Thursday, August 4, 2005

An IDF soldier, who deserted 2 mos. ago to protest disengagement and moved to the right-wing West Bank settlement of Tapuach, boards a Haifa–Shafa‘ Amr bus, still dressed in fatigues and carrying his military issue weapon; when the bus enters the Israeli Palestinian town of Shafa ‘Amr, the driver asks him whether he’s on the right bus; the soldier then shoots the Israeli Palestinian driver dead and opens fire on the passengers, killing another 3 Israeli Palestinians, wounding 20 before a mob beats him to death. Sharon denounces the “reprehensible act by a bloodthirsty Jewish terrorist”; YESHA settlers council also condemns the attack; the U.S. terms it a “terrible act of terrorism.” In Gaza City, the PA opens (symbolically on Arafat’s birthday) a 2-wk. “victory festival” to celebrate the pending disengagement and a wk.-long UNDP-funded publicity campaign called “Gaza—Reclaiming our Gem”; 10,000s of Palestinians, predominantly Fatah supporters, rally outside Gaza’s PC headquarters to hear speeches by Abbas, Qurai‘, Dahlan, who emphasize national unity, call on Palestinians not to take any actions that would jeopardize the national image, emphasize that the world is watching how Palestinians react to disengagement and assume responsibility for Gaza. The IDF raids Ramallah, arrests Islamic Jihad spokesman Shaykh Khadir ‘Adnan; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Aida r.c. (arresting a PA security officer), Bayt Fajjar, Hebron (occupying 2 houses as observation posts), al-Til, Yatta; patrols in Bethlehem; arrests a PA security officer at a checkpoint outside Jerusalem. A Jewish settler fr. Neve Dekalim throws a Molotov cocktail at a Palestinian home in al-Mawasi, causing damage but no injuries. Israel announces plans to build 72 new housing units in Beitar Ilit settlement nr. Jerusalem. A Palestinian dies of injures received on 8/2 in Bayt Hanun. (IMEMC, HA, REU, YA 8/4; AFP, BBC, JAZ, MA, NYT, WP, WT, YA 8/5; VOP 8/5 in WNC 8/5; NYT, WP, WT 8/6; OCHA, PR 8/10; PCHR 8/11)

The BBC reports that papers in the British National Archives show that in 1958, Britain secretly sold Israel 20 tons of heavy water vital for production of plutonium and the manufacture of nuclear weapons at its Dimona reactor. No “peaceful use only” condition was placed on the sale. (BBC 8/4) The World Bank releases a report showing Israel to be 2d only to Italy as the most corrupt, least efficient of developed countries. The report states that “Israel is considered one of the riskiest places in the Western world, with an unstable, inefficient regime, low accountability, a relative high rate of state corruption, and poor law enforcement.” (HA 8/4)