Sunday, August 14, 2005

As of midnight local time, the IDF seals the Gaza Strip in preparation for disengagement implementation beginning on 8/17, making it illegal for Israelis to enter Gaza. During the day, some 7,500 PA security forces, overseen byEgyptian security officers, begin deploying nr. Gaza settlements to prevent Palestinians fr. approaching them. Before dawn, Palestinian gunmen fire on Kefar Darom, causing no damage or injuries; an IDF tank returns fire, accidentally targeting an IDF personnel carrier, wounding 5 IDF soldiers. In the West Bank, the IDF sends troops into Tulkarm, closes the main street, interrogates residents; conducts arrest raids, house searches in villages around Tulkarm; occupies a house nr. Nablus as an observation post. Nr. Qalqilya, a Palestinian dies of heat stroke after being handcuffed by IDF troops, left in the sun for hrs. In light of threats by Jewish extremists to storm the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount and destroy the al-Aqsa mosque, 100s of Israeli police, troops deploy in and around the Old City of Jerusalem to prevent possible Israeli-Palestinian clashes; 1,000s of Muslims fr. Jerusalem and Israel attempt to converge to defend the site, but West Bank Palestinians are barred fr. entering Jerusalem, Israeli Palestinians under age 45 are banned fr. accessing the mosque compound. Jewish settlers gather outside Homesh settlement to protest the disengagement, throw stones at passing Palestinian vehicles. In Gaza, Jewish settlers block Palestinian access to roads btwn. Kefar Yam and Shirat Hayam. A French sound technician covering the disengagement in Gaza is kidnapped by unknown Palestinians; Hamas accuses the PA of not doing enough to protect internationals working in Gaza, says targeting foreigners should be a red line. In light of recent kidnappings, the UN moves all nonessential foreign staff in Gaza to Jerusalem until further notice. (AFP, XIN 8/14; IMEMC, WT 8/15; PR 8/17; PCHR, REU 8/18; IMEMC 8/19)