Friday, July 20, 2007

Israel releases 255 Palestinian prisoners, including PFLP 2d-in-command ‘Abd al-Rahim Malluh; 85% of those released are Fatah mbrs.; the remainder are fr. smaller parties; none are fr. Hamas (Israel still holds 1 Fatah mbr. after learning that he switched affiliation to Hamas in jail); all had at least 1 yr. left to serve on their sentences. Palestinians fire a rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinian, Israeli, international activists attending the weekly nonviolent demonstration against the separation wall in Bil‘in, injuring 6; conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus, firing on stone-throwing youths who confront troops in ‘Ayn Bayt al-Ma’a r.c., wounding 4 teenagers and a 65-yr.-old bystander; closes roads northwest of Nablus to Palestinian traffic to allow more Jewish settlers to reach the evacuated Homesh settlement site (en route, settlers damage Palestinian crops and vandalize 2 Palestinian cars, 4 homes). Also nr. Nablus, Jewish settlers fr. Gilad severely beat 1 Palestinian in neighboring Fara’ta; Jewish settlers fr. Elon Moreh and Yitzhar burn 10s of Palestinian olive trees nr. the settlements. (AP, HA 7/20; NYT, WP, WT 7/21; OCHA 7/25; PCHR 7/26)