Thursday, July 29, 2010

Arab League FMs meet in Cairo to debate whether to endorse a Palestinian move to direct talks with Israel, as strongly urged by the U.S. despite unresolved Palestinian concerns. The FMs ultimately endorse the idea of direct talks but support Abbas and the PLO’s refusal to open direct talks immediately, stating that when and how direct talks resumed is “a matter for the Palestinian side to decide.” Arab League Secy.-Gen ‘Amr Musa reveals that Abbas today received a letter fr. Obama containing “some guarantees” regarding direct talks but that clarifications were necessary; neither the PA nor the U.S. confirmed the existence of a letter. (JAZ 7/29; NYT, WP 7/30)

In Jerusalem, Jewish settlers escorted by Israeli police evict an extended Palestinian family (49 individuals, including 22 children) fr. a building in the Old City’s Muslim quarter, claiming ownership of the building. UN special envoy Serry denounces the takeover as “provocative . . . at a critical time in the international community’s efforts to move the peace process forward.” The Palestinian tenants appeal their eviction, and the case is referred to an Israeli court. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches Hebron, nr. Bethlehem. (OCHA 7/30; NYT 7/31; PCHR 8/5; OCHA 8/13)