Thursday, November 17, 2005

IDF plainclothesmen fatally shoot wanted al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (AMB) mbrs. Ahmad Abahra and Muhammad Zayid as their car crosses a checkpoint in Jenin in an apparent assassination. The IDF also erects a new observation tower nr. Kiryat Arba settlement in Hebron; sends troops into Silwad nr. Ramallah, fires on stone-throwing youths who confront the troops, wounding and arresting 2; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Hebron, nr. Tulkarm; begins work on a new segment of the separation wall northwest of Ramallah that is expected to seize at least 5,330 dunams (d.; 4 d. = 1 acre) of land in Abud village; bulldozes 26 d. of land outside Bethlehem for construction of a permanent IDF post. Palestinians in Bethlehem report that for the past few days, the IDF has imposed new arrangements at the entrances to the city, requiring tourists entering and exiting to leave their busses, enter a transit hall for passport and baggage checks and customs processing that last up to 2 hrs. The Israel Lands Admin. issues tenders for construction of 13 new housing units in Ma’ale Adumim settlement nr. Jerusalem; the Israeli Housing Min. issues tenders for construction of infrastructure projects in Adam, Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim settlements. Jewish settlers beat a Palestinian harvesting his olive trees in Awarta. In Gaza, 100s of AMB mbrs. fire rifles in the air, defying the ban on carrying weapons in public, calling for reform within Fatah, demanding jobs and an international investigation into the 11/04 death of Yasir Arafat based on rumors (thus far unsubstantiated) that he was poisoned. In Nablus, AMB mbrs. protesting a recent PA crackdown on illegal weapons and criminal activity fire on PA police, leaving 1 PA policeman wounded. (Arab Hotel Association press release, PCHR, REU, XIN, YA 11/17; HA, NYT, WP, WT 11/18; PCHR 11/24)

Likud PM Ariel Sharon agrees to the demand of his coalition partner, newly elected Labor leader Amir Peretz, to hold early elections in 2/06 or 3/06. (BBC, WT 11/17; NYT, WP 11/18)