Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The IDF makes a brief incursion into n. Gaza to level land and clear lines of sight along the border e. of Jabaliya town. In the West Bank, the IDF bulldozes Palestinian land in Azariyya (just outside Jerusalem) for construction of a “biblical garden”; patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin, firing tear gas and percussion grenades at stone-throwing youths who confront them; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron. Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists hold a nonviolent march fr. Jericho toward Ramallah to highlight freedom of movement issues; the IDF blocks the march just outside Jericho and arrests 5 Palestinians. (PCHR 1/12; OCHA 1/13)

Briefing the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Comm., IDF chief of staff Gantz says the IDF is preparing for a massive influx of refugees into the Golan Heights if Syrian pres. Bashar al-Asad falls, which in the IDF’s assessment is “inevitable.” He says Israel would try to keep the refugees in a strategic buffer zone between the Golan and Syria, and would likely move Alawite refugees to the divided Alawite city of Ghajar straddling the Lebanon-Israel border to prevent any conflict between Alawis and the Druze population of the Golan. (NYT, WT 1/11)

Meanwhile, the Knesset passes an amendment to an existing law to discourage infiltrators that makes it legal to detain illegal migrants and their children for up to 3 yrs. without trial. Though directed at African migrant workers attempting to enter Israel fr. Egypt, Israeli rights groups fear the measure could be used to detain refugees fleeing violence in Syria. (NYT 1/11)