Monday, July 22, 2013

White House spokesperson Jay Carney says that the Obama administration is working to bring together Israeli and Palestinian officials in the coming weeks to discuss how to commence direct negotiations. Palestinian official Nabil Abu Rudeineh says that Israel is still blocking the path to formal talks, claiming that Pres. Abbas had agreed to send a delegation to Washington to continue lower-level preliminary discussions. Meanwhile, EU foreign ministers issue a statement welcoming Kerry’s announcement that an agreement had been reached (7/19) for establishing a basis for resuming direct negotiations. Palestinian pres. Abbas says that any future peace deal with the Israelis be put to a national referendum, while Israeli PM Netanyahu says that his govt. will pass a law requiring a referendum on any peace treaty. (AFP, JP, REU 7/22)

In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians fire 1 rocket into s. Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Separately, IDF troops conduct a limited incursion nr. al-Bureij r.c. to level land. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Nablus, and 1 village each nr. Hebron and nr. Salfit at night; patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning, in 3 villages nr. Jenin, 2 villages nr. Ramallah, and 1 village each nr. Hebron, Salfit, and Tulkarm at night. (AFP 7/22; PCHR 7/25)

In Egypt, unidentified assailants kill 6 civilians and security officers in different attacks in Rafah and al-Arish in the Sinai. (AP, REU 7/22)

Chairman of the House of Representatives Intelligence Cmte. Mike Rogers says that the U.S. administration can move forward with plans to arm Syrian rebels, after some concerns were eased. Members of the Senate Intelligence Cmte. had previously voiced worries that arms could end up in the hands of radical Islamist groups, but according to a statement issued by Rogers the White House has since offered reassurances about the proposed supplying of rebels. (REU 7/22)

The EU designates the armed wing of Hizballah as a foreign terrorist organization, a decision welcomed by Israel but condemned by both the Lebanese group themselves, as well as Lebanese caretaker FM Adnan Mansour. The resulting sanctions will restrict Hizballah’s ability to use Europe as a financial conduit. (REU 7/22)