Monday, March 21, 2005

After further talks btwn. Israeli, PA officials, the IDF turns over security control of Tulkarm, pledges not to target wanted Palestinians fr. Tulkarm. The IDF closes checkpoints into East Jerusalem for several hrs; lifts the curfew on Allar, imposed on 3/18; demolishes a Palestinian home in Bayt Hanina; fires on residential areas of Burqa nr. Nablus, occupies a Palestinian home as an observation post; raids, searches the Youth Development Society in Husan nr. Bethlehem, temporarily detains 4 board mbrs.; bulldozes 2 d. of Waqf land nr. Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem to build a parking lot for busses transporting Jewish worshipers to the site; bulldozes 4 d. of agricultural land e. of Hebron to establish a new military post; uproots 16 olive trees w. of Ramallah for construction of the separation wall, turns the trees over to local Palestinians for replanting. (JP 3/21; NYT, WP, WT 3/22; OCHA, PR, WP 3/23; PCHR 3/24)

Israeli PM Ariel Sharon approves the construction of 3,500 new housing units in Ma’ale Adumim to link the Jewish settlement to East Jerusalem; claims the building would not violate the road map because the construction was approved in principle in 1999 and the project is of “strategic importance” to Israel. The PA protests. The U.S. State Dept. refuses to comment. (AP, BBC, REU 3/21; VOP 3/21 in WNC 3/28; JP, MENA, NYT, WP, WT 3/22; CSM, PR 3/23; MM 3/29; MEI 4/1)