Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Olmert convenes his security cabinet, which declares Gaza “hostile territory” controlled by a “terrorist organization” (Hamas); imposes additional sanctions on Gaza with the stated aim of reducing Palestinian rocket fire, including cutting back fuel and electricity services to the Strip, further reducing imports to and travel from Gaza. Early in the morning, the IDF sends troops into al-Shuka to raid and search homes. The IDF also makes an air strike on a PRCtraining camp e. of Bayt Lahiya, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF continues operations in ‘Ayn Bayt al-Ma’a for a 2d day, raiding and searching homes, fatally shooting a mentally handicapped Palestinian who steps onto his balcony, firing on stone-throwing youths who confront the troops, wounding 8; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Tulkarm and in Jenin, Qalqilya, Ramallah. Jewish settlers fr. Karmiel settlement nr. Hebron vandalize a nearby, fenced-in crop area planted by local bedouin to feed their herds.Suspected Fatah mbrs. fire on an ESF patrol nr. Shati’ r.c. in Gaza, injuring 2 ESF officers. Nr. Gaza City, the ESF intervenes to prevent a group of Islamic Jihad mbrs. fr. firing rockets into Israel, sparking an exchange of gunfire that leaves no reported injuries. In Rafah, unidentified gunmen shoot, wound a Hamas mbr. (IFM 9/19; NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 9/20; NYT 9/22; IFM 9/24; OCHA 9/26; PCHR 9/27)

In Beirut, unidentified assailants detonate a car bomb assassinating Christian Phalange party MP Antoine Ghanem (the 8th anti-Syrian figure killed in the past 3 yrs.), reducing the governing coalition’s parliamentary majority to 67 of 128 seats only 6 days before parliament is to convene to elect a new pres. by simple majority. Ghanem’s bodyguard and 5 bystanders are also killed; 56 are wounded (19 seriously). (REU 9/19; NYT, WP, WT 9/20; NYT, WT 9/21)