Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Grad rocket fired fr. the Egyptian Sinai lands in nr. Elat in s. Israel, causing no damage or injuries, but raising fears ahead of the Passover weekend, when 1,000s of tourists usually visit the resort town. No group claims responsibility. (HA, JP, YA 4/5; WP 4/6; YA 4/7)

The IDF makes a day-long incursion into n. Gaza e. of Jabaliya to level land and clear lines of sight; during the operation, troops fire 4 artillery shells and direct gunfire at surrounding agricultural areas to keep Palestinians away. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire into the Erez industrial zone late at night, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning and afternoon; conducts late-night arrest raids, houses searches in Nabi Salih; conducts late-night patrols in Jenin, 1 nearby village, and 1 village nr. Tulkarm. (PCHR 4/12; OCHA 4/13)

Palestinian sources report that in the previous week, the PASF arrested university prof. and single mother Ismat Abdul-Khaleq and placed her in solitary confinement over a Facebook posting in which she criticized Abbas’s government and called for the PA to be dismantled. She is the 5th prominent Palestinian arrested in the past year for criticizing the PA on Facebook. The others are: Radio Bethlehem 2000 director George Canawait, arrested in 9/2011 for criticizing the PA Health Min.; al-Quds TV employee Mahmdouh Hamara, arrested in fall 2011 for posting an unflattering picture of Abbas; and journalists Rami Samara and Youssef al-Shayeb, arrested in 2/2012 and 3/2013 respectively, for “defaming public officials” by writing news items on PA corruption. Most of the arrests have been carried out under an 1960 Jordanian law, not the PA press and communications law of 1995. Most of those arrested have been released within 2 weeks. (WP 4/6; NYT 5/7)