Friday, December 27, 2013

In the West Bank, Israeli forces open fire with live ammunition during a raid of Silwad village nr. Ramallah, wounding 4. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Bethlehem at night; patrols in 3 villages nr. Hebron at night. Jewish settlers nr. Hebron cut down or vandalize around 40 Palestinianowned olive trees. 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). There are no serious injuries, except in Bil‘in where 1 is wounded by a bullet and Nabi Salih where 2 are wounded by rubber-coated metal bullets. (MNA 12/27; PCHR 1/2)

U.S. State Dept. spokesperson Jen Psaki says that Israel has informed the U.S. that the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners will be postponed 1 day, to 12/30. (MNA 12/27)

A car bomb in Beirut kills 7 people and wounds more than 50, including Mohammad Chatah, former minister and mbr. of the March 14 coalition. Former PM Saad Hariri hints that Hizballah is behind the attack and Fares Souaid, secy.-gen. of March 14, calls for the creation of a govt. that excludes Hizballah. (AFP, DS, REU 12/27)

Clashes break out across Egypt between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and security forces, 3 are killed and 87 wounded, with more than 250 arrested. The group’s supporters had gathered to protest the govt.’s classification of the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization on 12/24. (AFP, AP, REU 12/27)

Ali Akbar Velayati, senior adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, calls for new direct talks with the U.S. over Tehran’s nuclear program. Separately, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, says that the country is building a new generation of centrifuges for uranium enrichment, in what is seen as a gesture toward hard-liners unhappy with the ongoing negotiations with reps. of the P5+1 in Geneva. (AP 12/27)