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  • August 9, 2012

    Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. Dozens of Palestinian supporters of the Democratic Front for the...

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  • July 7, 2012

    IDF troops open fire across the s. Gaza border into residential and agricultural areas of Khan Yunis in the morning, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm, 3...

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  • June 19, 2012

    Israeli pres. Shimon Peres says he has met with Palestinian pres. Mahmud Abbas and other Palestinian officials several times in recent months to discuss resuming peace talks. The Palestinians do...

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  • June 18, 2012

    Three unidentified assailants cross into Israel from Egypt and plant a roadside bomb that they detonate when 2 vehicles pass carrying laborers who are working to build Israel’s new border fence;...

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  • June 15, 2012

    Unidentified assailants fire 2 Grad rockets from the Egyptian Sinai into Israel, striking n. of Elat, causing no damage or injuries. No group takes responsibility. (HA 6/16, 6/17)

    The IDF...

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  • March 30, 2012

    Weekly Palestinian protests against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion this week coincide with Land Day, the annual event to protest Israel’s discriminatory land...

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  • March 9, 2012

    Israeli drones makes an air strike on a car in Gaza City, assassinating Zuhair al-Qaissi, top military cmdr. the Popular Resistance Comms. (PRCs) and senior PRC mbr. Mahmoud Hanani, and seriously...

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  • February 7, 2012

    In the West Bank, the IDF makes a daytime raid into a village nr. Jenin, searching a store and arresting 1 Palestinian. In Jerusalem, Jewish vandals spray graffiti on a Greek Orthodox monastery...

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  • February 5, 2012

    The IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning, 2 villages nr. Jenin and 1 nr. Ramallah in the evening; raids, searches, and photographs shops in the Jenin industrial zone; conducts...

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  • January 24, 2012

    In a State of the Union address devoted to domestic affairs, Pres. Obama pointedly calls on Syrian pres. Asad to realize “that the forces of change cannot be reversed and that human dignity cannot...

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  • January 13, 2012

    The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning and in Jericho, 1 village nr. Jericho, and 1 nr. Jenin late at night. Palestinians (sometimes accompanied by Israeli and international...

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  • January 10, 2012

    The IDF makes a brief incursion into n. Gaza to level land and clear lines of sight along the border e. of Jabaliya town. In the West Bank, the IDF bulldozes Palestinian land in Azariyya (just...

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  • December 18, 2011

    The last U.S. combat troops pull out of Iraq 2 wks. ahead of Obama’s 12/31/11 target date; 1,000s of U.S. diplomats and contractors remain in the country, as well as 150 U.S. soldiers tasked to...

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  • December 14, 2011

    In light of Jewish settler violence against the IDF on 12/12, the Israeli cabinet approves several measures against right-wing Jewish extremists, including permitting their detention without trial...

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  • December 9, 2011

    Overnight, Palestinians fire 11 rockets (including 1 manufactured Grad) fr. Gaza into Israel, retaliating for the 12/8 assassination, causing no damage or injuries. In the morning, Israel carries...

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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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  • November 16, 2011

    Israel allows the 1st shipment of construction material for private rebuilding projects in Gaza, to be used to reconstruct 10 factories destroyed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) during...

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  • September 23, 2011

    Abbas addresses the UNGA and officially submits the papers requesting full UN member-state status. UN secy.-gen. Ban Ki-Moon immediately sends the application to the UNSC. Rotating UNSC head,...

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  • August 1, 2011

    Ramadan begins. Unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, lightly injuring 1 bedouin woman. Late at night, the IDF retaliates with air strikes on a smuggling tunnel on...

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  • July 26, 2011

    The IDF makes a brief incursion into s. Gaza to level lands and clear lines of sight along the border fence e. of al-Qarara. In the West Bank, the IDF begins leveling land for construction of a...

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  • July 10, 2011

    Israel deports the 1st 36 foreign activists (fr. Belgium, Germany, and Spain) detained as participants in the Welcome to Palestine air flotilla; others will be deported as soon as flights are...

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  • June 13, 2011

    The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Qalqilya during the day; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Salfit, in Qalqilya, and nr. Bethlehem. Jewish settlers fr. Ashkalot...

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  • June 6, 2011

    In Washington, U.S. Secy. of State Clinton holds separate mtgs. with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators and French FM Alain Juppé to discuss a French proposal to revive peace talks. (AFP, REU 6/6...

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  • June 5, 2011

    On Naksa Day, commemorating the 1967 war, IDF troops open fire on 100s of unarmed Palestinian refugees and supporters inside Syria who try to cross a trench and earthen berm 150 m. on the approach...

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  • May 15, 2011

    On the anniversary of the Nakba, 1,000s of Palestinians fr. the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria stage marches (mostly nonviolent, though some stone throwing) toward the Israeli border...

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  • May 14, 2011

    A Palestinian teenager shot in Silwan on 5/13 dies of his wounds. Clashes erupt after the boy’s funeral later in the day, with Israeli police firing rubber-coated steel bullets at angry mourners,...

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  • April 13, 2011

    The donor’s Ad Hoc Liaison Comm. meets in Brussels to receive the PA’s 3-yr. policy and economic agenda for 2011–13. (World Bank press release 4/7; JTA 4/3)

    Israel reopens the Kerem Shalom...

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  • March 22, 2011

    Israel makes 2 air strikes on Gaza targeting the launch site of 4 mortars fired into Israel minutes earlier (causing no damage or injuries), hitting a nearby residential area, killing 4...

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  • January 24, 2011

    IDF troops make a brief incursion into c. Gaza northeast of al-Bureij r.c. to level land and clear lines of sight. In the West Bank, an IDF undercover unit enters Nabi Salih in the morning,...

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  • January 19, 2011

    IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials, wounding 1. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in...

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Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. Dozens of Palestinian supporters of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) stage a protest march fr. Ramallah to Israel’s Ofer military prison nearby to denounce the retrial of DFLP Politburo mbr. Ibrahim Abu Hajla, who was released in the 12/2011 prisoner swap that freed IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit but was later redetained. IDF soldiers fire live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the demonstrators, wounding 5 (including 1 child, 1 woman). (PCHR 8/16; OCHA 8/18)

Experts say that a new malware program spreading across Lebanon, named Gauss, is clearly the product of the same developers as the Stuxnet and Flame viruses used to attack Iran (believed by most experts to have been developed jointly by Israel and the U.S.). Gauss steals customer data from banks (including Citibank and the online service PayPal) to track how money flows into and out of accounts; it appears to have been designed only for surveillance, not attack. Analysts say the virus has also popped up in Israel and the occupied territories, and several other countries worldwide. (NYT, WP 8/10)

Israel’s security cabinet approves an Egyptian request to deploy 5 attack helicopters in the Sinai to bolster security, modifying the terms of their peace treaty. (JPI 8/24)

IDF troops open fire across the s. Gaza border into residential and agricultural areas of Khan Yunis in the morning, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm, 3 villages nr. Ramallah, and 1 village nr. Jericho in the morning; in Tulkarm and 1 village nr. Jericho in the afternoon; and in 2 villages nr. Jericho late at night. (PCHR 7/12; OCHA 7/13)

Acting on a tip from Israeli intelligence, police in Cyprus arrest a suspected Hizballah operative (a dual Lebanese-Swedish citizen) for allegedly plotting an attack on Israeli tourists. (JTA 7/15; NYT 7/19; JPI 7/27)

Israeli pres. Shimon Peres says he has met with Palestinian pres. Mahmud Abbas and other Palestinian officials several times in recent months to discuss resuming peace talks. The Palestinians do not comment. (WT 6/20) A previously unknown group calling itself the Mujahiddin Shura Council of Jerusalem (which claims ties to alQa‘ida) releases a video claiming responsibility for the 6/18 cross-border attack on Israel from Egypt. The video shows the 2 assailants killed by the IDF, identifying them as an Egyptian and a Saudi. (WP 6/20; NYT 6/21)

Responding to recent Israeli air strikes and cross-border shootings in Gaza that killed 6 Palestinians, Hamas’s IQB for the 1st time in more than a year fires a barrage of at least 45 rockets (including at least 10 Grads) fr. Gaza into Israel; 1 rocket damages an Israeli police barracks and injures 2 police officers, but the others land in open areas. The IQB says it is aiming predominantly at open areas to minimize the severity of its rocket fire and to ‘‘send a message’’ to Israel. Expecting retaliation, Hamas security officials vacate their bases. Israel initially issues a stern warning and carries out 1 air strike on a Palestinian rocketlaunching team nr. Dayr al-Balah, wounding 1 armed Palestinian. Late at night, however, Israeli warplanes and drones carry out 7 air strikes on Hamas targets across Gaza, seriously wounding 1 IQB mbr. The targets include a garage and a group of armed Palestinians in Gaza City, a vacant house in al-Bureij r.c., and 2 IQB training camps nr. Bayt Lahiya and Rafah. (HA 6/19; NYT, YA 6/20; PCHR 6/21; OCHA 6/22)

In the West Bank, Jewish settlers set fire to a mosque in the village of Jaba nr. Bethlehem and spray graffiti on its walls warning the Israeli government against evacuating the unauthorized settlement outpost of Ulpana (5 buildings, 30 families). This is the 12th mosque vandalized by Jewish settlers since 1/2011. Jewish settlers also vandalize the car of the settler leader negotiating the terms of Ulpana’s evacuation with the Israeli government. OCHA reports that in the previous week, the IDF carried out several significant demolitions in Israelicontrolled Area C: 14 residential structures and 11 animal pens in the al-Hirma bedouin community near Bethlehem (64 displaced, including 37 children); 6 seasonal residential structures in the Jordan Valley (20 displaced); 1 residential structure nr. Qalqilya; and 2 animal pens nr. East Jerusalem. (NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 6/20; OCHA 6/22)

The P5+1 and Iran close 2 days of ‘‘intense and tough’’ nuclear talks in Moscow. Both sides say that the talks were so detailed and so heated that they need a break to digest all that has been discussed and to confer with their governments. Iran reportedly offers to halt enrichment of uranium to 20% purity if the international community acknowledges Iran’s right to enrich uranium and immediately rolls back sanctions. The P5+1 refuses to delay or waive sanctions until Iran meets specific benchmarks of compliance. Ashton announces that the sides plan to send technical experts to Istanbul on 7/3 ‘‘to make sure all clearly understood the nature of both sides’ proposals’’ and to gauge the prospects for narrowing gaps and holding more negotiations. Meanwhile, the next round of EU and U.S. sanctions are scheduled to go into effect as scheduled on 7/1. (NYT 6/19; NYT, WP 6/20; NYT 7/2; WT 7/4; NYT 7/5)

Unidentified U.S. and Western officials confirm to the Washington Post (6/20) that the U.S. and Israel jointly developed the Flame virus to map and monitor Iran’s computer networks in preparation for a major cyberwarfare campaign. They said, however, that Israel deployed the virus unilaterally, without consulting the U.S., leading to its premature detection by Iran and to development of critical Iranian countermeasures. U.S. intelligence officials had hoped that Flame would reside undetected on Iran’s networks for years sending back valuable information. Computer experts said (WP 6/20) that Flame contained ‘‘DNA-like evidence’’ linking it to the Stuxnet virus (see QU in JPS 158). This would make the Stuxnet and Flame attacks the first recorded sustained cyber-sabotage campaign against a state. (WP 6/20)

Lebanon releases 9 Islamists (7 Lebanese, 1 Palestinian, 1 Saudi) tied to Fatah al-Islam who were among the approximate 180 people detained during the 2007 clashes between Fatah al-Islam and the Lebanese army in Nahr al-Barid r.c. in n. Lebanon (see QU in JPS 145–46). (WT 6/20)

Three unidentified assailants cross into Israel from Egypt and plant a roadside bomb that they detonate when 2 vehicles pass carrying laborers who are working to build Israel’s new border fence; they then open fire on the vehicles with automatic weapons and rocketpropelled grenades; 1 Israeli Palestinian worker is killed. Israeli border police respond to the scene and exchanges fire with the infiltrators, leaving 2 assailants dead and 4 policemen injured. The 3d assailant escapes back into Egypt; Israeli units do not pursue him. (NYT, WP 6/19; NYT 6/20; JPI 6/29)

In actions Israel says are unrelated to the attack from Egypt, the IDF carries out 2 air strikes on n. Gaza: 1 targets a Palestinian sniper team that fired across the Gaza border into Israel (causing no damage or injuries), killing 2 Islamic Jihad mbrs.; the other targets Palestinians who attempted but failed to fire a rocket into Israel, killing 1 IQB mbr. and 1 al-Aqsa Guards Group mbr. Late at night, IDF troops on the c. Gaza border fatally shoot 2 Palestinians (1 a teenager) attempting to sneak into Israel to find work. Meanwhile, IDF troops make a brief incursion into n. Gaza nr. Bayt Hanun to level land and clear lines of sight. Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the n. and c. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jericho in the morning; and in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the evening. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron and Tulkarm, and nr. Jenin. (JP 6/18; NYT, WP 6/19; NYT 6/20; PCHR 6/21; OCHA 6/22; JPI 6/29)

The Israel Project, a Washingtonbased pro-Israel group, hosts a debate between foreign policy advisers to Pres. Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, covering numerous issues including Iran, Syria, military aid, and Obama’s commitment to Israel. Romney advisers accuse Obama of failing to support Israel and of being more concerned with preventing Israel from attacking Iran than halting Iran’s nuclear program. Obama adviser Robert Wexler calls Obama’s ‘‘degree of military and strategic support [to Israel] unparalleled,’’ emphasizing that the Obama admin. worked strenuously behind the scenes to ensure there has not been a UN vote on Palestinian statehood since the Palestinians launched their UN statehood bid in 9/2011. (WJW 6/21)

In Lebanon, clashes erupt at the funeral for a Palestinian refugee slain by Lebanese troops outside Nahr al-Barid r.c. on 6/15, leaving 1 Palestinian dead and 7 Palestinians and 3 Lebanese soldiers injured. The clashes spread to ‘Ayn al-Hilwa r.c. in Sidon, where at least 1 Palestinian is killed and 3 Palestinians and 3 Lebanese soldiers are injured. Demonstrations (but no clashes or injuries) are reported in Biddawi r.c. nr. Tripoli and Shatila r.c. in Beirut. (JAZ 6/18)

Unidentified assailants fire 2 Grad rockets from the Egyptian Sinai into Israel, striking n. of Elat, causing no damage or injuries. No group takes responsibility. (HA 6/16, 6/17)

The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 each nr. Jenin and Qalqilya in the morning; in Qalqilya and Tulkarm in the afternoon (stopping to harass PA security officers manning a checkpoint in Qalqilya); and in al-Nabi Salih and 1 village nr. Jenin late at night. Palestinians (accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil‘in, Kafr Qaddum, al-Nabi Salih, and Ni‘lin. IDF soldiers fire live ammunition (al-Nabi Salih only), rubbercoated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters; 1 Palestinian cameraman is moderately wounded by a rubber-coated steel bullet in al-Nabi Salih, and 3 Palestinians are hit by tear gas canisters in Kafr Qaddum. (PCHR 6/21; OCHA 6/22)

Nr. Tripoli, Lebanon, Palestinian refugees surround and throw stones at Lebanese soldiers who attempt to block a Palestinian from bringing a motorcycle into Nahr al-Barid r.c. The soldiers open fire on the crowd, killing 1 Palestinian and wounding another. (WP 6/16)

Weekly Palestinian protests against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion this week coincide with Land Day, the annual event to protest Israel’s discriminatory land policies. Israel seals the Erez crossing for 2 days (3/30–31), citing security concerns. Palestinians (accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold their weekly nonviolent demonstrations in Bil’in, Kafr Qaddum, Nabi Salih, and Ni’lin (with protests in Bil’in and Ni’lin also calling for reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas). IDF soldiers fire live ammunition (Nabi Salih only), rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at these protesters, injuring 11 Palestinians (including a child) and 1 international (4 Palestinians are wounded by live fire in Nabi Salih; the rest are hit by tear-gas canisters in Kafr Qaddum). Palestinians hold at least 5 other Land Day rallies in the West Bank (outside Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, outside Ofer Prison and at 2 points along the separation wall nr. Ramallah, and at the Qalandia crossing n. of Jerusalem). IDF soldiers fire live ammunition (Ofer and Qalandia only), rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at these protesters, injuring 19 (including 2 children; at least 7 are hit by live fire and 1 is seriously injured by a tear-gas canister to the head). In Gaza, Hamas authorities allow 1,000s of Palestinians to conduct a nonviolent demonstration nearly a mile from the Erez crossing, deploying police to prevent the protesters from marching to the border. Nonetheless, IDF troops on the Gaza border fire on the demonstration, killing 1 Palestinian and wounding 37 (1 seriously; including 16 children). A major protest planned for East Jerusalem does not materialize. Inside Israel, some 2,000 Israeli Palestinians demonstrate in the Galilee, with no violence reported. (NYT, WP 3/31; OCHA, PCHR 4/5)

Nonviolent Land Day protests are also held in Jordan and Lebanon. In Lebanon, 100s of Palestinians and Lebanese gather at Beaufort castle, 9 miles fr. the Israeli border, where Lebanese military forces deploy to prevent them fr. marching to the border. In Jordan, some 20,000 Palestinians march toward the West Bank border but stop 4 miles. No violence is reported in either case. (NYT, WP 3/31)

The IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jericho in the morning; patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin (firing stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinian youths who confront them, causing no injuries) and 1 nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon; conducts late-night patrols in Jericho and nearby `Ayn al-Sultan r.c., 1 village nr. Hebron, and 1 nr. Ramallah. (PCHR 4/5)

Israeli drones makes an air strike on a car in Gaza City, assassinating Zuhair al-Qaissi, top military cmdr. the Popular Resistance Comms. (PRCs) and senior PRC mbr. Mahmoud Hanani, and seriously wounding 1 civilian bystander. Israel accuses Qaissi of plotting a cross-border attack similar to the 8/2011 Elat attack from Egypt. In response, Islamic Jihad and the PRCs fire at least 6 Qassam rockets, 4 Grads, and 2 mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Later, Israel carries out 2 more air strikes on a rocket-launching team e. of Gaza City, killing 3 Islamic Jihad mbrs. Late in the evening Israeli warplanes make 3 air strikes on separate targets nr. Gaza City, striking a residential area (lightly injuring 2 civilians inside their home), targeting a garage under an apartment building (injuring 3 civilians, including a child), and targeting a group of armed Palestinians, killing 1 Islamic Jihad mbr. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 6 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning; 3 villages nr. Jenin in the evening (firing tear gas and stun grenades at stone-throwing youths who confront them in 1 instance, causing no injuries); and 1 village nr. Tulkarm late at night. Palestinians (accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil’in, Nabi Salih, and Ni’lin; demonstrations in Bil’in and Nabi Salih also call for solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Similar protests area also held in Bayt Dajan nr. Nablus and Kafr Qaddum nr. Qalqilya. IDF soldiers fire live (Nabi Salih only) and rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, causing no reported injuries; 1 American activist is arrested. Jewish settlers fr. Eli settlement nr. Nablus uproot 40 nearby Palestinian olive trees. Jewish settlers fr. Metzad settlement nr. Hebron uproot 240 newly planted Palestinian olive and fruit trees nearby. (JP 3/9; NYT, WP, YA 3/10; PCHR 3/15; OCHA 3/16)

As the armed conflict in Syria escalates, Hamas officials in Lebanon meet with Hizballah leaders to urge them to back away from supporting the Asad regime, warning that continued support for a regime that kills innocent civilians would undermine Hizballah’s reputation. (NYT 4/6)

In the West Bank, the IDF makes a daytime raid into a village nr. Jenin, searching a store and arresting 1 Palestinian. In Jerusalem, Jewish vandals spray graffiti on a Greek Orthodox monastery and school saying “price tag” and “death to Christians.” Jewish settlers fr. Eli settlement nr. Nablus vandalize and spray racist graffiti on the walls of 2 nearby Palestinian stores and a car. OCHA reports that 70% of gas stations in Gaza have closed because of a sharp reduction in the amount of fuel coming through the Rafah smuggling tunnels in the past 2 wks.; OCHA cites unconfirmed reports as indicating that the sharp decline is a result of new restrictions and fees that Egyptian police have imposed on fuel trucks headed to Egyptian Rafah. (WT 2/8; PCHR 2/9; OCHA 2/10; JPI 2/17)

The Vatican announces that Pope Benedict XVI will visit Lebanon in 9/2012 to issue a statement on the future of the Catholic church in the Middle East and “the plight of Christians in the Muslim-dominated Middle East.” (WT 2/8)

The IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning, 2 villages nr. Jenin and 1 nr. Ramallah in the evening; raids, searches, and photographs shops in the Jenin industrial zone; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Qalqilya, in Nablus, and nr. Jenin and Ramallah. Jewish settlers fr. Keddumim settlement nr. Qalqilya escorted by IDF troops bulldoze Palestinian land in nearby Kafr Qaddum, plant trees to claim the area. Jewish settlers fr. Talmon settlement nr. Ramallah raid the nearby village of al-Janyeh, vandalize 1 car and spray racist and threatening graffiti on homes and cars. (PCHR 2/9; OCHA 2/10)

Hamas officials report that the last Hamas official in Damascus, Imad al-Alami, has departed Syria and returned with his family to Gaza via Egypt for the 1st time since Israel deported him fr. Gaza to s. Lebanon in 1991. Hamas describes the closure of the Damascus headquarters as temporary but indefinite. (MNA 2/5; NYT, WP 2/6)

The Israeli cabinet unanimously approves a $2.3 b. project to build a “Red-Med” railway line linking Tel Aviv and Eilat to create an Asian-European cargo corridor bypassing the Suez Canal. Israeli official say China has expressed interest in the project. (JPI 2/17)

In a State of the Union address devoted to domestic affairs, Pres. Obama pointedly calls on Syrian pres. Asad to realize “that the forces of change cannot be reversed and that human dignity cannot be denied” and urges the international community to “isolate” his regime. He also stresses that the U.S. will not take any options (i.e., a military strike) off the table in dealing with Iran and emphasizes “our ironclad commitment—and I mean ironclad—to Israel’s security.” (NYT, WP, WT 1/25; WJW 2/2)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border nr. the Erez crossing fire warning shots and tear gas at a group of Palestinians and international activists staging a nonviolent march to the crossing to protest Israel’s imposition of a no-go zone; no serious injuries are reported. With a sharp increase in the number of Gazans seeking to exit to Egypt through the Rafah border, the Gaza Interior Min. reimposes requirements (lifted on 12/18/11) that Gazans register with the ministry before traveling. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes 8 Palestinian homes in Anata village nr. East Jerusalem, displacing 52 Palestinians, including 29 children; escorts 100s of Jewish settlers to pray at Joseph’s tomb in Balata village nr. Nablus; patrols in 1 village nr. Salfit in the morning, briefly detaining several Palestinian for questioning; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron and Nablus. (JP 1/24; PCHR 1/26; OCHA 1/27)

After a long delay, Hamas authorities in Gaza allow the Central Elections Commission to open a voter registration office in Gaza to prepare for eventual elections in implementation of the 5/2010 national unity deal. (WP 1/25)

Jordan says King Abdallah will receive Hamas leader Mishal on 1/29, when he makes his 1st official visit to Jordan in 13 yrs. Officials say that the kingdom will continue to bar Hamas for undertaking political activities on its soil. Analysts view this as: (1) Jordan trying to take a more active diplomatic role and say reopening diplomatic ties with Hamas could be a step toward trying to broker reconciliation btwn. Hamas and Fatah (WP 1/25); and (2) the king engaging with Islamists, who have gained strength regionally during the Arab Spring, to quiet Jordan’s own Islamist opposition. (WP, WT 1/25)

Police in Azerbaijan arrest several people allegedly linked to an Iranian-backed Hizballah cell for plotting an attack against Israeli amb. to Azerbaijan Michael Lotem and on a Jewish school in Baku. (JPI 2/3; NHR 2/21)

A Lebanese court sentences fmr. brig. gen. Fayiz Karam to 2 yrs. in jail (including time served) for giving classified information to Israel. Karam, jailed in mid-2009, will be released in 6 mos. (NYT 1/25)

The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning and in Jericho, 1 village nr. Jericho, and 1 nr. Jenin late at night. Palestinians (sometimes accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil’in, Kafr Qaddum, and Nabi Salih. IDF soldiers fire rubbercoated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, causing no significant injuries; troops also temporarily occupy 1 Palestinian home in Kafr Qaddum as an observation post, confining the family to a single room. Some 250 Jewish settlers escorted by IDF soldiers march provocatively through Hebron’s Old City before and after conducting prayers at the Tomb of the Patriarch/al-Ibrahimi Mosque; the IDF declares surrounding areas a closed military zone for several hours, preventing Palestinian movement. (PCHR 1/19; OCHA 1/20)

Thai officials say that they have been working with Israel for weeks tracking “a group of people who appear to be from the Lebanese group Hizballah” who allegedly planned to attack tourist sites frequented by Israelis in mid-1/2012 in response to escalating U.S.-Israeli tensions with Iran and that Thai police have detained a Lebanese man in connection with the case. The U.S. and Israel issue warnings of a “real and credible” terrorist threat against Americans and Israelis in Bangkok. Hizballah officials deny the allegations as an Israeli fabrication. The suspect later (1/16) leads police to a warehouse containing large quantities of ammonia and fertilizer, commonly used to make bombs. (NYT, WP 1/14; WT 1/17)

The IDF makes a brief incursion into n. Gaza to level land and clear lines of sight along the border e. of Jabaliya town. In the West Bank, the IDF bulldozes Palestinian land in Azariyya (just outside Jerusalem) for construction of a “biblical garden”; patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin, firing tear gas and percussion grenades at stone-throwing youths who confront them; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron. Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists hold a nonviolent march fr. Jericho toward Ramallah to highlight freedom of movement issues; the IDF blocks the march just outside Jericho and arrests 5 Palestinians. (PCHR 1/12; OCHA 1/13)

Briefing the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Comm., IDF chief of staff Gantz says the IDF is preparing for a massive influx of refugees into the Golan Heights if Syrian pres. Bashar al-Asad falls, which in the IDF’s assessment is “inevitable.” He says Israel would try to keep the refugees in a strategic buffer zone between the Golan and Syria, and would likely move Alawite refugees to the divided Alawite city of Ghajar straddling the Lebanon-Israel border to prevent any conflict between Alawis and the Druze population of the Golan. (NYT, WT 1/11)

Meanwhile, the Knesset passes an amendment to an existing law to discourage infiltrators that makes it legal to detain illegal migrants and their children for up to 3 yrs. without trial. Though directed at African migrant workers attempting to enter Israel fr. Egypt, Israeli rights groups fear the measure could be used to detain refugees fleeing violence in Syria. (NYT 1/11)

The last U.S. combat troops pull out of Iraq 2 wks. ahead of Obama’s 12/31/11 target date; 1,000s of U.S. diplomats and contractors remain in the country, as well as 150 U.S. soldiers tasked to train Iraqi security forces. (National Public Radio, REU 12/18; NYT 12/19)

Israel frees 550 Palestinian prisoners in the 2d stage of the swap that freed IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit in 10/2011; 41 are released to Gaza, more than 500 to the West Bank, a few to East Jerusalem and Jordan. Under the terms of the deal, Israel picked which prisoners to free and picked mostly Fatahaffiliated West Bankers as a gesture to Abbas; none are mbrs. of Hamas or Islamic Jihad or were involved in killing or wounding anyone; Palestinians complain that “many of those being released were due to get out within months anyway. . . . If Israel had wanted to make a real good-will gesture, the list would have been totally different.” (NYT, WP 12/19)

Stone-throwing Palestinian youths clash with IDF at the Beitunia checkpoint where some of the Palestinian prisoners freed by Israel are released, leaving 10s of Palestinians and 1 IDF soldier injured. Elsewhere in the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Jenin in the morning and in 3 villages nr. Jenin, Qalqilya, and Salfit in the evening (firing tear gas at stone-throwing youths in Jenin); makes a brief incursion into Qalqilya where they set up 2 checkpoints, detain 2 PA security forces officers for several hours, and summon 1 Palestinian for questioning. Jewish settlers block a Palestinian road nr. Moshe Zouhar settlement outpost nr. Qalqilya. Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the Gaza City shore, detaining 1 boat and questioning 4 Palestinians (3 are released, 1 is sent to Israel for an unrelated medical issue). Gaza’s Interior Min. drops requirements for Gazans to register in advance of leaving Gaza through the Rafah crossing. The Israeli Housing Min. published tenders for construction of 1,028 Jewish settlement units in East Jerusalem (500 in Har Homa, 348 in Beitar Ilit, and 180 in Givat Ze’ev). The Gaza Central Drug Store receives an urgent shipment of medicine and supplies fr. the West Bank, enough to replenish its stores for several weeks (see 12/6/12). (HA 12/18; NYT, WP 12/19; PCHR 12/22; OCHA 12/23)

IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz announces that in light of the dramatically increasing number of covert foreign operations Israel has undertaken in the past year, the Israeli DMin. has formed a new operational branch called the Depth Corps specifically to handle special operations “deep in enemy territory.” The new branch (separate fr. the existing Northern, Southern, and Central Commands) will be headed by former special operations commander Maj. Gen. Shai Avital and will pull and coordinate resources fr. the military’s various elite commando units on an ad hoc basis, depending on the mission. While Israel does not confirm or deny covert operations abroad, media reports over the past year have indicated that Israel has carried out operations in Sudan (targeting arms traffic to Hizballah and Hamas), Iran, Lebanon, and Syria. According to HA, since most recent covert ops have targeted Iran, IDF insiders often refer to the Depth Corps as “Iran Command.” (AFP, IHY 12/16; HA 12/18; JPI 2/10)

In light of Jewish settler violence against the IDF on 12/12, the Israeli cabinet approves several measures against right-wing Jewish extremists, including permitting their detention without trial (administrative detention) and trial in military courts, allowing soldiers in the West Bank to arrest them, and banning them fr. entering the West Bank; it does not label them “terrorists,” which would have allowed security forces even greater leeway to act against them. Hrs. later, Israeli police raid a Jerusalem apartment and arrest 6 Israelis for involvement in “recent events” targeting Palestinians and the IDF. In apparent “price-tag” attacks to protest the government moves: Jewish extremists set fire to the Nabi Ukasha mosque in West Jerusalem (Israeli authorities have barred Palestinians fr. using the mosque but have allowed Jewish settlers affiliated with the extremist Kach party to use the courtyard as a playground); Jewish settlers fr. Burkan settlement set fire to 2 Palestinian cars in nearby Salfit; and Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar set fire to 2 Palestinian cars in nearby Douma village nr. Nablus. (NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 12/15; PCHR 12/22; OCHA 12/23)

Under pressure fr. PA and Jordanian officials, Israel reopens the Mughrabi footbridge to the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount (closed on 12/12/11), saying it will reinforce rather than rebuild it. Meanwhile, IDF troops on the Gaza border e. of Gaza City fire on a Palestinian who strays too nr. the border fence while hunting birds, moderately wounding him. IDF troops in the West Bank conduct late-night arrest raids, house searches in al-Fawar r.c. and Bayt Umar, both nr. Hebron. (NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 12/15; PCHR 12/22; OCHA 12/23)

Addressing 10,000s of Hamas supporters in Gaza City to mark Hamas’s 24th anniversary, Hamas acting PM Ismail Haniyeh says that “Today we say it clearly: Armed resistance and armed struggle are the strategic way to liberate the Palestinian land from the sea to the river,” but that if Israel were to turn over the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, Hamas could take a “temporary” respite “without Israel being recognized and without any concession being made.” Of note: at the rally, the flags of the Arab states are displayed except for Syria’s. (NYT 12/15)

The New York Times runs a long special report on a 6-yr. U.S. investigation of Lebanese Canadian Bank and its suspected role providing financial support to “terrorists.” U.S. officials allege—but refuse to release their evidence—that the investigation revealed that the bank laundered hundreds of millions of dollars fr. Hizballah criminal enterprises and that Hizballah had significant ties to Latin American drug cartels. U.S. investigators say the transactions also revealed a pattern “in which entities tied to Hezbollah have been buying up militarily strategic pieces of property in largely Christian areas” of Lebanon. Hizballah calls the claims “politically motivated propaganda.” U.S. admin. sources say that when the connections first came to their attention in fall 2010, some argued that the Hizballah link should be left unstated, but the admin. changed course (1) after Hizballah forced out Saad Hariri as PM and secured appointment of an ally in his place and (2) when the UN tribunal accused Hizballah of involvement in Rafiq Hariri’s assassination. (NYT 12/14)

Overnight, Palestinians fire 11 rockets (including 1 manufactured Grad) fr. Gaza into Israel, retaliating for the 12/8 assassination, causing no damage or injuries. In the morning, Israel carries out more air strikes on 2 alleged Hamas training sites in Gaza City, killing a Palestinian bystander and his 12-yr.-old son and damaging a home, injuring 11 civilians (including 3 children, 2 women); Israel says it regrets the civilian casualties but blames Hamas for operating in densely populated areas. In retaliation, Palestinians fire another 6 rockets (including 1 Grad) fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Late at night the IDF makes an air strike on a Hamas training camp in Rafah, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm (firing tear gas at stone-throwing Palestinian youths, causing no serious injuries) and 1 village nr. Salfit in the afternoon; conducts late-night patrols in 1 village nr. Salfit; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Dahaysha r.c. nr. Bethlehem. Palestinians (sometimes accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil’in, Kafr Qaddum, Ni’lin, and Nabi Salih. IDF soldiers beat and fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, seriously injuring 1 Palestinian and lightly injuring 4 others in Nabi Salih. The incident, in which a man throwing a stone at an armored personnel carrier is hit in the head with a tear gas canister at close range, is caught on camera. (JP 12/9; JP, NYT 12/10; IDFS, WP 12/11; PCHR 12/15; OCHA 12/16)

Unidentified assailants detonate a roadside bomb nr. a UNIFIL patrol nr. Tyre in s. Lebanon, wounding 5 French UNIFIL soldiers in the 3d such attack in 2011. No group claims responsibility. (NYT 12/10; WP 12/12)

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)

Israel allows the 1st shipment of construction material for private rebuilding projects in Gaza, to be used to reconstruct 10 factories destroyed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) during Operation Cast Lead (OCL) in 2008– 9. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in al-Azariyya outside Jerusalem, and nr. Bethlehem and Qalqilya (arresting 4 children ages 13–17); conducts latenight patrols in 3 villages nr. Jenin. (NYT, PCHR, WP 11/17; PCHR 11/24; OCHA 11/25)

In s. Lebanon, a bomb explodes at a hotel in Tyre that is frequented by UN employees, causing damage but no injuries. Minutes later another bomb damages a liquor store in the city, causing no injuries. The UN says it does not believe its employees were targets. (NYT 11/17)

Abbas addresses the UNGA and officially submits the papers requesting full UN member-state status. UN secy.-gen. Ban Ki-Moon immediately sends the application to the UNSC. Rotating UNSC head, Lebanese amb. Nawaf Salam, says he will distribute it to UNSC mbrs. on 9/26. (NYT, WP, WT 9/24)

Netanyahu also addresses the UNGA session, calling on Abbas to resume talks immediately in New York, again without giving details on the basis or goal of talks. (WP 9/24) Within 3 hrs. of Abbas’s speech, the Quartet issues a vague statement calling on Israel and the Palestinians to return to talks within a month, with the objective of reaching a final agreement within a year. While Quartet special envoy Blair heralds this as “breakthrough,” UN and U.S. officials say the idea is to delay UNSC consideration of the Palestinian application to the UN on the assumption that if talks are “underway and making progress,” the UNSC would put off a vote in hopes that the parties could reach negotiated agreement. (State Dept. press release 9/23; NYT, WP, WT 9/24)

In the West Bank, 1,000s of Palestinians gather in Ramallah’s Clock Tower Square after dark to watch Abbas’s UN address televised live and celebrate the application for statehood. Similar rallies are held across the West Bank, but are banned in Gaza by Hamas authorities, who are angry that Abbas did not consult with Hamas over the process. Observers note (e.g., NYT, WP 9/24) that the “festive mood was tempered with resentment at . . . Obama’s firm stance against the initiative.” One Palestinian on the street states (WP 9/24): “We are choking on the American double standard. America supported the movements for freedom in Egypt, Tunis, Libya and Yemen, but this stops when it comes to the Palestinian people. We are asking, why?” During the day, the regular weekly protest against the separation wall in Bil‘in, al-Nabi Salih, and Ni‘lin are turned into rallies in support of the UN statehood initiative; in al-Nabi Salih, Palestinian demonstrators burn Israeli flags and posters of Obama. Similar small rallies are held at Qalandia r.c. The IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and percussion grenades at the demonstrators, causing no serious injuries. (NYT, WP 9/24; PCHR 9/29; OCHA 9/30)

Meanwhile, nr. Kiryat Arba settlement in Hebron, a Palestinian boy is killed in a hit-and-run by a vehicle with Israeli plates. Later in the day in the same area, a Jewish settler man and his infant son, residents of Kiryat Arba, die in a car crash; the IDF says it was an accident, but local settlers accuse the army of covering up a murder, claiming that vengeful local Palestinians stoned the vehicle causing it to crash. The IDF denies the claims and expresses concern that settlers are attempting to provoke violence on the eve of Abbas’s UN speech. Meanwhile, unarmed Palestinians patrolling the outskirts of Qusra village in the n. West Bank (subject of numerous recent attacks by Jewish settlers fr. Esh Kodesh outpost) throw stones at a group of armed Jewish settlers that try to enter the village, sparking a clash; the IDF intervenes, firing tear gas and live ammunition at the Palestinians, killing 1 Palestinian and wounding 7. The IDF also patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and Salfit in the morning, in Jericho in the afternoon, and in al-Bireh, 2 villages nr. Salfit, and 1 nr. Tulkarm late at night. (NYT, WP 9/24; PCHR 9/29)

Ramadan begins. Unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, lightly injuring 1 bedouin woman. Late at night, the IDF retaliates with air strikes on a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border and a “terrorist center” in n. Gaza, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF searches a home in Issawiyya in the morning; conducts synchronized raids into 3 villages e. of Qalqilya, searching several homes and summoning 4 Palestinians for interrogation; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Bayt Umar. (AFP 8/1; AFP, JP, REU, YA 8/2; PCHR 8/4; OCHA 8/5)

Israeli and Lebanese troops briefly exchange fire across their common border, causing no injuries. Lebanese troops fired first, believing the IDF patrol strayed into Lebanese territory, though the IDF denies this. (DS 8/1; NYT, WP 8/2; WJW 8/5; JPI 8/12)

The IDF makes a brief incursion into s. Gaza to level lands and clear lines of sight along the border fence e. of al-Qarara. In the West Bank, the IDF begins leveling land for construction of a new segment of the separation wall nr. al-Walaja nr. Bethlehem; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Jenin r.c. Hamas authorities in Gaza hang 2 Palestinians convicted of collaborating with Israel; the father and son were arrested in 2003 and convicted and sentenced in 2004 by the Fatah-led PA. (WP 7/27; PCHR 7/28; OCHA 7/29)

The U.S. for the first time explicitly states that it would veto a UN resolution endorsing Palestinian statehood. (JAZ, NYT 7/27)

In Lebanon, unidentified assailants detonate a roadside bomb nr. a UNIFIL convoy outside Sidon, wounding 5 French soldiers. Hizballah condemns the attack. (AFP, DPA 7/26; WT 7/27; DPA 7/28) (see 5/27)

Israel deports the 1st 36 foreign activists (fr. Belgium, Germany, and Spain) detained as participants in the Welcome to Palestine air flotilla; others will be deported as soon as flights are available. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in ‘Aqabat Jabir r.c. in the morning, Issawiyya in the afternoon (firing tear gas and stun grenades to intimidate residents), and alBireh and 5 villages nr. Ramallah and Salfit at night; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin. (WP 7/11; PCHR 7/14; OCHA 7/15)

The Israeli cabinet approves a map demarcating Israel’s northern maritime border with Lebanon as a move to preserve its economic rights to offshore natural gas reserves. (JPI 7/22; DS 7/27)

The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Qalqilya during the day; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Salfit, in Qalqilya, and nr. Bethlehem. Jewish settlers fr. Ashkalot settlement nr. Hebron raze 20 d. of Palestinian agricultural land adjacent to the settlement. (PCHR 6/16; OCHA 6/24)

After an extended delay of almost 5 months, Lebanon’s PM Najib Mikati forms a government, giving Hizballah and its allies 18 of 30 seats. (NYT, WP, WT 6/14; Carnegie Middle East Center, WT 6/15)

In Washington, U.S. Secy. of State Clinton holds separate mtgs. with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators and French FM Alain Juppé to discuss a French proposal to revive peace talks. (AFP, REU 6/6)

In Gaza, 1 Palestinian is killed when a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border collapses. The IDF raids ‘Ayn Bayt al-Ma’ r.c. nr. Nablus to arrest Hamas-affiliated PC mbr. Ahmad al-Haj Ali; raids and searches the Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform party offices in Nablus, confiscating a computer and files; raids Anabta’s municipal electricity dept., arresting 1 employee; patrols during the day in 3 villages nr. Qalqilya and 1 nr. Jenin; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Jenin and nr. Tulkarm. Jewish settlers fr. Karme Tzur nr. Hebron set fire to 3 dunams (d.; 4 d. = 1 acre) of nearby Palestinian grape arbors and crops. A small group of Palestinian protesters attempts to approach the Golan border fence as part of the Naksa commemoration (see 6/5) but is halted by a Syrian army contingent. (NYT, WP 6/7; PCHR 6/9; OCHA 6/10)

In Syria’s Yarmuk r.c. near Damascus, 10,000s of angry Palestinian mourners at the funerals for some of those killed in the Naksa Day clashes on 6/5 attack the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—General Command (PFLP-GC) headquarters and drive away Hamas leader Khalid Mishal and the PFLP-GC head Ahmad Jibril, who had come to express condolences, denouncing camp leaders for inciting the camp youths and putting them in harm’s way to be used as “cannon fodder” against Israel. PFLP-GC members open fire on protesters, sparking clashes that leave 14 dead and 43 injured. (MNA, WAFA 6/6; DailyKos.com, DS, Electronic Intifada, HA, Indymedia.com 6/7)

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon’s ‘Ayn al-Hilwa r.c. also demonstrate (6/6) against the killing of Naksa Day protesters on the Syrian border on 6/5, but it is unclear to what degree the protests are against Israel, Syria, or the Palestinian leadership. (WP 6/7)

On Naksa Day, commemorating the 1967 war, IDF troops open fire on 100s of unarmed Palestinian refugees and supporters inside Syria who try to cross a trench and earthen berm 150 m. on the approach to the border fence nr. the town of Majdal Shams in the occupied Golan Heights. Syrian authorities report 22 killed and more than 350 wounded, possibly marking the worst violence on the Syrian border since the 1973 war; Israel says the numbers are exaggerated, however. More protests are held inside Syria nr. the border at Qunaytra; the IDF fires tear gas and percussion grenades when protesters begin to march toward the border, but no injuries are reported. In the West Bank, the IDF clashes with up to 200 stone-throwing Palestinian protesters at the Qalandia crossing (using tear gas and percussion grenades to disperse them) and blocks Palestinian marchers fr. approaching Elon Moreh settlement nr. Nablus. In Gaza, Hamas-affiliated police block 10s (possibly 100s) of demonstrators fr. approaching the Erez crossing. Overall, protests are much smaller than the Nakba Day demonstrations on 5/13–15, with no protests reported in Egypt, Jordan, or Lebanon. Meanwhile, the IDF conducts morning patrols in 4 villages nr. Qalqilya, Salfit, and Tulkarm; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in ‘Azun and Nur Shams r.c. By this date, the IDF has also arrested Fatah PC mbr. Hussam Khader in a raid on Nablus. (AFP, AP, IsRN, KUNA, MNA, The Media Line [online] 6/5; NYT, WP, WT 6/6; PCHR 6/9; OCHA 6/10; WT 6/15; PCHR 6/16; OCHA 6/24)

On the anniversary of the Nakba, 1,000s of Palestinians fr. the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria stage marches (mostly nonviolent, though some stone throwing) toward the Israeli border. In Lebanon, though troops, riot police, and UNIFIL soldiers deploy to prevent marchers fr. reaching the border, a large group succeeds in reaching the border fence nr. Hizballah-controlled Maroun al-Ras village, where they throw stones at IDF troops. IDF troops open fire into Lebanon, leaving 10 Palestinians dead and at least 112 wounded. Palestinians refugees marching fr. Syria knock down the border fence into the Golan Heights, enter the Druze village of Majdal Shams, and rally in the village square, erecting Palestinian flags. IDF troops open fire to drive them back across the border, killing 4 Palestinians and wounding around 200. On the border with Jordan, Jordanian troops fired tear gas and scuffle with some 800 Palestinians, preventing them fr. reaching the border, leaving 14 demonstrators and 3 police officers lightly injured. In Egypt, govt. forces reinforce their border, preventing some 250 Palestinians fr. marching to the Rafah crossing. In Cairo, riot police fire tear gas, disperse protesters converging on the Israeli embassy, injuring around 120. On the Gaza border, IDF troops fire live ammunition and artillery at Gazans marching toward the border, wounding at least 125. In the West Bank, IDF troops fire tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets to disperse around 1,000 stone-throwing Palestinians marching toward the Qalandia crossing (injuring 10s) and violently beat scores of Palestinians marching fr. Palestinian-controlled area A toward Israeli security-controlled area B in Hebron (injuring 10s). A large peaceful rally commemorating the Nakba is held in Ramallah. Numerous smaller and protests clashes are also reported in the West Bank and East Jerusalem; rights groups say some 185 Palestinians have been injured in these clashes over the past 3 days, 153 of them in Jerusalem. Netanyahu accuses the demonstrators of “incitement” and challenging “the very existence of Israel.” Other Israeli officials accuse Iran and Syria of instigating the Palestinians, noting that Syrian security did nothing to prevent Palestinians fr. approaching the border. (DS, IFM, IsRN, JAZ, JP, MA, YA 5/15; Christian Science Monitor, NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 5/16)

Unrelated to the “March to Palestine,” IDF troops fired across the border into Gaza, killing a Palestinian who allegedly was planting an explosive device. Inside Israel, an Israeli Palestinian drives his truck into several cars, a bus, and pedestrians in Tel Aviv, killing 1 Israeli and injuring 17 in what Israeli police say was a deliberate terrorist attack; the driver, who is arrested, strongly denies deliberately harming anyone, saying he lost control of his vehicle when a tire blew. The IDF also patrols in 2 village nr. Qalqilya (arresting 1 Palestinian teenager for throwing stones) and 2 nr. Tulkarm; sends undercover units into Nur al-Shams r.c. nr. Tulkarm late at night, surrounding and raiding a house and arresting 1 Palestinian; conducts other late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around al-‘Arub r.c. and Hebron, and nr. Salfit. Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba settlement in Hebron throw 4 Molotov cocktails at a nearby Palestinian home, causing minor damage. Israel resumes transferring VAT taxes to the PA (see 5/1), having received PA assurances that none of the money would be accessible to Hamas under the new Fatah-Hamas unity deal, but warning that it would reconsider suspending transfers if Hamas was allowed to join a PA govt. (NYT 5/16; PCHR 5/19; OCHA 5/20)

At quarter’s end, fierce fighting is ongoing in Libya and NATO intervention continues. Rebel-held areas increasingly report shortages of food and medical supplies. No reliable figures on casualties are available since independent media access and communications are extremely difficult. Deaths are thought to be well into the 1,000s and perhaps as high as 10,000. (WP 5/16; REU 6/9)

A Palestinian teenager shot in Silwan on 5/13 dies of his wounds. Clashes erupt after the boy’s funeral later in the day, with Israeli police firing rubber-coated steel bullets at angry mourners, injuring 2. For a 2d day, numerous clashes are reported, particularly around East Jerusalem, as Palestinians demonstrate in commemoration of the Nakba, but no serious injuries are reported. Jewish settlers fr. Gilad settlement nr. Qalqilya beat and stone 3 Palestinian farmers working their land nearby. (WP 5/15; PCHR 5/19; OCHA 5/20)

In Syria, troops raid Tal Kalakh village nr. the border with Lebanon before dawn, sending 100s of Syrians fleeing into Lebanon for safety. Clashes continue through 5/15. Lebanese officials estimate that some 5,000 Syrian families have sought refuge in Lebanon since the clashes began. As the quarter comes to a close, Syrian forces continue to violently suppress protests scattered nationwide. Human rights groups say as many as 900 protesters have been killed since the beginning of the uprising, while the govt. says that 98 soldiers and 22 police officers have been killed; around 9,000 Syrians are still in custody or unaccounted for. (NYT, WP 5/15; WP 5/16, 5/19)

A GCC envoy arrives in Yemen to try to resurrect a deal with Saleh to step down, but no agreement is immediately reached. Rights groups estimate that more than 154 Yemenis have been killed since protests began. (NYT, WP 5/15)

The donor’s Ad Hoc Liaison Comm. meets in Brussels to receive the PA’s 3-yr. policy and economic agenda for 2011–13. (World Bank press release 4/7; JTA 4/3)

Israel reopens the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing into Gaza (closed since 4/6). In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Dayr Istya nr. Salfit. (PCHR 4/14, 4/21; OCHA 4/29)

An Israeli tank briefly enters a disputed border area with Lebanon nr. Adayssa village after Lebanese picking herbs and flowers in the zone triggered an alert. (AFP 4/14)

Israel makes 2 air strikes on Gaza targeting the launch site of 4 mortars fired into Israel minutes earlier (causing no damage or injuries), hitting a nearby residential area, killing 4 Palestinian civilians (including 3 children) and wounding 11 (4 critically); Netanyahu expresses regret for accidentally harming civilians but accuses Palestinian militants of using civilians as human shields to carry out rocket and mortar attacks (even while there was no rocket fire at the time of the strikes). In the evening, Palestinians fire a manufactured Grad rocket and several mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Later, the IDF carries out a 3d air strike, killing 4 Islamic Jihad mbrs. preparing to launch a rocket into Israel. The IDF also makes a brief incursion into Gaza northeast of Gaza City to level lands and clear lines of sight. Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishermen off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF makes a predawn raid on Awarta, imposing a curfew and arresting 9 Palestinians, possibly in connection to the 3/11 Itamar murders; patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and Salfit. (IRM 3/22; NYT, REU, WP, WT 3/23; NYT, PCHR 3/24; OCHA 4/1)

The Knesset passes (37-25, with 58 abstaining or not voting) the “Nakba Law,” which allows state funding to be reduced to communities or groups that commemorate the Nakba, deny Israel is a Jewish state, question whether Israel is a democracy, or harm Israeli national symbols. It also passes (35-20, with 65 abstaining or not voting) the “Admissions Committee Law” allowing Negev and Galilee Jewish communities with fewer than 400 families to reject potential residents (i.e., Palestinians) who are “socially unacceptable.” (IsRN 3/23; JTA 3/24)

The IDF detains 2 Lebanese shepherds who accidentally crossed the Blue Line into Israeli territory and turns them over to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). (DS 3/23)

IDF troops make a brief incursion into c. Gaza northeast of al-Bureij r.c. to level land and clear lines of sight. In the West Bank, an IDF undercover unit enters Nabi Salih in the morning, arresting a 10- yr.-old Palestinian boy for throwing stones. The IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Tulkarm and nr. Jenin. (PCHR 1/27; OCHA 1/28)

With the support of the majority of parliament, Lebanese pres. Suleiman taps Hizballah’s candidate, billionaire Sunni businessman Najib Mikati, as PM designate to form the next Lebanese government. (NYT, WP 1/25)

IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials, wounding 1. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Nablus and nr Jenin; conducts late-night patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah. (PCHR 1/20, 1/27; OCHA 1/28)

Lebanon introduces a draft of a major United Nations Security Council res. for debate that urges the international community to denounce Israeli settlement activity, using wording that artfully pieces together official U.S. statements on settlements to make it harder for the U.S. to object or veto. The U.S. ultimately urges Abbas to suspend discussion of the draft until a Quartet meeting on 2/5, suggesting the Quartet might issue a statement confirming 1967 borders as the basis of final status negotiations and condemning Israeli settlement construction. (NYT 1/20)

At an Arab economic summit in Sharm al-Shaykh, Arab leaders pledge $2 b. to shore up regional economies and generate jobs in hopes of preventing the spread of antigovernment riots like those in Tunisia. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait each pledges $500 m., with 11 other states pledging the other $1 b. Observers say however (see NYT 1/20) that leaders are acting more out of a desire to secure their leaderships than to reform and develop their economies, noting that none of the similar initiatives agreed at the last economic summit in 2009 have been implemented. By this date, numerous self-immolations (some fatal) and antigovernment protests have taken place in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen since the fall of Ben-Ali on 1/14, citing Tunisia as inspiration. In response to the Yemeni riots, the most severe to date, Pres. Ali Abdullah Saleh has cut income taxes in half, imposed price controls on basic goods, raised salaries for the army, and vowed his son will not succeed him, while the EU has announced an additional $19.5 m. in support to Sana’a for poverty programs. Today, an Egyptian Facebook group begins calling for massive street protests in Cairo on 1/25 to mark a “day of revolution against torture, poverty, corruption, and unemployment.” (WT 1/19; NYT 1/20; NYT, WT 1/25; see also al-Bawaba 1/17; NYT, WP 1/18)