Thursday, April 18, 2013

Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF violently disperse dozens of Palestinian protesters in alKhader nr. Bethlehem, causing no serious injuries. The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Hebron in the afternoon, and in al-Bireh, al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron, 2 villages nr. Jenin, and 2 villages nr. Tulkarm at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Bethlehem, 1 village nr. Hebron, 1 village nr. Jenin, and 1 village nr. Salfit at night. (REU, YA, MNA 4/18; PCHR 4/25)

U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry tells the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee that the ‘‘window for a two-state solution is shutting’’ and that the chance to create a Palestinian state alongside Israel will be lost in 1–2 years. (Guardian 4/18)

Officials from a dozen Palestinian factions including the PFLP, DFLP and Islamic Jihad—but excluding Hamas and Fatah—meet in Gaza City to discuss the resignation of Salam Fayyad. In a subsequent news conference, the factions say Pres. Mahmud Abbas should immediately start forming a Palestinian unity government of technocrats to be sworn in within three weeks. The government should then set a date for presidential, parliamentarian, and Palestinian National Council elections. (MNA 4/18)

Anonymous diplomats say that Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency have agreed to discussions in mid-5/2013. Meanwhile, U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry tells the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he was disappointed by the failure of talks in Kazakhstan but that a diplomatic solution to the dispute with Iran is still the best option. (AP 4/18)