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  • June 3, 2010

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 4 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, a Jewish settler opens fire on Palestinian school children picnicking outside...

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  • May 8, 2010

    After 5 days of talks with U.S. envoy Mitchell, Israel and the PLO Exec. Comm. formally agree to launch 4 mos. of proximity talks, marking the first peace talks since 12/08. (WT 5/3)

    ...

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  • March 7, 2010

    In light of the 3/3 Arab League endorsement, the PLO Exec. Comm. gives its blessing for Abbas to open indirect talks with Israel mediated by the U.S., but warns that it would not endorse...

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  • February 19, 2010

    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 fires rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas...

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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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  • November 11, 2008

    Israel agrees to a request by Quartet special envoy Tony Blair to resume fuel shipments to Gaza but allows industrial fuel for Gaza power plant to flow for only 4 hrs. before cutting off the...

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  • July 26, 2008

    In the West Bank, the IDF makes a major daytime raid into Hebron, surrounding 4 Palestinian homes, bulldozing surrounding areas, directing tank shells and heavy machine gun fire on the buildings,...

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  • November 27, 2007

    Following a dinner in Washington on 11/26, U.S. Pres. George W. Bush opens a 1-day international summit in support of the peace process in Annapolis, MD. Israel, the PLO present a “joint...

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  • May 23, 2007

    The IDF makes at least 4 air strikes on Gaza targeting Hamas, attempting to assassinate Hamas mbr. Muhammad Shatat as he drives in Gaza City (causing no injuries), hitting 2 suspected weapons...

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  • January 20, 2006

    The IDF raids Yatta, detains several candidates in the 1/25 elections after they conclude a rally; bars Fatah candidates fr. crossing a checkpoint nr. Qalqilya to attend a campaign rally in Azun...

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  • January 15, 2006

    The IDF reopens Gaza’s Erez crossing (closed on 12/16); fatally shoots an armed Palestinian in Nablus who reportedly was guarding his home after recent clashes with other Palestinians, also...

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  • January 14, 2006

    The IDF closes the Qarni crossing, citing intelligence that Palestinians are digging a tunnel nearby; raids Dahariyya nr. Hebron, occupies positions and patrols nr. a campaign rally for candidates...

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  • January 7, 2006

    The IDF tightens restrictions on Palestinian movement around Tulkarm; bars Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa candidates in the 1/25 elections fr. crossing a checkpoint outside of Tubas; tears down campaign...

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  • January 4, 2006

    Sharon suffers a massive stroke. Sharon, who was expected to win a 3d term in the 3/06 elections at the head of his new Kadima party, is not expected to return to politics, throwing the elections...

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  • January 3, 2006

    As the campaign period for the 1/25 Palestinian elections opens, Israeli police in East Jerusalem arrest Independent Palestine candidate Mustafa Barghouthi as he campaigns, releases him after 4...

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  • December 18, 2005

    The IDF conducts 11 air strikes and 6 mock air raids on n. Gaza (destroying a bridge nr. Bayt Hanun; hitting several main roads in Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, and Um al-Nasser; damaging several homes...

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  • December 17, 2005

    Senior Abu Rish Brigades (ARB) leader Khalid Abu Sitta is killed, 3 bystanders are wounded when his car mysteriously explodes nr. Khan Yunis; ARB claims it is an assassination, but the IDF denies...

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  • December 16, 2005

    Palestinians in n. Gaza, the IDF in s. Israel trade mortar and tank fire throughout the day (Palestinians firing some 11 mortars, the IDF some 27 shells), causing no damage or injuries. The IDF...

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  • December 14, 2005

    IDF conducts air strikes on 2 cars in Gaza City, assassinating 4 PRC mbrs. and wounding 1 bystander in one case, and wounding Islamic Jihad spokesman Khadir Habib and 3 bystanders in the other....

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  • December 13, 2005

    The IDF makes a predawn raid on Nablus, clashes with stone-throwing Palestinian youths and gunmen, leaving 1 Palestinian bystander dead and more than 20 Palestinians and 2 IDF soldiers wounded;...

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  • December 12, 2005

    Before dawn, the IDF sends undercover units into Nablus to arrest 6 Palestinians, including PA General Intelligence officer Amjad Mus‘ad; in the evening, fires 27 artillery rounds at n. Gaza in...

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  • March 17, 2005

    The IDF fires on stone-throwing Palestinians nr. Ramallah; shoots, wounds a Palestinian who strays too close to Rafiah Yam settlement in s. Gaza; conducts arrest raids, house searches in the Wadi...

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  • November 22, 2004

    The IDF sends troops into Salfit, raids Prisoners’ Support Society offices, confiscates files and a computer, vandalizes furniture; raids offices, confiscates documents of 2 cultural societies in...

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  • November 11, 2004

    Within hrs. of Arafat’s death, the PC, in keeping with the Basic Law, formally swears in PC speaker Rawhi Fattuh as interim head of the PA until elections are organized within the next 60 days;...

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  • November 10, 2004

    At 9:30 P.M. EST (3:30 A.M. on 11/11 local time), Arafat dies in a Paris hospital. The PA declares a 40-day mourning period; immediately begins preparations to hold a state funeral in Cairo on 11/...

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  • November 4, 2004

    The Israeli security cabinet, IDF senior cmdrs., Fatah Central Comm., PLO Exec. Comm. hold emergency mtgs. to discuss Arafat’s failing health, after he reportedly slips into a “reversible coma.”...

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  • October 29, 2004

    The IDF continues operations in Jenin for a 3d day, firing on stone-throwing youths, conducting arrest raids and house searches; demolishes 7 Palestinian homes in Rafah; confiscates 308 d. of...

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  • May 29, 2004

    The IDF closes all checkpoints around Nablus; raids neighboring Balata r.c., where Palestinian gunmen fatally shoot 1 IDF soldier; bulldozes 25 Palestinian homes in Rafah. The IDF also stages a...

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  • November 24, 2003

    The IDF conducts arrest raids in Tubas; fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis; bulldozes 39 dunams of land in al-Bureij r.c. The PSF raids a mosque in Aida r.c. nr. Bethlehem, arresting Hamas...

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  • June 2, 2003

    The IDF imposes a curfew on Ramallah, closes Qalandia checkpoint based on security concerns; continues to surround all Palestinian cities, making it difficult for Palestinian workers to take...

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Unidentified Palestinians fire 4 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, a Jewish settler opens fire on Palestinian school children picnicking outside the entrance to al-‘Arub r.c., wounding 2. Israeli security forces raid and search without warrant the Bayt Hanina Club in East Jerusalem; Israeli authorities have repeatedly tried to close the club, claiming it hosts official PA meetings. (Israel prohibits the PA and PLO fr. conducting political activities in East Jerusalem.) (YA 6/3; PCHR 6/10; OCHA 6/11)

After 5 days of talks with U.S. envoy Mitchell, Israel and the PLO Exec. Comm. formally agree to launch 4 mos. of proximity talks, marking the first peace talks since 12/08. (WT 5/3)

Unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas at Palestinian, international activists taking part in a nonviolent march to confiscated Palestinian land outside Brakha settlement to protest Israeli settlement activity around Nablus, injuring 1 Palestinian; conducts synchronized late-night patrols in 2 villages n. of Ramallah, making no arrests; conducts other late-night house searches nr. Tubas, making no arrests. In Hebron, Jewish settlers spray wastewater at Palestinians holding a nonviolent demonstration calling for the reopening of al-Shuhada Street to Palestinian civilians; the IDF observes but does not intervene. (YA 5/8; IDF 5/10; OCHA, PCHR 5/13)

In light of the 3/3 Arab League endorsement, the PLO Exec. Comm. gives its blessing for Abbas to open indirect talks with Israel mediated by the U.S., but warns that it would not endorse continuing the talks past 4 mos. unless at least the outlines of a border agreement were achieved and would not agree to a start to direct talks until Israel imposed a comprehensive settlement freeze, including East Jerusalem. Israel accepted indirect talks last wk. (NYT, WP, WT 3/8)

In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubbercoated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas at Palestinian and international activists who stage a nonviolent march outside Bayt Jala and attempt to plant trees on land slated for confiscation for the separation wall, injuring 5 Palestinians (including 3 journalists); conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Anata r.c. nr. Jerusalem, Hebron. (OCHA, PCHR 3/11)

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 fires rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas at Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists (including Palestinian Authority [PA] PM Salam Fayyad, PA communications advisor Sabri Saydam, Fatah Central Comm. mbr. Nabil Shaath, PLO Exec. Comm. mbr. Taysir Khalid, Palestinian National Initiative party head Mustafa Barghouti, and the mayor of Geneva), some of whom throw stones at IDF troops, taking part in a nonviolent march to the separation wall in Bil‘in (10s suffer tear gas inhalation); fires rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas at Palestinian and international activists, some of whom throw stones at IDF troops, taking part in protests against the separation wall in Ni‘lin (10s suffer tear gas inhalation); fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, stun grenades at Palestinians staging a nonviolent march to land located between Dayr Nizam and al-Nabi Salih recently confiscated for the expansion of Halamish settlement (10s suffer tear gas inhalation); conducts late-night patrols in Rumana village w. of Jenin. Hamas accuses Fatah of links to the 1/20/10 assassination of Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades founder Mahmud al-Mabhuh, saying that 2 Palestinian suspects in custody in Dubai in connection with the assassination, Anwar Shhaybar and Ahmad Hassanayn, were former Fatah security officers and current employees of a senior Fatah official. Fatah denies the accusation. (NYT 2/20; PCHR 2/24; OCHA 2/25)

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)

Israel agrees to a request by Quartet special envoy Tony Blair to resume fuel shipments to Gaza but allows industrial fuel for Gaza power plant to flow for only 4 hrs. before cutting off the supply once again. Meanwhile, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) warns that it will be forced to halt food distribution to 750,000 refugees on 11/14 for lack of stocks unless Israel unseals Gaza’s borders. IDF troops on the s. Gaza border fire on Palestinian farmers working their fields nr. the border fence, forcing them to flee. In the West Bank, the IDF sends troops into al-Araqa nr. Jenin overnight, setting up checkpoints and conducting ID checks; fires on Palestinians in Hebron holding a rally to commemorate the 4th anniversary of PLO head Yasir Arafat’s death, wounding 4 Palestinians; sends undercover units into Jenin r.c. in a car with Palestinian license plates to arrest a wanted Palestinian; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Jenin town and r.c., in Nablus, nr. Bethlehem. (JAZ, JP, WP 11/11; WT 11/12; OCHA 11/12; PCHR 11/13)

The Israeli cabinet discusses a proposal by Justice M Daniel Friedmann and Vice PM Haim Ramon to use heavy artillery to retaliate against Palestinian rocket fire fr. Gaza, recommending that the IDF notify civilians to evacuate villages that have become “launching pads for . . . terror groups” and then “raze the villages with artillery”; no decision is taken. (JP 11/11)

In the West Bank, the IDF makes a major daytime raid into Hebron, surrounding 4 Palestinian homes, bulldozing surrounding areas, directing tank shells and heavy machine gun fire on the buildings, demanding the surrender of a wanted Hamas mbr. inside, also firing on stone-throwing Palestinians protesting the operation, wounding a 13-yr.-old boy; the operation is ongoing by the end of the day. The IDF also patrols in, fires on residential areas of Bayt Umar, then fires on stone-throwing youths who confront them, wounding 4, arresting 5; conducts daytime arrest raids, house searches in Jalazun r.c. nr. Ramallah and similar nighttime operations in and around Nablus, nr. Hebron. In Gaza, Hamas-led police launch a major crackdown on Fatah in response to the 7/25 bombings, arresting 10s of Fatah supporters and searching several Fatah offices (including those of PLO Exec. Comm. mbr. Zakariya al-Agha and PC mbr. Ziad Abu ‘Amr), while IQB mbrs. toss grenades at the home of a Gaza City Fatah leader (causing no reported injuries) and set up roadblocks across the Strip; 2 Hamas mbrs. wounded in the 7/25 beach bombing die. (WT 7/27; OCHA, PCHR 7/30)

Following a dinner in Washington on 11/26, U.S. Pres. George W. Bush opens a 1-day international summit in support of the peace process in Annapolis, MD. Israel, the PLO present a “joint understanding” pledging to resume comprehensive negotiations on 12/12, with the goal of concluding a final status agreement by the end of 2008. (NYT, WP, WT 11/28; WP 11/29)

Overnight, the IDF sends troops into al-Shuka nr. Rafah, firing on Palestinians who attempt to flee, killing 1 Palestinian, wounding 3, arresting 10. During the day, the IDF makes an air strike on a Hamas training camp nr. Khan Yunis, causing damage but no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units in a car with Palestinian license plates into Azun to arrest a wanted Palestinian; troops fire on stone-throwing Palestinians who confront them, wounding 4. In al-Bureij r.c., unidentified assailants detonate a roadside bomb nr. a Hamas-affiliated police patrol, seriously injuring 3 policemen and destroying their vehicle. In Gaza City, an estimated 100,000 Hamas supporters hold a nonviolent protest against the Annapolis summit; around 5,000 Hamas supporters hold a similar nonviolent protest in Dayr al-Balah. In the West Bank, PA police violently disperse (using tear gas, batons, warning shots) 100s of Palestinians attending anti-Annapolis protests sponsored by Hamas and the AMB in Ramallah (causing no serious injuries) and by Hizb al-Tahrir (a small, unarmed pan-Islamic group) in Hebron (killing 1 Hizb al-Tahrir supporter, wounding 3 other Palestinians). The Popular Resistance Committees (PRCs; a Gaza-based umbrella group comprising mbrs. fr. all factions acting independently) send a bulletin to media outlets, vowing to increase rocket attacks on Israel to protest the summit. Inside Israel, some 10,000 right-wing Israelis march to Olmert’s home to protest any possible concessions to the Palestinians. (NYT, WP, OCHA 11/28; PCHR 11/29; CSM 1/22)

The IDF makes at least 4 air strikes on Gaza targeting Hamas, attempting to assassinate Hamas mbr. Muhammad Shatat as he drives in Gaza City (causing no injuries), hitting 2 suspected weapons caches and 2 money exchanges in Jabaliya r.c. (also destroying a Palestinian home) and Gaza City (wounding 7 Palestinians, including a pregnant woman, 2 children). Palestinians fire at least 3 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In Jabaliya, 2 Abu Rish Brigades mbrs. (affiliated with Fatah) are injured when explosives they are handling detonate prematurely. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Bethlehem and Nablus, in Qalqilya, and nr. Hebron, Jenin, Ramallah, Salfit, Tulkarm. Meanwhile, Abbas, Hamas-affiliated PA PM Ismail Haniyeh meet in Gaza to discuss ways of calming intra-Palestinian violence. Abbas also meets with reps. of other factions to urge them to halt rocket fire into Israel. Unidentified gunmen fire on the home of a Fatah leader in Gaza City, wounding 1 Palestinian. A Palestinian dies of injuries received in an 5/18 IDF air strike on Gaza City that assassinated 2 Hamas mbrs. (IFM, NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 5/24; OCHA 5/30; PCHR 5/31)

With the cease-fire at Nahr al-Barid r.c. holding, the Lebanese army reinforces troops around the camp. Palestinian refugees continue to flee the r.c. during the day, most heading to nearby Biddawi r.c.; at most, half of the 40,000 residents remain. The UN warns the camp is still without water, electricity; food supplies are low. The PLO says it would not object to the Lebanese army entering the r.c. if necessary; raises the possibility of sending in fighters fr. Palestinian factions who know the layout of the r.c. to roust the FI mbrs. Palestinian leaders in the camp and local Islamist figures in Tripoli attempt to negotiate a FI surrender. Meanwhile, a bomb explodes in the Druze village of Aley nr. Beirut, wounding 16 Lebanese; no group claims responsibility. (AFP, DS, LBC, OCS 5/23 in WNC 5/24; NYT, WP, WT 5/24; WT 5/25)

The IDF raids Yatta, detains several candidates in the 1/25 elections after they conclude a rally; bars Fatah candidates fr. crossing a checkpoint nr. Qalqilya to attend a campaign rally in Azun Itma village; raids a Fatah campaign rally in East Jerusalem, detaining Fatah candidate Uthman Abu Gharbiyya; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Dura (occupying 3 Palestinian homes as observation posts), Jenin and in Bethlehem, Hebron, Yatta. IDF troops stationed on the central Gaza border detain 7 Palestinian teenagers (ages 13–15) fr. Nussayrat r.c. attempting to sneak into Israel to find work. Some 3,000 Palestinian, Israeli, and international protesters led by several Palestinian candidates to the 1/25 elections take part in the weekly nonviolent march against the separation wall in Bil‘in; the IDF fires tear gas to disperse the crowd. A Jewish settler moderately injures a Palestinian in a hit-and-run nr. Nablus. (IMEMC 1/20; Gush Shalom press release, JAZ 1/21; PLO Negotiation Affairs Dept. press release 1/23; PCHR 1/26)

The IDF reopens Gaza’s Erez crossing (closed on 12/16); fatally shoots an armed Palestinian in Nablus who reportedly was guarding his home after recent clashes with other Palestinians, also killing 1 Palestinian inside the home and wounding 5; detains 3 of Hamas’s Change and Reform candidates in East Jerusalem; bars several candidates running in the Hebron district fr. entering al-Ramadin village to campaign; raids offices in East Jerusalem allegedly linked to Change and Reform campaigning; sends troops into Kafr Dan west of Jenin, fires on stone-throwing youths who confront the troops, wounding 3; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Alar, Jalazun r.c., Qalqilya, al-Til.Israeli police break up a Change and Reform campaign rally in East Jerusalem, detaining 3 candidates, 3 other Palestinians. Jewish settlers fr. Avraham Avino set fire to 6 Palestinian shops in the Hebron cloth market. (IMEMC, JP, PCHR 1/15; NYT, WP, WT 1/16; PCHR 1/19; PLO Negotiation Affairs Dept. press release 1/23)

The IDF closes the Qarni crossing, citing intelligence that Palestinians are digging a tunnel nearby; raids Dahariyya nr. Hebron, occupies positions and patrols nr. a campaign rally for candidates in the 1/25 elections; arrests 3 campaign workers for independent candidate Fadwa Khadir, releases them later but confiscates their campaign materials; conducts arrest raids and house searches nr. Hebron (occupying a home as an observation post), in Jenin r.c. and town (arresting senior Islamic Jihad mbr. Muhammad Tawalba). In Hebron, the IDF prepares to remove 15 settler families fr. 11 Palestinian stores they have occupied in the old market area since 2/94 by the DMin.’s 1/15 deadline; some 200 Jewish settlers riot in Hebron to protest, clashing with soldiers attempting to prevent them fr. vandalizing and occupying more Palestinian shops in the market (leaving 1 IDF soldier injured), torching a Palestinian home; DM Mofaz extends the deadline for the evacuation to 1/31. Separately, 100s of Jewish settlers fr. Avraham Avino rampage through Palestinian areas of Hebron, vandalizing buildings, slashing car tires. Jewish settlers fence off 150 d. of Palestinian land nr. Dura to expand the unauthorized settlement outpost of Mitzpe Lakhish nr. Nahal Negohot settlement. More than 100 armed Palestinians, including off-duty policemen, block Gaza’s 2 main north–south roads for several hrs., demanding retribution for the 1/11 death of a police officer fr. injuries received during a 1/7 drug raid, the resignation of Interior M Nasr Yusuf. (HA, IMEMC 1/14; NYT, WT 1/15; PCHR 1/19; PLO Negotiation Affairs Dept. press release 1/23; NYT 1/29)

The IDF tightens restrictions on Palestinian movement around Tulkarm; bars Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa candidates in the 1/25 elections fr. crossing a checkpoint outside of Tubas; tears down campaign posters for Fatah candidate and AMB mbr. Muhammad Khadir in Kafr Sur nr. Tulkarm, as well as other campaign posters on the road leading fr. Hebron to Dura; sends troops into Jenin town and r.c., fires on stone-throwing youths who confront them, seriously wounding a 12-yr.-old boy; conducts arrest raids, house searches in al-Azza r.c. nr. Bethlehem, nr. Nablus and Ramallah, in and around Hebron (occupying several homes as observation posts). Palestinians fire 4 rockets fr. n. Gaza towards Israel, 3 of which land inside Palestinian territory, causing no damage or injuries; the IDF responds with artillery fire, causing no injuries. PA police exchange gunfire with wanted Palestinians during an arrest raid in Dayr al-Balah, leaving 10 Palestinians wounded (including 8 policemen); 11 policemen are wounded in clashes with suspected drug smugglers during an arrest raid in Khan Yunis; 1 Palestinian is killed in a clash btwn. PA police and gunmen in Gaza City. The AMB–Jenin faction warns foreign election observers to leave the city immediately. (IMEMC 1/7; NYT 1/8; YA 1/9; PCHR 1/19; PLO Negotiation Affairs Dept. press release 1/23)

Sharon suffers a massive stroke. Sharon, who was expected to win a 3d term in the 3/06 elections at the head of his new Kadima party, is not expected to return to politics, throwing the elections into question. Political powers are transferred to Vice PM Ehud Olmert, Sharon’s close ally. (BBC, JTA 1/4; CSM, NYT, WP, WT 1/5; DS 1/6; CSM 1/9)

The IDF seals the West Bank, Gaza for the 4-day Muslim holiday of Id al-Adha; conducts predawn mock air raids over Gaza, breaking the sound barrier; raids a house in East Jerusalem, breaks up a mtg. being held by Change and Reform candidate Ahmad Attoun; bulldozes a Palestinian home nr. Bethlehem; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Jenin town and r.c. (firing on stone-throwing Palestinians who confront the troops, wounding 9), in and around Bethlehem, Ramallah, Tulkarm. In continued retaliation for the 1/2 killings (see 1/3), Islamic Jihad, the AMB fire 8 rockets fr. Gaza towards Ashkelon, Sederot, and the IDF base at the Erez crossing, causing no damage or injuries. IDF soldiers, Israeli police scuffle with Jewish settlers when serving them with notices that they must evacuate by 1/15 Palestinian-owned buildings they have occupied in the Hebron central market; 4 policemen are injured. Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba vandalize Palestinian homes in Hebron, bar Palestinians fr. using a road linking the settlement to the Ibrahimi Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs; the IDF observes but does not intervene. About 40 armed AMB mbrs. occupy 4 PA government buildings in Gaza, fire on a police station to protest the 1/3 arrest of AMB leader Hams; other AMB mbrs. set burning barricades on the road to the Rafah crossing (barring all but medical cases fr. reaching the border), detonate an explosive device under the Rafah border wall (causing only minor damage). AMB mbrs. later steal 2 bulldozers, tear down a 15-ft stretch of the concrete Gaza border wall; as many as 1,000 Palestinians, some armed, overrun the Egyptian border guards, who fire in the air, call in reinforcements, declare the area a closed military zone, arrest around 100 Palestinians and injure 3; during the skirmish, some Palestinians set fire to an Egyptian armored vehicle, throw hand grenades and fire at the Egyptian contingent, leaving 2 Egyptian border guards dead and around 30 injured; Egypt closes the Rafah border until further notice. The PA says it will release Hams on 1/5 in response to the protests. PA police in Gaza City, fatally shoot a Hamas mbr. hanging campaign posters. Meanwhile, 5 armed Palestinians raid a Gaza house, attempt to kidnap the parents of Rachel Corrie, an American college student who was killed by the IDF in Gaza in 2003; the gunmen back off when the owners of the home explain who the Corries are. (IMEMC, JAZ, YA 1/4; AP, HA, IMEMC, NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 1/5; HA, NYT 1/9; al-Ahram Weekly 1/10; PCHR 1/19; PLO Negotiation Affairs Dept. press release 1/23)

As the campaign period for the 1/25 Palestinian elections opens, Israeli police in East Jerusalem arrest Independent Palestine candidate Mustafa Barghouthi as he campaigns, releases him after 4 hrs.; detain 7 Fatah candidates campaigning in the city; disperse a Third Way rally led by Palestinian Council (PC) mbr. Hanan Ashrawi (Jerusalem); in 2 separate incidents, bars Central Election Commission (CEC) staff mbrs. fr. crossing a Tulkarm checkpoint to attend an election-related mtg. in nearby Dayr al-Ghusun and the Jordan Valley; blocks the transportation of election campaigning material fr. the West Bank to Gaza; sends troops into Jenin town and r.c. Meanwhile, the IDF opens the new Kerem Shalom commercial crossing on the Egypt-Gaza-Israel border; fatally shoots wanted Palestinian Mustafa Muhammad during an arrest raid nr. Hebron; raids a Palestinian school in Anata n. of Jerusalem, firing rubber bullets, injuring 1 teacher, 1 student and then fires on stone-throwing Palestinians who confront the troops, wounding 8; bulldozes a Palestinian home in Bayt Hanina; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Bethlehem, Jalazun r.c., Jenin town and r.c., Nablus, Qalqilya; dismantles 3 unauthorized settlement outposts nr. Bat Ayin, Efrat, Pdu’el. In response to the 1/2 assassination, Islamic Jihad fires at least 12 rockets at the Negev, the ARB fires a rocket at Sederot, causing no damage or injuries; the IDF responds with artillery fire on 8 roads leading to the n. Gaza no-go zone, causing no injuries. The AMB, ARB claim joint responsibility for detonating an explosive device nr. an IDF bulldozer operating on Jenin r.c., seriously injuring 1 IDF soldier. PA police arrest Gaza AMB leader Ala’ al-Hams for plotting the kidnapping of 3 Britons on 12/28. Jewish settlers fr. Avraham Avino break into, rob, vandalize several Palestinian shops in Hebron. (AFP, AP, BBC, HA, IMEMC, JAZ 1/3; IMEMC, PMC, WP, WT, YA 1/4; HA, NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 1/5; HA 1/6; PLO Negotiation Affairs Dept. press release 1/23)

The IDF conducts 11 air strikes and 6 mock air raids on n. Gaza (destroying a bridge nr. Bayt Hanun; hitting several main roads in Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, and Um al-Nasser; damaging several homes and injuring 6 Palestinian bystanders, including 3 children). Later, Palestinians fire a rocket fr. Gaza towards Ashkelon, causing no damage or injuries; the IDF threatens to cut off electricity to the Gaza Strip if rocket attacks continue. The IDF also tightens restrictions on Palestinian movement into and out of Qalqilya; bars a Palestinian heart attack victim fr. crossing a checkpoint into Tulkarm (still under closure; see 12/15) to reach a hospital, allowing him to die; conducts arrest raids in Balata r.c. (an IDF dog bites a 12-yr.-old and a 19-yr.-old Palestinian), Bayt Umar nr. Hebron, al-Bireh, Tulkarm (targeting the AMB). In Alar nr. Tulkarm, 2 Palestinian construction workers surprise an IDF undercover unit inside an unfinished house; the soldiers detain and beat the men, fire on other Palestinians who arrive on the scene, call in reinforcements to extract them. An IDF jeep hits, injures a 10-yr.-old Palestinian nr. Qalqilya. Israel issues tenders for the construction of 137 new housing units in Ariel and Karnei Shomron settlements. Jewish settlers fr. Matan nr. Qalqilya raze 110 d. of nearby Palestinian agricultural land. (AP, BBC, HA 12/18; WT, XIN, YA 12/19; HA, PLO press release 12/21; PCHR 12/22)

Sharon is hospitalized after suffering a mild stroke. Doctors say there will be no permanent damage; he will not be at any greater risk of another stroke, will stay in the hospital for “a few days” of observation. (JTA, NYT, WP, WT 12/19; NYT, WP, YA 12/20)

Senior Abu Rish Brigades (ARB) leader Khalid Abu Sitta is killed, 3 bystanders are wounded when his car mysteriously explodes nr. Khan Yunis; ARB claims it is an assassination, but the IDF denies involvement. Palestinians fire 2 mortars fr. Gaza towards Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF fires 3 missiles at a rocket launching site nr. Khan Yunis, causing no damage or injuries; fires a missile at the main Rafah–Khan Yunis road, creating large crater; fatally shoots a PRC mbr. laying a roadside bomb nr. Erez crossing; fatally shoots 1 Palestinian, wounds a 2d who attempts to sneak into Israel fr. Bayt Lahiya to find work; fires on, wounds a mentally handicapped Palestinian who strays close to the Israeli border nr. Khan Yunis; fires on residential areas of Kafr al-Labad nr. Tulkarm, wounding, arresting, evacuating to an Israeli hospital a member of the PA security forces; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Issawiyya, Tulkarm (shooting and wounding a wanted Islamic Jihad mbr.) and nr. Hebron, Jenin. In response to the AMB–Islamic Jihad drive-by shooting on 12/16, the IDF closes some 50 roads in Hebron with sand barriers, blocks the main northern and southern entrances to Hebron with cement barriers. Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar cut down more than 150 Palestinian olive trees nr. Nablus. (BBC, HA, IMEMC, NYT 12/18; AFP 12/19; PLO press release 12/21; PCHR 12/22)

Palestinians in n. Gaza, the IDF in s. Israel trade mortar and tank fire throughout the day (Palestinians firing some 11 mortars, the IDF some 27 shells), causing no damage or injuries. The IDF also launches air strikes on s. Gaza targeting Palestinians firing rockets into Israel; sends troops into Anabta, fires on residential areas, then fires on Palestinian stone-throwers who emerge to confront them; conducts arrest raids, house searches around Tulkarm and in Bayt Laqia nr. Ramallah, Hebron; begins bulldozing 345 d. of Palestinian land in Bayt Jala for construction of a new segment of the separation wall nr. Bethlehem. The AMB, Islamic Jihad claim joint responsibility for a drive-by shooting nr. Hebron that kills 1 Jewish settler, wounds 2; the IDF detains 3 journalists in the area. A Palestinian dies of a beating he sustained fr. the IDF several days previously in East Jerusalem. (BBC, REU 12/16; HA, WP 12/17; HA, NYT 12/18; PLO press release 12/21; PCHR 12/22)

IDF conducts air strikes on 2 cars in Gaza City, assassinating 4 PRC mbrs. and wounding 1 bystander in one case, and wounding Islamic Jihad spokesman Khadir Habib and 3 bystanders in the other. Later, Palestinians fire 5 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries; in response, the IDF fires artillery shells at n. Gaza areas, carries out 2 air strikes on a n. Gaza access road, wounding 2 Palestinians. During the day, the IDF also conducts arrest raids in and around Jenin, in Nablus (reportedly finding a Qassam rocket, explosives in the search of a Hamas building). Late in the evening, the IDF makes air strikes on the Bayt Lahiya home of a PRC leader, injuring a relative, and on an Islamic Jihad charity in Rafah, causing damage but no injuries; conducts an air strike on an agricultural school in Bayt Hanun, injuring 1 Palestinian; launches 4 air strikes on open areas of n. Gaza, causing no damage; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Tulkarm and nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus, Ramallah. Israel approves construction of 200 new housing units in Ma’ale Adumim settlement and 40 in Ariel Brakha, Nokdim. A group of AMB mbrs.storms the Fatah headquarters in Gaza, demanding jobs; exchanges fire with another group of Fatah mbrs. who drive them away, leaving 3 wounded. (BBC, HA, IMEMC, JAZ, REU, YA 12/14; DS, JAZ, NYT, PCHR, PMC, WP, YA 12/15; PLO press release 12/21; PCHR 12/22)

The IDF makes a predawn raid on Nablus, clashes with stone-throwing Palestinian youths and gunmen, leaving 1 Palestinian bystander dead and more than 20 Palestinians and 2 IDF soldiers wounded; shells uninhabited areas of n. Gaza in response to 4 mortars fired by Palestinians into Israel (no damage or injuries on either side); raids, imposes a curfew on Bardala nr. Tubas; conducts arrest raids nr. Hebron, Jenin, Tulkarm and in Bethlehem, Birzeit, Ubidiyya nr. Bethlehem, Salfit nr. Nablus (arresting a Hamas mbr. running in the upcoming 1/25 elections). About 100 AMB gunmen occupy 3 election offices in Gaza and 1 in Nablus in ongoing Fatah primary disputes; gunmen at 2 Gaza offices eventually leave without incident; gunmen at the Gaza City office fire in the air, causing no injuries; gunmen at the Nablus office steal a computer, a television set. A Palestinian farmer in Abasan, Gaza, is killed when he accidentally triggers unexploded IDF ordnance. A Palestinian dies of injuries received earlier fr. settlers in Hebron. (AFP, AP, BBC, HA, IMEMC 12/13; AFP, NYT, WT 12/14; HA, PCHR 12/15; PLO press release 12/21)

Before dawn, the IDF sends undercover units into Nablus to arrest 6 Palestinians, including PA General Intelligence officer Amjad Mus‘ad; in the evening, fires 27 artillery rounds at n. Gaza in response to 3 mortars fired by Palestinians towards Israel, causing no damage or injuries on either side; late in the evening, undercover units return to Nablus, surround a PA security vehicle patrolling the area, order the7 PA security officers to lie on the ground, confiscate their weapons and phones, hold them for an hr., release them. The IDF also lifts the seal on the West Bank and Gaza imposed on 12/5, opens Qalandia crossing (closed since 12/8); raids and closes 10s of shops in Anabta, withdraws, later returns to conduct arrest raids and house searches; bulldozes a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem, sparking clashes with 10s of local Palestinians; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Nablus, nr. Tulkarm. IDF soldiers bar an ambulance fr. transporting a critically ill 10-yr.-old Palestinian boy to a hospital in Jerusalem, beating a female paramedic and driver, arresting the paramedic; a 2d ambulance arrives, takes the patient to a Ramallah hospital. In Dayr al-Balah, 10 AMB gunmen angry over the Fatah primaries raid a PA election office, force it to close. In Gaza City, unidentified gunmen fire on a PA police patrol, killing 1 PA policeman, wounding a 2d; the incident may be connected to the Bayt Hanun clan violence (see 12/7) as the dead policeman belongs to 1 of the families. (AP, HA, IMEMC, PCHR, PRCS, XIN, YA 12/12; AP, NYT 12/13; PCHR 12/15; PLO press release 12/21)

The IDF fires on stone-throwing Palestinians nr. Ramallah; shoots, wounds a Palestinian who strays too close to Rafiah Yam settlement in s. Gaza; conducts arrest raids, house searches in the Wadi al-Husayn area of s. Hebron, rounding up all men and holding them for 5 hrs. of interrogation; places temporary curfews on Bardala and Kardala e. of Jenin, orders all Palestinian males ages 15– 60 to surrender for ID checks; also conducts arrest raids in al-Mawasi nr. Khan Yunis. Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba beat a Palestinian in Hebron; the IDF observes but does not intervene. (HA 3/18; JP 3/28; OCHA, PR 3/23; PCHR 3/24)

Palestinian factions meeting in Cairo pledge to extend the unofficial truce until the end of 2005, provided that the lull in violence continues and that Israel follows through on its Sharm al-Shaykh pledges to turn over security control of West Bank cities and release a significant number of Palestinian prisoners.Abbas and the factions agree to form a comm. to study rebuilding the PLO on new foundations that would allow Hamas, Islamic Jihad to join. (Daily Star, MM, REU 3/17; BBC, HA, MM, NYT, VOP, WP, WT 3/18; JAZ 3/19; AP, JAZ 3/21; PR 3/23; MEI 4/1)

The IDF sends troops into Salfit, raids Prisoners’ Support Society offices, confiscates files and a computer, vandalizes furniture; raids offices, confiscates documents of 2 cultural societies in Bethlehem, Qarawat Bani Hassan; conducts arrest raids, house searches in al-Bireh, Haris and nearby Nablus, al-Mughraqa, Qalqilya, Tulkarm r.c.; shells agricultural areas of al-Qarara. The IDF platoon cmdr. responsible for the deliberate shooting of a 13-yr.-old Palestinian girl in Gaza on 10/5/04 is indicted on charges of misuse of a firearm, ordering subordinates to lie about the shooting, violation of military regulations. Palestinians fire 6 mortars at a Jewish settlement in s. Gaza, 5 mortars at an IDF post on the Gaza-Egypt border, causing no damage or injuries. (XIN 11/22; VOI 11/23 in WNC 11/25; PCHR 11/25; WP 11/28)

The Fatah Central Comm. votes (13– 0, with 2 mbrs. not voting) to nominate PLO head Mahmud Abbas as the party’s candidate in the upcoming PA presidential elections, slated for 1/9/05; calls on the PA to hold legislative elections before mid-2005. (XIN 11/22; JAZ 11/22 in WNC 11/24; MM, WP 11/23; QA 11/23 in WNC 11/25; PR 11/24; al-Ahram 12/3; BBC 12/10)

U.S. Secy. of State Colin Powell ends a 2-day trip to Israel, Ramallah to discuss ways to accelerate the peace-making process and revitalize the Palestinian economy. He presses the sides to do everything possible to ensure that the maximum number of Palestinians, including those in East Jerusalem, are able to participate in the PA presidential elections on 1/9/05. Sharon says he will consider withdrawing troops fr. population centers, will do all he can to facilitate Palestinian movement during voting. (NYT, REU, WP, WT 11/22; JAZ, VOI, VOP 11/22 in WNC 11/24; al-Arabiyya TV 11/22 in WNC 12/25; MM, NYT, WP, WT 11/23; WP 11/28; MEI 12/3)

Within hrs. of Arafat’s death, the PC, in keeping with the Basic Law, formally swears in PC speaker Rawhi Fattuh as interim head of the PA until elections are organized within the next 60 days;Qurai‘ maintains the position of PM, responsible for daily PA operations. Qaddumi is elected as head of Fatah by the 15-mbr. Fatah Central Comm. Abbas is voted head of the PLO by the PLO Exec. Comm. The State Dept. says that it is prepared to help the Palestinians hold elections if asked; says that Israel still must carry out Gaza disengagement. France sends Arafat’s body off to Egypt with full military honors. Throughout the day, Palestinians across the territories rally, demonstrate in honor of Arafat. (MM, NYT, WP, WT 11/11; JAZ, VOI, VOP 11/11 in WNC 11/13; MM, NYT, WP, WT 11/12)

The IDF raids Shaykh Ajlin, exchanging fire with armed Palestinians (leaving 1 Palestinian dead), shelling residential areas (killing 2 Palestinian civilians, wounding 7), bulldozing 120 d.; fatally shoots an Egyptian who apparently infiltrated into Gaza fr. Egypt; fatally shoots 3 Palestinians (at least 2 of them armed) s. of Netzarim; fires on stone-throwing Palestinians in Bayt Omar nr. Hebron, killing 1 Palestinian, wounding 10; fires on stone-throwing Palestinians protesting the separation wall nr. Jayyus, wounding 2 with live ammunition; fires on residential areas of Rafah; conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus. Some 100 AMB mbrs. (some armed and masked) outside Arafat’s headquarters in Ramallah call for an investigation into Arafat’s death and rumors he was poisoned by Israeli agents, chant slogans denouncing Abbas, fmr. PA security chief Muhammad Dahlan as agents for the CIA. Israeli border police disperse 100s of Palestinians conducting nationalist marches in East Jerusalem in memory of Arafat. In Haifa, Israeli police disperse some 100 Israeli Palestinians holding a candlelight vigil for Arafat, detain a woman carrying a Palestinian flag. ( JP, VOI, YA 11/11 in WNC 11/13; HA 11/17; PCHR 11/18)

At 9:30 P.M. EST (3:30 A.M. on 11/11 local time), Arafat dies in a Paris hospital. The PA declares a 40-day mourning period; immediately begins preparations to hold a state funeral in Cairo on 11/12, followed by his “temporary” burial in his Ramallah compound (the Muqata) later in the day. Earlier this afternoon, in anticipation of Arafat’s passing, the PLO Exec. Comm., the PA national security council, Fatah Central Comm., senior PC mbrs. meet in Ramallah to discuss leadership transitions, intentions to hold elections within 60 days of Arafat’s death, in keeping with the unratified Basic Law. (MM 11/10; AFP, JAZ, MENA, VOP 11/10 in WNC 11/12; BBC, CSM, HA, JAZ, MM, NYT, WP, WT 11/11; AFP, ATL, DS, Interfax, IRNA, ITAR-TASS, JAZ, JT, MENA, VOI, VOP, XIN 11/11 in WNC 11/13; NYT, WP 11/12; PCHR 11/18; JPI 11/19)

The IDF reinforces troops around, further restricts Palestinian access to East Jerusalem; raids, kills 2 Palestinian gunmen in an exchange of fire nr. Bayt Hanun; fatally shoots a Palestinian swimming in a prohibited zone off the coast of Gaza; bulldozes 50 d. nr. Khan Yunis. Palestinians fire 3 mortars at Neve Dekalim, causing no damage or injuries. (HA, VOI, VOP 11/10 in WNC 11/12; PRCS, WP 11/11)

The Israeli security cabinet, IDF senior cmdrs., Fatah Central Comm., PLO Exec. Comm. hold emergency mtgs. to discuss Arafat’s failing health, after he reportedly slips into a “reversible coma.” The PLO Exec. Comm. grants PA PM Ahmad Qurai‘ temporary responsibility for urgent matters involving the PA security services and finances. Hamas calls for formation of a collective leadership, in which it would participate, to rule until elections are held. The IDF places troops in the West Bank and Gaza on alert, fearing an upswing in violence if Arafat dies; the PA does the same with its security forces. The IDF also demolishes 4 Palestinian homes in Rafah; fires on residential areas of al-Brazil r.c.; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Nablus, nr Hebron. (AFP, BBC, HA, REU, WP, XIN 11/4; AFP, JAZ, MENA, VOI, VOP, XIN 11/4 in WNC 11/6; BBC, CSM, HA, MM, NYT, WP, WT 11/5; VOP, XIN 11/5 in WNC 11/9; PRCS 11/11)

The IDF continues operations in Jenin for a 3d day, firing on stone-throwing youths, conducting arrest raids and house searches; demolishes 7 Palestinian homes in Rafah; confiscates 308 d. of Palestinian land in Shufa nr. Tulkarm for military purposes; bulldozes 31 d., 3 wells nr. Rafah; conducts arrest raids, house searches in ‘Ayn Bayt al-Ma’, al-‘Aza, al-Khadir. Armed Jewish settlers fr. Shvut Rachel chase Palestinian olive harvesters away fr. their groves; the IDF intervenes, allowing Palestinians to continue the harvest. (HA, PM 10/29; VOI 10/29 in WNC 10/30; PRCS 10/30; PCHR 11/4)

Arafat arrives at a military hospital in Paris. Before leaving Ramallah, he authorizes Abbas, who is secy. gen. of the PLO Exec. Comm. and the dep. secy. of the Fatah Central Comm., to assume responsibility for day-to-day affairs of the PLO and Fatah in the territories. (Technically, Faruq Qaddumi, as secy. of the Fatah Central Comm., automatically becomes Fatah chmn. in Arafat’s absence, but since he based in Tunis, Abbas, as dep. secy., assumes his duties in the territories.) (BBC, HA, MM, WT 10/29; AFP, HJ, Interfax, ITAR-TASS, JAZ, al-Quds, PSCT, VOI, VOP 10/29 in WNC 10/30; NYT, WP, WT 10/30; MM 11/1; WJW 11/4; MEI 11/5)

The IDF closes all checkpoints around Nablus; raids neighboring Balata r.c., where Palestinian gunmen fatally shoot 1 IDF soldier; bulldozes 25 Palestinian homes in Rafah. The IDF also stages a late night raid on Tulkarm r.c., firing on residential areas. During the raid, there is an explosion on the main road through the camp that injures 1 Palestinian, who is evacuated to a local hospital. The IDF raids the hospital, arrests the injured man. Overnight, the IDF also halts, searches car outside Arafat’s Ramallah compound, arresting 3 Palestinians, including a bodyguard of PLO Exec. Comm. secy. and fmr. PM Mahmud Abbas. (WP 5/30; WP 6/1; HA 6/2; PCHR 6/3)

The IDF conducts arrest raids in Tubas; fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis; bulldozes 39 dunams of land in al-Bureij r.c. The PSF raids a mosque in Aida r.c. nr. Bethlehem, arresting Hamas mbrs. thought to be plotting a suicide bombing. Shin Bet arrests Palestinian hospital worker and chemist Rashid al-Nimr, cousin of PLO Exec. Comm. mbr. Faruq al-Qaddumi, on charges of selling Hamas 6 containers of hydrogen peroxide for use in building bombs, transporting the chemicals by ambulance, evading the IDF by hiding in hospitals. (JP 11/25 in WNC 11/27; LAW, PCHR 12/4; JP 12/11 in WNC 12/13)

The IDF imposes a curfew on Ramallah, closes Qalandia checkpoint based on security concerns; continues to surround all Palestinian cities, making it difficult for Palestinian workers to take advantage of eased permit restrictions for entering Israel (see 6/1). Israel releases Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) head and PLO Exec. Comm. mbr.  Taysir Khalid, detained without charge since 2/16. (HA 6/2; MM, NYT, WP 6/3; PR 6/4; PCHR 6/5)