323 / 15241 Results
  • September 27, 2013

    In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians fire 1 rocket into s. Israel which causes no damage or injuries. In addition, Israeli troops fire upon a demonstration that approaches the border fence, as part of...

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  • September 20, 2013

    In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops open fire on Palestinians walking close to the border fence nr. Bayt Lahiya, wounding 2. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1...

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  • September 18, 2013

    In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops conduct an incursion close to the border fence in the n. of the territory, and are met by resistance from Palestinian fighters—1 of whom is injured. Meanwhile,...

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  • September 10, 2013

    In the s. Gaza Strip, IDF troops confiscate 2 fishing boats nr. Rafah. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 2 villages nr. Hebron, Tulkarm, and 1 village nr....

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  • August 20, 2013

    In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian children close to the border fence nr. Jabaliya r.c., wounding 2. The IDF also opens fire on Palestinian fishermen working nr. Gaza City,...

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  • August 14, 2013

    Israeli and Palestinian officials hold their 1st direct peace talks in 3 years in Jerusalem, a meeting that last for several hours, but the proceedings and details are kept secret. However, the...

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  • July 22, 2013

    White House spokesperson Jay Carney says that the Obama administration is working to bring together Israeli and Palestinian officials in the coming weeks to discuss how to commence direct...

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  • July 3, 2013

    Off the coast of the Gaza Strip, Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen nr. Bayt Lahiya, causing no damage or injuries. IDF troops also conduct a limited incursion nr. al-Maghazi...

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  • 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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  • June 13, 2013

    In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops operating from a border fence watchtower nr. Khan Yunis open fire and cause damage to a house. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1...

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  • April 26, 2013

    In the West Bank, IDF soldiers demolish 2 structures in Oz Zion, a Jewish settlement outpost nr. Ramallah. The IDF also patrols in al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron and 2 villages nr. Hebron in the...

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  • April 23, 2013

    In the West Bank, the IDF uproots over 1,300 olive trees in the village of Susiya in the southern Hebron hills. The IDF patrols in 4 villages nr. Jenin and 1 village nr. Tulkarm in the morning,...

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  • April 16, 2013

    In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning, in 1 village each nr. Ramallah and nr. Tulkarm at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in and around Hebron...

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  • March 22, 2013

    IDF forces shoot and injure 2 Palestinians during clashes in Anata nr. Jerusalem. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Hebron, in al-‘Arub r.c. and 1 village nr. Hebron in the afternoon; conducts...

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  • March 16, 2013

    White House spokesman Josh Earnest says that U.S. Pres. Barack Obama will be looking for ‘‘serious commitments’’ from Israeli PM Netanyahu and Palestinian pres. Mahmud Abbas when he meets with...

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  • March 1, 2013

    Palestinians across the West Bank rally after Friday prayers to protest the 2/23 death of Arafat Jaradat in Israeli detention, clashing with the IDF in many locations. IDF soldiers use live fire...

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  • February 5, 2013

    White House spokesperson Jay Carney says that Pres. Obama will visit Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan in the spring, but states that Obama will not present a new peace initiative on the trip. (...

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  • January 23, 2013

    White House spokesperson Jay Carney responds to a question about the consequences of the Israeli election for peace efforts by restating the administration’s call for a resumption of direct...

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  • November 30, 2012

    Israel announces that it will build 3,000 new settlement housing units as a response to the successful Palestinian UN vote, as well as advance plans for thousands more units in occupied East...

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  • July 29, 2012

    On the 2d day of his trip to Israel, Republican presidential candidate Romney prays at the Western Wall and gives a public address to 300 select supporters in Jerusalem (calling Jerusalem the...

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  • July 27, 2012

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 rockets or mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah (2 synchronized) in the...

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  • July 16, 2012

    U.S. secy. of state Clinton meets with Israeli leaders (including PM Netanyahu, Pres. Peres, DM Barak, FM Avigdor Lieberman) and Quartet special envoy Tony Blair in Jerusalem and with PA PM Salam...

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  • June 13, 2012

    Israeli troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials in the demolished Erez industrial zone, forcing them to flee. A Palestinian is killed...

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  • May 21, 2012

    The IDF patrols in Tulkarm and 2 nearby villages, 2 villages nr. Jenin, and 1 each nr. Jericho, Hebron, and Ramallah in the morning; stages 3 groups of synchronized patrols s. of Jenin (4 villages...

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  • March 20, 2012

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Nr. al-Maghazi r.c., 2 Palestinians are injured when they accidentally trigger unexploded IDF...

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  • March 5, 2012

    Obama and Netanyahu meet at the White House to discuss Iran. Obama reiterates that the U.S. wants time for diplomacy to work but has left all options, including a military strike, on the table. He...

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  • January 9, 2012

    Palestinian and Israeli peace teams hold a 2d very low-profile meeting in Amman. The sides downplay the meeting, calling them “exploratory sessions,” so as not to raise expectations of a...

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  • December 28, 2011

    Anonymous Israeli officials say that 2 wks. ago, Abbas, under heavy Quartet pressure (especially fr. the U.S.), submitted a proposal for restarting talks that dropped demands that Israel halt...

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  • May 20, 2011

    Obama and Netanyahu hold a difficult but “productive” meeting at the White House to discuss the peace process, particularly their views on the 1967 borders as the basis of Israeli-Palestinian...

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  • May 13, 2011

    The White House announces that U.S. special envoy George Mitchell has submitted his resignation, effective 5/20 (the day Obama is to meet with Netanyahu at the White House). Secy. of State Clinton...

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In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians fire 1 rocket into s. Israel which causes no damage or injuries. In addition, Israeli troops fire upon a demonstration that approaches the border fence, as part of protests in solidarity with Palestinians facing restricted access to al-Aqsa mosque, injuring 5. In the West Bank, hundreds of Palestinians clash with Israeli troops as part of demonstrations marking the 13th anniversary of the 2d intifada. In al-Fawar r.c. nr. Hebron, the IDF opens fire with rubber-coated metal bullets, hitting a child and blinding her in 1 eye. In c. Hebron, more than 200 Palestinians throw stones at Israeli soldiers, who injure 23 Palestinians with live ammunition and rubber-coated metal bullets. There is also a protest outside Ofer prison nr. Ramallah, and in the Nablus area at Hawara checkpoint (where 1 person is injured with a rubber-coated metal bullet to the head). The IDF also conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Jenin and Hebron at night; patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning, and in 2 villages nr. Ramallah at night. Jewish settlers set fire to 2 Palestinian vehicles nr. Beit El settlement n. of Ramallah. In East Jerusalem, Palestinian youths smash a hole in the separation wall in Abu Dis before Israeli forces arrive and violently disperse them. Outside the Old City nr. Damascus Gate, Palestinians throw stones at police officers. (JP, MNA, NYT 9/28; PCHR 10/3)

Diplomats from the Quartet meet on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York and issue a statement calling on both sides to take “every possible step” to make the current negotiations a success. Envoy Tony Blair says that the meeting heard of initiatives accompanying peace talks to boost the Palestinian economy. The Quartet reps. were also joined by Tzipi Livni and Saeb Erakat in their capacities as lead negotiators for their respective sides. (AP, JP 9/28)

The UNSC votes unanimously for a res. that will see Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile secured and destroyed. Kerry says that the res. shows diplomacy is able to “peacefully defuse the worst weapons of war,” adding that destruction of the arsenal will begin in 11/2013 and run through to mid-2014. The council also backs a road map for political transition in Syria, and calls for an international conference to be convened “as soon as possible.” (AP, ToI, REU 9/27)

U.S. Pres. Obama and Iranian pres. Ruhani speak on the telephone, the highest-level contact between the 2 countries since 1979. Obama, in comments at the White House, and Ruhani, via a Twitter account, said that both are committed to solving the nuclear issue. (REU 9/27)

In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops open fire on Palestinians walking close to the border fence nr. Bayt Lahiya, wounding 2. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Qalqilya at night; patrols in 2 villages nr. Hebron, 1 village nr. Jericho and Jenin at night. IDF troops violently disperse Palestinian, Israeli, and international protesters at weekly demonstrations against Israel’s separation wall, settlements, and occupation in 3 villages nr. Ramallah (Bil‘in, Nabi Salih, and Ni‘lin), and 1 village nr. Qalqilya (Kafr Qaddum). There are no serious injuries, except in Kafr Qaddum, where 5 are injured (4 struck by tear gas canisters, including 1 international, and 1 hit by a live bullet). (MNA 9/20; PCHR 9/26)

An Arab-introduced res. at the IAEA’s annual conference in Vienna to censure Israel’s refusal to allow international oversight of its nuclear weapons is voted down 43–54–32 (and another 30 countries were absent during the vote). (AP 9/20)

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) says that Syria has given details of some of its arsenal but still needs to fill in the gaps by next week to satisfy the timetable proposed by the Russian-U.S. plan. (REU 9/20)

White House dep. spokesperson Josh Earnest says that the Obama administration is ready to engage in talks with Iran “on the basis of mutual respect” about the country’s nuclear program. (REU 9/20)

Egyptian police arrest some 87 wanted men in a village nr. Cairo, while separately, gunmen target 3 military vehicles in Rafah, injuring 3 soldiers. Security forces say they also arrested 15 Salafist militants in villages in the n. Sinai. (AFP, AP, MNA 9/20)

In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops conduct an incursion close to the border fence in the n. of the territory, and are met by resistance from Palestinian fighters—1 of whom is injured. Meanwhile, unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket into s. Israel at night, which causes no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Hebron and Nablus at night; patrols in 1 village and al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron at night. In East Jerusalem, IDF troops enter the al-Aqsa mosque compound and denied Palestinians access—meanwhile, a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews are allowed entry. (MNA 9/18; PCHR, YA 9/19)

Iranian pres. Hassan Ruhani vows in an interview on U.S. television that Tehran will never develop nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, White House spokesperson Jay Carney reveals that Pres. Obama has exchanged letters with Pres. Ruhani and told him that the U.S. is ready to resolve the dispute but that there is a need to act with urgency. (AP, REU 9/18)

Egypt partially reopens the border crossing at Rafah with the Gaza Strip, after a week’s closure following an attack on the Egyptian military facilities nearby. (REU 9/18)

In the s. Gaza Strip, IDF troops confiscate 2 fishing boats nr. Rafah. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 2 villages nr. Hebron, Tulkarm, and 1 village nr. Qalqilya at night; patrols in Jenin and 1 village nr. Tulkarm at night. In al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron, IDF troops detain 13 Palestinians. In East Jerusalem, suspected Jewish extremists vandalize 3 buses and leave “price-tag” graffiti in Silwan, while separately dozens of Jewish right-wing activists enter the al-Aqsa mosque compound under police protection. (MNA 9/10; PCHR 9/12)

Israeli Foreign Ministry officials meet with senior EU officials to discuss the new settlement guidelines, and end by resolving to meet again to continue the discussions. Following the meeting, both sides issue upbeat assessments of the dialogue. (JP 9/10)

U.S. Pres. Obama says in a speech at the White House that he has asked Congressional leaders to postpone a vote authorizing force while a “diplomatic path”is pursued, a reference to a Russian proposal to achieve the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile. In response to Moscow’s proposal, France pushes for a UN res. that would be under Chapter 7 and threaten “serious consequences” for non-compliance—a framework immediately rejected by Russia. The Syrian govt., meanwhile, accepts the Russian idea. (AFP, AP, NYT, REU 9/10)

In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian children close to the border fence nr. Jabaliya r.c., wounding 2. The IDF also opens fire on Palestinian fishermen working nr. Gaza City, injuring none but causing damage to their boats. In the West Bank, the IDF shoots and kills 1 Palestinian and wounds 2 others in Jenin r.c. after opening fire in clashes sparked by an arrest raid. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Bethlehem at night; patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin, 1 village nr. Nablus, and in Dahaysha r.c. nr. Bethlehem. During clashes in Dahaysha, the IDF wounds 1 Palestinian with a rubber-coated metal bullet. IDF troops also demolish 15 structures of Bedouin residents in the n. Jordan Valley, including residential sheds and animal barns. (MNA, REU, WAFA 8/20; PCHR 8/22)

Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams meet in Jerusalem to continue discussions taking place following the resumption of official peace talks. U.S. envoy to the peace process Martin Indyk joins the teams, following the previous session that lacked a U.S. presence. The Israeli delegation is headed by Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Molcho, while the Palestinian side is led by Saeb Erakat and Mohammed Shtayyeh. Livni tells Israeli media that both sides have agreed on not sharing details of their discussions to build trust. (AFP, AP, HA 8/20)

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Araqchi hints that Tehran’s FM Mohammad Javad Zarif is poised to take over as negotiator in talks over the country’s nuclear program. Previous negotiator Saeed Jalili was one of the more conservative candidates defeated in the June 14 presidential election. (AP, NYT 8/20)

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses Israel of being involved in the military coup that removed Pres. Morsi in Egypt, though offers only a reference to a meeting between French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy and Tzipi Livni as evidence of his claim. The Egyptian cabinet rejects the comments as baseless, and Erdogan’s remarks are also condemned by White House spokesperson Josh Earnest as “offensive.” (AP, REU 8/20)

Israeli and Palestinian officials hold their 1st direct peace talks in 3 years in Jerusalem, a meeting that last for several hours, but the proceedings and details are kept secret. However, the next day, Palestinian pres. Mahmud Abbas says that the talks dealt with all final-status issues. (BBC, JP 8/15)

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Hebron and surrounding area, Tulkarm, 1 village nr. Bethlehem and Jenin r.c. at night; patrols in 2 villages nr. Hebron at night. (PCHR 8/15)

Egyptian security forces launch a large-scale attack on a protest camp of Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Cairo, sparking clashes in the capital, Alexandria and other cities. More than 600 people are killed by state forces, and thousands are injured. In apparent reprisal attacks, a number of churches across Egypt are attacked and set on fire. U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry says that the violence had dealt a “serious blow” to political reconciliation efforts, comments echoed by White House spokesperson Josh Earnest. (AP, REU 8/14)

White House spokesperson Jay Carney says that the Obama administration is working to bring together Israeli and Palestinian officials in the coming weeks to discuss how to commence direct negotiations. Palestinian official Nabil Abu Rudeineh says that Israel is still blocking the path to formal talks, claiming that Pres. Abbas had agreed to send a delegation to Washington to continue lower-level preliminary discussions. Meanwhile, EU foreign ministers issue a statement welcoming Kerry’s announcement that an agreement had been reached (7/19) for establishing a basis for resuming direct negotiations. Palestinian pres. Abbas says that any future peace deal with the Israelis be put to a national referendum, while Israeli PM Netanyahu says that his govt. will pass a law requiring a referendum on any peace treaty. (AFP, JP, REU 7/22)

In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians fire 1 rocket into s. Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Separately, IDF troops conduct a limited incursion nr. al-Bureij r.c. to level land. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Nablus, and 1 village each nr. Hebron and nr. Salfit at night; patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning, in 3 villages nr. Jenin, 2 villages nr. Ramallah, and 1 village each nr. Hebron, Salfit, and Tulkarm at night. (AFP 7/22; PCHR 7/25)

In Egypt, unidentified assailants kill 6 civilians and security officers in different attacks in Rafah and al-Arish in the Sinai. (AP, REU 7/22)

Chairman of the House of Representatives Intelligence Cmte. Mike Rogers says that the U.S. administration can move forward with plans to arm Syrian rebels, after some concerns were eased. Members of the Senate Intelligence Cmte. had previously voiced worries that arms could end up in the hands of radical Islamist groups, but according to a statement issued by Rogers the White House has since offered reassurances about the proposed supplying of rebels. (REU 7/22)

The EU designates the armed wing of Hizballah as a foreign terrorist organization, a decision welcomed by Israel but condemned by both the Lebanese group themselves, as well as Lebanese caretaker FM Adnan Mansour. The resulting sanctions will restrict Hizballah’s ability to use Europe as a financial conduit. (REU 7/22)

Off the coast of the Gaza Strip, Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen nr. Bayt Lahiya, causing no damage or injuries. IDF troops also conduct a limited incursion nr. al-Maghazi r.c. in the Gaza Strip, reportedly including a bomb detection device. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 8 villages and al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron, 2 villages nr. Jenin, 2 villages nr. Nablus, and 1 village each nr. Bethlehem and Ramallah. (PCHR 7/4)

The Egyptian armed forces chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announces the ousting of Pres. Mohamed Morsi and the suspension of the constitution, as the military’s 48-hour deadline passes without Morsi relinquishing office as demanded. Al-Sisi appoints Adly Mansour, head of the constitutional court, as interim president for an indefinite period of time, but says that presidential and parliamentary elections will follow in due course. Al-Sisi makes his address in front of a symbolically-loaded panel featuring religious leaders, Mohamed El-Baradei, and a representative of the Tamarod campaign, which drove the anti-Morsi protests. Late at night, a Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson says that Morsi is being held in an unknown location, while a military official says that the head and deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party have been arrested, and that arrest warrants for 300 Brotherhood members have been issued. Following al-Sisi’s announcement, opponents of Morsi celebrate in Tahrir Square, while clashes in Cairo, Alexandria, Marsa Matrouh, and the s. city of Minya kill some 30 people and leaves hundreds wounded. U.S. Pres. Barack Obama expresses concern about the military’s actions in a written statement issued by the White House. A U.S. official says that the State Dept. has ordered nonessential U.S. diplomats and families of embassy personnel to leave the country. (AP, NYT, REU 7/3, Guardian 7/4)

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)

In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops operating from a border fence watchtower nr. Khan Yunis open fire and cause damage to a house. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Hebron in the morning and in 1 village nr. Jenin at night; patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin and 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning, and in 2 villages nr. Qalqilya, 1 village nr. Hebron, 1 village nr. Jenin, and 1 village nr. Jericho at night. Jewish settlers throw rocks and Molotov cocktails at Palestinian-owned homes and a car nr. Yitzhar settlement in the n. West Bank. (MNA 6/13; PCHR 6/20)

Israeli officials confirm that plans will proceed to build more than 1,000 new homes in Bruchin and Itamar settlements, drawing criticism from the U.S. administration, with U.S. State Dept. spokesperson Jen Psaki calling the announcement “unhelpful.” Bruchin was granted legal status last year, and its residents will be allowed to construct 550 new houses, while Itamar’s will be permitted to construct 537 new homes, in association with the relevant govt. agencies. (AP, REU 6/13)

An estimated 3,000 protesters march in Beersheba to demonstrate against the proposed Prawer Plan, which will displace tens of thousands of Bedouins in the Negev. Bedouins also conduct a community-wide strike in protest of the Plan. (AFP, YA 6/13)

U.S. Pres. Barack Obama authorizes sending U.S. weapons to Syrian rebels for the 1st time. Meanwhile, a statement from the White House says that between 100 and 150 people have died from chemical weapons attacks in Syria. (AP, REU 6/13)

UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky says that the peacekeeping dept. has asked Austria to delay to the end of 7/2013 its full troop withdrawal from the UNDOF mission in the Golan Heights to enable a smooth transition. Separately, the UN also says that Syrians are being killed at an average rate of 5,000 per month, with the overall death toll nearly 93,000. (AP 6/13)

In the West Bank, IDF soldiers demolish 2 structures in Oz Zion, a Jewish settlement outpost nr. Ramallah. The IDF also patrols in al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron and 2 villages nr. Hebron in the afternoon, and in 1 village nr. Ramallah at night. IDF soldiers violently disperse Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals taking part in nonviolent demonstrations against the Israeli occupation and in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. The demonstrations are held in 4 villages nr. Ramallah (Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, al-Nabi Salih, Budrus), 1 village nr. Bethlehem (al-Ma’sara), 1 village nr. Hebron (Bayt Ummar), al-Haraiek area nr. Hebron, al-Shakara area nr. Ramallah, and 1 village nr. Qalqilya (Kafr Qaddum); 1 Palestinian is seriously injured in Kafr Qaddum by a tear gas canister to the head. IDF troops on the Gaza border e. of Jabaliya r.c. shoot and wound 1 Palestinian in the Gaza Strip. Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen off the north Gaza coast and also off the south Gaza coast off Khan Yunis: no damage or injuries reported. (AFP, MNA 4/26; PCHR 5/2)

The European Union missions in Ramallah and Jerusalem express serious concern over Israel’s demolition of 22 structures across 8 locations in the West Bank and East Jerusalem earlier in the week that displaced 28 Palestinians. The EU statement notes that some of the destroyed structures were funded by member states. (JP 4/27)

U.S. Pres. Barack Obama hosts Jordan’s King Abdullah II at the White House, with discussions to include the Syrian crisis, as well as Jordan’s political and economic developments. Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office before the meeting, Pres. Obama says he would respond ‘‘prudently’’ and ‘‘deliberately’’ to solid evidence Syria has used chemical weapons, a development he describes as a ‘‘game changer’’ for Washington (see 4/23). (AFP, AP, REU, NYT 4/26)

In the West Bank, the IDF uproots over 1,300 olive trees in the village of Susiya in the southern Hebron hills. The IDF patrols in 4 villages nr. Jenin and 1 village nr. Tulkarm in the morning, and in Jenin, Tulkarm, and 4 villages nr. Tulkarm at night. IDF soldiers conduct house searches and arrest raids at night in 1 village nr. Bethlehem in the morning, and in Hebron, 1 village nr. Hebron, al-Fawar r.c. nr. Hebron, and in 1 village nr. Bethlehem. (MNA 4/23; PCHR 4/25)

Israeli officials claims to have evidence the Syrian government has used chemical weapons and thus crossed U.S. Pres. Obama’s so-called ‘‘red line,’’ though they do not give details. In response, White House press secy. Jay Carney says that the administration is still looking for ‘‘conclusive evidence, if it exists.’’ (NYT 4/23)

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning, in 1 village each nr. Ramallah and nr. Tulkarm at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in and around Hebron and in 1 village nr. Jenin at night. (PCHR 4/18)

Bloomberg reports that for the first time, the regular budget for the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency contains funds to buy new Iron Dome missile defense systems for Israel. $395.9 million is budgeted for the purpose in fiscal years 2014-15, in what is described by an Agency spokesperson as ‘‘new money,’’ coming on top of $486 million requested by the White House and Congress (making a total of $882 million). (Bloomberg 4/16)

IDF forces shoot and injure 2 Palestinians during clashes in Anata nr. Jerusalem. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Hebron, in al-‘Arub r.c. and 1 village nr. Hebron in the afternoon; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Ramallah at night. IDF soldiers violently disperse Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals taking part in nonviolent demonstrations in multiple villages against the Israeli occupation and in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. Protesters are dispersed in 5 villages nr. Ramallah (Abud, Bayt Laqiya, Bil‘in, alNabi Salih, Ni‘lin), al-Haraiek nr. Hebron, 1 village nr. Qalqilya (Kafr Qaddum), and at Ofer prison nr. Ramallah. There are no serious injuries, except in Abud (2 wounded) and in al-Haraiek (1 wounded). (MNA 3/22; PCHR 3/28)

U.S. State Dept. spokesperson Victoria Nuland says that the Obama admin. has unblocked almost $500 million in aid—including $200 million in direct budget support—to the PA, previously frozen by Congress in October 2011 as a response to the UN statehood bid (see QU 162). According to Nuland, the White House also notified Congress in late 2/2013 that it seeks a further $200 million to fund USAID projects for the Palestinians. In response, Palestinian Labor Minister Ahmad Majdalani says that the PA’s financial crisis is not over. (AFP 3/22; MNA 3/23)

Hamas authorities complain to Egypt about Israel’s 3/21 decision to restrict Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Gaza. The government in Gaza also reportedly arrests 2 members of the Mujahidin Shura Council, which claimed responsibility for the 3/21 rocket attack on Israel. (ToI 3/22)

Under pressure from Pres. Obama to restore normal ties with Turkey, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu phones Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan to apologize for ‘‘mistakes made’’ during the IDF’s attack on a Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010, when 9 Turks (including one U.S. dual national) were killed aboard the Mavi Marmara (see QU 157). They agree to dispatch envoys to each other’s countries. After coordinating this diplomatic breakthrough, Pres. Obama leaves for Jordan. (NYT 3/23)

U.S. Pres. Barack Obama meets with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman for talks primarily on the Syrian civil war and the refugee crisis. Pres. Obama pledges to work to supply Jordanian authorities with $200 million extra assistance to care for the estimated 460,000 Syrian refugees who have crossed the border seeking refuge. (REU 3/22)

Lebanese PM Najib Mikati resigns due to divisions within the government about elections later in the year and to protest the cabinet’s refusal to extend the tenure of the national police chief, a figure perceived by the Sunni community as sympathetic to their interests. (AP 3/22)

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says that U.S. Pres. Barack Obama will be looking for ‘‘serious commitments’’ from Israeli PM Netanyahu and Palestinian pres. Mahmud Abbas when he meets with them both separately on his trip to the region next week. (JP 3/16)

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 4 villages nr. Jenin, 2 nr. Ramallah, and 1 nr. Jericho at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in Tulkarm, al-‘Arub r.c. and 1 village nr. Hebron, al-Dahaysha r.c. nr. Bethlehem, and 1 village each nr. Jenin and. Salfit at night. (PCHR 3/21)

Palestinians across the West Bank rally after Friday prayers to protest the 2/23 death of Arafat Jaradat in Israeli detention, clashing with the IDF in many locations. IDF soldiers use live fire and rubber-coated metal bullets against protesters at Qalandia checkpoint (injuring 6 Palestinians, including 1 seriously) and outside the Ofer detention center nr. Ramallah (injuring fifteen) Israeli soldiers also open fire on Palestinian boys throwing stones nr. al-Jazloun r.c. north of Ramallah, seriously injuring 1. In Hebron, Palestinians demonstrate to mark the anniversary of the 1994 massacre of Palestinian worshippers by a Jewish settler at the Ibrahimi Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs, leading to clashes with the IDF that leave 2 Palestinians injured. Meanwhile, IDF forces violently disperse Palestinian, Israeli and international protesters at weekly demonstrations against Israel’s separation wall, settlements and occupation in 4 villages nr. Ramallah (Bil‘in, al-Nabi Salih, Budrus, and Ni‘lin), 2 villages nr. Qalqilya (Jayyous and Kafr Qaddum), 1 village nr. Salfit (Burqin), 1 village nr. Bethlehem (al-Ma’sara), and on a road south of Hebron. There are 11 injuries total; 5 in Bil‘in, 4 in al-Nabi Salih, and 2 in Budrus. PA PM Salam Fayyad attends the protest in Bil‘in. The IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning, in 1 village nr. Tulkarm and in the center of Hebron in the afternoon (clashes in latter, 1 wounded), and in 1 village nr. Ramallah at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in Silwan, al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron, and in 1 village nr. Hebron at night. In the Gaza Strip, IDF soldiers open fire on Palestinians picnicking close to the border fence nr. Jabaliya r.c., injuring 3. Later in the day, IDF soldiers open fire on Palestinians close to the border fence nr. Bayt Lahiya, injuring 1. (JP, MNA 3/1; PCHR 3/7)

U.S. Pres. Barack Obama phones Russian pres. Vladimir Putin, to discuss Iran and Syria. The White House says Putin and Obama agree to hold talks in 6/2013 on the sidelines of a meeting of leading industrial nations in Northern Ireland. (AP 3/1)

White House spokesperson Jay Carney says that Pres. Obama will visit Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan in the spring, but states that Obama will not present a new peace initiative on the trip. (NYT 2/5, HA 2/6)

Israeli security forces demolish a Palestinian-owned home in the Bayt Hanina neighborhood of East Jerusalem, leaving 4 families (30 people) homeless. IDF troops make 2 brief incursions into Gaza nr. Rafah and an area in c. Gaza to level lands and clear lines of sight along the border fence. The IDF opens fire on Palestinians gathered close to the border fence nr. Bayt Hanun and on Palestinians collecting gravel close to the border fence nr. Jabaliya, causing no injuries in either incident. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village each nr. Ramallah and Tulkarm in the morning, in 2 villages nr. Tulkarm and 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon, and in 1 village nr. Ramallah at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 2 villages nr. Hebron, 1 village nr. Bethlehem, al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron, and Aida r.c. in Bethlehem at night. Jewish settlers set fire to 2 cars in a village nr. Ramallah and leave ‘‘price-tag’’ slogans. (WAFA 2/5; MNA 2/6; PCHR 2/7)

Bulgarian interior min. Tsvetan Tsvetanov accuses Hizballah of being behind a bomb attack on a bus of Israeli tourists in Burgas on 7/18/12. In response, U.S. secy. of state John Kerry and White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan say that the EU must take ‘‘proactive action’’ in opposing the Lebanese organization. (AP, REU 2/5)

White House spokesperson Jay Carney responds to a question about the consequences of the Israeli election for peace efforts by restating the administration’s call for a resumption of direct negotiations on final-status issues. Meanwhile, the UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Robert Serry, tells a UNSC meeting that courageous steps by Israeli and Palestinian leaders are required to save the two-state solution. At the meeting, Palestinian FM Riyad al-Maliki sits behind a ‘‘State of Palestine’’ nameplate, drawing criticism from U.S. amb. Susan Rice, who says that the U.S. does not recognize the UNGA vote in 11/2012 (see Quarterly Update in JPS 166). After the meeting, Maliki says that the Palestinians’ decision about whether to go to the ICC over Israel’s settlement construction will depend on what the Israeli government does in the E1 area nr. Jerusalem. (AP, REU, UNNC 1/23)

Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza coast nr. al-Waha, causing no injuries. The IDF also makes a brief incursion into Gaza to a distance of 200 m from the border fence nr. Bayt Hanun to level land. In the West Bank, IDF soldiers open fire on Palestinians at the entrance to al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron, killing 1 woman with a shot to the head. Eyewitnesses say the soldiers were traveling in a civilian car. Also, a Palestinian teenager shot by the IDF during clashes in Aida r.c. on 1/18 dies in the hospital. The IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning, in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Hebron at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village each nr. Hebron and Jenin at night. (MNA, PCHR, WAFA 1/23)

Human rights NGO the Palestinian Center for Human Rights publishes a list of media workers in the Gaza Strip arrested by Hamas security services over the previous 48 hours. Meanwhile, dep. head of Hamas politburo Musa Abu Marzuq says that there is no disagreement within Hamas about Mahmud Abbas heading a unity government. (MNA 1/23)

PA fin. min. Nabil Qassis says that the government’s financial crisis is structural, requiring systematic changes in the budget and culture. He reveals that the deficit has now exceeded $1.4 b. (MNA 1/23)

Jordan holds parliamentary elections, which are boycotted by the Muslim Brotherhood–affiliated Islamic Action Front. The boycott is based on claims that the electoral system is biased in favor of rural tribal areas where pro-regime sentiment is highest, in contrast to large, more densely populated urban areas, where pro-Brotherhood views are strong among poor Palestinians. In the election, 1,425 candidates compete for 150 seats, up from 120, in the lower house. King Abdallah has agreed to cede some powers to the new legislature, such as choosing the PM and running day-to-day affairs. There are numerous reports of vote-buying and small-scale clashes in Karak governorate and some districts of Amman. The results see pro-government candidates maintain their dominance of the parliament, though 37 Islamist and other government critics win seats in the legislature. (AKH, AP, NYT, REU 1/23; AP, REU 1/24)

The Lebanese army states that 12 Israeli warplanes violated Lebanese airspace overnight, claiming that the breach of Lebanon’s sovereignty is a violation of UN Res. 1701, which was accepted as the basis for the cease-fire that ended the Israeli-Lebanon war of 2006. (Daily Star 1/23)

Israel announces that it will build 3,000 new settlement housing units as a response to the successful Palestinian UN vote, as well as advance plans for thousands more units in occupied East Jerusalem and the area known as E1, between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim settlement. White House spokesperson Tommy Vietor says the Israeli decision is ‘‘counterproductive’’ and makes ‘‘it harder to resume direct negotiations or achieve a two-state solution.’’ Palestinian pres. Abbas says he has no immediate plans to take Israel before the ICC in The Hague, but suggests it could be a future option. (AFP, YA, HA, JP 11/30)

U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton praises the PA in a speech at Brookings Institutions’ Saban Forum 2012 in Washington, D.C., for ‘‘building a security force that works every single day with the IDF’’ and being ‘‘nationalistic—but largely secular.’’ (HA 12/1)

The Palestinian Ministry of Public Works in the Gaza Strip announces that the Hamas government will sign an agreement with Egypt next week to enable construction materials to enter the territory via the Rafah crossing. (MNA 12/1)

In the Gaza Strip, the IDF fires on Palestinian civilians and farmers close to the border fence in separate incidents nr. Jabalya, Khan Yunis, al-Bureij r.c., and Bayt Hanun; a total of 10 Palestinian civilians are injured. The IDF also mortally wounds 1 Palestinian civilian nr. Rafah when Israeli forces open fire on dozens of Palestinians nr. the border fence; he dies on 12/1. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning, 1 village each nr. Jericho and Hebron in the afternoon, and in Hebron and 1 village each nr. Hebron, Jericho, Ramallah, and Tulkarm at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village each nr. Hebron and Ramallah at night. Israeli soldiers violently disperse 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 1 Palestinian is shot in the hand with a rubber-coated metal bullet, and another Palestinian is wounded in the leg by a tear-gas canister. (PCHR 12/6)

On the 2d day of his trip to Israel, Republican presidential candidate Romney prays at the Western Wall and gives a public address to 300 select supporters in Jerusalem (calling Jerusalem the capital of Israel). He vows to support Israel’s right to defend itself and calls for Israel and the U.S. to use ‘‘any and all means’’ to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. He does not repeat the comment his foreign policy aide, Dan Senor, made en route to Israel that Romney would ‘‘respect’’ an Israeli decision to strike Iran unilaterally, nor does he mention the Palestinians or the peace process. Romney meets with his former business colleague PM Netanyahu, who makes kind remarks but is seen (e.g., WP 7/30) as being careful not to take sides in the election. He also meets with Israeli pres. Peres and PA PM Salam Fayyad; the Romney camp cancels at the last minute a planned meeting with Labor party officials. In an interview with CNN later in the day, Romney says that the U.S., in consultation with Israel, should move its embassy to Jerusalem. In response, White House spokesman Josh Earnest says: ‘‘The view of this administration is the capital should be determined in final status negotiations between the parties. That’s the position held by the previous administrations, both Democratic and Republican.’’ (NYT, WP, WT 7/30; WP 7/31; WJW 8/2)

Timed with Romney’s visit to Israel, the Obama admin. leaks a story to the Israeli daily Ha’Aretz that NSA Donilon briefed an Israeli official (some say PM Netanyahu, though Israel explicitly denies this) over dinner in Israel earlier in 7/2012 on ‘‘U.S. contingency plans for any attack on Iran,’’ emphasizing that the U.S. is making serious preparations for a military strike if such action is deemed necessary. A Netanyahu spokesman says Donilon did not share any operational plans. Donilon’s office says it does not comment on private meetings. (WT 7/30)

In Tunis en route to Israel, U.S. defense secy. Leon Panetta says Israel and the U.S. are united in support of strong sanctions against Iran. (NYT, WP 7/30)

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 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jenin in the morning; patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin and Ramallah in the evening. Jewish settlers block roads and stone Palestinian cars nr. the evacuated settlement of Homesh nr. Jenin. (PCHR 8/2; OCHA 8/3)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 rockets or mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah (2 synchronized) in the evening; conducts late-night patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin and Jericho; and conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron and Nablus, firing tear gas and stun grenades at stonethrowing youths who confront them in Nablus (causing no serious injuries). Palestinians (accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil‘in, Kafr Qaddum, al-Nabi Salih, and Ni‘lin. IDF soldiers fire live ammunition (al-Nabi Salih only), rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters; a Palestinian child (al-Nabi Salih) and 1 Swedish activist (Kafr Qaddum) are moderately injured by tear gas canisters, and 1 Palestinian (Kafr Qaddum) is moderately injured by a rubber-coated steel bullet. (YA 7/28; 8/2; OCHA 8/3)

Pres. Obama signs into law the U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, which calls for an unprecedented strengthening of military, intelligence, and technology cooperation intended to preserve Israel’s qualitative military edge. Experts describe the act as prescribing a ‘‘laundry list of security enhancements’’ for Israel (see QU in JPS 165 for details). (JTA, White House press release 7/27; WP 7/28, 7/30; Defense News 8/1)

Hamas acting PM in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh meets with Egyptian pres. Morsi in Cairo to discuss Fatah-Hamas reconciliation prospects and ways of further easing the siege of Gaza. (WP 7/28)

U.S. secy. of state Clinton meets with Israeli leaders (including PM Netanyahu, Pres. Peres, DM Barak, FM Avigdor Lieberman) and Quartet special envoy Tony Blair in Jerusalem and with PA PM Salam Fayyad in Ramallah. Though the main purpose of her visit is to discuss Iran, Syria, and other regional changes brought by the Arab Spring, she tells the Israeli and Palestinian sides that they must resume peace talks soon and avoid all unilateral actions. She emphasizes that while the international community is ready to offer ample support for a return to negotiations, the hard work must be done by the parties themselves. (WP 7/17)

Israel allows 40 Palestinian prisoners held in its Ramon prison to receive visits from family members from Gaza, marking the 1st time Israel has allowed family visits for Gazan prisoners since Hamas seized control of the Strip in 6/2007. Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts evening arrest raids, house searches nr. Qalqilya; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin; and conducts late-night patrols in al-Nabi Salih. (TOI 7/16; WP 7/17; PCHR 7/19; OCHA 7/20)

Christians United for Israel (CUFI) opens its 7th annual conference in Washington. At least 5,600 participants attend. Organizers note that CUFI now has 1.1 m. members, 754,000 Facebook fans, and 96 college chapters. The conference theme is ‘‘Defend America; Vote Israel.’’ CUFI founder James Hagee focuses on the importance of Christian Zionism and supporting Israel as part of ‘‘living out God’s mandate.’’ Other speakers include Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), fmr. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations head Malcolm Hoenlein, and Zionist Organization of America pres. Morton Klein. The speakers focus on Iran, U.S.-Israel security cooperation, and halting Palestinian incitement. (WJW 7/19)

Israeli troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials in the demolished Erez industrial zone, forcing them to flee. A Palestinian is killed and another is injured when they are crushed by construction materials being moved through a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night patrols in Jericho. (PCHR 6/14, 6/21; OCHA 6/22)

Israel’s state comptroller Micah Lindenstrauss issues a long-awaited report faulting PM Netanyahu for ‘‘poor decision-making’’ in the lead-up to the 2010 Gaza aid flotilla incident that left 9 Turkish activists dead aboard the Mavi Marmara, concluding that Netanyahu did not listen to IDF warnings that the boarding of the flotilla could lead to violence and had not consulted adequately. (WP 6/14)

U.S. pres. Obama presents Israeli pres. Shimon Peres with the Congressional Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the U.S. During their one-on-one meeting at the White House, Peres gives Obama a petition signed by 75,000 Israelis seeking the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. (NYT, WP, WT 6/14; WP 6/17; JPI 6/22)

Casino magnate and major proIsrael political donor Sheldon Adelson gives $10 m. to a pro-Romney political action committee (PAC). This election marks the first time that unlimited corporate donations have been allowed under super PACs, which were deemed legal by a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. (WP 6/14)

The IDF patrols in Tulkarm and 2 nearby villages, 2 villages nr. Jenin, and 1 each nr. Jericho, Hebron, and Ramallah in the morning; stages 3 groups of synchronized patrols s. of Jenin (4 villages), e. and n. of Jenin (3 villages), and n. of Ramallah (2 villages) in the afternoon; conducts synchronized late-night patrols in 3 villages nr. Tulkarm; and conducts other late-night patrols in Jericho and nearby ‘Aqabat Jabir r.c., and in 1 village nr. Salfit. The IDF also conducts arrest raids, house searches in East Jerusalem in the afternoon and nr. Hebron late at night; bulldozes Palestinian irrigation networks located between 2 Jewish settlements nr. Hebron; and confiscates a bulldozer and rock crusher from a Palestinian quarry n. of Jerusalem. (PCHR 5/23; OCHA 5/25)

The White House convenes a meeting with American Jewish leaders to reassure them that the Obama admin. is committed to keeping Iran free of nuclear weapons. In Israel, PM Netanyahu reiterates his position that ‘‘the objectives of Iran are clear: It wants to destroy Israel and is developing nuclear weapons to realize that goal.’’ (HA 5/21; NYT, WP, WT 5/22; WJW 5/31)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Nr. al-Maghazi r.c., 2 Palestinians are injured when they accidentally trigger unexploded IDF ordnance while scavenging for scrap metal. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 4 villages nr. Tulkarm (2 simultaneously) and 2 in Ramallah in the morning; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Nabi Salih and nr. Jenin. Hunger-striking administrative detainee Hana Shalabi is “in grave danger of dying” according to Physicians for Human Rights–Israel, which provides her with a doctor. OCHA reports that since 3/14, 4 Palestinians have been injured in smuggling tunnel accidents on the Gaza border. (JP 3/20; WT 3/21; PCHR 3/22; OCHA 3/23)

JSC head Gen. Dempsey receives IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz in Washington for talks on Iran and Syria as part of the regular U.S.-Israel strategic dialogue. Gantz also meets with White House and Defense Dept. officials, but no details are released. (JPI 3/30)

Speaking at a conference on Palestinian refugees in Brussels, EU foreign policy adviser Catherine Ashton expresses condolences for the 3/19/12 Jewish deaths in Toulouse and regrets over recent tragedies worldwide that have resulted in child casualties, citing among them Israel’s recent air strikes on Gaza (3/9–12) that injured 14 Palestinian children. Israeli PM Netanyahu denounces her for making “the comparison between a deliberate massacre of children and defensive, surgical actions.” Ashton’s spokesman issues a statement saying that her words were “grossly distorted.” (NYT 3/21)

Obama and Netanyahu meet at the White House to discuss Iran. Obama reiterates that the U.S. wants time for diplomacy to work but has left all options, including a military strike, on the table. He also says that Israel has the right to act in its own national interests. Afterward, Netanyahu tells a cheering AIPAC audience that sanctions have done nothing to slow Iran’s progress toward achieving a nuclear weapon and warns that time for diplomacy is running out. Observers say (WP 3/6) Obama’s statement “could easily be considered green light for Israeli action. And if Obama is flashing a green light, Israel’s advocates in Congress are waving a starter’s flag.” (NYT, WT 3/6; MA, Raidió Teilifís Éireann, REU, WJW 3/8; OCHA 3/9)

After 6 mos. of negotiation with the UN, Israel permits the 1st 2 truckloads of Palestinian exports to the West Bank (date bars for distribution to needy children through the UN’s World Food Program) since the beginning of the siege in mid-2007; the UN notes that this does not mark the resumption of regular trade between Gaza and the West Bank. The IDF patrols in `Ayn al-Sultan r.c. and 2 villages nr. Jericho, 3 villages nr. Jenin, and 2 nr. Qalqilya during the date; patrols in Tulkarm town and r.c., 2 nearby villages late at night; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron (including Bayt Umar) and Nablus. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights notes (3/8) that 45 Bayt Umar residents (including 20 children) have been arrested by the IDF since 1/1/2012. Dozens of Palestinians march to the IDF’s Atara checkpoint outside Ramallah to mark the 2d anniversary of the death of a local Palestinian family when a IDF jeep collided with their taxi; IDF troops at checkpoint fire tear gas and stun grenades at the marchers who respond by throwing stones; during the exchange, an IDF soldier fires a tear gas canister at a Palestinian teenager 20 meters away, hitting him in the head and fracturing his skull, critically injuring him. (PCHR 3/8)

Palestinian and Israeli peace teams hold a 2d very low-profile meeting in Amman. The sides downplay the meeting, calling them “exploratory sessions,” so as not to raise expectations of a negotiating breakthrough. An anonymous Palestinian official says that the Israelis did not offer anything today that would move the peace process forward. Judeh does not issue a formal statement, and Israel refuses to comment. (NYT, WT 1/10)

The IDF conducts morning patrols in Qalqilya, 2 villages nr. Jenin, and 1 nr. Tulkarm; afternoon patrols in 2 villages nr Jenin (firing tear gas at stonethrowing youths in 1 incident), and 1 nr. Qalqilya; late-night patrols in Tulkarm and nearby Bayt Lid and in 1 village nr. Qalqilya. The IDF also enters ‘Azzoun village nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon to summon for interrogation 3 Palestinians released in the 10/2011 Shalit prisoner swap; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron and nr. Nablus. (PCHR 1/12; OCHA 1/13)

On the day before the New Hampshire primaries, Republican presidential candidates Ron Paul and Rick Santorum both stress that the U.S. must maintain close ties with Israel. Paul, who opposes all foreign aid, says he is against continuing massive assistance to Israel, stating “I don’t believe that I should take money from anybody here and send money to them,” saying it sends the message “we own you.” Santorum stresses the threat from Iran, whereas Paul calls the danger of Iran achieving nuclear weapons “way overblown.” (WT 1/10)

The White House announces that Pres. Obama has tapped his dir. of the Office of Budget and Management, Jack Lew, as his new chief of staff, replacing outgoing chief of staff William Daley. American Jewish organizations praise the selection of Lew, an Orthodox Jew who is very involved in Jewish events in Washington, stating that since Dennis Ross’s departure as Obama’s chief adviser on the Middle East they had worried that there was no one “left to call in a White House that has hemorrhaged top Jews over the last year or so” that could directly weigh in with the pres. on issues of concern to Israel. (JTA 1/10; WJW 1/12, 1/19)

Anonymous Israeli officials say that 2 wks. ago, Abbas, under heavy Quartet pressure (especially fr. the U.S.), submitted a proposal for restarting talks that dropped demands that Israel halt settlement construction but demanded that Israel release in exchange 100 Palestinian prisoners jailed since before the Oslo process began. Israel rejected this on the grounds that (1) it would replace 1 precondition with another, and (2) it was vague about whether the talks that would result would be preparatory talks or direct negotiations between Abbas and Netanyahu. There is no official Palestinian, U.S., or Quartet comment on this. Another Israeli official says that Israel is concerned that if talks do not resume by 1/26/12, Abbas would resume Palestinian statehood efforts at the UN, including seeking membership in various UN organizations. (HA 12/28, 1/1)

Late at night, unidentified Palestinians fire 4 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In response, Israeli warplanes carry out 3 air strikes on a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border and 1 air strike on a Hamas training site s. of Gaza City; damage but no injuries are reported. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts latenight arrest raids, house searches in Azariyya nr. East Jerusalem, in Hebron, and nr. Tulkarm. Israeli municipal officials in Jerusalem approve construction of another 130 housing units in Gilo settlement, s. of Jerusalem. (PCHR 12/29; YA 12/30; OCHA, PCHR 1/5)

As of this date, Congress has freed up only $40 m. of the $192 m. in humanitarian aid to the Palestinians that was frozen in light of the UN bid (see QU in JPS 162). USAID and the White House are pressuring Congress to release the rest of the money, calling it “in the interest of the Palestinians, Israel and the United States” to ensure continued development “vital to the establishing and strengthening the foundations necessary for a future Palestinian state.” (WP 12/29)

Obama and Netanyahu hold a difficult but “productive” meeting at the White House to discuss the peace process, particularly their views on the 1967 borders as the basis of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Afterward, Obama stresses their points of agreement, while Netanyahu criticizes Obama as “unrealistic.” (CSM 5/20; NYT, WP 5/21)

IDF troops on the s. Gaza border e. of Abasan fire warning shots at Palestinians staging a nonviolent march to the border fence to protest Israel’s imposition of a no-go zone, wounding 1 Palestinian. Late at night, IDF troops on the n. Gaza border shell and fire on a Palestinian teenager nr. the c. Gaza border fence e. of al-Bureij r.c., killing him. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah, 1 nr. Salfit, and 1 nr. Tulkarm. Nr. Hebron, 2 Palestinian children are injured when they accidentally trigger unexploded IDF ordnance. Palestinians (sometimes accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil‘in and Ni‘lin nr. Ramallah, Nabi Salih in the north c. West Bank. IDF soldiers fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, injuring 1 Palestinian and 1 international activist; 10 Israelis and 1 international are arrested. (PCHR 5/26; OCHA 5/27)

The White House announces that U.S. special envoy George Mitchell has submitted his resignation, effective 5/20 (the day Obama is to meet with Netanyahu at the White House). Secy. of State Clinton appoints Mitchell aide David Hale as interim special envoy. (NYT, WP 5/14)

In Jerusalem, Israeli police and settlement security guards outside Beit Yonatan in Silwan fire on stone-throwing Palestinian youths, seriously wounding a Palestinian teenager walking some distance away. Numerous clashes are also reported, particularly around East Jerusalem, as Palestinians demonstrate in commemoration of the Nakba. In the Jordan Valley, a Palestinian boy is injured when he accidentally triggers IDF UXO. 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. IDF soldiers fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, injuring 2 Palestinians (including 1 child) and 1 international activist; 2 Palestinians and 2 Israeli activists are arrested. (WP 5/15; PCHR 5/19; OCHA 5/20)

Heeding calls fr. Palestinian organizers on Facebook, 100s of Jordanians in Amman and 1,000s of Egyptians in Cairo rally after Friday prayers in support of Palestinian rights. (AP, DPA, Huffington Post 5/13)