Monday, May 28, 2012

Hamas’s acting PM in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh authorizes a senior CEC team to begin updating Gaza’s voter rolls, in keeping with agreements reached in Cairo on 5/20/12. The CEC estimates that since the rolls were last updated for the 1/2006 elections, the number of eligible but unregistered Gaza voters has grown to as many as 250,000. (NYT 5/29)

In Hamza village, just n. of Jerusalem, Israeli security forces demolish a gas station, car wash, 2 auto body shops, and 2 cafeterias, confiscating several motorcycles, fuel pumps, gasoline, and equipment. Deeper in the West Bank, IDF soldiers nr. Qalqilya fire tear gas, stun grenades at a group of Palestinian laborers attempting to cross into Israel without permits to find work, causing no injuries but starting a small fire that burns a grove of 20 Palestinian olive trees. The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jenin in the morning; in 1 village nr. Jericho in the afternoon; and in 2 villages each nr. Ramallah, Salfit, and Tulkarm and 1 nr. Jenin late at night. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Kafr Qaddum and nr. Hebron, Qalqilya, and Salfit. (PCHR 5/31; OCHA 6/1)

A Turkish court indicts 4 fmr. senior IDF commanders (fmr. IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and those who headed the Israeli navy, air force, and military intelligence) who were in authority when Israel killed 9 Turks aboard the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla ship to Gaza in 2012 (see QU in JPS 157). The 4 officials are unlikely to appear for trial but may be tried in absentia. (NYT, WP 5/29; NYT 6/5)

The Washington Post runs (5/28) a special report alleging proof of an elaborate plan orchestrated either by Iranback Hizballah elements or operatives based in Iran to assassinate U.S. embassy officials and their families in Azerbaijan. The U.S., however, refrains at this stage from accusing Iran or Hizballah of direct involvement. (WP 5/28)