751 / 15241 Results
  • June 15, 2013

    Hassan Ruhani wins Iran’s presidential election, with a voter turnout of around 80%. The win is seen as a victory for moderate elements within the domestic political scene and a defeat for...

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  • May 27, 2013

    U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry meets with Israeli justice minister Tzipi Livni and Special Envoy Yitzhak Molcho in Amman, their 4th meeting since Kerry’s arrival in the region on 5/23. Kerry also...

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  • May 21, 2013

    In the West Bank, IDF troops shoot and injure a Palestinian teenager in al-Jalazun r.c. nr. Ramallah during a demonstration in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. An IDF spokesperson says that...

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  • May 7, 2013

    Two small rockets and later a mortar land in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, causing no damage or injuries. While the IDF says the fire is ‘‘accidental spillover’’ from the Syrian civil war,...

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  • May 5, 2013

    The Israeli air force strikes a site nr. Damascus, in a new air strike on what unnamed Western intelligence sources say was a shipment of advanced, Iranianmade missiles heading to Hizballah in...

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  • April 29, 2013

    In Washington, U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry and VP Joe Biden meet with senior Arab officials including the Bahraini, Egyptian, Jordanian and Qatari FMs, and representatives from the PA, Arab...

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  • January 8, 2013

    Unidentified Israeli officials tell the Jerusalem Post that unofficial, informal talks under EU auspices are taking place between Israeli and Palestinian academics and former political and...

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  • January 5, 2013

    Undercover Israeli police officers arrest 6 Palestinian youths in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem on suspicion of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at a Jewish settler-owned house....

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  • January 4, 2013

    PA pres. Abbas’s legal adviser Hassan al-Ouri says that the PA’s financial crisis may prevent it from joining several international and UN institutions. (MNA 1/4)

    In the West Bank, the IDF...

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  • December 27, 2012

    Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen 6 naut. mi. from the Gaza shore nr. al-Waha, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah in the...

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  • December 21, 2012

    The EU and Russia issue a statement condemning Israeli plans for settlement expansion, citing in particular the proposed E1 development in East Jerusalem. Israeli PM Netanyahu says on Israeli...

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  • December 17, 2012

    Israel approves 1,500 new housing units in the Ramat Shlomo settlement in East Jerusalem. The government is expected to approve a total of 6,500 settlement housing units over the next week,...

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  • December 16, 2012

    Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Gaza nr. al-Waha, causing no injuries. The IDF also opens fire on a group of Palestinians working their lands nr. the...

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  • December 6, 2012

    PLO Executive Comm. mbr. Hanan Ashrawi urges the EU to go beyond verbal condemnation of Israeli violations and to take action—such as a full ban on the import of settlement products and...

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  • November 7, 2012

    The IDF enters the c. Gaza Strip nr. al-Bureij r.c. with 6 bulldozers and 4 military vehicles; Israeli tank fire during the incursion injures 1 Palestinian man. In the West Bank, the IDF serves 40...

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  • October 1, 2012

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

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  • September 20, 2012

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

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  • July 12, 2012

    Israeli troops makes 2 brief incursion into n. Gaza, e. of Gaza City and e. of Jabaliya, to level land and clear lines of sight along the border fence. IQB mbrs. fire at the soldiers, but IDF...

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  • June 28, 2012

    The PA announces that pres. Abbas will receive new Israeli vice PM Mofaz on 7/1 in Ramallah to discuss relaunching peace talks. Mofaz’s office says discussions about a meeting are underway but...

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  • June 26, 2012

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

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  • February 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 17, 2012

    In Washington for talks with Pres. Obama, King Abdallah of Jordan tells reporters that he is convinced that Israel and the Palestinians are each making sincere efforts to find a way to jumpstart...

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  • November 21, 2011

    U.S. Dep. Secy. of State Burns meets with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss ways of reviving peace talks with the Palestinians. U.S. officials say that they are trying to find ways around...

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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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  • May 9, 2011

    The IDF patrols in Bayt Liqya, al-Bireh, Jericho, 5 villages nr. Tulkarm (randomly stopping vehicles and checking IDs in 1 instance), and 1 nr. Ramallah. During another late-night patrol in Kafr...

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  • May 7, 2011

    In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm and several nearby villages repeatedly during the day; patrols in a major show of force in Nabi Salih late at night, firing live ammunition, rubber-...

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  • March 23, 2011

    Overnight, Israel makes an air strike on Gaza, killing 1 Palestinian preparing to fire a rocket into Israel. Between dawn and mid-morning, Islamic Jihad fires 3 manufactured Grad rockets fr. Gaza...

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  • March 18, 2011

    Palestinians in Gaza fire an antitank missile at an IDF patrol inside Israel, causing no damage or injuries. During the day, Palestinians also fire 10 mortars toward Israel in 2 barrages, causing...

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  • February 16, 2011

    As the quarter opens, Israel maintains a tight siege of Gaza aimed at unseating the governing Hamas authority, in control since 6/2007. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) enforces a 300-m deep no-go...

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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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Hassan Ruhani wins Iran’s presidential election, with a voter turnout of around 80%. The win is seen as a victory for moderate elements within the domestic political scene and a defeat for conservative clerical hard-liners. He will assume office on 8/3 when Ayatollah Ali Khamenei endorses the election results. White House spokesperson Jay Carney says that Obama congratulates Iranians for their courage in voting. (AP, REU 6/15)

In the West Bank, IDF troops violently disperse a march by hundreds of Palestinians, Israelis, and international activists in Bayt Liqya, nr. Ramallah, as demonstrators attempted to march to the site of 3 villages destroyed in al-Latrun in 1967.There are no serious injuries. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr Salfit and Hebron at night; patrols in 2 villages nr. Qalqilya, 1 village nr. Tulkarm, and 1 village nr. Salfit at night. Meanwhile, Jewish settlers set fire to more than 300 olive trees nr. Nablus. (MNA 6/15; PCHR 6/20)

Palestinian protesters in Nablus demonstrate against living costs, demanding a reduction in the Value Added Tax and a subsidy for basic goods. Palestinian People’s Party representative Khalid Mansour tells the rally that PA Pres. Abbas should reconsider the Paris Protocol, or even “disavow it completely.” (MNA 6/15)

Egyptian pres. Mohamed Morsi says that he has cut all diplomatic ties with Damascus and backs a no-fly zone over Syria, an announcement he makes at a rally in Cairo. (REU 6/15)

U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry meets with Israeli justice minister Tzipi Livni and Special Envoy Yitzhak Molcho in Amman, their 4th meeting since Kerry’s arrival in the region on 5/23. Kerry also meets with Palestinian pres. Mahmud Abbas in Amman, their 3d meeting of the trip, before returning to Washington. Kerry tells reporters before he leaves the region that he expects answers from both Netanyahu and Abbas within one or 2 weeks. (HA 5/27)

Off the coast of the Gaza Strip, Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, IDF troops demolish 3 Palestinian-owned houses and 2 sheds in the Jordan Valley village of al-Jiftlik. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon, and in 1 village each nr. Ramallah, Jenin, and Hebron, as well as al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron, at night; patrols in 1 village nr. Tulkarm in the morning, 1 village each nr. Qalqilya, Jenin, and Hebron in the afternoon, and in 2 villages each nr. Tulkarm, Ramallah and Qalqilya, and 1 village nr. Bethlehem at night. In East Jerusalem, suspected right-wing Jewish extremists vandalize 15 Palestinian-owned cars in the Shaykh Jarrah neighborhood. (MNA, WAFA 5/27; PCHR 5/30)

During talks in Brussels, EU foreign ministers fail to reach agreement on supplying arms to Syrian rebels but reinstate sanctions on Damascus and lift an arms embargo for the opposition. Member states like Britain and France are now free to go it alone in sending weapons should they see fit at some point. (NYT, REU 5/27)

In the West Bank, IDF troops shoot and injure a Palestinian teenager in al-Jalazun r.c. nr. Ramallah during a demonstration in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. An IDF spokesperson says that soldiers targeted a protester holding a Molotov cocktail; Palestinian witnesses say that the 13-year-old was walking with school friends when targeted. The IDF also conducts house searches and arrest raids in 2 villages and al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron, as well as 1 village each nr. Tubas and Tulkarm at night. Off the coast of the Gaza Strip, Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen nr. Bayt Lahiya, causing no damage or injuries. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolish 4 Palestinian-owned residential buildings. (HA, MNA 5/21; PCHR 5/23)

The Israeli military announces that Palestinian fishermen will now be able to fish up to 6 miles off the coast of the Gaza Strip, extending the previous limit of 3 miles that was set in 3/2013. Meanwhile, an official from Hamas’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that the govt. is willing to close smuggling tunnels once a commercial crossing opens. (HA, MNA 5/21)

The Syrian army and Israeli forces have a brief exchange of fire over the cease-fire line in the Golan Heights. Damascus claims responsibility for firing at Israeli troops, damaging an army jeep but causing no injuries, with the IDF returning fire, reportedly destroying an army post but causing no injuries. IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz warns the Syrian govt. not to conduct any further attacks. (AFP, HA, REU, WP 5/21)

Egyptian forces conduct raids in the n. Sinai as the search continues for the kidnapped security officials. Egyptian authorities also keep Rafah crossing closed for the 5th consecutive day. (MNA 5/21)

Two small rockets and later a mortar land in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, causing no damage or injuries. While the IDF says the fire is ‘‘accidental spillover’’ from the Syrian civil war, rather than intentional, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command says that Syrian government has given the Damascusbased group permission to attack Israeli targets in the Golan Heights. Syrian pres. Bashar al-Asad says that Syria is capable of facing Israel, but does not suggest Damascus will retaliate for the recent Israeli air strikes (e.g., 5/5). Hizballah’s deputy head Naim Qassem says that the Israeli attacks aim to boost the opposition fighters and does not comment on claims that missiles bound for the Lebanese group were the target. Meanwhile, Syrian rebel faction the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade says that it is holding 4 Filipino UN peacekeepers it detained on the Syrian side of the ceasefire line between Syria and the occupied Golan Heights, claiming that fighting had endangered the observers. (AP, JP, REU, WP 5/7)

Israeli officials say that PM Benjamin Netanyahu has promised U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry to ‘‘rein in’’ settlement construction until mid-6/2013 in the context of renewed efforts to resume negotiations. (HA 5/7)

Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen off the north Gaza coast, causing no damage or injuries.

In East Jerusalem, some 40 rightwing Israelis enter the al-Aqsa Mosque compound protected by Israeli security forces, sparking clashes with Palestinian worshippers.

In the West Bank, Jewish settlers attack Palestinian vehicles and agricultural land nr. Nablus, causing no injuries. The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Tulkarm in the morning, and in 2 villages nr. Hebron, 2 villages nr. Jenin and 1 village nr. Tulkarm at night. Also at night, IDF troops conduct house searches and arrest raids in Nablus, 1 village nr. Nablus, 1 village nr. Ramallah and 1 village nr. Tulkarm. (MNA, WAFA 5/7; PCHR 5/9)

The Israeli air force strikes a site nr. Damascus, in a new air strike on what unnamed Western intelligence sources say was a shipment of advanced, Iranianmade missiles heading to Hizballah in Lebanon. Israeli officials later stress that the airstrikes are aimed at Hizballah rather than destabilizing or undermining Pres. Bashar al-Asad’s regime. The Syrian government accuses Israel of ‘‘gross aggression’’ and says that the strike ‘‘opens a door to all options.’’ The opposition Syrian National Coalition also condemns the strike, saying that Israel is ‘‘taking advantage’’ of the conflict. A U.S. intelligence official says that Washington was not given any forewarning of the air raid. Iran’s Foreign Min. states that countries in the region should oppose the ‘‘assault,’’ while the Iran’s army ground forces commander Ahmad Reza Pourdastan says Tehran is ready to support its ally. Egypt condemns the airstrikes, as does the Lebanese pres. Michel Suleiman. The Arab League demands that the UN Security Council act to end Israeli attacks on Syria, though without suggesting any specific measures. (Guardian, HA, JP, MNA, REU, YA 5/5; AP, REU 5/6)

In the Gaza Strip, IDF forces open fire on Palestinian gravel and metal collectors close to the border fence nr. Bayt Lahiya, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Tulkarm in the morning, 1 village nr. Jenin and 1 village nr. Salfit in the afternoon, and in al-Fawar r.c. nr. Hebron and 2 villages nr. Hebron at night. Also at night, IDF troops conduct house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Bethlehem, 1 village nr. Hebron, and 2 villages nr. Jenin. (PCHR 5/9)

In Washington, U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry and VP Joe Biden meet with senior Arab officials including the Bahraini, Egyptian, Jordanian and Qatari FMs, and representatives from the PA, Arab League, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia for talks on the peace process. Qatari PM Shaykh Hamad Bin Jassem al-Thani, speaking on behalf of the Arab League delegation, cites the possibility of a border agreement that includes mutually agree and minor land swaps between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Kerry affirms the importance of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative that promised full normalization for Israel’s complete withdrawal from the occupied territories (including the Golan). (AP, REU 29/4)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 rocket from Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In response to recent rocket fire (see also 4/27), Israel closes the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing, further restricts movement through the Erez crossing to ‘‘humanitarian cases,’’ though it cancels visits for Gazan families of Palestinians jailed in Israel (VIPs were the only others allowed to cross Gaza). Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishermen off the south Gaza coast east of Rafah, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, IDF soldiers evict several hundred Bedouin from Wadi al-Malih village in the Jordan Valley after declaring the area a live fire training zone (see 4/24). Meanwhile, Israel demolishes 4 Palestinian apartments in the al-Tur neighborhood of East Jerusalem, as well as a water well and utility room in the al-Fawar r.c. in Hebron. The IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Tulkarm in the morning, in 2 villages nr. Jenin in the afternoon. At night, IDF troops conduct house searches and arrest raids in Dahaysha r.c. in Bethlehem, in Hebron, in 5 villages nr. Hebron, in Nablus, and in 1 village nr. Ramallah. Jewish settlers attack Palestinians in Bayt Furik village nr. Nablus, injuring 2. (AFP, MNA REU 4/29; PCHR 5/2)

UN Secy.-Gen. Ban Ki-moon urges the Syrian government to allow experts into the country to investigate reports of alleged use of chemical weapons. Damascus wants any investigation limited to a 3/2013 incident nr. Aleppo while Ban wants to also include a 12/2012 incident in Homs. (see 4/24) (AP 4/29)

Unidentified Israeli officials tell the Jerusalem Post that unofficial, informal talks under EU auspices are taking place between Israeli and Palestinian academics and former political and military leaders. These discrete dialogues are looking at final-status issues like Jerusalem in order to come up with recommendations for steps that could be taken by both sides. (JP, REU 1/8)

Israel’s Jerusalem municipality demolishes a Palestinian home in Silwan in East Jerusalem on the basis that it was built without a permit. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron, ‘Ayn Bayt al-Ma’ r.c. nr. Nablus, and 1 village nr. Bethlehem at night. (WAFA 1/8; PCHR 1/10)

Israel’s education min. Gideon Sa’ar convenes an unscheduled meeting of the Council for Higher Education in order to officially endorse the university status of Ariel settlement’s college. Speaking at Ariel University on the same day, PM Netanyahu says the settlement will ‘‘always remain under Israeli sovereignty.’’ (HA, JP 1/8)

Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad says that the PA is on the verge of bankruptcy, but that he is not afraid of popular protests against the PA similar to those that took place in 9/2012 (see Quarterly Update in JPS 166). Fayyad points out that international aid to the PA dropped from $1.8 b. in 2008 to $1 b. in 2011. (JP 1/8)

PA pres. Abbas appoints the new leadership of the Fatah comm. in the Gaza Strip, a group tasked with increasing the movement’s membership in Gaza. (MNA 1/8)

A military court in Gaza City sentences Fatah military leader Zaki al-Sakani to 15 yrs. in jail on charges of terrorism and illegal possession of explosives and weapons. Fatah denounces the verdict. (MNA 1/8)

Pro-Asad Palestinian factions in Damascus call for a cease-fire after a month of fighting in Yarmuk r.c. A statement signed by the PFLP–GC, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Nidal Front says that Palestinians in Syria must remain ‘‘neutral.’’ (AJE, Guardian 1/8)

Undercover Israeli police officers arrest 6 Palestinian youths in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem on suspicion of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at a Jewish settler-owned house. In the Gaza Strip, the IDF opens fire on a garbage truck close to the border fence nr. Bayt Hanun, wounding 1 Palestinian. In the West Bank, Jewish settlers from the unauthorized outpost Esh Kodesh nr. Nablus attack the Palestinian village of Qusra, provoking clashes with residents. In response, the IDF deploys troops in the area and fires tear gas and stun grenades at villagers. The IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Tulkarm in the morning, in 1 village nr. Jericho in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Ramallah, 1 village each nr. al-Bireh and Jericho at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in the Old City of Hebron, 1 nearby village, and 1 village nr. Jenin at night. The IDF attacks a nonviolent demonstration against the occupation and settlement expansion held by Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals in Bayt Umar village nr. Hebron, causing no serious injuries. (MNA 1/5, 1/6; PCHR 1/10)

PA security forces arrest the Hebronbased members of the National Unity Brigades, which announced its formation and called for a 3d intifada in a video released on 12/14. (JP 1/5)

Sources tell Palestinian Ma‘an news agency that PLO leaders, the Free Syria Army, and Syrian government forces are working toward a deal to end the fighting in and blockade of Yarmuk r.c. in Damascus, including the withdrawal of rebel fighters and the end to army shelling. (MNA 1/6)

PA pres. Abbas’s legal adviser Hassan al-Ouri says that the PA’s financial crisis may prevent it from joining several international and UN institutions. (MNA 1/4)

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning and in al-‘Arub r.c. and Ithna r.c. (both nr. Hebron), 5 villages nr. Ramallah, 3 villages nr. Hebron, and 1 village nr. Tulkarm at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in Bayt Sahur and Aida r.c. in Bethlehem at night. Israeli soldiers attack 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 wounded with live ammunition. Jewish settlers enter al-Manshiya village nr. Bethlehem, vandalize a car, and write ‘‘price-tag’’ graffiti. (PCHR 1/10)

Hundreds of thousands of Fatah supporters rally in Gaza City to mark the 48th anniversary of the founding of the movement, the 1st such show of support for Fatah in Gaza since 2007. Pres. Abbas tells the crowds in a televised address that Palestinian national unity is coming soon. Hamas’s acting PM Ismail Haniyeh calls Abbas to congratulate him on the occasion of the anniversary. Meanwhile, a report in Ha’Aretz says that IDF-PA security coordination is improving again, and the PA is renewing arrests of Hamas and Islamic Jihad suspects. (HA, MNA, REU 1/4)

Christian Science Monitor reports that Palestinian support for military operations against Israel has registered its most significant jump in 10 years (50.9%, up from 29.3% in 1/2011), spurred by Operation Pillar of Defense, ongoing Israeli settlement expansion, and frustration over a peace process that has been essentially deadlocked for more than 4 yrs. (CSM 4/1)

Egyptian security forces seize antitank and anti-aircraft missiles in the Sinai Peninsula, weaponry thought by Egyptian security sources to be bound for the Gaza Strip via the tunnels. (MNA 1/4)

In Syria, fighting between pro- and anti-government groups resumes in Yarmuk r.c. nr. Damascus, ending a short-lived cease-fire (see 12/21) and prompting another wave of Palestinian refugees. (AKH 1/4)

Recently retired Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin says in an interview with Israeli media that PM Netanyahu acted irresponsibly regarding Iran’s nuclear program and tried to convince him and colleagues to approve an ‘‘illegal’’ decision to attack Iran. (AP 1/4)

Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen 6 naut. mi. from the Gaza shore nr. al-Waha, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning, in 1 village nr. Jenin and 1 village nr. Ramallah in the afternoon, and in 1 village nr. Jericho, 2 villages nr. Hebron, and al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Jenin and 1 village nr. Bethlehem at night. Jewish settlers uproot 40 olive trees in Qusra village nr. Nablus. (MNA 12/27; PCHR 1/3)

PA pres. Abbas tells Israeli newspaper Ha’Aretz that if both settlement construction and the diplomatic stalemate continue after the forthcoming Israeli elections, he will dismantle the PA. He also says that Israel has reduced security cooperation with the PA since the UN vote in 11/2012. Abbas says he does not intend to bring charges against Israel at the ICC in The Hague, at least ‘‘as long as there are diplomatic negotiations.’’ Meanwhile, UK min. for the Middle East Alistair Burt condemns Israel’s plans to expand settlements in East Jerusalem and its official recognition of Ariel University Center as a university in unusually strong terms that refer to the Geneva Conventions. (HA, ToI 12/27)

Kadima chair Shaul Mofaz warns that Israel might be on the brink of a 3d intifada. Israeli media report an increasing number of small-scale clashes between Palestinians and the IDF in different locations throughout the West Bank since the end of Operation Pillar of Defense, including stone-throwing Palestinians attacking Israeli vehicles and IDF troops. (ToI 12/27)

Hamas issues an order banning Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip from working with or giving interviews to the Israeli media, and instructs government officials similarly. Meanwhile, Fatah cancels its anniversary celebrations in Gaza, citing Hamas’s refusal to agree to their proposed locations for the event. (Guardian, MNA 12/27)

In Syria, 4 Palestinians are killed when Syrian government forces shell Yarmuk r.c. nr. Damascus, the 1st attack of its kind since the rocketing of the camp on 12/16 that killed at least 25 people. (NYT 12/27; MNA 12/28)

The EU and Russia issue a statement condemning Israeli plans for settlement expansion, citing in particular the proposed E1 development in East Jerusalem. Israeli PM Netanyahu says on Israeli television that he will ignore international condemnation. Meanwhile, adviser to PA pres. Abbas, Nimr Hammad, says that Palestine may complain to the ICC if the UNSC fails to take substantive action over Israeli settlement construction. (JP, MNA, REU 12/21)

In the Gaza Strip, the IDF opens fire on civilians and farmers protesting the buffer zone in 2 separate incidents: by the border fence nr. Jabalya, injuring 2 (1 seriously), and nr. Bayt Lahiya, wounding 2. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 village nr. Jericho in the morning, in 1 village each nr. Jericho and Ramallah in the afternoon, and in Jericho, 3 villages nr. Ramallah, and 1 village nr. Tulkarm at night. Israeli soldiers attack weekly nonviolent demonstrations held by Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals in 3 villages nr. Ramallah (Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, al-Nabi Salih) and 1 village nr. Bethlehem (al-Ma‘sara). There are no serious injuries, except in Bil‘in, where 2 Palestinians are wounded with live ammunition. (PCHR 12/27)

Palestinian refugees begin to return to Yarmuk r.c. nr. Damascus after a deal was brokered by UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi’s representative Mokhtar Lamani to keep the fighting out of the area. UNRWA estimates that around 100,000 of the camp’s 150,000 inhabitants fled during recent clashes, many taking refuge in the parks and squares of the capital. (AFP, AP 12/21)

Israel approves 1,500 new housing units in the Ramat Shlomo settlement in East Jerusalem. The government is expected to approve a total of 6,500 settlement housing units over the next week, including almost 4,000 in Givat Hamatos–a new settlement nr. Bayt Safafa–and 1,000 units in Gilo South. Palestinian envoy to the UN Riyad Mansour urges permanent members of the UNSC to take action to stop Israel’s settlement plans in East Jerusalem. (JP, REU, MNA 12/17)

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen working 7 naut. mi. off the Gaza coast nr. Wadi Gaza (wounding 1) and nr. al-Waha (causing no injuries). In the West Bank, the IDF shoots and injures a Palestinian man in a village nr. Nablus, after Jewish settlers entered the village and clashed with residents. Israeli forces also raid Jaba village in the n. West Bank, ransacking several homes and taking photographs of a number of buildings. The IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Tulkarm in the morning, and in 1 village nr. Jenin, and Tulkarm and 1 nearby village in the afternoon; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon, and in Salfit, Hebron and 3 nearby villages at night. (MNA 12/17; PCHR 12/20)

Teachers in the West Bank go on strike to protest the delay in the payment of their salaries. The PA has not set a target date for paying back salaries. Meanwhile, the PA civil servants union accuses Israel of collective punishment for withholding Palestinian tax revenues and calls a strike from 12/18 to the end of the week. (MNA 12/17)

Hamas’s Interior Ministry in Gaza says that Fatah will be allowed to celebrate its 48th anniversary in Gaza, in order ‘‘to promote the atmosphere of unity.’’ (MNA 12/17)

Syrian rebels take control of Yarmuk r.c. nr. Damascus after a fierce battle pitting rebels and anti-Asad Palestinians against the pro-Asad PFLP–GC. PLO official in Syria Anwar Abdul-Hadi says that over half the Palestinian population of Yarmuk r.c. has fled; Palestinian amb. to Syria puts the figure at 95%. (MNA, REU 12/17)

Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Gaza nr. al-Waha, causing no injuries. The IDF also opens fire on a group of Palestinians working their lands nr. the border fence e. of Khan Yunis, seriously wounding 1 farmer. In the West Bank, the IDF fires tear gas at stone-throwing Palestinian youths nr. the entrance of Aida r.c. in Bethlehem, hitting 1 child in the leg with a tear-gas canister. The IDF patrols in Jenin and in 1 village each nr. Jenin and Tulkarm at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Bethlehem in the morning and in Nablus, nearby Balata r.c., and 1 village each nr. Bethlehem, Jenin, and Nablus at night. (PCHR 12/20)

Abdul Salam Siyam, cabinet secy.- gen. of Hamas’s government in Gaza, says that Egyptian authorities have pledged to end a blacklist of Gaza Strip residents who cannot use the Rafah crossing. (MNA 12/16)

Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad calls for West Bank residents to boycott all Israeli products. (REU 12/16)

Israeli FM and dep. PM Lieberman resigns over corruption charges filed against him on 12/14, saying that he hopes to take ‘‘the briefest possible leave.’’ He remains chair of Yisrael Beiteinu and 2nd on the joint electoral list with Likud. (AP 12/16)

The Syrian air force bombs Yarmuk r.c. nr. Damascus, killing an estimated 23 persons, all civilians, and sending thousands of Palestinian refugees fleeing the camp for safety. (Guardian, MNA 12/16)

PLO Executive Comm. mbr. Hanan Ashrawi urges the EU to go beyond verbal condemnation of Israeli violations and to take action—such as a full ban on the import of settlement products and reconsidering the EU-Israel Association Agreement—in light of Israel’s persistent human rights abuses. (WAFA 12/6)

Canadian FM John Baird says that PM Stephen Harper has relayed to Israeli PM Netanyahu Canada’s opposition to the recent settlement expansion plans. Netanyahu dismisses international anger and says that Israel will keep the area in question under any future peace deal. (AP 12/5; Globe and Mail 12/6)

Jordan’s King Abdallah II visits Ramallah for talks with Pres. Mahmud Abbas and other senior officials, in a high-profile show of support following the successful UN statehood bid (11/29). (AFP 12/6)

In the West Bank, Jewish settlers attack a Palestinian man during an olive harvest s. of Nablus, while IDF forces invade Barqa village nr. Nablus and ransack 36 homes. In c. Hebron, Israeli soldiers injure 20 Palestinians in clashes provoked when soldiers tried to arrest a Palestinian police officer, who resisted (it is unclear why he is wanted). The IDF patrols in Salfit and 1 village each nr. Jenin and Ramallah in the morning; 1 village each nr. Hebron, Qalqilya, and Salfit in the afternoon; 2 villages nr. Jericho and 1 village each nr. Jenin, Ramallah, and Salfit at night. The IDF also conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Bethlehem at night. (MNA 12/6; PCHR 12/13)

Speaking after a visit to Damascus, Filippo Grandi, head of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), says that parties in Syria’s civil war must respect the neutrality of Palestinian refugees. He expresses particular concern over the role of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine–General Command (PFLP–GC), a pro-Asad faction that is strong in the Yarmuk r.c. nr. Damascus. (AP 12/6; AFP 12/7)

The IDF enters the c. Gaza Strip nr. al-Bureij r.c. with 6 bulldozers and 4 military vehicles; Israeli tank fire during the incursion injures 1 Palestinian man. In the West Bank, the IDF serves 40 families with eviction orders in Khirbat Tana village nr. Nablus, declaring that the area is earmarked for a military training zone; enters a village nr. Salfit to order residents out of 20 homes in preparation for demolition (clashing with locals, leaving 6 Palestinians injured, including 2 journalists); patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah and 2 villages nr. Hebron at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Hebron and 1 village nr. Bethlehem at night. Suspected Jewish settlers cut down around 50 Palestinianowned olive trees in a village nr. Rehelim settlement and leave ‘‘price tag’’ graffiti. (MNA, ToI 11/7; PCHR 11/14)

Syrian security forces seal the Damascus office of Hamas chief Khalid Mishal, abandoned by the Hamas leadership earlier in 2012. (REU 11/7)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Israeli troops makes 2 brief incursion into n. Gaza, e. of Gaza City and e. of Jabaliya, to level land and clear lines of sight along the border fence. IQB mbrs. fire at the soldiers, but IDF troops inside Israel fire 4 artillery shells at them, killing 1 IQB mbr. and wounding 3. The IDF later makes another brief incursion into n. Gaza to level land and clear lines of sight along the border fence e. of Jabaliya, firing warning shots at Palestinian farmers working in the area, forcing them to flee. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah, 2 nr. Qalqilya, and 1 nr. Jericho in the morning and afternoon; conducts late-night patrols in 2 villages nr. Salfit and 1 nr. Ramallah; and conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in al-Bireh, arresting local Hamas leader and fmr. governor of al-Bireh, Shaykh Jamal Tawil. (PCHR 7/19; OCHA 7/20)

In Syria, 13 PLA fighters are abducted from the Nayrab r.c. in Aleppo and killed, sparking a large protests in Yarmuk (an unofficial Palestinian r.c.) near Damascus. (NYT 7/14 MNA 7/22; NYT 8/4)

The PA announces that pres. Abbas will receive new Israeli vice PM Mofaz on 7/1 in Ramallah to discuss relaunching peace talks. Mofaz’s office says discussions about a meeting are underway but does not confirm that a date has been set. (WP 6/29)

Jewish settlers complete the evacuation of Ulpana outpost. The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Tulkarm in the morning; and in 1 village each nr. Jenin, Jericho, Qalqilya, and Ramallah late at night. (NYT 6/29; PCHR 7/5; JPI 7/6; OCHA 7/13)

Hamas reports that senior IQB official Kamal Ghanaja (an aide to assassinated IQB commander Mahmud al-Mabhuh; (see QU in JPS 155) has been killed in Damascus. His body, bound and tortured, was found in his burned Damascus home. While Hamas accuses Israel of assassination, Israel says it believes the Syrian regime, angry over Hamas’s refusal to support Asad, carried out the murder. Syrian opposition groups suspect pro-government militias. (WP 6/29)

Washington Jewish Week reports that 60 rabbis representing the Washingtonbased Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federation of North America (JFNA) recently made a lobbying trip to New York to meet with the UN representatives of 12 countries (mostly Eastern European) to press the UN to reverse its ‘‘poor and unjust treatment of Israel,’’ to block Palestinian statehood efforts, and to urge the dismantling of UN committees that focus exclusively on Palestinian issues (e.g., the Division for Palestinian Rights, the Comm. on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and the Special Comm. to Investigate Israeli Human Rights Practices Affecting the Palestinian People). The group was advised by fmr. U.S. ambs. to the UN Richard Shifter and Jeanne Kirkpatrick. The JFNA says it requested meetings with 14 countries, but 2 (unnamed) declined. (WJW 6/28)

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

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

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

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

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

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 Washington for talks with Pres. Obama, King Abdallah of Jordan tells reporters that he is convinced that Israel and the Palestinians are each making sincere efforts to find a way to jumpstart serious peace talks, but cautions there are serious obstacles to overcome and time is running out. Separately, State Dept. spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says that the U.S. knows that the 1/26/12 target date for restarting final status negotiations is “out there, [but] we do not want to see it be a rigid sort of straitjacket that chills the atmosphere.” In Israel, PM Netanyahu tells lawmakers in a closed mtg. that “the Palestinians have no interest in entering peace talks.” (WP 1/17)

IDF troops on the n. Gaza border nr. Bayt Hanun fire warning shots at Palestinians and international activists staging a nonviolent march to the border fence to protest Israel’s imposition of a no-go zone; no injuries are reported. The IDF makes a late-night incursion into al-Shuka village in s. Gaza to arrest a mbr. of the Islamic Jihad’s al-Quds Brigade. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm in the morning and afternoon; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Nablus. (WT 1/15; PCHR 1/19; OCHA 1/20).

Hamas officials announce that the movement’s leadership has decided to evacuate their families and most personnel fr. Syria in response to the deteriorating security situation; 3 senior officials (Musa Abu Marzuq, Muhammad Naser, and Izzat Rishiq) will remain in Damascus. Meanwhile, Hamas’s former rep. in London, Mustafa Lidawi, says that Hamas leader Mishal plans to retire as politburo head (a position he has held since 1996) when the organization holds elections in the coming months to allow “a fresh leader to steer Hamas towards a new strategy,” but other Hamas officials deny he has made a final decision. (Guardian, WT, al-Watan 1/18; NYT 1/30)

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) formally apologizes to Israel for allowing a Hamas mbr. to take part in a dialogue in Geneva (ca. 1/14) on Israel’s treatment of Palestinian prisoners as part of a Palestinian delegation and vows that Hamas mbrs. will be barred fr. future IPU events. Israel had threatened (1/16) to withdraw fr. the IPU in protest. The IPU is a nongovernmental organization with permanent observer status at the UN. It was formed in 1889 to arbitrate conflicts but has evolved into an organization that promotes democracy and interparliamentary dialogue. (JPI 1/27; see also AFP 1/16)

Israeli hackers bring down the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency and the Abu Dhabi Securities and Exchange websites, release the email addresses and passwords of 89 Saudi university students, and steal and threaten to release the Facebook login information for 30,000 account holders in Muslim countries in retaliation for the 1/16 denial of service attacks on the TASE and El Al and the 1/6 leak of Israeli credit card information. One of the Israeli hackers, Anonymous 972, issues a statement saying “Usually we do not like to hurt innocent sites, but there is now a cyber war, and every war has victims. . . . Every time an Israeli site get[s] hacked, the same thing will happen to Saudi sites.” The Israeli hacker who claims to have the Facebook information, Hannibal Hacker, also claims that he could publish bank account details of 10 million Arabs and the credit card details of 4 million Arabs if cyberattacks on Israel continue. (ZDNet 1/19; HackRead 1/25; JPI 1/27)

U.S. Dep. Secy. of State Burns meets with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss ways of reviving peace talks with the Palestinians. U.S. officials say that they are trying to find ways around Palestinian demands for a settlement freeze in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, but give no details. (NYT 11/22; JPI 12/2)

The IDF makes a late-night incursion into s. Gaza, patrolling in and firing on residential areas of Rafah, causing no injuries and making no arrests. Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them back to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF raids and searches the home of a PA police officer nr. Jenin, arresting him; patrols in 7 villages nr. Ramallah, in 1 instance firing rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinian youths who confront them. (PCHR 11/24; OCHA 11/25)

PA Tourism and Antiquities M Hamdan Taha says that now that Palestine has full membership in UNESCO (see QU in JPS 162), it is planning to seek world heritage status for the old cities of Hebron and Jericho. An application for Bethlehem is already in the works and is expected to have a better chance now that Palestine has membership. The PA also plans to seek recovery of artifacts looted by Israel, increase funds for preservation and excavations, and use its status to force Israel to stop calling West Bank sites “Israeli antiquities.” (WP 11/22)

King Abdallah of Jordan makes an official visit to Ramallah (his 1st in 10 yrs.) to hold talks with PA pres. Abbas on their independent efforts to reconcile with Hamas and personally to inform Abbas that Jordan has invited Damascus-based Hamas leader Khalid Mishal (barred fr. visiting Jordan since 1999) for an official visit to Amman. The king stresses that any improvement in ties with Hamas is not intended as a move against the PA or as a gesture to Jordan’s Islamist opposition. The U.S. reportedly has expressed displeasure to Jordan over the Mishal visit and hinted that U.S. aid could be cut if Jordan reconciles with Hamas. (NYT, WP 11/22; JPI 12/2)

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)

The IDF patrols in Bayt Liqya, al-Bireh, Jericho, 5 villages nr. Tulkarm (randomly stopping vehicles and checking IDs in 1 instance), and 1 nr. Ramallah. During another late-night patrol in Kafr Qaddum nr. Qalqilya, the IDF temporarily detains 2 PASF officers conducting their own patrol but releases them after intervention fr. the local District Coordination Office. (OCHA, PCHR 5/12)

In Syria, troops escalate the crackdown nationwide: massive arrest sweeps rounding up men age 18–50 are reported in Baniyas, Homs, the suburbs of Damascus, and elsewhere, with govt. forces reportedly using soccer stadiums, schools, and govt. buildings as makeshift detention centers. As of this date more than 700 Syrians are believed to have been killed and 10,000 arrested since clashes began. (NYT, WP, WT 5/10; NYT 5/13)

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm and several nearby villages repeatedly during the day; patrols in a major show of force in Nabi Salih late at night, firing live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades in the streets to harass residents and temporarily occupying the local council headquarters as an observation post. Palestinians and international activists demonstrate in Bayt Umar against settlement expansion; the IDF fires stun grenades and beats several demonstrators, injuring 4 Palestinians (including 1 child). In Gaza City, Hamas authorities break up a demonstration by 10s of Salafists protesting the U.S. assassination of Osama Bin Laden. (WP 5/8; OCHA, PCHR 5/12)

In Syria, troops and tanks surround, cut off, and raid Baniyas and Zabadani village outside Damascus. (NYT, WP 5/8)

Overnight, Israel makes an air strike on Gaza, killing 1 Palestinian preparing to fire a rocket into Israel. Between dawn and mid-morning, Islamic Jihad fires 3 manufactured Grad rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing light damage and slightly injuring 1 Israeli. Later, unidentified Palestinians fire 7 mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, some of which allegedly contain white phosphorous, causing no damage or injuries. Late in the evening, the IDF carries out several air strikes on training sites, rocket launching sites, and smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border, causing no reported injuries. In the afternoon, suspected Palestinian assailants leave a bomb nr. Jerusalem’s central bus station and convention center that detonates, killing 1 British woman, injuring 38 Israelis; the PA immediately condemns the incident; no group claims responsibility. In the West Bank, the IDF blocks a funeral procession fr. using a main road in Bayt Umar village nr. Hebron, sparking a clash in which 2 Palestinian mourners are wounded by live ammunition and 4 are arrested. Hours later, the IDF sends undercover units into Bayt Umar to raid and search a gas station, beating the owners and confiscating a computer. Several hours after that, the IDF returns to block the main entrance of the village with cement blocks and sand barriers. The IDF also patrols in Jericho (photographing the Intercontinental Hotel) and 3 villages nr. Ramallah; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron and in Tulkarm. (AFP, HA, IFM, IsRN, JTA, MNA, REU, YA 3/23; IsRN, JP, NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 3/24; NYT, WT 3/25; PCHR 3/31; JPI, OCHA 4/1)

In Syria, security forces make a predawn assault on the main mosque in Dara‘a, where antigovernment protesters have taken refuge, killing 15. Clashes last throughout the day and spread to 4 nearby villages. Over the succeeding days, clashes spread to towns and villages across the nation, becoming nr. daily events but remaining relatively small (in the 1,000s) and uncoordinated. Hot spots include Baniyas, Hama, Homs, Idlib, Latakia (which was reported to be “near anarchy”), and the Kurdish zone. (Only a few protests are reported in Damascus.) Govt. forces routinely dispersed the rallies, violently killing around 100 nationwide by 4/4. Meanwhile, Syrian activists mobilize through online social networking sites to call for mass protests every Friday until the regime falls. (NYT, SANA 3/23; NYT, WP, WT 3/24; NYT, WP 3/26–28; NYT, WP, WT 3/29; NYT, WP 3/30; NYT, WP 3/31, 4/1; NYT 4/2, 4/3; NYT, WP 4/4; WT 4/5; NYT, WP 4/6; NYT 4/7; NYT, WP 4/8; WP 4/9; NYT, WP 4/9, 4/10)

Palestinians in Gaza fire an antitank missile at an IDF patrol inside Israel, causing no damage or injuries. During the day, Palestinians also fire 10 mortars toward Israel in 2 barrages, causing no damage or injuries; some of the mortars land inside Gaza. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts synchronized morning patrols in Tulkarm and several nearby villages; patrols in alBireh and neighboring al-Am‘ari r.c., and in 3 villages nr. Jericho and Ramallah. 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 Nabi Salih/Dayr Nizam. IDF soldiers fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, injuring 4 Palestinians, including 2 children. A Jewish settler deliberately attempts to run down a Palestinian nr. the Hawara checkpoint nr. Nablus, moderately injuring him; the IDF does not intervene. Jewish settlers fr. Taffuh settlement attempt to seize a plot of nearby Palestinian agricultural land but are sent away by the IDF. Jewish settlers close Jit intersection nr. Qalqilya with burning tires, blocking the main Qalqilya-Nablus road. In separate incidents, Jewish settlers fr. Keddumim and Karnei Shomron settlements stone Palestinian vehicles nr. Qalqilya. In East Jerusalem, Palestinians clash with Israeli border police in Silwan, leaving at least 1 Israeli officer injured. (IsRN, JP 3/18; WP 3/19; PCHR 3/24; OCHA 4/1)

After 2 days of clashes with protesters, arrest raids targeting opposition figures, and imposition of a nighttime curfew in Manama, Bahrain’s troops demolish the giant pearl monument in Pearl Square in a symbolic crushing of antigovernment protesters. No further demonstrations are reported this quarter. By 3/20 observers describe daily life returning to normal (schools and stores reopen, traffic moving) but note “a sense of political paralysis.” Saudi, UAE, and Kuwaiti forces remain in the country through the end of the quarter. (WP 3/19; NYT 3/21)

In Syria, govt. forces violently disperse protests (ranging in size fr. the 100s to the 1,000s) held after Friday prayers in Baniyas, Dara‘a, Damascus, and Homs, fatally shooting 6 protesters and wounding 10s. Though protests are small, the govt. response is harsh and tensions are high. (NYT, WP 3/19)

In Yemen, govt. troops and supporters open fire for more than 20 minutes on protesters demonstrating after Friday prayers in Sana’a, leaving at least 47 dead and 100s injured but failing to disperse the crowd. Afterward, the govt. declares a state of emergency, allowing authorities to curtail civil rights and monitor communications. Over the next 5 days, Yemen’s ambassador to the UN, several other ambassadors, the country’s most influential military commander Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar (a relative and very close ally of Pres. Saleh), and 4 other generals resigned in protest, and Saleh’s own tribe and another key tribal leader called on him to step down. Saleh also fires his cabinet in an apparent attempt to preempt a mass resignation to protest recent deadly clashes. Popular protests also continued. (NYT, WP 3/19; NYT, WP 3/20–21; NYT, WP, WT 3/22–23; NYT, WP 3/24)

As the quarter opens, Israel maintains a tight siege of Gaza aimed at unseating the governing Hamas authority, in control since 6/2007. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) enforces a 300-m deep no-go zone inside the full length of the Gaza border and limits the Palestinian fishing zone off Gaza to 500–1,000 m off the immediate Bayt Lahiya and Rafah coasts, and 3 naut. mi. elsewhere—restrictions that place 17% of Gaza’s total landmass, including 35% of its viable agricultural areas, and 85% of the maritime areas allocated to the Palestinians under the Oslo accords off limits to Palestinians. In the West Bank, governed by the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA), IDF operations and restrictions on movement and access continue but are relatively low. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm before dawn and in Birzeit late at night; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Nablus. (PCHR 2/17, 2/24; OCHA 2/25)

Regionwide antigovernment protests, which toppled the Egyptian and Tunisian regimes last quarter, continue (see Quarterly Update in this issue and in JPS 159). In Bahrain, demonstrators for the 1st time shift fr. calling for a transition to a constitutional monarchy to calling for the ouster of the monarchy altogether. Syria sees its 1st hint of unrest when more than 500 protesters in Damascus spontaneously rally to the defense of a motorist being beaten by a police officer and refuse to disperse, chanting “The Syrian people will not tolerate humiliation” for more than 3 hrs. until Interior M Saed Samour personally goes to the scene to pledge to punish the policeman. Major clashes between govt. forces and protesters seeking regime change are reported in eastern Libya, while modest demonstrations in Yemen call for the president to step down. (NYT, WP, WT 2/17)

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)