Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter

Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
30 June 2011



Division for Palestinian Rights

Chronological Review of Events Relating to the
Question of Palestine

Monthly media monitoring review
June 2011



Monthly highlights

• France presents peace plan to revive talks between Israel and the Palestinians (2 June)

• In a draft resolution, US Congressman calls on US to withhold UN contributions if it recognizes a Palestinian State (3 June)

• Palestinian protests mark 44th anniversary of Israel's occupation (5 June)

• Lesotho recognizes and Malawi reiterates recognition of a Palestinian State within 1967 borders (6 June)

• International figures warn against rejecting a recent Palestinian unity agreement, saying lasting peace was only possible if Hamas is involved
(10 June)

• Guinea-Bissau’s President says his country supports the establishment of an independent Palestinian State in September (12 June)

• EU High Representative Ashton calls for the urgent convening of the Middle East Quartet (13 June)

• Turkish President says that Turkey would vote for a UN resolution recognizing Palestine as a sovereign State (16 June)

• Fatah and Hamas delay unveiling of new Government over disagreement on selection of Prime Minister (19 June)

• Armenia will support the Palestinian people’s demands for freedom, independence and statehood (22 June)

• UN International Meeting in Support of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process opens in Brussels (28 June)

• UN International Meeting in Brussels calls on the EU to support Palestinian statehood at the UN in September (29 June)

1

The Israeli army launched large-scale military manoeuvres in the northern Jordan Valley, forcing the Palestinian residents of Khirbet Yazra to leave their homes. (WAFA)

Israeli border police raided the village of Sur Baher in Jerusalem and severely beat and injured a 30-year-old Palestinian worker from Bethlehem. (WAFA)

Israeli soldiers detained three Palestinian teenagers in Hebron. They also installed roadblocks, invaded several nearby villages and towns and broke into several homes, causing damage. Israeli soldiers also arrested eight Palestinians during raids in other parts of the West Bank. (IMEMC, WAFA)

Gaza fishermen said that a skiff was hit and sunk by an Israeli naval boat off the Rafah coast. Fisherman Ahmad Abu Salmiyeh, 20, was injured after sinking with his boat following the collision, which took place near Tal As-Sultan in the southern Gaza Strip. An Israeli military spokesman denied that the navy sank a boat or caused injuries. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli soldiers invaded the village of Kafr Al Lubbad, east of Tulkarm, broke into and searched a school construction site and interrogated several residents, checking their ID cards. The IDF also installed a roadblock at the entrance of the village. (IMEMC)

After meeting with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas in Rome, France’s Foreign Minister, Alain Juppé, urged Israel and the Palestinians to resume peace talks by September or face "consequences". He told reporters at the conclusion of the meeting, “The deadline is September. Something absolutely must happen by September". Mr. Juppé was to travel on to Israel and the Palestinian territories with a message from President Nicolas Sarkozy telling both sides that peace was now within reach and that the current Middle East stalemate was untenable. Mr. Juppé stressed that the talks would be based on the 1967 borders, the recognition of Israel and its right to live in peace and security, adding "Perhaps at a later point of the talks we can address the difficult question of refugees and Jerusalem". Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erakat, who was present at the meeting, said, "We hope that the Israeli Government can announce its acceptance of two States on the basis of the '67 borders'," adding "If it cannot do that then ... we are left with no alternative but to go to the Security Council for admittance". (AFP)

At a news conference in Moscow, Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister, Moshe Yaalon, said that Israel would not accept a Palestinian State that cannot be trusted or was not in control within its territorial bounds. The previous day, Russian Federation Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had reminded Mr. Yaalon of a Quartet demand for Israel to return to the 1967 borders, save for mutually agreed swaps. (Voice of Russia)

Egyptian Ambassador to the PA, Yaser Othman, told the Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hal that Egypt was seriously considering the possibility of opening a consulate in Gaza City. He said that the office would oversee travel coordination for those not permitted to travel freely through the newly opened Rafah crossing and that the office would be a branch of the consular seat in Ramallah and could be opened shortly after a new unified Palestinian Cabinet was announced. (Ma’an News Agency)

Hamas officials said that Egypt was limiting the number of people allowed to leave Gaza and that the number of travellers who had crossed into Egypt through Rafah had fallen dramatically over the past two days under the new procedure. They added that Egyptian officials had told Hamas that a maximum of 350 Gaza residents would be granted entry each day. (The Jerusalem Post)

Officials at the Palestinian Embassy in Egypt said that contacts were being made with Egyptian authorities over the publication of a list of 5,000 blacklisted Gazans preventing them from travelling through the recently opened Rafah crossing. Representative of Palestine in Cairo, Mohammad Arafat, said that the situation was being handled delicately following Egyptian insistence that all efforts already made had come in the face of immense pressure from Israel and the United States. "Egypt is under Israeli and US pressure to close Rafah and to keep the situation as it was after June 2007," Mr. Arafat said, noting there were continuing efforts to optimize the current crossing situation. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli police allowed extremist Jewish groups under its protection into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound as part of celebrations marking the annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967. (WAFA)

Over 40,000 Israelis marched through the streets of Jerusalem commemorating the 44th anniversary of the Six-Day War. Twenty-four people were arrested during what was known as the annual Flag Day parade, which marched through the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, departing from the previous years’ route through the city centre. Israeli police said that the biggest problems had not been in Sheikh Jarrah but in the area of the Damascus Gate and Rehov Hanevi’im where mostly left-wing Jewish protesters had thrown rocks. Knesset Member Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) accused the left-wing activists of inciting the Arab residents. One Israeli entered a mosque in Sheikh Jarrah with an Israeli flag but was immediately arrested by the police. After the incident, Arab children went to the roof of a tall building next to the mosque and raised five Palestinian flags while thousands of Israeli marchers below booed them. (The Jerusalem Post)

2

Israeli forces, accompanied by 50 Israeli military jeeps, raided Nablus and Tulkarm and arrested Fatah lawmaker Hussam Khader, a proponent of reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, at his home in the Balata refugee camp, and Hamas lawmaker Abdul Rahmad Zeidan at his home in Tulkarem. An Israeli military spokesman confirmed three detentions in Nablus but said that he was not aware of any members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) being detained. He said that the detainees had been taken for security questioning. Palestinian security sources said that An-Najah University professor Ghassan Thoqan was detained in Nablus, as was Yasser Badersawi, the director of the Right of Return and Refugee Affairs Center. PLC member Tayseer Nasrallah said that the detentions were an attempt by Israel to disrupt the Palestinian reconciliation process. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian groups were planning to organize border protests to commemorate defeat in the Six-Day War in 1967. On its part, the Lebanese army declared the area around the country's border with Israel a closed military zone, a move aimed at preventing Palestinian protesters from demonstrating in the area this weekend. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the Syrian Arab Republic and Iran had been behind the Nakba Day mass protests earlier in the month, adding, that the same elements had been pushing for riots in rallies scheduled for 5 June. (Haaretz)

In Ramallah, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé presented a peace plan to the PA represented by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The plan, which was meant to revive stalled talks between Israel and the Palestinians, was largely based on US President Barack Obama's speech last month, in which he called for a resumption of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations based on 1967 borders, with agreed land swaps. Mr. Juppé said that he did not expect the Palestinians to respond to his proposal immediately, adding that he would present the plan to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu later during the day.

During his press conference in Ramallah with PA Prime Minister Fayyad, Foreign Minister Juppé offered to host a Middle East peace conference in Paris before the end of July to address the resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. "We would be prepared, on the basis of a request by the [Middle East] Quartet, to organize in Paris, before the end of July, a conference that would not be simply for the donors but a broader political conference involving the negotiation process", he said. (AFP, Haaretz)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu warned that Israel would act with "determination" to safeguard its borders ahead of demonstrations Palestinians were planning along Israeli frontiers to mark the 1967 war. "Like any country in the world, Israel has the right and obligation to guard and defend its borders. Therefore my instructions are clear, to act with restraint, but with determination, to protect our borders, our communities and our citizens," he said. (DPA, IMEMC)

Six Israeli police officers and five settlers were injured in clashes that erupted between the settlers and the police, as the latter started to dismantle buildings in the Ali Ayan illegal settlement outpost in the West Bank, north of Ramallah. Twelve vehicles belonging to Palestinians were also vandalized along the Nablus-Ramallah road, not far from the “Shilo” settlement where the outpost was dismantled. (AFP, IMEMC)

Three Palestinians were injured in clashes after settlers set fire to farmland west of Nablus. (Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinians in the village of Madama, south of Nablus, claimed that a group of settlers from the nearby Yitzhar settlement had deliberately set fire to Palestinian wheat fields. The Israeli military, upon receiving a complaint from the Palestinians, arrived in the area to find Palestinians and settlers throwing stones at each other, and dispersed the riot. (AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's office issued a statement denying reports of a breakthrough in negotiations to free IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. The statement was issued after Egyptian newspaper El-Mesryoon reported that a deal to free Cpl. Shalit, in exchange for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, would be completed within hours. (AFP)

Pro-Palestinian movements were planning to send a large number of activists on commercial flights to Ben-Gurion Airport to arrive on 8 July, a day before the anniversary of the International Court of Justice advisory opinion on the separation wall. A report published by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center claimed that the organizers believed the "end the siege" convoys were "too limited" and broader actions were needed to "remove the blockade from the entire land of Palestine". According to the organizers, 500 people had already booked their flights to Israel, including families and children from around the world. After holding a protest rally at Ben-Gurion Airport, the activists planned to travel to the West Bank for solidarity meetings with local Palestinians. Fifteen organizations, most of which were Palestinian, were behind the fly-in event, including the International Solidarity Movement. (Ynetnews.com)

3

IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz had ordered the increased deployment of security forces across all Israel's borders starting Friday, ahead of the planned Palestinian Naksa Day commemoration. (Ynet News)

Palestinians in Lebanon's refugee camps called off a weekend march to the Lebanon-Israel border to mark the 44th anniversary of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and announced plans to hold a general strike Sunday in all refugee camps in Lebanon instead. “There won’t be a protest march on Sunday”, Yasser Azzam, Hamas official and organizer of the march, told The Daily Star in a telephone interview, explaining that the decision had been made by the “preparatory committee of the return [to Palestine] march” after it was told that Sunday’s march did not have the approval of the Lebanese authorities. (The Daily Star)

Chicago mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post that "[Obama] reminded us that every President and many Israeli elected leaders have recognized that the borders are one starting point for negotiations, not the end point. That statement does not mean a return to 1967 borders". (The Washington Post)

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé met with Knesset opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima), who said that Israel should work with France as an "international friend" working towards peace. Ms. Livni furthermore said that this was a "clear and urgent Israeli interest” and that she was "gladdened to hear fresh ideas from [Israel's] friends in France”. (The Jerusalem Post)

During his meeting with Foreign Minister Juppé in Tel Aviv, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak reiterated that Israel would be unable to negotiate with Hamas since the group neither recognized Israel nor denounced terrorist attacks against its civilians. (The Jerusalem Post)

During a meeting in Rome with PA President Abbas, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that “achieving the goal of an independent, viable Palestinian State was long overdue”. He thanked Mr. Abbas for outlining Palestinian thoughts and plans on working toward statehood and on what was required for a return to negotiations. (un.org/sg)

A US congressman had drafted a resolution that calls on the US to withhold contributions to the UN if it recognized a Palestinian State. Representative Steve Chabot (Republican, Ohio), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Middle East subcommittee, introduced the non-binding measure which had yet to have co-sponsors. (The Jerusalem Post)

4

Around 5,000 people took part in a march in central Tel Aviv supporting the establishment of a Palestinian State based on the 1967 borders. Knesset members Dov Khenin (Hadash) and Zahava Galon (Meretz) and playwright Yehoshua Sobol gave speeches. "Members of the US Congress won't be the ones who will pay the price of the next war," Mr. Sobol said. "When Netanyahu said no to the 1967 borders, he said no to peace." Numerous leftist political parties and groups – including Labor, Meretz, Hadash, the Derech faction of Kadima, the National Left, Peace Now and Gush Shalom – participated in the march. Marchers held signs reading "Palestinian State – An Israeli interest", "Bibi, recognize the Palestinians" and "Yes, we KEN [which means 'yes' in Hebrew]", among others. (Haaretz)

5

Israeli police prevented a group of Palestinians, including Fatah leaders, from marching in East Jerusalem to commemorate Naksa Day, according to officials. Dimitri Diliani, a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, told WAFA that dozens of Israeli forces attacked the Palestinians as they gathered at Al-Zahra Street, in the commercial area of East Jerusalem. (WAFA)

Two children were among those detained by Israeli forces in Jerusalem, following a day of Palestinian protests across the West Bank marking the 44th anniversary of Israel's occupation. In Silwan, locals said that an undercover unit took three young teens from their homes, while in the nearby neighbourhood of At-Tur, seven were detained after a protest march was quashed. (Ma’an News Agency)

An estimated 300 Palestinians, who gathered at the Qalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem, were met with tear gas and rubber-coated bullets, as they marked the 44th anniversary of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. A medic with the Palestinian Red Crescent told Ma'an that 10 had been evacuated by ambulance, and said that several had been hit by rubber-coated bullets. Red Crescent officials said that by the end of the day, 120 were treated for injuries, including 9 volunteer medics who had been sprayed with stink water as they offered treatment to protesters. (Ma’an news)

PA President Abbas told France that he was ready to attend a Paris peace conference if Israel accepted talks based on the 1967 borders, an aide told AFP. Nimr Hammad, a political adviser to Mr. Abbas, said that the President had told French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé that he had agreed officially to the French proposal to host a peace conference in Paris before July. (Ma’an News Agency)

Prime Minister Netanyahu responded coolly to France's proposal to convene Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Paris. "We will study the proposal and discuss it with our friend, the United States," Mr. Netanyahu told his Cabinet, in remarks released by his office. "We will see how the [French] proposal fits with other initiatives” he said. Israel had traditionally been reluctant to embrace a major European role in Middle East peacemaking, preferring to have its main ally, the United States, take the lead. (Reuters)

Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby called on the United States to sponsor an international peace conference aimed at finding a solution to the Israel-Palestine issue. Mr. Elaraby said that the stances of the two sides were known to everyone and that there was no time to waste in seeking a solution. During a meeting with a US Congress delegation, the Egyptian Foreign Minister said that the recognition of a Palestinian State was consistent with US support for a two-State solution, as mentioned in President Obama’s recent speech on the Middle East. (Al Masry Al Youm)

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said: “I am deeply concerned by reports that a number of protesters have been killed and others injured following protests in the Golan Heights yesterday. We recognize Israel’s right to defend herself. It is vital that any response is proportionate, avoiding lethal use of force unless absolutely necessary, and that the right to protest is respected. I continue to call on all parties, including the Governments of Israel and Syria, to do everything they can to protect the lives of civilians and to avoid provocative acts.” (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

Egyptian officials closed the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, Terminal Director Ayyoub Abu Sha'ar said. Mr. Abu Sha'ar said that the Egyptian authorities’ 'mechanism' at the terminal was unclear. He said that operations had been halted after disagreements about capacity and coordination and would not resume until officials on both sides had come to an agreement on its operation. (Ma’an News Agency)

6

Israel's Prime Minister said that attempts by pro-Palestinian protesters to breach the Israeli frontier showed that Israel's very existence was at the centre of the Middle East conflict. Mr. Netanyahu said that the protesters were not interested in a State alongside Israel. "The argument is over the fact of the establishment of the State of Israel," he told reporters. (AP)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton poured cold water on a French proposal to convene Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Paris, saying that there was no sign either side was ready to talk. "Right now, we are still in a wait-and-see attitude because we don't yet have any assurance from either party that they would return to negotiations,'' Ms. Clinton told reporters after a meeting with visiting French Foreign Minister Juppé, and said that it would not be “productive” to have a meeting at this time. Ms. Clinton also held separate meetings with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators. (Reuters)

Executive Committee member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erakat denied that a Palestinian delegation to Washington exchanged messages with an Israeli official. "There was no meeting with the Israeli delegate Yitzhak Molcho, no direct or indirect exchange of messages," Mr. Erakat said. (Haaretz)

Moscow was concerned about a new Palestinian-Israeli confrontation, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, commenting on the latest events in the Golan Heights. The latest events “show again the urgent need for energetic efforts towards resetting Palestinian-Israeli talks at the earliest opportunity, and unfreezing other tracks of the Middle East settlement”, the Ministry said, adding, “This will provide a reliable way for realizing the national aspirations of Palestinians, ensuring a fair and long-term solution to all questions concerning the final status, the security of Israel, and all countries in the region”. (Itar-Tass)

Fatah Secretary for International Relations, Nabil Sha’ath, said that the Kingdom of Lesotho had recognized the Palestinian State within 1967 borders. The African country told its Permanent Representative at the United Nations to contact the Palestinian representative to start procedures to open diplomatic representation between the two States, said Mr. Sha’ath. He added that the Republic of Malawi had also reiterated its previous recognition of the Palestinian State within 1967 borders. (WAFA)

Israeli authorities decided to open the Kerem Shalom crossing to allow limited quantities of aid into Gaza. Palestinian liaison official Raed Fattouh said that Israel had agreed to allow the entry of around 300 truckloads of goods. The delivery would include 12 truckloads of cement for projects of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), six trucks of iron pipes for the German Development Bank, 56 truckloads of aggregate for projects of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and 20 new cars. (Ma’an News Agency)

Gaza authorities had asked Egypt to follow through on its April promise to open the Rafah crossing and put an end to the confusion that led to its three-day closure this week. (Ma'an News Agency)

Jewish settlers assaulted Palestinian shepherds in Khirbet Umm al-Khair, a locale south of Hebron, according to witnesses. (WAFA)

Fourteen Palestinian refugees were reported killed and another 43 injured in Al-Yarmok refugee camp, near Damascus. The victims were part of a massive group mourning the death of between 10 and 23 Palestinians by Israeli fire on the Golan ceasefire line the previous day. Angered over the failure of camp leaders to organize demonstrations marking the Naksa, an estimated 100,000 mourners were said to have attacked the headquarters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command. (WAFA)

Israeli forces arrested 13 Palestinians in the West Bank overnight. (The Jerusalem Post)

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon held a press conference in which he said: “As you know, I returned from Rome on Friday, where … I also met with the President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, who briefed me on his thoughts and plans for Palestinian reconciliation and Palestinian statehood. For my part, I emphasized the imperative that both sides, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, return to the negotiating table”. On his flotilla panel, the Secretary-General said: “This panel is still discussing the incident which happened during the time of the flotilla last year. They will bring me their recommendations and their findings some time in July … About [other] possible flotillas … it is very important to avoid any unnecessary confrontation … So wherever it is possible, when there are some other routes, then I would hope that these allowed routes should be used”. On Palestinian statehood, he said: “I have discussed at length with President Abbas of the Palestinian National Authority, and this is up to the Member States again to decide”. (www.un.org)

7

A young Palestinian man was injured when Israeli forces opened fire on a non-violent rally in Beit Hanoun, near the Erez crossing in northern Gaza. Dozens had marched toward the border with Israel demanding Israel's disengagement from a swath of land inside the coastal enclave that had been declared a "no-go zone" by the IDF. (Ma'an News Agency)

The IDF would be on high alert along the borders with the Syrian Arab Republic and Lebanon, as well as in the West Bank, amid concern that Palestinians would launch large protests in conjunction with Al-Quds Day – Jerusalem Day – marking Israel’s capture of Jerusalem in 1967. (The Jerusalem Post)

US President Obama said during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House: “I thanked the Chancellor for her support for the principles that I laid out last month as the basis for negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. … Just as we agree that both sides will need to make difficult choices, we agree that unilateral actions, such as Palestinians seeking a vote on statehood at the UN General Assembly, should be avoided.” Chancellor Merkel said, “We want a Jewish State of Israel alongside an independent Palestinian State. Unilateral measures are not helping at all to bring about this cause, and we agree that we wish to cooperate very closely on this, because as we both say, time is of the essence.” (www.whitehouse.gov)

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé told reporters at UN Headquarters that France would pursue efforts to organize a Middle East conference despite reservations expressed by the United States and Israel. “I have the feeling that our initiative has moved things [in the peace process]. I think there will be positive developments in the next weeks,” Mr. Juppé said. He added that PA President Abbas had “responded favourably” to the French proposal and Israel had asked for more information on the form of the negotiations. “The Israeli Government is to give its response in the coming days,” he said. (AFP)

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said that if a Palestinian parley in Paris would demand that Israel give up fundamental positions on security and borders, it would be better to simply hold off until September. (The Jerusalem Post)

Quartet Envoy Tony Blair said that he was open to a French proposal to host a Middle East peace conference. "What the French Foreign Minister has been saying is absolutely right in the sense that you need to put together not just support for Palestinian statehood and institution-building, but some political momentum has to be injected back into this," he said on a visit to Oslo. One of the ways political momentum could be injected, the former British Prime Minister said, would be by transforming the scheduled Paris meeting of international donors into a broader peace conference to help re-launch stalled negotiations. "We should certainly examine that," he said. (AFP)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stressed that Tehran wanted a "Palestinian Government over the entire land of Palestine". During a press conference in the capital, he said: "A Palestinian Government must be established over the entire land of Palestine and Palestinian refugees must return to their land," Mr. Ahmadinejad said. (AFP)

The Quids Foundation announced the launch of the Al-Izza convoy, which would depart on 13 June from Durban, South Africa, and pass through the cities of Sudan, with 10 trucks carrying aid and emergency materials for the Palestinian people. (Sudan News Agency)

Arsonists torched a West Bank mosque and scrawled Hebrew graffiti on one of its walls. The Palestinian mayor of el-Mughayer village said that a tyre was set ablaze inside the mosque in an apparent attempt to burn down the building. No one had claimed responsibility for the act, but suspicion had fallen upon Jewish settlers. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had condemned the act calling it "a heinous act of provocation". Noting Mr. Netanyahu's comment, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, said in a statement, "The actions of Israeli extremists are highly provocative and threatening." He called on Israel to act in accordance “with its obligations under international law as the occupying Power” and "ensure the accountability of those responsible and protect the human rights of Palestinians and their property.” (AP, www.unsco.org)

Turkey's Foreign Minister had called on activists to rethink a planned flotilla to Gaza and given suggestions on how to avoid fresh tensions after last year's bloodshed, reports said. "Civic groups should take into account the fact that the Rafah crossing [between Gaza and Egypt] has been opened and ... act in a more careful manner," Ahmet Davutoğlu said in remarks carried by Anatolia News Agency. The Minister, however, insisted it would be "unacceptable" for the Turkish Government to demand that independent civic groups abandon the mission, planned for late June with 15 ships from various countries. (AFP)

It was reported that the Israeli Interior Ministry was preparing to officially approve 4,100 housing units for the “Ramat Shlomo,” “Gilo,” “Pisgat Zeev” and “Har Homa” settlements in East Jerusalem. (IMEMC)

Israeli forces arrested a 73-year-old Hamas-affiliated lawmaker, officials said. Ahmad Al-Hajj Ali was taken into Israeli custody after soldiers entered and searched his home in the Ein Beit El-Mai refugee camp west of Nablus. (Ma'an News Agency)

Israeli forces detained a Palestinian man in Jenin after raiding houses. (Ma’an News Agency)

In a statement, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay reminded Israel of its obligation to carry out investigations into the events surrounding the protests of 15 May in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the occupied Golan Heights and on the Lebanese border, which resulted in the loss of 15 civilian lives. "Where there is evidence that crimes were committed, prosecution and appropriate punishment must follow," Ms. Pillay added. (www.unog.ch)

Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu penned a letter of praise to Marrickville Council in Australia over its support for a boycott of Israel, almost two months after the policy was abandoned amid an angry political backlash. The Nobel Peace Prize recipient and critic of Israel wrote that he wanted to extend his respects to the mayor, Fiona Byrne, and her fellow councillors ''for taking a stand to isolate the Israeli State''. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

A delegation of five US Congressmen met with PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki in Ramallah. After the meeting, Congressman John Yarmouth said, “The settlement policy is an impediment to the peace process and to negotiations,” and urged Israel to “follow a different perspective”. Congressman Steve Cohen said that the visit aimed to accelerate the peace process and praised Palestinian leaders’ commitment to proceeding with substantial negotiations. The visit was organized by the American Jewish lobby group J-Street. (WAFA)

8

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said that in the wake of US and German statements demanding Palestinian officials abort plans to seek UN recognition of statehood: "People do not negotiate their right to statehood. Rather, this is an inherent right. … Far from acting unilaterally, Palestinians are bringing their case for statehood before the United Nations, the world’s pre-eminent multilateral body. Self-determination and respect for the sovereignty of nations are principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter, making the UN a natural forum to resolve this issue. … For the last two years, we have built our State from the ground up. Our efforts have been internationally recognized and widely praised. We fulfil all the requirements of statehood as stipulated under Article 4 of the UN Charter and the Montevideo Convention. The sole obstacle that remains is Israel’s refusal to end its occupation ". (Ma’an News Agency)

The PA may postpone plans to ask the UN in September to recognize a Palestinian State on the pre-1967 lines, a senior PA official in Ramallah said. The official said that the PA leadership would discuss the possibility of postponing the move in return for American and international guarantees that Israel would refrain from “creating new facts on the ground” in the coming months. (The Jerusalem Post)

UNRWA released a new report on the labour market in the West Bank for the second half of 2010. “While there was 9:modest employment growth, such growth was on the wane in 2010 while the number of unemployed accelerated in the second half of the year. Refugee labour force participation continued to recede, perhaps due to discouragement about job prospects, as refugee employment declined in this period,” said Salem Ajluni, the author of the report. UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness said, “The implications of these results are profound for the refugees served by UNRWA. … The economic good news that the media have made much of in recent months overlooks deeper processes underway. Refugee labour market conditions in particular regressed. The occupation and its related infrastructure such as settlements and settler-only roads that encroach on and divide Palestinian land, settler violence and the West Bank Barrier have diminished prospects for Palestinians in general and especially for refugees.” (www.unrwa.org)

The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt was reopened after a four-day closure. The decision was made after Palestinian and Egyptian officials agreed on a set of mechanisms for the passage of Palestinian travellers. The crossing would be open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and an average of 550 passengers per day would be allowed to cross. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA), a coalition of more than 80 international aid and development agencies, said in a new report that Israeli-imposed movement and access restrictions on humanitarian and development work in the Occupied Palestinian Territory were costing donors and their taxpayers at least $4.5 million a year. “These restrictions are effectively robbing people in Gaza of a real chance for recovery. Nearly 80 per cent of the population in Gaza is dependant on humanitarian aid and our time and money is being wasted because we cannot consistently or efficiently get staff and necessary materials in and out of Gaza,” said Kathy Joubeh, Director of Programmes of Medical Aid for Palestinians. The agencies said access restrictions were also affecting critical aid programmes in some areas of the West Bank. Restrictions on access to people living in the so-called seam zone (a closed military zone between the Green Line and the Wall) and for Bedouin and herding communities in the Jordan Valley meant that they were just as vulnerable as those in Gaza. Of Bedouin and herding households in the Jordan Valley, 79 per cent reported not having enough food to eat, AIDA said. (www.aidajerusalem.org)

Israeli settlers set fire to nearly 20 dunums of Palestinian fields near Bani Na’im, a town east of Hebron. (WAFA)

9

Israeli forces detained five Palestinians in the West Bank, two of them minors, and raided the village of Tammun in the Tubas region of the West Bank. According to an Israeli military statement, the group was “transferred for questioning”. (Ma’an News Agency, IMEMC)

Israeli forces detained Hamas leader and former PA Minister Wasfi Qabaha from his home in Jenin, witnesses said. In 2007, the IDF had detained Mr. Qabaha without charge for three years. An Israeli military spokeswoman said that troops had detained eight Palestinians overnight in the West Bank. (Ma’an News Agency)

Sections of the Hamas political leadership were debating proposals to stay out of future Palestinian Governments. Hamas officials had claimed that "Hamas found that being in government caused huge damage to the movement, and therefore it has changed its policy”. (IMEMC)

Divisions among the PA leadership had emerged over plans to seek statehood at the UN in September. Opponents of the plan, such as Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, former Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia and former Permanent Observer of Palestine to the UN, Nasser Al-Kidwa, who were concerned that the plan might alienate US support, were advising PA President Abbas to drop the plan. The group had also voiced fears that any recognition of the Palestinian State would be within provisional borders that may lead to the perpetuation of the status quo on East Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees’ right of return. Earlier this week, Mr. Al-Kidwa had acknowledged the limits of the UN strategy in a closed gathering of prominent Palestinian intellectuals, saying the Palestinians should distinguish between getting support and getting recognition. “We cannot get recognition simply because the US will veto it,” he added. PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki said the Palestinians "are determined" to seek UN membership in September "unless negotiations resume based on [US President] Obama's parameters." (AP, Haaretz, IMEMC)

Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said that the decision to seek UN recognition of an independent State enjoyed consensus among the Palestinian leadership, refuting reports on the issue. "There are no differences over the Palestinian leadership's decision at all", he said. (Xinhua)

In a proposed resolution, more than 30 US Senators, including members of the Democratic Party, said that US policy aimed to "support and facilitate Israel in maintaining defensible borders". The text, introduced by Senators Orrin Hatch (Republican, Utah), and Joe Lieberman (Independent, Connecticut), read, "It is contrary to United States policy and national security to have the borders of Israel return to the armistice lines that existed on June 4, 1967". (www.aljazeera.net)

A new poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre showed that incumbent Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was the most favoured among Palestinians to lead the next unity Government. The poll, based on a random sample of 1,198 Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, showed that 44.4 per cent preferred Mr. Fayyad for the position while 12.3 per cent favoured Gaza lawmaker Jamal al-Khudaree. Some 79.1 per cent of respondents expressed optimism at the recent Palestinian reconciliation agreement, and two-thirds were optimistic about Palestinian moves to seek recognition of statehood at the UN in September. The poll also showed a large degree of pessimism about the US role in the region, with 91.8 per cent of respondents believing that the US was biased towards Israel. (www.jmcc.org, IMEMC)

Egypt's Rafah border crossing with Gaza was opened for the second day in a row following a four-day closure. (Ma’an News Agency)

Doctors in Gaza had been forced to cancel surgeries due to critical shortages of medicine and supplies, Hasen Khalef, a health official said. Hamas medical official Bassem Naeem said that prescheduled surgeries, including children's operations, cardiac catheterization, laparoscopic surgery and bone and nerve operations would be stopped. He said that the Medical Service would also reduce services such as laboratory tests. The previous day, Gaza medical officials had declared a state of emergency due to the shortage of medical supplies. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israel's Salem military court sentenced Fatah lawmaker Hussam Khader to six months of administrative detention, without giving a reason for the decision. (Ma’an News Agency)

Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouq blamed Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for what he said was a delay in the release of Israeli and Palestinian prisoners in a swap deal. Citing Mr. Netanyahu's "intransigence", the official said that the leader bore "full responsibility" for the continued confinement of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit as well as thousands of Palestinians considered prisoners of war. A return to German mediation, he said, would be "impossible", but welcomed efforts from other parties that could secure the release of the detainees, noting in particular the importance of Egypt in any deal. (Ma’an News Agency)

Based on UNRWA’s recent Demolition Watch monitoring report, UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness said that Israeli house demolitions in the West Bank had displaced a record number of 67 Palestinian children in May. “Palestinians are refused permits and are forced to build illegally. They then suffer the humiliation either of having the Israeli authorities destroy their homes, or are forced to destroy their homes themselves and foot the bill,” Mr. Gunness said. The figures showed that 304 adults and children were displaced or affected by demolitions in the West Bank during the month. “Under international law, Israel must ensure that persons under its jurisdiction enjoy the fulfilment of their human rights, including the right to housing, health, education and water. UNRWA calls on Israel to respect its legal obligations,” Mr. Gunness said. (UNRWA press release)

10

In a letter made public and addressed to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, 24 former international figures said that a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians was only possible if Hamas was involved, warning against the dangers of rejecting a recent Palestinian unity agreement. "Reconciliation is ... a prerequisite for achieving the two-State solution. It is not an obstacle to it," the letter said. "Asking Fatah to choose between making peace with Hamas and making peace with Israel presents a false choice: a lasting peace with Israel is only possible if Hamas is on board," it said. Among the signatories were four former EU Prime Ministers, including Italy's Massimo D'Alema and Denmark's Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, and 11 Foreign Ministers, including Hubert Védrine of France and Gareth Evans of Australia. Former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami and PLO Central Committee member Hanan Ashrawi also signed the letter. (AFP)

European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek’s office announced that Mr. Buzek would begin a four-day visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel on 12 June. He would visit EU-financed projects in Gaza under the auspices of UNRWA and visit East Jerusalem under the auspices of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. Mr. Buzek would meet with PA President Abbas, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and members of civil society. In Israel, he would meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. He would hold meetings with civil society and address the Knesset. (www.europarl.europa.eu)

PA President Abbas and other Arab officials were expected to address the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, to be held in Strasbourg from 20 to 24 June, Council sources said. A press officer said that Mr. Abbas’ address would be "among the high points of the plenary session.” (KUNA)

Prime Minister Netanyahu was scheduled to go to Romania and Bulgaria in two weeks, and then to Poland and Hungary. Israeli diplomatic officials had said that Israel was seeking a “critical minority” of 60 democratic countries to vote against the statehood proposal, thereby diminishing its moral significance. (The Jerusalem Post)

Haaretz published the contents of classified cables sent by the Israeli Foreign Ministry to Israeli envoys outlining Israel’s campaign against UN recognition of a Palestinian State in September and ordering its diplomats to convey to local officials that such recognition would delegitimize Israel and foil any chance for future peace talks. Envoys had been ordered to cancel any vacation planned for September and had begun last week to lobby officials in their countries of service, muster support from local Jewish communities and ply the media with articles arguing against recognition. Each envoy had been ordered to prepare a focused plan and present it to the Foreign Ministry. They had been requested to report to the newly established "September Forum" headed by the Director of the Middle East Department, Yaakov Hadas. "This team is analyzing possible Palestinian moves and the options open to Israel to foil the process, and is putting together a diplomatic, public diplomacy and media plan," the Foreign Ministry wrote. (Haaretz)

A high-level German diplomatic mission would try to convince Palestinians next week to drop plans to gain UN recognition for an independent State in September. Development Minister Dirk Niebel told Der Spiegel that he and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle would underline Berlin's reservations in talks with Palestinian leaders. (AFP)

Israeli Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that police entered the Temple Mount [Al-Haram Al-Sharif] compound in Jerusalem after Palestinians began lobbing stones at security forces stationed outside one of the gate, using stun grenades to disperse the crowd. Mr. Rosenfeld said that no one had been injured and that order had been quickly restored. (Haaretz)

11

Twelve Palestinians were hurt, five seriously, after their cars crashed into a valley, following an IDF chase. No reason was given for the chase, which took place east of Yatta, a village south of Hebron. (WAFA)

A conference entitled "Jerusalem, a human right and nation's responsibility" opened in Amman to discuss the situation in the city and ways to confront Israel's attempts to judaize it and obliterate its Arab-Islamic identity. (Petra)

Israeli soldiers detained three international peace activists participating in the weekly non-violent protest against the separation wall in Beit Ummar, near Hebron. (IMEMC)

PA President Abbas declared in Ramallah that he preferred returning to negotiations with Israel over demanding that the UN vote on recognizing a Palestinian State. Mr. Abbas was participating in a meeting with a delegation from the Socialist International. (Haaretz)

12

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak had ordered Israeli forces to demolish three buildings in the West Bank settlement outpost of “Migron” within 45 days, media and his office said. (AFP)

Israel handed out demolition orders for a mosque and a public school in the village of Burqin, in the northern West Bank, prompting immediate condemnation from Palestinian leaders. (Ma'an News Agency)

Israeli armed forces detained two Palestinians from Bethlehem and officially summoned a third to an intelligence office for interrogation. (Ma'an News Agency)

Israeli forces detained a Palestinian woman, who was a university student, at a checkpoint near Jenin, Palestinian security sources said. (Ma'an News Agency)

After Fatah had nominated PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to head a transitional Government, senior Hamas official Salah al-Bardaweel said: “It is certain that we will not accept Fayyad, neither as a Prime Minister of the unity Government or as a Minister in it.'' (Reuters)

The President of Guinea-Bissau, Malam Bacai Sanhá, during a meeting with the Palestinian Ambassador to Senegal, noted that his country, along with other neighbouring countries, would support the Palestinian bid to establish an independent State next September. (Bahrain News Agency)

13

Israeli troops arrested in Nablus Mohamed Walawil, an official from Fatah. An Israeli military spokesman acknowledged the arrest, but gave no further details. (The Egyptian Gazette)

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, sent a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, calling for the urgent convening of the Quartet. “President Obama, in his speech on 19 May, laid down two important elements that can be the basis for a resumption of negotiations: borders based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swap, and firm security guarantees," she said. Other key principles supported by the EU – on Jerusalem and the refugee question – will be part of the plan. Ms. Ashton also wrote: "This is no time for unilateral moves on either side, since this could lead to escalation.” (Haaretz)

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman rejected the EU initiative. "This is an attempt to distort the international community's correct set of priorities," he stated, stressing that the current events in Iran and Syria should take precedence. He added: “When I speak to my colleagues, I tell them, ‘You are trying to take the Palestinian story and alter the natural agenda in the Middle East.’ The attempt to give top priority to the Palestinian issue is naïve," he said. (Haaretz)

The European Union supports Palestinian unity, but a new Government must recognize Israel and accept past accords, European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek said during a trip to Gaza City, where he toured projects run by UNRWA and met with its Commissioner-General, Filippo Grandi. (AFP)

On a tour of the region, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said: "The German Government thinks that unilateral steps would be very counterproductive … Negotiations should be the way," after talks with PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah. He added that Germany supported "the Palestinian people in having an independent State". (Deutsche Welle)

Washington was pressuring Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to accede to its proposal to resume Israeli-Palestinian peace talks on the basis of US President Obama's 19 May speech. An Israeli source, who spoke recently with senior officials in Washington, D.C., said that the Americans were very frustrated with Mr. Netanyahu's behaviour, feeling that he was impeding US efforts to keep the Palestinians from unilaterally seeking UN recognition of a State in September. (Haaretz)

The World Bank pledged $55 million annually to support the PA and another $20 million for the reconstruction of Gaza infrastructure. (WAFA)

Human rights groups in Gaza requested international aid groups and donors to intervene and deliver urgent medical aid to Palestinian hospitals in Gaza. Palestinian officials said that Gaza's medicinal stock was nearly empty and in a state of crisis. (Al Jazeera)

Two access points to the Gaza Strip were in operation, with 230 truckloads of goods expected to enter via Israel and limited numbers of civilians crossing the border to Egypt. (Ma'an News Agency)

Israeli security officials arrested four people in the ultra-nationalist settlement of “Yizhar”, near Nablus, including a reporter for a radical settler website. The four were suspected of inciting violence and harassing a public servant. One of the detainees was suspected of setting fire to a field belonging to Palestinians. (Ynetnews)

“It’s clear that we don’t want to see encouragement on the part of the Turkish Government towards a provocative flotilla,” Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, told public radio following the 12 June election in Turkey. (AFP)

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi offered to take personal steps to try to restart stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, telling Prime Minister Netanyahu in Rome that he would be willing to host negotiations in Sicily. At a press conference after their meeting, Mr. Berlusconi said that Middle East peace can only be reached through negotiations, keeping to Italy's position of rejecting any unilateral actions such as recognition of a Palestinian State by the UN General Assembly in September. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was in Italy to rally opposition to the Palestinian plan. (AP, The Jerusalem Post)

Speaking after a meeting in Rome with Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi, Mr. Netanyahu said any “fiat” issued by the UN would hinder the peace process. “First, it would violate the agreements between the Palestinians and Israel but it would also harden the Palestinian position because if the UN General Assembly adopts the Palestinian positions in advance of negotiations why should they negotiate?” he said. (Reuters)

The Palestinian community in Germany organized a workshop in Cologne to voice support for Palestinian political reconciliation. (Ma'an News Agency)

The tin homes of Bedouin families were demolished and power metres confiscated, residents said, leaving dozens homeless when the Bedouin hamlet of Fasayil, north of Jericho, was invaded by 14 Israeli military jeeps and two bulldozers. (Ma’an News Agency)

14

Israeli forces stormed and inspected several Palestinian houses in Hebron and erected military checkpoints at the main junctions. Moreover, Israeli soldiers set up a new iron fence near the Jerusalem-Hebron Street, in the north of Hebron, and handed out eviction orders. (The Palestine Telegraph)

In Cairo, Fatah and Hamas agreed to unveil a new Government on 21 June in the presence of PA President Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal. Both movements had agreed on the name of the next Prime Minister but did not announce it, Al-Jazeera reported. Fatah Spokesman Azzam Al-Ahmad, meanwhile, said that the deal had been signed after both sides had agreed not to impose their choices. (Ma’an News Agency)

Saudi Arabian King Abdullah met with PA President Abbas and discussed the developments in the Palestinian cause and the sufferings of the Palestinian people due to Israeli occupation, in addition to the latest developments in the region. (Saudi Press Agency)

European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek said in Ramallah that the Parliament opposed the Palestinian plan to seek in September UN recognition of their State in the West Bank and Gaza without negotiating this with Israel. (DPA, Haaretz)

Iran reiterated its support for attempts to form a Palestinian State but underlined that all Palestinian lands should be returned to their real owners and that all Palestine refugees should return to their homeland. "Any effort to establish such a Palestinian State on the stretch of lands which belong to the Palestinians will be definitely supported by us", Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast said in his weekly press conference. "Establishment of an independent Palestinian State in Palestinian territories is their inalienable rights", he added. (Fars News Agency)

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh told Palestinian high school students that the upcoming week of talks between Hamas and Fatah leaders in Cairo would put to rest all outstanding issues between the parties. "The suspended issues will be tackled; success will prevail", he said during a tour of one of the Gaza examination halls. He said that the coming week of talks would result in announcements of a new Government and its Prime Minister. "We are in front of a new stage ... we hope that the conciliation ship will find its port so we can begin the process of real implementation throughout the West Bank and Gaza as we agreed", he said. (Ma’an News Agency)

German Development Minister Dirk Niebel urged Israel to fully lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian militants to stop firing rockets into southern Israel. "It's so important to have a permanent ceasefire and it's so important that Israel completely ends the blockade", he told a news conference at the Gaza City headquarters of UNRWA. Only that way, he said, "can we start reconstruction of Gaza”. (DPA)

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza announced that it had donated all of the medicine in its local warehouses to public Gaza hospitals as the health sector remained in a shortage crisis. ICRC Spokesman Omar Fery said that warehouse managers were coordinating shipments with hospitals across the Gaza Strip as they awaited a second shipment of medicines from the PA Ministry of Health in Ramallah. (Ma’an News Agency)

As the Gaza blockade moved into its fifth year, a new report by UNRWA said that unemployment in the second half of 2010 reached an unprecedented 45.2 per cent, one of the highest in the world. Real wages continued to decline, falling 34.5 per cent since the first half of 2006. “These are disturbing trends,” said UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness, “and the refugees, which make up two-thirds of Gaza’s 1.5 million population, were the worst hit in the period covered in this report. It is hard to understand the logic of a man-made policy which deliberately impoverishes so many and condemns hundreds of thousands of potentially productive people to a life of destitution.” In the second half of 2010, businesses shed over 8,000 jobs, as private employment declined nearly 8 per cent. By contrast, the Hamas-dominated public sector grew by nearly 3 per cent. (www.unrwa.org)

Israel's Civil Administration handed out demolition orders to three farmers in the northern West Bank, warning them of the arrival of bulldozers that would demolish their greenhouses and farm buildings. Officials from the agricultural village of Majdal in the Nablus region said that water-collecting buckets and plastic tenting were targeted in the orders. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces demolished five water wells in Hebron. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Human Rights Council held a general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories after High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay presented her report on the status of implementation of the conclusions contained in the report of the international fact-finding mission on the incident of the humanitarian flotilla. Speakers called for the urgent resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and condemned the aggression and violence by Israel against peaceful demonstrations, which represented grave violations of international humanitarian law. They also called on Israel, inter alia, to release all illegally held prisoners as well as to stop the destruction of Palestinian properties and refrain from any measures aimed at altering the demographic character or status of East Jerusalem. (www.unog.ch)

Israeli soldiers attacked Palestinian political prisoners in the Qidar Prison before transferring around 60 of them to the Ramon detention facility. A letter that the detainees had managed to smuggle out of the detention centre revealed that four detainees were wounded. (IMEMC)

15

Seven Palestinians were injured, including two critically, when Israeli forces confronted a rally headed from the village Deir Qaddis, west of Ramallah, to obstruct Israeli bulldozers digging up private lands for the construction of the separation wall. The IDF used live fire and a military official confirmed that bullets had been used after one of the soldiers was attacked by protesters. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces detained 10 Palestinians in the West Bank overnight, two of them for "suspected terrorist activity”, according to the Israeli military. (Ma’an News Agency)

US Middle East Envoy David Hale and White House Middle East Adviser Dennis Ross met with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in Jerusalem. They continued to Ramallah where they met with PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The meetings were focused on restarting talks between Israelis and Palestinians, with the US officials promoting the recommencement of talks based on the guidelines laid down by President Barack Obama in his speech of 19 May. (AP)

In an address to the Knesset, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the peace process depended on a solution for the refugees outside the borders of the State of Israel and that the future Palestinian State must be demilitarized. Mr. Netanyahu renewed his demand that Palestinians recognized Israel as a Jewish State and end the conflict through an agreement with Jerusalem and major settlement blocks to remain under Israeli power. He also expressed his fear of a third intifada breaking out in the summer at the same time as the Palestinians planned to declare a Palestinian State. Israeli officials also feared that Palestinian residents of Israel would engage in riots. (WAFA)

In his address to the Knesset, European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek said that the Parliament supported the creation of a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders with agreed land swaps and embraced the vision for peace in the Middle East as outlined by the US President Barack Obama. He backed the Palestinians on the issue of Jerusalem, explicitly saying that East Jerusalem should become the capital of their State. However, he reiterated direct peace negotiations were the "only solution". (DPA, Haaretz)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu declared his intent to create a bloc of 30 to 50 countries against the Palestinian move to declare statehood in the UN in September. Mr. Netanyahu said that he was aware that the bloc would not have the weight to prevent a vote in the General Assembly endorsing Palestinian statehood, but would “balance out the bid's potential support”. During his meeting with the EU Parliament President Jerzy Buzek the previous day, Mr. Netanyahu urged the EU to encourage States to vote against Palestinian statehood. Furthermore, he said that if the Palestinians were given statehood, they would not make the necessary compromises required to come to a peace agreement. (Ma’an News Agency, IMEMC)

Israeli officials approved the transport of 250 to 260 truckloads of goods and humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom terminal. They would include 6 truckloads of building materials for the German Development Agency and 50 truckloads of gravel for UN projects. A limited amount of cooking gas would be pumped in through the same terminal. (Ma’an News Agency)

According to the Israeli human rights organization Ir Amim, the Israeli Subcommittee to Advance Settlements had discussed plans to build 7,900 new housing units in East Jerusalem settlements. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had asked the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem to form the Subcommittee in an attempt to lower the prices of real estate and hasten the building of settler homes in East Jerusalem. Ir Amim explained that plans would be implemented to build 940 homes in “Har Homa” and 942 homes in “Gilo”. There were also plans to build 1,500 homes in “Ramat Rahel”. In the northern part of Jerusalem, the planning committee discussed plans for 625 settler homes in “Pisgat Ze’ev” in addition to 1,600 homes in the settlement of “Shuafat”. (Palestine News Network)

Israeli police arrested a 26-year-old settler who had shot to death 19-year-old Palestinian Adi Qadous in Iraq Burin village, south of Nablus, in January, after he had attacked him with stones. The settler admitted to shooting but claimed self-defence. (Ynetnews)

Armed Israeli settlers torched dozens of Palestinian olive trees in Bil’in, which were isolated behind the separation wall. (IMEMC)

Israeli media sources reported that the Israeli army and navy were intensifying their training and preparing plans to intercept and attack the “Freedom Flotilla 2” should it try to reach the coast of Gaza to deliver humanitarian supplies. Israeli Radio stated that the army was determined to stop the flotilla and would not allow the activists to break the siege. (IMEMC)

16

A Qassam rocket fired from Gaza exploded in an open field in southern Israel. No injuries or damage were reported. (Ynetnews)

In an interview with The Washington Post, Jordan’s King Abdullah II said that the failure of US and international efforts to rekindle Middle East peace talks the previous month had doomed chances for a breakthrough in the near future, warning that the failure may cause the outbreak of a new armed uprising in the Palestinian territories. He also said that Israel’s increasingly conservative political climate had rendered its Government incapable of making the kinds of meaningful concessions needed for peace. (www.washingtonpost.com)

PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki told a conference in Madrid: “We hope the European Union will take a decision to collectively recognize a Palestinian State with the 1967 borders. … We have the hope that Spain will lead the EU countries in the official recognition of the Palestinian State,” he said, calling on Madrid to take an “active role” in persuading other members. “If there is no unanimity in the European Union, each EU country should have the right to decide whether it is ready to recognize the Palestinian State” as had happened with Kosovo, Mr. Malki added. (AFP)

The Egyptian Al-Karama party, whose leader, Hamdin Sabbahy, would be running in the upcoming presidential elections, had said that the cancellation of the Camp David accords was the party’s top priority, according to the Egyptian daily, Al-Masry Al-Youm. The party’s representative, Amin Iskander, said that the party wished to cancel the agreement "immediately because it’s not in Egypt’s interest”. (Haaretz)

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was to visit France for several days beginning the following day where he would hold talks on 21 June with Foreign Minister Alain Juppé, diplomats said (Kuwait News Agency)

In an interview with AP, Israeli President Shimon Peres said that a peace deal with the Palestinians could be reached before September, adding that differences were psychological, not material. He also warned that a Palestinian State, born from a unilateral declaration at the United Nations, would be an "illusion" that raised false hopes. (The Jerusalem Post)

Turkey would vote for a UN resolution recognizing Palestine as a sovereign State, Turkish President Abdullah Gül said in remarks published by the Japanese newspaper Nikkei. He said, “We hope that an independent Palestine [is] established based on 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as the capital,” adding, “We are among the strongest supporters of Palestine”. (Today’s Zaman)

Israeli settlers set fire to 15 dunums of Palestinian farmland south of Nablus. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Israeli army arrested Hamas PLC member Samir Qadi in the village of Surif, north of Hebron, according to Hamas sources. Mr. Qadi was released from an Israeli prison in 2009 after being jailed for more than three years in a campaign to detain Hamas leaders in the aftermath of the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. (DPA)

In the Gaza Strip, Mustafa Barghouti, Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative, met with Fatah and Hamas in order to push reconciliation forward and to speed up the agreements between the fractions to quell the concerns of the Palestinian people. (KUNA)

17

Spain’s Foreign Minister, Trinidad Jiménez, met with PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki in Madrid. “[Foreign Minister Jiménez] expressed a willingness to continue the work that has been taking place for years to strengthen existing links and support the efforts of the PNA to build the future Palestinian State. … Ms. Jiménez reaffirmed Spain’s commitment to collaborating in establishing the two-State solution as the only way to achieve a comprehensive, sustainable, and lasting peace in the Middle East, within the framework of UN resolutions,” the Spanish Foreign Ministry said in a press release. (www.maec.es)

During a meeting with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, who was on a visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman sad, “The unilateral move at the UN is the end of the Oslo Accords and would be a violation of all agreements that we have signed until now. … Israel would not be obliged to the agreements that it has signed with the Palestinians over the past 18 years.” (Haaretz)

Palestinian officials said that Israel had closed the Kerem Shalom crossing, the sole operating crossing for goods into the Gaza Strip. (Ma’an News Agency)

Regarding the follow-up to the report of the independent international fact-finding mission on the humanitarian flotilla incident, the Human Rights Council, at the conclusion of its 17th session, took note of the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, regretted the non-cooperation of Israel with the fact-finding mission, and requested the High Commissioner to submit a concluding report at its 20th session. (HCR press release)

The Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) announced that the ship Mavi Marmara would not participate in the planned “Freedom Flotilla 2” set to sail for Gaza on 27 June due to technical reasons. In a press conference held in Istanbul, IHH members said that port authorities in Turkey had not provided them with the necessary approval for the ship to sail. The group had previously cited recent developments in the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as the easing of restrictions on goods going into Gaza via the Rafah border crossing for its reconsideration of its participation in the flotilla. (IMEMC, Haaretz)

19

Israeli forces shot and injured 22-year-old Mahdi Amir near a military base near Qalqiliya. An Israeli military spokeswoman said that the man ran towards the IDF District Coordination Office holding a knife and yelling 'Allahu Akbar'. She said he was evacuated to a hospital in Israel. (Ma’an News Agency)

Azzam Al-Ahmed, head of the Fatah delegation to the unity talks in Cairo, said that a planned announcement on 21 June of a new Palestinian unity Government had been delayed after Fatah and Hamas failed to agree on the unity Government’s prime minister. He said, “We asked our brothers and the Egyptian leadership to postpone the meeting for several days.” (Reuters)

The French Consul-General in Jerusalem, Frédéric Desagneaux, inaugurated a project for the extension of the sewage network in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. According to a Consulate press release, the project was intended to counter the critical threat of possible contamination of groundwater from untreated water released into the environment, leading to reduction of the amount of drinking water potentially available for Gaza residents. (www.consulfrance-jerusalem.org)

Egypt allowed a humanitarian aid convoy to enter the Gaza Strip with 62 activists from Europe, South Africa, Tunisia and Lebanon. The convoy brought in ambulances, medicines and medical equipment. (Xinhua)

Israeli Vice-Admiral Eliezer Marom told naval cadets at a training graduation session that the Freedom Flotilla II's clear intent was to come to a confrontation with Israeli troops, describing the motive as a flagrant attempt to delegitimize Israel and create a public relations stunt. He called upon the international powers to halt the progress of the flotilla that consisted of 10 ships. Haaretz confirmed that the navy was moving forward with plans to block the ships that were supported by peace activist groups from 20 nations. Mr. Marom, who claimed that a humanitarian crisis in Gaza was non-existent, said that the supplies being loaded onto participating ships could be delivered into Gaza through the land crossings in a coordinated manner. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Jerusalem Municipality approved the expansion of 2,000 homes in the settlement district of “Ramat Shlomo”, allowing each Israeli home to add an additional room, a Council press statement said. (AFP)

The PA condemned and deemed unacceptable a statement made by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak during an interview with France 24 television that "there is no real way to announce an end to construction. There's half a million people living there." (Ma’an News Agency)

In a statistical review on the current status of Palestinian refugees, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said that refugees comprised 43.4 per cent of the total population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in 2010 − 29.7 per cent in the West Bank and 67.3 per cent in Gaza Strip. (WAFA, www.pcbs.gov.ps)

The “Miles of Smiles” humanitarian convoy of 53 activists entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah terminal, delivering 15 ambulances, 30 tons of medical supplies and other aid. (IMEMC)

20

Several Israeli tanks and military vehicles entered 300 metres into a Palestinian refugee camp east of Maghazi, in central Gaza, accompanying bulldozers that razed agriculture land. The IDF set up sand barricades as they fired at farmers who had been at the scene. (WAFA)

Palestinian sources said that the IDF entered the village of Husan, west of Bethlehem, detaining Muhammad Hamamra and Miras Al-Ureidi, both 15, after entering their homes. A statement from the Israeli military said that three Palestinians were arrested overnight in the West Bank for "suspected terrorist activity". (Ma’an News Agency)

PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi, while on a speaking tour of several European countries, stressed the importance of supporting the PLO plan to seek UN membership of a Palestinian State within 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. She called on Europe to support the Palestinian right to a State and the right to self-determination. She strongly criticized Israel’s attempts to rally States against this UN vote, saying that it reflected Israel’s mentality as an occupier opposed to peace. She also urged the international community, particularly the European Union, to effectively intervene in the peace process by implementing the EU ministerial declarations of 2009 and 2010. (WAFA)

At a press conference after a Foreign Affairs Council meeting, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said of her recent visit to the region: “Everyone here is aware that we have put a lot of effort into trying to find ways to persuade the parties to get back to the negotiating table. I talked to the ministers as well about my call for a meeting of Quartet principals, which I hope will happen very soon. And you will know that the Quartet envoys meet on Friday under European chairmanship. We are looking to see how much we can push for this clear framework that will enable both sides to return to the negotiating table. It is extremely important, in the context of recent developments, that we see the parties think very carefully about moving back into negotiations. … Our position on this is clear, we have spelled it out and I have reiterated that in my conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu, with President Abbas and with others.” (www.consilium.europa.eu)

In a statement after a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg, Michael Mann, Spokesman for EU High Representative Ashton, said that Ms. Ashton’s recent letter to US President Obama and the EU declaration of January 2010 both illustrated the EU’s firm stance towards the establishment of a Palestinian State, the rejection of illegal settlements and the call for a just solution for Palestinian refugees. (WAFA)

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh spoke at the official opening of a network of re-paved streets in Gaza City saying that despite hardship in Gaza, the opening of new roads was "proof of the steadfastness of the Palestinian people". Gaza City Mayor Rafiq Maki said that 96 construction and rehabilitation projects had been completed so far in 2011, including repairs and upgrades to the water and sanitation systems, as well as street safety. (Ma’an News Agency)

French Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bernard Valero said that France was deeply concerned over Israel’s authorization to expand 2,000 homes built in East Jerusalem. “Our position is constant: settlement construction is illegal in the eyes of international law, in the West Bank as well as in East Jerusalem". (AFP)

Dwellings Committee Coordinator, Othman Jbareen, said that Israeli forces had demolished seven houses and damaged the crops of Palestinians living in Khirbet Bir El Ad, a locale near Yatta village adjacent to the settlement of “Masa Yair” built on Yatta land, east of Hebron, in the West Bank. (WAFA)

Israeli bulldozers destroyed several tin homes and animal shelters in the Bedouin herding hamlet of Khirbet Bir Al-Idd, leaving 60 people homeless. (Ma’an News Agency)

In an interview with the BBC, UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness discussed the Agency’s short film competition the results of which would be announced and screened in Ramallah to mark World Refugee Day. He said that the competition, which was supported by the European Union, aimed to achieve two things: firstly, to have the refugees’ voices heard by the peacemakers and secondly, to humanize and showcase the talents of the refugees. (www.unrwa.org)

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees 2010 Global Trends report, released on World Refugee Day, revealed that 43.7 million people were now forcibly displaced, with a full four-fifths of the world's refugees being hosted by developing countries. The report indicated that within this total were 4.82 million registered with UNRWA. (www.unhcr.org)

The Australian Agency for International Development announced a contribution of AUD 500,000 ($545,000) to UNRWA in support of the Agency’s tertiary health care in Lebanon. (UNRWA press release)

Israeli officials said that Prime Minister Netanyahu might implement recommendations of a report written by former Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann, who said that Israel should cancel some of the benefits of Palestinian prisoners in order to gain leverage in talks for the release of Gilad Shalit. (Ynetnews)

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People held its 333rd meeting at UN Headquarters. Richard Cook, Director of the the UNRWA Representative Office in New York, briefed the Committee on the Agency’s new report on unemployment in the West Bank and Gaza. He said that the situation in Gaza remained dire due to the blockade, with unemployment hitting 45.2 per cent, real wages continuing to decline and refugees significantly more affected than non-refugees. The West Bank also had a deteriorating employment picture, with growth mainly in the public sector, contrary to media reports of a burgeoning economy. Hiba Qaraman of Save the Children UK, introduced a new report issued by AIDA on the effects of access restrictions in the West Bank and Gaza on aid agencies. Denial of access permits, work visas, project permits in Area C of the West Bank and permits for movement cost association members some $4.5 million per year and undermined the quality and sustainability of programmes, she said. (UN News Centre)

In New York, passengers that planned to sail on the US-flagged boat, “The Audacity of Hope”, spoke at a press conference to discuss their plans and reasons for joining the “Freedom Flotilla 2”, saying, "We will carry no goods of any kind for delivery in Gaza ... Our mission is from American civil society to the civil society of Gaza." According to a letter "The Audacity of Hope" group sent to US President Obama, the boat would be carrying 36 passengers, 4 crew members and 10 members of the press, and would carry thousands of letters of support and friendship from people throughout the US to the women, children and men of Gaza, confirming there would be no weapons on board. (The Jerusalem Post)

Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak voiced his support for the upcoming “Freedom Flotilla” of aid ships and 500 supporters from around the world who planned to reach Gaza on 27 June. “As long as the Palestinian people are oppressed, we will take it upon ourselves to fight for them. We should, even if the world does not,” he said. A Malaysian ship had been added to the roster of a dozen ships set to sail next week. (IMEMC)

When asked about the UN response to possible aid flotillas to Gaza at the daily Noon Briefing, the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General recalled that Mr. Ban had sent letters to Governments of countries around the Mediterranean Sea expressing his belief that assistance and goods destined to Gaza should be channelled through legitimate crossings and established channels. The Secretary-General also urged the Government of Israel to take further meaningful and far-reaching steps to end the closure of Gaza within the framework of Security Council resolution 1860 (2009). (UN press release)

21

PA President Abbas said in an interview with the Lebanese television LBC that if Israel, the United States and Europe did not want the Palestinians to seek unilateral recognition at the United Nations, they must present an alternative. He stressed that, in the absence of peace talks with Israel, the Palestinian leadership would turn to the United Nations in September. “I cannot enter negotiations blindly, without guarantees or a freeze on settlements,” he said. Mr. Abbas also stressed that Salam Fayyad would serve as the Prime Minister of a future transition Government with Hamas despite the group’s objections. “I am interested in a Government that would push us forward and accomplish diplomatic feats and not a Government that would bring about another blockade,” he said. (Haaretz)

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad dismissed reports that he was thinking of stepping down as Prime Minister after Hamas had rejected him, saying he was “proud” he was the public's favourite for the post. He added: "I shall support, to the best of my abilities, any candidate Palestinian parties agree upon." (DPA, Ma’an News Agency)

Israel approved the building of new houses and schools in the Gaza Strip worth $100 million. Guy Inbar, an Israeli military spokesman, said that Israel had given UNRWA the green light to bring building materials for 18 new schools and 1,200 new houses. He said that the approval was immediate. "I welcome this significant step and I hope it will happen in a timely fashion,'' said Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. (AP, Reuters)

Jordanian Deputy Premier Saad Srour told the UNRWA Advisory Commission: “In view of the current dangerous political situation in our region, the world community should shoulder its responsibilities in maintaining peace and stability by ensuring support for UNRWA to enable it to continue taking care of about 5 million Palestinian refugees.” (DPA)

Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ron Prosor, said in a letter to Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon: “Israel calls on all nations to do all in their power to prevent the … flotilla from occurring and to effectively caution their citizens about the risks associated with participating in such harmful provocations. … Launched under the false pretext of providing humanitarian assistance, this provocation is clearly designed only to serve an extremist political agenda and holds the potential for dangerous consequences.” (Reuters)

22

The Israeli Air Force carried out an airstrike on a tunnel in central Gaza, after a mortar and a Qassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in Israel overnight without causing damage. (Haaretz)

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal held talks with the Foreign Minister of Turkey and other officials on efforts to achieve Palestinian unity during a two-day visit to Istanbul, diplomats said, adding that "no meeting is scheduled between him and [PA President] Abbas" who had arrived in Ankara. Turkish officials said that Mr. Abbas would hold talks with President Gül, Prime Minister Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Davutoğlu on 23 and 24 June. (AFP)

White House Middle East Adviser Dennis Ross said that bold steps needed to be taken to make sure that Israel remained a Jewish democratic State, but emphasized that no one could force an agreement on Israel and the Palestinians. In order to stop the delegitimization of Israel in the world, Mr. Ross said that Israel must return to the negotiating table. He and US Middle East Envoy David Hale were due to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and his advisers to push for the renewal of peace talks. Mr. Ross reiterated Mr. Obama's vision, based on the 1967 borders with mutually agreed land swaps, saying that the agreement should also take into account the demographic changes that have occurred in the last 44 years. (Haaretz)

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said that, after having met with "politicians and leaders from across four continents ... I can say that the Palestinian momentum towards September has been halted." He said that after having met with Latin American and Italian officials and representatives of the African Union recently, he was certain that "large parts of the international community understand that premature recognition for the Palestinians rejects the basic principles of a negotiated peace.” (The Jerusalem Post)

At a presidential conference held in Jerusalem, Fatah Central Committee member Jibril Rajoub told an Israeli audience that violence was "not on our schedule". He said that the issue of Palestine refugees would ultimately be resolved in an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, and that Palestinians did not seek a "drastic demographic change" in Israel. (AP)

During a meeting with Ukraine’s President, Viktor Yanukovych in Kiev, Jordan’s King Abdullah II said that Ukraine’s distinguished ties with the Arab world could help it solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mr. Yanukovych noted his country’s keenness to support efforts to realize peace between Palestinians and Israelis. (Jordan News Agency)

Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, said: "The Israeli Government is ready to discuss all of the details with the Palestinians as long as they don't go to the UN.” He also denied that there was any Israeli move to stymie Palestinian diplomatic efforts to gain recognition. "What is being talked about now is a transitional agreement that grants the Palestinians the right to establish a State without solving all of the problems including refugees, the wall, borders, security agreements and Jerusalem," he told Ma’an TV. (Ma’an News Agency)

Armenia will be supportive of the Palestinian people’s demands for freedom, independence and statehood, said Nabil Sha’ath, member of Fatah Central Committee. In a statement following a three-day visit to Armenia where he had met with Minister of Defence Edward Nalbandian and other officials, Mr. Sha’ath said that he had discussed the Palestinian plan to gain UN support for statehood. (Ma’an News Agency)

B’Tselem said Israel’s Civil Administration had demolished more Palestinian homes during the first half of this year than in all of last year. The previous week alone, 33 residential structures were demolished in the Jordan Valley and southern Hebron hills, leaving 238 people, including 129 minors, homeless. (www.btselem.org)

Israeli bulldozers demolished several charcoal workshops in the Jenin-area town of Barta'a Ash-Sharqiya that was cut off from its neighbours by the separation wall. (Ma’an News Agency)

At a protest site against the separation wall in Bil’in, Israeli troops began taking down barbed wire and army bulldozers were seen razing a watchtower on a hill overlooking the village. The military declined to comment on the significance of the operation. Last year, the Israeli Defense Ministry announced that it would begin altering the course of the wall around Bil’in in conformity with a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that the wall significantly impinged on Palestinian landowners’ property rights. (AFP)

At a meeting of UNRWA’s Advisory Commission, Saudi Arabia announced a grant of $70 million to finance a refugee housing project in Rafah, begun in 2005 but halted due to the Israeli blockade. UNRWA Commissioner-General, Filippo Grandi, said: “Hundreds of refugee families in southern Gaza will be delighted at this news. Many of them have been forced to live for years in deplorable conditions in full sight of their demolished houses on which work had hardly begun.” (UNRWA press release)

A Palestinian was arrested during a raid in Hebron. (IMEMC)

The US State Department urged Americans to refrain from all travel to the Gaza Strip, emphasizing risks, including a possible 10-year travel ban to Israel. It warned that Americans could face arrest, prosecution, and deportation by Israel. Recalling that “On May 31, 2010, nine people were killed, including one US citizen, in such an attempt,'' it stressed that “the US Embassy in Tel Aviv and the US Consulate-General in Jerusalem are not able to provide consular assistance in Gaza or on the high seas or coastal waters''. (www.state.gov)

23

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior Palestinian official said that the Palestinians were ready to resume peace talks if Israel accepted a US proposal calling for a broad Israeli withdrawal from territories captured in 1967. He said that the Palestinians had presented their ideas to American mediators that had visited the region in recent days. The official said that the Palestinians would tolerate Israeli construction in settlement projects already under way, as long as Israel committed to not approving new housing projects. Such conditions are similar to the settlement construction moratorium that expired in September 2010. (AP)

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said in an interview with Haaretz she was not certain there will be a vote atri the UN in September on recognition of a Palestinian State. She said that the substance of the resolution was yet to be determined. "It will depend very much on what the resolution says as to how the international community in general, and the EU in particular, votes,” adding, "it is quite possible that that there could be a vote at the UN where the European Union has no difficulty in voting for that." (Haaretz)

Permanent Observer of Palestine to the UN Riyad Mansour said that the Palestinians were working on three independent tracks − restarting negotiations, completing the institutions for an independent State, and gaining additional recognition for a Palestinian State. "If we succeed in opening the door for negotiations, we're not going to stop from attaining what belongs to us as Palestinians in this General Assembly," he told reporters after the Security Council meeting. Israel's Permanent Representative Ron Prosor told reporters that "doing anything unilateral would not be constructive." (AP)

Israel's Civil Administration, which governs planning and permit issuing in Area C, carried out house demolitions in Khirbet Yarza, a small Bedouin hamlet. According to an observer from the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel, 30 people, including 8 children, were affected by the demolitions. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian family living adjacent to an Israeli settlement outpost known as “Givat Hamtous” in southern Jerusalem and brutally beat family members. A 27-year-old man was stabbed and suffered a broken leg after he was run over by the settlers. (Ma’an News Agency)

Leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan accused UNRWA of "being part of a conspiracy to settle Palestinian refugees in their host countries" or around the world. "UNRWA is playing a very dangerous game," Kathem Ayesh, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood executive office said. (The Jordan Times)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Israel would harden conditions for Palestinians in Israeli jails to pressure Hamas to release captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. "I'm not going to detail the measures, but I can tell you the party is over," Mr. Netanyahu said. (Ma’an News Agency)

ICRC issued a public demand, calling on Hamas to provide proof of life for captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. "The total absence of information concerning Mr. Shalit is completely unacceptable," ICRC Director-General Yves Daccord said in a statement. Dozens of Palestinians threw eggs at and destroyed the signs of the ICRC office in Gaza in protest. "We will only consider resolving the Shalit issue if the issue of Palestinian prisoners in the occupation's prisons is resolved," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. (AFP, www.icrc.org)

Cyprus said that it had banned all sailings to Gaza. (Reuters)

Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ron Prosor, said: "Israel has the right to self-defence. The flotilla has nothing constructive - there is nothing humanitarian" in the shipments, describing the flotilla's mission as a "provocation." (AFP)

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe briefed the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. (UN News Centre)

Apple Inc. removed the Arabic-language “ThirdIntifada” application from its site after Israel had said it incited violence. The firm said, "We removed this app from the App Store because it violates the developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people." (BBC)

24

"We are continuing on the path of reconciliation and there will be no turning back," PA President Abbas said after talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara. Mr. Erdoğan offered "all support" to secure Palestinian unity and promised to "resolutely" support a Palestinian bid for membership in the UN. Turkey will host a meeting of Palestinian ambassadors, scheduled for 23-24 July in Istanbul, he added. PLO Executive Committee member Saeb Erakat said that Turkey had pledged to enlist more nations to recognize Palestine at the UN. (AFP, Ma’an News Agency)

The European Council’s Conclusions said that it “fully supports the High Representative's call for the Quartet to create a credible perspective for the re-launching of the peace process as a matter of urgency … It also supports the initiative to call a conference in Paris to provide economic support for the construction of the Palestinian State in the framework of a re-launched peace process.” (www.consilium.europa.eu)

PA Prime Minister Fayyad told anti-wall protesters in Bil'in that Israel should either give Palestinians freedom or the right to vote. He praised the non-violent resistance movement: "The results of popular resistance may be slow, but they are guaranteed and the whole world is with us.” (Ma’an News Agency)

PLC member Jamal Khudari told Ma’an News Agency that he was not seeking a political post and would be the first one to congratulate any Prime Minister chosen by consensus. Fatah Spokesman Ahmed Assaf had said that Hamas’ determination to nominate Mr. Khudari for Prime Minister was a recipe for damaging the reconciliation. (Ma’an News Agency, WAFA)

Israeli, Palestinian, and international human rights groups issued a joint statement demanding that Gaza militants end the "inhumane" treatment of Gilad Shalit. The declaration was signed by B’Tselem, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and eight others. (AFP)

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Gaza residents were eagerly awaiting the flotilla. "Those activists have every right to reach the Gaza Strip," he said. "We denounce any Israeli threats and demand that the United Nations and all human rights groups provide this flotilla with legal protection and stand against any Israeli attempts to stop it from coming.” (AFP)

Spokesman of the Greek Ministry for Foreign Affairs Gregory Delavekouras confirmed that Israel had contacted Greece about the US Boat to Gaza, leased from Greek owners, as well as the flotilla in general. The Foreign Ministry had urged Greek citizens as well as Greek-registered vessels not to participate. (Ma’an News Agency)

The US State Department said that attempts to break the blockade are "irresponsible and provocative" and that Israel has well-established means of delivering assistance to the Palestinian residents of Gaza. It noted that the territory was run by Hamas, a US-designated foreign terrorist organization and that Americans providing support to it were subject to fines and jail. (Haaretz)

Palestinian protesters rammed a bulldozer into the wall near Bil'in. IDF soldiers fired volleys of tear gas and jets of foul-smelling liquid to force the flag-waving demonstrators away from the metal fencing that keeps locals from their land. (Haaretz)

Conductor Daniel Barenboim received an honorary British knighthood. He was praised for his tireless campaigning for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. (BBC)

25

During an official visit to Ukraine by Fatah Central Committee member Nabil Sha’ath, Ukrainian officials asserted their country’s recognition of a Palestinian State and understanding of the Palestinian efforts to seek UN recognition next September. Mr. Sha’ath affirmed the importance of coordinating with the Ukrainian Government. (WAFA)

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said that reconciliation was irreversible, a national necessity and a strategic option. He said an agreement was posing some obstacles and challenges but this did not mean that unity was over; rather, it was essential. He urged Fatah "to commit to all that was signed and to form a Palestinian Government that is not affiliated with any party but has a vision and agenda that was agreed on." (Ma’an News Agency)

26

At a meeting of the PLO and Fatah, PA President Abbas said: "I say that if negotiations have failed, we will go to the United Nations for membership," adding, "until now there have been no new incentives to return to negotiations." (Ma’an News Agency)

In Vienna, PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi gave a briefing in which she reiterated the importance of the Austrian recognition of the Palestinian State and support of gaining full UN membership. Ms. Ashrawi strongly condemned US threats to withdraw its funding from the UN if the Palestinian State were recognized and considered them “condescending.” (WAFA)

In a protest organized by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club outside the ICRC headquarters in Ramallah, PA Minister for Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe called on the UN to expel Israel for violating the UN Charter and international law. He also called on the UN to take effective measures to protect Palestinian prisoners from the Israeli “slow-death” policy against them. The protest was organized in solidarity with the sick Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and against the deliberate Israeli medical neglect of their health conditions. (WAFA)

Speaking at an inner Cabinet meeting, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Israel would not allow the Gaza-bound flotilla, expected to set sail on 28 June, to breach the blockade. Senior officials had informed the Cabinet that Israel had no information indicating that anyone affiliated with a “terror group” was planning to take part in the flotilla. The Israeli Government and army were hoping the ships would stop on their own, possibly early on 29 June, and that the Israeli navy would not have to board them. (Haaretz)

In a letter sent by Oren Helman, the Director of the Israeli Government Press Office, to foreign news organizations covering the Middle East, Israel warned journalists not to try to board the "Freedom Flotilla", as they would be violating a ban and could be barred from the country for up to 10 years. (AFP)

27

The IDF and Shin Bet arrested close to two dozen operatives of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine reported to be running a number of terror cells near Jerusalem and planning to kidnap soldiers and perpetrate other attacks against Israel. Some of the operatives, the Shin Bet said, were Arabs from East Jerusalem in possession of Israeli identity cards enabling them to travel freely throughout the country. Senior operatives included Nasser Abu-Khadir, a 50-year-old resident of the Shu’fat refugee camp in Jerusalem and Walid Habas, 31, from Kfar Akab in northern Jerusalem. (The Jerusalem Post)

PLO Executive Committee member Hana Amireh said that Palestinian delegations would visit nearly a dozen countries to rally support for their bid to have the UN recognize a Palestinian State, including Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. At the same time, PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki said that all Palestinian Ambassadors would be meeting in Madrid in early July to discuss how to approach all-important EU Member States. Mr. Malki said Ambassadors had been instructed not to take vacations "because of the importance of the coming period." (AP)

During a meeting with PA Interior Minister Said Abu Ali in Ramallah, Cyprus Interior Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis said his country would rally support in Europe for the Palestinian bid for UN recognition of statehood in September. (Ma’an News Agency)

During a meeting with PLO Executive Committee member Saeb Erakat in Jericho, US Middle East Envoy David Hale and US Consul-General in Jerusalem Daniel Rubenstein reiterated the US Administration’s opposition to the plan to petition the UN in September for recognition of a Palestinian State on the pre-1967 lines. Mr. Erakat said that the US officials had made it clear that the US preferred position remained the resumption of peace talks with Israel on the basis of President Obama’s two-State vision. He told the US officials that the PA leadership’s efforts to achieve UN membership did not contradict in any way efforts to resume the peace process. (The Jerusalem Post)

Eight Palestinian prisoners held in isolation in Israeli jails, mostly Hamas members, were at the top of the prisoner list under discussion between Israel and Hamas in talks for the release of Gilad Shalit. (Haaretz)

The Foreign Press Association in Israel protested the deportation threat against journalists, calling it a serious injury to the freedom of expression. A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said, “The Prime Minister has instructed not to apply standard policy against infiltrators and those entering the country illegally. It was also decided to allow Israeli and international media outlets on Navy boats in order to enable transparency and credible reporting of the events." (Ynetnews)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's office said in a statement that members of the Security Cabinet had decided that the State of Israel would be determined in stopping the flotilla's arrival in Gaza with minimal confrontation, as far as possible, with those on board the ships. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the flotilla was an "unnecessary provocation", and stressed that "there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza," adding, “the real problem in Gaza is that [Hamas] continues to hold [captured IDF soldier] Gilad Shalit and to build up weapons arsenals". He said, "We asked the organizers to stop the provocation … I ordered the IDF to block the ships.” (AP, The Jerusalem Post)

28

Israeli forces detained Palestinian journalist Nawwaf Al-Amir, 37, who was taken from his home in Kafr Qallil near Nablus. (Ma’an News Agency)

The IDF had been conducting drills for the possibility of a mass civilian uprising in the West Bank in the wake of the Palestinian bid to seek recognition at the UN. The IDF Central Command completed its General Staff workshop where officers attended lectures on dealing effectively with disorderly conduct and viewed presentations on protest-dispersal methods by both IDF and border police. One officer said that a non-violent protest of 4,000 determined people or more, even if they only marched to a checkpoint or a settlement, could not be stopped by tear gas and rubber bullets. Central Command officials said however that "with intelligence and the proper preparation, it is possible to gather large forces against the protests in a way that will cause minimal damage." (Haaretz)

During a meeting with Azerbaijan President, Ilham Heydar oglu Aliyev, PA President Abbas affirmed the Palestinian leadership’s intention to seek UN recognition of a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders in September. “Unfortunately, Israel has not accepted negotiations with the Palestinians, so we have decided to seek UN recognition. We want to ask the whole world what it thinks about a people who have spent 63 years under an illegitimate occupation,” Mr. Abbas said. Mr. Aliyev expressed his country’s full support for a Palestinian State and its membership in the UN saying, “We will always support the Palestinian State, and we hope it will be established within the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.” (WAFA)

The US Senate passed a resolution threatening to suspend financial assistance to the PA if its leaders persisted “in efforts to circumvent direct negotiations by turning to the United Nations or other international bodies”. ... Palestinian efforts to gain recognition of a State outside direct negotiations demonstrates absence of a good faith commitment to peace negotiations, and will have implications for continued United States aid,” the resolution declared. (Haaretz)

Jordan’s Ad-Dustour newspaper cited Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahhar as saying that the Palestinian unity talks had foundered over the nomination of a prime minister and President Abbas’ refusal to submit a proposed Cabinet list for Parliament’s approval. (AP)

Senior Israeli and European officials said that the Quartet was planning to present a new international peace plan at a meeting in Washington, D.C. on 11 July. The meeting will be taking place only four days before the appointed date that the Palestinians are set to send Palestine’s request for full UN membership to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. (Haaretz)

Fatah Central Committee member Nabil Sha’ath told reporters: “There is no return or retreat from the UN step in September. The efforts from now until September will focus on maintaining the countries that have recognized the Palestinian State and consolidating their positions in the face of Israeli and American pressure, and recruiting an additional number of countries that support the Palestinian step at the UN.” He also said that the PA had decided to set up a committee to manage all matters related to preparations for the September bid, which would include PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo and PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces confiscated hundreds of acres of olive orchards in the village of Al Mazra’a al Gharbiya near Ramallah for military use. (IMEMC)

Israeli soldiers detained 11 Palestinians in the West Bank, including 4 Hamas members, among them a PLC member from Hamas’ Change and Reform block, Nasser Abdul Jawad. (AFP, IMEMC)

The United Nations International Meeting in Support of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process, convened by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, opened in Brussels. The theme of the meeting was: “The role of Europe in advancing Palestinian statehood and achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians.” Addressing the opening session were Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Maxwell Gaylard, representing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; Michel Goffin, Deputy Director-General for Multilateral Affairs and Globalization of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium; John Gatt-Rutter, Deputy European Union Representative to the West Bank, Gaza Strip and UNRWA; Abdou Salam Diallo, Chairman of the Committee; and Leila Shahid, General Delegate of Palestine to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg, representing Palestine. (UN News Centre, Division for Palestinian Rights)

An organizer of a flotilla bound for Gaza, Dror Feiler, dismissed Israeli allegations that extremists aboard the ships planned to harm Israeli soldiers who would be dispatched to stop them. He said that the hundreds of people planning to sail had signed a declaration of non-violence and that if Israel had information about specific suspects it should pass it along to the flotilla’s organizers. (AP)

Children in Gaza released kites carrying messages to residents of Sderot across the border in Israel, urging the end of the siege. (Ma’an News Agency)

29

Poland's Foreign Minister, Radosław Sikorski, said that the EU was working on a common position to take at the UN in September regarding the issue of recognition of a Palestinian State. The EU Members had agreed to refrain from revealing their individual positions while a consensus was sought, he said, adding that any common European stance would depend on a possible resolution's final wording. Poland would be holding the Presidency of the EU for six months as of 1 July. (AP)

President Abbas officially opened a Palestinian embassy in Azerbaijan. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli forces handed landowners notices to seize 189 dunums of Palestinian land in Qaryut, a village south of Nablus. (WAFA)

The US State Department is funding a $500,000 study by Israeli and Palestinian researchers on incitement in Palestinian and Israeli textbooks. The project is being implemented by the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land, a Jerusalem-based consortium of senior Islamic, Jewish and Christian religious figures in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. (Haaretz)

Hamas confirmed it would no longer work with a German negotiator trying to broker a prisoner swap agreement over the release of Gilad Shalit. “He is not a fair negotiator,” Hamas Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in an interview. According to him, the negotiator brokered a “joint understanding” with Israel, but then Prime Minister Netanyahu backed out and the negotiator adopted Mr. Netanyahu’s stance. (DPA)

Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said that Israel was considering the use of electronic jamming devices to stop the operation of smuggled cell phones by Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails to communicate with Hamas activists and leadership. (The Jerusalem Post)

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé called on the organizers of the flotilla to Gaza to cancel their plans saying that it "is a bad idea that is expected only to return and spur anxiety and to cause confrontation … Nevertheless, the call for responsible behaviour does not change our stance regarding the blockade on Gaza and our demands for basic changes in Israel's approach. It's essential that Israel allow the quick transfer of aid to its recipients, and continue policies easing the blockade until it is completely removed,” Army Radio reported. (The Jerusalem Post)

Wael Saqqa, former head of the Jordan engineers' union, said that Arab contributors had purchased an $805,000 boat to join a Gaza-bound aid flotilla. He said that the boat, which could take up to 200 passengers, had been purchased in Greece. Mr. Saqqa said that 35 Jordanian activists would join the flotilla carrying medical aid and construction materials. (AFP)

Several Israeli Ministers had accused the Israeli army of "spin" over its claims that activists on board a Gaza-bound flotilla planned to harm Israeli soldiers, Ma’ariv reported. The unnamed Ministers said that they had not been briefed about the alleged threats from the flotilla. (AFP)

In an interview with KUNA from Brussels, the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Abdou Salam Diallo, said that the role of Kuwait and other Gulf countries in the Palestinian cause had been very effective, acknowledging the Gulf States’ vote on all the Committee’s proposed resolutions. The EU was also playing a key role, saying that there should be two States, and "also helping much in financing projects in Palestine.” The only problem was now they were saying that it was too early for a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian State and that negotiations must come first. "But they are negotiating for 20 years now with Israel so they are obliged to find another way and the other way is to have recognition by the UN," said Mr. Diallo. (KUNA)

As it closed in Brussels, the United Nations International Meeting in Support of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process issued a call to the EU and its Member States to support recognition of Palestinian statehood at the UN during the upcoming session of the General Assembly. According to the concluding statement of the Organizers, participants pointed to the completion of the Palestinian two-year State-building programme, the impasse in negotiations, the target of a peace agreement, the requirements of international human rights law and the momentum provided by the Arab Spring as factors in support of recognition of a Palestinian State through the US, at the General Assembly session’s opening. “The month of September would be important for Palestinian and international efforts for bringing about Palestinian statehood,” it said. (UN News Centre)

English rock band Coldplay that had posted on its Facebook page a new song called "Freedom for Palestine" received tens of thousands of responses, positive and negative, prompting the band to remove the link. Later, trip hop duo Massive Attack decided to express its support for the song and posted it on its own Facebook page. The group explained that "the last thing Palestine needs is a pop song. But this project engages with a lot of the important issues, while our elected leaders in the UK, EU and USA have chosen to do nothing or very little to end the disastrous political, economic and social isolation of the Palestinians – which, in a year of revolutionary change in the Arab world, is truly disappointing and dangerous.” (Ynetnews)

30

Palestinian officials said that PA President Abbas was inclined to put off talks on a unity Government with Hamas until after a UN vote this fall on Palestinian statehood. (AP)

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said that progress was being made to implement the Palestinian reconciliation agreement "even if it is slow". (Ma’an News Agency)

PA President Abbas said that Israel should recognize a Palestinian State "in response to our people's recognition of Israel's right to exist". In a speech to the Dutch Parliament, Mr. Abbas said: "Because we did not get the approval of the Israeli Government on the references of the peace process and to stop settlement building, we will continue with our attempt to gain recognition of a Palestinian State as a member of the United Nations.” (WAFA)

President Abbas met with Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal who rejected the idea of the Palestinian initiative going to the General Assembly. "No, it will not be supported by The Netherlands," he told reporters. Instead, Mr. Rosenthal called for a resumption of "direct negotiations, right now". (AP)

PA Presidential Adviser Nimr Hamad said that Palestinian leaders would delay the September bid for UN recognition of a Palestinian State if Israel agreed to negotiations based on a French peace initiative. He added that the Washington, D.C. meeting of the Quartet could “convince us to negotiate, and then we will stop the move to go to the UN”. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Government of Japan extended a ¥1 billion (approximately $12.4 million) aid as budget support to the PA. Notes to this effect were signed and exchanged in Ramallah between Prime Minister Fayyad and Naofumi Hashimoto, Representative of Japan to the PA. (WAFA)

A Palestinian was wounded when an Israeli border guard opened fire to disperse protesters who had been throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the entrance to the Shu’fat refugee camp in East Jerusalem, Public Radio reported. (AFP)

British Minister Alistair Burt travelled to Nabi Saleh near Ramallah, the site of weekly protests [against a nearby settlement]. He told The Jerusalem Post that the United Kingdom had clearly stated that it regarded “settlements on occupied land as illegal… For that reason we support peaceful, non-violent protests by villages [like Nabi Saleh] who feel that their rights have been affected.” (The Jerusalem Post)

The PA said that Israeli authorities had handed a military order to a resident of Nabi Samwil, north-west of Jerusalem, to uproot 100 trees on his land, which Israel declared as part of a planned national park. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said that residents in Bil’in were due to start the construction of a new neighbourhood, “Bil’in West,” on land returned to them following the re-routing of Israel’s separation wall. (Ma’an News Agency)

Organizers of the Gaza flotilla said that Israel had sabotaged the Irish ship “Saoirse” in the second such sabotage of a flotilla ship this week. Earlier this week, activists accused Israel of sabotaging the Greek-Swedish ship “Juliano” in Piraeus. According to an activist, the engine of the Irish vessel was damaged in such a way that it would have caused the ship to sink in the middle of the ocean and cause fatalities. The ship was docked in Turkey’s territorial waters when the tampering occurred. (Haaretz)


__________

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter