Saturday, February 16, 2013

In the West Bank, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) patrols in 1 village nr. Hebron in the afternoon, and in 3 villages nr. Hebron and 1 village nr. Ramallah at night; conducts house searches and arrests in Hebron in the afternoon, and in 1 village nr. Hebron at night. (PCHR 2/21)

The Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC) announces that 155,000 people in the Gaza Strip (79% of eligible voters) have registered to vote in planned legislative elections, with 2 days remaining until the electoral roll closes. The CEC says that 76% of eligible West Bank voters are on the roll. The voter registration drive is the necessary step towards as yet unscheduled elections, should Fatah and Hamas agree on how to proceed and with several outstanding issues that could cause a delay. (MNA 2/16)

European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton issues a statement calling on Israel to improve conditions for Palestinian prisoners, noting ‘‘with concern’’ the case of 4 particular inmates on long-standing hunger strikes. (REU 2/16)

IDF soldiers provide medical assistance to 7 injured Syrian nationals they discover nr. the border fence in the occupied Golan Heights. The injured men reportedly are rebels fleeing fighting against forces loyal to Syrian pres. Bashar al-Asad. (HA 2/16)

Hizballah leader Hasan Nasrallah makes a speech from an undisclosed location stating that his group does not need support from Syria or Iran for any future battle against Israel. The comments are seen as a reference to claims that Israel’s 1/30 attack on Syria targeted a weapons convoy destined for Hizballah. (REU 2/16)

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says that the country does not want to build nuclear arms but that if they did, no country could stop them. Khamenei also promises revenge on Israel for the death of Revolutionary Guards commander Hessam Khoshnevis, also called Hassan Shateri in some news accounts, who was killed in Syria close to the Lebanese border by rebel fighters that Tehran accuses of working to advance U.S. and Israeli interests. (REU 2/16)