Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Israel deports Americans Jared Maslin (chief English editor for the Bethlehembased Palestinian news agency Ma‘an) and Faith Rowold (a volunteer with a Lutheran Church group in Jerusalem) to the U.S. on visa violations after having detained them the preceding wk. at Ben-Gurion Airport; Palestinians and NGOs operating in the occupied territories view Maslin’s deportation in particular as further evidence that Israel is stepping up its crackdown on individuals and organizations, especially ones with foreign funding, that promote Palestinian interests. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Nablus, Ni‘lin, and nr. Hebron. (PCHR, WP 1/21; OCHA 1/27; PCHR 1/28)

Syrian-based senior Hamas commander Mahmud al-Mabhuh, a founder of Hamas’s Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, is found murdered in his hotel room in Dubai. Hamas accuses Israel of assassinating him, but Israel refuses to comment. (NYT, WP 1/30; JPI 2/11; NYT, WT 2/16)