Saturday, July 20, 2013

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 2 villages nr. Tulkarm, 1 village nr. Qalqilya, and 1 village nr. Ramallah at night; patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin in the afternoon and 1 village nr. Ramallah at night. Jewish settlers attack Palestinian shepherds and farmers s. of Hebron. (WAFA 7/20; PCHR 7/25)

Israel’s Minister for International Relations Yuval Steinitz announces that Israel will release some Palestinian prisoners as part of the deal for the resumption of direct talks. The releases will be in stages, but no precise numbers are given at this time. Steinitz also says that Israel has not agreed to resume talks on the basis of any territorial framework. Yet, at the same time, anonymous Palestinians officials brief the media that the U.S. had offered a guarantee that negotiations would be conducted on the basis of the 1967 borders. Israeli PM Netanyahu welcomes the resumption of peace talks, which he calls“an essential strategic interest for Israel.” Meanwhile, Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum says that the return to talks is a “disaster” and endangers the prospects for Palestinian national reconciliation. (AP, HA, MNA, REU 7/20)

Egyptian interim pres. Adly Mansour picks a 10-member committee of judges and law professors to propose amendments to the constitution drafted by the ousted Muslim Brotherhood-dominated govt. The team of experts has 30 days to make their proposals, after which a 2d committee of 50 public figures will review the amendments. Following the review, the new constitution will be put to a referendum. Meanwhile, Jordan’s King Abdallah II visits Cairo, the 1st head of state to visit Egypt since the army took power. (AFP, AP 7/20)