Thursday, August 22, 2013

In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian fishermen nr. Bayt Lahiya, causing no injuries or damage to vessels. In the West Bank, the IDF shoots and injures a Palestinian in Dahaysha r.c. in Bethlehem after troops entered the camp, provoking clashes. IDF troops also clash with residents in Jaba‘ village nr. Jenin during a patrol, with Palestinian youth throwing stones and soldiers responding with rubber-coated metal bullets. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Hebron at night, patrols in 1 village each nr. Jenin and Ramallah in the morning, 1 village nr. Hebron in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 village nr. Jenin at night. (PCHR 8/29; WAFA 8/22)

Palestinian officials say that U.S. envoy Martin Indyk and his team have not attended any of the negotiating sessions thus far at the request of the Israelis. Both Yasir ‘Abid Rabbuh and Hanan Ashrawi claim that Israel intends for the lack of U.S. participation in the 3 meetings, since the resumption of talks to strengthen Israel’s power over the Palestinians. Meanwhile, Pres. Mahmud Abbas meets with a delegation from the Israeli party Meretz in Ramallah, telling them that signing a peace agreement will mean the “end of the conflict” and that a future Palestinian state would agree to be demilitarized. Abbas also tells the Israeli politicians that the Palestinian leadership is unhappy with the slow pace of negotiations. (HA, JP, ToI 8/22)

Suspected mbrs. of the al-Qa‘ida-linked Brigades of Abdullah Azzam fire 4 rockets from s. Lebanon into n. Israel, causing no damage or injuries (and with 1 intercepted by Iron Dome missile defense batteries). The IDF says it views the attack as an isolated incident, and attributes it to “global jihad” elements. On 8/27, the brigades appear to directly claim responsibility for the attack via a statement published on the Twitter account of a Salafist cleric known to be affiliated with the group. Meanwhile, gunmen in Tripoli open fire and kill 3 outside the home of Hizballah supporter. (AP, HA, REU 8/22; YA 8/27)

Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz says that the govt. believes that Syrian forces are responsible for a chemical weapons attack that reportedly killed hundreds of people in Ghouta, a rebel-controlled suburb of Damascus. Meanwhile, Syria’s dep. PM says that foreign fighters and their international supporters are to blame for the attack. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich says that his govt. urges the Syrian authorities and the UN to agree on chemical weapons experts visiting the site of the alleged attack. (AP, AFP, REU 8/22)

Former Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak is released from a prison cell and moved to house arrest at a military hospital. (NYT 8/22)