Thursday, February 10, 2011

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Bayt Dajan village nr. Nablus in the morning, photographing several homes, the local council building, and a mosque; patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah, firing rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at stone-throwing youths in 1 incident, causing no serious injuries; patrols in 2 villages nr. Tulkarm in the afternoon, checking Palestinian IDs but making no arrests. (PCHR 2/17; OCHA 2/18)

Early in the day, Egyptian military and ruling party officials announce that Mubarak will make a televised address later in the day and “meet the demands of the protesters.” The statement’s title, “communiqué no. 1 of the army command,” and accompanying TV footage showing DM Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and military chief of staff Gen. Anan chairing a meeting of senior army officers without Mubarak or Suleiman present spark rumors that the military has staged a coup. Raising expectations, Gen. Anan and Gen. Hassan al-Roueini (military cmdr. of Cairo) separately go to Tahrir Square to tell protesters that “all your demands will be met today.” When Mubarak gives his statement, however, he only turns over powers to Suleiman temporarily and makes some constitutional amendments, but vows again not to step down before his term expires and that he will oversee the reform process. Suleiman follows with a separate speech telling Egyptians to “go back home and to work. Do not listen to foreign[ers] whose aim is to . . . weaken Egypt.” The immediate reaction of protesters listening to the addresses in Tahrir Square is deep anger and frustration, with demonstrators chanting “Leave! Leave! Leave!” as Mubarak’s speech unfolds. Senior military officers soon after tell the Egyptian press that the speeches were not seen in advance by the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces and were “in defiance of the armed forces.” (AP, Huffington Post, NYT, WP 2/10; NYT, WP, WT 2/11)