Newsday reports March 15 that militant settlers gathered at the Hebron tomb of Baruch Goldstein to mark the 11th anniversary of his massacre of 29 Palestinians as they prayed at the Tomb of Patriarchs, where Abraham is believed to be buried. (The 39-year-old native Brooklynite was beaten to death by survivors.) A photo accompanying the story shows one settler reverentially kissing Goldstein's tomb. The gathering served as a rallying point for settlers pledging to resist any attempt to evacuate them from the Occupied Territories. Israeli security services are said to be bracing for a violent backlash from the armed settler right.
A short commentary piece in Israel's largest circulation daily Yediot Aharonot claimed March 10 that armed youth are hitch hiking to Gush Katif, the illegal Jewish settlement bloc in the occupied southern Gaza Strip, where they are being hosted by the local community, sometimes sleeping out, and preparing for confrontation with the army to come. They say they will stop the disengagment with their bodies. No one's stopping them from entering the Gush bloc. (Of course if they were left activists the area would be declared a "closed military zone" and they wouldn't be allowed in- WW4). They were wearing batik shirts, sported rasta-locks, and brought thier sleeping bags. They're hippies, yet they have M16s, Yediot commentator Zeev Tsachor noted with some irony.
From JTA, March 4:
Israeli troops wearing video screens
Israeli troops have been outfitted with tiny video screens on their wrists.
The screens display video shot by unmanned airplanes, helping troops identify and strike targets. The technology has been used for about a year, but was kept secret until the company that developed it, Elisra Group's Tadiran Electronic Systems and Tadiran Spectralink companies, spoke to reporters about it this week.
Shaba'a Farms is a small area occupied by Israel adjacent to the Golan Heights, which is part of Syria and occupied by Israel since 1967. Hezbollah claims the Farms are part of Lebanon, and uses this claim to justify its continued armed resistance, and confrontational posture with Israel, as it points out all of Lebanon is not liberated as long as Shaba'a is occupied. The UN believes the area is part of Syria, and in resolution 1559 calls for the disarmament of all Lebanese factions.
Thousands of protesters defied a ban on public gatherings in downtown Beirut as Lebanon's pariliament began a firey debate on who was responsibile for the Feb. 14 car-bomb assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri. Demanding the government resign, protesters chanted "Syria get out!" and "Freedom, sovereignty, independence!" Violence was feared as pro-Syria demonstrators converged nearby to protest the visit by US deputy decretary of state David Satterfield.
Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon implicated Syria in the Feb. 25 suicide bombing of a Tel Aviv nightclub that left four dead, after the group Islamic Jihad, which maintains a Damascus office, claimed responsibility. "The terrorist attack was perpetrated by members of Islamic Jihad. Thre orders came from Islamic Jihad elements in Syria," he said.
An article in Ha'aretz Jan. 30 says that Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has approved the government's application of its 1950 Absentee Property Law to confiscate about one half of Palestinian-owned land in East Jerusalem. Thousands of Palestinians who live elsewhere in the West Bank and are cut off from their lands by the Separation Wall are having their lands and property seized on the grounds that they don't live in Israel. Israel plans to redistribute the confiscated land to Jews only. The decision was made secretly by the government in July. The Absentee law stipulates that those whose land is confiscated have no right to appeal the action, nor any right to compensation. According to the lawyer representing some of those who are losing property, Israel plans to colonize E. Jerusalem's Muslim Quarter as well.