Sunday, January 19, 2014

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces kill a senior Islamic Jihad operative in an air strike on Jabaliya r.c., wounding 2 (including a child). The Israeli military claims the targeted operative was responsible for rocket fire. Two other Israeli air strikes cause some damage but no injuries. Islamic Jihad say that strikes on Gaza may lead to the end of the cease-fire broadly observed since 11/2012. Separately, Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian farmers close to the border fence nr. Bayt Hanun, causing no injuries. Off the coast nr. Bayt Lahiya, Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 2 villages each nr. Hebron and Ramallah, Jenin and 1 nearby village, and in Nablus at night; patrols in 3 villages nr. Jenin in the morning, and in Hebron and 2 villages and al-‘Arub r.c. nearby, and in 1 village each nr. Jenin and Tulkarm at night. (MNA, REU 1/19; PCHR 1/23)

Israel’s Justice Minister Livni and Special Envoy Yitzhak Molcho depart for Washington to meet with U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry, to discuss details of his draft framework for a peace agreement. Other attendees of their meeting include Israeli amb. to the U.S. Ron Dermer and U.S. mediator Martin Indyk. Meanwhile, Israeli radio reports that Netanyahu has told Kerry that he intends to annex a 4th bloc of settlements, adding Beit El-Ofra-Psagot to the Etzion, Ma’ale Adumim and Ariel blocs. (AFP, HA, JP 1/19)

UN Secy.-Gen. Ban Ki-moon says that he invited Iran to the Syria peace talks in Switzerland and held discussions with Iranian FM Zarif about the constructive role the country could play. In response, the U.S. says the invitation should be withdrawn unless Tehran states its support for the 2012 agreement establishing a Syrian transition govt. (i.e., the 6/30/12 Geneva Communiqué). Meanwhile, the Islamic Front opposition alliance rejects participation in the talks. (AP, HA, REU 1/19)