Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The U.S. summons Israeli amb. Michael Oren and national security advisor Uzi Arad to a 4-hr. mtg. at the White House to discuss how to “contain fallout” fr. the flotilla raid and to find ways for Israel to ease the siege of Gaza without harming Israeli security. Separately, U.S. Secy. of State Hillary Clinton phones Israeli DM Ehud Barak to urge Israel to be very careful about what it says and does in the coming days to defuse the situation as quickly as possible. (WP 5/27; IFM 6/1; NYT, WJW, WP 7/2)

In light of the 5/31 flotilla incident, Egypt says it will open its border with Gaza indefinitely as of 6/2 for unlimited travel for humanitarian purposes, though import of goods will remain restricted per Israeli demands. Overnight, unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing damage but no injuries. In response, the IDF carries out 2 air strikes and fires 7 tank shells on the launch site nr. Abasan in s. Gaza, killing 2 armed Palestinians; then sends troops 400 m into Gaza to clear lines of sight in the area. Later in the day, Islamic Jihad mbrs. fire 2 Qassam rockets fr. n. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries; the IDF shells the launch site, killing 3 Islamic Jihad mbrs. Meanwhile, IDF troops on the s. Gaza border for unknown reasons fire into al-Shuka neighborhood in Rafah, wounding a 71 yr.-old-Palestinian woman inside her home. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging construction materials inside the Erez industrial zone, causing no reported injuries. The UN reports that in the previous wk., Hamas authorities in Gaza for unstated reasons shut down 6 Palestinian NGOs and confiscated some of their property; UN special coordinator for Middle East peace Robert Serry expresses concern over the impact on Palestinian civil society. The UN also reports that in the previous wk., 6 Palestinians were killed, 12 injured when a gas canister being smuggled through a tunnel on the Rafah border exploded; 1 Palestinian was killed and 2 were injured in a separate tunnel collapse. (JP 6/1; NYT 6/2; PCHR 6/3; OCHA 6/4)