Monday, February 28, 2011

Israeli officials announce that PM Benjamin Netanyahu, in consultation with DM Ehud Barak and Israel’s atty. gen. Yehuda Weinstein, have asked Israel’s High Court to respond to 15 petitions filed by Peace Now demanding the immediate removal of Israel’s unauthorized settlement outposts by ordering the dismantling of outposts built on privately owned Palestinian land before the end of 2011 (with the exception of a house owned by a fallen IDF officer) but authorizing the legalization of those built on state land. This would mean that 6 outposts would be removed, of which 5 are inhabited (47 homes), while more than 100 others would be legalized. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes 3 structures at the Havat Gilad unauthorized settlement outpost; Jewish settlers stone Israeli border police overseeing the demolition, who respond with tear gas and rubber bullets, leaving 15 persons lightly injured and 17 settlers under arrest. Afterward, Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar settlement nr. Nablus exact their “price-tag doctrine” attack in nearby Hawara village, fire-bombing a house, injuring 2 children, and damaging other property. Separately, Jewish settlers fr. Halmish nr. Ramallah block a road leading to Nabi Salih and stone passing Palestinian vehicles; the IDF observes but does not intervene. Later, Jewish settlers fr. Gilad occupy a plot of Palestinian land nr. Qalqilya, setting up tents and mobile homes, but are evacuated by the IDF later in the day. The IDF also patrols in 4 villages nr. Hebron, Jenin, and Qalqilya; enters Kafr Laqif village nr. Qalqilya and fires stun grenades, claiming local youths stoned passing Jewish settler vehicles; no injuries are reported. In Gaza, the IDF shells the abandoned Dahaniyya airport site in s. Gaza, wounding 1 Hamas mbr. and destroying a nearby vacant home. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials in the fmr. settlement sites, killing 1 Palestinian. IDF troops on the c. Gaza border shell open areas e. of Jabaliya, forcing farmers in the area to leave their plots but causing no injuries. Hamas authorities arrest 4 of 20 Palestinians responding to an online call by Palestinian student groups to rally in Gaza City for national unity. (MNA 2/28; HA 3/1; JP, WT 3/2; PCHR 3/3; OCHA 3/4; AFP 3/7; JTA 3/8; UNIS 3/22)