Wednesday, October 23, 2013

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village each nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin and Qalqilya; patrols in Tulkarm in the morning, and in Jericho and 1 village and al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron at night. Jewish settlers attack a Palestinian family home in Burin village nr. Nablus, causing no serious damage or injuries. (MNA 10/23; PCHR 10/24)

Palestinian pres. Abbas meets with European Council pres. Herman van Rompuy in Brussels and demands that European companies end all business with settlements. Meanwhile, speaking to a German newspaper, Abbas says that the lack of progress in negotiations is in part due to Netanyahu’s insistence on starting from scratch. Meanwhile, Arab League spokesperson Nasif Hata emerges from a meeting in Paris with U.S. Secy. of State Kerry to say that the body is not optimistic about the renewed peace talks. (AFP, AP, JP 10/23)

U.S. Secy. of State Kerry holds extensive talks with Israeli PM Netanyahu in Rome, with discussions focusing on the peace process, Iran, and Syria. Kerry is particularly keen to seek answers from Netanyahu on Israel’s positions vis-à -vis a final settlement with the Palestinians, during 7 hours of talks. Since negotiations began on 7/29, 13 Israeli-Palestinian meetings have taken place, 3 of them in the previous 5 days. (HA, REU 10/23)

In Lebanon, 3 days of fighting in Tripoli between supporters and opponents of Syrian pres. Asad have killed 2 and wounded 33. (AFP 10/23)