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Thursday, December 27, 2012
Arab League apparently backs down on delegation visit to Ramallah without Israeli approval

Arab League apparently backs down on delegation visit without Israeli
approval
Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA 27 December 2012

The main office of the independent Ma'an news agency in Bethlehem explained
to IMRA this evening that the Arab League delegation flying to Ramallah from
Amman has been reduced down to Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi, who is an
Egyptian and a representative of Jordan. Both countries have full
diplomatic relations with Israel. Earlier this week Nabil al-Arabi boasted
with regard to the visiting delegation of Arab foreign ministers that
"Israel will not be informed with the arriving ministers' list or even check
their personal passports in order to ease their entrance to the West Bank
territories.

In response to this boasting, Israel Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Yigal
Palmor advised IMRA that "...there can be no flight to Ramallah without
Israel being informed and without Israeli approval..."

#1 Al-Malki: Qatari emir postpones West Bank visit
Published 27 December 2012 13:05
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=551486

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The emir of Qatar has postponed his visit to Ramallah
until the end of January, the Palestinian Authority foreign minister said
Thursday.

Sheikh Hamad Ibn Khalifa al-Thani was expected to visit the West Bank in
December but has delayed the trip, Riyad al-Malki said.

The minister said he did not know why the visit was postponed.

Meanwhile, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi will visit Ramallah on Saturday,
al-Malki told Ma'an.

Al-Arabi was expected to arrive with a delegation of foreign ministers from
the region, but al-Malki said that in a phone call with al-Arabi the
officials agreed he would come alone instead.

During his trip to Ramallah, al-Arabi will arrange a separate visit for Arab
foreign ministers at another time, al-Malki added.

=======

#2 Question from IMRA to Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Yigal Palmor:

FM Riad Malki is reported by the Al-Ayyam newspaper (see below)to have said
that the Arab League delegation scheduled to visit Ramallah 29 December will
fly directly from Amman to Ramallah WITHOUT Israel being advised details of
the delegation.

Question: does some understanding between Jordan and Israel provide for
Israel to be advised in advance regarding the details of flights taking
place between Jordan and PA locations (passengers, cargo) and is there a
mechanism for Israel to object to a passenger or cargo.

Reply from Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Yigal Palmor:

There can be no entry of West Bank territory or air space without Israeli
approval.

De jure and de facto. Israel has the legal right and duty to oversee any
movements into this area within it, even if you consider Israel's status as
"occupying power".

Therefore, there can be no flight to Ramallah without Israel being informed
and without Israeli approval, which naturally depends on the purpose of the
flight, its operator, and the nature of passengers and cargo.

=============
Arab League chief, ministers to avoid Israeli borders to West Bank:
Palestinian FM
Arab delegation will not pass through Israeli borders during their visit to
West Bank territories to avoid confrontation with Israeli authorities,
Palestinian FM says
Ahram Online , Wednesday 26 Dec 2012
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/61299/World/Region/Arab-League-chief,-ministers-to-avoid-Israeli-bord.aspx

The Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said on Wednesday that the Arab
League chief Nabil Al-Arabi, along with a group of foreign ministers, will
not pass through Israeli borders during their expected visit to the West
Bank on 29 December.

According to Palestine's Al-Ayyam Daily Newspaper, Malki said the Arab
delegation would reach their destination through a flight coming from the
Jordanian capital Amman to Ramallah to avoid direct confrontation with the
Israeli authorities.

"Israel will not be informed with the arriving ministers' list or even check
their personal passports in order to ease their entrance to the West Bank
territories, he added.

The Palestinian senior negotiator Saeb Erakat said last week that Al-Arabi
and between "eight to ten ministers" will join the Arab delegation in its
visit to the West Bank town of Beit Jala, west of Bethlehem.

Erakat also said he expected the first payment of the fiscal "safety net" of
$100 million, promised by the Arab League in the event of Israeli financial
sanctions, following the 29 November Palestinian UN upgrade to
observer-state status by "24 December."

He said on Wednesday, "We got a letter from Nabil Al-Arabi saying that they
are committed to it, which enabled the government to take a $100 million
dollar loan meaning we are going to have some salaries tomorrow and the day
after."

Palestinian Authority officials in the West Bank went on strike on Wednesday
and Thursday in protest for not receiving payment.

Earlier this month, Israel announced it would not transfer tax and tariff
funds it collects for the Palestinians but would instead use it to pay off a
debt to the Israeli electricity company, after the successful Palestinian UN
bid which they said was contrary to agreements between the sides.

Every month, Israel transfers approximately 460 million shekels ($120
million) in customs duties, which are levied on goods, destined for
Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports, and which constitute
a large percentage of the Palestinian budget.

The transfers are governed by the 1994 Paris Protocols with Palestinians.

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