Monday, August 26, 2013

In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops conduct a limited incursion close to the border fence nr. Bayt Hanun, and level land before withdrawing. In the West Bank, IDF troops shoot and kill 3 Palestinian civilians and wound 18 others including 5 children during an arrest raid in Qalandia r.c. nr. Jerusalem. One of those killed was an UNRWA employee, the agency reveals. The IDF claims that its forces were met by a rioting crowd of some 1,500 camp residents throwing stones and petrol bombs. In Aida r.c. nr. Bethlehem, IDF troops shoot and wound 2 Palestinians with rubber-coated metal bullets during protests against the deaths in Qalandia. Meanwhile, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Hebron in the afternoon, and in 1 village nr. Bethlehem at night, patrols in Tulkarm in the morning, and in 2 villages nr. Jenin and 1 village nr. Jericho in the afternoon, and in Jenin at night. In a raid on Sanur village nr. Jenin, IDF troops clash with residents, shooting and wounding 2 Palestinians with rubber-coated metal bullets. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolish 2 homes in al-Tur. (AFP, HA, MNA, REU 8/26; PCHR 8/29)

In response to the killings in Qalandia, an unnamed Palestinian official tells news agencies that talks scheduled for today are canceled. However, U.S. State Dept. spokesperson Marie Harf categorically denies that any meeting was canceled. Israeli television subsequently reports that Israeli and Palestinian officials had met in the morning before the news broke of the Qalandia raid. An unnamed Palestinian official also subsequently confirms to Xinhua News Agency that the 2 teams met in Saeb Erakat’s house in Jericho. Meanwhile, Egyptian FM Nabil Fahmi holds talks with Pres. Abbas in Ramallah, and relays a message from interim Egyptian pres. Adly Mansour, thanking Abbas for supporting the military coup that ousted Morsi. (HA, JP, REU 8/26; MNA 8/28)

An Israeli delegation headed by outgoing National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror arrives in Washington for high-level talks with U.S. officials. Discussions are expected to focus on Syria, the Iranian nuclear program and future talks with Tehran, and the role of Hizballah in the Syrian civil war. U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice is coordinating talks on the U.S. side. (HA 8/26)

UN chemical weapons inspectors visit 1 of the sites in Syria allegedly targeted last week by chemical weapons. The convoy came under sniper fire on the initial attempt, but the team successfully visited the Damascus suburb Ghouta. The UN team’s work includes collecting samples of munitions fragments and debris and taking testimonies. Meanwhile, U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry says that Pres. Obama believes there must be “accountability” for those using “the world’s most heinous weapons,” and that the pres. is consulting with allies about how best to act. (AP, REU, WP 8/26)