Monday, February 2, 2004

Despite Israel’s pledge (1/29) not to seal the occupied territories in the wake of the Jerusalem bombing, Israeli-Arabs seeking to enter Gaza with pre-arranged permits to celebrate Id al-Adha with relatives report that the IDF is blocking all entry to the Strip. The IDF assassinates senior Islamic Jihad mbr. Yasir Abu Aysh, firing missiles at his family’s home in Rafah, also killing Islamic Jihad mbr. Hussein Abu Aysh (Yasir’s brother), AMB Rafah leader Majdi Khatib, Hamas mbr. Baha’ Judah, wounding 3; Yasir Abu Aysh, who reportedly has been in hiding since he lost both legs and an arm in a mysterious explosion in 2002, had come out of seclusion to visit his family for Id al-Adha. The IDF also raids ‘Aida r.c. in search of Bethlehem Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades head Muhammad Abu Odeh, who fires on IDF soldiers, wounding 4, before being shot dead; the IDF then blows up his familyhome. In Ramallah, 2–3 armed AMB mbrs. reportedly storm the offices of al-Dar newspaper and al-Quds TV, destroying equipment, computers, archives. (HA, NYT, WP, WT 2/3; JP 2/8 in WNC 2/10; Independent 2/9; PCHR 2/12)

Sharon says that he has given orders to plan for the “relocation” of 17 of 20 Jewish settlements in Gaza and 3 Jewish settlements in the West Bank over the next 2 yrs., with “the assumption that in the future there will be no Jews in Gaza.” (BBC, HA, MM 2/2; AP, MM, NYT, WP, WT 2/3; VOP 2/3 in WNC 2/5; NYT 2/4; WJW 2/5; JT, al-Ra’i 2/8 in WNC 2/10; AYM 2/8 in WNC 2/19; PR 2/11; CSM 2/12; JPI 2/13; AYM 2/17 in WNC 2/20; MEI 2/20) (see 11/23)