Sunday, November 3, 2013

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village each nr. Hebron, Jenin, Jerusalem, Nablus, and Ramallah at night; patrols in 1 village nr. Hebron at night. (PCHR 11/7)

Israel issues tenders for the construction of more than 1,700 homes, shortly ahead of a visit by U.S. Secy. of State Kerry. The tenders are part of 3,500 homes whose planned construction was announced after the latest prisoner release. The tenders are for homes in East Jerusalem settlements Ramat Shlomo and Gilo, as well as West Bank settlements like Elkana, Ma’ale Adumim, and Beitar Ilit. There is also 196 homes planned for Karnei Shomron, a settlement outside the “blocs” Israel expects to keep in any future deal. Separately, Israeli media report that PM Netanyahu intends to build a separation barrier between the West Bank and Jordan, as part of the govt.’s plans to maintain an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley. Responding to developments, Pres. Abbas spokesperson Abu Rudayna says that the decision to build a fence along the border with Jordan is aimed at undermining Kerry’s upcoming mission, while PLO mbr. Wassel Abu Yousef slams the settlement tenders and says the PLO is considering how to get UN action against these decisions. Kerry, in Egypt, responds to a question at a press conference with FM Nabil Fahmy by saying that settlement construction disturbs “people’s perceptions of whether . . . we’re moving in the right direction.” (AFP, JP, MNA, REU, ToI 11/3)

U.S. Undersecy. of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman assures Israel that Obama has not offered any sanctions relief to Iran and that Israeli security is a priority of the administration. Speaking to Israeli television, Sherman says that the U.S. may offer temporary, limited sanctions relief as part of the diplomatic process while leaving core oil and banking sanctions in place. (HA, JP 11/3)

In Egypt, U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry expresses optimism about a return to democracy, and describes Cairo as a vital partner of Washington. Unnamed senior State Dept. officials say that Kerry did not discuss ousted pres. Morsi’s trial in meetings with Pres. Adly Mansour and Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. (REU 11/3)