Tuesday, February 21, 2012

West Bank Islamic Jihad spokesman Khader Adnan, held in Israeli administrative detention and observing a hunger strike since 12/17, ends his fast after reaching a deal with the Israeli Justice Min. under which authorities agree to not renew his detention order and to release him 3 weeks early (on 4/17/12) provided no new information on his case comes to light. As a result, a meeting of Israel’s High Court, set later for the day, is canceled. That hearing could have ordered a broader review of Israeli military courts and the policy of administrative detention, which Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu sought to avoid. Israel is currently holding around 320 Palestinian administrative detainees, down from 800 in 1/2008. Meanwhile, Palestinians demonstrate in solidarity with Adnan outside Ofer prison nr. Ramallah, clashing with IDF soldiers; 4 Palestinians are moderately injured, and 2 are arrested. (NYT, WP, WT 2/22; PCHR 2/23; OCHA 2/24)

Unidentified Palestinians fire a mortar fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at about 75 Palestinian and international demonstrators staging a nonviolent march towards the Erez crossing to protest Israel’s imposition of a nogo zone along the length of the Gaza border; no injuries are reported. IDF troops on the Gaza border n. of Bayt Hanun fire warning shots at a smaller group of Palestinians staging a similar nonviolent march to the border, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Jenin and 1 nearby village in the morning; in and around Tulkarm and in 1 village nr. Jenin (firing tear gas and percussion grenades at stone-throwing youths who confront them, causing no serious injuries) in the afternoon; and I Tulkarm and 1 village nr. Salfit late at night. IDF undercover units make a late-night incursion into Anabta village nr. Tulkarm, raiding several homes, cars, and a grocery store, detaining 3 Palestinians. (JP 3/21; PCHR 2/23)

Hamas authorities in Gaza for the 1st time allow 100s Palestinians to demonstrate against the Syrian regime of Pres. Bashar al-Asad. (NYT 2/22)

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that Egypt is brokering talks in Cairo between Israel and Hamas authorities in Gaza to increase the amount of fuel Israel allows into Gaza to run Gaza’s electricity plan so as to ease rolling blackouts across the Strip. OCHA reports that Israel allowed in more fuel this week, but blackouts are still averaging 8–16 hours/day, compared to 12–18 hrs./ day in recent weeks. In 1/2012, Egypt tightened its restrictions on fuel trucks traveling toward the Gaza border area to limit smuggling of fuel through the tunnels under the Rafah border (see Quarterly Update in JPS 163). (OCHA 2/24)