Tuesday, November 26, 2013

In the West Bank, IDF troops kill 3 Palestinians in a raid on Yatta village nr. Hebron. The Israeli military claims that the dead men were suspected of planning an attack in the coming days and belonged to a Salafist terror cell. Palestinian factions in Hebron declare a day of mourning. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Hebron and 1 nearby village at night; patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning, and in 5 villages nr. Hebron and 1 village nr. Ramallah at night. Also in the West Bank, Jewish settlers attack a Palestinian home with Molotov cocktails in Burin village nr. Nablus, causing property damage but no injuries. In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops shoot and wound 1 Palestinian man nr. the border fence. (JP, MNA 11/26; PCHR 11/28)

Senior Palestinian official Nabil Shaath says that the Palestinian leadership is preparing to join international bodies and ratify agreements such as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, due to the lack of progress in the peace talks. Shaath also confirms that Saeb Erakat’s resignation (11/13) was not accepted by Pres. Abbas, and thus Erakat continues in a caretaker role. (MNA 11/26)

Israel and the EU finalize an agreement to allow Israel’s participation in the Horizon 2020 scientific research project. Following lengthy talks between Israeli justice minister Tzipi Livni and EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, a compromise formula is reached. This includes the publication of an appendix stating the applicability of the EU’s funding guidelines approved in 7/2013, which renders ineligible entities based in West Bank settlements, accompanied by an Israeli appendix stating the govt.’s opposition to those guidelines. (HA, REU, ToI 11/26)

Gen. Salim Idriss, leader of the FSA, tells Al Jazeera that his group plans to shun the peace conference that UN Secy.-Gen. Ban Ki-moon announced on 11/25, claiming that “conditions are not suitable” for the talks. Meanwhile, the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) issues a statement saying it wants to see progress on the ground through the establishment of humanitarian corridors and a release of political prisoners, before it decides whether to attend the talks. (AP, REU 11/26)

U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry addresses Congress in a video message, and places the onus on Iran to prove that their nuclear program is peaceful. In an effort to reassure lawmakers who criticized the 6-mo. interim deal as being too soft on the Iranian govt., Kerry affirms that, should the agreement fall apart, Tehran would face “even tougher sanctions.” Meanwhile, marking his 1st 100 days in office, Pres. Ruhani says in a TV interview that Iran’s enemies were now “isolated” following the deal. (AP 11/26; JP 11/27)

Egyptian armed forces kill Mohammed Hussein Muhareb, the leader of a militant group in the Sinai Peninsula, nr. Shaykh Zuweid. Muhareb was wanted for various attacks on state security forces. (AP 11/26)