Sunday, August 18, 2013

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village each nr. Jenin and Qalqilya, and in 3 villages, as well as al-‘Arub refugee camp (r.c.) nr. Hebron, 1 village each nr. Bethlehem and Jenin, and Qalqilya at night; patrols in 2 villages nr. Nablus and 1 village nr. Jenin at night. Jewish settlers from Migron outpost attack a Palestinian shepherd on his village land, severely wounding him and killing 2 sheep. (PCHR 8/22; YA 8/18)

The PLO Executive Cmte. meets in Ramallah, speaking out against recent Israeli settlement construction announcements and threatening to go to international bodies in search of redress. The cmte. also says it holds the U.S. administration responsible for failing to stop Israel’s settlement activity during the renewed peace talks. Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority (PA) PM Rami Hamdallah signs an agreement with U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem Michael Ratney in which the U.S. will pay $148 million to support the PA’s budget. (JP, MNA, WAFA 8/18)

A meeting takes place in the Gaza Strip between Hamas and Fatah leaders to discuss the possibility of holding presidential and legislative elections. However, on the same day, Fatah accuses Hamas authorities in Gaza of targeting its mbrs. for detention and harassment. Meanwhile, PA forces arrest 6 Hamas mbrs. in the West Bank. (MNA 8/18)

The U.S. State Dept. puts financing for economic programs directly involving the Egyptian govt. on hold, in the 1st real indication that the Obama administration will cut or curtail aid to the country in response to the military coup. Meanwhile, clashes continue in Egypt, with security forces killing at least 36 prisoners through suffocation after firing tear gas into a prison truck. The estimated death toll for 4 days of unrest in the country stands at around 900, with an estimated 70 police officers also killed. (AP, NYT 8/18)

A UN team tasked with investigating alleged use of chemical weapons arrives in Damascus and visits 3 specific sites. (AP, NYT 8/18)