Sunday, October 2, 2005

The IDF officially “suspends” Operation First Rain, which began on 9/24, to “see if the Palestinian Authority is willing and capable of taking advantage of the new situation.” PA security forces clash with Hamas mbrs. in Gaza City, with violence spreading to Shati‘ r.c., leaving 1 PA police officer, 2 Palestinian bystanders dead, at least 50 Palestinians wounded over several hrs. in the first intra-Palestinian fighting in Gaza since the Israeli withdrawal, sparked when PA security forces allegedly tried to arrest Muhammad Rantisi, Hamas activist and son of assassinated Hamas leader ‘Abd al- ‘Aziz Rantisi; during the clashes Hamas mbrs. fire RPGs at 2 PA police stations, PA police run out of ammunition. Separately, shots are fired at the Gaza City home of Hamas political leader Mahmud Zahhar, causing damage but no injuries. Late in the evening, the IDF launches arrest raids, house searches nr. Tulkarm and in and around Bethlehem, Hebron. Israeli border police report that over the previous 2 days they have arrested 1,200 Palestinians in Jerusalem for failing to have travel or work permits. (AFP, IMEMC, YA 10/2; REU, UPI, WP, WT 10/3; HA, REU, WT, XIN 10/4; PCHR 10/6; DS 10/8; MEI 10/12)

The Israeli FMin. adopts a new “national image management” strategy to improve Israel’s image abroad, “rebranding” it as “cool,” “hip,” “relevant and modern,” by downplaying religion and “avoiding any discussion of the conflict with the Palestinians.” (Forward 10/14)