Wednesday, December 8, 2004

The IDF fires shells at a group of Palestinians that enters a closed military zone nr. the Gaza-Egypt border, killing 4 Palestinians, arresting 2 (1 of whom later dies in an Israeli hospital); demolishes a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem; bulldozes several bedouin tents and shacks in Bir Nabala northwest of Jerusalem for construction of the separation wall; raids a PA Health Min. clinic in Bethlehem; fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis; conducts arrest raids in Bayt Rima, Burkin nr. Jenin, Qarawat Bani Zayd. The IDF detains and beats PA presidential candidate Mustafa Barghouthi and his bodyguards at a checkpoint into Jenin, preventing him fr. campaigning in the city; the IDF disputes the account, says Barghouthi refused to show ID, was never hit, was finally allowed to pass when he showed ID. Palestinians fire an antitank rocket into Gaza’s Nisanit settlement, causing no damage or injuries. (AP, PM 12/8; VOI, VOP 12/8 in WNC 12/10; PCHR, WP 12/9; JAZ, VOI, VOP, YA 12/9 in WNC 12/11; NYT 12/10; NYT 12/11; WP 12/12; PR 12/15)

Abbas, Qurai‘ meet with Lebanese pres. Emile Lahoud, PM Omar Karami, parliamentary speaker Nabih Birri in Beirut, marking the 1st visit by the Palestinian leadership to Lebanon since Arafat withdrew to Tunis in 1982. Abbas, Qurai‘ visit Shatila r.c., Sidon, and Rashidiyya r.c. (a Fatah stronghold) where they are greeted by 1,000s of refugees, pledge to uphold the right of return. They do not visit nearby ‘Ayn al-Hilwa r.c. (AFP, WT 12/8; VOP 12/8 in WNC 12/10; AP 12/9; al-Quds, VOP 12/9 in WNC 12/11; NYT 12/13; Daily Star, alNahar, al-Safir 12/13 in WNC 12/16; PR 12/15)