Friday, November 22, 2002

The IDF retakes Bethlehem, which had had only a small troop presence since the IDF turned the security of city over to the PSF on 8/19/02; imposes a curfew; surrounds the Church of the Nativity to prevent armed Palestinians fr. seeking refuge there; conducts arrest raids, detaining 20 Palestinians; blows up the house rented by the family of the 11/21 bomber; encircles nearby Dahaysha r.c.; occupies 15 buildings, including a hospital, orphanage, 2 houses, 6 police stations, the local PSF headquarters; occupies as many as 30 Palestinian homes in al-Khadir nr. Bethlehem, expelling the families; raids the home of Israeli UNRWA worker Allegra Pacheco, holding her at gunpoint for 2 hrs., arresting her husband. Senior Irish UNRWA official Iain Hook is fatally shot inside the UNRWA’s Jenin r.c. compound by an IDF soldier who mistook his cell phone for a grenade as an IDF operation unfolded nearby to capture wanted Islamic Jihad mbr. Abdallah Wahash, who is arrested; an 11-yr.-old Palestinian throwing stones at the troops is also shot dead. The IDF also raids, shells residential areas of, demolishes 2 Palestinian homes in al-Qarara; bulldozes 8 dunams of land in al-Qarara, 28 dunams s. of Dayr al-Balah; conducts house searches, arrest raids in Satar al-Sharqiyya (targeting Hamas mbrs.), Tulkarm. A Hamas sniper fatally shoots an IDF soldier on patrol nr. Gush Katif settlement. Palestinians detonate a roadside bomb nr. the Rafah-Egypt border, injuring 2 IDF soldiers. Late this evening, 2 Islamic Jihad suicide bombers detonate their explosives-packed boat next to an Israeli naval patrol boat off the coast of Gaza, injuring 4 IDF soldiers. (HA, MM, NYT, PM, WP, WT 11/22; AFP 11/22 in WNC 11/25; AP, HA, NYT, WP, WT 11/23; NYT, WP 11/24; HA 11/25; NYT, WT 11/26; HA, LAW, PCHR 11/27; CSM, JP, WJW 11/28; HA 12/2; NYT 1/4)

Christian Coalition leaders end a wk. long solidarity visit to Israel, saying they will use their “fact-finding mission” to help galvanize support for Israel in the U.S. (WT 11/27)