Monday, June 18, 2012

Three unidentified assailants cross into Israel from Egypt and plant a roadside bomb that they detonate when 2 vehicles pass carrying laborers who are working to build Israel’s new border fence; they then open fire on the vehicles with automatic weapons and rocketpropelled grenades; 1 Israeli Palestinian worker is killed. Israeli border police respond to the scene and exchanges fire with the infiltrators, leaving 2 assailants dead and 4 policemen injured. The 3d assailant escapes back into Egypt; Israeli units do not pursue him. (NYT, WP 6/19; NYT 6/20; JPI 6/29)

In actions Israel says are unrelated to the attack from Egypt, the IDF carries out 2 air strikes on n. Gaza: 1 targets a Palestinian sniper team that fired across the Gaza border into Israel (causing no damage or injuries), killing 2 Islamic Jihad mbrs.; the other targets Palestinians who attempted but failed to fire a rocket into Israel, killing 1 IQB mbr. and 1 al-Aqsa Guards Group mbr. Late at night, IDF troops on the c. Gaza border fatally shoot 2 Palestinians (1 a teenager) attempting to sneak into Israel to find work. Meanwhile, IDF troops make a brief incursion into n. Gaza nr. Bayt Hanun to level land and clear lines of sight. Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the n. and c. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jericho in the morning; and in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the evening. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron and Tulkarm, and nr. Jenin. (JP 6/18; NYT, WP 6/19; NYT 6/20; PCHR 6/21; OCHA 6/22; JPI 6/29)

The Israel Project, a Washingtonbased pro-Israel group, hosts a debate between foreign policy advisers to Pres. Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, covering numerous issues including Iran, Syria, military aid, and Obama’s commitment to Israel. Romney advisers accuse Obama of failing to support Israel and of being more concerned with preventing Israel from attacking Iran than halting Iran’s nuclear program. Obama adviser Robert Wexler calls Obama’s ‘‘degree of military and strategic support [to Israel] unparalleled,’’ emphasizing that the Obama admin. worked strenuously behind the scenes to ensure there has not been a UN vote on Palestinian statehood since the Palestinians launched their UN statehood bid in 9/2011. (WJW 6/21)

In Lebanon, clashes erupt at the funeral for a Palestinian refugee slain by Lebanese troops outside Nahr al-Barid r.c. on 6/15, leaving 1 Palestinian dead and 7 Palestinians and 3 Lebanese soldiers injured. The clashes spread to ‘Ayn al-Hilwa r.c. in Sidon, where at least 1 Palestinian is killed and 3 Palestinians and 3 Lebanese soldiers are injured. Demonstrations (but no clashes or injuries) are reported in Biddawi r.c. nr. Tripoli and Shatila r.c. in Beirut. (JAZ 6/18)