Friday, July 19, 2013

U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry announces at a press conference in Amman that direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations will begin as early as the following week in Washington. Kerry says details are still being finalized, but that Israeli justice minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat will travel to the U.S. to hold preliminary talks. Kerry made no mention of any conditions or framework for the talks. UN Secy.-Gen. Ban Ki-moon welcomes the news and commends Kerry for his efforts, as does EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton. (HA, JP, MNA, REU 7/19)

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Hebron and 2 nearby villages, and 1 village nr. Qalqilya at night; patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin and al-‘Arub r.c. at night. Israeli soldiers clash with protesters at regular demonstrations by Palestinians, Israelis and international activists against Israel’s separation wall, settlements, and the occupation in 3 villages nr. Ramallah (Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, Nabi Salih), and 1 village nr. Qalqilya (Kafr Qaddum), causing no serious injuries, except in Nabi Saleh, where 1 person is shot and wounded by a rubbercoated metal bullet. (MNA 7/19; PCHR 7/25)

Pro-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators take to the streets across Egypt, and 3 people die in clashes between supporters and opponents of ousted pres. Morsi. Meanwhile in the Sinai, gunmen launch attacks on Egyptian army posts and police stations, killing 3 civilians when a rocket-propelled grenade struck their home. (AFP, MNA, REU 7/19)