Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Before dawn, Hamas mbrs. detonate explosives at 17 points along the 7-mi.-long Rafah border wall, allowing 10,000s of Palestinians to stream into Egypt to buy food, fuel, medicine, cement, livestock, and other goods that have been banned by Israel since 6/07; Gazans who have been stranded in Egypt reenter Gaza. (For details on the border breach, see the Quarterly Update.) Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak authorizes border police to stand down, saying Egypt will not be party to starving the Palestinians, but makes it clear that Egypt expects Gazans to return home quickly. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fatally shoot a Palestinian farmer working his land northwest of Bayt Lahiya. The IDF also levels land inside Gaza northeast of Bayt Hanun, uprooting 350 d. of olive and citrus groves. A Palestinian is injured when 2 rockets to be fired into Israel explode at the launch site. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, searches in and around Hebron (including surrounding and searching a medical clinic, interrogating staff and patients, arresting 2 staff mbrs.), in Balata r.c., and nr. Jenin, Salfit; raids a hospital in Bethlehem, confiscating 3 computers and a diagnostic machine that tests for osteoporosis; returns 200 olive trees to a farmer in Qaryut nr. Nablus who had 300 trees stolen by Jewish settlers fr. Shilo settlement in 6/07. A Palestinian civilian dies of injuries received during IDF operations in Nablus on 1/3. (HA, Independent, JAZ, NYT 1/23; NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 1/24; WP 1/28; OCHA 1/30; PCHR 1/31)