Thursday, June 4, 2009

In Cairo, Obama gives a major address calling for a “new beginning” in relations btwn. the U.S. and the Muslim world, acknowledging historic missteps btwn. the two, stressing mutual interests and respect to combat stereotypes. He refers to Israel’s “occupation” as “intolerable” and notes the “daily humiliations—large and small” that Palestinians suffer, but also stresses the U.S.’s “unbreakable bond” with Israel. On the sidelines, Obama meets privately with Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak to discuss the peace process and Iran. (IFM 6/4; NYT, WP, WT 6/5; NYT 6/6; NYT 7/10)

In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes about a third of the Jordan Valley Bedouin community of Khirbat al-Ras al-Ahmar, razing 15 residential structures, 30 animal pens, 18 traditional ovens, displacing 128 Palestinians who have resided in the area since the 1960s, including 66 children, confiscating a tractor and water tank; fires rubber-coated steel bullets at stone-throwing Palestinians demonstrating against the separation wall in Bil‘in; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Nablus. Right-wing Jewish settlers send a letter to an IDF general threatening him and his children, and equating soldiers who evacuate settlement outposts with Nazi collaborators. PASF officers and Hamas mbrs. exchange fire in Qalqilya (see 5/31), leaving 2 Hamas mbrs., 1 PASF officer dead. (Yedi’ot Aharonot 6/4; NYT 6/5; NYT 6/6; HA 6/8; OCHA, PCHR 6/11)