Friday, March 23, 2012

Israel allows a 2-day supply of diesel fuel into Gaza, allowing Gaza’s power plant to restart 1 turbine for the 1st time since 3/10/12. Hamas officials organize protests in Gaza calling on Egypt to resume the transfer of fuel through Gaza’s smuggling tunnels. Late at night, an IDF undercover unit enters a Palestinian village as part of a training mission and is challenged by 3 stickwielding Palestinians who think the soldiers are burglars; the soldiers open fire, seriously wounding the 3 Palestinians (including shooting and beating at least 1 after he was severely injured) and delaying medical treatment for 1 hr. before taking them to an Israeli hospital for treatment; 1 Palestinian later dies. The IDF also patrols in 4 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning; patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin in the afternoon, firing stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinian youths who confront them in 1 instance and stopping to question several boys in the other; conducts late-night patrols in 2 villages nr. Salfit and 1 each nr. Hebron, Jericho, and Ramallah. An 8-yr.- old Palestinian boy is seriously injured nr. Nablus when he accidentally triggers unexploded IDF ordnance that he found in a field. Palestinians (accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil’in, Kafr Qaddum, and al-Ma’sara. IDF soldiers beat and fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, injuring 4 Palestinians (3 in al-Ma’sara who are beaten; 1 in Kafr Qaddum who is hit by a tear-gas canister). (NYT 3/24; PCHR 3/29; OCHA 3/30; HA 4/5, 4/26)

Muslim Brotherhood officials in Egypt say they are distancing themselves a bit from Hamas and opening new channels of communication with Fatah in hopes of pressing Hamas to compromise with Fatah on national unity issues so as to increase pressure on Israel. The officials argue that if the 2 Palestinian factions create a untied front with a “newly assertive” Egypt, Egypt will have a better chance of pressuring Israel to make concessions over Palestinian statehood. The Muslim Brotherhood was the top vote-getter in Egyptian recent parliamentary elections after the 2/2011 ouster of fmr. pres. Husni Mubarak. (WP 3/24)