Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Nr. al-Maghazi r.c., 2 Palestinians are injured when they accidentally trigger unexploded IDF ordnance while scavenging for scrap metal. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 4 villages nr. Tulkarm (2 simultaneously) and 2 in Ramallah in the morning; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Nabi Salih and nr. Jenin. Hunger-striking administrative detainee Hana Shalabi is “in grave danger of dying” according to Physicians for Human Rights–Israel, which provides her with a doctor. OCHA reports that since 3/14, 4 Palestinians have been injured in smuggling tunnel accidents on the Gaza border. (JP 3/20; WT 3/21; PCHR 3/22; OCHA 3/23)

JSC head Gen. Dempsey receives IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz in Washington for talks on Iran and Syria as part of the regular U.S.-Israel strategic dialogue. Gantz also meets with White House and Defense Dept. officials, but no details are released. (JPI 3/30)

Speaking at a conference on Palestinian refugees in Brussels, EU foreign policy adviser Catherine Ashton expresses condolences for the 3/19/12 Jewish deaths in Toulouse and regrets over recent tragedies worldwide that have resulted in child casualties, citing among them Israel’s recent air strikes on Gaza (3/9–12) that injured 14 Palestinian children. Israeli PM Netanyahu denounces her for making “the comparison between a deliberate massacre of children and defensive, surgical actions.” Ashton’s spokesman issues a statement saying that her words were “grossly distorted.” (NYT 3/21)