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  • November 25, 2012

    UK foreign secretary William Hague urges the U.S. to take a ‘‘decisive lead’’ in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts in coming months, adding that ‘‘we’re coming to the final chance, maybe, for a...

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  • November 14, 2012

    The IDF assassinates Hamas commander Ahmad Jabari and his bodyguard and separately kills 7 other Palestinians in a number of air strikes on military and civilian targets across the Gaza Strip,...

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  • November 8, 2012

    PA pres. Abbas circulates a draft resolution to UN member states, ahead of an expected vote later in the month on upgrading the Palestinian status to that of non-member observer state. The draft...

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  • November 2, 2012

    Fatah expresses opposition to a proposal presented to the PLO leadership the previous week by PM Salam Fayyad to form a more inclusive factional government, but says it would consider the plan...

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  • November 1, 2012

    PA res. Abbas gives an interview to Israeli television in which he says there will be no 3d intifada and that he will not seek a return to inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders. His comments are...

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  • October 30, 2012

    A PLO official tells Reuters that they expect at least 12 ‘‘yes’’ votes from EU mbr. states at the UNGA vote in 11/2012 for recognition as a non-member state. (REU 10/30)

    Israeli DM Barak...

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  • October 3, 2012

    The Jerusalem Post reports that PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erakat met with EU mission heads in Jerusalem last month to ask for help in drafting the resolution for the UNGA on the Palestinian non-...

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  • October 1, 2012

    PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erakat reveals that the PA is in consultations with Arab countries and others over the text of a draft resolution requesting the UNGA accept Palestine as a non-member...

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  • September 28, 2012

    PLO Executive Comm. mbr. Hanan Ashrawi said that a UNGA vote on Palestinian statehood would likely be held on 11/29/12, the 65th anniversary of the UN partition plan for Palestine, and not...

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  • September 20, 2012

    In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Qalqilya, 1 village nr. Jenin, and 2 villages nr. Tulkarm (firing tear gas in 1 of them at...

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  • August 13, 2012

    In East Jerusalem, PLO Exec. Comm. mbr. Hanan Ashrawi addresses diplomats from Asia, the EU, Latin America, and the Middle East, calling on them to increase donor aid to the PA and to support a...

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  • June 26, 2012

    Russian pres. Putin meets with PA pres. Abbas in Ramallah and tours holy sites in Bethlehem. Putin calls the Palestinian conditions on resuming negotiations with Israel ‘‘responsible’’ and...

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  • February 6, 2012

    Fatah PA pres. Abbas and Hamas leader Mishal end 2 days of talks in Qatar on forming by Fatah-Hamas consensus a transitional government of independent technocrats with a limited mandate to take...

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  • December 22, 2011

    The IDF makes a brief incursion into n. Gaza in the morning to level lands and clear lines of sight along the border e. of Jabaliya r.c., firing on nearby residential areas to keep Palestinians...

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  • November 28, 2011

    Israeli PM Netanyahu says that since the 11/24 Abbas-Mishal meeting seemed more symbolic than substantive and the PLO/PA has not made moves since the 11/1/11 UNESCO vote to gain membership in...

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  • September 29, 2011

    After meeting with the PLO Exec. Comm. in Ramallah, Abbas says that the 9/23 Quartet proposal for resuming talks has “encouraging elements,” but can only be viable if Israel “clearly commits” to...

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  • June 26, 2011

    The PLO and Fatah leaderships meet jointly in Ramallah and formally agree “to approach the UN this coming September to obtain recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders and...

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  • March 27, 2011

    Overnight, an IDF drone makes an air strike on a car in n. Gaza allegedly heading to launch a missile fr. Gaza into Israel, killing 2 Islamic Jihad mbrs., wounding a 3d. A 2d air strike targets a...

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  • March 15, 2011

    Uruguay recognizes an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 lines. (XIN 3/16)

    Egypt completes repairs to its natural gas pipeline damaged during the 2/2011 Egyptian unrest (see...

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  • March 2, 2011

    An anonymous Israeli official says that Israel has been discussing with the U.S. a unilateral “phased approach to reaching a final status accord” in absence of negotiations with the Palestinians....

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  • February 17, 2011

    Overnight, IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire on and shell a group of Palestinians nr. the n. Gaza border fence, killing 3 Palestinians; Palestinians say the 3 were unarmed men attempting to...

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  • February 12, 2011

    The PLO Exec. Comm. says it plans to hold Palestinian legislative and presidential elections by 9/2011. Hamas says it will not participate in local or national elections, saying a national unity...

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  • January 23, 2011

    Al-Jazeera and Britain’s Guardian newspaper release a set of documents written by Palestinian officials (the “Palestine Papers”) that they claim constitutes “the confidential record of 10 years of...

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  • December 15, 2010

    The Arab League says it will support the 12/12 Palestinian decision to suspend direct and indirect negotiations with Israel until the U.S. offers a serious proposal to advance peace. (WP 12/16)...

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  • December 12, 2010

    Abbas convenes the PLO Exec. Comm. and Fatah Central Comm. to discuss Clinton’s 12/10 statements. The leadership says it opposes any negotiations with Israel, direct or indirect, in the absence of...

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  • October 11, 2010

    In his first statement since the 10/8 Arab League decision, Netanyahu, at the opening of the fall session of the Knesset, publicly offers a “limited” extension of its partial settlement freeze if...

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  • October 2, 2010

    Abbas convenes the PLO Exec. Comm. along with the Fatah Central Comm. in Ramallah to discuss the lapsed settlement freeze, issuing a statement afterward that the Palestinian leadership is in...

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  • September 26, 2010

    U.S. officials spend the day trying to broker a compromise with Israel that will guarantee that direct talks will continue. Despite U.S. appeals, Netanyahu allows the freeze to expire at midnight...

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  • July 29, 2010

    Arab League FMs meet in Cairo to debate whether to endorse a Palestinian move to direct talks with Israel, as strongly urged by the U.S. despite unresolved Palestinian concerns. The FMs ultimately...

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  • July 6, 2010

    Obama receives Netanyahu at the White House for their 5th mtg. in what is billed as a “make-up visit,” with the primary aim to give a public show of unity. Obama pointedly dismisses any notion of...

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UK foreign secretary William Hague urges the U.S. to take a ‘‘decisive lead’’ in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts in coming months, adding that ‘‘we’re coming to the final chance, maybe, for a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be successfully resolved.’’ (BBC 11/25)

Fatah Central Comm. mbr. Nabil Shaath announces that the PA will release Hamas-affiliated detainees as a gesture to boost reconciliation efforts. Hamas officials say they will move to release Fatah prisoners in the Gaza Strip. The leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine Saleh Zeidan reports that Pres. Mahmud Abbas will call a meeting of the PLO Reform Comm. in Cairo after returning from the UN to revive talks of expanding the PLO to include Hamas and Islamic Jihad as part of a national reconciliation deal. Meanwhile, Hamas officials in Gaza announce plans for Hamas leader Khalid Mishal to visit the Gaza Strip for the 1st time on 12/5, timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Hamas’s founding. (MNA, HA 11/25)

Israel successfully tests its David’s Sling missile defense system, designed to shoot down midrange missiles. Development of David’s Sling, like the Iron Dome long-range missile defense system, has been largely funded by the U.S. (AP 11/25)

In the Gaza Strip, the IDF opens fire on farmers nr. Bayt Hanun in the morning and again in the afternoon, causing no injuries. The IDF also opens fire on Palestinians nr. Khan Yunis, lightly wounding 1 man. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Tulkarm in the morning and 5 villages nr. Hebron, 2 villages nr. Jenin, and 1 village each nr. Qalqilya and Tulkarm at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in Nablus, Tulkarm, 1 village nr. Salfit, 1 village nr. Tubas, and 2 villages nr. Qalqilya at night. Suspected right-wing Jewish extremists vandalize 8 cars in the Palestinian neighborhood of Shu‘fat in occupied East Jerusalem in a ‘‘price-tag’’ attack. (HA, MNA 11/25; PCHR 11/29)

Turkish FM Ahmet Davutog˘lu tells CNN that Turkey will not make any concessions in order to resolve the diplomatic crisis with Israel, following reports (11/23) of an informal meeting in Geneva. (HA 11/25)

Gunfire coming from inside Syria hits an Israeli military vehicle in the occupied Golan Heights, causing no injuries. Israel lodges a complaint with the UN in response. (REU 11/25)

The IDF assassinates Hamas commander Ahmad Jabari and his bodyguard and separately kills 7 other Palestinians in a number of air strikes on military and civilian targets across the Gaza Strip, leaving around 90 wounded. The dead include 2 children and an elderly man. Code-named Operation Pillar of Cloud in Hebrew (a Torah reference) and renamed Operation Pillar of Defense for foreign audiences, the Israeli military attacks are described as the ‘‘beginning’’ of an effort to increase deterrence and remove Hamas’s rocketlaunching capabilities. The IQB warns that Israel has ‘‘opened the gates of hell’’ with Jabari’s assassination, and fires dozens of rockets and mortars into Israel. They are joined by the DFLP, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, and PRCs, all of whom claim responsibility for rocket and mortar fire. In total, over 90 projectiles hit Israel from the Gaza Strip, causing 4 injuries. The Iron Dome rocket-defense system intercepts 30 rockets. Overnight, the IDF undertakes air strikes on around 100 sites across the Gaza Strip. U.S. pres. Obama calls Israel PM Netanyahu to express his support for Israel’s military operation and the country’s right to selfdefense. Obama also calls Egyptian pres. Mohamed Morsi to stress the importance of de-escalation and to pledge to stay in close touch. Egypt strongly condemns Israel’s military assault, and UN secy.-gen. Ban Ki-moon calls for a cease-fire. The UNSC holds an emergency meeting but takes no action. (Guardian, REU 11/14; JP, MNA 11/15)

Unidentified assailants fire 4 rockets from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula into Israel, landing nr. an agricultural community and causing no injuries. (HA 11/14)

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Jericho in the morning, in 1 village nr. Salfit in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Jericho and 1 village nr. Ramallah at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in Balata r.c. and 1 village nr. Hebron at night. Palestinians across the West Bank demonstrate to mark the day before the 24th anniversary of the PLO’s declaration of independence, blocking roads nr. Bethlehem, Jericho, and Ramallah, and clashing with soldiers at checkpoints in Atara (nr. Ramallah) and Bethlehem. (AFP, PCHR 11/14)

Israeli DM Barak says that almost all the villages nr. the border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights are now controlled by the Syrian opposition. (AP 11/14)

On a 2d day of violent protests in Jordan against price hikes and in general opposition to King Abdullah’s regime, unidentified gunmen attack 2 police stations, and ensuing clashes leave 1 protester dead—the 1st fatality in Jordanian demonstrations in 2012. (AP 11/15)

PA pres. Abbas circulates a draft resolution to UN member states, ahead of an expected vote later in the month on upgrading the Palestinian status to that of non-member observer state. The draft text includes the Palestinian commitment to the two-state solution. An anonymous Palestinian official says that Arab League foreign ministers will discuss the draft and the timing of the vote in a meeting in Cairo on 11/12–13. Israeli FM Lieberman warns of ‘‘far-reaching implications’’ to the UN bid, but Palestinian officials respond with their own threats, such as cancelling the 1994 Paris Protocol, should Israel impose sanctions on the PA after the vote. In meetings with Quartet envoy Tony Blair and the U.S. and French consuls, PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erakat says the UN bid does not contradict the two-state solution. (AP, REU 11/8; JP, MNA 11/9)

The IDF makes a brief incursion into the Gaza Strip nr. Khan Yunis, where troops are engaged by armed PRC mbrs.; the IDF fatally shoots a Palestinian boy during the gun battle. In response, IQB mbrs. detonate a bomb near the border fence, damaging an IDF jeep and wounding 1 soldier. In the West Bank, the IDF uproots trees on land belonging to Nahalin village nr. Bethlehem; patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah, 2 villages nr. Qalqilya, and 4 villages nr. Jenin in the morning; patrols in 1 village nr. Qalqilya, 1 nr. Jenin, and 1 nr. Ramallah (firing rubber bullets and tear gas at stone-throwing Palestinians) at night; conducts late-night house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Ramallah. (MNA, REU, YA 11/8; MNA 11/9; PCHR 11/14)

Three mortar shells fired from inside Syria land inside the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, causing no injuries. (HA 11/8)

Fatah expresses opposition to a proposal presented to the PLO leadership the previous week by PM Salam Fayyad to form a more inclusive factional government, but says it would consider the plan after the UN bid. Meanwhile, Hamas says that the PA security agencies arrested 2 of its leaders and summoned 3 others for questioning. Islamic Jihad say that PA preventive security arrested 1 of its leaders from Qabatiya village. (MNA 3/11; PNN 11/2)

Suspected Jewish settlers vandalize property in a Palestinian village nr. Ramallah with ‘‘price tag’’–related slogans. (ToI 3/11)

The IDF shells an area nr. al-Bureij r.c. in the Gaza Strip in the morning, seriously wounding 1 Palestinian. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning, in Tulkarm in the afternoon, and in 1 village nr. Ramallah at night. (MNA 11/2; PCHR 11/8)

PA res. Abbas gives an interview to Israeli television in which he says there will be no 3d intifada and that he will not seek a return to inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders. His comments are welcomed by Israeli pres. Shimon Peres but criticized by both Israeli PM Netanyahu (who states that Abbas’s words do not match his actions) and by Gaza Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who calls the remarks ‘‘dangerous.’’ Abbas later clarifies through an adviser that he was not giving up the Palestinian refugees’ right of return, but was being ‘‘realistic.’’ (HA 11/1; AP 11/2; HA, WAFA 11/3)

PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erakat warns that the U.S. and Israel may impose economic restrictions on the PA after a successful upgrade at the UNGA in 11/2012. (JP 11/1)

In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes 2 structures in a settler outpost nr. Yitzhar settlement and claims that that Jewish settlers attacked them with stones. The IDF also patrols in 7 villages nr. Jenin in the morning, in Tulkarm in the afternoon, and in 1 village each nr. Jenin, Jericho, and Ramallah at night; conducts late-night house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Hebron and 1 nr. Qalqilya. (PCHR 11/8; JP 11/1)

A PLO official tells Reuters that they expect at least 12 ‘‘yes’’ votes from EU mbr. states at the UNGA vote in 11/2012 for recognition as a non-member state. (REU 10/30)

Israeli DM Barak says that Iran has pulled back from its ambitions of building a nuclear weapon, but that Israel may still have to decide in 2013 whether to launch a military attack. (REU 10/30)

An Israeli border police officer is acquitted of causing the death of a 10-yr.-old Palestinian boy shot during a protest in the West Bank village of Ni‘lin in 2008. (HA 10/30)

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Tulkarm in the morning, in 3 villages nr. Tulkarm in the afternoon, and in 6 villages nr. Jenin at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in Hebron and 5 nearby villages, and in 4 villages nr. Jenin at night. (PCHR 11/8)

Fighting between the Syrian military and the opposition spills over into Yarmuk Palestinian r.c., with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine– General Command reportedly joining on the side of the army. (AFP 10/30)

The Jerusalem Post reports that PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erakat met with EU mission heads in Jerusalem last month to ask for help in drafting the resolution for the UNGA on the Palestinian non-member state upgrade. (JP 10/3)

The Danish FM urges the EU to force stores to label products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank, an initiative relating to a decision taken by EU foreign ministers in 5/2012 to enforce existing legislation regarding settlement produce. (HA 10/3)

In the West Bank, the IDF confiscates Palestinian farmland in the Fukin valley nr. Bethlehem; photographs Palestinian houses in the Umm Rokba area s. of al-Khadir village nr. Bethlehem, an area nr. a settlement outpost where many homes have been served demolition orders. The IDF also raids a school near the al-Ibrahimi Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron in the morning and patrols in 1 village nr. Hebron (firing sound bombs and rubber-coated bullets, wounding 1 child); patrols in Tulkarm at night, using stun grenades and tear-gas bombs in response to Palestinian stonethrowing, and in 2 villages nr. Hebron; conducts an arrest raid in 1 village nr. Hebron. (PCHR 10/4)

PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erakat reveals that the PA is in consultations with Arab countries and others over the text of a draft resolution requesting the UNGA accept Palestine as a non-member state. Erakat reiterates that the UN bid is intended to complement rather than harm the peace process. Reports indicate that the U.S. government is lobbying European countries to oppose the Palestinian initiative on the basis that it would be counterproductive and lead to negative consequences, such as sanctions, for the PA. (Guardian, MNA 10/1)

Unidentified Palestinians fire a rocket from the Gaza Strip into s. Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In East Jerusalem, the IDF conducts house searches in Ras al-Amud neighborhood after clashes with local Palestinian youths; troops fire tear gas during the searches, moderately injuring a Palestinian woman. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin and Hebron in the morning, 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon, and 2 villages nr. Qalqilya at night. (AFP, IMEMC 10/1; PCHR 10/4; OCHA 10/5)

Palestinian citizens of Israel hold protests across Israel, including a 2,000- strong march in Sakhnin, to mark the 12th anniversary of the killing of 13 Arabs by Israeli police during demonstrations in solidarity with the 2d intifada then underway. (AFP 10/1)

Freedom Theater director and former AMB commander Zakaria Zubeidi is freed from PA prison after having been charged in connection to a 1/5/12 attack that resulted in the death of former Jenin governor Qaddura Musa from a heart attack (see QU in JPS 164). (MNA 1/10)

Syrian state television attacks Hamas leader Khalid Mishal, accusing him of ‘‘selling out’’’ and being ungrateful for Syria’s years of patronage. Hamas closed its headquarters in Damascus earlier in 2012 after refusing to support the regime’s attacks on Syrian protesters and the opposition. (NYT 10/2)

PLO Executive Comm. mbr. Hanan Ashrawi said that a UNGA vote on Palestinian statehood would likely be held on 11/29/12, the 65th anniversary of the UN partition plan for Palestine, and not postponed until next year’s session. Israeli vice premier Moshe Ya’alon described Abbas’s speech at the UN as proof that the Palestinian leader has no intention of making peace with Israel. (JP 9/28)

In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops on the n. Gaza border nr. Bayt Lahiya fire on 2 Palestinian fishermen tending their nets on the beach nr. the fence, killing 1 and wounding 1. It is the 1st fisherman fatality recorded since 9/2010. In the West Bank, Palestinians, along with Israeli and international activists, hold weekly nonviolent protests against Israeli land confiscation and settlement expansion in Bil‘in nr. Ramallah and Kafr Qaddum nr. Qalqilya, and are attacked by IDF soldiers with tear gas. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah and 1 village nr. Tulkarm at night; conducts arrest raids and house searches in 1 village nr. Qalqilya at night. (IMEMC 9/28; PCHR 10/4; OCHA 10/5)

Jordan names diplomat Walid Obeidat as the new ambassador to Israel, a position vacant since 2010, when the previous ambassador was not replaced once his term expired. (AFP 9/28; BBC 10/9)

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Qalqilya, 1 village nr. Jenin, and 2 villages nr. Tulkarm (firing tear gas in 1 of them at stonethrowing Palestinians). (MNA 9/20; PCHR 9/27)

Freedom Theater director Zakaria Zubeidi suspends a hunger strike after the PA agrees to release him within days. (MNA 9/20)

PLO officials in Yarmuk r.c., an unofficial Palestinian r.c. outside Damascus, report that Syrian government forces have killed at least 18 Palestinians in recent fighting in the area. (MNA 9/20)

In East Jerusalem, PLO Exec. Comm. mbr. Hanan Ashrawi addresses diplomats from Asia, the EU, Latin America, and the Middle East, calling on them to increase donor aid to the PA and to support a revived Palestinian statehood bid at the UN (see QU in JPS 165 for details). (NYT 8/14)

Israeli Jerusalem municipal officials approve construction of 12 commercial and hotel towers (24–33 floors each) on East Jerusalem’s Jabal Abu Ghunaym/Har Homa settlement site. The IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin and Qalqilya. Jewish settlers fr. Eliezer settlement nr. Bethlehem, escorted by the IDF, bulldoze and level 5 d. of Palestinian agricultural land and a well in nearby al-Khadir village; the leveling cuts off Palestinian access to another 11 d. of crop land. (PCHR 8/16; OCHA 8/18)

Russian pres. Putin meets with PA pres. Abbas in Ramallah and tours holy sites in Bethlehem. Putin calls the Palestinian conditions on resuming negotiations with Israel ‘‘responsible’’ and reiterates that Russia would recognize a Palestinian state. (WT 6/27) 

Jewish settlers begin evacuating Ulpana outpost, moving into new mobile homes placed on an Israeli border police base next to neighboring Beit El settlement. Meanwhile, Israel’s Jerusalem planning comm. approves construction of 180 new housing units for Armona Hanatsiv settlement on 67 d. of confiscated Palestinian land in Sur Bahir. (NYT, WP 6/27)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 4 Grad rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing light damage in 1 instance but no injuries; 2 of the rockets are intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome antimissile system. Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the c. Gaza coast forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron, and nr. Bethlehem and Jenin. The IDF also makes a late-night raid into Salfit, searching the offices of Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Council (PC) mbrs. Omar ‘Abd al-Raziq and Nasser ‘Abd al-Jawwad as well as a nearby house. OCHA reports that in the previous week, the IDF demolished another 3 residential structures, 9 animal pens, and 1 portable kitchen in Wadi al-Malih village in the Jordan Valley nr. Tubas (an area designated as an IDF firing zone), where several structures were demolished on 6/5/12. (JP 6/26; PCHR 6/28; OCHA 6/29)

As civil war escalates in Syria, Palestine Liberation Army (PLA) col. Ahmad Salih Hassan is shot dead near Damascus. The PLA is technically a wing of the PLO but is incorporated into the Syrian army. Government sources blame the Free Syrian Army (FSA) for Hassan’s killing, whereas opposition groups claim he was killed by government forces for refusing orders to target the FSA. Hassan is the 6th PLA officer to be killed since 1/2012. A new charity funded by 3 Russian Jewish billionaires and comanaged with the Israeli government plans to offer a $1-m. ‘‘Genesis Prize’’ for excellence in any field. The prize is intended to ‘‘honor those who attribute their success to Jewish values’’ and to ‘‘recognize the role of Jewish identity in encouraging universal achievements.’’ (NYT 6/27)

An Iranian detained in Kenya ca. 6/20 on charges of plotting an attack on Israelis there says that he was interrogated by Israeli agents. Israel’s amb. to Kenya refuses to comment other than to say the matter is an internal Kenyan issue. (WT 6/28)

Fatah PA pres. Abbas and Hamas leader Mishal end 2 days of talks in Qatar on forming by Fatah-Hamas consensus a transitional government of independent technocrats with a limited mandate to take the Palestinians to new presidential and parliamentary elections and to lead reconstruction of Gaza, as agreed under the 5/2011 national unity deal. To overcome international concerns about Hamas’s participation and differences between Fatah and Hamas regarding who should serve as PM (Hamas strongly opposed current PA PM Salam al-Fayyad), the sides agree that Abbas would lead the transitional government, serving as both pres. and PM. They stress that the new government “will be a technical one more than a political one” and that diplomacy will rest with the PLO. A meeting of all Palestinian factions is set for 2/18 to endorse the plan. Israeli PM Netanyahu immediately denounces Abbas for “joining forces with the enemies of peace.” The EU and U.S. say they look forward to continuing their support of the PA, provided the new government is committed to the Quartet principles of nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and adherence to existing peace agreements. (NYT, WP 2/6; AP, NYT, WP 2/7; see also MNA 2/5)

Unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In response, Israeli warplanes make late-night air strikes on open areas nr. the Gaza border n. of Bayt Hanun, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Salfit; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Tulkarm and nr. Jenin and Nablus. Just outside East Jerusalem nr. al-Tur, Israeli border police and an undercover unit bulldoze 20 d. of Palestinian land, demolishing 2 walls, 3 natural caves, and a water network supplying several Palestinian homes. Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba settlement in Hebron escorted by IDF troops begin planting trees on 150 d. of nearby Palestinian agricultural land that the IDF previously declared a closed military zone. (PCHR 2/9; OCHA 2/10)

The IDF makes a brief incursion into n. Gaza in the morning to level lands and clear lines of sight along the border e. of Jabaliya r.c., firing on nearby residential areas to keep Palestinians indoors. In Dura and Ithna villages nr. Hebron, the IDF destroys 1 Palestinian home, part of 2 other homes, 9 agricultural pools and irrigation networks, 4 water tanks, and 5 wells, also confiscating 15 water pumps and other agricultural equipment. The IDF also patrols in 3 villages nr. Qalqilya and 1 nr. Jenin in the evening; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Bethlehem and neighboring Dahaysha r.c. Washington Jewish Week reports that in the previous wk., Israel’s Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court rejected 2 lawsuits demanding the eviction of Palestinian families fr. their Silwan homes; the suits were brought by Eldad, an organization seeking to Judaize Jerusalem in part by settling Jews in the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, nr. the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount. (WJW 12/22; PCHR 12/29; OCHA 1/5)

At the close of 2 days of talks in Cairo, Fatah’s Abbas and Hamas’s Mishal agree that they will both sit on the comm. that will prepare for the next elections of the PLO’s parliament-in-exile, the Palestinian National Council (PNC), marking a major step toward Hamas joining the PLO. They also agree to form an interim unity government by the end of 1/2012 and to bring elected Hamas-affiliated legislators back into the PA’s parliament, the Palestinian Council (PC), in 2/2012. (NYT, AP, WP, WT 12/23; HA 12/28)

Reports indicate that Hamas is scaling back its presence in Syria because of violence there, but overall feels buoyed by the Arab Spring. Senior Hamas official Mahmud Zahar states that Hamas feels strengthened and validated by the popular support shown for Islamist parties in countries affected by the Arab Spring, suggesting that the new Tunisian model of power-sharing among Islamist and secular nationalist parties could be a model for the Palestinians. (WP 12/22)

Israeli PM Netanyahu says that since the 11/24 Abbas-Mishal meeting seemed more symbolic than substantive and the PLO/PA has not made moves since the 11/1/11 UNESCO vote to gain membership in other UN organizations, he is considering releasing VAT taxes. (NYT 11/29) (see 11/23/11)

King Abdallah of Jordan hosts Israeli pres. Shimon Peres in Amman to discuss reviving Israeli-Palestinian talks. (NYT 11/29; JPI 12/9)

Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, detaining and confiscating the boat, arresting 1 fisherman, and returning another fisherman to Gaza through the Erez crossing. Late at night, IDF troops on the n. Gaza border responding to 2 loud explosions inside Gaza in an open area n. of Bayt Lahiya fire into Gaza for 20 mins., causing no reported damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 3 villages each nr. Qalqilya and Ramallah and 1 nr. Salfit during the day; conducts late-night patrols in Jericho. An Israeli military court convicts a 2d Palestinian teenager fr. Awarta in the murder of 5 Jewish settlers in Itamar on 3/11/11; another Palestinian teen was convicted on 9/13/11. (PCHR 12/1; OCHA 12/2; JPI 12/9)

In the 1st Lebanese-Israeli crossborder attack since 10/2009, unidentified assailants fire 3 rockets fr. s. Lebanon into n. Israel, damaging 2 buildings in the western Galilee, but causing no injuries. Israel responds with artillery fire, causing no reported damage or injuries. UNIFIL calls for “maximum restraint.” (DS, NYT 11/29; NYT, WP, WT 11/30)

After meeting with the PLO Exec. Comm. in Ramallah, Abbas says that the 9/23 Quartet proposal for resuming talks has “encouraging elements,” but can only be viable if Israel “clearly commits” to 1967 lines with agreed swaps as the basis of talks and imposes a settlement freeze (which Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected). (WP 9/30)

Unidentified Palestinians fire a rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, damaging an empty building; the IDF responds with 2 late-night air strikes on a Hamas training site nr. al-Maghazi r.c. in c. Gaza, causing heavy damage but no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon; conducts synchronized late-night patrols in Jenin town and r.c. and 5 nearby villages. The IDF also announces plans to confiscate 800 d. of Palestinian land in Bayt Umar for a new settler-only bypass road linking Hebron and Bethlehem. Jewish settlers fr. Hebron uproot 50 olive trees and spray paint Stars of David on rocks on Palestinian agricultural land in nearby al-Zahiriyya village. (IDFS 9/30; PCHR 10/6; OCHA 10/7)

The PLO and Fatah leaderships meet jointly in Ramallah and formally agree “to approach the UN this coming September to obtain recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders and Palestinian membership in the international community,” given that there are “no new incentives to return to negotiations.” (AP 6/26; JTA, Telegraph 6/27; HA 6/28)

Israel’s Government Press Office sends a letter to accredited foreign correspondents stating that Israel will ban entry for 10 yrs. to any foreign journalist who rides along with the Freedom Flotilla II; the Foreign Press Association denounces the decision. Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF begins dismantling part of the separation wall nr. Bil‘in in keeping with a 2007 Israeli High Court ruling that the path of the wall was illegal. OCHA reports that the IDF has also begun rerouting a section of the separation wall nr. Khirbat Jabara village nr. Tulkarm in keeping with another 2007 Israeli High Court decision. The IDF also patrols in 3 villages nr. Qalqilya (holding 1 Palestinian teenager for questioning); enters Issawiyya nr. Jerusalem late in the evening, firing tear gas and stun grenades at stonethrowing Palestinians who confront them, injuring and arresting 2 15-yr.-old Palestinian boys; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron and Tulkarm. (WP, WT 6/27; PCHR 6/30; OCHA 7/1)

Overnight, an IDF drone makes an air strike on a car in n. Gaza allegedly heading to launch a missile fr. Gaza into Israel, killing 2 Islamic Jihad mbrs., wounding a 3d. A 2d air strike targets a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border; no injuries are reported. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in and around Jericho, in al-Bireh, and in 5 villages nr. Jenin, Qalqilya, and Ramallah; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Bayt Umar and nr. Jericho. PLO officials note that at least 200 Bayt Umar residents, mostly teenagers, have been arrested since the beginning of 2011. (HA 3/27; JAZ, NYT, WP, WT, YA 3/28; PCHR 3/31; OCHA 4/1)

Uruguay recognizes an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 lines. (XIN 3/16)

Egypt completes repairs to its natural gas pipeline damaged during the 2/2011 Egyptian unrest (see Quarterly Update in JPS 159) and resumes sending natural gas to Israel. The Israeli navy detains a ship, the German-owned and Liberian flagged Victoria, en route fr. Syria to Egypt, 200 mi. off the Israeli coast that Israel claims was attempting to deliver arms to Gaza fr. Iran, taking it to Ashdod for further inspection; Israeli authorities said the ship carried 4 crates holding some 70,000 rounds of ammunition for Kalashnikov rifles, 1,000s of mortars, 6 Chinese C-704 antiship missiles, and 2 radar systems. Iran denies smuggling arms. The IDF makes a brief incursion into c. Gaza to level lands e. of al-Bureij r.c. to clear lines of sight. On the Rafah border, 2 Palestinians are killed, 4 are injured in an explosion in a smuggling tunnel. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that another 4 Palestinians have been killed in tunnel accidents since 3/2. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night patrols in Jenin and surrounding villages; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron. Jewish settlers attempt to enter Kafr Laqif village nr. Qalqilya but are prevented by the IDF and stone nearby Palestinian homes instead. In separate instances, Jewish settlers fr. Karnei Shomron and Keddumim settlements, both nr. Nablus, stone passing Palestinian vehicles. Across the West Bank and Gaza, 1,000s of Palestinians turn out for candlelight vigils calling for national reconciliation. Hamas security forces violently break up the biggest rally (as many as 100,000) in Gaza City, injuring 5 protesters. In the West Bank, PA security forces (PASF) fire tear gas at some 8,000 protesters in Ramallah, briefly dispersing them and injuring 20; some protesters return, vowing to stay in Ramallah’s Manara Square until the West Bank and Gaza are reunited (they stay until 4/17). Meanwhile, Hamas’s acting PM in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh invites Abbas to Gaza for reconciliation talks; Abbas responds favorably. Inside Israel, 2 cars owned by Israeli Palestinian students at Safad Academic College were torched during a campus event to promote Arab-Jewish dialogue. Anti-Arab graffiti also was sprayed on the wall of the college, saying: “Arabs get out,” “Death to Arabs,” and “Kahane was right.” (General Delegation of the PLO to the United States letter, IFM, National Public Radio 3/15; JAZ, JP, JTA, MNA, NYT, WP, WT 3/16; PCHR 3/17; OCHA 3/18; JPI 4/1)

In Bahrain, protesters ramp up demonstrations in response to Saudi Arabia’s incursion, while the king imposes a 3-mo. state of emergency, deploys the military, and closes schools and govt. offices. (NYT 3/16)

An anonymous Israeli official says that Israel has been discussing with the U.S. a unilateral “phased approach to reaching a final status accord” in absence of negotiations with the Palestinians. PLOEC mbr. Saleh Rafaat warns that the PLO will refuse any interim or partial solution and any call for creating a Palestinian state with temporary or undefined borders. (REU 3/2; NYT 3/3)

Israel’s Jerusalem municipal authority approves construction of 14 Jewish settlement housing units in Ras al-Amud in East Jerusalem. In Gaza, Israel permanently closes the Qarni crossing, shifting all import and export of goods to Kerem Shalom. It also allows Gazans to export tomatoes for the 1st time since 6/2007. Meanwhile, IDF troops on the n. Gaza border twice fire on Palestinian farmers who stray nr. the border fence, forcing them to leave. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes 20 structures in Khirbat Tana, marking the 6th major demolition of the village; patrols and sets up checkpoints in Tulkarm town and r.c. in the morning; bulldozes a well nr. a settleronly bypass road outside Hebron; conducts late-night patrols in al-Til village nr. Tulkarm and late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron. (AFP, AP, MNA 3/2; NYT, PCHR, WP 3/3; JP 3/9; PCHR 3/10; OCHA 3/18)

In Yemen, antigovernment protests have steadily picked up since 2/16, particularly in Sana’a and Taiz. Some scuffles between protesters and govt. supporters (thought to be plain-clothed security forces) have been reported, but protests are still largely nonviolent. (Amnesty International reports at least 27 protesters killed to date.) By this time, 10 MPs fr. Pres. Ali Abdullah Saleh’s ruling party have resigned in solidarity with protesters, and medical unions, entire tribes and villages, and lawyers’ and labor groups have joined demonstrations. Today, opposition figures, tribal leaders, and influential clerics present Saleh with a plan for his peaceful transition fr. power and meet with him late into the night to discuss it, but there is no immediate deal. Meanwhile, protests grow in size to 10,000s of participants. (NYT, WP 3/3; see also NYT, WP, WT 2/23–24 NYT 2/28; WP 3/1; NYT, WP, WT, 3/2)

Overnight, IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire on and shell a group of Palestinians nr. the n. Gaza border fence, killing 3 Palestinians; Palestinians say the 3 were unarmed men attempting to sneak into Israel to find work, but the IDF claims they were armed men preparing to lay explosive devices along the border. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes 3 wells and an agricultural storehouse nr. a settler-only bypass road nr. Hebron; seals and patrols in Jit nr. Qalqilya during the afternoon. In Ramallah, some 1,000 young Palestinians hold a rally calling for national unity and reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. (AFP, WP 2/18; PCHR 2/24; OCHA 2/25)

U.S. pres. Barack Obama phones PA pres. Mahmud Abbas to urge him to delay a 2/18 vote on a UN Security Council (UNSC) res. reaffirming that Israeli settlements are illegal and an obstacle to peace or agree to a compromise UNSC presidential statement (less than a res.) criticizing settlements and urging the sides to resume negotiations. Abbas agrees to convene an emergency meeting of the PLO Exec. Comm. (PLOEC) and Fatah Central Comm. (FCC) to consider the matter. (HA 2/17; HA, MNA, NYT 2/18)

After violence overnight (see 2/16), Bahrain’s govt. declares martial law, deploying the military to the streets and warning of a “sectarian abyss”; the main Shi‘i political party withdraws fr. parliament, protesting the acts of the minority Sunni leadership; and opposition groups call for massive demonstrations after Friday prayers on 2/18. (NYT, WP, WT 2/18)

In Libya, protesters in 5 main cities observe a “Day of Rage” against Qaddafi, clashing with govt. forces, leaving at least 12 protesters dead and 10s wounded; the govt. cuts phone and Internet service and bars journalists to prevent coverage. Serious clashes in and around Benghazi continue on 2/18. (NYT, WP, WT 2/18; NYT, WP 2/19)

The PLO Exec. Comm. says it plans to hold Palestinian legislative and presidential elections by 9/2011. Hamas says it will not participate in local or national elections, saying a national unity agreement must come before a vote. (NYT, WP 2/13; WP 2/16)

IDF troops on the Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials 3 times (twice in the fmr. Jewish settlements nr. the n. border fence, once nr. the border e. of Gaza City), wounding 3 Palestinians. In the West Bank, the IDF enters Qalqilya in the morning, patrols streets, setting up a checkpoint, raiding 1 store, and summoning 3 Palestinians for questioning; patrols in 2 villages nr. Tulkarm, 1 nr. Salfit in the afternoon and 1 village nr. Qalqilya and 1 nr. Ramallah late at night. In Ramallah, 100s of Palestinians march in support of Egypt’s prodemocracy movement. (WP 2/13; PCHR 2/17; OCHA 2/18)

Egypt’s Supreme Military Council issues communiqué no. 4 pledging to “meet the legitimate demands of the people” and oversee a quick transition to a “democratic and free” Egypt run by civilians, but says Mubarak’s government and institutions will stay on as caretaker in the short term. It also pledges that Egypt will honor its international treaties, including the peace treaty with Israel. (Netanyahu welcomes the statement.) An opposition coalition called the Coalition of the Youth of the Revolution (representing mbrs. of the youth movement credited with rallying the protests, the Muslim Brotherhood, and El-Baradei’s umbrella organization) urges protesters to go home, saying it will lead negotiations with the military going forward. The army moves quickly through the end of the quarter to disband parliament, suspend the constitution, and appoint a legitimate constitutional reform comm. (NYT, WP, WT 2/13; NYT, WP, WT 2/14; NYT, WP, WT 2/16)

Al-Jazeera and Britain’s Guardian newspaper release a set of documents written by Palestinian officials (the “Palestine Papers”) that they claim constitutes “the confidential record of 10 years of efforts to seek a peace agreement with Israel.” The more than 1,600 pages of documents dating from 1999 to 2010 are mostly from the PLO Negotiation Affairs Dept. (PLONAD) and its successor body, the Negotiations Support Unit (NSU), headed by chief negotiator Saeb Erakat, and include memos, emails, maps, minutes from private meetings, accounts of high-level exchanges, strategy papers, and Power Point presentations. The papers apparently were leaked to al-Jazeera by several PLONAD/NSU staff. Timed with the release, al-Jazeera begins a 4-night series (1/23–26) of hour-long programs to discuss the contents of the leaked material thematically: Jerusalem and settlements, refugees and right of return, PA security coordination with Israel, and the negotiations process. (AP, Globe and Mail, Guardian, JAZ, NYT, REU 1/23; BBC, Guardian, HA, MM, NYT, WP 1/24; MM, NYT, WP 1/25; MM 1/26)

In the West Bank, the IDF opens fire at a car driving quickly toward a checkpoint nr. Hebron, wounding 2 unarmed Palestinians; conducts daytime incursions into 2 villages nr. Qalqilya searching shops and questioning Palestinians; conducts latenight arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem and Qalqilya. Israeli border police for unknown reasons enter Haris village nr. Salfit, beating several Palestinians and firing on 1 man who attempts to flee, wounding a bystander. Jewish settlers fr. Carmiel settlement nr. Hebron attack Palestinian shepherds grazing sheep nearby and 2 Italian human rights activists protecting them; the IDF intervenes to arrest the 2 Italians. Jewish settlers fr. Ma’on settlement nr. Hebron attack a Palestinian family living nr. the settlement, shooting dead a sheep and a dog, attacking cattle, and threatening to shoot 2 children. (PCHR 1/27; OCHA 1/28)

The Arab League says it will support the 12/12 Palestinian decision to suspend direct and indirect negotiations with Israel until the U.S. offers a serious proposal to advance peace. (WP 12/16)

Norway upgrades the status of the PLO representation in Oslo from a “general delegation” to a “diplomatic mission.” The head of the office will have ambassador status but will go by the title “chief of mission” and will have no added diplomatic privileges. (YA 12/17)

IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials in the fmr. Jewish settlement sites, wounding 1. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in Dura nr. Hebron and in Tulkarm. The Jewish holy site of Joseph’s Tomb in Kifl Haris nr. Salfit is vandalized sometime during the day; local Palestinians are suspected. (PCHR 12/16; OCHA, PCHR 12/23)

Abbas convenes the PLO Exec. Comm. and Fatah Central Comm. to discuss Clinton’s 12/10 statements. The leadership says it opposes any negotiations with Israel, direct or indirect, in the absence of a settlement freeze and that any further talks would have to be based on clear, explicit terms of reference, namely a 2-state solution based on 1967 lines. (NYT 12/14)

IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials in the fmr. Jewish settlement sites, seriously wounding 1 Palestinian, who is evacuated to an Israeli hospital. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Qalqilya and 2 neighboring villages in the morning. (PCHR 12/16; OCHA 12/17)

In his first statement since the 10/8 Arab League decision, Netanyahu, at the opening of the fall session of the Knesset, publicly offers a “limited” extension of its partial settlement freeze if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Abbas rejects this as a key concession that Israel seeks as a basis to reject Palestinian refugees’ right of return to their homes in Israel, noting that the PLO formally recognized the State of Israel in an exchange of letters before signing the 1993 Oslo Accord. The State Dept. suggests that Abbas make a counter offer to keep the process going. (AFP, NYT, WP 10/11; AFP, HA 10/12)

Meanwhile, Israel’s ministerial comm. on legislation sends a bill to the Knesset for a second reading that would require a national referendum before any territory could be ceded in a peace agreement. (JTA, NYT 10/11)

Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, IDF undercover units make an incursion into Silwan in East Jerusalem, arresting 4 Palestinian boys (ages 12–13), firing rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades at stone-throwing youths who confront them, seriously wounding a 14-yr.-old Palestinian boy; all 4 boys arrested are released on 10/12. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Qalqilya. An Israeli military court sentences Abdullah Abu Rahma, head of the Popular Committee Against the Wall in the West Bank village of Bil‘in who organizes the weekly demonstrations against the separation wall, to 1 year in jail (including time served) and a $1,250 fine; Abu Rahma was arrested in 12/09 and convicted in 8/2010 of incitement and participating in illegal demonstrations. PA PM Salam Fayyad holds a groundbreaking ceremony to inaugurate a new agroindustrial park in the Jordan Valley, which is expected to create 10,000 new Palestinian jobs. (JTA 10/12; Israel National News, WT 10/13; PCHR 10/14; OCHA 10/15; Irish Times 10/21; UNSCO 10/22)

Abbas convenes the PLO Exec. Comm. along with the Fatah Central Comm. in Ramallah to discuss the lapsed settlement freeze, issuing a statement afterward that the Palestinian leadership is in agreement that direct negotations should not resume without a halt to Israeli settlement construction. The statement is welcomed by Hamas. Abbas then leaves for Jordan and Egypt to urge Arab support for the Palestinian decision. (AP, HA, NYT, REU, WP 10/3; XIN 10/4; MNA 10/5)

Unidentified Palestinians fire a mortar fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists conducting a nonviolent march from Bayt Umar village to Karme Tzur settlement outside Hebron to protest land confiscations and settlement expansion; 10s suffer tear gas inhalation and a 14-yr.-old Palestinian is lightly injured. (JP 10/2; PCHR 10/7; OCHA 10/8)

U.S. officials spend the day trying to broker a compromise with Israel that will guarantee that direct talks will continue. Despite U.S. appeals, Netanyahu allows the freeze to expire at midnight local time (6:00 p.m. EDT). Abbas agrees not to follow through on threats to halt direct talks immediately to give U.S. diplomacy more time to work, but says he plans to consult with Fatah and PLO leaders, as well as the Arab League regarding how to move forward. (At his request, an Arab League session is set for 10/4, essentially leaving a week to resolve the freeze issue; the date is later changed to 10/6.) Even before the freeze ends, Israel’s Dep. PM Silvan Shalom lays the cornerstone for construction of a new yeshiva at a ceremony in Beit Romano settlement in Hebron attended by settlement leaders and right-wing Knesset members. Likud party mbrs. and 1,000s of settlers bussed in from around the West Bank attend a rally in neighboring Revava settlement to count down the end of the moratorium. In nearby Kiryat Netafim settlement, Jewish settlers hold a groundbreaking ceremony for construction of a new day-care center. Dozens of armed Jewish settlers from Ma’on settlement nr. Hebron guarded by IDF soldiers escort bulldozers to a nearby site where they begin laying the foundations for new homes at nearby Havat Maon outpost. After midnight, construction begins at several settlements across the West Bank. (NYT, WP, WT 9/27; NYT, WP 9/28; PCHR 9/30)

Meanwhile, timed with the lifting of the settlement freeze, 9 Jewish activists depart Cyprus on a catamaran, hoping to break the blockade of Gaza to deliver a token shipment of medicine and water purification equipment. In the West Bank, unidentified Palestinian gunmen fire on 2 Jewish settler vehicles driving nr. Hebron, moderately wounding 1 Jewish settler; no group takes responsibility. The IDF sends troops into Azun village nr. Qalqilya to patrol streets, set up checkpoints, and check Palestinian IDs, arresting 1 Palestinian; seals an entrance to Marda village nr. Salfit; conducts late-night patrols in Jenin town and r.c., making no arrests; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin and Nablus. In Gaza, IDF troops on the s. Gaza border e. of Khan Yunis fire warning shots at Palestinians conducting a nonviolent protest march to the border fence to protest Israel’s imposition of a buffer zone, seriously wounding 1. (NYT 9/27; WT 9/28; PCHR 9/30; OCHA 10/1)

Arab League FMs meet in Cairo to debate whether to endorse a Palestinian move to direct talks with Israel, as strongly urged by the U.S. despite unresolved Palestinian concerns. The FMs ultimately endorse the idea of direct talks but support Abbas and the PLO’s refusal to open direct talks immediately, stating that when and how direct talks resumed is “a matter for the Palestinian side to decide.” Arab League Secy.-Gen ‘Amr Musa reveals that Abbas today received a letter fr. Obama containing “some guarantees” regarding direct talks but that clarifications were necessary; neither the PA nor the U.S. confirmed the existence of a letter. (JAZ 7/29; NYT, WP 7/30)

In Jerusalem, Jewish settlers escorted by Israeli police evict an extended Palestinian family (49 individuals, including 22 children) fr. a building in the Old City’s Muslim quarter, claiming ownership of the building. UN special envoy Serry denounces the takeover as “provocative . . . at a critical time in the international community’s efforts to move the peace process forward.” The Palestinian tenants appeal their eviction, and the case is referred to an Israeli court. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches Hebron, nr. Bethlehem. (OCHA 7/30; NYT 7/31; PCHR 8/5; OCHA 8/13)

Obama receives Netanyahu at the White House for their 5th mtg. in what is billed as a “make-up visit,” with the primary aim to give a public show of unity. Obama pointedly dismisses any notion of a U.S.- Israel rift. Netanyahu urges the U.S. to press Abbas to enter direct negotiations when the PLO’s 4-mo. cap on proximity talks ends on 9/9 and before Israel’s 10-mo. settlement freeze expires on 9/26, and promises Israel will take its own (undefined) “concrete steps.” PA negotiations advisor Saeb Erakat says, however, that the onus is on Israel to halt settlement construction and agree to begin talks fr. the point they left off in 10/08 before direct talks can resume (IFM, JTA, WP 7/6; NYT, WP, WT 7/7; JPI 7/16)

In the West Bank, the IDF makes an evening raid into al-‘Arub r.c., arresting 1 Palestinian. Hamas officials in the West Bank report that the PA Security Forces (PASF) have arrested 8 al-Najah University professors and students for alleged ties to a Hamas charity. (PCHR 7/7; OCHA 7/9; PCHR 7/15)