435 / 15241 Results
  • February 6, 2013

    Israel’s Turkel Comm., which was charged with investigating the 2010 attack on the Gaza-bound Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, publishes recommendations of substantial changes in the way that the army...

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  • January 27, 2013

    The Israeli cabinet approves (16–3, with 1 abstention) a plan for the Bedouin communities in the Negev that would see thousands of so-called unrecognized villages destroyed and their populations...

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  • December 23, 2012

    In the Gaza Strip, the IDF opens fire on Palestinians nr. Dayr al-Balah, seriously wounding 2. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah and 3 villages nr. Qalqilya in the...

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  • December 11, 2012

    Palestinian pres. Abbas says that if Israel continues with its settlement plans, then the Palestinian side will consider taking the Jewish state to the ICC. Abbas makes his remarks at a news...

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  • December 1, 2012

    U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton criticizes Israel’s 11/30 decision to approve 3,000 new housing units in settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, saying ‘‘these activities set back the...

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  • November 25, 2012

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

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  • November 23, 2012

    During talks in Jerusalem, U.S. secy. of state Clinton warns Israeli PM Netanyahu not to take extreme measures in response to the Palestinians’ UN bid expected at the upcoming UN General Assembly...

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  • November 19, 2012

    The IDF strikes another 80 targets, including Gaza’s football stadium and smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border. Gaza’s Ministry of Health says that the Palestinian death toll surpasses 100,...

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  • November 15, 2012

    Israel’s military assault on the Gaza Strip (Operation Pillar of Defense) continues, and projectile fire from Palestinian factions into Israel intensifies. The IDF kills 9 Palestinians, bringing...

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  • September 30, 2012

    Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosts Egyptian pres. Mohamed Morsi and Hamas chief Khalid Mishal at a conference of his ruling party. Erdogan, Morsi, and Mishal express their support for the...

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  • August 1, 2012

    U.S. defense secy. Leon Panetta arrives in Israel for a 2-day visit intended to calm Israeli fears over Iran and to project a U.S.-Israeli unified front. He urges Israel to allow sanctions and...

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  • July 3, 2012

    The IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin in the morning; and conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in 2 villages nr. Jenin. (PCHR 7/5; OCHA 7/13)

    In a television interview in...

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  • May 28, 2012

    Hamas’s acting PM in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh authorizes a senior CEC team to begin updating Gaza’s voter rolls, in keeping with agreements reached in Cairo on 5/20/12. The CEC estimates that since the...

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  • April 23, 2012

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. IDF troops make a brief incursion into n. Gaza to level land and clear lines of sight along the...

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  • December 25, 2011

    No Israeli-Palestinian violence is reported. (PCHR 12/29; OCHA 1/5)

    In his 1st diplomatic trip abroad since 2007, Hamas’s acting PM in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh begins a 2-wk. regional tour to...

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  • December 2, 2011

    IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians hunting birds nr. the no-go zone, forcing them to leave the area. Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off...

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  • September 2, 2011

    The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jericho in the morning, and in al-Bireh, 3 villages nr. Tulkarm, 3 nr. Jenin, and 1 nr. Ramallah late in the evening; conducts late-night...

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  • June 30, 2011

    Freedom Flotilla II organizers say 2 of their boats have been sabotaged (propeller shafts cut) while docked in Greece and Turkey, delaying the flotilla’s departure until early 7/2011; organizers...

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  • May 30, 2011

    The IDF conducts a major late-night operation targeting Islamic Jihad in and around Jenin, raiding and searching the homes of at least a dozen local Islamic Jihad figures (arresting all but 1) and...

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  • November 8, 2010

    Israel’s Interior Min. says it will move forward with plans to build 1,300 new Jewish settlement housing units in East Jerusalem (978 in Har Homa/Jabal Abu Ghunaym, 320 in Ramot). At the same time...

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  • July 26, 2010

    Overnight, the IDF makes 3 air strikes on smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border and 1 air strike on an iron pipe store in Nussayrat r.c. in retaliation for Palestinian rocket fire on 7/24,...

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  • May 31, 2010

    Overnight, Israeli naval commandos in boats and helicopters easily commandeer 5 small boats in the FGM-IHH flotilla to Gaza without incident, but open fire on passengers when they attempt to seize...

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  • May 27, 2010

    Israel warns that it will not allow passage to a flotilla of 8 boats organized by the Free Gaza Movement (FGM) and a Turkish organization, Humanitarian Relief Fund (going by the acronym IHH),...

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  • February 26, 2009

    Palestinians fire 2 rockets into Israel, causing no injuries. The IDF responds with air strikes on 5 smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border, wounding 3 Palestinians (2 of them young children). In...

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  • January 1, 2009

    As OCL enters day 6, Israel announces that it will allow 443 foreign passportholders living in Gaza (mostly the spouses and children of Gazan Palestinians, including U.S., Russian, Moldovan,...

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  • December 28, 2008

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

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  • December 23, 2008

    The IDF kills 3 Hamas mbrs. laying a roadside bomb nr. the Gaza border, marking the deadliest day in Gaza since the truce expired on 12/19. Palestinians fire 2 rockets, 1 mortar fr. Gaza into...

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  • May 21, 2008

    In Gaza, the IDF makes an air strike on an empty car in Jabaliya r.c. owned by a member of Hamas’s Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades (IQB) in an apparent assassination attempt, destroying the car,...

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  • September 6, 2007

    Overnight in Gaza, the IDF sends troops and tanks, supported by helicopters, into areas around Khan Yunis and al-Qarara, searching and occupying homes, temporarily detaining 150 Palestinians,...

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  • July 29, 2006

    In Gaza, the IDF sends troops back into s. Gaza to search for a reported tunnel on the Gaza-Egypt border, cuts power to Rafah, makes an air strike on a building in Gaza City that allegedly holds a...

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Israel’s Turkel Comm., which was charged with investigating the 2010 attack on the Gaza-bound Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, publishes recommendations of substantial changes in the way that the army approaches possible war crimes committed by its own soldiers. (HA 2/6)

Israel’s military advocate gen. Danny Efroni reveals that the IDF is examining 70 cases in which non-combatant Palestinian civilians were killed during Operation Pillar of Defense. (YA 2/6)

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in ‘Ayn al-Sultan r.c. nr. Jericho at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in al-Azza r.c. nr. Bethlehem, 2 villages nr. Hebron, and 1 village each nr. Ramallah and Tulkarm at night. (PCHR 2/7)

A PA magistrate’s court in Nablus sentences a man to 1 yr. in prison for ‘‘extending his tongue’’ against the PA leadership and ‘‘fomenting sedition,’’ citing a 50-yr.-old Jordanian law. (JP 2/7)

Dep. Hizballah leader Naim Qassem dismisses Bulgaria’s 2/5 accusation that it was responsible for the 7/2012 Burgas bombing, saying that Israel was behind the ‘‘allegations and incitements.’’ Meanwhile, the Lebanese National News Agency reports that Israeli jets carried out a series of mock raids over s. Lebanon. (REU, ToI 2/6)

The Israeli cabinet approves (16–3, with 1 abstention) a plan for the Bedouin communities in the Negev that would see thousands of so-called unrecognized villages destroyed and their populations forcibly relocated to governmentapproved towns. The plan covers landownership issues, compensation, and investment in the region. The PM’s Office calls it a ‘‘compromise,’’ but Bedouin activists and human rights campaigners denounce it entirely. (JP 1/27, JP 1/28)

Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza coast nr. al-Waha, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin and 1 nr. Salfit in the afternoon, and in Tulkarm at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon, and in Aida r.c. nr. Bethlehem, Tulkarm, and 1 village each nr. Hebron and Tubas at night. (PCHR 1/31)

Tunisian pres. Moncef Marzouki postpones his visit to the Gaza Strip (see 1/20) until 3/2013, following discussion with Palestinian pres. Abbas, in order to ‘‘allow the path of reconciliation to progress.’’ Meanwhile, spokesperson for the Palestinian reconciliation comm., Abdul Aziz Qudaih, says that Morocco has pledged $500 m. to support reconciliation efforts, money to be used for compensation payments for those injured or who suffered property damage during Hamas-Fatah fighting in 2007. (MNA 1/27)

Turkish media report that the country’s dep. min. for energy and natural resources, Murat Mercan, has told Israeli Foreign Ministry official Michael Lotem that Israel’s energy cooperation with Cyprus would stand in the way of any proposed Israel-Turkey natural gas pipeline. The unofficial conversation took place during the Eurasian Economic Summit held in Istanbul. (REU 1/27)

In the Gaza Strip, the IDF opens fire on Palestinians nr. Dayr al-Balah, seriously wounding 2. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah and 3 villages nr. Qalqilya in the morning, in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 village nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon, and in 3 villages nr. Qalqilya, 1 village nr. Ramallah, and 1 village nr. Jenin at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon, and 1 village each nr. Hebron and Jenin at night. (AP 12/23; PCHR 12/27)

Israeli PM Netanyahu and DM Barak receive a briefing from the IDF’s Central Command regarding what the army describes as a recent ‘‘escalation of Palestinian violence’’ in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. (JP 12/23)

Turkey lifts its veto of military cooperation between Israel and NATO, which began in the aftermath of Israel’s attack on the Gaza flotilla in 2010. (JP, ToI 12/23)

Palestinian pres. Abbas says that if Israel continues with its settlement plans, then the Palestinian side will consider taking the Jewish state to the ICC. Abbas makes his remarks at a news conference in Ankara with Turkish pres. Abdullah Gul, who says that Israel is ‘‘playing with fire’’ in its latest move to construct settlement units in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman responds by saying that ‘‘If the Palestinians want peace—they’ll get peace. If they want war—they’ll get war.’’ Lieberman also says that any future rocket fire from the Gaza Strip would prompt a full-scale invasion of the territory and that tax revenues will be withheld from the PA until at least 3/2013 in response to the UN decision to upgrade Palestine’s observer status. Israeli media reports that Lieberman has instructed the Foreign Ministry to pursue an international diplomatic campaign portraying Abbas and Hamas leader Mishal as fellow rejectionists. (AFP, JP, YA 12/11; REU 12/12)

Israel issues tenders for the construction of 92 homes in Ma’ale Adumim settlement in the West Bank nr. Jerusalem. In occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli police demolish a Palestinian home in al-Tur neighborhood on the grounds it was built without a permit. The house was home to 11 residents and had been inhabited for over 4 yrs. In the West Bank, the IDF opens fire on protesters in Ni‘lin village nr. Ramallah, wounding 1 civilian in the leg. The IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Jericho and 1 area nr. Jenin in the morning, and in al-Fawar r.c. and 1 village each nr. Hebron, Jericho, and Tulkarm at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Hebron and al-‘Arub r.c., also nr. Hebron, at night. (AFP, WAFA 12/11; PCHR 12/13)

The Pentagon notifies Congress that it wants to sell Israel around 6,900 tail kits used to convert free-fall bombs into satellite-guided ordnance, a resupply deal worth around $647 m. (Bloomberg 12/11)

U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton criticizes Israel’s 11/30 decision to approve 3,000 new housing units in settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, saying ‘‘these activities set back the cause of a negotiated peace.’’ The British and French governments also condemn the settlement expansion plan, stating that international confidence in Israel’s desire to make peace is at risk. Meanwhile, PLO Executive Comm. mbr. Hanan Ashrawi refers to the decision as a ‘‘war crime,’’ a hint that the PA may consider taking Israel to the ICC. (JP, REU 12/2)

An independent Palestinian source in Gaza says that Palestinian factions will open reconciliation talks in Cairo in the next few days, under Egyptian auspices. (MNA 12/1)

In the Gaza Strip, the IDF opens fire on 3 separate occasions on civilians and farmers in the area nr. the border fence, wounding 1 nr. Bayt Hanun and 2 nr. Jabalya. Israeli naval vessels fire on 3 fishing boats operating between 2.5 and 3 naut. mi. off the coast, in 1 case arresting 5 Palestinian fishermen. Israel’s recent shooting of Palestinians nr. the border fence prompts Hamas to complain about Israeli violations of the cease-fire, with spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri saying that they are discussing the situation with Egyptian officials. Islamic Jihad’s al-Quds Brigades warns that Israeli cease-fire violations (including shootings along the border, firing on Palestinian fishing boats, and continued use of surveillance aircraft over Gaza) may force a response. In the West Bank, the IDF shoots and wounds a Palestinian man in Dura village nr. Hebron, after a military patrol is attacked by stone-throwing youths. The IDF also conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Bethlehem at night. (MNA, REU 12/1; MNA 12/2; PCHR 12/6)

Turkish FM Davutoglu calls Israel a ‘‘terrorist state’’ at a meeting of regional leaders at the Turkish-Arab Cooperation Forum in Istanbul, and urges collective action against Israel. (ToI 12/1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

During talks in Jerusalem, U.S. secy. of state Clinton warns Israeli PM Netanyahu not to take extreme measures in response to the Palestinians’ UN bid expected at the upcoming UN General Assembly (UNGA) session on 11/29, for fear of provoking the PA’s collapse. The U.S. specifically urges Israel not to build in the area of the West Bank nr. East Jerusalem known as E1. Meanwhile, aides to Palestinian pres. Mahmud Abbas say that he has no choice but to seek UN recognition after Hamas emerged with its reputation intact or even boosted after Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense. (HA, JP, AP 11/23)

IDF troops open fire on Palestinians demonstrating nr. the Gaza border, killing 1 Palestinian and wounding 18. Palestinian amb. to the UN Riyad Mansour submits a formal protest to the UNSC. In addition, 2 Palestinian fighters die from their wounds sustained during Operation Pillar of Defense, raising the comprehensive Palestinian death toll to 162. (AP 11/23; PCHR 11/29)

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts raids in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Hebron in the afternoon and in Nablus at night. Israeli soldiers violently disperse the weekly nonviolent demonstrations held by Palestinians, Israelis and internationals in 3 villages nr. Ramallah (Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, al-Nabi Salih), 1 village nr. Bethlehem (al-Ma‘sara), and 1 village nr. Qalqilya (Kafr Qaddum). There are no serious injuries, except in Bil‘in, where 2 Palestinians are shot in the leg with rubbercoated metal bullets. Jewish settlers in the s. Hebron Hills uproot around 400 olive trees belonging to a Palestinian farmer. (MNA 11/23; PCHR 11/29)

Senior Israeli officials reveal that Israel and Turkey have resumed talks on ending the diplomatic crisis between the 2 countries that has dragged on since the attack on the Gaza-bound freedom flotilla in May 2010 (see the Quarterly Update in JPS 157). The Israeli sources report a meeting in Geneva in the past week between Israeli PM Netanyahu’s envoy Yosef Chiechanover and Turkish Foreign Ministry undersecretary Feridun Sinirliog˘lu. (REU 11/23)

The IDF strikes another 80 targets, including Gaza’s football stadium and smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border. Gaza’s Ministry of Health says that the Palestinian death toll surpasses 100, including over 30 women and children. The IDF puts the death toll at 95, and says 1/3 were civilians. Rescue workers continue to search for 2 missing persons in the rubble of the destroyed al-Dalou family home (see 11/18). Palestinian armed groups fire 42 rockets into Israel, bringing the total to 1,128 rockets since Israel’s operation began on 11/14; over 300 rockets have been intercepted by Iron Dome, and fewer than 40 have landed in populated areas. (AP, MNA, REU 11/19)

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu rebuffs a French-Qatari cease-fire initiative on the grounds that it could interfere with Egyptian mediation efforts (see 11/18). UN secy.-gen. Ban Ki-moon arrives in Cairo to discuss the cease-fire talks. Hamas chief Mishal meets with Egyptian intelligence officials in Cairo, with the Egyptian side indicating that a cease-fire is close. Turkish PM Erdogan denounces Israel for conducting ‘‘terrorist attacks’’ in Gaza. A coalition of almost 40 international aid agencies issue an urgent call for a cease-fire; Amnesty International calls additionally for an arms embargo on Israel and Hamas. (Guardian, HA, WSJ 11/19)

In the West Bank, the IDF kills 2 Palestinians in separate incidents, as Palestinians continue to protest the attack on Gaza: 1 Palestinian from alNabi Salih dies of wounds he sustained on 11/17 when the IDF opened live fire on demonstrators, and the 2d Palestinian is shot dead by IDF troops in Hebron, who claimed they felt that their lives were in danger. At night, the IDF also conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Qalqilya, Bethlehem, Tubas and 1 nearby village, 1 village nr. Nablus, al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron, and 1 village nr. Hebron. A Jewish settler injures a Palestinian man in a deliberate hit-and-run nr. Ofra settlement, after a Palestinian demonstration against Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense. (MNA 11/19; PCHR 11/22; OCHA 11/27)

Israel’s military assault on the Gaza Strip (Operation Pillar of Defense) continues, and projectile fire from Palestinian factions into Israel intensifies. The IDF kills 9 Palestinians, bringing the death toll since 11/14 to 19, including 6 children. The IDF claims to have struck a total of 300 ‘‘terror activity’’ sites in the Gaza Strip, deploying air strikes, tank, and naval shelling and destroying 70 unmanned missile launch sites. The Israeli army also calls up 30,000 army reservists to prepare for a potential ground invasion. Three Israelis are killed by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip that hits a residential building in Kiryat Malakhi. The IDF cites an estimated 270 rockets fired by Palestinian factions since the start of the Israeli military assault, with over 100 shot down by the Iron Dome missile defense/intercept system. Meanwhile, the Israeli daily Ha’Aretz reports that Hamas leader Ahmad Jabari was negotiating a permanent truce agreement with Israel just hours before his assassination on 11/14 (see Selections from the Press in JPS 166). (BBC, HA, MNA, REU 11/15, 11/16)

Internationally, the U.S. continues to show support for Israel’s operation, with the Senate unanimously passing a resolution backing Israel’s right to defend itself (62 senators were cosponsors). Egypt, Jordan, Russia, and Turkey all condemn Israel’s use of force as disproportionate, while Hizballah leader Hasan Nasrallah calls on Arab countries to support Hamas. PA pres. Mahmud Abbas calls for an urgent Arab League meeting, and Egypt and Tunisia announce plans to send delegations to the Gaza Strip on 11/16 and 11/18 respectively. (Guardian, REU, ToI 11/15)

For a 3d night, Jordanians in various cities across Jordan protest against King Abdullah and a reduction in public fuel subsidies. Islamist opposition groups vow to keep up the demonstrations. Gunmen attack 2 police stations, sparking a clash that leaves 1 attacker dead and 17 people injured (including 13 police officers). (AP, NYT 11/15)

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosts Egyptian pres. Mohamed Morsi and Hamas chief Khalid Mishal at a conference of his ruling party. Erdogan, Morsi, and Mishal express their support for the Palestinian and Syrian people in their respective struggles against Israel and the Asad regime. (AP, YA 9/30)

Qatar announces the opening of a diplomatic office in the Gaza Strip intended to oversee aid projects funded by the Qatari government. (AP 9/30)

In the West Bank, Jewish settlers fr. Daniel settlement establish caravans on the land of al-Khadir village, nr. Bethlehem. The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning; conducts arrest raids and house searches in 1 village nr. Qalqilya. (PCHR 10/4)

U.S. defense secy. Leon Panetta arrives in Israel for a 2-day visit intended to calm Israeli fears over Iran and to project a U.S.-Israeli unified front. He urges Israel to allow sanctions and diplomacy time to work and to avoid unilateral actions. Separately, Israeli PM Netanyahu warns that ‘‘time to resolve this issue peacefully is running out.’’ Meanwhile, anonymous U.S. admin. officials say (NYT 8/2) they are optimistic that ‘‘Israel has no imminent plans to attack and may be willing to let the United States take the lead in any future military strike, which they say would not occur until next year at the earliest.’’ (Defense News 8/1; NYT, WP 8/2; WP 8/21)

IDF troops make a predawn incursion into c. Gaza to level land and clear lines of sight along the border fence e. of alMaghazi r.c.; they withdraw later in the morning. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin. (PCHR 8/2, 8/9; OCHA 8/10)

Around this date, House Foreign Affairs Comm. mbr. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) launches a new congressional caucus, the Congressional HellenicIsraeli Alliance, aimed at supporting the growing bilateral relationship between Israel and Greece, and on a broader level, Cyprus. It is also aimed at reinforcing a budding U.S.-Israeli-Greek-Cypriot alliance to pressure Turkey on regional affairs. (The Hill 8/7)

The IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin in the morning; and conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in 2 villages nr. Jenin. (PCHR 7/5; OCHA 7/13)

In a television interview in Beirut, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine–General Command (PFLPGC) leader Ahmad Jibril states that his faction, along with Hizballah and Iran, would fight to defend Syrian pres. Bashar al-Asad if foreign forces intervene in Syria. Jibril claims to have discussed the matter with Hizballah leader Hasan Nasrallah, but Hizballah does not comment. (WT 7/4)

Al-Jazeera satellite TV airs a special investigative report in which it claims to have uncovered new evidence that Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat did not die of natural causes in 11/2004 but was assassinated. The station funded scientific tests of Arafat’s clothing (kept by his widow, Suha Arafat) by a Swiss forensic institute that found unusually high traces of the radioactive substance polonium21. Suha Arafat immediately calls for Arafat’s body to be exhumed and tested. The PA says only that it would not ‘‘stand in the way of an exhumation.’’ (JAZ 7/3; NYT, WP 7/5)

Iran and the P5þ1 end 2 days of talks in Istanbul. Though the sides do not comment on progress, they say that deputies to Ashton and Jalili will soon meet to discuss how to reduce gaps in their positions and move negotiations forward. The meeting is later set for 7/24 in Turkey. (NYT 7/5, 7/10)

Hamas’s acting PM in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh authorizes a senior CEC team to begin updating Gaza’s voter rolls, in keeping with agreements reached in Cairo on 5/20/12. The CEC estimates that since the rolls were last updated for the 1/2006 elections, the number of eligible but unregistered Gaza voters has grown to as many as 250,000. (NYT 5/29)

In Hamza village, just n. of Jerusalem, Israeli security forces demolish a gas station, car wash, 2 auto body shops, and 2 cafeterias, confiscating several motorcycles, fuel pumps, gasoline, and equipment. Deeper in the West Bank, IDF soldiers nr. Qalqilya fire tear gas, stun grenades at a group of Palestinian laborers attempting to cross into Israel without permits to find work, causing no injuries but starting a small fire that burns a grove of 20 Palestinian olive trees. The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jenin in the morning; in 1 village nr. Jericho in the afternoon; and in 2 villages each nr. Ramallah, Salfit, and Tulkarm and 1 nr. Jenin late at night. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Kafr Qaddum and nr. Hebron, Qalqilya, and Salfit. (PCHR 5/31; OCHA 6/1)

A Turkish court indicts 4 fmr. senior IDF commanders (fmr. IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and those who headed the Israeli navy, air force, and military intelligence) who were in authority when Israel killed 9 Turks aboard the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla ship to Gaza in 2012 (see QU in JPS 157). The 4 officials are unlikely to appear for trial but may be tried in absentia. (NYT, WP 5/29; NYT 6/5)

The Washington Post runs (5/28) a special report alleging proof of an elaborate plan orchestrated either by Iranback Hizballah elements or operatives based in Iran to assassinate U.S. embassy officials and their families in Azerbaijan. The U.S., however, refrains at this stage from accusing Iran or Hizballah of direct involvement. (WP 5/28)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. IDF troops make a brief incursion into n. Gaza to level land and clear lines of sight along the border fence n. of Bayt Hanun, occasionally firing on the surrounding area to keep Palestinians away (no injuries reported). In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes 2 Palestinian water tanks serving Palestinian agricultural land in area C; bulldozes 1 d. of agricultural land nr. Qalandia (n. of Jerusalem) that was previously confiscated for construction of the separation wall; conducts morning patrols in Qalqilya and 1 nearby village, 2 villages each nr. Ramallah and Tulkarm, and 1 nr. Jericho; afternoon patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jenin; late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron; and late-night patrols in Bayt Umar, Birzeit, Jericho and 1 nearby village, Tulkarm, and 2 villages nr. Hebron and Ramallah (firing tear gas and stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinian youths who confront them). Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar settlement nr. Nablus, escorted by IDF troops, throw stones at a Palestinian elementary school in nearby Ourif village; when local Palestinians throw stones back at the settlers, IDF soldiers fire tear gas at them to force them to disperse, causing no serious injuries. (JP, YA 4/23; PCHR 4/26; OCHA 4/27)

A Turkish official says that Turkey has blocked NATO from inviting Israel to participate in a NATO summit planned for Chicago in 5/2012 as part of a NATO outreach program to boost ties with nonmember states. NATO officials deny that the issue was ever discussed. Israel does not comment. (WP 4/24)

No Israeli-Palestinian violence is reported. (PCHR 12/29; OCHA 1/5)

In his 1st diplomatic trip abroad since 2007, Hamas’s acting PM in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh begins a 2-wk. regional tour to promote Hamas’s interests in light of the Arab Spring, including raising money to rebuild Gaza. He starts in Egypt, with planned stops in Sudan, Qatar, Tunisia, Turkey, and Bahrain. (NYT 12/26)

IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians hunting birds nr. the no-go zone, forcing them to leave the area. 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 patrols in 4 villages nr. Ramallah during the day; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches 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, Nabi Salih, and Ni’lin; demonstrations in Bil’in also call for national reconciliation. IDF soldiers fire rubbercoated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters; 3 Palestinians and 1 Israeli in Bil’in are hit and moderately injured by tear gas canisters; 2 Palestinian journalists (for Associated Press and Palestine TV) and 3 international activists are arrested in Nabi Salih. (PCHR 12/8; OCHA 12/9)

Speaking at the Brookings Institute’s Saban Center in Washington, U.S. Defense Secy. Leon Panetta states that the “firm principles” on which U.S. Middle East policy is based are: (1) the U.S.’s “unshakable” commitment to Israel, (2) maintenance of regional stability, and (3) preventing Iran fr. obtaining nuclear weapons (by military means if necessary). However, he also says Israel bears significant blame for a peace process that “has been effectively put on hold” and must do more to revive peace talks and improve relations with Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey. (NYT, WP 12/3)

The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jericho in the morning, and in al-Bireh, 3 villages nr. Tulkarm, 3 nr. Jenin, and 1 nr. Ramallah late in the evening; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron. Palestinians (sometimes accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, and al-Nabi Salih. IDF soldiers beat and fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, causing no serious injuries. (PCHR 9/8; OCHA 9/9)

The UN’s Palmer commission releases its long-delayed investigative report on the 5/2010 Gaza flotilla raid in which 9 Turkish activists attempting to break the siege of Gaza were killed in the IDF raid on the Mavi Marmara. The report concludes that Israel had the legal right to impose a naval blockade of Gaza and to stage an armed raid of the boat, but that the force used by IDF soldiers to subdue protesters was “excessive and unreasonable.” In response, Turkey expels Israel’s amb. and several other senior diplomats, suspends military agreements with Israel, and vows to expand its naval presence in the Mediterranean to protect its ships. (NYT, WP 9/2; HA, NYT, WP 9/3; WP 9/5; NYT, WP 9/7)

Freedom Flotilla II organizers say 2 of their boats have been sabotaged (propeller shafts cut) while docked in Greece and Turkey, delaying the flotilla’s departure until early 7/2011; organizers blame Israel, which refuses to confirm or deny responsibility. The IDF cuts down 11 Palestinian olive trees to clear lines of sight along a settler-only bypass road to Aley Zahav settlement nr. Salfit. (WP 7/1; PCHR 7/7; OCHA 7/8)

A senior Fatah official says that Fatah and Hamas have agreed to delay the formation of a unity government until after the 9/2011 UNGA session out of concern that the international community would be less likely to endorse Palestinian statehood if the PA included Hamas. (Saudi Press Agency 6/29; WP 6/30)

The IDF conducts a major late-night operation targeting Islamic Jihad in and around Jenin, raiding and searching the homes of at least a dozen local Islamic Jihad figures (arresting all but 1) and raiding, searching, and confiscating the files of 2 charities affiliated with Islamic Jihad. The Jenin offices of the Palestine People’s Party are also searched. During the day, the IDF demolishes a Palestinian construction company building in Jinsafut nr. Qalqilya; sends undercover units in a civilian vehicle with Palestinian license plates into al-Bireh to raid and search a restaurant, arresting 4 Palestinians and seizing surveillance tapes; conducts early morning patrols in Silat alDahir nr. Jenin (photographing old houses and alleys), Iraq Burin nr. Nablus (firing rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas at stone-throwing youths who confront them, seriously wounding 1), and Tulkarm; conducts afternoon and evening patrols in ‘Azun nr. Qalqilya (without incident) and in Bayt Liqya and Nabi Salih (in both cases firing live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at stonethrowing youths who confront them, causing no serious injuries); conducts late-night patrols in Alar nr. Tulkarm and late-night arrest raids, house searches in ‘Azun. Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar set fire to Palestinian crops s. of Nablus; the IDF hinders Palestinian fire crews from reaching the scene. The IDF escorts 1,600 Jewish worshipers to visit Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus; some 200 Israelis who did not have authorization for the visit sneak in with the group, refuse to leave, and are forcibly removed by soldiers. (MNA 5/30; PCHR, WJW 6/2; OCHA 6/3)

At a massive rally in Istanbul commemorating the 1st anniversary of Israel’s 5/2010 attack on the aid flotilla to Gaza that killed 9 Turkish activists aboard the Mavi Marmara, the flotilla organizers, the U.S.-based Free Gaza Movement (FGM), and the Turkish charity Humanitarian Relief Foundation (known by its Turkish acronym IHH), announce plans for at least 1,500 activists and 10 boats to set sale in late 6/2011 as part of the “Freedom Flotilla II” to break the Gaza siege. Israel denounces the effort as supporting “a designated terrorist group” (Hamas) and warns it will use force if necessary to halt the flotilla. (DPA, REU 5/30)

Israel’s Interior Min. says it will move forward with plans to build 1,300 new Jewish settlement housing units in East Jerusalem (978 in Har Homa/Jabal Abu Ghunaym, 320 in Ramot). At the same time, Israel issues construction tenders for 800 units in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, which Israel intends to keep under final status. Meanwhile, Israel’s Jerusalem municipal authorities issue a report stating that the municipality is currently building more than 13,500 housing units for Jews in various Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. The UN, U.S., and PA denounce the plans. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols without incident in Zayta village nr. Tulkarm in the morning; patrols in Bayt Liqya late at night, firing rubbercoated steel bullets, tear gas, stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinian youths who confront them, causing no serious injuries. (HA, JAZ, MNA, YA 11/8; HA, NYT, WP, WT 11/9; OCHA, PCHR 11/11)

Pres. Obama dispatches U.S. Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on a 3-day regional tour of the Middle East, with stops in Syria (to warn Damascus against interfering in Lebanon), Turkey (to urge Turkey to repair its ties with Israel), Lebanon (to show support for Pres. Michel Suleiman), and Israel and Ramallah (to explore ways of reviving the peace talks). (XIN 11/8; AP 11/9; NYT 11/11)

Overnight, the IDF makes 3 air strikes on smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border and 1 air strike on an iron pipe store in Nussayrat r.c. in retaliation for Palestinian rocket fire on 7/24, destroying the shop and cutting electricity around Nussayrat, but causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Tulkarm in the morning, making no arrests; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Tulkarm; makes a late-night raid on the Qalqilya home of the PA Undersecy. for Civil Affairs Ma‘ruf Zahran while he is on vacation in Turkey, searching the home and arresting his son. Jewish settlers escorted by IDF troops enter Nablus to pray at Joseph’s Tomb. In 2 separate incidents nr. Nablus, Jewish settlers attack and vandalize Palestinian homes, in 1 case also setting fire to nearby olive groves. (IDF 7/26; PCHR 7/29; OCHA 7/30)

Overnight, Israeli naval commandos in boats and helicopters easily commandeer 5 small boats in the FGM-IHH flotilla to Gaza without incident, but open fire on passengers when they attempt to seize the main vessel (Mavi Marmara) sailing with the group, killing 9 Turkish activists (1 with dual U.S. citizenship); another 53 passengers (23 seriously, including 1 Australian) and 7 Israeli commandos (1 seriously; 1 stabbed, several with gunshot wounds) are injured. The IDF claims commandos acted in self-defense, saying they faced a premeditated attack by passengers; FGM-IHH says passengers were unarmed and nonviolent and at most acted in selfdefense. In light of the incident, the U.S. cancels a meeting at the White House between U.S. Pres. Barack Obama and Israeli PM Netanyahu scheduled for 6/1 and issues a statement saying that the U.S. is “deeply concerned by the suffering of civilians in Gaza” and “will continue to engage the Israelis on a daily basis to expand the scope and type of goods allowed into Gaza.” (IFM 5/31; IFM, NYT, WP, WT 6/1; AHR 6/3; JPI 6/11; ITIC 7/6; Counterpunch 6/10; JPI 7/16)

Meanwhile, IDF troops on the Israeli side of the Erez crossing fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging construction materials fr. destroyed buildings inside the Erez industrial zone, causing no reported injuries. Israeli border police fire tear gas at Palestinian and international activists staging a nonviolent demonstration against Israel’s attack on the flotilla nr. the Qalandia crossing into Jerusalem, hitting an American activist in the head with a tear gas canister (she loses an eye). (PCHR 6/3; OCHA 6/4; WJW 6/10)

Israel warns that it will not allow passage to a flotilla of 8 boats organized by the Free Gaza Movement (FGM) and a Turkish organization, Humanitarian Relief Fund (going by the acronym IHH), currently en route to Gaza in an effort to defy Israel’s siege and deliver 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid, saying it will send Israeli naval commandos to intercept the boats and escort them to Ashdod port, where the 100s of activists onboard would be deported. The U.S. urges restraint. (NYT, WP, WT 5/28)

IDF troops on the Gaza border nr. the former Nahal Oz crossing fire on armed Palestinians laying a roadside bomb nr. the border fence, injuring 7; the Palestinians respond with mortar fire, causing no injuries. The IDF also makes air strikes, directs tank fire at an area s. of Qarni crossing in response to mortar fire fr. the area; 2 Palestinian civilians, no Israelis are injured in the exchange. In the West Bank, the IDF makes a predawn raid on a Palestinian home in ‘Arab al-Ramadin village nr. Hebron, firing tear gas in the home (8 family mbrs. are evacuated to a medical center for treatment); conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron (including arresting a 12-yr.-old boy, who is released on 5/28). (YA 5/28; PCHR 6/3; OCHA 6/4)

Israel charges 2 Israeli Palestinians, Ameer Makhoul (dir. of Ittijah, a union of Arab organizations in Israel) and Omar Said (also a pro-Arab advocate), with espionage for allegedly passing information on the location of IDF facilities to Hizballah, a charge the men deny. (WP, WT 5/28)

Palestinians fire 2 rockets into Israel, causing no injuries. The IDF responds with air strikes on 5 smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border, wounding 3 Palestinians (2 of them young children). In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night house searches nr. Jenin, but makes no arrests. A Palestinian teenager is killed and 2 are wounded when they accidentally trigger IDF UXO at a site nr. Tubas used by the IDF for live fire exercises. Israel begins construction of 65 new housing units on 3.5 d. of Palestinian land in the Arab al-Sawahara neighborhood of East Jerusalem, expanding Talpiot settlement. (HA 2/26; NYT, WP 2/27; OCHA 3/3, 3/4; PCHR 3/5, 4/29)

U.S. envoy George Mitchell begins his 2d regional tour with planned stops in Turkey, Israel, Ramallah, and Cairo. He stresses U.S. support for a 2-state solution and a halt to Israel’s settlement construction. (IFM 2/26; NYT, WP 2/27)

As OCL enters day 6, Israel announces that it will allow 443 foreign passportholders living in Gaza (mostly the spouses and children of Gazan Palestinians, including U.S., Russian, Moldovan, Ukrainian, Turkish, and Norwegian passport-holders) to leave on 1/2, raising concerns that a major ground incursion into Gaza is imminent.

Israeli actions: The IDF continues air strikes and naval bombardment of Gaza, hitting at least 70 targets and carrying out at least 40 air strikes. Primary targets include the PA parliament building, Justice Min., Education Min., the headquarters of the PA presidency in Gaza City, homes of several other Hamas and PRC cmdrs., tunnels on the Rafah border, suspected weapons depots, 2 mosques in Jabaliya r.c., a fishing harbor w. of Khan Yunis, a water reservoir in Bayt Hanun. Target areas include Abasan, Bani Suhayla, Bayt Hanun, al-Bureij r.c., Gaza City, Jabaliya, Khan Yunis, al-Maghazi r.c., Nussayrat, al-Qarara, Rafah, Tal al-Za‘atar. By day’s end, the Palestinian toll is at least 412 dead.

Palestinian actions: Palestinians fire 59 rockets (at least 10 of them fired by Islamic Jihad) and 1 mortar into Israel, with 1 longrange rocket hitting an apartment building in Ashdod (causing heavy damage but no major injuries) and 3 in open areas outside Beersheba (causing no damage or injuries). Beersheba municipal official Shimon Krief says that city emergency workers received only 18 calls from concerned citizens during incoming rocket warnings today, stating “People are relaxed.” Beersheba hospital reports that since the city first came under rocket fire on 12/30, it has treated 10 Israelis for moderate physical injuries and 154 for stress, adding that “with each attack, we’ve gotten significantly fewer patients.”

Humanitarian notes: Israel allows 60 trucks of humanitarian aid into Gaza. The International Comm. of the Red Cross (ICRC) warns that humanitarian needs are growing sharply despite the limited entry of aid, noting severe shortages of water, cooking gas, electricity. Israeli human rights groups issue an appeal to DM Barak to restore fuel shipments to Gaza to allow proper functioning of hospitals, water services, and so on.

Of note: Air strikes today include an attack on the home of Hamas’s Nizar Rayyan, a cleric and chief liaison btwn. Hamas’s political and military wings, in a densely populated residential area inside Jabaliya r.c., assassinating him and killing his 4 wives and 11 of his 12 children, causing heavy damage to surrounding buildings; Rayyan is the most senior Hamas official to be killed since Israel assassinated Abd al-‘Aziz Rantisi in 2004 and one of the only Hamas figures who has not gone into hiding since OCL began. (AFP, AP, BBC, HA, IDF, REU 1/1; Bloomberg, HA, ITV, NYT, REU, WP, WT 1/2; IDF 1/3; NYT, WP 1/4; MM, QA 1/6; IFM, PCHR 1/8)

The IDF seals the West Bank through 1/3, citing unspecified security concerns. IDF troops at Ni‘lin checkpoint fire rubbercoated steel bullets, percussion grenades, tear gas at mbrs. of a funeral procession that refuses to lower a Palestinian flag while going through the crossing, injuring 2 Palestinians; 1 tear gas canister lands inside a nearby Palestinian home, sparking a fire that guts the 1st floor. (IDF 1/2; PCHR 1/8)

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

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

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

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

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

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

The IDF kills 3 Hamas mbrs. laying a roadside bomb nr. the Gaza border, marking the deadliest day in Gaza since the truce expired on 12/19. Palestinians fire 2 rockets, 1 mortar fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts near simultaneous late-night house searches in 4 villages nr. Hebron, making no arrests. Israel’s Homefront Command begins several days of exercises in Israel simulating responses to Hamas rocket fire. Participating in the exercises for the first time are Ashdod, Ashqelon, Kiryat Gat, and Kiryat Malachi, on the assumption that Hamas now has rockets that can hit that far north. (MM 12/23; PCHR, WP 12/24; PCHR 1/1)

In Ankara, Israeli and Syrian teams hold their 5th round of indirect peace talks mediated by Turkey. (MM 12/22; al-Watan, MM 12/23)

In Gaza, the IDF makes an air strike on an empty car in Jabaliya r.c. owned by a member of Hamas’s Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades (IQB) in an apparent assassination attempt, destroying the car, damaging surrounding homes, causing no reported injuries; sends tanks, troops into areas southeast of Gaza City to bulldozes 200 d. of olive groves. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border shell an alleged rocket-launching site w. of Bayt Lahiya in n. Gaza, injuring 2 Palestinian children (ages 4, 17) and damaging a house. IDF troops on the s. Gaza border direct heavy machine gun fire towards residential areas of Abasan, wounding 1 Palestinian inside his home. The Israeli navy fires on Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF raids, searches a store in Yatta nr. Hebron, arresting the owner and confiscating a computer; chases and detains 17 Palestinian children who throw stones at an IDF post outside al-Arub r.c. nr. Hebron, questioning and releasing 12, arresting 5; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin. The IDF also demolishes a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem, displacing a family of 7. Jewish settlers fr. Itamar nr. Nablus seize an area of Palestinian land and begin leveling work for construction of a new settler-only bypass road. Jewish settlers angry over the removal of an IDF roadblock nr. Hebron demonstrate, block Palestinian traffic. Israel’s Housing min. issues tenders for construction of 286 new settlement housing units in Beitar Ilit nr. Bethlehem. A Palestinian teenager injured during the IDF’s 4/11/08 raid on al-Bureij r.c. dies (see Chronology in JPS 148). (PCHR 5/22; OCHA 5/28; PCHR 5/29)

Israeli police hold a press conference to announce serious new corruption and financial impropriety allegations against Israeli PM Ehud Olmert (see Quarterly Update for details). (NYT, WP, WT 5/22; NYT 5/23; MM 6/12; NYT, OCHA, WP, WT 5/28)

Israel, Syria, Turkey announce that Israel and Syria have been holding “serious and continuous” indirect peace talks through Turkish mediators since 2/07; high-level Israeli and Syrian negotiating teams are in Istanbul taking part in a preliminary round of indirect negotiations. (IFM 5/21; NYT, WP, WT 5/22; NYT 5/23; MM 6/12)

Lebanese political figures holding national unity talks in Doha formally announce that they have reached a comprehensive agmt. ending their 18-mo. political standoff and paving the way for Gen. Michel Suleiman’s election as pres, including agmts. on redistricting Beirut, an electoral law, and allotment of cabinet seats that will give Hizballah veto power over major decisions. (MM, NYT, WP 5/21; MM, NYT, WP, WT 5/22)

Overnight in Gaza, the IDF sends troops and tanks, supported by helicopters, into areas around Khan Yunis and al-Qarara, searching and occupying homes, temporarily detaining 150 Palestinians, bulldozing 66 d. of agricultural land, clashing with and shelling local gunmen, killing 4 armed AMB and Hamas mbrs.; troops withdraw in the afternoon. In central Gaza, 6 Islamic Jihad mbrs. attempt to break through the border fence to attack an IDF post inside Israel but are shot dead by IDF soldiers. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Tulkarm, in Jenin (firing on residential areas and stone-throwing youths who confront them, wounding 3 children ages 10–13). Some 30,000 Hamas supporters rally in Gaza City in support of ousted PA PM Ismail Haniyeh. ESF officers raid al-Hadath press office in al-Bureij r.c., confiscating documents, computers. (BBC 9/6; NYT, WP, WT 9/7; OCHA 9/12; PCHR 9/13)

Overnight, the IDF sends at least 5 war planes over Turkey and into n. Syria to make an air strike on an industrial building under construction in an open area nr. the Euphrates river, causing no injuries. Syria responds with antiaircraft fire, causing no damage. Syria denounces Israel’s actions and says it is measuring its response, while Israeli PM Ehud Olmert’s office imposes a news blackout. By late in the day, Israel, Syria issue statements declaring that neither side intends to be drawn into a war. (BBC, REU 9/6; NYT, WP 9/7; WT 9/8; WP 9/13; NYT 9/18; HA 11/22)

In Gaza, the IDF sends troops back into s. Gaza to search for a reported tunnel on the Gaza-Egypt border, cuts power to Rafah, makes an air strike on a building in Gaza City that allegedly holds a weapons cache; makes air strikes destroying 2 Palestinian homes in n. Gaza after phoning residents (at least 1 of them an AMB mbr.) to warn them to evacuate, also destroying 1 home nearby; shells residential areas of n. Gaza without warning (hitting 4 Palestinian homes, injuring 3 Palestinians), al-Shuka (wounding 2 Palestinians); temporarily occupies the Erez industrial zone, withdrawing after nightfall; sends bulldozers into southeastern Khan Yunis to raze 100 d. of agricultural land. UNRWA reports that it is housing in its schools some 1,200 Palestinians who have fled n. Gaza to escape IDF shelling. In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units into Nablus to assassinate local Islamic Jihad military cmdr. Hani Uwayjan, a Palestinian civilian with him; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Hebron, Qalqilya; patrols in, fires on residential areas of Jenin, wounding 1 Palestinian. A Palestinian civilian wounded by IDF fire in Gaza City on 7/27 dies. (NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 7/30; PCHR 8/3)

The IDF keeps up intensive air and artillery strikes across Lebanon, targeting the Beirut–Damascus highway (closing the Syrian border crossing for the 1st time since 7/12; though the road is used primarily by civilians trying to flee the country and aid workers bringing in humanitarian assistance, Israel claims it targeted the road to prevent arms smuggling), killing at least 6 Lebanese civilians, wounding 2 UNIFIL monitors. During the day, the IDF withdraws troops fr. Bint Jubayl, claiming to have destroyed Hizballah’s elaborate network of tunnels and storage areas, but continues air and artillery strikes and keeps troops in the area, saying they could be sent back in at any time. Hizballah fires at least 90 rockets into Israel. Israel allows military planes delivering aid fr. Egypt, Jordan, the UAE to land at Beirut airport; a warship fr. Turkey brings medical supplies into Beirut port; a U.S. naval catamaran brings blankets, tarps, medical kits; aid workers in Lebanon complain that it is still too dangerous to transport aid supplies, that the IDF still requires convoy-by-convoy approval to move the aid to hard-hit areas. (NYT, WP, WT 7/30)