Saturday, September 7, 2013

In the West Bank, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian laborers attempting to cross the separation wall nr. Hebron, wounding 2. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in al-‘Arub r.c. and 2 villages nr. Hebron at night; patrols in 1 village each nr. Bethlehem and Jenin at night. In al-‘Arub r.c., Israeli forces detain more than 30 Palestinians after a petrol bomb is thrown at a military watchtower nr. the camp. (MNA 9/7; PCHR 9/12)

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says that the EU will ensure new funding guidelines regarding West Bank settlements will not harm relations with Israel, speaking in Vilnius, Lithuania, after a meeting with U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry. Ashton says the guidelines will be implemented “sensitively.” Kerry urges the EU to postpone altogether the new restrictions. (HA, REU 9/7)

U.S. Pres. Obama uses his weekly radio and internet address to reassure Americans of the necessity and limits of a military strike on Syria. A recent poll showed that only 19% of the U.S. public supports an intervention. An AIPAC source tells the media that the Israel lobby organization plans to send 250 activists to lobby lawmakers in Washington during the coming week, to push for support for a military strike on Syria. Meanwhile, EU FMs meeting in Lithuania blame the Asad regime for the use of chemical weapons but do not endorse military action. (AP, REU 9/7)

The Egyptian military launches a major offensive against Islamist militants in the n. Sinai, deploying helicopter gunships and armored vehicles in an attack that kills 9 fighters and wounds another 20. Fifteen are arrested, and 2 Egyptian soldiers are also killed. Egyptian authorities also close the Rafah crossing with the Gaza Strip, citing “security concerns.” (AP, MNA, REU 9/7)