Wednesday, August 15, 2001

The IDF reinforces positions around Bayt Jala in response to an hrs.-long exchange of gunfire btwn. Bayt Jala, Gilo; F-16s also overfly the area. In Hebron, Israeli undercover agents assassinate local Fatah tanzim leader Imad Abu Sunayna, who was on Israel's most-wanted list. Israeli undercover agents also arrest several Islamic Jihad mbrs. in Jinin; based on their confessions, police reportedly find, disarm a bomb nr. Haifa. A Palestinian sniper shoots, wounds an Israeli truck driver nr. Ma'ale Adumim. The IDF sends tanks into Khan Yunis; conducts arrests raids in al-Arub, Bayt Umar, Baqa` al-Sharqiyya, Izbat al-Tayib. Armed Jewish settlers block the Nablus+nRamallah road, stone and club Palestinian cars. Demonstrations continue outside Orient House. An alleged Palestinian collaborator dies in PA custody. Israel says it will facilitate the transfer of 17,000 heads of livestock fr. the Elat port to the PA areas over the next few days. (AP, HA, HP, IGPO, MEZ, REU 8/15; Guardian [Internet], NYT, WP 8/16; NYT, WP, WT 8/17)

In Washington, Mubarak adviser Baz holds mtgs. with White House, State Dept., CIA officials, warning that the U.S.'s continued "inaction" in the Middle East could allow extremists to take hold in moderate Arab counties, undermine U.S. prestige. Baz urges the U.S. to more clearly define to both sides in an even-handed way what is needed to proceed with the Mitchell recommendations. (MENA 8/15 in WNC 8/16; NYT 8/16)