Sunday, April 9, 2006

The Israeli security cabinet formally severs all direct contacts with the PA, which it calls a “hostile entity,” and vows to “work toward preventing any entrenchment of the Hamas government’s rule”; says Israel will not rule out “personal” contacts with Abbas but views the PA as a single entity, meaning that opening a separate negotiating channel with him to bypass the Hamas-led government is not an option; Israel will also refuse to meet with foreign officials who meet with Hamas mbrs. during their regional visits. After Palestinians fire 5 rockets towards Israel (causing no damage or injuries; 2 land inside Gaza), the IDF heavily shells the n. Gaza no-go zone and populated areas in Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, and Jabaliya r.c., killing a PA security officer evacuating Palestinians fr. the area, wounding at least 16 Palestinians (including 3 PA security officers), hitting a taxi, and heavily damaging the PA Customs Bureau, a factory, and 1 house. IDF undercover units raid Bayt Ta’mar nr. Bethlehem, assassinate PRCs Salah alDin Brigadeshead Jabir Akhras; the IDF has attempted to assassinate Akhras several times, most recently 3 mos. ago. The IDF also sends troops into Nablus, firing on areas of al-Najah University campus (hitting a female Palestinian student in the face with a rubber bullet, causing her to lose an eye), fatally shooting a Palestinian for no apparent reason, conducting arrest raids, house searches; also conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Tulkarm, nr. Hebron, in villages surrounding Nablus; occupies a Palestinian building in Bayt Jala nr. Bethlehem as an observation post. Palestinians in Qalqilya report that for several days, the IDF has been harassing, delaying the entry of non-Qalqilya residents (primarily shoppers fr. surrounding villages) into the city, barring them fr. driving cars across the checkpoint. A Palestinian family evicted fr. its home in al-Tur on 3/29 reoccupies its home, but is quickly evicted by the IDF for “squatting.” (HA, IMEMC, PNN 4/9; AP, JP, PCHR 4/9; HA, JP, NYT, WP, WT 4/10; PCHR 4/13; Islamic Republic News Agency 4/16; HA 4/23)