Tuesday, January 3, 2006

As the campaign period for the 1/25 Palestinian elections opens, Israeli police in East Jerusalem arrest Independent Palestine candidate Mustafa Barghouthi as he campaigns, releases him after 4 hrs.; detain 7 Fatah candidates campaigning in the city; disperse a Third Way rally led by Palestinian Council (PC) mbr. Hanan Ashrawi (Jerusalem); in 2 separate incidents, bars Central Election Commission (CEC) staff mbrs. fr. crossing a Tulkarm checkpoint to attend an election-related mtg. in nearby Dayr al-Ghusun and the Jordan Valley; blocks the transportation of election campaigning material fr. the West Bank to Gaza; sends troops into Jenin town and r.c. Meanwhile, the IDF opens the new Kerem Shalom commercial crossing on the Egypt-Gaza-Israel border; fatally shoots wanted Palestinian Mustafa Muhammad during an arrest raid nr. Hebron; raids a Palestinian school in Anata n. of Jerusalem, firing rubber bullets, injuring 1 teacher, 1 student and then fires on stone-throwing Palestinians who confront the troops, wounding 8; bulldozes a Palestinian home in Bayt Hanina; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Bethlehem, Jalazun r.c., Jenin town and r.c., Nablus, Qalqilya; dismantles 3 unauthorized settlement outposts nr. Bat Ayin, Efrat, Pdu’el. In response to the 1/2 assassination, Islamic Jihad fires at least 12 rockets at the Negev, the ARB fires a rocket at Sederot, causing no damage or injuries; the IDF responds with artillery fire on 8 roads leading to the n. Gaza no-go zone, causing no injuries. The AMB, ARB claim joint responsibility for detonating an explosive device nr. an IDF bulldozer operating on Jenin r.c., seriously injuring 1 IDF soldier. PA police arrest Gaza AMB leader Ala’ al-Hams for plotting the kidnapping of 3 Britons on 12/28. Jewish settlers fr. Avraham Avino break into, rob, vandalize several Palestinian shops in Hebron. (AFP, AP, BBC, HA, IMEMC, JAZ 1/3; IMEMC, PMC, WP, WT, YA 1/4; HA, NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 1/5; HA 1/6; PLO Negotiation Affairs Dept. press release 1/23)