323 / 15241 Results
  • February 1, 2011

    The PA, under heavy criticism for the negotiation details revealed by the Palestine Papers, announces that it will hold Palestinian municipal, legislative, and presidential elections as quickly as...

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  • December 7, 2010

    The White House abandons efforts to persuade Israel to impose a 90-day settlement construction freeze and takes its generous package of diplomatic and security incentives off the table. The...

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  • September 29, 2010

    David Makovsky, director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, leaks details of the significant inducements currently offered by the White House to Israel if it would extend its...

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  • September 1, 2010

    On the eve of ceremonies reopening direct Israeli-Palestinian talks, U.S. Pres. Barack Obama holds separate meetings with Abbas, Netanyahu, Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak, and Jordan’s King Abdullah...

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  • July 9, 2010

    Obama phones Abbas to urge him to agree to begin direct negotiations with Israel. Abbas reiterates demands for a comprehensive settlement freeze including East Jerusalem and assurances that all...

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  • July 6, 2010

    Obama receives Netanyahu at the White House for their 5th mtg. in what is billed as a “make-up visit,” with the primary aim to give a public show of unity. Obama pointedly dismisses any notion of...

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  • June 20, 2010

    Under continued pressure fr. Obama and Quartet special envoy Tony Blair, Israel’s security cabinet agrees in principle to switch fr. a blanket ban on entry of goods to Gaza to a prohibited list of...

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  • June 1, 2010

    The U.S. summons Israeli amb. Michael Oren and national security advisor Uzi Arad to a 4-hr. mtg. at the White House to discuss how to “contain fallout” fr. the flotilla raid and to find ways for...

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  • May 31, 2010

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

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  • March 23, 2010

    In the morning, Netanyahu tours Capitol Hill, where he is greeted warmly. He then meets for 2 hrs. at the White House with Pres. Obama, who reportedly makes tough demands of Israel to put the...

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  • November 17, 2009

    The Israeli Interior Min. approves construction of 900 new housing units in Gilo settlement in East Jerusalem, precipitating sharp criticism from the White House not only for the Gilo project but...

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  • May 28, 2009

    Obama receives PA pres. Abbas at the White House, praising the PA’s security efforts and refusal to join a unity government with Hamas until it meets 1/06 Quartet demands to renounce violence and...

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  • May 18, 2009

    Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu begins a 2-day visit to Washington to discuss the peace process, Iran, bilateral relations, and Middle East regional affairs, holding his 1st mtg. with U.S. pres....

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  • April 21, 2009

    In the West Bank, the IDF conducts latenight arrest raids, house searches in and around Bethlehem and nr. Jenin, firing on residential areas but causing no injuries. (OCHA 4/22; PCHR 4/23)

    ...

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  • December 29, 2008

    As Israel continues widespread air and naval bombardment of Gaza for a 3d day, Israeli DM Barak declares “all-out war” on Hamas. The IDF declares a 2-mi. buffer zone around the Strip a closed...

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  • November 6, 2008

    U.S. Secy. of State Rice begins her final 4-day Middle East tour of Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank to discuss efforts to achieve “lasting peace in the region consistent with the goal of...

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  • February 28, 2003

    The IDF demolishes 8 Palestinian homes in Rafah; shells residential areas of Khan Yunis. A Palestinian dies of injuries received on 2/22. (AP 3/1; PCHR 3/6; LAW 3/13)

    The UN confirms that...

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  • December 20, 2002

    Islamic Jihad gunmen fatally shoot a Jewish settler rabbi driving in Gaza. The IDF sends tanks into Dayr al-Balah in search of a wanted AMB mbr., fatally shoots 1 Palestinian during the raid;...

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  • June 10, 2002

    IDF continues operations in Ramallah, conducting house-to-house searches, arresting 27 Palestinians, occupying a PSF post and detaining 30 PSF officers, surrounding hospitals and PRCS...

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  • June 3, 2002

    The IDF continues operations in Balata r.c., Nablus for the 5th day; blows up an alleged bomb-making factory, raids and damages a medical center in Balata r.c. In new Askar r.c., the IDF conducts...

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  • April 11, 2002

    The IDF pullbacks fr. 22 small West Bank villages but sends forces into Birzeit, Dahariyya, `Ayn Bayt Himla r.c. nr. Ramallah and briefly reenters Tulkarm to make arrests. In Birzeit, troops...

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  • January 25, 2002

    An Islamic Jihad suicide bomber detonates a device on a street in Tel Aviv, wounding at least 18 Israelis, 3 of them critically. 1 Palestinian dies of injuries received earlier. In Gaza, the IDF...

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  • January 24, 2002

    The IDF assassinates senior Hamas mbr. Adli Hamdan (Bakr Hamdan), firing missiles at his car in Khan Yunis, injuring 2 passengers. Another 5 Palestinians are killed in separate incidents,...

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  • January 23, 2002

    2 Israelis wounded in the 1/22 AMB attack die. In Nablus, 15,000 angry Palestinians attend the funeral of 3 of 4 Hamas mbrs. killed by the IDF on 1/22, demand revenge. Israel bars officials of the...

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  • December 10, 2001

    The IDF attempts to assassinate senior Islamic Jihad mbr. Muhammad Sidir by firing missiles at his car in Hebron; Sidir is injured, 2 Palestinian children are killed, 6 others are injured. (1 of...

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  • December 3, 2001

    Upon his return fr. the U.S. Sharon meets with his security cabinet, then his full cabinet to discuss how to respond to the 12/1+n2 attacks. The full cabinet votes to declare the PA "an entity...

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  • December 2, 2001

    A Hamas suicide bomber detonates a powerful device on a bus in Haifa, killing 14 Israelis, 1 Filipino, and injuring more than 40. Arafat condemns the attack, outlaws "any movement, organization,...

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  • November 8, 2001

    In Baqa` al-Sharqiyya, a Hamas suicide bomber detonates a device as IDF commandos raid his hide-out, wounding 2 commandos. A 2d Palestinian dies of injuries received on 11/6. The IDF tightens the...

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  • October 17, 2001

    At least 1 PFLP gunman assassinates Israeli tourism M Ze'evi in an East Jerusalem hotel, shooting him at point blank range, using a pistol equipped with a silencer, escaping undetected. The PFLP...

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  • October 5, 2001

    In its largest military operation since the start of the al-Aqsa intifada (in terms of area, size of the force involved), Israel sends IDF infantry, tanks, armored bulldozers, and helicopters to...

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The PA, under heavy criticism for the negotiation details revealed by the Palestine Papers, announces that it will hold Palestinian municipal, legislative, and presidential elections as quickly as possible, pledging to set dates within a wk. (NYT 2/2)

UNRWA reports that it has been forced to suspend another 26 Gaza construction projects because of Israeli limits on gravel imports (see 1/25). In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in a village nr. Ramallah in the morning; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Jenin town and r.c. and nr. Hebron. A Palestinian court in Nablus finds a Palestinian guilty of selling land to an Israeli, sentencing him to 10 yrs. in jail. (PCHR 2/3; OCHA 2/4; JPI 2/5)

Jordan’s King Abdullah dismisses PM Samir Rifa‘i and his cabinet in response to widespread protests by Jordanians inspired by demonstrations in Egypt and Tunisia. He taps Maruf al-Bakhit, a popular retired general and fmr. amb. to Israel, to form a new cabinet. (NYT, WP 2/2)

In Cairo, 100,000s of Egyptians join protesters in Tahrir Square for the March of Millions, as similar protests are held around the country. (Little violence is reported.) Protesters hold fast to demands that Mubarak resign, rejecting his offers over the past 2 days to reshuffle his cabinet, to open talks with El-Baradei, and not to seek reelection when his formal term ends in 9/2011. Meanwhile, the U.S. and EU have stepped up diplomatic efforts to pressure Mubarak to begin an “immediate transitional process leading to democratic elections,” without explicitly calling on Mubarak to step down. Mubarak, outraged, today hardens his positions and escalates violence to break up the protests, while the international community steps up diplomatic efforts (especially U.S. talks with Egyptian military figures) to put him in check. (NYT, White House press release, WP, WT 2/1; JP, NYT, WP, WT 2/2; Human Rights Watch press release, NYT, WP, WT 2/3; NYT, WP, WT 2/4; NYT, WP 2/7; see also YA 1/31)

The White House abandons efforts to persuade Israel to impose a 90-day settlement construction freeze and takes its generous package of diplomatic and security incentives off the table. The message comes days before senior Israeli and Palestinian negotiators plan to meet in Washington for further talks on the peace process and before U.S. Secy. of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to make a major Middle East policy statement on 12/10. (NYT, WP, WT 12/8)

The IDF makes a brief incursion e. of al-Bureij r.c. in c. Gaza to level lands along the border fence, firing on surrounding areas, causing no reported injuries. Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Late in the evening, the IDF responds with air strikes on a poultry farm nr. Khan Yunis (an alleged arms cache) and at a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, IDF escorts plain-clothed individuals into Rafat village nr. Salfit in the morning; the group pauses outside the local mosque, pointing at it and taking notes. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron and nr. Nablus, and patrols in Anabta village nr. Tulkarm. In Israel, 47 state-employed Israeli rabbis issue an open letter distributed in synagogues and religious journals saying that it is prohibited by the Torah to sell or rent a house or a field in the land of Israel to non-Jews. Netanyahu denounces the letter. (JP 12/7; WT, YA 12/8; PCHR 12/9; OCHA 12/10; JPI 12/17)

David Makovsky, director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, leaks details of the significant inducements currently offered by the White House to Israel if it would extend its partial settlement freeze for 60 days (to avoid a crisis before U.S. midterm elections). The U.S. goal would be to reach an agreement on borders within the 60-day time period. (NYT, WP 10/1; al-Sharq al-Awsat 10/4; JAZ, NYT 10/7; WT 10/13; JPI 10/22)

Mitchell returns to the region for meetings with Abbas and Netanyahu. (NYT, WP 10/1)

For the 2d day in a row, IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials in evacuated settlement sites nr. the border, wounding 1. In the West Bank, the IDF raids several Palestinian homes in the bedouin community of al-Hadidiyya in the Jordan Valley after complaints by local Jewish settlers that the bedouin were stealing water from Ro’i settlement. (PCHR 9/30; OCHA 10/1; PCHR 10/7; OCHA 10/8)

On the eve of ceremonies reopening direct Israeli-Palestinian talks, U.S. Pres. Barack Obama holds separate meetings with Abbas, Netanyahu, Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak, and Jordan’s King Abdullah. In the evening, Obama hosts the leaders for a working dinner at the White House. (WP 9/1; NYT 9/2)

In the West Bank, the IDF continues to impose a curfew on Palestinian areas nr. the site of the 8/31 attack nr. Hebron and carries out house-to-house searches for the Hamas mbrs. involved, rounding up scores of Palestinians with suspected ties to the organization. In the evening, IQB gunmen shoot at another Jewish settler vehicle nr. Ramallah, in area C, wounding 2 settlers (1 seriously). The IDF also conducts latenight arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron, and nr. Ramallah, Salfit, Tulkarm. Jewish settlers retaliating for the 8/31 Hamas attack stake out a 15-d. plot of Palestinian land (exact location not reported) for a new settlement outpost but leave the area by nightfall, stone Palestinian vehicles on the Nablus–Qalqilya road, and vandalize a Palestinian home and set fire to adjacent grass land in Hebron. Meanwhile, in Gaza, IDF troops on the Israeli side of the Erez crossing fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction material in the demolished Erez industrial zone, causing no injuries. The IDF also makes an incursion into the s. Gaza border areas e. of al-Shuka, accompanied by drones and helicopters, but withdraws 6 hrs. later without incident. (NYT, PCHR 9/2; PCHR 9/8; OCHA 9/17)

Obama phones Abbas to urge him to agree to begin direct negotiations with Israel. Abbas reiterates demands for a comprehensive settlement freeze including East Jerusalem and assurances that all final status issues will be discussed. (White House press release 7/9; WJW 7/15)

In Gaza, unidentified assailants break into the Palestinian Liaison Office on the Gaza side of the Erez crossing, stealing copies of medical referral documents and communications equipment used to coordinate transit through the crossing with the Israeli Liaison Office on the Israeli side. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts synchronized evening patrols in 3 villages nr. Tulkarm, making no arrests; patrols in a 4th village nr. Tulkarm late at night, making no arrests. Palestinians (sometimes accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall and land confiscations in Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, and Dayr Nizam/al-Nabi Salih. IDF soldiers fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, leaving 10s suffering tear gas inhalation, injuring 2 Palestinians, and arresting 1 Palestinian, 1 Israeli, 1 international activist. (PCHR 7/15; OCHA 7/16)

Obama receives Netanyahu at the White House for their 5th mtg. in what is billed as a “make-up visit,” with the primary aim to give a public show of unity. Obama pointedly dismisses any notion of a U.S.- Israel rift. Netanyahu urges the U.S. to press Abbas to enter direct negotiations when the PLO’s 4-mo. cap on proximity talks ends on 9/9 and before Israel’s 10-mo. settlement freeze expires on 9/26, and promises Israel will take its own (undefined) “concrete steps.” PA negotiations advisor Saeb Erakat says, however, that the onus is on Israel to halt settlement construction and agree to begin talks fr. the point they left off in 10/08 before direct talks can resume (IFM, JTA, WP 7/6; NYT, WP, WT 7/7; JPI 7/16)

In the West Bank, the IDF makes an evening raid into al-‘Arub r.c., arresting 1 Palestinian. Hamas officials in the West Bank report that the PA Security Forces (PASF) have arrested 8 al-Najah University professors and students for alleged ties to a Hamas charity. (PCHR 7/7; OCHA 7/9; PCHR 7/15)

Under continued pressure fr. Obama and Quartet special envoy Tony Blair, Israel’s security cabinet agrees in principle to switch fr. a blanket ban on entry of goods to Gaza to a prohibited list of items considered “weapons and war-supporting materiel” and to allow “a significantly greater volume of goods” into the Strip. The easing would affect overland transportation only. The naval blockade and all restrictions on exports and the entry and exit of individuals remain. Separately, the U.S. and Israel announce that the Obama-Netanyahu meeting originally set for 6/1 will be held at the White House on 7/6. In addition, Mitchell, who has just returned fr. meetings with the Palestinian (6/18) and Israeli (6/19) peace teams, reports that the sides are ready to consider renewing proximity talks. (NYT, WP 6/21; WP 6/23; JPI 7/9)

The IDF makes a brief incursion into the no-go zone in n. Gaza to investigate a heavy explosion, searching the area and pulling back into Israel without incident. In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas at Palestinians staging a nonviolent demonstration against the separation wall nr. Bethlehem, also violently beating 3 Palestinian cameramen for Palestinian and foreign news outlets; conducts synchronized late-night patrols in villages w. of Jenin, making no arrests. Israeli police in Jerusalem seal the Ilaf Association for Education Support, which provides student loans for some 160 college students, for allegedly hosting Hamas meetings and thereby supporting a “terrorist organization.” (PCHR 6/24; OCHA 6/25)

The U.S. summons Israeli amb. Michael Oren and national security advisor Uzi Arad to a 4-hr. mtg. at the White House to discuss how to “contain fallout” fr. the flotilla raid and to find ways for Israel to ease the siege of Gaza without harming Israeli security. Separately, U.S. Secy. of State Hillary Clinton phones Israeli DM Ehud Barak to urge Israel to be very careful about what it says and does in the coming days to defuse the situation as quickly as possible. (WP 5/27; IFM 6/1; NYT, WJW, WP 7/2)

In light of the 5/31 flotilla incident, Egypt says it will open its border with Gaza indefinitely as of 6/2 for unlimited travel for humanitarian purposes, though import of goods will remain restricted per Israeli demands. Overnight, unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing damage but no injuries. In response, the IDF carries out 2 air strikes and fires 7 tank shells on the launch site nr. Abasan in s. Gaza, killing 2 armed Palestinians; then sends troops 400 m into Gaza to clear lines of sight in the area. Later in the day, Islamic Jihad mbrs. fire 2 Qassam rockets fr. n. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries; the IDF shells the launch site, killing 3 Islamic Jihad mbrs. Meanwhile, IDF troops on the s. Gaza border for unknown reasons fire into al-Shuka neighborhood in Rafah, wounding a 71 yr.-old-Palestinian woman inside her home. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging construction materials inside the Erez industrial zone, causing no reported injuries. The UN reports that in the previous wk., Hamas authorities in Gaza for unstated reasons shut down 6 Palestinian NGOs and confiscated some of their property; UN special coordinator for Middle East peace Robert Serry expresses concern over the impact on Palestinian civil society. The UN also reports that in the previous wk., 6 Palestinians were killed, 12 injured when a gas canister being smuggled through a tunnel on the Rafah border exploded; 1 Palestinian was killed and 2 were injured in a separate tunnel collapse. (JP 6/1; NYT 6/2; PCHR 6/3; OCHA 6/4)

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

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

In the morning, Netanyahu tours Capitol Hill, where he is greeted warmly. He then meets for 2 hrs. at the White House with Pres. Obama, who reportedly makes tough demands of Israel to put the peace process back on track. After a 90-min. sidebar with his advisors, Netanyahu makes a counterproposal that is rejected by Obama. (NYT, WP, WT 3/24; NYT, WP 3/25; JPI, NYT 3/26)

Unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In retaliation, the IDF carries out an air strike on a suspected weapons depot nr. Jabaliya r.c., damaging a nearby home but causing no injuries. The IDF makes a brief incursion into the Erez industrial zone to level land and clear lines of sight. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron. Jewish settlers fr. several settlements beat Palestinian farmers working their land in Sinjil village n. of Ramallah; the IDF intervenes, declaring the area a closed military zone and forcing settlers and Palestinians to leave. (JP, YA 3/23; JP 3/24; OCHA, PCHR 3/25)

The Israeli Interior Min. approves construction of 900 new housing units in Gilo settlement in East Jerusalem, precipitating sharp criticism from the White House not only for the Gilo project but for “the continued pattern of evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes” in Jerusalem; UN Secy.-Gen. Ban Ki-moon “deplores” the decision. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem, Hebron (evicting 1 Palestinian family from their home, occupying it as an observation post), Jericho, Nablus. In the Jerusalem environs, Israeli forces demolish 2 Palestinian homes (1 in Wadi Qaddum, housing 30 Palestinians; 1 in Bayt Hanina, displacing 11 Palestinians). (IFM, NYT, OCHA, PLONAD, WP, WT 11/18; PCHR 11/19)

Obama receives PA pres. Abbas at the White House, praising the PA’s security efforts and refusal to join a unity government with Hamas until it meets 1/06 Quartet demands to renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist, but stressing that the PA must do much more to improve West Bank security. (NYT, WP, WT 5/29)

In the West Bank, the IDF makes a predawn raid on caves in the hills nr. Hebron, killing senior Hamas military cmdr. ‘Abd al-Majid Dudin, wanted by Israel for 14 yrs., in an exchange of gunfire; conducts rare daytime house searches nr. Hebron and Nablus, making no arrests; makes synchronized late-night arrest raids, house searches in 4 villages nr. Jenin. (OCHA 5/28; NYT, WP 5/29; OCHA, PCHR 6/4)

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu begins a 2-day visit to Washington to discuss the peace process, Iran, bilateral relations, and Middle East regional affairs, holding his 1st mtg. with U.S. pres. Barack Obama at the White House. Obama privately presses for a total Israeli settlement freeze and endorsement of a 2-state solution, with Netanyahu demurring. The leaders emerge showing no signs of tensions, instead stressing shared goals of preventing Iran fr. developing nuclear weapons and achieving peace btwn. Israel and the Palestinians. (HA, IFM, WP, WT 5/18; NYT, WP, WT 5/19; NYT, WJW 5/21; WP 5/24; NYT 5/29; JPI 6/4; HA 6/11; see also NYT, WP 5/17)

In the West Bank, the IDF makes a rare daytime incursion into al-Khadir nr. Bethlehem, raiding 2 secondary schools while classes are in session, holding the students for several hours while searching for a wanted person; no arrests are made. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in al-‘Arub refugee camp (r.c.) and 3 villages nr. Hebron. (OCHA 5/20; PCHR 5/21)

A 5th round of Palestinian national unity talks (5/16–18) ends in Cairo without any progress. (Xinhua–New China News Agency 5/18; NYT 5/20)

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts latenight arrest raids, house searches in and around Bethlehem and nr. Jenin, firing on residential areas but causing no injuries. (OCHA 4/22; PCHR 4/23)

King Abdallah of Jordan meets with U.S. pres. Barack Obama, special envoy Mitchell at the White House. Obama lays out his admin.’s working plan, still in the formulating stage, for jumpstarting the peace process, asking the king to relay a request to the 22-mbr. Arab League to amend its 2002 peace initiative “to make it more palatable to Israel,” specifically by dropping demands for the Palestinian refugees’ right of return and setting a timetable for normalization with Israel. (AP 4/21; WP 4/26; WT 4/30; AP, al-Quds al-Arabi, UPI 5/6; NYT 5/12)

As Israel continues widespread air and naval bombardment of Gaza for a 3d day, Israeli DM Barak declares “all-out war” on Hamas. The IDF declares a 2-mi. buffer zone around the Strip a closed military zone and continues amassing tanks and troops there, indicating further preparations for a ground invasion. Israeli military officials speaking anonymously say they have expanded the IDF’s target list to include Hamas’s support network and symbols of Hamas power, stating that “there are many aspects of Hamas, and we are trying to hit the whole spectrum, because everything is connected and everything supports terrorists against Israel” and that “anything affiliated with Hamas is a legitimate target.”

Israeli actions: The IDF reports hitting 100 sites today, including more Islamic University buildings (including the engineering dept., library); homes and offices of Hamas leaders; PA government buildings (including the Interior Min., Finance Min., Foreign Min., Labor Min., Construction and Housing Min., and a PA presidential guest house); Bani Suhayla’s municipal building; the alZawiyya Mosque in Jabaliya r.c. and Omar Bin al-Khattab Mosque in al-Bureij r.c.; more civil and naval police stations; more tunnels along the Rafah border; the headquarters of Hamas’s al-Aqsa TV; Gaza’s port (for a 2d day); and 1 Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades training site. Target areas include Abasan, Bani Suhayla, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (city center, al-Rimal, al-Sabra, Shaykh Ajlin, Tal al-Hawa), Jabaliya town and r.c., Khan Yunis, Nussayrat r.c., al-Qarara, Rafah, Shati’ r.c., Tal al-Za‘atar. Just before strikes on Rafah, Israeli Military Intelligence makes 10,000 automated calls to Rafah residents warning of pending air strikes, breaks into Palestinian radio broadcasts to urge residents across Gaza to move to city centers. Palestinian medical officials report at least 364 Palestinians dead, 1,500 wounded since 12/27.

Palestinian actions: Palestinians fire 66 rockets, 14 mortars into Israel (twice as many as in the previous 24 hrs.), killing 3 Israeli civilians (1 each in Nahal Oz, Ashdod, Ashqelon; 1 of them an Israeli Palestinian) and wounding 5 (3 of them Israeli Palestinians), with 2 rockets hitting 23 mi. north in Gan Yavne/Ashdod. A Palestinian mortar hits an IDF base in Netivot, s. and e. of the Nahal Oz crossing, killing 1 IDF soldier (a Druze), seriously wounding 1, lightly injuring 4. The Israeli toll stands at 4–5 dead, about 20 injured. Reports circulate (e.g., NYT 12/30) of Hamas gunmen executing at least 5 accused collaborators with Israel inside hospitals; the 5 had been jailed for collaboration and transferred to hospitals after being wounded in IDF air strikes on jails.

Humanitarian notes: Israel allows 40 truckloads of humanitarian aid into Gaza; Egypt allows 23 truckloads of emergency goods in, some wounded out through Rafah. International aid groups (including Amnesty International, the UN) say aid transfers are insufficient, warn that the death toll is rising in part because of lack of medicines and medical supplies, food, and fuel.

Of note: One Israeli air strike heavily damages the UN Special Coordinator’s Office (UNSCO) headquarters in Gaza City, prompting the UN to issue a formal complaint. Egyptian TV reports that captured IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit has been wounded in an Israeli air strike in recent days; Hamas does not comment. (BBC, CNN, HA, Houston Chronicle, IFM, REU, White House press briefing, YA 12/29; BBC, IDF, Independent, NYT, WP, WT 12/30; IDF, UNOSAT 12/31; JP, PCHR, WJW 1/1; ITV 1/2; IDF 1/3; NYT, WP 1/4; WT, UNOSAT 1/5; IFM 1/8; Committee to Protect Journalists 1/9)

In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubbercoated steel bullets, percussion grenades, tear gas at Palestinians demonstrating against OCL in Issawiyya, Shu‘fat r.c., al-Tur neighborhood in East Jerusalem, causing no serious injuries; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in East Tura village nr. Jenin, Hebron. (PCHR 1/1)

U.S. Secy. of State Rice begins her final 4-day Middle East tour of Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank to discuss efforts to achieve “lasting peace in the region consistent with the goal of a two-state solution.” The U.S. had announced the trip on 10/30, when optimism surrounding the Gaza ceasefire was high, hoping that the visit would end with the signing of an Israeli-Palestinian joint statement on future negotiations at a high-level Quartet meeting on 11/9. In the wake of the 11/4–5 violence, however, the White House declares today, as Rice begins her meetings, that it intends to leave IsraeliArab peacemaking to the Obama admin. and no longer thinks any Israeli-Palestinian peace deal will occur before Bush leaves office in 1/09. Rice meets with Livni today. (BBC 11/6; NYT, WP, WSJ 11/7) (WT 10/31; HA 11/8; IFM, NYT, WP, WT 11/9; WP 11/10)

IDF troops on the s. Gaza border fire on Palestinian farmers working their fields nearby, forcing them to leave. The IDF also makes an air strike on a group of Palestinians nr. Jabaliya r.c. allegedly preparing to fire a rocket, injuring 1. Palestinians fire 4 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, in the morning, the IDF sends undercover units into Qalqilya driving a car with Palestinian plates to raid a store, arrest the owner; conducts a similar undercover raid into Nablus later in the day, raiding another store and arresting the owner; sends troops into al-Khadir village at midday, forcing stores to close, patrolling streets, withdrawing early in the evening; makes an evening incursion into Azun nr. Qalqilya, imposing a curfew, beating Palestinians who do not quickly leave the streets, withdrawing before midnight. Abbas accuses Hamas forces in Gaza of detaining nearly 50 Fatah members and supporters in a political move to undermine upcoming Cairo unity talks; at least 9 of those arrested, including a Fatah PC mbr., are released by the end of the day. A Palestinian woman dies of injures receive in the 11/4 IDF attacks on Gaza. (HA 11/6; MM 11/7; OCHA 11/12; PCHR 11/13)

The IDF demolishes 8 Palestinian homes in Rafah; shells residential areas of Khan Yunis. A Palestinian dies of injuries received on 2/22. (AP 3/1; PCHR 3/6; LAW 3/13)

The UN confirms that Iraq has begun destroying missiles, which inspectors determined could fly beyond limits set by UN sanctions. The White House declares, however, that disarmament alone is not enough (see 2/25), that the only way for Iraq to avoid war is for Hussein to step down as well. (NYT, WP 3/1; HA, NYT, WP, WT 3/2)

Islamic Jihad gunmen fatally shoot a Jewish settler rabbi driving in Gaza. The IDF sends tanks into Dayr al-Balah in search of a wanted AMB mbr., fatally shoots 1 Palestinian during the raid; demolishes 3 Palestinian homes in Dayr al-Balah, 8 in nearby Wadi al-Silqa; blows up 1 Palestinian building in Nablus that the IDF claims was used as a bomb-making lab; fires on residential areas of Rafah; conducts arrest raids in Jalbun, Tulkarm, al-Yamun. Israeli police find a package bomb in a mall in Netanya, in n. Israel. A Palestinian dies of injuries received on 7/12/02. (AP 12/20; NYT, WP 12/21; WT 12/22; LAW, PCHR 12/25)

U.S. Pres. George W. Bush meets with Quartet reps. (EU, Russia, UN, U.S.) at the White House. The Quartet reaffirms its call for creation of a Palestinian state by 2005, completes “99.5%” of the revisions to the draft road map but the U.S. overrules calls by other mbrs. to finalize and endorse the road map. (CNN, MM 12/20; NYT, WP 12/21; AYM 12/22, 12/24 in WNC 12/31; MM 12/23; JP 12/29)

IDF continues operations in Ramallah, conducting house-to-house searches, arresting 27 Palestinians, occupying a PSF post and detaining 30 PSF officers, surrounding hospitals and PRCS offices, firing on 2 ambulances. The IDF also continues arrest raids in Hebron, sends troops in and out of Tulkarm repeatedly during the day. A mysterious predawn explosion at the home of a senior PA military intelligence official in Jabaliya injures 40 Palestinians; an ill Palestinian dies at a checkpoint nr. Jenin; a 2d Palestinian dies of injuries received on 5/28. (LAW, NYT, PRCS press release 6/10; NYT, UPMRC, WP, WT 6/11)

Sharon meets with Bush at the White House. Afterward, Bush says that the time is not yet ripe to begin working toward a final status agmt.; PA must first make reforms. Asked about Israel's ongoing incursions into Palestinian towns, Bush says "Israel has a right to defend herself." (HA, MM 6/10; MA, XIN 6/10 in WNC 6/11; AYM 6/10, MENA 6/11 in WNC 6/12; MM, NYT, WP, WT 6/11; JT, QA, al-Quds 6/12 in WNC 6/13; MM, Jerusalem Times, WJW, WP 6/13; MENA 6/13 in WNC 6/14; MEI 6/14; MA 6/14 in WNC 6/16; MA 6/14 in WNC 6/17; MM 6/17; al-Quds 6/18 in WNC 6/19)

The YESHA settlers council launches a PR campaign to "stress the morality and justice of the Jews' right to the Land of Israel"; says it recently hired a company to handle overseas PR, organized a delegation to meet with U.S. congressmen and investors, held a seminar for settlement spokesman, published a brochure for settlers on how to deal with the media. (Hatzofe 6/10 in WNC 6/11)

The IDF continues operations in Balata r.c., Nablus for the 5th day; blows up an alleged bomb-making factory, raids and damages a medical center in Balata r.c. In new Askar r.c., the IDF conducts house-to-house searches, breaking through walls; bulldozes 4 cars; damages 22 stores, a medical center. The IDF also sends tanks into al-`Ayn r.c., `Ayn Bayt Hilma r.c., calling on men ages 15-45 to turn them selves in, detaining 100s; conducts arrest raids in al-Bireh, Khan Yunis, Qalqilya (also confiscating files fr. the Qalqilya Charity Comm., Islamic Club), Tulkarm; shells residential areas of Rafah, destroying 1 Palestinian home, damaging 6; bulldozes 50 dunams of Palestinian land nr. Khan Yunis, areas around the Gaza airport. The IDF, Shin Bet also raid the Arab Chamber of Commerce in Jerusalem, arrest 6 Palestinian employees for violating the closure of the building imposed in 8/01. Israel seizes 30 dunams of Palestinian land along the Green Line nr. Issawiyya for creation of buffer zones, 120 dunams in the Jabal Mukabir neighborhood of East Jerusalem for Jewish housing, a tourists complex. Overnight, Palestinians detonate 2 roadside bombs nr. IDF convoys in the West Bank, causing no damage. (AP, HP 6/3; WP, WT 6/4; LAW 6/5; HA, WJW 6/6)

The PA High Court rules that the PA has no legal ground to hold PFLP head Saadat, must release him immediately. In response, the IDF sends tanks toward Jericho, where Saadat is being held; declares the Jericho area a closed military zone; warns it will kill Saadat if he is freed. Arafat quickly convenes the Executive Authority (EA), the PA's cabinet, which over turns the court decision. (AFP, HA, JP, LAW 6/3; RMC 6/3 in WNC 6/4; WP, WT 6/4; MM 6/5; AYM 6/5 in WNC 6/6) (see 5/19)

The U.S. announces it has just scheduled a mtg. btwn. Bush, Sharon at the White House on 6/10, after a visit by Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak. Israeli officials say Sharon asked for the mtg. out of concern that Israel's views were being overshadowed by the "near-constant stream" of Arab visitors to Washington. (JP, NYT, WT 6/4; MM, NYT, WP 6/5; AYM 6/7 in WNC 6/10)

The IDF pullbacks fr. 22 small West Bank villages but sends forces into Birzeit, Dahariyya, `Ayn Bayt Himla r.c. nr. Ramallah and briefly reenters Tulkarm to make arrests. In Birzeit, troops occupy the main PSF station, begin house-to-house searches. The IDF lifts the curfews on Jenin r.c. (which it says it has quelled), Nablus for several hrs. for the 1st time since 4/3; pulls troops back fr. the old city in Nablus, allowing residents, some journalists and local medical workers to see the extent of devastation for the 1st time. The IDF continues to bar ICRC, UNRWA teams fr. entering the towns. In Jenin r.c., the IDF fatally shoots a 13.-yr.-old boy who gets "too close" to an IDF tank post during the break in curfew; continues to bulldoze buildings. In Nablus, the local hospital says the morgue is filled to capacity; it has had to move in a refrigerated truck to handle overflow. PA officials who reach Ramallah's city hall report that the IDF has ransacked and burned the building, confiscated or destroyed important documents, particularly relating to Palestinian land ownership. In Hebron, a Palestinian suicide bomber reportedly detonates a device nr. an IDF checkpoint, injuring several bystanders. (AFP, AP, WP 4/11; BBC, NYT, WP, WT 4/12)

On arrival in Tel Aviv, Powell is greeted by Sharon, who says the IDF is "not about to leave" Bethlehem, Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah; even when troops pull out, they will surround and seal the cities (as they are doing to Qalqilya, Tulkarm) to ensure there are no "terrorist" attacks. The White House says Bush never expected Israel to halt incursions, withdraw fr. PA areas in "a mere eight days"; says Bush considers Sharon to be a "man of peace." (AP 4/11; NYT, WP, WT 4/12; MEI 4/19)

An Islamic Jihad suicide bomber detonates a device on a street in Tel Aviv, wounding at least 18 Israelis, 3 of them critically. 1 Palestinian dies of injuries received earlier. In Gaza, the IDF reports that Hamas fired locally made Qassam-1 rockets at Erez crossing, causing no injuries. In retaliation, the IDF launches F-16 air strikes on PA security targets in Gaza City and Tulkarm, injuring at least 7 Palestinians. The IDF also shells residential areas of Khan Yunis; bulldozes 600 m2 of Palestinian land in Khan Yunis; conducts arrest raids in Nablus. In Ramallah, 1,000s of Palestinians rally in support of Arafat. The IDF pulls out of Tira neighborhood in Ramallah, which it reoccupied on 1/17. (AP 1/25; NYT, WP, WT 1/26; JT [Internet] 1/27; PCHR 1/30)

56 officers, soldiers in the IDF combat reserves publish a petition in Ha'Aretz publicly refusing to "fight beyond the Green Line for the purpose of occupying, deporting, destroying, blockading, killing, starving, and humiliating an entire people." (HA 1/25; HA 1/28; WP 1/29; WT 1/30; BBC, MM, WJW 1/31; MA 2/1 in WNC 2/4; NYT 2/2; MM 2/4; MM, NYT 2/5; MEI 2/8)

Senior White House, State Dept., CIA, Pentagon officials meet again to discuss the possibility of severing ties with Arafat, the PA/PLO. Bush, his advisers decide to increase public criticism of Arafat and to "redouble" efforts to get Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia to put pressure on Arafat. (AP, HA, MM, WP 1/25; WP, WT 1/26; al-Quds 1/26, DUS 1/27 in WNC 1/28; MM 1/28; AKH 1/28 in WNC 1/29; HA 1/29; MA, al-Quds 2/1 in WNC 2/4)

The IDF assassinates senior Hamas mbr. Adli Hamdan (Bakr Hamdan), firing missiles at his car in Khan Yunis, injuring 2 passengers. Another 5 Palestinians are killed in separate incidents, including a PA intelligence officer fatally shot by the IDF in Ramallah. A 6th Palestinian dies of injuries received earlier. In Hebron, the IDF raids, occupies a Palestinian bakery, shooting, wounding, detaining 1 Palestinian. The IDF also conducts arrest sweeps in the Bethlehem area, Tulkarm; occupies a Palestinian home in al-Khadir as an observation post. (LAW, NYT, WP 1/25; PCHR 1/30)

     The U.S. invites Sharon to come to Washington to meet with Bush on 2/7. White House also issues a statement regarding Israel's confinement of Arafat to his office in Ramallah, saying, "The president understands the reason that Israel has taken the action that it takes, and it is up to Chairman Arafat to demonstrate the leadership to combat terrorism." Bush meets with senior national security advisers to reassess U.S. Middle East policy. Some senior admin. officials (including VP Dick Cheney, Defense Secy. Donald Rumsfeld) are reportedly leaning toward sanctioning or severing ties with Arafat, the PA/PLO. (MM, WJW 1/24; AP, CNN, JP [Internet], MM, NYT, WP, WT 1/25; al-Quds 1/26, DUS 1/27 in WNC 1/28; MM 1/28)

2 Israelis wounded in the 1/22 AMB attack die. In Nablus, 15,000 angry Palestinians attend the funeral of 3 of 4 Hamas mbrs. killed by the IDF on 1/22, demand revenge. Israel bars officials of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem fr. leaving Israel to attend the Vatican's Day of Prayer for Peace in Italy. (AP, MM 1/23; WP, WT 1/24)

The IDF announces the results of its investigation into the 12/30 death of 3 Palestinians, whose mutilated bodies were not turned over to the PA until 1/3, raising suspicions that the 3 had been tortured and autopsied without permission. The IDF admits that the tank shells fired at the teenagers were packed with flechettes (banned internationally) and that 1 body was then driven over by a tank. (PCHR 1/30) (see 1/3)

The U.S. steps up pressure on the PA: The White House blames continuing violence on the Palestinians, says cease-fire efforts were derailed by the "arms shipment received and paid for by the Palestinian Authority," and states that the "justifying of the targeting of innocents in return for land is an argument for terrorism." The State Dept. says there is no excuse for the PA "not taking effective steps to stop that terrorism." Powell phones Arafat to demand his full report on the Karine A affair. (AP 1/23; AP, NYT, WJW, WT 1/24; NYT, WP 1/25)

Hizballah fires mortars, rockets at 3 IDF posts in the occupied Shaba` Farms region of the Golan Heights, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF responds by conducing air strikes against Hizballah targets in s. Lebanon. (MM, WP 1/24; al-Nahar 1/24 in WNC 1/25; MM 1/29, 1/30; al-Safir 2/7 in WNC 2/11)

The IDF attempts to assassinate senior Islamic Jihad mbr. Muhammad Sidir by firing missiles at his car in Hebron; Sidir is injured, 2 Palestinian children are killed, 6 others are injured. (1 of the dead, 5 of the injured are bystanders.) A 3d Palestinian is killed in al-Bireh by an IDF tank shell. The IDF also shells, destroys a PSF headquarters in n. Gaza; enters Rafah to bulldoze 3 Palestinian homes; uproots 200 olive trees in Sinjil. Palestinians fire a mortar at a Jewish settlement in Gaza, lightly injuring 1 Jewish settler. Jewish settlers in Hebron severely beat 2 Palestinian girls. Palestinians, Israeli peace activists stage a nonviolent protest at an IDF roadblock in Qalandia. (HP, LAW, MM 12/10; AP, MM, NYT, WP, WT 12/11; WT 12/12; AYM 12/12 in WNC 12/13; HA, LAW 12/13)

Arafat, Sharon meet separately with Zinni, urge him not to cut his trip short. Powell says that Zinni will indeed stay, that he never really intended to leave but just wanted to pressure the sides to act. (AP, MM, NYT, WT 12/11) (see 12/9)

In Washington, Bush hosts the White House's 1st menorah-lighting and Hanukkah party. Speaking privately with American Jewish leaders, Bush reportedly assails Arafat and the State Dept., identifies with Sharon, says that winning the war on terror means getting rid of groups like Hamas, Hizballah. (MM 12/12; MM, WJW 12/13; NYT 12/14; AYM 12/14 in WNC 12/17; WP 12/15; JT [Internet] 12/19; JP 2/1)

In Brussels, EU FMs call on Arafat to dismantle the "terrorist networks" of Hamas and Islamic Jihad; to declare, in Arabic, the end to the "armed intifada." Also call on Israel to halt assassinations, settlement expansion, attacks on the Palestinian infrastructure. (AFP 12/10; NYT, WT 12/11; IRNA, MA, SA 12/11 in WNC 12/12; AFP, MM, WT 12/12; Le Monde 12/12 in WNC 12/13; DUS 12/12 in WNC 12/14; MEI 12/21)

Upon his return fr. the U.S. Sharon meets with his security cabinet, then his full cabinet to discuss how to respond to the 12/1+n2 attacks. The full cabinet votes to declare the PA "an entity that supports terrorism," adds Force 17 (Arafat's "presidential guard") to its list of terrorist groups, authorizes Sharon to escalate military action. FM Shimon Peres, other Labor MKs walk out of the cabinet mtg. in protest but do not formally withdraw fr. the governing coalition. (AP, CNN, HA, MM 12/3; MM, NYT, WP, WT 12/4; MM, WJW 12/6; MEI 12/7; MA 12/7 in WNC 12/12; WP 12/9)

While the cabinet meets, the PSF continues to arrest mbrs. of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, risking confrontations with hostile Palestinian crowds. Arafat also orders the arrest of Hamas spiritual leader Shaykh Ahmad Yasin, but when PSF officers arrive around midnight, crowds of Palestinians force them to retreat. The PSF says it has arrested more than 100 Palestinians since 12/2. Arafat asks Peres for a 4-day grace period, during which he vows he would crack down on opposition groups. Israel refuses, dismissing the arrests as a "show for international consumption." The U.S. says the PA must "root out the infrastructure of the groups that support terrorists." (HA 12/3; NYT, WP, WT 12/4; AKH 12/4 in WNC 12/5; MEI 12/7; MA 12/7 in WNC 12/11; WT 12/10)

Soon after the cabinet mtg., the IDF launches air raids against Arafat's headquarters and other PA sites around Gaza City, destroying the PSF barracks, Arafat's 2 personal helicopters, injuring 12 Palestinians; sends tanks into Gaza airport to bulldoze runways; sends troops into Ramallah to surround the PA's West Bank headquarters, where Arafat is staying. In Jinin, U.S.-supplied F-16s destroy the Palestinian governate building, jail, PSF headquarters. The IDF also fatally shoots 1 Palestinian nr. Jinin; raids Beitunia, attacking several homes and arresting an Arafat adviser, several Islamic Jihad mbrs. In Bethlehem, Fatah mbrs. Rafat al-Bajali and Nidal al-Dirbani, both on Israel's wanted list, are killed in a mysterious explosion thought to be an IDF assassination. The White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says Israel "obviously has the right to defend itself. The president understands that very clearly." (AFP, AP, CNN, HA 12/3; XIN 12/3 in WNC 12/4; MENA 12/3, AN, MA 12/4 in WNC 12/5; HA, HP, NYT, WP, WT 12/4; HP, LAW 12/5; AYM 12/5 in WNC 12/7; AYM 12/6, al-Safir 12/7 in WNC 12/11; MEI 12/7; WJW 12/14; MEI 12/21)

A Hamas suicide bomber detonates a powerful device on a bus in Haifa, killing 14 Israelis, 1 Filipino, and injuring more than 40. Arafat condemns the attack, outlaws "any movement, organization, or gathering" that does not abide by his cease-fire order, orders confiscation of illegal weapons, reiterates plans for a crackdown, saying that around 90 Palestinians have already been arrested. Israel dismisses the arrests as "a stunt," seals PA areas, bans all Palestinian vehicular traffic, shells residential areas of Jinin. In one of several similar incidents in the Bethlehem area, 20 PSF officers attempting to arrest journalist Issa Zawahara, who has ties to Islamic Jihad, are chased off by an angry crowd of Palestinians. Arafat later meets with PA security heads, convenes the Palestinian Council (PC) to discuss the recent attacks. (AFP, AP, HA 12/2; AFP, ATL, Interfax, LPA, XIN 12/2 in WNC 12/3; HA, MM, NYT, WP, WT 12/3; DUS, MA 12/3 in WNC 12/4; WT 12/4; AYM 12/4 in WNC 12/5; LAW 12/5; WJW 12/6; MEI 12/7; JP 12/14)

Sharon, Bush meet at the White House. Sharon says he does not expect Arafat to take serious steps to arrest those responsible for recent suicide attacks, says Israel will "do what we have to do to protect our citizens." Neither Bush nor U.S. officials urge Israeli restraint. (JP [Internet] 12/2; LPA 12/2 in WNC 12/3; MM, WP, WT 12/3; WT 12/4; VIRI 12/4 in WNC 12/5; MM 12/5)

Meanwhile, Hamas also takes responsibility for a drive-by shooting in Gaza, which leaves 1 Jewish settler dead. In the Jordan Valley, 7 settlers are wounded in a 2d drive-by shooting. Palestinians in Bayt Jala fire on Gilo, injuring 2 settlers. Armed Jewish settlers accost Palestinians in Hizma. An Israeli security guard outside an East Jerusalem bank fatally shoots a Palestinian, apparently fearing that he was about to stage an attack. The IDF fatally shoots 4 Palestinians nr. a Jinin checkpoint, 1 Palestinian in Tulkarm; fires a tank shell at a Palestinian in Qabatiyya, killing him. The IDF also directs shells/heavy machine gun fire at residential areas of Aida, Jinin, Khan Yunis, Salim; conducts arrest raids in Abu Dis, Azariyya, Burqa. In Gaza, some 1,000 Hamas supporters rally in support of continued attacks on Israeli targets. In Nablus, 300 Palestinians attend a rally against political arrests sponsored by the National and Islamic Higher Comm. for the Follow-up of the Intifada (NIHC). (HA 12/2; XIN 12/2 in WNC 12/3; PMC, REU, WP 12/3; LAW 12/5)

In Baqa` al-Sharqiyya, a Hamas suicide bomber detonates a device as IDF commandos raid his hide-out, wounding 2 commandos. A 2d Palestinian dies of injuries received on 11/6. The IDF tightens the closures on Jinin, Salfit, Tulkarm; directs gunfire at a Jordanian diplomatic vehicle traveling nr. the Erez crossing; bulldozes agricultural land in Bayt Lahia. In East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities evict, confiscate the home of a Palestinian family; give evacuation orders to 2 other families. Israel also bars PA Telecommunications M Imad al-Faluji fr. leaving the PA areas to attend an Arab League mtg. in Cairo. A Jewish settler driving nr. Bethlehem hits a 5-yr.-old Palestinian boy, seriously injuring him; the IDF blocks his transportation to a hospital for over 1 hr. In a similar incident, a 4-yr.-old Palestinian boy is hit, injured by a Jewish settler nr. Jinin; due to the closure, it takes the boy's father 2 hrs. to get him to a hospital less than 1 mi. away. (HP 11/8; MA, MENA, Voice of Israel 11/8 in WNC 11/9; PMC 11/10; AYM 11/14 in WNC 11/19; PCHR 11/15)

The White House says that Bush will not meet with Arafat on the sidelines of the upcoming UNGA session because the PA has not done enough to stop "terrorism." (WT 11/9; AN, QA 11/10 in WNC 11/13; AYM 11/11, Le Monde 11/13 in WNC 11/14)

Israeli police question Israeli Arab MK Talib al-Sana on suspicion of sedition for reportedly stating in an interview with Abu Dhabi TV that a Palestinian attack on the Israeli DMin. on 8/5 was legitimate since the target was military and not civilian. (JP [Internet] 11/9) (see 11/6)

The Lebanese cabinet formally rejects U.S. requests to freeze Hizballah assets. (SAF 11/8 in WNC 11/9; NYT, WP 11/9; SAF 11/10 in WNC 11/13; al-Nahar 11/10, al-Anwar [Beirut] 11/11 in WNC 11/14; MM 11/13; WJW 11/15; MEI 11/23) (11/2)

At least 1 PFLP gunman assassinates Israeli tourism M Ze'evi in an East Jerusalem hotel, shooting him at point blank range, using a pistol equipped with a silencer, escaping undetected. The PFLP says it is retaliating for the assassination of PFLP secy. gen. Mustafa on 8/27; also takes responsibility for a suicide car bombing in Gaza that wounds 2 IDF soldiers. Arafat immediately condemns the assassination, orders the PSF to arrest the killers. The PSF quickly arrests 3 PFLP mbrs. but releases them after questioning. (AP, HA, HP, JP [Internet], MM, REU 10/17; AFP, ATL, XIN 10/17 in WNC 10/18; HA, MM, NYT, WP, WT 10/18; al-Quds 10/18 in WNC 10/19; Tehran Times 10/20 in WNC 10/22; WJW 10/25)

Meanwhile, Hamas mbr. Iyad al-Akhras is killed in an explosion in his Gaza home in what may be an assassination. The IDF also fires a missile at a Palestinian car in Nablus, but the rocket misses, 3 Palestinians escape unharmed. The IDF makes a predawn incursion into al-Qarara, firing heavy machine guns at homes, bulldozing 10s of dunams of cultivated land for construction of a settler bypass road; directs machine gun fire at residential areas of Gaza City, Jinin, Rafah; bulldozes secondary Palestinian roads around Ramallah. Palestinian gunmen reportedly fire at Neve Dekalim, wounding 2 Jewish settlers. In East Jerusalem, Jewish settlers angry over Ze'evi's murder attack, beat Palestinians. (HP 10/17; WT 10/18)

After a lengthy Israeli inner cabinet mtg., Sharon issues an ultimatum to the PA: arrest and extradite Ze'evi's killers and the PFLP's current leaders and "dismantle terror organizations" or face a response more severe than any recent reprisal. Sharon then convenes a special session of the Knesset (boycotted by Arab MKs), where he declares, "We will wage all-out war on the terrorists" and "those who collaborate with them." National Union+nYisrael Beitunia MKs suspend their resignations to see how Sharon responds. The IDF sends tanks, troops 2.5 mi. into area A around Jinin; reimposes tight closures on, places 24 hr. curfews on, and directs shells and heavy machine gun fire at residential areas of Azariyya, al-Bireh, Jinin, Nablus, Ramallah; deploys helicopters to hover over major Palestinian population centers; bars Arafat fr. using Gaza airport. (HP, MM 10/17; AFP, MM, NYT, WP, WT 10/18; JP [Internet], WP 10/29)

Powell phones Sharon to urge Israel to use restraint. The White House calls on the PA to "immediately find and bring to justice those who committed this murder," saying Arafat must "take vigorous action against terrorists." (MM, WP 10/18; Interfax, MENA, QA 10/18 in WNC 10/19)

In its largest military operation since the start of the al-Aqsa intifada (in terms of area, size of the force involved), Israel sends IDF infantry, tanks, armored bulldozers, and helicopters to occupy the PA-controlled sector of Hebron, leaving 6 Palestinians dead, wounding at least 40, demolishing 3 homes, occupying 15 houses and 1 school. The IDF also send tanks into areas A outside Netzarim to demolish 2 Palestinian homes; occupies 2 Palestinian houses in Kafr Dik, al-Khadir as military posts; bulldozes a PSF post nr. al-Sudaniyya; directs shells, heavy machine gun fire at residential areas of Bayt Hanun (destroying 8 Palestinian homes), Khan Yunis, Rafah; conducts arrest raids in Azun, Dayr al-Ghasun, Kafr Dik; bar farmers nr. Bethlehem fr. harvesting their lands. Jewish settlers attack Palestinians harvesting olives outside Nablus, vandalize nearby Palestinian homes. A Palestinian sniper fatally shoots a Jewish settler nr. the Green Line nr. Tulkarm. The PC calls an emergency mtg., reiterates the call on Palestinians to adhere to the cease-fire. (AFP, AP, HP, LAW, MM 10/5; AFP 10/5 in WNC 10/9; HP, NYT, WP, WT 10/6; al-Quds 10/6 in WNC 10/9; MEI 10/12; LAW 10/13)

The White House rebukes Sharon for his harsh statements of 10/4 saying they are "unacceptable"; urges Israel to resume peace talks and to refrain fr. invading PA-controlled areas, demolishing houses, conducting assassinations. (AP, MM 10/5; NYT, WP, WT 10/6; MM 10/8)