Monday, August 2, 2010

The Israeli human rights group Peace Now issues an 8-mo. assessment of Israel’s temporary settlement construction freeze documenting that: (1) construction of at least 600 housing units in over 60 different settlements has begun during the freeze, with at least 492 of those units being constructed in direct violation of the freeze; (2) some 2,000 housing units started before the freeze was implemented on 11/26/09 are currently under construction; and (3) new construction starts during the freeze constitute approximately half of the normal settlement construction pace. (Peace Now press release 8/2)

Unidentified assailants fire 5–7 modified Grad-type rockets apparently fr. the Egyptian desert toward the Aqaba-Elat resort; 1 rocket lands harmlessly nr. the entrance to the Israeli resort town, 2 land inside Jordan (1 harmlessly, the other striking a taxi outside the InterContinental hotel in Aqaba, killing 1 Jordanian and wounding 3), 2 land in the Red Sea. Israel believes the rockets were all intended to strike Elat and calls Hamas “responsible” for the rocket fire; Hamas denies involvement. (JP 8/2; YT 8/3; WT 8/4; KUNA 8/5; HA 8/6; JPI, OCHA 8/13)

Israel’s Jerusalem municipal authority approves construction of 40 settlement housing units in Pisgat Ze’ev settlement in East Jerusalem. In the West Bank, the IDF dismantles and confiscates a Palestinian irrigation network nr. Hebron; patrols in 2 villages nr. Salfit at midday, making no arrests; arrests 3 Palestinian children (ages 13–14) nr. the separation wall nr. Bil‘in; sends undercover units in Jafna village nr. Ramallah late in the evening, raiding 2 Internet cafes and arresting 1 Palestinian; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Qalqilya. In Gaza, unidentified Palestinians apparently mishandle explosives in a home in Dayr al-Balah, triggering an explosion that injures 58 Palestinians (including 13 children, 9 women) and damages several surrounding homes. (AP 8/3; PCHR 8/5)