Sunday, August 18, 2002

The IDF temporarily lifts the curfew on Hebron; shells residential areas of Khan Yunis, destroying 1 Palestinian home; bulldozes 3 Palestinian homes s. of Nablus; conducts arrest raids in Khan Yunis, Karabatha Bani Harith, Rafah (taking 8 Palestinians to Morag settlement for interrogation); temporarily detains, beats, confiscates the camera of Palestinian journalist for Reuters. Israel's National Religious Party (NRP) reports that 4 new settler bypass roads are under construction in the West Bank. (Hatzofe 8/18 in WNC 8/20; LAW, PCHR 8/21; PCHR 8/26)

In Tel Aviv, Israeli DM Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, PA Interior M `Abd al-Razzaq Yahya agree on implementation of Ben-Eliezer's Gaza First plan: the IDF is to withdraw fr. parts of Gaza and fr. Bethlehem within 48 hrs.; the PA is to take control of security in areas evacuated; if calm is maintained, Israel would extend the arrangement to Hebron. Israel makes no promises to halt assassinations, arrest raids, home demolitions; the PA makes no promises to make preventive arrests of mbrs. of opposition groups. National unity talks among the 12 Palestinian factions making up the National and Islamic Higher Coordinating Comm. of the Intifada (NIHC) reportedly continue in Gaza. (XIN 8/18 in WNC 8/20; MM, NYT, WP, WT 8/19; AFP 8/19, AYM 8/20 in WNC 8/21; MM 8/21; al-Quds 8/21 in WNC 8/22, 8/23; MM 8/22; MA 8/25 in WNC 8/26; JPI, MEI 8/30)