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  • February 2, 2011

    In retaliation for rocket fire on 1/31, the IDF makes an air strike on a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF arrests 3 Palestinian children (ages...

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  • January 19, 2011

    IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials, wounding 1. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in...

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In retaliation for rocket fire on 1/31, the IDF makes an air strike on a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF arrests 3 Palestinian children (ages 13–16) for straying nr. the separation wall in Bil‘in; makes a late-night raid on a Palestinian home in al-Khadir nr. Bethlehem looking for a 12- yr.-old boy who threw stones at troops earlier in the day, assaulting a boy in the house and knocking him unconscious (he is taken by ambulance to a hospital for evaluation), roughly searching rooms, and allegedly stealing gold; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Ramallah. (AFP, YA 2/2; PCHR 2/3, 2/10; OCHA 2/11)

In Ramallah, the PA, which had banned anti-Mubarak protests in the West Bank, organizes 100s of Fatah mbrs. into proMubarak demonstrations, with the PAcontrolled media denouncing Egyptian opposition figure El-Baradei as a war criminal and CIA agent, calling him responsible for the war on Iraq. Later in the day, some 150 Palestinians in Ramallah organize a counterdemonstration in solidarity with the Egyptian people but are beaten and dispersed by PA riot police, who arrest 2 journalists and a human rights worker monitoring the rally. To date, the PFLP is the only Palestinian faction to come out in support of the Egyptian demonstrators. (JP 2/2; Human Rights Watch press release, NYT, WP, WT 2/3; NYT 2/4; WP 2/7) 

Yemen’s pres. Saleh pledges he will not run again when his term ends in 2013 or appoint his son to succeed him. In the past 10 days, he has also promised to lift the state of emergency imposed since 1992, raised the salaries of soldiers and civil servants, pledged to hire more college graduates, cut income taxes, imposed price controls, extended welfare payments to an additional 500,000 Yemenis, waived college tuition fees for students for the current year, and promised to reopen voter registration to enable some 1.5 m. Yemenis to register to vote. Today, Obama issues a statement welcoming Saleh’s reform steps. The opposition remains dubious, with many saying Saleh must step down immediately. Hereafter, protests shrink in size (from the 1,000s to the 100s) but increase in frequency, becoming near daily events in Sana’a and Aden through the end of the quarter. (NYT, WP 2/3; NYT 2/4)

IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials, wounding 1. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Nablus and nr Jenin; conducts late-night patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah. (PCHR 1/20, 1/27; OCHA 1/28)

Lebanon introduces a draft of a major United Nations Security Council res. for debate that urges the international community to denounce Israeli settlement activity, using wording that artfully pieces together official U.S. statements on settlements to make it harder for the U.S. to object or veto. The U.S. ultimately urges Abbas to suspend discussion of the draft until a Quartet meeting on 2/5, suggesting the Quartet might issue a statement confirming 1967 borders as the basis of final status negotiations and condemning Israeli settlement construction. (NYT 1/20)

At an Arab economic summit in Sharm al-Shaykh, Arab leaders pledge $2 b. to shore up regional economies and generate jobs in hopes of preventing the spread of antigovernment riots like those in Tunisia. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait each pledges $500 m., with 11 other states pledging the other $1 b. Observers say however (see NYT 1/20) that leaders are acting more out of a desire to secure their leaderships than to reform and develop their economies, noting that none of the similar initiatives agreed at the last economic summit in 2009 have been implemented. By this date, numerous self-immolations (some fatal) and antigovernment protests have taken place in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen since the fall of Ben-Ali on 1/14, citing Tunisia as inspiration. In response to the Yemeni riots, the most severe to date, Pres. Ali Abdullah Saleh has cut income taxes in half, imposed price controls on basic goods, raised salaries for the army, and vowed his son will not succeed him, while the EU has announced an additional $19.5 m. in support to Sana’a for poverty programs. Today, an Egyptian Facebook group begins calling for massive street protests in Cairo on 1/25 to mark a “day of revolution against torture, poverty, corruption, and unemployment.” (WT 1/19; NYT 1/20; NYT, WT 1/25; see also al-Bawaba 1/17; NYT, WP 1/18)