Tuesday, June 24, 2003

In a move that Israel claims will save the road map, the IDF arrests more than 130 alleged Hamas mbrs. and supporters in Hebron (including women, elderly men, and 1 pregnant woman, who collapses, is taken to the hospital), 30 Palestinian “terror suspects and their helpers” in Nablus. In its deepest incursion into PA areas in Gaza in recent wks., the IDF sends bulldozers into Khan Yunis and Rafah, firing on residential areas, demolishing 5 Palestinian homes in Rafah, 2 in Khan Yunis, also razing 13 dunams of land. The IDF also finds, disables a booby-trapped bicycle nr. a s. Gaza settlement, a bomb in a car in Ramallah; conducts arrest raids in Bethlehem, Nablus. Palestinians fire 4 mortars at Gaza settlements and 1 Qassam rocket toward the Negev, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF removes 2 tents comprising an unauthorized outpost erected in recent days; meanwhile, Jewish settlers set up 2 new unauthorized outposts elsewhere in the West Bank. A PA general intelligence unit raids, closes the Voice of al-Aqsa radio station in Gaza city. The move apparently aims to curb incitement, though the PA says the station was set up without a permit. (BBC, HA, MM 6/24; HA, NYT, WP, WT 6/25; PCHR, Palestine Information Center 6/26)

Israeli police charge 5 Islamic Movement leaders with “service to an outlawed organization, holding funds belonging to an outlawed organization, and moneylaundering,” for funneling some $10 m. to Hamas charity groups in the occupied territories fr. abroad. At least 2 of the mbrs., including Islamic Movement leader Ra‘ad Salah, are charged with membership in a terrorist organization and contact with a foreign agent (Nabil Mahzomah, an Israeli Arab who was deported to Lebanon in the mid-1980s and allegedly has worked as an agent for Iranian, Lebanese intelligence). The groups they reportedly had contact with were Charity Coalition (outlawed in 2/02), the al-Aqsa Fund (outlawed in 1992), Interpal (outlawed in 1997), the Holy Land Fund (outlawed in 1997). (HA, MM 6/24; HA, NYT, WT 6/25)