Thursday, August 9, 2001

A Hamas suicide bomber detonates a device at a crowded West Jerusalem pizzeria, killing 13 Israelis, 1 American, 1 Brazilian and wounding at least 90. Afterward, angry Israelis in Jerusalem, Jewish settlers in Hebron attack Palestinians in the streets, with little intervention fr. Israeli police, soldiers. Fearing a massive Israeli strike, Palestinians throughout the occupied territories close offices and stores, take refuge in their homes. Meanwhile, Palestinian gunmen fire on a vehicle nr. Jinin, killing 1 Jewish settler, wounding 3. The IDF directs heavy machine gun fire at residential areas of Bayt Lahia, Jericho, Khan Yunis, Nablus, Rafah; bulldoze a Palestinian home in Gaza. (AP, BBC, HA 8/9; ITAR-TASS, MENA 8/9 in WNC 8/10; NYT, PMC, WP, WT 8/10; JT 8/10 in WNC 8/13; WP 8/11)

Immediately after the bombing, the IDF senior command, Israeli cabinet convene separately to discuss response scenarios. The cabinet agrees to a new strategy of hitting PA targets only with the aim of forcing Arafat to choose btwn. a full cease-fire, destruction of the PA. This evening, Sharon meets with his security cabinet, which also decides to set up new police stations in East Jerusalem. (HA 8/9; CNN, HA, JP [Internet], LAW, NYT, REU, WP, WT 8/10; MENA 8/10 in WNC 8/13; WT 8/11; Times [London] 8/13; WT 8/15)

Late tonight (2:00 a.m. local time), Israel sends F-16s to destroy a PSF post in Ramallah; sends more tanks into Gaza, bulldozing 1 PSF post. Israeli security forces occupy 10 unofficial PLO offices in East Jerusalem, including Orient House (the symbolic PLO FMin.); also detain 8 Orient House employees for questioning, confiscate files, remove the Palestinian flag, raise an Israeli flag. The IDF takes over the Abu Dis mayor's residence, several surrounding homes Israel claims are used as PA security command centers, marking the 1st reoccupation of sites in area B. Sharon declares that "Orient House will not open again. Ever. We will not leave Abu Dis." The State Dept. says the actions mark a "political escalation." Russia warns Israel has crossed a "dangerous line." In response, Israel removes the Israeli flag fr. Orient House. (HA 8/9; CNN, HA, JP [Internet], LAW, NYT, REU, WP, WT 8/10; MENA 8/10 in WNC 8/13; WT 8/11; JT, al-Quds 8/12 in WNC 8/14; Times [London] 8/13; AYM 8/13, SA 8/14 in WNC 8/15; ATL 8/15 in WNC 8/16)

A PA security court in Nablus sentences another Palestinian to death for collaborating with Israel in the 2/19 assassination of Hamas mbr. Mahmud Madani. (Independent [Internet] 8/10)