Friday, January 31, 2014

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian protesters close to the border fence nr. Jabaliya, wounding 7. Separately, Israeli forces open fire on an open area in the c. Gaza Strip, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF opens fire on a crowd of a few hundred Palestinian demonstrators outside Jalazun r.c., wounding 14 with live ammunition and 4 with rubber-coated metal bullets. The protest is a response to the killing of a camp resident on 1/29. In addition, Palestinians clash with Israeli forces nr. Ramallah outside Silwad village, with 1 Palestinian wounded by live ammunition. IDF troops detain 2 Palestinians who they say went to the entrance of Nahlilel settlement and set off fireworks. In Bethlehem, amid clashes with Israeli soldiers, Palestinian youth throw an improvised explosive device at Rachel’s Tomb. The clashes result in 7 arrests. Meanwhile, hundreds of Palestinian activists with some internationals go to ‘Ayn Hiljeh, an abandoned Palestinian village in the Jordan Valley, as part of a demonstration protesting settlement activities and land confiscation. The Popular Struggle Coordination Cmte. says that the step is also aimed at averting reported Israeli intentions to annex the area. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Hebron and 2 nearby villages, 2 villages nr. Salfit, and 1 village each nr. Bethlehem and Ramallah at night; patrols in 1 village nr. Hebron in the afternoon, and in 3 villages in Hebron and 1 village each nr. Qalqilya and Tulkarm at night. IDF troops violently disperse Palestinian, Israeli, and international protesters at weekly demonstrations against Israel’s separation wall, settlements and occupation in 3 villages nr. Ramallah (Bil‘in, Nabi Salih, and Ni‘lin), 1 village nr. Qalqilya (Kafr Qaddum), and 1 village nr. Bethlehem (alMa‘sara). There are no serious injuries, except in Kafr Qaddum (2 struck by tear gas canisters). (AP, MNA, ToI 1/31; PCHR 2/6)

In Switzerland, the 1st round of UN-sponsored peace negotiations on Syria ends with no breakthroughs or even seeming progress in bringing the 2 sides closer together. UN-Arab League joint special envoy Brahimi, who is serving as mediator, expresses frustration that even an agreement to allow an aid convoy to reach Homs remained elusive. Opposition delegates say they will return on 2/10, but govt. reps. say they would need to check with Damascus. (REU 1/31)

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis fires a rocket toward Eilat from the Sinai Peninsula, which is intercepted by an Iron Dome missile defense battery. (YA 1/31)

The Egyptian military attacks militants in Shaykh Zuweid, Sinai Peninsula, with Apache helicopters and ground forces, killing 13. (AP 1/31)