Sunday, August 25, 2013

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the afternoon and in 1 village each nr. Ramallah and Salfit at night, patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin and 1 village each nr. Jericho, Ramallah and Tulkarm in the morning, in al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Tulkarm and 1 village each nr. Jenin and Salfit at night. Israeli bulldozers level privately-owned Palestinian land nr. Nablus to enlarge an illegal settlement outpost. In Jerusalem, dozens of right-wing Jewish activists enter the al-Aqsa compound and held discussions on the possibility of building a Jewish temple there. (MNA 8/25, PCHR 8/29)

The Jerusalem Municipality approves a budget for a NIS 62.4 million extension of the Ramat Shlomo settlement, adding some 1,600 housing units. Other projects approved include a NIS 20 million budget for developing a national park at the settlerowned “City of David” project in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan. Half of that latter budget will come from the prime minister’s office. Meanwhile, Israel’s Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel dedicates 2 new neighborhoods of 160 homes in the West Bank settlement Keddumim and says that a two-state solution will never happen. (AP, HA, JP 8/25)

Israel’s cabinet unanimously approves the appointment of Yossi Cohen as the new head of the National Security Council (NSC). Cohen, who spent 3 decades working for Mossad, replaces Yaakov Amidror. (YA 8/25)

Syria agrees to allow UN inspectors to visit the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack in Ghouta, a Damascus suburb. The U.S. State Dept. says that Secy. of State John Kerry told his counterparts in Britain, France, Russia, and Canada in a round of phone calls that there is “very little doubt” the Syrian govt. is responsible for gassing its own citizens. An unnamed administration official tells the media that despite this near certainty in Washington, the pres. still hasn’t decided how to respond. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich says that the U.S. and its allies should await the findings of the UN inspection team and avoid military action. (AP, REU, 8/25)

Three leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, including the organization’s Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie did not appear in court on the 1st day of their separate trials, apparently due to security reasons. The judge adjourns proceedings until 10/29. The charges are of inciting lethal violence during the events leading up to the military coup. (REU 8/25)