Saturday, July 17, 2004

The IDF raids Saida village nr. Tulkarm, killing local Hamas cmdr. Basil Abu Sha‘b, local AMB cmdr. Sahir Ajaj in what may be assassinations; fatally shoots a stonethrowing Palestinian in Balata r.c.; fires on residential areas of Dayr al-Balah, Rafah. Suspected Fatah gunmen fr. Nablus fire on a jeep outside ‘Ayn Bayt al-Ma’ r.c. thought mistakenly to be driven by rival Fatah mbrs., injuring 2 Palestinians. Armed PFLP mbrs. exchange fire with armed PA intelligence and Force 17 officers guarding a Palestinian collaborator (responsible for the deaths of 2 PFLP cmdrs. in and IDF raid on 7/6) being held in the Nablus governate office; no injuries are reported. (PR 7/21; PCHR, PM 7/22; HA 7/23)

In light of the 7/16 kidnappings, Arafat declares a state of emergency in Gaza; issues a decree for a “temporary restructuring” of the security forces into 3 branches: public security, with his distant cousin Musa Arafat as its new head; police, with Arafat loyalist Saeb Ajiz as its new head; general intelligence, with Amin al-Hindi, a loyalist increasingly critical of Arafat, maintaining leadership of the dept. Soon after, 1,000s of armed, masked Palestinians gather outside the PC headquarters in Gaza to protest the appointment of Musa Arafat, whom they say is corrupt, as cronyism. Qurai‘ resigns, citing the lack of true reform; Arafat rejects his resignation. (NYT, WP, XIN 7/17; MENA, PSCT, VOI, VOP 7/17, AYM, HA, MA, XIN, YA 7/18, JP 7/19 in WNC 7/21; AYM 7/18, JP 7/20 in WNC 7/22; al-Quds 7/18; DUS 7/19 in WNC 7/23; NYT, WP, WT 7/18; MM 7/19; HA, MM 7/20; PR 7/21; WP 7/22; MEI 7/23; AYM 8/6 in WNC 8/10)