Tuesday, November 16, 2010

As the quarter opens, Israel maintains a tight siege of Gaza aimed at unseating the governing Hamas authority, in control since 6/2007. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) enforce a 300-meter-deep no-go zone inside the full length of the Gaza border and limits the Palestinian fishing zone off Gaza to 500–1,000 m off the immediate Bayt Lahiya (northern) and Rafah (southern) coasts, and 3 nautical miles elsewhere—restrictions that placed 17% of Gaza’s total landmass, including 35% of its viable agricultural areas, and 85% of the maritime areas allocated under the Oslo accords off limits to Palestinians. In the West Bank, governed by the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA), Israel’s easing of restrictions on Palestinian movement between major population centers (which began in summer 2009) continues, and IDF operations are relatively low. Overnight, unidentified Palestinians fire a homemade Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing damage but no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts latenight patrols without incident in Imatim village nr. Qalqilya. Jewish settlers fr. Gil’ad settlement burn 42 Palestinian olive trees nr. Qalqilya. Jewish settlers fr. Bet Ayn nr. Hebron set fire to 20 dunams (d.; 4 d. = 1 acre) of Palestinian olive and almond groves. (JP 11/16; PCHR 11/25; OCHA 11/26)