Saturday, September 21, 2002

In Ramallah, the IDF continues demolition work at the PA compound, setting fire to storehouses, bulldozing the Ramallah governate building; says it now seeks the extradition of 50 Palestinians inside Arafat's offices; warns those inside the remaining building to evacuate or risk being harmed when the IDF blows it up, prompting 1,000s of Palestinians to take to the street in protest, despite the curfew. The IDF fires stun grenades, live ammunition at the crowds, killing 2 Palestinians (including a journalist with Voice of Palestine). (After al-Jazeera TV broadcasts news of the spontaneous Ramallah demonstrations, 1,000s of Palestinians violate the curfews Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarm and rally in Gaza to protest; the IDF kills 1 Palestinian protester in Nablus, a 2d Palestinian in Tulkarm and demolishes 2 Palestinian homes in Qabatya, Qalqilya.) None of the Palestinians in the Ramallah compound evacuates, the IDF does not blow up the building; unnamed Israeli officials suggest the threat was "psychological combat" aimed at making living conditions so unbearable for Arafat that he seeks refuge abroad. The IDF also conducts arrest raids in al-Fara' r.c., Jenin, Rafah; fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis, Rafah; fires on an ambulance in Nablus, damaging it, wounding 1 Palestinian bystander. (PM 9/21; MENA 9/21, ITAR-TASS, XIN 9/22 in WNC 9/23; NYT, PM, WP, WT 9/22; HA 9/23; al-Quds 9/23 in WNC 9/24; MM 9/24; LAW, PCHR, PR 9/25; MEI, MM 9/27; PRCS press release 9/27)