Friday, August 23, 2013

In the Gaza Strip, IDF opens fire on Palestinian fishermen nr. Bayt Lahiya, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts night patrols in 1 village each nr. Qalqilya and Tulkarm. IDF troops violently disperse Palestinian, Israeli, and international protesters at weekly demonstrations against Israel’s separation wall, settlements, and occupation in 3 villages nr. Ramallah (Bil‘in, Nabi Salih, and Ni‘lin), 1 village nr. Qalqilya (Kafr Qaddum), and 1 village nr. Bethlehem (al-Ma‘sara). There are no serious injuries, except in Bil‘in (3 wounded by live ammunition) and Kafr Qaddum (2 struck by tear gas canisters). (PCHR 8/29)

In the Gaza Strip, hundreds of Palestinians march in protest of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks; the demonstration was organized by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. (AFP 8/23)

The IDF conducts an air strike against a base of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) s. of Beirut, in response to the rocket launch the previous day—despite that attack being claimed by and attributed to another group entirely. A Lebanese security source claims that the site is also used by Islamist militants. The air raid causes no casualties or serious damage. Lebanese pres. Michel Suleiman condemns the Israeli strike and orders his diplomats to file a complaint about the attack with the UNSC. Israeli DM Moshe Ya’alon says that the Israeli govt. holds their Lebanese counterparts responsible for the rocket fire emanating from its territory. Outside of 2 Sunni mosques, twin bombs kill at least 42 people in Tripoli; no one claims responsibility for the attack. (AFP, AP, DS, HA, JP, REU, WP 8/23)

UN Secy.-Gen. Ban Ki-moon repeats his desire for both Syrian govt. and rebel forces to permit an inspectors team to investigate the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack. Meanwhile, the British govt. adds its voice to those ascribing responsibility for the attack to govt. forces. Moscow publishes a statement calling for an independent investigation and saying that FM Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry had spoken about the situation and that both parties had a “mutual interest” in calling for a UN investigation. In an interview on CNN, U.S. pres. Barack Obama plays down the possibility of a rapid military intervention by the U.S. in Syria, saying how important a legal mandate from the UN and international coalition of support would be. (Guardian, REU 22/8)

Protests take place across Egypt by Muslim Brotherhood supporters and other opponents of the coup, though rallies were small and scattered. One person is killed by security forces in the Nile Delta town of Tanta, with official Health Ministry reports saying 54 people are wounded in Cairo and 2 Delta provinces. Meanwhile, speaking on CNN, U.S. pres. Barack Obama says that cutting off aid to Egypt “may not reverse what the interim govt. does.” (AP, REU 8/23)