Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Israel confirms that it is building a 10-mi. Palestinian-only road around Ma’ale Adumim settlement, linking Jericho and Bethlehem and bypassing Jerusalem, to create “transportational contiguity” btwn. Palestinian communities that would otherwise be cut off by the separation wall; critics note that 56 acres of privately owned Palestinian land and 352 acres of “state land” have been appropriated for the construction, which will also allow for the expansion and linkage of Ma’ale Adumim, Mishor Adumim, and Kedar settlements. In Gaza, the IDF raids and searches homes in al-Shuka, occupying several houses as observation posts (troops are still in the village at the end of the day); sends troops into al-Fakhari nr. Khan Yunis, raiding several homes, leveling lands, firing on residential areas, causing no reported injuries; sends troops into Bayt Hanun, bulldozing at least 100 d. of citrus trees and fences around a college and cemetery, withdrawing in the evening. The ESF creates 2 new openings in the Rafah border fence nr. Rafah’s Bloc J and al-Barahma, but no passage through the openings is reported. Egypt allows 30 Islamic Jihad mbrs. and Palestinian civilians stranded in Egypt since Israel sealed the Gaza borders on 6/12 to return to Gaza through the Rafah crossing (see 9/30). In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Bethlehem (arresting a mbr. of the Bethlehem municipal council), nr. Hebron, and in al-Bireh, Ramallah, Qalqilya (occupying homes as observation posts, firing on Palestinian children as they leave school, wounding 2, ages 11 and 13). (NYT, OCHA, WP, WT 10/10; PCHR 10/11; OCHA 10/17)