Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Overnight, unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, heavily damaging a factory in Sederot, but causing no injuries; the IDF retaliates with air strikes on at least 1 smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border, 1 suspected weapons factory in al-Zaytun, causing no reported injuries. During the day, IDF troops reenter (see 6/29) the fmr. n. Gaza settlement sites n. of Bayt Lahiya, firing warning shots at Palestinians scavenging construction materials and forcing them to flee, causing no injuries. IDF troops on the Israeli side of the Erez crossing fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials inside the industrial zone, causing no injuries. IDF senior officers take U.S. special envoy Mitchell to Kerem Shalom crossing to witness Israel’s easing of restrictions on imports to Gaza (up 30% since 6/20), including the transfer of the 1st load of goods fr. the FGM-IHH flotilla. Gaza’s electricity plant receives a shipment of industrial fuel allowing it to resume operations after a 4-day halt (the longest complete stoppage of the facility since the beginning of 2010). In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Qalqilya and nr. Hebron. In Jerusalem, Israeli police arrest PC mbr. Abu Tir for being in the city illegally; he was ordered (see 5/21) to leave voluntarily or face expulsion to Gaza. Israeli sources reveal that Israel’s Jerusalem Planning Committee recently approved construction of 1,400 new hotel rooms in Jabal Mukabir in East Jerusalem. Israel begins barring all West Bank Palestinian-made products fr. entering East Jerusalem as of 7/1 on the grounds that they did not meet Israeli standards, though the move is widely seen as retaliation for the PA’s boycott on settlement-made good enacted in 4/2010. (IFM, JP, NYT, PCHR, WP, YA 7/1; PCHR 7/7; OCHA 7/9)