Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Palestinians fire a rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Israel retaliates with 3 air strikes on a Hamas security compound in Gaza, killing 2 Hamas mbrs. guarding the site, wounding 2 bystanders. Israeli naval forces fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, wounding 1 fisherman. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm in the morning, randomly stopping Palestinians to check their IDs; storms an al-Wataniya cell phone transmission tower nr. Jenin, searching the site and surrounding area for 2 hrs.; uproots 400 d. of Palestinian olive trees nr. Nablus, hauling them away; patrols in Jiftlik village nr. Jenin and nearby Aqabat Jabir and ‘Ayn al-Sultan r.c. in the evening; conducts late-night patrols and arrest raids in Birzeit and nr. Salfit. Hamas authorities violently disperse a demonstration by students at al-Quds Open University calling for national reconciliation, killing 1 Palestinian student. (AFP, JP, MNA, WAFA 3/16; NYT, PCHR, WP 3/17; PCHR 3/24; OCHA 4/1)

In Syria, where there have been a handful of small antigovernment actions since 2/16, 200 protesters (students, activists, families of prisoners) gather outside the Interior Min. to demand the release of political prisoners. Security forces storm the gathering, arresting 36, including a 10-yr.-old boy. Meanwhile, Syrian activists have organized a Facebook fan page online (with more than 47,000 fans) called “The Syrian Revolution 2011,” calling for massive protests after Friday prayers on 3/18. (NYT 3/17)

In Bahrain, govt. soldiers firing tear gas and rubber bullets and backed by tanks and helicopters clear Manama’s Pearl Square of protesters and remove a tent city that has been in place for weeks; 3 protesters and 2 security officers are killed. (NYT, WP, WT 3/17)