Saturday, May 28, 2011

Egypt reopens the Rafah crossing as planned, permitting most Palestinians to cross freely for the first time in 4 yrs. (men ages 18–40 are the only group required to secure visas to enter Egypt). Unidentified Palestinians fire a homemade Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel for the 1st time since 4/18, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF bars Palestinian farmers fr. working their land nr. Bet Ayn settlement nr. Hebron; conducts late-night patrols in Bil‘in, sounding sirens and firing stun and flash grenades to intimidate residents; conducts late-night patrols without incident in Qalqilya; makes late-night arrest raids, house searches in ‘Aqabat Jabir r.c. nr. Jericho and Nur Shams r.c. nr. Tulkarm. The IDF also fires tear gas, stun grenades at Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists staging a nonviolent march through Iraq Burin village nr. Nablus to nearby Brakha settlement to protest the settlers’ seizure of village lands to expand the settlement; 3 internationals are arrested. (AFP 5/28; MNA, NYT, WP 5/29; PCHR 6/2; OCHA 6/3)

In Qatar, Abbas briefs Arab League FMs on the recent speeches by Obama and Netanyahu. The FMs agree to support the Palestinians’ UN statehood bid in absence of a viable alterative. Abbas then goes to Cairo to brief Egypt’s acting government. (REU, WAFA 5/28; MENA 5/30)