Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cross-border fighting in Gaza enters its 3d day. Palestinians fire 10s of rockets and mortars into Israel, damaging an empty school but causing no injuries. Israel carries out at least 7 air strikes on 7 targets (1 in Abassan, 3 in Gaza City, 3 in Jabaliya), killing 2 Palestinian civilians and wounding 33 Palestinians (2 armed Palestinians and 31 civilians, including 12 children and 5 women). Egypt unsuccessfully attempts to mediate a cease-fire. Israeli DM Ehud Barak acknowledges that Hamas has not taken part in the fighting, but notes that Hamas has not tried to rein in Islamic Jihad or the PRCs. As the fighting continues Islamic Jihad publicly accuses Hamas of failing to protect Gaza. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts morning patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jenin (firing tear gas, stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinian youths who confront them, causing no injuries); patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin (again firing tear gas, stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinian youths who confront them, causing no injuries) and 1 nr. Tulkarm in the afternoon; and conducts late-night patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah and latenight arrest raids and house searches nr. Jenin. Meanwhile, residents of the illegal settlement outpost of Migron (49 families; some 300 settlers), who were informed by Israel’s High Court in 2011 that they must vacate and dismantle the outpost (on private Palestinian land nr. Ramallah) by 3/31/12, sign a deal with the government to move the outpost to a plot of state land 2 miles away, near Psagot settlement, where they will be allowed to build permanent homes, effectively creating a new Jewish settlement in Jerusalem’s environs. The government then requests that the High Court delay the evacuation until the new homes on the new site are completed (target date 2015). (JP, YA 3/11; JP, WP, WT 3/12; PCHR 3/15; OCHA 3/16; JPI 3/23)