Sunday, April 21, 2013

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin in the morning, in 3 villages nr. Jenin in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Hebron, 1 village each nr. Ramallah and nr. Tulkarm at night. At night, IDF soldiers conduct house searches and arrest raids in al-Azza r.c. in Bethlehem, Aida r.c. in Bethlehem, 1 village nr. Bethlehem, 2 villages nr. Hebron, and 2 villages nr. Jenin. (PCHR 4/25)

U.S. Defense Secy. Chuck Hagel begins a Middle East tour in Israel, where he is expected to have meetings with Pres. Shimon Peres, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and DM Moshe Ya’alon. Hagel will discuss Iran, Syria, and also the sale of U.S. military equipment to Israel. Hagel’s weeklong tour of the region will also include Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. (HA, NYT 4/20; WP 4/21)

U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry meets Palestinian pres. Mahmud Abbas in Istanbul to continue discussions about restarting negotiations, particularly a proposal to focus on boosting the Palestinian economy. Palestinian amb. to Turkey Nabil Maarouf says that the meeting fails to make any substantial progress with regards to Palestinian conditions for resuming negotiations. Secy. Kerry says that restored ties between Turkey and Israel can allow both countries to work with Washington on Iran and Syria. Kerry asks Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan to delay his planned trip to the Gaza Strip in order not to disrupt efforts to improve Turkish-Israeli relations. Secy. Kerry also attends a major meeting between the Syrian opposition and its main 11 foreign supporters. After the meeting, Secy. Kerry says that Washington will double its nonlethal aid to the Syrian opposition to $250 million, support that will be funnelled through the rebels’ Supreme Military Council. (AFP 4/20; MNA, NYT, REU 4/21; JP 4/22)