Saturday, February 19, 2011

Israeli naval vessels intercept a Palestinian fishing boat off the n. Gaza coast, escort it to Ashdod, confiscate the boat, and release the fishermen. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 4 villages nr. Jericho, Qalqilya, Salfit, and Tulkarm in the afternoon, and 1 village nr. Tulkarm late at night. From Ramallah, FCC mbr. Tawfik Tirawi calls for a “day of rage” against the 2/18 U.S. veto; protests denouncing the U.S. are held in Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, Nablus, and Tulkarm. For safety, the U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem restricts staff movement for 3 days. (HA, Oxfam International, WP 2/20; PCHR 2/24; OCHA 2/25)

In Libya, security forces in Benghazi open fire on some 20,000 mourners leaving funerals of antigovernment protesters killed in recent clashes, leaving at least 84 dead and scores injured and bringing the death toll in 3 days of clashes to as many as 200 dead and nearly 850 wounded in Benghazi alone. British embassy officials say they have received reports of govt. forces using heavy weapons and snipers against protesters. From this point, antigovernment demonstrations and fierce military repression escalate sharply, and opposition groups take up arms. (NYT, WP 2/20; NYT, WP, WT 2/21)