Thursday, June 7, 2012

Israel’s Jerusalem municipality approves construction of 2,500 new housing units in Gilo settlement. Also in East Jerusalem, the IDF demolishes 5 residential tents and 5 sheds in the Arab al-Jahalin bedouin community e. of Jerusalem. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes 5 wells and water and electricity networks in Bayt Qad village nr. Jenin (marking the 1st Israeli demolition in Area B in 2012). The IDF also patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 each nr. Jericho and Salfit in the morning; in Qalqilya and 1 nearby village, and in 1 village each nr. Jericho and Ramallah in the afternoon; and in 1 village each nr. Jenin, Qalqilya, and Ramallah late at night. Jewish settlers fr. Eliezer settlement nr. Bethlehem steal fencing surrounding a plot of nearby Palestinian crop land, leaving leaflets taking credit for the action signed by the ‘‘Green Helmets.’’ In Gaza, 1 Palestinian is killed and 1 is injured in a smuggling tunnel collapse on the Rafah border. (PCHR 6/14; OCHA 6/15)

A Palestinian court convicts Muhammad Rashid, the former economic adviser to late PA pres. Yasir Arafat and political ally to Abbas adversary Muhammad Dahlan, of embezzling millions of dollars in public funds during Arafat’s rule. Rashid had been charged in 4/2012 by an independent Palestinian anticorruption commission created in 2010. While few if any Palestinians thought that Rashid (who has lived abroad for years and was convicted in absentia) was innocent, many saw the case against him as, in the words of Palestinian analyst Hani al-Masri (WP 6/21), ‘‘a reaction to a political dispute [with Abbas], not a continuous fight against corruption.’’ Other critics noted (WP 6/21) that the commission had been selective about the cases it chose to investigate, and that of the more than 80 cases it had investigated, few had led to charges against senior officials. (WP 6/21)