Monday, January 30, 2012

In East Jerusalem, the IDF demolishes a Palestinian home in Bayt Hanina and an addition to a Palestinian home in Shu’fat. In the West Bank, the IDF rearrests Hamas mbr. Ayman Salama, 1 of the Palestinians released in the 1st stage of 10/2011 prisoner swap that freed IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit; patrols in Qalqilya (briefly detaining a 13-yr.- old Palestinian who allegedly had a knife; Palestinian officials at the District Liaison Office intervene, securing his release), 1 nearby village, and 3 villages nr. Ramallah during the day; conducts synchronized late-night arrest raids, house searches in Nablus and 2 nearby villages; conducts separate late-night arrest raids, house searches in Kafr Qaddum. (PCHR 2/2; OCHA 2/3)

A day before Likud party primaries, Israeli PM Netanyahu approves new financial incentives for Jews to move to 70 West Bank settlements deemed “national priority areas” and appoints a committee to “study the status” of unauthorized settlement outposts, which some see as a move to legalize those (the vast majority) that are not built on private Palestinian land. Both steps are widely seen as aimed at appeasing party hardliners. (WP, WT 2/1; WP 2/2)

Hamas’s Haniyeh begins a 2d regional tour that will include Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Iran. The trip is aimed primarily at raising funds to rebuild Gaza. (MNR 1/30; DS 1/31)

An Israeli drone crashes during a test flight. Some suspect that the modified long-range Heron TP (Eitan) was being refitted for a possible military strike on Iran. The Heron TP is typically fitted with jamming and intelligence equipment; has a 1-ton payload capacity (enough to carry a bunker busting bomb); and can stay aloft for 40 hrs., travel 4,600 mi., and perform in-flight refueling missions. (WP 1/31)