IDF gunboats/ artillery bombard Palestinian camps, residential areas (shells fall in non-Palestinian areas of Verdun and Corniche Mazraa); blockade creates serious food,...
The IDF makes air strikes on a car in Bayt Lahiya, assassinating 4 Islamic Jihad mbrs. (Muhammad Abu Nima, Mahmud Awad, Majid al-Batash, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Hilu); on an alleged weapons factory in Gaza City, damaging several neighboring houses but causing no injuries; on a group of armed Palestinians in al-Bureij r.c., missing them, hitting a building, damaging 7 homes, injuring 4 bystanders (including a 1-yr.-old child). The IDF also conducts an arrest raid in Bayt Lahiya. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Comms. (PRCs) fire 15 rockets fr. Gaza toward Israel (3 land in Gaza), hitting a car in Sederot, killing 1 Israeli woman (the 11th killed by Palestinian rocket fire since rockets came into use in 1/02; the previous deadly strike occurred on 11/21/06), wounding 2 men. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus, and in Balata r.c. (targeting the AMB), Qalqilya, Tulkarm. Jewish settler teenagers fr. Karmi’el nr. Hebron throw stones at a bedouin woman nr. Yatta, injuring her. Fatah mbrs. shoot, wound 2 Hamas mbrs. in Khan Yunis and set fire to a library on the campus of the predominantly Hamas College of Science and Technology. An NSF mbr. dies of injuries received in clashes with Hamas on 5/16. (NYT, WP, WT 5/22; OCHA, WP 5/23; PCHR 5/24)
The Lebanese army’s siege of Nahr al-Barid r.c. continues overnight. During the day, fighting is heavy: Army snipers atop buildings surrounding the camp firing on anyone moving in the streets inside, soldiers open machine gun fire on anyone trying to leave the camp; FI responds with automatic weapons, mortar fire, anti-aircraft guns; the army responds with artillery, tank fire. (The army also surrounds the volatile ‘Ayn al-Hilwa r.c. as a precaution, prompting armed Palestinian factions there to go on alert.) The UN secures a brief cease-fire in the afternoon, allowing the evacuation of 16 wounded Palestinian civilians fr. the camp before FI breaks the truce. Lebanese PM Fuad Siniora asks the U.S. to expedite $280 m. in previously pledged military aid to more effectively combat FI. After dark, army shelling of Nahr al-Barid increases significantly. In Beirut, another car bomb explodes in the predominantly Sunni Verdun area, wounding 6 Lebanese, setting 2 buildings on fire. (AP, NYT, REU 5/21; NYT, WP, WT 5/22; NYT, WP 5/23)
IDF, claiming PLO breaches cease-fire, attacks Palestinian neighborhoods, artillery positions in West Beirut by land, sea, air (hour-long air strike hits Ramlet el-Baida, Sabra, Lailake, Shatila, Burj al-Barajneh, Verdun Street, stadium, race track areas; bombardment follows rocket, artillery duels between IDF and PLO; fighting shatters growing optimism as trucks collect garbage for first time in ten days, hundreds of cars seek to enter West Beirut); Habib arranges new cease-fire for 9 PM.
Heavy casualties from IDF bombardment of W. Beirut; IDF blockade of all water and electricity into West Beirut continues for fifth day (risk of typhoid/ paratyphoid epidemic rising; all main West Beirut reservoirs dry; private wells becoming depleted, increasingly unpotable); huge fires started in Palestinian neighborhoods; hospitals, experience critical shortages of food, water; two IDF soldiers reported wounded; IDF refuses to allow entry of $1 m. in US-provided medical supplies into West Beirut (after intervention of ICRC, supplies earmarked for AUB Hospital allowed in); IDF burns three vegetable-laden trucks near southern suburbs; Tyre still without electricity; PLO offers to compensate UNRWA for blockaded relief supplies PLO refuses to allow to be removed from Beirut.
Israel/ Occupied Territories: Begin tells Knesset before bombing starts that IDF will step up military pressure on Beirut if PLO does not leave (claims Habib has failed to receive "unequivocal commitment" by PLO to withdraw, reportedly opposes proposal to keep IDF out of sight of Beirut-Damascus highway during any PLO retreat); IDF plan for storming West Beirut reportedly finalized; Begin postpones trip to Africa scheduled for Monday; Shamir dismisses Arab League statement, flies to Switzerland and the US.
Palestinians/ Lebanese: New PLO proposal for leaving Lebanon presented to Wazzan; Salam expects agreement between PLO and Lebanese government in "a week to 10 days"; Wazzan accuses IDF of picking political rather than military targets to press home its demands, threatens to suspend negotiations unless blockade ended; Camille Chamoun criticizes blockade as "cruel," "unjustifiable"; Butros returns from Arab League meeting in Saudi Arabia unoptimistic, reportedly rejects PLO proposed withdrawal timetable; PLO reportedly insists that only regular troops of the Palestine Liberation Army should leave.
Arab Governments: Egypt's Foreign Minister Ali meets with Reagan in Washington, seeks to link PLO withdrawal from Beirut with longterm solution to Palestinian problem; Iraq claims Iranian offensive crushed.
US and Other Countries: Reagan meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ali in Washington.
IDF gunboats/ artillery bombard Palestinian camps, residential areas (shells fall in non-Palestinian areas of Verdun and Corniche Mazraa); blockade creates serious food, gasoline, medical shortages and brings negotiations to a halt; Wazzan says all water, electricity cut and all roads into W. Beirut closed; IDF tanks try to move on airport (4 vehicles hit in fierce PLO resistance); 2 shells land near Presidential Palace at Baabda; Lebanese officials say IDF forces 3 engineers to remove key piece of pumping machinery from water works serving West Beirut; fifth cease-fire called at 4 PM by IDF, though shelling continues beyond deadline (last cease-fire June 25); IDF forces advance to edge of airport runways; IDF only advances block by block against fierce PLO resistance (despite pleas, no PLO members surrender); now an estimated 90,000 IDF troops in Lebanon; Phalange cuts off port road on IDF orders.
Four cars of ICRC and convoy of 14 food trucks turned back from W. Beirut; residents of city line up at stores in panic buying of food; gasoline scarce; American University Hospital has only 2 days of oxygen; gunfights at gasoline stations reported; few of W. Beirut's estimated 200,000 Lebanese and Palestinian residents leave; ICRC protests lack of protection for and access to prisoners; severe housing shortage develops at Nabatiyeh as refugees arrive from north.
Israel/ Occupied Territories: BenPorat of Telem joins Cabinet; Sharon, Kimche, Habib reportedly meet; Mapam Secretary-General calls for end to water and food blockade (joined by Labor Party's Yossi Sarid); special regulations passed around June 9 reportedly allow for 3 months detention with no provisions for legal counsel or informing detainees' families; 6 wounded outside Hebron by Village League members; Vatican-sponsored Bethlehem University reopens (closed since June 11 after student protests of invasion).
Palestinians/ Lebanese: Groundswell of Lebanese resentment of IDF and support for Wazzan reported; PLO reported to send contribu-tion to Nicaragua for children affected by May floods; Lebanese officials protest IDF cutoff of water.
Arab Governments: Egypt accepts Iraq's invitation to summit meeting in September (after 3-year total isolation); Egypt says US role in Lebanon vital, that Israeli invasion is under-mining peace process and stability of region; PLO, Moroccan, Kuwaiti leaders meet USSR leaders; Syrian President Assad returns after talks with Saudi King Fahd; only Algeria and Syria reportedly willing to take PLO.
US and Other Countries: US officials say cease-fire essential to negotiations, pressures IDF to ease pressure on Beirut, following strong message from Saudi Arabia; USSR Foreign Minister Gromyko rules out military involvement in Lebanon; Arab women begin silent vigil outside White House; Nicaragua says it is sending solidarity mission to Beirut.