Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The IDF makes brief incursions into s. Gaza nr. Khan Yunis and c. Gaza nr. Wadi al-Silqa to level land and clear lines of sight along the border fence; in both cases, Israeli helicopters providing cover to the troops fire on Palestinians working their lands nearby, causing no injuries but starting several brush fires (the largest of which destroys 30 d. of wheat). Later in the afternoon, IDF troops on the c. Gaza border fire toward Wadi al-Silqa, wounding 1 Palestinian civilian 1 km from the border fence (well outside Israel’s 300 m. no-go zone). In the West Bank, the IDF bulldozes at least 30 d. of Palestinian crop land nr. Hebron for the expansion of Harsina settlement, where 500 new housing units are planned. The IDF also conducts synchronized patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin in the morning and patrols in Tulkarm town and r.c. late at night (firing tear gas and stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinians who confront them, causing no reported injuries). Jewish settlers fr. Keddumim settlement nr. Qalqilya violently beat a Palestinian teenager passing nearby. An Israeli court sentences Bassim al-Tamimi, the main organizer of the weekly nonviolent demonstrations in al-Nabi Salih, to 13 mos. in jail (time already served) for instructing youths to throw stones at IDF troops during protests. The case rested on the testimony of a 15-yr.-old Palestinian who confessed to stone-throwing during interrogation in custody, without access to a lawyer. Tamimi was granted a humanitarian release in 4/2012 after his mother suffered a stroke. Israel’s Tourism Min. and municipal officials in Jerusalem allocate more than $1 m. for a new settlement project in Silwan, in East Jerusalem. OCHA reports that in the previous week, Israeli authorities demolished 17 Palestinian structures in West Bank Area C (including 7 residences) and 11 animal pens in East Jerusalem; and ordered East Jerusalem Palestinians to demolish 1 home and 1 other structure or face demolition and fines by Israel. (WT 5/30; PCHR 5/31; OCHA 6/1)

Iranian officials confirm government computers are currently under attack by a sophisticated new virus called Flame, and accuse Israel and the U.S. of being behind it. (The U.S. declines to comment, whereas Israeli officials comment that ‘‘Israel is blessed with being a country rich in hi-tech ... both in the civilian and defense sector’’ and that ‘‘it’s certainly reasonable that [someone who views Iran as a threat] uses all means at his disposal, including these, to harm the Iranian nuclear system.’’) The new virus is a keystroke-logging program that steals data from infected computers and can be controlled remotely by whoever installed it. (NYT, WP 5/30; WT 5/31; JPI 6/8)