Fatah after Hamas had asked for a delay. The official cited the “repercussions between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas because of the dispute on handling the Goldstone report”. (AFP)

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, received a delegation headed by Ali Khashan, PA Minister of Justice, accompanied by the Palestinian Ambassador to the Netherlands, Nabil Abuznaid, and a team of legal experts including Vaughan Lowe, professor of international law at Oxford University. The Prosecutor also received members of the Independent Fact-finding Committee on Gaza, led by Professor John Dugard and members of the Arab League secretariat, in the context of ongoing consultations on the PA declaration accepting the jurisdiction of the Court over crimes committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. (www.icc-cpi.int)

The Human Rights Council concluded its 12th special session after having adopted a resolution endorsing the recommendations set out in the reports of the Fact-finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (Goldstone report) and of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. In its resolution, adopted by a vote of 25 in favour, six against and 11 abstentions, the Council also strongly condemned Israeli policies, including those limiting the access of Palestinians to their holy sites, particularly in East Jerusalem; the confiscation of lands; the demolition of houses; the expansion of settlements; and the separation wall. It demanded an immediate end to excavations beneath and around the Al-Aqsa mosque. (www.unog.ch)

17

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said that the entire Muslim world was concerned about Israel’s settlement construction in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Mr. Mubarak, who met with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi during a visit in Rome, also denounced what he described as Israel’s “attempts to assimilate Jerusalem”. (AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu promised a lengthy diplomatic battle to “de-legitimize” United Nations charges that Israel had committed war crimes in the Gaza Strip, an official said. “Israel must de-legitimize the de-legitimization,” Mr. Netanyahu said, according to an Israeli official. He said the campaign “would not take just a week or two but possibly years”. (Reuters)

The League of Arab States urged the Obama Administration to prevent US charitable foundations from collecting tax-exempt funds to finance Israeli settlement building in East Jerusalem. Mohammed Sobeih, Deputy Secretary-General in charge of Palestinian affairs, told reporters that a report compiled by the League’s office in Washington showed that such funds were being used to seize the property of Palestinian residents and to expel them, highlighting American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, a foundation financed by Jewish American millionaire Irving Moskowitz. (AFP)

18

Egyptian security sources said that police had discovered and shut down a major warehouse in Rafah containing civilian goods intended to be smuggled through tunnels into the Gaza Strip. (Ma’an News Agency)

Turkish President Abdullah Gül noted in a television interview that Turkey was one of the “rare” countries maintaining good relations with both Arab nations and Israel. “But that does not mean that Turkey will not raise its voice against mistakes if they are made... . We should not think that Turkey would keep quiet,” he told TRT public television. (AFP)

“Egypt is not prepared to wait forever,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki told Al-Arabiya television after Hamas had announced that it had delayed sending a delegation to Cairo to give its response to the proposed unity agreement, because Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman was out of the country. “The document prepared by Egypt is not a document [meant for] negotiations. The negotiations lasted several months,” Mr. Zaki said. (AFP)

European Commission Vice-President Gunter Verheugen told DPAthat the European Union could not effect a breakthrough in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but that by offering economic incentives, it could make it easier for the sides to come to an understanding. He said that internal divisions within the European Union on the Israeli-Palestinian issue had made it difficult to come up with a unified strategy. “Europeans must send a clear message that Israel has a right to exist within secure borders” in order to be in a position to be an honest broker, he said. Calling boycotts of Israeli products an “easy solution”, he said that he doubted they could improve the situation. (DPA)

“We solved the matter of the settlements with the Americans,” Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was quoted as saying by Haaretz. “I cannot say more than that. If you are interested in hearing more details, ask in Washington,” he added. (Haaretz)

19

In an interview with La Repubblica, King Abdullah II of Jordan said that, while the region’s hopes for peace had been huge at the start of the Obama Administration’s term, now he saw the “goal getting farther away”. “I’ve heard people in Washington talking about Iran, again Iran, always Iran,” he was quoted as saying. “But I insist on and keep insisting on the Palestinian question. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the most serious threat to the stability of the region and the Mediterranean,” he said. “I’ll be sincere: I had expected more, sooner,” he said of the US efforts and the missions conducted by US Special Envoy Mitchell. (AP)

Mohammed Dahlan, a senior Fatah official, told reporters in Ramallah: “They [Hamas] got everything they asked for in the Egyptian [reconciliation] document, and we in Fatah knew that our position would draw fire from the sons of Fatah ... . But, despite all this, we agreed to it… . Hamas has thwarted all efforts. They have frustrated us and Egypt.” In the meantime, PA President Abbas prepared to leave for Egypt later in the day for talks with President Mubarak on 20 October on the reconciliation process. (AFP)

After meetings with PA President Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah, European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana said that any future Palestinian State should be established along 1967 borders. “Our dream is to have a Palestinian State, and the sooner, the better,” Mr. Solana said, adding, “It may be necessary to swap some territory, but this should not disturb the nature and continuity of the territory”. (DPA)

An Arab proposal to debate the conduct of the Israeli army in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead at the Inter-Parliamentary Union conference in Geneva was foiled when it received 538 supporting votes and Israel’s proposal to the contrary received 1,197 votes in favour. (Ynetnews)

The Government of Jordan and the Norwegian research institute Fafo agreed to jointly conduct a comprehensive survey of Palestine refugee camps in Jordan. Deficiencies--particularly poverty, unemployment and the inferior infrastructure in the camps--were among the issues that would be examined, the head of Palestinian Affairs at the Jordanian Foreign Ministry, Wajih Azayzeh, said. (DPA)

Justice Richard Goldstone, head of the UN Fact-finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, wrote in an op-ed piece in The Jerusalem Post that his deep attachment to Israel had compelled him to carry out the investigation. “Israel could have seized the opportunity provided by the even-handed mandate of our mission and used it as a precedent for a new direction by the United Nations in the Middle East. Instead, we were shut out,” he said. “Israel has an internationally renowned and respected judiciary that should be [the] envy of many other countries in the region,” Mr. Goldstone wrote in the article. “It has the means and ability to investigate itself. Has it the will?” (AP, The Jerusalem Post)

Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet welcomed the adoption of the report of the UN Fact-finding Mission, saying that it “reflects the illegality of the practices carried out by Israel in the Palestinian territories”, according to the Saudi Press Agency. (AFP)

Dozens of Israeli settlers from the “Aliyah” settlement set fire to 10 dunums of land, burning down olive groves in the Palestinian village of Labn, near Nablus, according to Ghassan Daghlas, the PA official charged with monitoring settler activity in the northern West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency)

20

The Israeli military arrested nine Palestinians, in Qalqilya, Tulkarm, Ramallah and Hebron. (IMEMC)

In a statement, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees said its men had fired four mortar shells at Israeli military vehicles spotted near the Kerem Shalom crossing point as they were advancing towards Rafah. In the statement, the grouop also said that Israeli warplanes had flown over the area. (Ma’an News Agency)

PA President Abbas, in Cairo for reconciliation talks, said: “Fatah completely supported the Egyptian proposal ... but then Hamas put down obstacles to achieving reconciliation.” He called on the Arab League to take a stand on the matter, remarking that Egypt had announced clearly that patience was wearing thin. Mr. Abbas warned that the agreement must be reached by 25 October so that a date could be set for parliamentary and presidential elections. After the reconciliation talks, President Abbas was scheduled to meet Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. (AFP, AP)

PA President Abbas told journalists in Cairo that he, in a decree on 25 October, he would set 24 January as the date for presidential and legislative elections. (AP)

An Israeli official said Prime Minister Netanyahu would not grant French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner permission to visit the Gaza Strip. Mr. Kouchner had requested to travel to Gaza during his upcoming visit to Israel and the West Bank. According to the official, Mr. Netanyahu sent a message to Mr. Kouchner saying he could not accede to the request, as Hamas would likely take advantage of the visit in order to create a media frenzy and parade the damage caused by Israel during the war. (Haaretz)

A 13-year-old Palestinian boy suffering from cancer died after he had been prevented by the Israeli army from leaving the Gaza Strip in order to receive urgent medical care. Health officials in Gaza said his death had raised to 360 the total number of patients who had died as a result of the Israeli siege since June 2006. (IMEMC)

Israel’s political-security Cabinet met to discuss Israel’s diplomatic and legal response to the Goldstone report and its endorsement by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Defence Minister Ehud Barak refused to discuss at the meeting the possibility of setting up a governmental inquiry committee to look into some of the report’s findings regarding Palestinian casualties. Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz had planned to raise that issue during the meeting but was forced to set the topic aside until the next deliberations on the report. Ministers participating in the meeting said that little had been accomplished during it and that further deliberations on the matter had been scheduled for next week. The only decision reached was to establish a legal-diplomatic panel to deal with any implications of war crimes warrants that might be issued against Israeli officials. The Foreign Ministry and the Justice Ministry had raised the proposal for such a panel in order to prepare a strategy for an informational, diplomatic and legal response to the report. (Haaretz)

21

Israeli navy vessels shelled northern coastal areas of the Gaza Strip. Damage was reported, but no injuries. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces arrested three Palestinians south of Nablus, four in the northern Jordan Valley and four in Tulkarm. (IMEMC, Ma’an News Agency)

In Gaza, armed Palestinians fired a rocket into southern Israel that fell on open ground, causing no injuries or damage. An Israeli military statement said that Palestinians had fired 250 rockets and mortar shells since the end of Operation Cast Lead. (AP)

An Israeli rights group, Yesh Din, urged Israeli prosecutors to reverse a decision not to press criminal charges against policemen filmed hitting Palestinian detainees, because the blows were only “light”. “This is a strange and shocking decision. … The assertion that beating a detainee is not a criminal act is even worse than the beating itself and constitutes a wrong and dangerous ‘wink of consent’”, Michael Sfard, an attorney for the group said in a statement. (AFP)

In Jerusalem, Susan Rice, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, addressed the Israeli Presidential Conference 2009, entitled “Facing Tomorrow”, saying: ”The time has come to re-launch negotiations, without preconditions, that address the permanent status issues: security for Israelis and Palestinians, borders, refugees and Jerusalem … But all of us ... must decide whether we are serious about peace or whether we will only lend it lip service.” (usun.state.gov)

During a panel discussion at the Israeli Presidential Conference 2009, former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk said that Israel’s then-Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, had advised the PA to reject former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s proposals for a peace agreement. Ms. Livni denied Mr. Indyk’s version of events. (Haaretz)

Hamas Political Bureau Deputy Chief Moussa Abu Marzouk said Egypt had told Hamas that the reconciliation document signed by Fatah was not negotiable. Egypt was reportedly refusing to grant entry to a Hamas delegation unless Hamas made a commitment to sign the document. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told the London-based newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi that Hamas had been prepared for reconciliation but was surprised to see new changes to the document that had not been discussed. (Ynetnews)

Thirty Sderot residents personally delivered to the United Nations offices in Jerusalem a petition opposing the Goldstone report, signed by 100,000 people from around the world. The Sderot residents stood outside the offices holding banners of protest. (Haaretz)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu met with US Permanent Representative to the UN Susan Rice. After the meeting, the Prime Minister’s Office released a statement saying that Mr. Netanyahu “thanked ... Ms. Rice for the Obama Administration’s strong opposition to the Goldstone report and for her consistent support at the United Nations.” (The Jerusalem Post)

22

The Israeli military said that warplanes had attacked an “arms manufacturing facility and two smuggling tunnels” in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for a Palestinian rocket fired into Israel. No casualties were reported. (AP)

Israeli soldiers raided several houses in villages near Jenin, PA security sources said. No arrests were reported. The troops also set up temporary military checkpoints at the entrances of the villages Kufur Dan Jaba, Sanur and Msaliyeh. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Palestinian Conciliation Committee urged all factions to immediately sign the unity agreement. According to the Committee, “Any delay in signing the agreement, for whatever reason, will not benefit Palestinians, who need immediate unity to reconstruct their social fabric and remain steadfast.” (Ma’an News Agency)

After meeting in Damascus, with President Tarja Halonen of Finland in Damascus, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad urged Europe to take a more active role in Middle East peacemaking. He went on to say that the Obama Administration was responsible for having failed to follow up on its stated goal of Middle East peace with action and that time was running out. “Until now, we have only heard headlines, but there have been no discussions with the concerned parties, including Syria,” he said. (AP)

According to Israel Radio, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman had told US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a telephone conversation that Israel was continuing to bolster the PA but that the PA had repeatedly worked against Israel in the international sphere. He said the Goldstone report was an attempt to limit Israel’s ability to fight terror and that it was blocking Israel on the diplomatic front. He warned that a resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians could be hindered if they continued on their current path. (The Jerusalem Post)

US Special Envoy Mitchell said that it was too soon to brand a failure his efforts to resume peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The Administration’s current effort in the Middle East was “as difficult and complex as everyone told me it would be”, said Mr. Mitchell. “But we are determined to stay the course ... until the job is done.” Mr. Mitchell acknowledged setbacks in the process, including the Goldstone report. (AP)

In a status report to President Obama, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton reported little progress on the Middle East peace process. According to her report, Palestinians had strengthened security efforts and reforms of Palestinian institutions, but more needed to be done to prevent terror and end incitement. As for Israel, it had eased restrictions on Palestinians’ freedom of movement and had expressed the willingness to curtail the building of settlements in Palestinian areas. However, the US administration had been demanding an end to all new settlement construction, on which Israel was not budging. Clinton said that Israel also had to do more to improve Palestinians’ daily lives. (AP, AFP)

US Permanent Representative to the United Nations Susan Rice paid a quiet visit to the West Bank. She held closed-door meetings with PA Prime Minister Fayyad and senior PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo but did not make any public statement. (AFP)

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said that a resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians was close: “We are at the delicate and vital stage before launching real negotiations with the Palestinians with the aim of reaching a deal to bring an end to the conflict and mutual demands and to establish a Palestinian State alongside the State of Israel.” He added that said such a deal would “end our state of rule over another people that began in 1967”. (The Jerusalem Post)

Some 838 Palestinian students formally accepted by or enrolled at foreign universities had been unable to leave Gaza owing to the Israeli-imposed closure. According to Gisha: Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, the criteria for departure set by Israel included a recognized scholarship and study offer from a country with diplomatic representation in Israel. In addition, students wishing to leave through Israel must be accompanied by a diplomatic representative. (www.gisha.org)

Justice Richard Goldstone told Al-Jazeera Television that he had not heard any justification for the US Administration’s claims that the findings set out in the UN Fact-finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict were flawed and biased. (aljazeera.net)

Hamas was conducting intensive negotiations with Israel over the release of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, said Osama al-Muzaini, lead negotiator for Hamas. In comment published in a Hamas-run newspaper, he described the German mediator in the negotiations as both objective and serious. (Haaretz)

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) released the English-language version of “Targeted Civilians: A PCHR Report on the Israeli Military Offensive against the Gaza Strip”. The report documents the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead, in which more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed and more than 5,300 injured, the overwhelming majority of them civilians. (www.pchrgaza.org)

Israel said that the Gaza border crossing of Kerem Shalom, which was supposed to operate on Fridays, would be closed on 23 October, together with the Nahal Oz and Karni crossings. Israeli authorities said they would gradually shut down the Nahal Oz crossing, used to transport fuel to the Gaza power station and humanitarian organizations. (Ma’an News Agency)

In a telephone conversation, Israeli Foreign Minister Liberman urged Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon not to send the Goldstone report on Gaza war crimes to the Security Council or the General Assembly. Mr. Lieberman also harshly criticized Cuba, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia, which were among the 25 countries that had voted in favour of a resolution endorsing the Goldstone report. (AFP, DPA)

Israel’s Supreme Court ruled against military regulations prohibiting Palestinian motorists from using a West Bank road. The Court’s decision gave the Israeli Government three months to find a “more proportionate” method of protecting Israeli drivers on the road, located in the southern West Bank. The decision recognized the Government’s right to impose such restrictions to protect Israelis but said that, in this case, they were causing undue hardship for Palestinians who lived in the area. (AP)

According to a press report, Israel had instructed that Hamas leaders should be sued, in various courts throughout the world on charges that they had committed terror attacks against Israel. The Israeli intelligence service vowed to publish the names and pictures of Hamas leaders accused of having committed such attacks. The suits would be related to Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip and abroad, as most Hamas leaders in the West Bank had been arrested. (Palestine Press News Agency)

23

According to PA police, Israeli forces had detained three men in the West Bank and severely beaten another after having broken into two homes. (Ma’an News Agency)

According to a spokesman for the Israeli army, several Israeli soldiers from an elite unit would be disciplined for having staged a pro-settler demonstration during a military swearing-in ceremony at Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall. (AFP, Reuters)

PA President Abbas signed a decree calling for presidential and parliamentary elections on 24 January. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Mr. Abbas, said the decree called for elections in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Mr. Abbas’ Government could not hold the elections in Gaza. “This announcement means that elections will take place only in the West Bank, cementing the Palestinian split instead of fixing the problem,” he said. (AP)

Two young Palestinian men were injured in clashes with a number of Israeli settlers from the “Bracha” settlement, south of Nablus. Israeli media reported that three settlers had been detained for questioning on suspicion of having rioted and thrown stones during the clashes. (Ma’an News Agency, Ynetnews)

25

An Israeli security guard was moderately wounded when a Palestinian woman from Ramallah stabbed him at the Qalandiya checkpoint, north of Jerusalem. The woman was arrested. (Haaretz)

The Israeli military seized six Palestinians during night raids in the Ramallah area and near Bethlehem. An Israeli army spokesperson said the men had been “wanted for suspected terrorist activities”. (Ma’an News Agency)

Hamas declared that reconciliation talks with Fatah were now completely on hold. “The speech that President Abbas delivered on [20 October] has cut many of the strings. Now there are no contacts and the matter is totally frozen,” said Salah Bardawil, spokesperson of Hamas’ parliamentary group. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli police stormed the Al-Haram Al-Sharif compound (Temple Mount), hurling stun grenades at Palestinians who had thrown rocks at them. A medic for the Palestinian Red Crescent said 18 Palestinians had been injured. Police reported that three officers had been hurt. (Reuters)

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) condemned the Israeli police action at Al-Haram Al-Sharif. OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said “frequent” Israeli breaches of the compound were “very dangerous and could lead to a negative outcome.” In a statement, the OIC said that it had called an extraordinary meeting of its Executive Committee, to be held in Jeddah on 1 November “to discuss the grave developments unravelling” in Jerusalem. (AFP, www.oic-oci.org)

26

Israeli forces detained two Palestinians in a cross-border raid into the northern Gaza Strip. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces detained a 15-year-old Palestinian boy during a raid in Jericho. (Ma’an News Agency)

Two Molotov cocktails were hurled at Israeli cars north of Ramallah. No one was wounded and no damage reported in the incident. (Haaretz)

PA President Abbas called on Hanna Nasir, Chairman of the Central Elections Commission-Palestine, to move forward with preparations for holding the next general elections as scheduled, on 24 January. (Palestine Press Agency)

Saeb Erakat, head of the Negotiations Affairs Department of the PLO, told Voice of Palestine radio: “The gap is still wide, and Israel does not give a single sign of meeting its obligations under the Road Map, halting settlement activities and resuming negotiations where they left off… I do not see any possibility for restarting peace talks in the near future.” (Reuters)

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak told Labour members of the Knesset, that when US Special Envoy George Mitchell returned to the region on 28 October, “we intend to do our best to bring about the opening of significant negotiations with the Palestinians as soon as possible”. (Haaretz)

The Palestinian people were “profoundly grateful” to Morocco for its continued interest in the Palestinian cause, PA President Abbas said before departing for Rabat to take part in the Jerusalem International Forum on 28 and 29 October. (Xinhua)

Officials said Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had set up a team to outline Israel’s response to the Goldstone report. Nevertheless, Mr. Netanyahu had ruled out establishing new inquiry committees to examine the army’s conduct during the offensive. “There will be no investigation committee that will question soldiers and commanders in the IDF, because the existing procedures within the IDF are excellent,” an official quoted Mr. Netanyahu as having said. (AFP)

The Saudi Arabian Cabinet said in a statement: “The Kingdom condemns Israel’s recurrent attacks on Islamic holy sites. It exposes Israel’s aggressive practices against the unarmed Palestinians.” (www.arabnews.com)

Hatem Abdel Qader, PA Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, was banned for three weeks from visiting Jerusalem by an Israeli court. (Ynetnews)

Shmuel Ben-Yishai, a 51-year-old settler from “Kiryat Arba”, was indicted for incitement for having told reporters that IDF soldiers dismantling an outpost near Hebron should be “slaughtered.” (Ynetnews)

During his first visit to Germany, IDF Chief of General Staff/Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi responded for the first time to discussions of setting up a committee of inquiry into Operation Cast Lead. “All possibilities are being examined, and the IDF is taking part in discussions,” he said to reporters during his visit. “It’s a good thing the Government is investigating the subject harshly ─ we must respond to the Goldstone report,” he said. (Haaretz)

Israel must immediately open its borders with the Gaza Strip, John Ging, UNRWA Director of Operations in Gaza, said. As winter approached, he said, there would be a critical need for construction materials to rebuild houses, schools and other buildings damaged or destroyed by Israel’s offensive. He announced the doubling of the Agency’s Job Creation Programme to a total of 14,000 job opportunities a month, with 3,100 jobs specifically supporting the Gazan private sector. Applicants identified as persons living abject poverty would receive priority access to jobs. (Ma’an News Agency, www.unrwa.org)

27

Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti said that PA elections could not be held without a national unity agreement in place, according to the PA Minister of Prisoner Affairs, Issa Qaraqei. Mr. Barghouti blamed Hamas for the current impasse. (Ma’an News Agency)

Fatah leader Abdullah Abu Samhadaneh issued a statement in which he said that PA President Abbas was “eager to rest from this long and arduous trip, which began with the revolution and continues to this day”. He noted, however, that if Mr. Abbas were “instructed by the command [Palestinian leaders], he would accept the commission” and run in the elections. (Ma’an News Agency)

Azzam Al-Ahmad, a member of the Fatah Central Committee who was personally involved in negotiations with Hamas, said that Egypt would announce in about two weeks its plans regarding reconciliation. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch told the Knesset, “There are too many extreme elements on both sides stirring the pot in the Temple Mount [Al-Haram Al-Sharif], and I ask them all to cease stirring things up, inciting and enflaming.” (Ynetnews)

Israeli authorities demolished two Palestinian homes in Shu’fat and Sur Bahir, Palestinian communities on the outskirts of Jerusalem, saying that the houses had been built without permits. Two Israeli soldiers were injured by rock-throwing Palestinian protesters. “This is part of the Israeli plan to disrupt the demographic balance,” Hatem Abdel Qader, PA Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, said. (Ma’an News Agency, Reuters)

Local sources in Jerusalem reported that bulldozers of the Jerusalem Municipality had demolished nine Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, allegedly for having been built without construction permits. (IMEMC)

The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs called on Israel to immediately halt forced evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, warning that as many as 60,000 Palestinians there might be at risk of displacement. (UN News Centre)

Nine Palestinian farmers harvesting olives were wounded in clashes with armed Israeli settlers in the West Bank, Palestinian security services and witnesses said. Israeli security forces fired tear gas and arrested one Palestinian, the sources said. (AFP, Ma’an News Agency)

The European Union announced the extension for an additional year of the residence permits for the Palestinians deported after the 2002 siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. (www.consilium.europa.eu)

“The Arab Group is requesting that the [Goldstone] report ... be debated in the General Assembly in early November,” said Yahya Mahmassani, Permanent Observer for the League of Arab States to the United Nations, who conveyed the request in a letter to the General Assembly President. Discussions would definitely go ahead, “probably on 4 November”, he told AFP. (AFP)

Amnesty International said in a report that Israeli restrictions were preventing Palestinians from receiving enough water in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. The report stated that Israel’s daily water consumption per capita was four times higher than that of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. “Water is a basic need and a right, but for many Palestinians, obtaining even poor-quality subsistence-level quantities of water has become a luxury that they can barely afford,” said Amnesty’s Donatella Rovera. The report also stated that Gaza’s coastal aquifer, its sole freshwater resource, had been polluted by the infiltration of seawater and raw sewage and degraded by over-extraction. (Reuters. www.amnesty.org)

28

Israeli soldiers detained three Palestinians at a military roadblock near Jenin. In Hebron, soldiers invaded the Arroub refugee camp and broke into a number of homes, detaining three residents. (IMEMC)

At an international forum on Jerusalem held in Rabat, PA President Abbas said he was extending his hand to Hamas in order to end the Palestinian rift. He said, “Hamas has been called to take a step towards us,” before adding that Hamas was responsible for “causing the failure of recent talks in Cairo. (AFP)

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told Asharq Al-Awsat, “As to the future of the peace process, I believe that the European Union should do more than what it is doing at present and its participation should be more effective.” Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, said: “I believe there is a possibility, and it should be seized to back the peace process. I admit that this is something difficult but not impossible.” Jean Asselborn, Foreign Minister of Luxembourg, said: “I do not like the current situation and I do not see a solution on the horizon, despite the attempts of US President Barack Obama with Netanyahu and Abu Mazen. No step forward has happened. I say it frankly that the ball is now in Israel’s court.” (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Israeli police raided and dismantled a sidewalk tent set up by families evicted from their East Jerusalem home in August on Israeli orders. More than 50 members of the two evicted extended families had been sleeping in the tent, which was near their former homes, now occupied by settlers. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian residents of Qaryout village, near Nablus, wounding six of them. Three villagers were injured by Israeli police, who fired gas canisters at them. In Salfit, Israeli settlers driving a large truck dumped a headache-inducing black material and burned it on agricultural land belonging to inhabitants of Qarawat Bani Hassan village. Several olive trees were burned before Palestinian firefighters managed to put out the fire. (IMEMC)

Hamas negotiator Osama al-Muzaini, in charge of the Gilad Shalit file, said that Israel was stalling discussions on a prisoner exchange agreement by refusing to release 125 Palestinian prisoners. (Haaretz)

Residents of Gaza were not waiting for the outcome of the Goldstone report to take legal action. Israel’s Ministry of Defence and the Tel Aviv Prosecutor reportedly received some 1,500 notices of future civil lawsuits against the IDF for physical damage, damage to property and loss of earning capacity caused by Operation Cast Lead. The Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee was working to formulate a new law, providing for the filing of lawsuits against the State for damage caused by the IDF to civilians and their property, but placing a number of restraints and limitations on such claims. It would only allow them in rare cases and on a humanitarian basis. (Ynetnews)

A number of European lawyers and human rights activists said they had obtained names of Israeli army officers suspected of having committed war crimes during Operation Cast Lead. The lawyers said they would be filing lawsuits against the officers in Britain, Spain, Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands. According to Haaretz, London lawyer Daniel Makeover had said that the Goldstone report would be helpful in the lawsuits. (IMEMC)

Hamas authorities in Gaza issued a statement banning the organization of the elections called for by PA President Abbas, saying that the decision had been made without national consent. The statement cautioned Gaza Strip residents against taking any part in the upcoming elections. (AFP, Ynetnews.com)

The Israeli High Court of Justice rebuked the defence establishment for having failed to execute the demolition orders against nine illegally built houses in the “Ofra” settlement. The court heard a petition by the B’Tselem and Yesh Din human rights groups. The State argued that the houses had not been torn down because Defence Minister Barak had yet to authorize the move. (Ynetnews)

The Goldstone report on Operation Cast Lead would not go away even if Israel launched an independent inquiry into the campaign, Israeli Permanent Representative to the UN Gabriela Shalev said during a discussion held at the Israel Democracy Institute. “We are seeing a murky wave against the State of Israel the likes of which has not been seen in many years.” (Ynetnews)

The spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly, Jean Victor Nkolo, said that the President “intends to convene a plenary meeting of the General Assembly on 4 November” to discuss the Goldstone report. (AP)

Jerusalem must be the capital of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, with arrangements for the holy sites acceptable to all, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message to the Jerusalem International Forum in Rabat, delivered by United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert H. Serry. He cited as obstacles to peace the continued Israeli evictions and house demolitions in East Jerusalem, the closure of Palestinian institutions and the expansion of settlements, contrary to international law and the Road Map. (UN News Centre)

At a press conference held at United Nations Headquarters, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “Events in Jerusalem can undermine trust throughout the region, and I call upon all to avoid provocative acts. … The Human Rights Council has now referred the Goldstone report to the General Assembly, which will consider its findings and recommendations. I look forward to its decision. I have called repeatedly on both the Israeli Government and the Palestinians to carry out full, independent and credible investigations. Meanwhile, 10 months after hostilities ended in Gaza, we see no progress on reconstruction or the reopening of borders.” (UN News Centre)

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Palestinian farmers said that Israeli settlers, accompanied by bulldozers, had arrived at their lands near Hebron and had started to destroy their crops. When farmers had tried to stop the settlers, soldiers had attacked them with rifle butts and batons, injuring five of them and a journalist. (IMEMC)

A Bethlehem University student was arrested while crossing from one part of the West Bank to another, because her address in the Israeli-controlled Population Registry was registered in the Gaza Strip. She was blindfolded, handcuffed and taken to Gaza by force. Gisha: Legal Center for Freedom of Movement filed an urgent petition with the Israeli Supreme Court demanding the immediate return of the student to her studies. (IMEMC)

Thousands of Palestinians marched to commemorate the 53rd anniversary of the Kafr Qasem massacre, carried out by Israeli forces in 1956. (IMEMC)

US Special Envoy George Mitchell returned to Jerusalem, in advance of a visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in order to try to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. He was to hold talks with Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak the same day and to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu on 30 October. It was not immediately clear when he would see Palestinian officials. Mrs. Clinton would meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders over the weekend, the State Department said. (AP)

In a taped message to participants in the first national conference held by J Street, a Jewish-American group that advocates the two-State solution and rejects Israeli settlement activity, King Abdullah II of Jordan said: “The [Arab Peace] Initiative is not just about the two-State solution. It is about regional peace, about Israel having normal ties with all Arab and Muslim States ─ 57 States that still do not recognize it.” (The Jordan Times)

The UK Foreign Office said that the Hamas decision to ban PA elections in Gaza “betrays the Palestinians in Gaza who have suffered so much in the past year”. (AFP)

Communication with Egypt over the conciliation plan was frozen, Fatah Central Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad said. He said that Egypt would likely “take its hands off the dialogue file and refer the case to the Arab League so it can take a position on the stalling party”. (Ma’an News Agency)

The PLO said that Israel’s ongoing demolition of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem “is a war crime and a deliberate affront to international resolutions and humanitarian law”. In a statement, the PLO’s international relations department slammed what it termed Israel’s “policy of expulsion and ethnic cleansing”. (Ma’an News Agency)

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said that Israel’s ongoing house demolitions and excavations in East Jerusalem were unacceptable. “These actions, which reinforce the status quo in advance of a final-status agreement, put at risk a shared city and two-State solution,” he said, addressing the Jerusalem International Forum in Rabat. France and the European Union were calling for a settlement freeze that included East Jerusalem. Expressing concern over recent events at the Al-Aqsa mosque, he stated, “We all realize the vulnerable situation of this holy city, which has repeatedly been the basis for violence and conflict”, adding that holy sites should be used “for tolerant worship” and that “each party should avoid any kind of provocations”. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Swedish presidency of the European Union expressed deep concern at the increasing tension in East Jerusalem and urged all parties to refrain from any provocative action. The presidency was particularly concerned at the recent demolition of the homes of Palestinian families and called for an immediate and unconditional halt to such actions. (www.se2009.eu)

Britain condemned the “unacceptable” evictions of Palestinians in East Jerusalem and urged the Israeli authorities to avoid “such provocative and illegal actions”, the Foreign Office said. (AFP)

In a message to the Jerusalem International Forum, Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, said that a negotiated solution to the question of Jerusalem based on international law and United Nations resolutions was crucial if there was to be a durable peace in the whole region. He stated that any Israeli action that changed its legal status, or its cultural or demographic character, including the demolition of houses, the eviction of Palestinians and the expansion of settlements, violated international law and must be rescinded. He added that such actions also sabotaged efforts to re-launch permanent-status negotiations. He cited as greatly alarming recent violent events at Al-Haram Al-Sharif, noting that as history had shown, such events prone to escalate into large-scale violence. Collective action by the international community was necessary, he said, to ensure that Israel would scrupulously abide by its legal obligations. (Division for Palestinian Rights)

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, told Al Jazeera: “About two weeks ago, at the UNESCO General Assembly in Paris, I called on the UN and UNESCO to declare East Jerusalem ─ the historical city of Jerusalem, a world historical site ─ untouchable. That way, it would preserve the Muslim and Christian monuments.” (www.aljazeera.net)

A report issued by the Israeli Macro Center for Political Economics, in partnership with the Berlin-based Friedrich Ebert Foundation, stated that the Palestinian population in Jerusalem had grown from 25.5 per cent in 1967 to 35 per cent today. It predicted that Palestinians would constitute a majority in the city in 20 years, despite Israeli efforts to ensure a Jewish majority and the expropriation of about 35 per cent, or more than 24,000 dunums of East Jerusalem’s territory from its Palestinian owners. (The Jerusalem Post, WAFA)

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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton planned to travel to Abu Dhabi to hold talks with PA President Abbas the following day. After a meeting with Mr. Abbas, Mrs. Clinton was to travel to Israel for talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu on 1 November. (The Jerusalem Post, DPA)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu met with US Special Envoy Mitchell ahead of a meeting with US Secretary of State Clinton. Mr. Netanyahu said he hoped that the discussions would help “relaunch the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians as soon as possible”. Mr. Mitchell, for his part, called a comprehensive peace in the region a “common objective”. (AFP, DPA)

In the East Jerusalem neighbourhood Beit Safafa, Orthodox Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian family in order to take over their home. At least one of the six settlers was armed with a gun and fired on the family members. According to Palestinian sources, five had been injured in the incident, while Israeli sources said that between one and four had been injured. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Indonesian Government condemned shooting by Israeli forces at Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa mosque. Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah stated that “we do not tolerate any violent acts in worship places”, adding that violence at Al-Aqsa had tarnished the sanctity of the worship place and disturbed people who prayed in the mosque. (Xinhua)

Egyptian authorities discovered a smuggling tunnel in the Salah Ad-Din area in an unpopulated plot of land. No one was arrested, as the area was empty, but authorities were working to destroy the tunnel. Meanwhile, security forces took over a warehouse full of goods at Rafah, where they seized 9 tons of iron, five washing machines and 1,300 glass jars, as well as 30 cartons of household appliances and some spare car parts. In addition, five trucks loaded with cookies and sweets, as well as chips and olive oil, were seized near the tunnel area. (Ma’an News Agency)

During a weekly protest organized by the Popular Committee Against the Wall, two demonstrators were injured and several suffered from inhalation of tear gas from canisters thrown at them by Israeli soldiers in an attempt to suppress the demonstration which took place in Bil’in. Local residents had been joined by a group of international and Israeli peace activists, had raised Palestinian flags and banners condemning the occupation, the racist policy of building the wall and settlements, the confiscation of land, road closures and the detention and killing of innocent people. (WAFA)

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Israeli forces shot and detained a Palestinian in the Gaza Strip when he approached the Gaza fence in a “suspicious manner,” according to an IDF spokeswoman. (Ma’an News Agency)

In Abu Dhabi, PA President Abbas met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. They had an in-depth discussion about the peace process and the importance of a halt in settlement construction by Israel. (WAFA)

Speaking at a joint press conference ahead of her meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, US Secretary of State Clinton said that she was eager to see the sides embarking on talks, but added that a settlement freeze was not a precondition for negotiations. For his part, Mr. Netanyahu said that Israel was interested in making progress on the peace front vis-à-vis the Palestinians and also with respect to regional peace, and that he was willing to embark on peace talks immediately. Earlier, Mrs. Clinton had met with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who had told her that the PA was seeking to prevent negotiations with Israel by presenting preconditions for a resumption of talks, adding that the PA had not made such stipulations in its dealings with previous Israeli governments. He also recommended that Mrs. Clinton refrain from negotiating with the Palestinians as long as they continued their “incitement” with regard to the Goldstone report and from insisting on raising the matter with the International Court of Justice. Responding to Mrs. Clinton’s remarks, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, official spokesman of the PA presidency, said, “A settlement freeze and acknowledging the terms of reference [of the peace process] is the only way towards peace negotiations.” (Ynetnews)

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the US could not effectively engage in peacemaking while ignoring Hamas and that US Secretary of State Clinton’s visit was “destined to fail”. (Haaretz)

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad condemned an attack by Israeli settlers who had shot a Palestinian and injured four others the previous day in an attempt to take over their home in the Beit Safafa neighbourhood of East Jerusalem the previous day. (Ma’an News Agency)

Ghassan Daghlas, the PA official holding the settlement portfolio for the northern West Bank, said that dozens of “Yitzhak” settlers had thrown stones at villagers in Iraq Burin village, south of Nablus, injuring a 22-year-old. Israeli security personnel arriving at the scene detained a 36-year-old Palestinian. (Ma’an News Agency)

Mohammad Ramadan Al-Agha, a Hamas water official, said that the Amnesty International report on the water situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory should be utilized in order to file lawsuits in international courts for water theft and compensation. He added that Gaza needed 200 million cubic metres of water annually from the West Bank to overcome its water crisis, as desalination plants remained defunct. (Ma’an News Agency)

The PA was about to conclude a deal with banks and contractors to start a large building project in “Area C” of the West Bank, which was under Israeli security and administrative control. Speaking with the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, PA Minister of Public Works and Housing Mohammad Shtayyeh said that his office would build in “all Palestinian areas”, because they were “Palestinian territories, despite the Israeli control over them”. (IsraelNationalNews.com)

Following a referendum, students at the University of Sussex in Brighton, United Kingdom, voted this week to boycott Israeli goods. The decision was in keeping with the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign calling upon Israel to respect international law and end the occupation of Palestinian territory. (Ma’an News Agency)


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