Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the U.S. (NYT, WP, WT 1/20; MA, MM, NYT, WP, WT, YA 1/21; HA, JP, MA, MM, QA, al-Ra’i, al-Watan, YA 1/22)

The IDF completes its withdrawal from Gaza’s built-up areas, moving troops to elevations overlooking the Strip, but slows its withdrawal fr. n. Gaza and secures positions inside the northern border after Palestinians fire 8 mortars toward Israel today (all of which land inside Gaza, causing no damage or injuries). The IDF responds with air strikes on several launching sites, causing no reported injuries. IDF troops on the s. Gaza border fire on residential areas of al-Qarara, wounding 1 Palestinian. In Khuza, 1 Palestinian is wounded when he accidentally triggers unexploded IDF ordnance. Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing vessels going out to sea for the first time since OCL began, forcing them to stay close to shore. As Gazans continue to return to their homes, residents of the farming village of Juhur al-Dik (who evacuated the village several days after the ground invasion began on 1/3) report that about a third of the 600 homes have been bulldozed or heavily damaged and much crop land has been razed. Meanwhile, 1,000s of Palestinians turn out for 4 rallies across Gaza organized by Hamas to celebrate the end of OCL. Israel allows 217 truckloads of goods (mostly humanitarian aid) into Gaza. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts synchronized, late-night house searches in Bethlehem and neighboring Aida and Dahaysha refugee camps, making no arrests; conducts similar, synchronized house searches in villages nr. Jenin and villages nr. Hebron, making no arrests; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Nablus. (HA, JP, REU, UNOSAT 1/20; NYT, WP, WT 1/21; DUS, MM, PCHR, WJW 1/22; DUS, MM, al-Ra’i 1/23; PCHR 1/29)