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  • February 23, 2009

    In Gaza, Palestinians detonate a roadside bomb nr. the Gaza border fence e. of al-Musaddar village in c. Gaza, causing no reported damage or injuries. The IDF sends troops into al-Musaddar in...

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  • February 20, 2009

    Palestinians detonate a roadside bomb nr. the Gaza border fence, sparking an exchange of gunfire with the IDF that leaves 2 armed Palestinians dead. In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover...

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  • February 18, 2009

    In Gaza, UN and Hamas officials report the theft of a cache of IDF UXO fr. OCL that was being held at a storage site guarded by Hamas police; police say unknown individuals stole the explosives...

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  • February 16, 2009

    As the quarter opens, Israel’s near total blockade of Gaza enters its 21st month, since Hamas’s takeover of Gaza in 6/07. Israel continues to bar exports fr. Gaza, strictly limit imports, and ban...

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  • February 11, 2009

    In Gaza, the IDF makes an air strike on a Hamas-affiliated police station in Khan Yunis, which has been bombed repeatedly, causing no reported injuries. Israel allows 94 truckloads of humanitarian...

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  • February 6, 2009

    Palestinians fire 2 rockets into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF responds with 10 air strikes on tunnels on the Rafah border, also destroying an evacuated house and a farm, killing...

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  • February 4, 2009

    UNRWA accuses Hamas-affiliated police of raiding a UN compound in Shati’ r.c. on 2/3 and confiscating 400 food parcels and 3,500 blankets intended for the needy after UNRWA refused Hamas’s request...

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  • February 3, 2009

    Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the Rafah coast, causing no injuries. Palestinians fire a Grad rocket fr. Gaza into Israel (the 1st Grad fired since the end of OCL),...

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  • February 2, 2009

    An IDF drone fires on a car e. of Rafah, assassinating PRC mbr. Ayman Shihada, wounding 2 teenagers nearby. Palestinians fire at least 2 mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries...

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  • January 19, 2009

    The Gaza cease-fire holds, with no Israeli or Palestinian violence reported. Israeli officials say the IDF has accelerated its withdrawal fr. Gaza in hopes that it will be completed by the time U....

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  • January 15, 2009

    The 20th day of OCL is marked by serious diplomatic steps toward a cease-fire but also by Israel’s heaviest attacks on Gaza since operations began. Israel’s envoy receives the Egyptian-Hamas cease...

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  • January 13, 2009

    The IDF significantly increases attacks on Gaza for the 2d straight day, as international mediation efforts led by Egypt to secure a cease-fire also intensify.

    Combat notes: The IDF...

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  • January 12, 2009

    Olmert’s security cabinet revives discussion of opening phase 3 of OCL (see 1/9), agreeing to make a final decision whether to expand or wind down operations within 2–3 days, by which time the IDF...

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  • January 9, 2009

    The Israeli security cabinet reportedly begins internal debate on opening phase 3 of OCL, which would involve deep incursions into Gaza’s built-up areas to deal a crushing blow to Hamas. Israeli...

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  • December 30, 2008

    International diplomacy to end OCL clicks into gear with France proposing that Israel and Hamas impose a 48-hr. humanitarian truce to try to defuse the violence and restore the Gaza cease-fire,...

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  • December 28, 2008

    As massive Israeli strikes on Gaza enter a 2d day, IDF Southern Command head Maj. Gen. Yo’av Galant says (HA 12/28) that the IDF aims to “send Gaza decades into the past” in terms of Hamas’s...

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  • December 14, 2008

    The IDF conducts synchronized, latenight arrest raids, house searches in 3 villages nr. Bethlehem; conducts additional late-night arrest raids, house searches in Balata r.c., Nablus. Jewish...

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  • December 12, 2008

    The IDF conducts midday patrols inside Salfit, firing rubber-coated steel bullets at stone-throwing Palestinian youths who confront them, causing no reported injuries; conducts late-night arrest...

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  • December 10, 2008

    Israel agrees to transfer $25 m. in shekels to Gaza, an amount less than what the PA needs to pay its Gaza salaries, meaning banks are unlikely to reopen, still fearing a run on cash. In the West...

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  • December 7, 2008

    The IDF conducts late-night house searches nr. Salfit. In keeping with Olmert’s 12/6 call, the IDF clamps down on Jewish settlers in Hebron, preventing them from continuing attacks on Palestinian...

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  • December 6, 2008

    The IDF raids, searches a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem’s Ras al-Amud neighborhood, confiscating a computer and arresting a 21-yr.-old woman. Major Jewish settler violence in Palestinian...

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  • December 5, 2008

    Late in the evening, the IDF makes an air strike on a group of Palestinian resistance mbrs. nr. Gaza’s Jabaliya r.c., wounding 1. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts latenight arrest raids, house...

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  • December 4, 2008

    OCHA urgently appeals to Israel to expand “the list of imports into Gaza . . . to include vital spare parts for maintenance and operation of the power plant, water and sanitation utilities, and...

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  • December 3, 2008

    In Gaza, OCHA reports that since 11/27, Israel has increased from 5 to 11 the number of truckloads of humanitarian aid allowed entry to Gaza per day. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night...

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  • December 2, 2008

    Hamas mbrs. fire 8 mortars fr. Gaza toward Israel, 6 of which land inside Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In response, the IDF makes an air strike on 1 mortar-launching site, killing 2...

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  • November 28, 2008

    IDF troops along the s. Gaza border e. of Khan Yunis fire on a group of armed Palestinians inside Gaza, causing no injuries; troops then cross into Gaza, exchange fire with armed Palestinians,...

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  • November 27, 2008

    Israel allows entry to Gaza of 18 tons of chlorine to disinfect drinking water, an amount sufficient to purify Gaza’s water supply for 8 days; Gaza’s water authority had requested 220 tons. In the...

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  • November 26, 2008

    In Gaza, Palestinian workers replace the Gaza power plant’s damaged batteries with modified car batteries, allowing the plant to resume operation (see 11/24). In the West Bank, the IDF fires on...

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  • November 24, 2008

    Israel allows 32 truckloads of humanitarian aid, limited fuel imports, and some currency imports into Gaza but maintains a ban on foreign journalists (ban now in place for more than 2 wks.). The...

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  • November 21, 2008

    In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubbercoated steel bullets, tear gas, percussion grenades at Palestinians holding a nonviolent protest against settlements at the evacuated settlement site of...

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In Gaza, Palestinians detonate a roadside bomb nr. the Gaza border fence e. of al-Musaddar village in c. Gaza, causing no reported damage or injuries. The IDF sends troops into al-Musaddar in pursuit, exchanging gunfire with the armed Palestinians, calling in 3 air strikes on the area, injuring 2 armed Palestinians, heavily damaging 3 Palestinian homes before withdrawing 90 mins. later. Palestinians also fire 2 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no reported damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF makes a large late-night incursion into Nablus to raid and search a home for weapons, blowing up part of the home, detaining 2 Palestinians for questioning, but finding no weapons; occupying and searching Asia Television offices; blowing the doors off several shops in the old city. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Jenin town and r.c., nr. Bethlehem and Hebron. Jewish settlers escorted by IDF troops enter Nablus to pray for several hours at the shrine of Prophet Joseph. In the evening, Jewish settlers in Hebron cut electricity to Palestinian houses in the center and s. of town, then rampage through the areas, damaging several homes; the IDF observes but does not intervene. (OCHA 2/24, 2/25; PCHR 2/26)

Palestinians detonate a roadside bomb nr. the Gaza border fence, sparking an exchange of gunfire with the IDF that leaves 2 armed Palestinians dead. In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units in a car with Palestinian license plates into Qabatya nr. Jenin to arrest a Palestinian; enters Bayt Umar village nr. Hebron to chase several stone-throwing youths, raiding 2 homes and a store, occupying rooftops, and firing on residential areas, wounding 1 Palestinian, arresting 2; fires live ammunition, rubbercoated steel bullets, tear gas at Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists taking part in a nonviolent demonstration against the separation wall in Ni‘lin (injuring 9); fires live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, percussion grenades at Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists, some of whom throw stones at IDF troops, taking part in a demonstration against the separation wall in Bil‘in (10s suffer tear gas inhalation); uproots 70 olive seedlings on a Palestinian plot nr. Efrat settlement nr. Bethlehem; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in al-Fara‘a r.c. nr. Tubas, nr. Bethlehem and Jenin. (OCHA 2/24, 2/25; PCHR 2/26)

After nearly 2 wks. of consultations with top 2/10/08 election vote-getters Tzipi Livni (Kadima) and Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud), Israeli pres. Shimon Peres taps Netanyahu to form a government. Netanyahu quickly opens coalition talks with various parties. (IFM 2/20; NYT, WP 2/21; WP 2/23; NYT 2/24)

In Gaza, UN and Hamas officials report the theft of a cache of IDF UXO fr. OCL that was being held at a storage site guarded by Hamas police; police say unknown individuals stole the explosives when police fled the site fearing an attack by IDF drones operating in the area; the UXO had been collected by Hamas police and turned over to the UN for safe disposal. IDF troops on the s. Gaza border fire on Palestinians and international activists working their land nr. the border fence, wounding 1 Palestinian farmer. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus, and nr. Hebron, Jenin, Salfit. Jewish settlers accompanied by IDF troops level land nr. Yatta village s. of Hebron for construction of a settler-only bypass road. (NYT, PCHR 2/19; OCHA 2/24; PCHR 2/26)

As the quarter opens, Israel’s near total blockade of Gaza enters its 21st month, since Hamas’s takeover of Gaza in 6/07. Israel continues to bar exports fr. Gaza, strictly limit imports, and ban all but VIPs and emergency medical cases fr. transiting the border. Imports include limited commodities and enough staple goods and fuel for electricity, emergency services, and cooking to preclude a humanitarian crisis, but are insufficient to meet daily needs, adequately maintain basic services, or repair the heavy damage fr. Israel’s 23-day assault on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead (OCL), which ended on 1/18/09. Today, Palestinians fire 2 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) respond with 2 air strikes on tunnels on the Rafah border, causing no injuries. In Bayt Lahiya, 1 Palestinian scavenging scrap metal is killed, 4 are injured when they accidentally trigger unexploded IDF ordnance (UXO). In the West Bank, the IDF bulldozes 20 olive trees on a plot of Palestinian land on the s. border of Ni‘lin, declaring it a closed military zone; conducts synchronized late-night arrest raids, house searches into Tulkarm, neighboring Nur Shams refugee camp (r.c.), and 5 nearby villages; conducts similar late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem, Hebron; closes a gate in the separation wall nr. Dahiyat al-Barid (located btwn. the separation wall and the Green Line nr. Jerusalem), forcing villagers to travel 1–2 hrs. through the Qalandia crossing to access the rest of the West Bank. The Israeli government authorizes the confiscation of 1,700 dunams (d.; 4 d. = 1 acre) of Palestinian land in the villages of al-Ma‘sara, Umm Salamuna, and Wadi al-Nas nr. Bethlehem for expansion of Efrat and Gush Etzion settlements (2,500 new housing units, increasing the settler population there fr. 9,000 to 30,000). (Mideast Mirror 2/16; NYT, WP 2/17; OCHA 2/18; PCHR 2/19; OCHA 2/24)

In Gaza, the IDF makes an air strike on a Hamas-affiliated police station in Khan Yunis, which has been bombed repeatedly, causing no reported injuries. Israel allows 94 truckloads of humanitarian aid and commercial goods into Gaza, as well a limited amount of fuel for Gaza’s power plant. In the West Bank, the IDF enters Jayyus in the afternoon, imposes a curfew; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Ramallah, and nr. Jenin, Salfit, Tulkarm. Palestinians in Yassuf village nr. Salfit report that over the past several days, Jewish settlers escorted by IDF troops have bulldozed at least 250 d. of village land and replanted 200 d. with their own crops. (PCHR 2/12, 2/19)

Palestinians fire 2 rockets into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF responds with 10 air strikes on tunnels on the Rafah border, also destroying an evacuated house and a farm, killing many animals. Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the Rafah coast, wounding 1 Palestinian. UNRWA halts aid transfers to Gaza, accusing Hamas of confiscating UN stocks for a 2d time, commandeering 10 truckloads of rice, flour. UN Secy. Gen. Ban Ki-moon warns Hamas that the suspension will remain in place until the stolen goods are returned and UNRWA is given credible assurances that thefts would not be repeated. Some Fatah-affiliated charities in Gaza also accuse Hamas of confiscating their supplies. Israel allows 82 truckloads of humanitarian aid and commercial goods into Gaza today. In the West Bank, the IDF fires live ammunition, tear gas to disperse Palestinians holding a nonviolent demonstration against OCL in Hebron, wounding 1 Palestinian; fires rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinian and international activists taking part in nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall in Jayyus (injuring 3 Palestinians); fires tear gas at a similar demonstration in al-Ma‘sara s. of Bethlehem (injuring 5 Palestinians); conducts latenight arrest raids, house searches in Bil‘in and nr. Jenin, Nablus; makes a late-night incursion into Dayr Abu Da’if nr. Jenin, rousts 3 shop owners fr. their homes and has them open their stores, photographing and confiscating some goods. Jewish settlers fr. Ramat Yishai in Hebron vandalize nearby Palestinian houses. Separately, the IDF tells Palestinians in the Ramat Yishai vicinity that they may not receive visitors to their homes without IDF permission. (MM, NYT, WP, YA 2/7; WP, WT 2/8; PCHR 2/12)

UNRWA accuses Hamas-affiliated police of raiding a UN compound in Shati’ r.c. on 2/3 and confiscating 400 food parcels and 3,500 blankets intended for the needy after UNRWA refused Hamas’s request to turn the aid over to Hamas-run Social Affairs Min. Meanwhile, Israel allows 101 truckloads of humanitarian aid and commercial goods into Gaza. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts early morning house searches in Hebron, photographing homes but making no arrests; bulldozes 90 d. of Palestinian land near 3 Jewish settlement and the separation wall w. of Qalqilya; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus, Tubas. In the East Jerusalem environs, Israeli authorities demolish 1 Palestinian home in Jabal al-Tur, 2 homes in Issawiyya as part of the project to link the E1 and Ma’ale Adumim settlement areas. (NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 2/5; PCHR 2/12)

Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the Rafah coast, causing no injuries. Palestinians fire a Grad rocket fr. Gaza into Israel (the 1st Grad fired since the end of OCL), causing damage in Ashqelon but no injuries. Hamas denies responsibility. Late in the evening, the IDF responds with air strikes on smuggling tunnels along the Rafah border and a Hamas outpost nr. Khan Yunis, causing no injuries. Israel allows 185 truckloads of goods (much of it seed and fodder), 15 tons of medicine and medical equipment into Gaza. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late night arrest raids, house searches in Bil‘in, nr. Salfit. In the East Jerusalem environs, Israeli authorities bulldoze a parking lot, fence, guard house of a Palestinian bus company in Abu al-Tur, a Palestinian fuel depot and tract of land at the entrance to al-Za‘im, and a Palestinian commercial building in Jabal al-Tur as part of Israel’s project to link the E1 and Ma’ale Adumim settlement areas. Jewish settlers and IDF troops bulldoze 50 d. of Palestinian agricultural land in Sa’ir village nr. Hebron; Palestinian residents attempt to block the Israelis, but troops fire in the air and troops and settlers beat back the Palestinians, injuring 6. (MM, NYT, WP 2/4; PCHR, WJW 2/5; JPI 2/13)

An IDF drone fires on a car e. of Rafah, assassinating PRC mbr. Ayman Shihada, wounding 2 teenagers nearby. Palestinians fire at least 2 mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Israel allows 180 truckloads of goods (much of it seed and fodder) and 10 tons of medicine and medical equipment into Gaza. In the West Bank, armed Palestinians fire on an IDF patrol nr. Beit Yatir settlement nr. Hebron from a moving vehicle, causing no reported injuries; the soldiers return fire on the car, killing 1 armed Palestinian. The IDF patrols in Bil‘in, fires on stone-throwing youths who confront them, wounding 1 teenager; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Jenin, nr. Bethlehem. In East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities demolish 2 Palestinian homes in Shu‘fat for being close to the separation wall. (MM 2/2; NYT, WP 2/3; PCHR 2/5)

The Gaza cease-fire holds, with no Israeli or Palestinian violence reported. Israeli officials say the IDF has accelerated its withdrawal fr. Gaza in hopes that it will be completed by the time U.S. pres.-elect Barack Obama is sworn in on 1/20. Across Gaza, some stores reopen, and traffic along the main north–south route (occupied by the IDF during the war) resumes, though observers say (WP 1/20) that “much of the main highway was nearly impassable from the dirt and debris plowed up by Israel’s military”; Hamas-led police provide traffic control in damaged areas and generally try to assert a presence. Israel allows a small group of foreign reporters into Gaza and permits them to interview Palestinians, but requires them to team report as a pool and runs their coverage through IDF censors, given the continued presence of Israeli soldiers in the field. Israel for the first time since 12/27 allows a few truckloads of commercial goods into Gaza in addition to humanitarian aid; in total, 208 truckloads are allowed entry. Rescue workers continue searching for survivors and uncovering bodies (at least 14 today), particularly in al-Zaytun. (AY, DUS, MM, YA 1/19; NYT, WP, WT 1/20; DUS, al-Hayat, JP, MM, QA 1/21; NYT, PCHR, UNICEF press release, WT 1/22; PCHR 1/29; AP 1/30; WT 2/4; WP 2/8; Electronic Intifada 2/24)

The IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Jenin, Nablus; issues military orders confiscating 3,000 dunams (d.; 4 d. = 1 acre) of land in Yatta s. of Hebron and 13 d. nr. Bethlehem for settlement expansion, and 500 d. of land in Abu Dis for construction of the separation wall around Jerusalem. A Jewish settler driving nr. Ramallah is shot, seriously wounded fr. a passing car. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces evict a family (18 mbrs.) and seal their home in Jabal al-Mukabir, where Israelis are expanding a Jewish settlement. (HA, NYT 1/20; MM 1/21; PCHR 1/22)

The 20th day of OCL is marked by serious diplomatic steps toward a cease-fire but also by Israel’s heaviest attacks on Gaza since operations began. Israel’s envoy receives the Egyptian-Hamas cease-fire offer in Cairo, returns to Israel to brief the security cabinet. Olmert dispatches Livni to Washington to finalize a bilateral “memorandum of understanding” (MOU) regarding U.S.-led international efforts to halt arms smuggling into Gaza.

Combat notes: The IDF sharply escalates air, naval, and ground attacks across Gaza. IDF ground forces push deep into Gaza City under cover of air strikes and heavy tank and artillery fire. Residents report almost constant air, naval, artillery bombardment from 1:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. local time, and particularly heavy ground engagements in al-Atatra n. of the city and Tal al-Hawa neighborhood on the southern outskirts, as well as in Jabaliya r.c. Thousands of Gaza City residents attempt to flee the fighting, but many cannot leave their homes because of the intensity of Israeli fire. During the operations, Israeli troops surround the home of Hamas’s Mahmud Zahhar (in hiding), killing his security guards. Gaza City fighting eases slightly in the afternoon, but IDF troops remain in the city overnight. The IDF also takes up new positions in Bayt Hanun’s alFarta and al-Nazzaza quarters under cover of heavy shelling and gunfire, ordering residents of the 2 areas (some 20 families) to evacuate.

The IDF reports carrying out more than 80 air strikes today, hitting at least 23 rocket and mortar launching sites, 19 groups of armed Palestinians, 6 suspected weapons depots (including 2 mosques in Gaza City, 1 in Rafah), 4 tunnels, 1 radio station in Gaza City. Air strike target areas include al-Atatra, Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (al-Rimal, al-Sabra, Tal al-Hawa, al-Yarmuk), Jabaliya, Khan Yunis, al-Maghazi r.c., Nussayrat r.c., Rafah, Yibna r.c. Heavy tank and artillery fire are reported in Abasan, Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (al-Sabra, Tal al-Hawa, al-Tuffah), Jabaliya, Khuza, al-Mughraqa, al-Nasser (n. of Rafah), Nussayrat r.c., al-Qarara, Rafah. UNRWA reports 100s of Palestinians fleeing areas of northeastern Rafah to escape heavy bombardments. Reports of Israel using white phosphorous munitions spike sharply, with confirmed use in 3 areas (Abasan, Khuza, al-Qarara) and suspected use in 5 areas (Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Khan Yunis, Nussayrat r.c.). Israeli naval bombardment concentrates on Khan Yunis and the neighboring al-Mahatin area. Closecombat fighting is reported around Jabaliya r.c.

In a major air strike on Jabaliya, the IDF assassinates Gaza’s acting Interior M Said Siyam in his brother’s home, along with his brother and nephew, Hamas internal security head for Gaza Salah Abu Sharah, 4 Palestinians in an adjacent home. In addition, IDF air strikes hit buildings in Gaza City housing UNRWA’s main food depot (3 white phosphorous missiles incinerate tons of food and medicine brought in during the humanitarian lulls); Palestinian Red Crescent Society offices and the adjacent al-Quds Hospital (both hit repeatedly over a 5-hr. period; the patient wing of the hospital is not targeted); and the shared media offices of Abu Dhabi TV, al-Arabiyya TV, Reuters, and the Russian TV channel Rusiya al-Yaum, causing serious damage and injuring 2 journalists. A number of other hospitals in Gaza City are damaged by Israeli mortar fire. Palestinian medical workers say the Palestinian toll is at least 1,090 dead (including 375 children, 150 women, 14 medical workers), more than 5,000 wounded.

Palestinians fire 15 rockets and 8 mortars into Israel, seriously injuring a 7-yr.-old Israeli boy in Beersheba and causing significant damage in 2 instances (both by Qassams in Sederot); at least 3 of the rockets are Grads (2 in and nr. Beersheba, 1 in Gadera).

The Palestinian toll is estimated to be at least 1,090 dead, more than 5,000 wounded.

Humanitarian notes: With diplomacy toward a cease-fire showing progress, Israel extends the daily humanitarian lull to 4 hrs./day, allowing in up to 170 truckloads of humanitarian aid; permits the Qarni crossing conveyor belt to resume operation for the 1st time since 12/27 for the import of grain. Israel also allows the ICRC and Palestinian Energy Authority to begin repairs to part of Gaza’s electricity network. (AFP, AP, HA, IDF, IFM, IHY, MM, RFM, UNOSAT, YA 1/15; HA, IDF Radio, JP, MA, MM, NYT, REU, Scotsman, WP, WT, XIN, YA 1/16; IFM, NYT, XIN 1/17; ITIC 1/19; PCHR 1/22, 1/29)

Citing unspecified security concerns, the IDF imposes a total closure on the West Bank through 1/17. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus. Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar attempt to close a road nr. Nablus to Palestinian traffic, stone Palestinian cars; the IDF forces them to leave. (IDF 1/15; PCHR 1/22)

The IDF significantly increases attacks on Gaza for the 2d straight day, as international mediation efforts led by Egypt to secure a cease-fire also intensify.

Combat notes: The IDF tightens the cordon around Gaza City (focusing attacks on the outlying neighborhoods of Shaykh Ajlin, Tal al-Hawa, and al-Zaytun and open areas n. of the city), with troops reportedly taking fire from Palestinian rocket-propelled grenade antitank missiles and mortars. The IDF also launches a major incursion into Jabaliya under heavy shelling, engaging in heavy exchanges of fire with Palestinian gunmen, killing at least 13. In s. Gaza, the IDF continues heavy attacks on Khuza, including air strikes, intense shelling, and widespread bulldozing of some 50 houses and farms; Israeli fire is so heavy and constant that residents report being unable to reach the injured or flee their homes to seek shelter outside the village; IDF troops pull back fr. Khuza after nightfall.

The IDF reports carrying out more than 160 air strikes across Gaza. Air strike target areas include Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, Gaza City (al-Sabra, Shaykh Ridwan, al-Zaytun), Jabaliya r.c., Khan Yunis, Khuza, Nussayrat r.c., Rafah, al-Shuka, Tal al-Za‘atar, and the Twam area. Israeli gunboats shell Nussayrat r.c. Heavy tank and artillery fire are reported nr. Bayt Lahiya (white phosphorous suspected) and in Dayr al-Balah, Jabaliya town, Khan Yunis (white phosphorous suspected), Khuza, Nussayrat r.c. (confirmed use of flechette shells). For a 2d day, nearly half of the air strikes take place after nightfall, targeting Gaza City. Palestinians report 12 hrs. of constant Israeli bombardment of the Rafah border, with the IDF claiming to destroy 90 smuggling tunnels. (The IDF also demolishes 1 tunnel on the Gaza–Israel border nr. the Nahal Oz crossing.) Specific targets include a Hamas police headquarters in Gaza City, 31 groups of armed men, 25 rocket-launching sites, and 13 suspected weapons manufacturing and storage facilities.

On the ground, the IDF reports a total of 6 soldiers wounded (2 moderately, 4 lightly) in 2 exchanges of gunfire with Palestinians. In a 3d incident, IDF reservists open fire on an IDF paratrooper unit, seriously wounding 1 and moderately wounding 3. Palestinians report around 70 Gazans killed today, putting the estimated Palestinian toll at 971 dead and 4,400 wounded. The Israeli toll stands at 13–14 dead, more than 125 injured. (Israeli military intelligence confirms that 1 soldier killed on 1/6 or 1/8 was targeted by a suicide bomber, stating that several Palestinian suicide bombers, including some women and some dressed as IDF soldiers, have approached combat units.)

Palestinians fire about 11 rockets and 6 mortars into Israel, causing no reported damage or injuries.

Humanitarian notes: The IDF observes another 3-hr. lull, allowing 102 truckloads of aid into Gaza. (The IDF states that 1,028 truckloads of humanitarian goods have been allowed into Gaza since 12/27.) During the lull the ICRC rescues 100 Palestinians trapped in Jabaliya. Heavy IDF attacks in Rafah force UNRWA to close a medical center just n. of the border to ensure the safety of patients and to open more shelters for displaced residents. Human Rights Watch calls Israel’s 3-hr./day breaks to facilitate humanitarian aid “woefully insufficient.” Other aid groups (including Doctors Without Borders, the ICRC, the UN) complain that they are still able to import and distribute only a fraction of the emergency supplies available for Gaza because of Israeli delays and restrictions. (BBC, HA, IDF, IFM, MA, MM, REU, YA 1/13; AYM, IDF, IFM, MM, NYT, WP, WT, YA 1/14; NYT, PCHR, WP, XIN 1/15; ITIC 1/19)

In the West Bank, IDF troops at the Tarqumiyya crossing nr. Hebron fatally shoot a Palestinian who allegedly attempts to grab the gun of a border patrol officer after being denied permission to cross the checkpoint. Late in the evening, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in Bayt Awa, Dura, and Kafr Khalil (all nr. Hebron). A Jewish settler driving nr. Azun village e. of Qalqilya opens fire on Palestinian youths who stone his car, killing 1 Palestinian teenager, wounding 2. (HA 1/13; PCHR 1/15)

A Jordanian soldier fires on an Israeli border patrol unit operating along the Negev border with Jordan n. of Elat. The border police return fire. No injuries are reported. (MM 1/13; WT 1/14; JPI 1/23)

Olmert’s security cabinet revives discussion of opening phase 3 of OCL (see 1/9), agreeing to make a final decision whether to expand or wind down operations within 2–3 days, by which time the IDF believes ground forces will have done all they can from the open and suburban areas they currently hold to weaken Hamas’s ability and desire to fire rockets.

Combat notes: The IDF significantly increases attacks, particularly around Gaza City, and continues to send troops into Gaza. Palestinians report (AYM 1/12) heavy clashes with the IDF n. of Bayt Lahiya, in Daraj and al-Shuja‘iyya neighborhoods on the eastern boundary of Gaza City, and in Dahadih and al-Zaytun to the south of the city. Overnight, the IDF also sends troops back into Khuza (see 1/11) under heavy artillery fire (possibly including white phosphorous), occupying a number of homes as staging posts and prompting 1,000s of residents to flee their homes.

The IDF reports carrying out more than 120 air strikes (half of them after nightfall, targeting Gaza City), uncovering 1 boobytrapped home and 2 booby-trapped tunnels. Targets include the PA Interior Min. offices in n. Gaza, more than 35 tunnels on the Rafah border, homes of Hamas leaders, at least 22 mortar and rocket launching sites, at least 26 groups of armed men, at least 10 “Hamas outposts,” 2 suspected weapons depots and manufacturing facilities, 2 mosques, 2 hotels. Air strike target areas include Bayt Lahiya, Gaza City (city center and Shaykh Ridwan, al-Sudaniyya, Tal al-Hawa, al-Zaytun), Jabaliya town, al-Maghazi r.c., Nussayrat, Rafah, al-Shabura r.c., al-Shuka, Tal al-Za‘atar, the Twam area (northern outskirts of Gaza City), Yibna r.c. IDF gunboats shell Nussayrat, Rafah, a fishing port w. of Rafah. Heavy tank and artillery fire are reported in Bayt Hanun, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (al-Shuja‘iyya, al-Zaytun), Jabaliya town, al-Mughraqa, Twam.

Israeli attacks are so intense that reliable updates on Palestinian casualty estimates are not possible. The IDF estimates killing at least 30 Palestinians in air strikes. UNRWA reports at least 19 Palestinian children killed and 52 children injured in nighttime operations (possibly overlapping with air strikes), 1 paramedic killed by tank fire in Jabaliya during the day. The IDF reports 8 soldiers wounded (1 severely, 1 moderately, 6 lightly) in various incidents, all after nightfall; 3 of the soldiers are injured when they trigger a setup in a booby-trapped house.

Palestinians fire 17 rockets and 7 mortars into Israel, with 1 rocket in Ashqelon and 1 in Sederot causing damage but no reported injuries.

Humanitarian notes: The IDF observes the daily 3-hr. humanitarian lull, allowing 120 trucks carrying humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. UNRWA estimates that internally displaced Gazans number now 90,000: 30,000 seeking shelter in UNRWA schools; 60,000 in the homes of friends and relatives. (AP, AYM, BBC, HA, IDF, IFM, JP, MA, MM, al-Ra’i, REU, RFM, WP, YA 1/12; HA, MM, NYT, REU, WP, WT, YA 1/13; AYM, HA, MM, NYT, WP, WT 1/14; PCHR 1/15; BBC, WJW 1/16; ITIC 1/19)

In the West Bank, unidentified armed Palestinians fire on an IDF patrol nr. Kiryat Arba settlement, wounding 3. In response, the IDF raids, searches Palestinian homes nr. Kiryat Arba, making no arrests. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron. (HA 1/13; PCHR 1/15)

The Israeli security cabinet reportedly begins internal debate on opening phase 3 of OCL, which would involve deep incursions into Gaza’s built-up areas to deal a crushing blow to Hamas. Israeli military and intelligence sources warn that the new goal would require deep, sustained incursions into Gaza’s densely populated areas, likely resulting in months of combat and heavy casualties.

Combat notes: Heavy IDF aerial, naval, and ground assaults across Gaza continue. The IDF reports carrying out more than 110 air strikes, in many cases to support troops battling on the ground. Targets include 20 “terror operatives” (possibly assassinations), more than a dozen rocket-launching sites and squads, more than 20 suspected weapons depots (including homes of 3 Hamas mbrs.) and other outposts, at least 10 homes and 1 apartment building, 2 tunnels on the Rafah border, a market in Bayt Lahiya, 1 ESF post in Gaza City, a mosque in Dayr al-Balah. Target areas include Abasan, Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr alBalah, Gaza City (city center and al-Nasser, Shaykh Ridwan), Jabaliya town and r.c., Khan Yunis, Khuza, Nussayrat, al-Qarara, Rafah, Shati’ r.c., open areas in central Gaza.

At least 1 air strike on a residential area e. of Jabaliya involves white phosphorous munitions that cause extensive fire damage to 4 homes. Another air strike hits the rooftop of a Gaza City building housing the offices of some 20 international press agencies, destroying broadcasting equipment and wounding 1 journalist.

IDF ground forces take up new positions in Juhur al-Dik and al-Mughraqa in c. Gaza, and al-Shuka in s. Gaza (bulldozing 13 homes). Heavy tank and artillery fire are reported in Bayt Lahiya, Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (al-Shuja‘iyya, alTuffah, al-Zaytun), Jabaliya. Heavy closequarter combat is reported in Gaza City and nr. Bayt Lahiya, with Palestinians firing antitank weapons and mortars and sniping at ground troops, moderately wounding 1 IDF soldier and lightly wounding 7.

Palestinians also fire 30 rockets and 1 mortar into Israel (including several Grads that hit Ashqelon), causing no reported damage or injuries.

At least 35 Palestinians are killed during the day, bringing the estimated Palestinian toll to around 795 dead and 3,300 wounded.

Humanitarian notes: The UN and other relief groups resume humanitarian aid transfers after receiving assurances fr. the Israeli government that they will not be targeted. During today’s 3-hr. humanitarian lull, Israel allows 41 trucks carrying food and medicine into the Strip. (Committee to Protect Journalists, Daily News, IDF, MA, MM, YA 1/9; IDF, NYT, WT, WP 1/10; NYT 1/11; PCHR 1/15)

Israel seals the West Bank through 1/10 citing unspecified security concerns. The IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, percussion grenades at Palestinians demonstrating against OCL after Friday prayers in Bayt Umar nr. Hebron (injuring 2), Hawara s. of Nablus, Hebron (injuring 4), Issawiyya, Ras al-Amud in East Jerusalem; also fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, percussion grenades at Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists attending weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall in Bil‘in (injuring 3 Palestinians, arresting 5), Jayyus (injuring 9, including 2 wounded by live ammunition, which is not used at the other rallies), Ni‘lin (injuring 5 Palestinians); conducts late-night house searches in Azmut nr. Nablus. Jewish settlers fr. Shilo nr. Ramallah beat and fire on 2 Palestinians collecting water at a well nr. the settlement, wounding 1. (IDF 1/9; PCHR 1/15)

International diplomacy to end OCL clicks into gear with France proposing that Israel and Hamas impose a 48-hr. humanitarian truce to try to defuse the violence and restore the Gaza cease-fire, with humanitarian groups, Egypt, the EU, the Quartet, and the U.S. opening mediation channels (see Quarterly Update). Israel’s security cabinet meets to discuss the French proposal but does not formally respond.

Israeli actions: The IDF conducts 70 air strikes on Gaza, while the Israeli navy continues shelling from the sea, killing at least 10 Palestinians and wounding 40, bringing the death toll to about 370. The IDF reports hitting 110 individual sites, with primary targets being tunnels on the Rafah border, suspected weapons factories and rocket-launching sites, civil and naval police stations, and groups of resistance mbrs. In Gaza City, at least 20 air strikes hit Haniyeh’s offices, PA Interior Min., and main PA government complex in Gaza City, all of which had been targeted previously; 1 air strike hits an ambulance, killing 1 paramedic, seriously wounding a doctor and the driver. Part of Gaza’s main power grid is also hit, cutting all power to Gaza City. A fuel depot in Rafah is destroyed. In al-Bureij r.c., a mosque and health clinic are hit. In Khan Yunis, a money exchange is destroyed. At least 7 homes across the Strip are targeted. Target locations include Abasan, Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City, Jabaliya town and r.c., Khan Yunis, al-Maghazi (c. Gaza), al-Mughraqa, al-Qarara, Rafah. The IDF launches a YouTube channel to broadcast declassified videos of its operations in Gaza, “other footage of interest to the international community” (JPI 1/8) and begins regular briefings for Internet bloggers worldwide.

Palestinian actions: Palestinians fire 41 rockets, 10 mortars into Israel, damaging 1 home in Sederot and causing several light injuries (excluding shock); 1 rocket lands in Beersheba, 25 mi. fr. the Gaza border, marking the farthest strike to date; 2 other long-range rockets land in Ashdod. Humanitarian notes: Israel allows 93 trucks into Gaza (50 carrying medical supplies and food donated by aid groups; 43 carrying commercial goods), but Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital says it is out of 150 kinds of medicine and 230 other medical supplies, including gloves, scissors, sterilization equipment, nitrogen for anesthesia. Fuel shipments are still cut off; Gaza’s power plant shuts down for lack of fuel. (BBC, HA, Independent 12/30; IDF, IFM, NYT, REU, UNOSAT, WP, WT 12/31; JP, PCHR 1/1; ITV 1/2; IDF 1/3; WP 1/4; IFM 1/8; NYT 1/13)

In the West Bank, a Palestinian worker in Mod’in Ilit settlement, angry over Israel’s war on Gaza, stabs, wounds 4 Jewish settlers before being shot and wounded by a paramedic who arrives on the scene. The IDF fires live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, percussion grenades, tear gas at Palestinians demonstrating against OCL in al-Fawar r.c. nr. Hebron, wounding 3 (including teenagers ages 13, 14); makes simultaneous afternoon incursions into Beita and Hawara villages nr. Nablus, imposing curfews through 12/31; conducts simultaneous late-night raids, house searches on 4 villages nr. Jenin, firing on residential areas in all cases, causing no injuries and arresting only 1 teenager; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Abu Dis and Jalazun r.c. nr. Ramallah, and nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarm. (PCHR, WJW 1/1)

As massive Israeli strikes on Gaza enter a 2d day, IDF Southern Command head Maj. Gen. Yo’av Galant says (HA 12/28) that the IDF aims to “send Gaza decades into the past” in terms of Hamas’s leadership, weaponry, and smuggling capabilities while achieving “the maximum number of enemy casualties.” Israel’s security cabinet authorizes the IDF to call up 6,500 reservists, and the IDF begins massing tanks and troops on Gaza’s border, indicating planning for a ground incursion. Israel’s Homefront Command orders 80 factories and businesses within 3 mi. of the Gaza border to close indefinitely for their safety (a move expected [WJW 1/1] to cost Israel’s economy $1 m./day), indicating concerns of increased Palestinian rocket fire once ground operations begin. Israeli Military Intelligence breaks into Palestinian radio broadcasts to warn Gazans against cooperating with Hamas. The IDF drops 300,000 leaflets across Gaza warning residents to evacuate areas where Hamas is operating or storing weapons or to remain at their own risk. The Israeli FMin. opens an international media broadcast outlet in Sederot (a main target of Palestinian rockets), begins tours of Sederot and other Gaza border communities for foreign media, diplomats, and VIPs. (Israel continues to prevent the foreign media fr. entering Gaza.)

Israeli actions: The IDF reports air and naval bombardment of 100 sites across Gaza, bringing the number of targets destroyed since operations began to more than 210. The 2-day Palestinian toll rises to an estimated 300 dead (including at least 22 children, 9 women, 60 other civilians) and 1,300 injured (including at least 235 children and 200 women). Target areas include Abasan, Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, Bani Suhayla (s. Gaza), Bir al-Naja (n. Gaza), Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (city center, al-Rimal, Shaykh Ridwan, Shati’ r.c., al-Shuja‘iyya, Tal al-Hawa, al-Zaytun), Jabaliya town and r.c., Khan Yunis, Khuza (east of Khan Yunis), Nussayrat r.c., al-Qarara (s. Gaza), Rafah, Shati’ r.c., and Tal al-Za‘atar (nr. Jabaliya).

The IDF’s primary targets are around 40 tunnels along the Rafah border, hit with GBU-39s. Other major targets include several buildings at Islamic University (including a science building Israel claims was connected to rocket manufacturing); Gaza City’s PA ministry compound, the offices of acting PM Ismail Haniyeh, and the main police station (destroying the Saraya; allowing about 50 Fatah prisoners to escape, but killing at least 4); Rafah’s main PASF, governorate, and municipal complexes; more civil and naval police stations, metal workshops believed to make rockets; the Gaza City and Rafah ports; at least 3 mosques (Imad ‘Akel Mosque in Jabaliya r.c., Izzeddin al-Qassam Mosque in Abasan, al-Rimal Mosque in Gaza City) alleged to be weapons depots; a Palestinian Energy Authority building in Khan Yunis; a private medical warehouse; and at least 8 homes and 3 apartment buildings.

Palestinian actions: Palestinians fire 17 rockets, 18 mortars into Israel, injuring at least 6 Israeli civilians (including cases of shock). The rockets include 1 manufactured Grad/Katyusha that lands in Gan Yavne 20 mi. inside Israel, outside Ashdod, the farthest to date. In the evening, 100s of Palestinians attempt to flee Gaza through small breaches in the border wall apparently caused by IDF air strikes; they are sent back by Egyptian security forces, who exchange fire with the crowd, leaving at least 1 Palestinian, 1 Egyptian border policeman dead, 4 Palestinians, 5 Egyptian border policemen, an 8-yr.-old Egyptian child wounded.

Humanitarian notes: Israel allows the entry to Gaza of 100 truckloads of food and medical aid, 10 ambulances, and fuel for hospitals, donated by Jordan, Turkey, and international aid organizations. The shipments include 4 truckloads of pharmaceuticals from the PA central pharmacy in Ramallah (the 2d PA delivery since the PA had blocked the shipments of medicine to Gaza in early 9/08; see 12/16), transferred by the PA at UNRWA request. Humanitarian groups, however, continue to warn of deteriorating medical conditions and lack of food in Gaza and urge Israel to allow unrestricted entry of aid. OCHA reports power outages of up to 16 hrs./day in Gaza City, n. Gaza, and c. Gaza; says all flour mills have shut down for lack of grain imports, threatening widespread bread shortages. (AFP, AP, BBC, HA, IDF, IFM, JAZ, OCHA, REU 12/28; IDF, JP, al-Masryun[Egypt], NYT, SFR, WP, WT 12/29; BBC, Defense Update [online], Global Research [online], WP 12/30; REU, UNOSAT 12/31; JP, PCHR, WJW, WP 1/1; IDF, NYT 1/3; WP 1/4; IFM 1/8; WP 1/10)

Across the West Bank, Palestinians protest against OCL, clashing with the IDF at numerous points (Abu Dis, Issawiyya, and al-Ram nr. Jerusalem; Bani Na‘im nr. Hebron; Ni‘lin and Silwad nr. Ramallah), leaving 3 Palestinians dead, 31 Palestinians, 1 IDF soldier, 1 Israeli child injured. In at least one instance, PASF breaks up one protest by 100s of Palestinians in Ramallah when demonstrators unfurl Hamas banners; the PASF reportedly (NYT 1/3) has been ordered to prevent any popular displays of support for Hamas. The IDF conducts daytime house searches nr. Jenin, making no arrests; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Bil‘in and nr. Hebron, Nablus. Palestinians stone a Jewish settler vehicle nr. Hebron, lightly injuring an 8-yr.-old girl. (PCHR, WJW 1/1)

The IDF conducts synchronized, latenight arrest raids, house searches in 3 villages nr. Bethlehem; conducts additional late-night arrest raids, house searches in Balata r.c., Nablus. Jewish settlers in Hebron vandalize nearby Palestinian homes; the IDF fires on Palestinians who defend their properties, seriously wounding a 14-yr.-old boy with a gunshot to the head. In Gaza, an estimated 300,000 Hamas supporters attend a rally in Gaza City celebrating Hamas’s 21st anniversary. From Damascus, Hamas leader Khalid Mishal says that the movement will not renew the 6-mo. Gaza cease-fire when it expires on 12/19. Later, however, Hamas’s Gaza leadership says that it is willing to consider an extension; meets with reps. of other factions to discuss extending the truce. (NYT, WP 12/15; PCHR 12/18)

The IDF conducts midday patrols inside Salfit, firing rubber-coated steel bullets at stone-throwing Palestinian youths who confront them, causing no reported injuries; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin; fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, percussion grenades at Palestinian, Israeli, international peace activists taking part in nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall in Bil‘in (injuring 2 Palestinians, including an 8-yr.-old child) and Ni‘lin (injuring 5 Palestinians). Overnight and into the morning, Jewish settlers in Hebron vandalize Palestinian homes, attempt to occupy 1. (PCHR 12/18)

Israel agrees to transfer $25 m. in shekels to Gaza, an amount less than what the PA needs to pay its Gaza salaries, meaning banks are unlikely to reopen, still fearing a run on cash. In the West Bank, the IDF sends troops into Marda village nr. Nablus in the afternoon, arresting 2 Palestinians; returns to Marda late in the evening to search several homes, arresting 5 Palestinians; conducts additional late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Jenin town and r.c. Jewish settlers fr. Shavei Shomron settlement nr. Nablus enter nearby Sebastia village, fire on residential areas (causing damage but no injuries), leave when the IDF arrives. (WP 12/11; PCHR 12/18)

The IDF conducts late-night house searches nr. Salfit. In keeping with Olmert’s 12/6 call, the IDF clamps down on Jewish settlers in Hebron, preventing them from continuing attacks on Palestinian areas. (PCHR 12/18)

The IDF raids, searches a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem’s Ras al-Amud neighborhood, confiscating a computer and arresting a 21-yr.-old woman. Major Jewish settler violence in Palestinian areas of Hebron takes place for a 10th day, with settlers setting fire to 1 Palestinian home, vandalizing a number of homes and water tanks, attacking Palestinians. At the weekly cabinet session, acting Israeli PM Ehud Olmert calls the settler attacks a “pogrom” against Palestinians, orders Israeli police to end their “intolerable leniency” toward violent settlers. (BBC 12/7; WP 12/8; PCHR 12/18)

Late in the evening, the IDF makes an air strike on a group of Palestinian resistance mbrs. nr. Gaza’s Jabaliya r.c., wounding 1. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts latenight arrest raids, house searches in Jenin town and r.c.; fires rubber-coated steel bullets, percussion grenades at Palestinian, Israeli, international peace activists taking part in nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall in Bil‘in (injuring 2 Palestinians, including a 10-yr.-old child). In Hebron, Jewish settlers rampage through Palestinian areas for a 9th day, burning 1 home and several gardens, shooting and wounding 1 Palestinian; the IDF occupies 9 Palestinian homes as operational bases, but apparently does not intervene. Jewish settlers fr. Avnei Hefetz nr. Tulkarm uproot 80 Palestinian olive trees, damage an irrigation network, fortify an existing unmanned IDF barrier outside Shu‘fat village. Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar block nearby Palestinian roads, stone Palestinian cars. Jewish settlers fr. Ma’ale Levona nr. Ramallah close a secondary Ramallah–Nablus road to Palestinian traffic, stoning Palestinian cars, causing one to flip over, injuring 2 Palestinians. (PCHR 12/18)

OCHA urgently appeals to Israel to expand “the list of imports into Gaza . . . to include vital spare parts for maintenance and operation of the power plant, water and sanitation utilities, and other critical infrastructure and basic services for the civilian population” so as to prevent further deterioration of humanitarian conditions in Gaza. Gaza banks close, fearing runs on cash. (Israel has again barred entry of cash to the Strip; see 11/24.) The Israeli government informs the High Court that it will lift a month-old ban on allowing journalists into Gaza, but takes no steps to do so. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night house searches nr. Nablus. Some 600 Israeli police and soldiers use rubber batons, percussion grenades, tear gas to evict 200 Jewish settlers fr. Beit Shalom, leaving 30 settlers and 3 soldiers injured, sparking settler violence against Palestinians across the West Bank. In Hebron, settlers rampage through Palestinian areas, burn 5 homes, set fires to olive groves, write racist graffitti, seriously damage other homes, cars, and cemeteries; at least 16 Palestinians are injured, including 2 who are shot and seriously wounded by a settler. During the rampage, the IDF declares the area a closed military zone, bars access to firemen and ambulances (settlers attack one fire engine), and takes no steps to halt settler rioting. Jewish settlers fr. Eli and Shilo settlements nr. Ramallah block the main Ramallah– Nablus road to Palestinian traffic, stone Palestinian cars; the IDF observes but does not intervene. Other Jewish settlers break car windows, write anti-Muslim graffiti on Palestinian homes in several villages e. of Qalqilya. (OCHA 12/4; NYT, WP, WT 12/5; WP 12/8; PCHR 12/18)

In Gaza, OCHA reports that since 11/27, Israel has increased from 5 to 11 the number of truckloads of humanitarian aid allowed entry to Gaza per day. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Ramallah. The IDF also demolishes an addition to a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem. For a 7th day, 100s of Jewish settlers riot in Hebron, setting fire to Palestinian stores, beating Palestinians, vandalizing homes; the IDF bars journalists, human rights activists fr. entering the area. Jewish settlers uproot 5 Palestinian olive trees nr. Ramallah. (OCHA 12/3; PCHR 12/4; PCHR 12/18)

Hamas mbrs. fire 8 mortars fr. Gaza toward Israel, 6 of which land inside Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In response, the IDF makes an air strike on 1 mortar-launching site, killing 2 Palestinian teenagers nearby, wounding 2 children. OCHA reports that in addition to mortar fire, Palestinians have fired 6 rockets fr. Gaza toward Israel between 11/27 and 12/2, causing no injuries. Israeli border police arrest Israeli reporter Amira Hass as she leaves Gaza through the Erez crossing, charging her with violating the government ban on Israelis entering Gaza. Hass, who entered Gaza on 10/29 on a boat carrying solidarity activists (see Chronology in JPS 150), was then expelled by Hamas officials who disapproved of her coverage of events in the Strip; she is released pending a hearing. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts latenight arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem, Jenin. For a 6th straight day, 100s of Jewish settlers riot in Hebron to protest the orders to evacuate Beit Shalom, attacking Palestinians on the street, vandalizing Palestinian homes, damaging cars, and harassing IDF troops; the IDF fires tear gas, percussion grenades at Palestinians who attempt to stop the settlers, injuring 3. In 2 other West Bank locations, Jewish settlers protesting the planned eviction set fire to Palestinian stocks of animal feed, slash tires. (HA 12/2; NYT, WP, WT 12/3; WT, PCHR 12/4)

IDF troops along the s. Gaza border e. of Khan Yunis fire on a group of armed Palestinians inside Gaza, causing no injuries; troops then cross into Gaza, exchange fire with armed Palestinians, wounding 4. PRC mbrs. then fire 11 mortars fr. Gaza toward the IDF military post at Nahal Oz crossing; 3 mortars hit the base, wounding 6 IDF soldiers, 1 critically. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts an evening raid on an Internet cafe nr. Jenin, checking IDs and searching ´ the premises but making no arrests; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Jerusalem, Qalqilya, Tulkarm; conducts synchronized, late-night house searches in Tubas and neighboring al-Fara‘ r.c., and in 8 villages s. of Jenin, making no arrests; fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, percussion grenades at Palestinian, Israeli, international peace activists taking part in nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall in Bil‘in (injuring 1 Japanese activist), Jayyus nr. Qalqilya (injuring 2 Palestinians), and Ni‘lin (injuring 2 Danish activists, 1 Palestinian teenager). Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba and Beit Shalom attack Palestinians, vandalize property in nearby Palestinian areas, seriously injuring 4 Palestinians, including a 6-yr.-old boy. Later, IDF troops close the area, take up positions on surrounding rooftops, escort 5 busloads of settlers from other parts of the West Bank into the area to “defend” the illegal Beit Shalom outpost. In the evening, the settlers rampage through Palestinian areas, burning cars, slashing tires, breaking windows of cars and homes, destroying water tanks; the IDF does not intervene. (NYT 11/29; OCHA 12/3; PCHR 12/4)

Israel allows entry to Gaza of 18 tons of chlorine to disinfect drinking water, an amount sufficient to purify Gaza’s water supply for 8 days; Gaza’s water authority had requested 220 tons. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts synchronized, late-night house searches on several villages nr. Jenin (no arrests are reported). As rumors spread that the IDF is preparing to evict settlers fr. Beit Shalom, Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba and Beit Shalom carry out a series of attacks on nearby Palestinian neighborhoods, vandalizing homes, attacking 2 funeral processions, moderately injuring 2 Palestinians; the IDF observes but does not intervene. (OCHA 11/27; OCHA 12/3; PCHR 12/4)

In Gaza, Palestinian workers replace the Gaza power plant’s damaged batteries with modified car batteries, allowing the plant to resume operation (see 11/24). In the West Bank, the IDF fires on Palestinians protesting outside Qalandia r.c. against recent IDF arrests there, seriously wounding 1 teenager; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Nablus and Balata r.c., in and around Tulkarm r.c., and in villages around Hebron, Nablus, and Ramallah (raids within each area are synchronized). Jewish settlers vandalize a Palestinian ambulance nr. Salfit. Jewish settlers fr. Beit Shalom and Kiryat Arba attack a 61-yr.-old Palestinian woman, vandalize several homes; the IDF observes but does not intervene. (OCHA 11/26; PCHR, WT 11/27; PCHR 12/4)

Israel allows 32 truckloads of humanitarian aid, limited fuel imports, and some currency imports into Gaza but maintains a ban on foreign journalists (ban now in place for more than 2 wks.). The Foreign Press Association appeals to Israel’s High Court to overturn the ban. Despite receiving fuel, Gaza’s power plant cannot resume operation, because its turbine batteries have died from prolonged lack of use and Israel continues to bar the import of maintenance equipment. Palestinians fire 1 rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes a Palestinian home in Azariyya; patrols in, fires on residential areas of Jenin town and r.c., causing no injuries; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches, ID checks in Qalandia r.c. nr. Ramallah. Jewish settlers fr. Beit Shalom vandalize, heavily damage at least 5 Palestinian cars. The Israeli government reaches a deal with the 45 Jewish settler families in the unauthorized outpost of Migron (among the largest unauthorized outposts) near Hebron to relocate closer to the existing authorized Jewish settlement of Adam; the families will be permitted to stay in Migron until new housing is constructed, a process expected to take years. (WP 11/25; OCHA 11/26; PCHR 11/27)

In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubbercoated steel bullets, tear gas, percussion grenades at Palestinians holding a nonviolent protest against settlements at the evacuated settlement site of Homesh nr. Jenin (wounding 5); conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus, and nr. Bethlehem, Hebron; fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, percussion grenades at Palestinian, Israeli, international peace activists taking part in nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall in Bil‘in (10s suffer tear gas inhalation), Jayyus nr. Qalqilya (10s suffer tear gas inhalation; a Palestinian Council mbr. and PLO Exec. Comm. mbr. are detained for questioning), and Ni‘lin (injuring 1). In East Jerusalem, Israeli police raid and halt a cultural event at a theater in the city organized by the Jerusalemite Youth Parliament and several local NGOs and schools, stating that it was a political event connected to the Palestinian Authority (PA), which the organizers deny. (PCHR 11/27)