Sunday, October 28, 2007

To increase pressure on Hamas, Israel announces that it will begin curtailing fuel shipments to Gaza by up to 11% and that it has permanently closed the Sufa crossing (closed on 10/26 and 10/27 for the weekend), leaving Kerem Shalom (fully controlled by Israel) the sole crossing point for goods and humanitarian aid. (Officially the government calls the move “self-defense.”) Israel says that it will allow into Gaza “the minimum amount of food and medicines necessary to avoid a humanitarian crisis.” In Gaza, the IDF shoots, wounds a Palestinian fisherman laying nets on the Bayt Lahiya coast; sends troops into al-Shuka, where they exchange tank and heavy machine gun fire with armed Palestinians firing RPGs, leaving 1 Hamas mbr., 1 IDF soldier dead, 2 IDF soldiers wounded; conducts land-leveling operations inside the Gaza border nr. Dayr al-Balah, firing on residential areas, causing no reported injuries. Palestinians fire an RPG at an IDF jeep patrolling the Gaza border e. of al-Maghazi r.c., missing the target, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus, nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, Ramallah. Jewish settlers fr. Itamar nr. Nablus harass Palestinians harvesting olives nearby; the IDF intervenes, forcing the settlers to leave. In Gaza City, some 300 PA workers stage a peaceful sit-in to protest nonpayment of their salaries. (NYT, WP, WT 10/29; OCHA 10/31; PCHR 11/1)