Wednesday, August 21, 2013

In the West Bank, IDF forces shoot and injure 1 Palestinian in clashes provoked by an IDF arrest raid in Dahaysha r.c. nr. Bethlehem. The IDF also conducts house searches and arrest raids in Nur Shams r.c. nr Tulkarm at night; patrols in al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron, Jenin, and 1 village nr. Ramallah at night. Inside Israel, suspected Jewish extremists vandalize a monastery nr. Beit Shemesh and leave “price-tag” graffiti. (WAFA 8/21; PCHR 8/22)

Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi says that the Palestinians may turn to UN bodies in response to Israeli settlement construction even before the current peace negotiations have come to a conclusion. In remarks made during a tour of East Jerusalem settlements, Ashrawi tells journalists “if Israel does not stop, then we have to move.” Meanwhile, Israel’s High Court of Justice rules that 30 structures in the Amana outpost in the West Bank should be demolished, but gives no evacuation date and leaves room for an appeal. (AP, JP 8/21)

A suspected chemical weapons attack takes place in Ghouta, a rebel-held suburb of Damascus, with wildly differing claims of fatalities (from a few hundred to over 1,000). Opposition forces blame the Bashar al-Asad regime, a claim denied by the govt. The UNSC holds an emergency meeting in response and calls for clarity, welcoming Ban Ki-moon’s call for a prompt investigation by UN inspectors. The U.S.-France-UK-drafted res. was changed to accommodate objections from Russia and China. (AFP, REU 8/21)

EU FMs meet for an emergency session in response to events in Egypt and agree to suspend the sale of security equipment and arms. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says that “recent actions of the military have been disproportionate.” (NYT 8/19; AFP 8/21)