Tuesday, December 26, 2006

IDF troops on the n. Gaza border shoot, wound a Palestinian farmer working his land nr. the border fence e. of Bayt Lahiya. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron, nr. Bethlehem, and in Aida r.c., Jenin (detaining a senior Islamic Jihad cmdr.), Nablus; begins work on a new segment of the separation wall s. of Bethlehem nr. Um Salamuna; fences off areas along a settler bypass road through Jinata village nr. Bethlehem, declaring the areas closed military zones. (In response to the Jenin arrest, Islamic Jihad fires 7 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, seriously wounding 2 13-yr.-old Israeli boys in Sederot.) Israel announces approval for a new Jewish settlement, Maskiyot, in the n. Jordan Valley, where construction work to house 23 settler families evacuated fr. Shirat Hayam in the Gaza disengagement began several mos. ago, though 100 families are expected to move there in the near future; the approval violates pledges to the U.S. to halt settlement expansion and marking the government’s 1st official announcement of a new settlement since 1992 (though more than 100 unauthorized settlements have been built since 3/01); Israel claims the settlement is not new but the revival of a settlement approved in 1981; the site has been in use as an IDF base. (NYT, OCHA, WP, WT 12/27; PCHR 12/28)