Sunday, February 24, 2013

Palestinians respond to the 2/23 death of prisoner Arafat Jaradat with demonstrations across the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while around 4,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails launch hunger-strikes in protest. At a press conference in Ramallah, Palestinian officials claim that Jaradat died from torture, based on evidence presented by PA chief pathologist Saber Aloul, who attended the autopsy. At the protests by Ofer detention center nr. Ramallah, Israeli soldiers wound 26 Palestinian protesters with rubbercoated metal bullets and live ammunition. At least 2 other Palestinians are wounded by live fire in Aida r.c. (nr. Bethlehem) and al-‘Arub r.c. (nr. Hebron). Meanwhile, Jewish settlers uproot more than 50 olive trees in Bayt Awwa village nr. Hebron. Jewish settlers from Esh Kodesh attack a house nr. Qusra village, prompting clashes with villagers; the IDF intervenes to violently disperse the Palestinians. At night, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah; and conducts house searches and arrest raids in al-Bireh, Hebron, 1 village each nr. Jenin, Hebron, and Jenin. Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen off the north Gaza coast nr. al-Waha on 2 separate occasions, causing no serious injuries or damage. (HA, MNA 2/24; PCHR 2/28)

To ease tensions in the West Bank over the 2/23 Jaradat killing, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu authorizes the transfer to the PA of its tax revenues for 1/2013. He also sends a message to the Palestinian Authority through negotiations liaison official Yitzhak Molcho reportedly (JP 2/24)

stating that the PA now (in light of the tax transfer) has no ‘‘excuse not to enforce calm on the ground.’’ (JP 2/24; MNA 2/25)