Wednesday, January 29, 2003

The IDF lifts the comprehensive curfew on the occupied territories imposed on 1/26; fatally shoots 1 Palestinian shepherd who leads his flock too near IDF bulldozers leveling 400 dunams of Palestinian crops nr. Jabaliya r.c.; bulldozes land around, fires on residential areas of Tal al-Sultan, wounding 18 Palestinians; reportedly finds, disables 2 bombs planted nr. a Jewish settlements in Gaza, inside a PSF station in Hebron. A Palestinian gunman fires at a Jewish settler vehicle nr. Beit El settlement, wounding 2 Jewish settlers. A 2d Palestinian gunman shoots, lightly injures an IDF soldier outside a Jewish settlement in Gaza; soldiers fire on residential areas nearby in response, wounding 19 Palestinians. A Palestinian dies of injuries received during the IDF’s 1/25 attack on Gaza City. Jewish settlers attack 2 international peace activists who approach Itamar settlement to investigate Palestinian claims that settlers had taken over Palestinian farmland. Settlers beat the activists: steal their phone, camera; take their jackets, shoes, socks, wallets, passports; forcibly take them to Itamar. The IDF arrests the activists for trespassing on settler property. An Israeli court authorizes Israel’s seizure of over $9 m. fr. the PA’s frozen funds to pay the Ayalon insurance company to cover claims for cars stolen btwn. 1996 and 2000, allegedly with the PA’s knowledge and cooperation. (HA, International Solidarity Movement press release, LAW, PCHR 1/29; HA, NYT 1/30; PR 2/5)

Arafat calls on Sharon to immediately resume peace talks in light of his election victory, but Sharon says he will not deal with Palestinians “involved in terror.” (HA 1/29; NYT 1/30)

Bush phones Sharon to congratulate him on his election victory. Also calling to congratulate Sharon are Egyptian Pres. Husni Mubarak, who invites him to reopen peace talks with the Palestinians in Cairo after his new government is formed, and European Union (EU) pres. Romano Prodi who urges him to take action on the road map quickly, now that elections are over. (HA, MM 1/30, 1/31; MM 2/5; MEI 2/21)