Tuesday, November 20, 2012

As Operation Pillar of Defense continues, the IDF carries out air strikes on 133 targets across Gaza, killing 31 Palestinians, including several children, bringing the Palestinian death toll to 146. The IDF says that those killed include 18 Islamic Jihad and Hamas fighters. IDF air strikes kill 3 Palestinian journalists, attacks condemned by Reporters Without Borders. Palestinian armed groups fire 140 rockets into Israel, killing 1 IDF soldier and 1 Israeli Defense Ministry contractor, bringing the Israeli death toll to 5. In addition, 2 Israelis are wounded by a rocket strike on a building in s. Israel. The Iron Dome intercepts 51 rockets. Meanwhile, Hamas’s Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades (IQB) claim responsibility for the killing of 6 alleged Palestinian collaborators with Israel in the streets of Gaza City. (AP, HA, MNA, REU 11/20)

U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton meets with Israeli PM Netanyahu in Jerusalem to urge Israel to deescalate the situation in Gaza. At the press conference afterward, she says that the U.S. is pleased with the success of the Iron Dome defense system. In Cairo, Hamas chief Mishal and Islamic Jihad chief Shalah meet with Egyptian intelligence chief Raafat Shehata in an effort to finalize details of a cease-fire agreement with Israel. Egyptian sources hope that a deal will be signed in Cairo on 11/21 and will include not only an immediate cease-fire, but more long-term negotiation of an easing of Israel’s Gaza blockade. The UN Security Council (UNSC) convenes to discuss the situation in Gaza and Israel but does not come to any conclusions. Arab League secy.-gen. Nabil Elaraby visits Rafah with some 10 Arab foreign ministers to show solidarity with the Palestinians. (AP, Guardian, HA 11/20)

In the West Bank, Palestinians clash with IDF forces at the funerals in Hebron and al-Nabi Salih for the 2 Palestinians killed (see 11/19) in demonstrations against Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense. The IDF also conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon, and in Jenin, Tulkarm and 2 nearby villages, Hebron and 2 nearby villages, Bethlehem, 1 nearby village, and Dahayshah r.c. and Aida r.c. (both in Bethlehem) at night. (MNA 11/20; PCHR 11/22)

Jordanian protesters hold rallies across the country and issue a call for a ‘‘popular uprising’’ against the government in light of rising fuel prices and unpopular economic policies. This is the 7th consecutive day of demonstrations. (HA 11/20)