Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Off the coast of the Gaza Strip nr. Rafah, Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen, causing no injuries, but arresting 2. Demonstrations take place across the West Bank in protest of the killing of 3 Palestinians in Yatta the previous day. Demonstrations in Hebron and outside Ofer detention center nr Ramallah lead to clashes with IDF troops. Outside Ofer, Israeli forces fire live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters, while demonstrators throw stones and set fire to tires. No serious injuries are reported. In Hebron, stone-throwing Palestinians are met with tear gas from Israeli soldiers. Also in the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village each nr. Hebron and Jenin at night; patrols in Tulkarm in the morning, and in 2 villages nr. Hebron at night. (MNA, WAFA, YA 11/27; PCHR 11/28)

Palestinian chief negotiator Erakat says that Israeli policies, including continued settlement construction and arrest raids have led him to believe that there is no room for progress, hence his resignation on 11/13. Erakat says that the most recent meeting of the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams took place on 11/5. Erakat also says that he believes the Russians would become more involved, pointing to Pres. Abbas’ scheduled visit to Moscow next month. (HA 11/27)

The Syrian govt. announces that it will attend the UN-sponsored negotiations in 1/2014 (announced 11/25), according to a report by state news agency SANA, but will also resist demands for Pres. Bashar al-Asad to step down. Meanwhile, the Syrian National Coalition pres. Ahmad Jarba, declares that the group will participate in the conference; he hopes it will facilitate the emergence of a transitional govt. (AP, NYT, REU 11/27)

Iranian FM Mohammad Javad Zarif says that construction on building projects at the Arak nuclear facility is allowed as part of the nuclear agreement. U.S. State Dept. spokesperson Jen Psaki says in response that, while road or building work might be permissible, any kind of nuclear fuel production or reactor work is not allowed. Meanwhile, U.S. Pres. Obama briefs Saudi Arabia’s King Abdallah on the recent deal with Iran, with the White House saying that the 2 leaders agreed to consult regularly on the efforts of the P5+1 countries to secure a long-term agreement. Separately, Israeli strategic affairs minister Yuval Steinitz meets with British officials in Jerusalem to discuss recent developments and Israel’s concerns with a potential deal between Iran and the P5+1. (AP 11/27)