Saturday, March 30, 2002

Before dawn, IDF tanks, troops take over Bayt Jala, Beitunia (surrounding the offices of PSF West Bank head Jibril Rajub). The IDF shells buildings in the PA compound; later, restores electricity to Arafat's offices and allows the PRCS to bring Arafat and around 100 of his men food, bottled water, cell phone batteries. Most other areas of Ramallah remain without water, electricity. In Tel Aviv, an AMB suicide bomber detonates a device in a restaurant, injuring more than 30 Israelis. IDF soldiers fatally shoot 2 AMB mbrs. reportedly armed with explosives, trying to enter Israel. The IDF raids numerous buildings in Ramallah, in 1 instance wounding, then executing 5 PSF officers, raising the confirmed toll in Ramallah for the past 2 days to 12 Palestinians. The IDF detains 10s of Palestinians in Ramallah, including, DFLP dep. secy. gen. Qays Abu Layla, PSF dir. of operations Yunis Alass, Fatah Central Comm. mbr. Sakhir Habash, and around 12 paramedics and nurses, confiscating 3 ambulances; searches a Ramallah hospital for weapons, wounded fighters; orders all Palestinian men in al-Bireh, Ramallah age 15-45 to surrender; takes over al-Watan TV, airs pornographic material (reports confirmed by U.S. Consulate). In Tulkarm, the IDF assassinates senior Islamic Jihad mbr. Ahad Ajaj, his cousin. In East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities search the home of Mufti Ikrima Sabri, detain him for questioning; arrest senior Fatah mbr. Salah Zhikiyya; fire on Palestinians protesting outside al-Aqsa Mosque, injuring 5. More than 15,000 Palestinians demonstrate in Gaza City; other protests are held in Bayt Jala, Bayt Sahur. (LAW, Mezan, REU 3/30; AFP, ANSA, ATL, IRNA, ITAR-TASS, MENA, XIN 3/30 in WNC 4/1; NYT, Observer, WP, WT 3/31; HA 4/2; MEI 4/5)

The UNSC approves (14-0, with Syria abstaining) Res. 1402, demanding that Israel withdraw fr. Ramallah, but (at U.S. insistence) without giving a deadline. In his 1st statement on Israel's new campaign, Bush says that the U.S. supports Israel's right to "defend itself," that Arafat "can do a lot more" to prevent attacks on Israelis. (MENA, XIN 3/30, JT, MENA 3/31 in WNC 4/1; HA, Independent, NYT, WP, WT 3/31; AN, AFP 3/31 in WNC 4/1; XIN 4/1 in WNC 4/2; AKH 4/1 in WNC 4/3; SA 4/1 in WNC 4/4; MEI 4/5)