Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Israel makes 2 air strikes on Gaza targeting the launch site of 4 mortars fired into Israel minutes earlier (causing no damage or injuries), hitting a nearby residential area, killing 4 Palestinian civilians (including 3 children) and wounding 11 (4 critically); Netanyahu expresses regret for accidentally harming civilians but accuses Palestinian militants of using civilians as human shields to carry out rocket and mortar attacks (even while there was no rocket fire at the time of the strikes). In the evening, Palestinians fire a manufactured Grad rocket and several mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Later, the IDF carries out a 3d air strike, killing 4 Islamic Jihad mbrs. preparing to launch a rocket into Israel. The IDF also makes a brief incursion into Gaza northeast of Gaza City to level lands and clear lines of sight. Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishermen off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF makes a predawn raid on Awarta, imposing a curfew and arresting 9 Palestinians, possibly in connection to the 3/11 Itamar murders; patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and Salfit. (IRM 3/22; NYT, REU, WP, WT 3/23; NYT, PCHR 3/24; OCHA 4/1)

The Knesset passes (37-25, with 58 abstaining or not voting) the “Nakba Law,” which allows state funding to be reduced to communities or groups that commemorate the Nakba, deny Israel is a Jewish state, question whether Israel is a democracy, or harm Israeli national symbols. It also passes (35-20, with 65 abstaining or not voting) the “Admissions Committee Law” allowing Negev and Galilee Jewish communities with fewer than 400 families to reject potential residents (i.e., Palestinians) who are “socially unacceptable.” (IsRN 3/23; JTA 3/24)

The IDF detains 2 Lebanese shepherds who accidentally crossed the Blue Line into Israeli territory and turns them over to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). (DS 3/23)