Friday, January 27, 2012

Late in the evening, IDF troops on the c. Gaza border fire 2 artillery shells into Gaza City, hitting a home (failing to explode, but causing damage) and a farm (causing no reported injuries). In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jericho in the morning; patrols in Jericho and 1 nearby village, 5 villages nr. Salfit, and 1 nr. Tulkarm late at night. Palestinians (sometimes accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil’in, Kafr Qaddum, Nabi Salih, and Ni’lin. IDF soldiers fire live ammunition (Nabi Salih only), rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters. As a result, 1 Palestinian photographer is injured (rubber-coated steel bullets) in Bil’in; 1 Palestinian cameraman (tear gas canister) and 1 Palestinian demonstrator (live ammunition) are wounded in Nabi Saleh. (PCHR 2/2; OCHA 2/3)

The Pentagon says it is rushing to modify the aging amphibious assault ship USS Ponce, previously scheduled for decommission, for dispatch to the Persian Gulf by summer 2012 for use as a large floating staging base for commando teams and a docking station for small high-speed boats and helicopters. The U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, recommended the move amid concerns about rising tensions with Iran, al-Qa’ida in Yemen, and Somali pirates. (WP 1/28)