Thursday, September 26, 2013

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Hebron and 1 nearby village in the afternoon; patrols in 1 village each nr. Jericho and Ramallah. In Jerusalem, Israeli security forces accompany Jewish right-wing activists as they enter the al-Aqsa mosque compound. According to reports, more than 700 ultra-Orthodox Jews have entered the compound to celebrate Sukkot since last Wednesday. (MNA 9/26; PCHR 10/3)

PA pres. Abbas addresses the UNGA and describes the current peace talks as a “last chance.” He urges international pressure to stop settlement construction, and says that the aim is to reach a permanent agreement within 9 mos., rejecting the possibility of a “temporary” arrangement. (AFP, AP, HA 9/26)

U.S. Secy. of State Kerry and Iranian FM Zarif hold one-on-one talks at the UN, the highest level direct discussions in a generation. Zarif also discusses the nuclear issue with his counterparts from the UK, China, France, Germany, and Russia, as well as Kerry. The talks are widely described as positive, with Kerry calling the meeting “very constructive” but with many questions remaining. (AP, REU 9/26)

The U.S. and Russia reach agreement on a draft UN res. designed to rid Syria of its chemical weapons. The compromise makes the measure legally binding but avoids automatic recourse to military force by way of enforcement, instead requiring another res. under Chapter 7 to be passed. (AP, REU 9/26)