Monday, May 9, 2005

1,000s of Israeli Palestinians gather at al-Aqsa Mosque in response to threat by Revava to raid the compound, perform prayers there. Some 2,000 Israeli police and border guards close off the streets to the compound to bar Jews fr. entering and to regulate Palestinian access more closely. Revava mbrs. are successfully prevented fr. reaching the compound; a few incidents are reported of Palestinians throwing stones and the Israeli police firing tear gas and stun grenades, leaving 7 Palestinians injured. The IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in Nablus, nr. Ramallah; issues a military order confiscating Palestinian land s. of Hebron for construction of a settler bypass road. 6 Jewish settlers destroy an electricity tower serving Palestinians in al-Mawasi, throw stones at nearby Palestinian homes. In Jenin, the PA police exchange gunfire with local AMB leader Abu Araj, his men for a 2d day over Abu Araj’s refusal to disarm before entering the local courthouse; no injuries are reported; senior-level PA-AMB mtgs. are held to defuse tensions. In Tulkarm, armed Palestinians fire on the PA police headquarters after police announce plans to crack down on a car theft and arms dealing gang. (JAZ 5/9; NYT 5/10; PCHR 5/12)

In an independence day interview, Sharon officially delays disengagement by 3 wks. (to around 8/15), hinting that if Hamas were to win Palestinian legislative elections in 7/05 and take control of the PA, disengagement could be canceled. (XIN 5/9 in WNC 5/10; BBC, MM, NYT, WP, WT 5/10; PR 5/11; MEI 5/13)