Booby-trapped car explodes in Deir el-Qamar area of Chouf; despite IDF denials, Israeli forces advance into positions previously held by PLO in Bir Hassan area near Shatila...
Cross-border exchanges in Gaza continue overnight and throughout the day. The PRCs, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AMB), and a small Salafist group (the Abdullah Azzam Brigades) fire around 17 rockets (including at least 4 Grads) and at least 2 mortars into Israel, seriously injuring 2 Israelis and damaging a religious seminary and a synagogue. The IDF carries out at least 25 air strikes (warplanes and drones) and 5 artillery strikes, killing at least another 7 Palestinians (5 militants and 2 bystanders, including 1 child) and wounding at least 40; the attacks include the targeted assassination of Islamic Jihad’s senior military cmdr. Mu’ataz Quraiqe‘ in Gaza City, also killing his brother and 2-yr.-old son. (The other 4 militants killed, including senior PRC cmdr. Samed Abed, apparently were targeted after firing rockets.) Other targets include smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border, the main waste treatment facility in Nussayrat refugee camp (r.c.) in central Gaza, and numerous Hamas facilities and suspected weapons storage facilities across the Strip. With air strikes continuing into the evening, Hamas’s military wing, the Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades (IQB), declares that it no longer considers itself bound by a unilateral cease-fire that had been in place since the end of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in 1/2009. Israeli officials discuss the possibility of launching an all-out offensive on Gaza. A Hamas mbr. injured in an 8/15/11 Israeli air strike on Gaza dies. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin and 1 each nr. Jericho, Qalqilya, and Ramallah. Palestinians (sometimes accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil‘in, Kafr Qaddum, Ni‘lin, and al-Nabi Salih. IDF soldiers beat and fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, injuring 1 Palestinian. (JP, MNA, YA 8/19; NYT, WP 8/20; IMEU, JAZ 8/21; PCHR 8/25; OCHA 8/26; NYT 8/27)
In Cairo, 100s of Egyptians angry over Israel’s killing of 3 soldiers in the Sinai on 8/18 gather outside the Israeli emb., demanding Israel’s amb. be expelled. Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF; the interim military leadership) summons the Israeli amb. to demand an apology and call for an investigation into the killings. The Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate for pres., Abdel Moneim Abou el-Fatouh, calls the incident an Israeli act of war, saying the SCAF should abrogate the 1979 peace treaty. (NYT, WP 8/20)
U.S. warships fire warning shots across bows of 2 Iraqi oil tankers; Saudi Arabia says it will boost oil production by 2 million barrels a day to make up for loss of Kuwaiti and Iraqi oil [WP, NYT 8/19; CSM 8/20].
Declaring naval blockade "an act of war," Iraq says foreigners held in Iraq and Kuwait will suffer same food shortages as Iraqis [NYT 8/19].
Egyptian gov't closes Voice of Palestine radio in Cairo because of Arafat's tilt toward Iraq [BDS 8/18 in FBIS 8/21]. Palestinians in W. Bank march in support of Iraq and Jordan; more than 1,000 demonstrators crowd into Nablus streets until IDF troops disperse them with tear gas [MEM 8/20; MET 8/28].
U.S. State Dep't. releases annual report to Congress on global human rights; it sharply criticizes Israel's actions in O.T., finds fault with most Arab nations as well [WP 2/22]; Israel criticizes report: "Everything we are doing arises from Arab violence," says Moshe Raviv of foreign ministry [NYT 2/22].
PLO's Bassam Abu Sharif tells reporters in Tunis that resettlement of Soviet Jews in O.T. is "an act of war against the Palestinian people," and that "such an action can only beget similar reactions-that is, acts of war" [LAT 2/23].
In Tunis, Arafat meets with Soviet ambassador to Tunisia, discusses Soviet Jewish emigration to Israel [AVP 2/21 in FBIS 2/22].
At the Kremlin, Nabil Amr presents his credentials to Soviet V.P. Anatoliy Lukyanov as ambassador of State of Palestine to USSR [TASS 2/21].
U.S. plans to give Egypt 700 surplus M-60 tanks made obsolete by cutbacks in U.S. forces in Europe (cf. 2/27) [WT 3/2].
Booby-trapped car explodes in Deir el-Qamar area of Chouf; despite IDF denials, Israeli forces advance into positions previously held by PLO in Bir Hassan area near Shatila refugee camp, sparking sporadic exchanges; Wazzan protests advance, seen as undermining Lebanese efforts to demilitarize streets of West Beirut; Muslim leaders fear IDF mine-clearing activities are pretext for armored IDF thrust further into West Beirut; Kurdish, Shiite militias battle each other in Kantari district with rockets and machine guns over personal feud.
Casualties: French UNIFIL officer killed, 3 Lebanese wounded in Bir Hassan; 3 IDF soldiers, 10 others injured in Chouf; Israeli sources estimate IDF might have had 2,000 casualties if it had entered West Beirut.
Israel/ Occupied Territories: Four Palestinian youths injured by IDF soldiers who fired on demonstrators; Nablus Mayor Bassem Shakaa, other West Bank mayors view Reagan proposals as moderately positive; Labor Party supports Reagan proposals as basis for serious dialogue; Sharon calls proposals a "big mistake"; Defense Ministry leaks news of Begin-Gemayel meeting (greatly embarrasses Gemayel).
Palestinians/ Lebanese: Arafat arrives in Tunisia to warm welcome, is formally invited to attend Fez summit; Wazzan protests IDF advance to US Ambassador Dillon as violation of US-negotiated accord.
Arab Governments: Secret visit by State Department representative Nicholas Veliotes to Jordan days before Reagan speech reported; Jordan says consultations with PLO, commitment to Rabat summit resolutions essential; Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait cautiously positive toward proposals; Syria withholds reaction.
US and Other Countries: Mitterrand, in Greece, reiterates French support for Palestinian state; after meeting with Begin and tour of East Jerusalem in company of Israeli mayor, Weinberger reaffirms US determination to press ahead with proposals despite outright Israeli rejection, and flies to Cairo for talks.