Friday, January 14, 2011

Guyana recognizes a “sovereign Palestine,” but says borders must be agreed with Israel. (JTA 1/14)

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts afternoon patrols in numerous villages around Jenin and Qalqilya; conducts latenight patrols nr. Ramallah; and conducts late-night arrest raids and house searches in Hebron. Palestinians (accompanied by Israeli and international activists in some areas) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, and Dayr Nizam/Nabi Salih. IDF soldiers fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters; 2 Palestinians (including 1 child), 1 Dutch activist, and 1 Israeli are injured. (PCHR 1/20; OCHA 1/21)

Fearing massive protests later in the day, Tunisia’s Ben Ali declares a state of emergency in the morning, dissolves his government, and pledges early elections within 6 mos. Within hours, he and his family flee Tunisia for Saudi Arabia, where they are granted asylum. Ben Ali’s close ally, PM Muhammad Ghannouchi, assumes temporary control, saying he will move the government quickly toward elections. Protesters denounce his attempt to take control and demand his ouster for attempting to perpetuate Ben Ali’s corrupt regime, noting that constitutionally power should transfer to the head of parliament. In Cairo, a small group of Egyptian protesters gathers outside the Tunisian emb. in solidarity with Tunisian demonstrators, but also calling Mubarak a “fraud” and calling for his ouster. Police surround and outnumber them, but there is no violence. (NYT, WP 1/15; NYT 2/24)