Sunday, May 2, 2004

Palestinian gunmen (1 Islamic Jihad mbr., 1 PRC mbr.) ambush a Jewish settler vehicle nr. Gush Katif, killing a Jewish settler woman, her 4 children, wounding 2 IDF soldiers in a car escorting them; the soldiers return fire, killing the 2 gunmen. The IDF retaliates by assassinating the senior Nablus AMB military cmdrs. Nadir Abu Layl and Hashim Abu Hamdan, firing a missile at their car as they drive through Nablus, also killing 2 AMB mbrs. traveling with them, injuring 3 bystanders. The IDF then rockets a building in Gaza City that houses a Hamas radio station (possibly attempting to assassinate a senior Hamas mbr. who reportedly was being interviewed at the time), the offices of al-Ayyam and al-Quds newspapers, a Fatah radio station; no one is injured. The IDF also raids Wadi al-Silqa nr. the site of the ambush, orders all Palestinian residents to leave their homes, searches homes, arrests 1 Palestinian, bulldozes 15 Palestinian homes. The IDF also bulldozes 4 Palestinian homes and 6 dunams of land nr. Morag settlement, 2 Palestinian homes in Rafah; fires on a funeral procession in Khan Yunis, wounding 2 Palestinians; fires on residential areas of Tubas, sparking protests, then opening fire on stone-throwing youths; conducts arrest raids in and around Jenin. Late in the evening, 4 Jewish settler families, escorted by IDF soldiers and 100s of mbrs. of the radical Ateret Cohanim settler group, expel 2 Palestinians families fr. their homes in Abu Dis, occupy the buildings, surround them with a fence, claming they stand on part of an 80-dunam plot they purchased in 1927. (VOP 5/2 in WNC 5/4; BBC, HA, NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 5/3; YA 5/3 in WNC 5/5; MM 5/4; PR 5/5; PCHR 5/6; PR 5/12; MEI 5/14)

Likud mbrs. reject Sharon’s unilateral disengagement plan, with nearly 60% opposed. Sharon says he will draft a revised plan in consultation with his party, but meanwhile will move forward with planning a withdrawal. (XIN 5/2 in WNC 5/4; NYT, WP, WT 5/3; AYM 5/3 in WNC 5/5; MM, NYT, WP 5/4; al-Quds 5/4 in WNC 5/6; AYM, DUS 5/4 in WNC 5/7; JTA 5/5; JPI, MEI 5/14)