Wednesday, October 30, 2013

In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops conduct a limited incursion nr. Bayt Hanun to level land close to the border fence. In the West Bank, Israeli troops shoot and kill a Palestinian in Qabatya village nr. Jenin, during clashes sparked by an arrest raid. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Bethlehem and nearby Dahaysha r.c., in al-Bireh, and 1 village each nr. Jenin and Ramallah at night. In East Jerusalem, Israeli security forces demolish a 3-story building containing shops and residential apartments, home to 8 family mbrs. It is the 2d such demolition in Bayt Hanina in consecutive days. (MNA, PCHR 10/30)

Israel announces the construction of 1,500 new homes in the East Jerusalem settlement of Ramat Shlomo, following shortly after the Palestinian prisoners release. The govt. also advances plans for a national park on the slopes of Mount Scopus and the establishment of a visitor’s center in the settler-run “City of David” national park in Silwan. Israeli officials brief that both the U.S. and Palestinians knew in advance that such announcements of construction would accompany prisoner releases. Likud dep. minister Ophir Akunis also claims that there was approval for plans for 2,000 further units in settlements outside the blocs. UN Secy.-Gen. Ban Ki-moon calls the news “an obstacle to peace,” while U.S. State Dept. spokesperson Jen Psaki responds by saying that the administration views “continued settlement activity” do not serve to “create a positive environment for the negotiations.” PA Pres. Abbas spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudayna says that the move “destroys the peace process.” (AFP, JP, YA 10/30)

Unnamed Western and Arab diplomats are reported as saying that it is unlikely the “Geneva 2” conference about the future of Syria will take place in 11/2013, as previously mooted. One of the main complications is the question of representation of the opposition, with opinions divided about whether the SNC should be the umbrella under which the opposition enters the negotiations. (REU 10/30)