Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Uruguay recognizes an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 lines. (XIN 3/16)

Egypt completes repairs to its natural gas pipeline damaged during the 2/2011 Egyptian unrest (see Quarterly Update in JPS 159) and resumes sending natural gas to Israel. The Israeli navy detains a ship, the German-owned and Liberian flagged Victoria, en route fr. Syria to Egypt, 200 mi. off the Israeli coast that Israel claims was attempting to deliver arms to Gaza fr. Iran, taking it to Ashdod for further inspection; Israeli authorities said the ship carried 4 crates holding some 70,000 rounds of ammunition for Kalashnikov rifles, 1,000s of mortars, 6 Chinese C-704 antiship missiles, and 2 radar systems. Iran denies smuggling arms. The IDF makes a brief incursion into c. Gaza to level lands e. of al-Bureij r.c. to clear lines of sight. On the Rafah border, 2 Palestinians are killed, 4 are injured in an explosion in a smuggling tunnel. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that another 4 Palestinians have been killed in tunnel accidents since 3/2. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night patrols in Jenin and surrounding villages; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron. Jewish settlers attempt to enter Kafr Laqif village nr. Qalqilya but are prevented by the IDF and stone nearby Palestinian homes instead. In separate instances, Jewish settlers fr. Karnei Shomron and Keddumim settlements, both nr. Nablus, stone passing Palestinian vehicles. Across the West Bank and Gaza, 1,000s of Palestinians turn out for candlelight vigils calling for national reconciliation. Hamas security forces violently break up the biggest rally (as many as 100,000) in Gaza City, injuring 5 protesters. In the West Bank, PA security forces (PASF) fire tear gas at some 8,000 protesters in Ramallah, briefly dispersing them and injuring 20; some protesters return, vowing to stay in Ramallah’s Manara Square until the West Bank and Gaza are reunited (they stay until 4/17). Meanwhile, Hamas’s acting PM in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh invites Abbas to Gaza for reconciliation talks; Abbas responds favorably. Inside Israel, 2 cars owned by Israeli Palestinian students at Safad Academic College were torched during a campus event to promote Arab-Jewish dialogue. Anti-Arab graffiti also was sprayed on the wall of the college, saying: “Arabs get out,” “Death to Arabs,” and “Kahane was right.” (General Delegation of the PLO to the United States letter, IFM, National Public Radio 3/15; JAZ, JP, JTA, MNA, NYT, WP, WT 3/16; PCHR 3/17; OCHA 3/18; JPI 4/1)

In Bahrain, protesters ramp up demonstrations in response to Saudi Arabia’s incursion, while the king imposes a 3-mo. state of emergency, deploys the military, and closes schools and govt. offices. (NYT 3/16)