Monday, January 20, 2014

In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians fire 3 rockets into s. Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Off the coast nr. Bayt Lahiya, Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen, arresting 2 and confiscating a boat. In the West Bank, the IDF shoots and wounds a Palestinian nr. Hebron who the military says charged them. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 2 villages nr. Jenin, Tulkarm and 1 nearby village, and in 1 village and Jalazun r.c. nr. Ramallah at night; patrols in 1 village nr. Hebron in the morning, and in 1 village and alFawar r.c. nr. Hebron at night. Jewish settlers and Palestinians clash nr. Bayt Furik and Itamar settlement, after settlers enter the village’s olive grove. (JP 1/20; PCHR 1/23)

A rocket fired from inside Egypt strikes the outskirts of Israeli resort Eilat, causing no damage or injuries. It is later claimed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. (AFP 1/20; INN 1/21)

UN Secy.-Gen. Ban Ki-moon withdraws the invitation to Iran to join the Syria peace talks, after the SNC threatened to cancel its own participation should reps. from Iran attend. The UN Secy.-Gen.’s spokesperson Martin Nesirky says that Ban is dismayed at Iran’s refusal to endorse the 6/30/12 Geneva Communiqué, as demanded. Ban later says that he thought he had reached an “oral understanding” with Iranian FM Zarif, before extending the invitation. Iranian spokesperson Marzieh Afkham says that Ban’s change of mind shows he faced “some pressure.” (AP, REU 1/20; AP 1/21)

The 6-mo. interim deal reached by reps. from Iran and the P5+1 on 11/24/13 goes into effect. Iran unplugs banks of centrifuges and the EU and U.S. partially lift sanctions, and focus turns to a new phase of negotiations aimed at securing a permanent agreement. EU foreign affairs chief Ashton says she hopes a new round of talks with Tehran could start within a few weeks. The IAEA reports that Iran has begun diluting its stockpile of enriched uranium and that enrichment at the Natanz plant is suspended. (AP, REU 1/20)