Friday, March 7, 2003

The IDF carves out a 4 mi2 “security zone” in Gaza around Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, Jabaliya r.c. to prevent Palestinians fr. firing rockets, mortars into Israel; stations 100 military vehicles in the zone; razes 100 dunams of land; says troops will stay indefinitely. The IDF also fatally shoots 3 Islamic Jihad mbrs. who attempt to infiltrate Netzarim settlement; conducts house searches in Nablus, breaking through walls to move from house to house. In the West Bank, 2 Hamas mbrs. dressed as yeshiva students infiltrate Kiryat Arba settlement, fatally shoot 2 Jewish settlers, wounding 6 before being killed by armed settlers. (HA 3/7; NYT, WP, WT 3/8; WP 3/9; PR 3/12; LAW, PCHR, WJW 3/13)

At the UNSC, UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix reports that Iraq is cooperating with inspectors, who have yet to find evidence of WMDs; estimates inspections could be completed within wks. U.S. Secy. of State Colin Powell replies that Iraq clearly has not met the requirements for cooperation, disarmament set out in UNSC Res. 1441, saying, “There are some people who simply, in my judgment, don’t want to see the facts clearly.” The U.S., Britain submit a draft UNSC res. that would give Iraq until 3/17 to reveal all its WMDs or face retaliation. France, Germany, Russia argue for completing UN inspections, saying that lack of progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is much more of a threat to the region than Iraq. (WP 3/7; NYT, WP, WT 3/8; NYT 3/9; MM 3/10)