Monday, February 3, 2003

The IDF bulldozes 7 Palestinian homes and an electricity grid in Rafah, 3 homes in Dayr al-Balah; conducts arrest raids in Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus; fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis. An Israeli military court sentences Gazan Hamas mbr. Palestinian Nabil Okal, arrested in 6/00, to 27 yrs. in prison for training with al-Qa`ida in Afghanistan, plotting anti-Israeli attacks; he is not accused of being a mbr. of al-Qa`ida or of taking any violent action; Okal has denied the charges. Israel transfers $58 m. to the PA in VAT taxes. YESHA settlers council reports that the West Bank, settlement population increased by 6% in 2002, reaching 226,028; has increased by 11.8% over the past 2 yrs. despite the intifada; Israel’s Interior Min. confirms the numbers. (HA 2/3; HA, NYT 2/4; LAW, PCHR 2/5; al-Quds 2/5 in WNC 2/7; TJT 2/6)

Countries begin recalling their embassy staff fr. Iraq in anticipation of a U.S. strike. The U.S. strongly urges its citizens to leave the Persian Gulf. (WT 2/4)