Friday, October 2, 2009

As agreed on 9/30, Israel releases 19 Palestinian female prisoners in exchange for a 2-min. video fr. Hamas proving that captured IDF soldier Cpl. Shalit is still alive. A 20th prisoner is expected to be released on 10/3. After Palestinians fire 3 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel (causing no damage or injuries), the IDF carries out air strikes on smuggling tunnels along the Rafah border and on a marble factory and an iron warehouse in Gaza City suspected of being used to manufacture weapons. An Israeli drone also fires a missile nr. Bayt Lahiya. No casualties are reported in any of the air strikes. (NYT 10/3; PCHR 10/8; JR 10/26)

In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubbercoated steel bullets, sound bombs, tear gas at Palestinian and international activists taking part in a nonviolent demonstration against the separation wall in Ni‘lin (10s suffer fr. tear gas) and at Palestinian activists, some of whom throw stones at IDF troops, taking part in a demonstration against the separation wall in Bil‘in (injuring 2 international activists); conducts late-night raids, house searches nr. Tulkarm, arresting 1 Palestinian. (PCHR 10/8)

Israeli security forces prevent thousands of Palestinians fr. entering East Jerusalem for Friday prayers at the al-Aqsa Mosque. The overcrowded conditions at Qalandia checkpoint cause at least 35 Palestinians to faint. Additional checkpoints are also erected in the Old City. (PCHR 10/8)

Hamas mbr. Yusuf Abu Zuhri, the brother and bodyguard of Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri, dies in Egyptian custody. Hamas accuses Egyptian authorities of torturing him. Abu Zuhri was detained in al-Arish in 4/09 on charges of entering Egypt illegally through a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border. (Agence France-Presse 10/13; JPI 10/22)

At Abbas’s request, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) defers until 3/10 a vote to endorse the UN’s Goldstone report (see 9/15). The move is supported by Israel and the U.S. but is immediately denounced by Palestinians. (WP 10/2; WP 10/3; JR 10/26)