Sunday, January 20, 2008

Gaza’s power plant, which supplies up to 43% of Gaza’s power, ceases operation after running out of fuel due to Israel’s closure. The majority of Gazans, already used to going without power for 4 hrs./day because of Israeli limits on fuel imports, face cuts of 12 hrs./day. Electricity and fuel cuts prevent Gaza municipal authorities fr. treating wastewater, forcing them to begin dumping 40 m. liters/day of untreated sewage into the Mediterranean. Reps. of the military wings of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the PRCs hold a press conference in Rafah, threaten to use explosives to destroy the Gaza border fence with Egypt if Egypt does not take action within 24 hrs. to reopen the Rafah crossing and ease the siege. Meanwhile, Israel allows 70 Gaza medical cases into Israel for treatment. The IDF makes an air strike on AMB mbrs. Ibrahim al-Ghuti and As‘ad Abu Shari‘a as they walk across a bridge in Gaza City in an apparent assassination attempt, killing Ghuti, wounding Abu Shari‘a and 2 bystanders; makes an incursion into al-Shuka, raiding and searching homes, detaining 100 Palestinians for questioning, releasing all but 8 before withdrawing in the evening; makes at least 1 air strike on n. Gaza, allegedly targeting a rocket launching site, killing 1 Palestinian; fires a missile across the border e. of Gaza City, wounding 1 Islamic Jihad mbr. Palestinians fire 2 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing damage but no injuries. In Gaza City, 2,000 Palestinians organized by the Palestinian Popular Comm. Against the Siege (PPCAS) hold a candlelight vigil to protest the Israeli siege; 400 Palestinians hold a similar rally in Nussayrat r.c. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in Dahaysha r.c., Hebron, and nr. Ramallah, Tulkarm (heavily damaging a Palestinian home, displacing a family of 5). (JP 1/20; JAZ, NYT, WP, WT 1/21; NYT, WP 1/22; OCHA 1/23; PCHR 1/24)