Monday, October 21, 2013

In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian fishermen nr. Bayt Lahiya, causing no damage or injuries. Also, IDF troops conduct a limited incursion nr. Gaza City to level land close to the border fence. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Tubas in the morning, and in 2 villages nr. Salfit, and 1 village each nr. Jenin and Ramallah at night; patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning, in 1 village each nr. Hebron, Jenin and Salfit in the afternoon, and in 1 village each nr. Hebron, Jenin and Ramallah, and in Qalqilya at night. In East Jerusalem, an Israeli security guard is stabbed in Silwan, prompting Israeli security forces to patrol the community and clash with residents. (MNA 10/21; PCHR 10/24)

U.S. Secy. of State Kerry says that IsraeliPalestinian talks are intensifying with “core issues . . . on the table.” He makes the remarks in a joint press conference with Qatari FM Khaled al-Attiyah after meeting with Arab League officialsin Paris. It is also announced that Qatar has agreed to provide $150 million in debt relief to the PA. Kerry praises what he calls the Arab League’s “remarkable commitment” to advancing the peace process. (AFP, REU 10/21)

Syrian pres. al-Asad says that “the factors are not yet in place” for an international peace conference known as “Geneva 2” intended to secure a political transition and settlement to the civil war. Asad, talking to Lebanese television, questions what groups will be present and their claims to be legitimate reps. of the Syrian people. Meanwhile, chief of the OPCW Sigrid Kaag says in Damascus that the Syrian govt. has thus far “fully cooperated” in the destruction of its chemical weapons arsenal. (AFP 10/21–22)