Sunday, April 15, 2012

Israel detains all but a few of 100s of pro-Palestinian protesters attempting to enter Israel through Ben-Gurion Airport to attend an anti-occupation rally in Bethlehem. Organizers claim that more than 1,500 supporters booked tickets to Israel, but only 3 make it to Bethlehem. Israel says most were stopped at their point of departure after it gave foreign governments no-fly lists identifying suspected activists. (NYT, WP, WT 4/16; JPI 4/27)

Israeli naval vessels detain a fishing boat that approaches the 3 naut. mi. boundary off the Gaza coast, detaining and questioning 3 fishermen onboard, releasing them by the end of the day, but confiscating their boat. Unidentified Palestinians fire at least 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Late at night, an Israeli warplane makes an air strike on an open area nr. Gaza City, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts morning patrols inside Jericho and Qalqilya (normally the PA security forces have security control during daylight hours and the IDF stays away), as well as in 1 village nr. Ramallah; conducts afternoon patrols in 2 villages nr. Qalqilya (synchronized), 2 nr. Ramallah, and 1 nr. Jericho; and conducts late-night patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah. Jewish settlers fr. Nachliel settlement nr. Ramallah uproot around 250 olive trees on a nearby plot of Palestinian land. Jewish settlers fr. Ma’on settlement nr. Hebron fire at several Palestinian farmers and shepherds working nearby, causing no reported injuries. (JP, YA 4/15; PCHR 4/19; OCHA 4/20)

The New York Times reports that around this date, the PASF detains 2 prominent Palestinians for posting comments critical of the PA on Facebook: Palestinian blogger Jamal Abu Raihan for posing a satirical column depicting PA Pres. Abbas as a donkey and complaining of PA corruption; and Palestinian journalist Tareq Khamees for posting a comment in support of others who have recently been arrested for criticizing the PA (also seizing his laptop). By this date, the PA Atty. Gen. Ahmad al-Mughni has also ordered PA authorities to block several websites supportive of Abbas rival, former Gaza security chief Muhammad Dahlan. (NYT 5/7) (see 4/5/12 and Quarterly Update in JPS 164 for details)