Saturday, November 8, 2008

IDF troops, bulldozers cross into s. Gaza to level land along the border e. of Khan Yunis, exchanging fire with Hamas mbrs., causing no reported injures. In a similar incident nr. the Erez crossing, IDF soldiers exchange fire with DFLP gunmen, causing no reported injuries. The IDF also makes an air strike on an alleged rocket-launching site in n. Gaza, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Nur al-Shams r.c. nr. Tulkarm, nr. Bethlehem. Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba beat a 6-yr.-old Palestinian boy on his way to school until his grandfather halts the attack; the IDF observes but does not intervene. Hamas accuses PA security forces in the West Bank of arresting 26 Hamas mbrs. and supporters, mostly in Hebron, but also in Bethlehem, Jericho, and Salfit. (HA, JP, MNA, REU, YA 11/8; HA, JAZ, MNA 11/9; OCHA 11/12; PCHR 11/13)

After a last-minute talks in Cairo between Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Sulayman and senior Hamas official Mahmud Zahhar fr. Gaza, Hamas’s dep. leader Musa Abu Marzuq announces from Damascus that Hamas will not attend national unity talks in Cairo on 11/9. Hamas officials cite Egyptian and PA unwillingness to compromise on the wording of an Egyptian draft national unity statement or to discuss issues of importance to Hamas, and the PA’s failure to fulfill a pledge to release 100s of Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners held in the West Bank as a confidence-building gesture in advance of the summit. (AFP 11/8; NYT, WT 11/9; see also MNR 11/7)

Rice stops in Jenin to meet with Abbas and to inaugurate a new hospital wing funded by USAID, announcing another $14 m. in USAID funds for Jenin. (HA 11/8; IFM, NYT, WP, WT 11/9)