Friday, February 11, 2011

In East Jerusalem, a group of Jewish settlers stabs and beats 2 East Jerusalem Palestinians, killing 1 Palestinian and wounding the other; Israeli authorities confiscate the body of the man killed and return it to the family with orders to hold the burial immediately, with no more than 10 family mrbs. present to prevent rioting (the family complies). In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah, 2 nr. Qalqilya, and 2 nr. Tulkarm in the afternoon and evening, and in 1 village nr. Qalqilya late at night; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Nablus. Palestinians (accompanied by Israeli and international activists in some areas) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, and Dayr Nizam/Nabi Salih. IDF soldiers fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters; 3 Palestinians are injured, and 3 are arrested. (PCHR 2/17; OCHA 2/18)

Early in the day, with massive antigovernment protests expected in Egypt after Friday’s midday prayers, rumors spread that Mubarak has left Cairo for his residence in Sharm al-Shaykh under pressure from the army. Soon after, the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces issues communiqué no. 2 indicating that the military is in effective control of the country and will oversee “the peaceful transfer of authority . . . towards a free democratic community that the people aspire to,” and pledging not to take action against protesters for demonstrating against the government. Timed with lateevening prayers, VP Suleiman confirms that Mubarak has “decided to relieve himself of his position as president and the supreme military council has taken control of the state’s affairs,” ending the 82-yr.-old leader’s 30-yr. rule. Flag-waving crowds in Tahrir Square and nationwide erupt in celebration. (AHR, NYT 2/11; NYT, WP, WT 2/12)

In Gaza, 1,000s of Hamas supporters rally to celebrate Mubarak’s fall, calling on the next Egyptian government to open the Rafah border and reconsider Egypt’s relations with Israel. In the West Bank, the PA continues to bar rallies in solidarity with Egyptian protesters, but 100s of Palestinians spontaneously honk horns and cheer in the streets when news of Mubarak’s exit broadcast. (NYT 2/12)