36 / 15269 Results
  • June 26, 2023

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers set up tents on land near Deir Sharaf. Israeli settlers also threw stones at Palestinian vehicles traveling near Duma, injuring 2 Palestinians and damaging a car...

    Read more
  • May 7, 2023

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers set up caravans on Palestinian land near Mukhmas. Israeli forces demolished 1 Palestinian school in Jubbet ad-Dik; the EU delegation to the Palestinians called...

    Read more
  • March 22, 2023

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers assaulted Palestinians in Fasayil, injuring 1. Israeli forces raided Nablus and took measurements for a punitive demolition of a home belonging to the family of...

    Read more
  • May 12, 2022

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers threw stones at 1 Palestinian vehicle driving near the Homesh settlement outpost, injuring 1 and damaging the car. Thousands of Palestinians partook in a funeral...

    Read more
  • October 24, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers tried to steal sheep in Qarawat Bani Hassan before being chased away by Palestinians. Israeli forces delivered stop-work notices for 1 house, 1 water well, and 1...

    Read more
  • February 15, 2017

    The IDF imposes several punitive measures on Husan village nr. Bethlehem in response to reports of stone throwing in the area. They bar residents from entering nearby Beitar Ilit settlement, where...

    Read more
  • June 29, 2014

    In the Gaza Strip, an IDF drone strikes a target nr. Dayr al-Balah, killing a mbr. of Hamas’s armed wing, al-Qassam Brigades. Meanwhile, the IDF strikes 12 other, separate targets across the Gaza...

    Read more
  • November 3, 2013

    In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village each nr. Hebron, Jenin, Jerusalem, Nablus, and Ramallah at night; patrols in 1 village nr. Hebron at night. (PCHR 11...

    Read more
  • February 25, 2013

    IDF soldiers shoot and wound 2 Palestinian teenagers, 1 seriously, in clashes between the army and protesters nr. Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem. Palestinians throwing stones at Israeli cars on a road...

    Read more
  • October 10, 2012

    A PA spokesperson tells the Independent (UK) that international donors have provided only 40% of pledged aid for 2012, meaning that 150,000 PA employees have been warned that it is not known when...

    Read more
  • September 27, 2012

    PA pres. Mahmud Abbas addresses the UNGA in New York, announcing as expected that his government will seek non-member observer state status for Palestine (see Doc. B4 in JPS 166). Abbas also...

    Read more
  • August 30, 2012

    Israeli military authorities confiscate Palestinian land in a village nr. Nahalin, close to the Jewish settlement of Beitar Ilit. The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 village nr....

    Read more
  • December 18, 2011

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

    Read more
  • September 5, 2011

    Abbas tells a group of 20 left-leaning Israeli intellectuals that the Palestinians want above all to resume negotiations, stating that “no matter what happens at the [UN], we have to return to...

    Read more
  • July 18, 2011

    Israel issues tenders for construction of 294 new settlement housing units in Beitar Ilit nr. Jerusalem and Karnei Shomron nr. Nablus (see 5/21). The IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear...

    Read more
  • May 21, 2011

    In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in and around Tulkarm and in 1 village nr. Jenin during the day; makes a late-night raid into Kafr Ra‘i village nr. Jenin, detaining 2 Palestinians and taking...

    Read more
  • October 19, 2010

    The IDF makes 2 brief incursions into Gaza to clear lines of sight along the border e. of Jabaliya r.c. in the n. and al-Qarara in the s., exchanging gunfire with Palestinians in the s., causing...

    Read more
  • March 8, 2010

    U.S. VP Joe Biden begins a 4-day trip aimed at boosting the peace process and reassuring Israel on Iran, marking the highest level visit to the region to date by an Obama admin. official. Timed...

    Read more
  • August 7, 2008

    Egyptian border police discover, demolish 20 smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border; smugglers exchange fire with police, leaving 2 unidentified individuals dead and 4 wounded inside Egyptian...

    Read more
  • May 21, 2008

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

    Read more
  • April 2, 2008

    In Gaza, the IDF bulldozes 24 d. of olive groves and a small Gaza police outpost nr. al-Maghazi r.c. Egyptian border police discover, demolish a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border. In the West...

    Read more
  • October 20, 2007

    The IDF fires a surface-to-surface missile at central Bayt Lahiya in an attempt to assassinate 3 Hamas mbrs., missing them but injuring 3 bystanders, damaging 2 homes and a car. The Israeli navy...

    Read more
  • September 4, 2006

    In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron and Jenin town and r.c., nr. Bethlehem (targeting the AMB; firing on stone-throwing youths who confront them,...

    Read more
  • July 25, 2006

    In Gaza, the IDF shells areas nr. Khan Yunis, wounding 2 Palestinians and damaging an ambulance coming to their rescue; fires on a Palestinian family tending their fields nr. the border fence with...

    Read more
  • May 21, 2006

    The IDF opens Gaza’s Sufa commercial crossing (closed since 5/17); shells Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, injuring a 12-yr.-old Palestinian; sends troops into Hebron to surround the Polytechnic...

    Read more
  • December 26, 2005

    The IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus and in Aida r.c., Ramallah (surrounding 2 mosques and stopping Palestinians for ID checks as they head to morning prayers);...

    Read more
  • August 4, 2005

    An IDF soldier, who deserted 2 mos. ago to protest disengagement and moved to the right-wing West Bank settlement of Tapuach, boards a Haifa–Shafa‘ Amr bus, still dressed in fatigues and carrying...

    Read more
  • July 22, 2005

    Palestinian gunmen fire on an IDF post in Hebron, wounding 2 soldiers; the IDF returns fire, killing a Palestinian bystander. The IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in Balata r.c., fires on...

    Read more
  • February 21, 2005

    Israel releases 500 Palestinian prisoners, all of whom must sign pledges that they “opposed terror” and will not undertake “any activity against the State of Israel”; the IDF bars journalists fr....

    Read more
  • August 17, 2004

    The IDF continues operations in Nablus, conducting house searches, firing on stonethrowing youths, fatally shooting a 9-yr.- old Palestinian sitting on the stoop of his home. The IDF also fatally...

    Read more

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers set up tents on land near Deir Sharaf. Israeli settlers also threw stones at Palestinian vehicles traveling near Duma, injuring 2 Palestinians and damaging a car. Elsewhere, Israeli settlers assaulted Palestinians with pepper spray near Jamma’in, injuring 1. Israeli forces uprooted 70 olive trees in Khallet al-Qutun near Tuqu’. Israeli forces also leveled land near Qaryut in preparation for settlement expansion. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces raided the home of 16 Palestinians who had previously been imprisoned by Israel, seizing cash, several vehicles, and jewelry, claiming that the Palestinians had received payments from the PA. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 6/26; PCHR 7/6; UNOCHA 7/8)

The Israeli military alleged that a rocket was launched from the Jenin area at Israel before exploding within the West Bank, causing neither damage nor injuries. (HA, JP, TOI 6/26)

An Israeli parole board denied an early release petition for Palestinian prisoner Walid Daqqa, who the Israeli prison service acknowledge is terminally ill with cancer. Daqqa, who has been imprisoned by Israel for 39 years, has already completed his original sentence but was sentenced to an additional 2 years for allegedly helping smuggling cellphones into prison. (WAFA 6/26; HA 6/27)

In Lebanon, 1 Israeli drone was shot down by Hezbollah militants near Zibqin. (AJ, ALM, AP, HA, REU 6/26)

The Israeli Higher Planning Council approved 5,700 settlement housing units and retroactively approved the Palegi Maim, HaYovel, and Nof Harim settlement outposts. 818 housing units received final validation including 359 in Elkana, 381 in Revava, 29 in Givat Ze’ev, 42 in Carmiel, and 7 in Hermesh. 4,915 housing units were approved for deposit, including 1,563 in Eli, 98 in Ariel, 714 in Givat Ze’ev, 340 in Ma ‘ale Adumim, 312 in Beitar Ilit, 310 in Adora, 264 in Etz Efraim, 152 in Ma ‘ale Amos, 78 in Asfar, and 754 in the 3 settlement outposts. Peace Now reported that more than 13,000 housing units had been approved in the first half of 2023. The French foreign ministry and the UN issued a statement condemning the settlement approval and the recent Israeli settler violence. The U.S. said it was “deeply troubled by Israel’s decision.” (HA 6/25; AJ, ALM, ALM, AP, BBC, HA, HA, PCN, REU, WAFA, WAFA 6/26; WAFA 6/27; UN 6/28; NYT 6/29)

The Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza announced that it had filed a complaint against Israel with the ICC over the Israeli blockade of Gaza. (MDW 6/29)

Israeli public broadcaster Kan reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had told a Knesset committee that his government is ready to help the PA financially to prevent it from collapsing but that the Palestinian “ambitions for the establishment of a state must be eliminated.” (NA, QDS 6/26; MEMO 6/27; QDS 6/29)

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs counted 570 Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians and Palestinian property between 1 January and 26 June, raising the number of attacks counted by the UN from 71 in 2022 to 95 incidents in the first half of 2023. (HA 7/1)

The Taub Center for Israel Studies at New York University made available documents from the Israeli archives showing that the Israeli military poisoned Palestinian land around Aqraba in 1972 to ensure that Palestinians could not cultivate the land as Israel established the Gitit settlement on land confiscated from the town’s residents. The Israeli military estimated that they had caused property loss from the spraying of the land amounting to $25,000. (HA 6/23)

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers set up caravans on Palestinian land near Mukhmas. Israeli forces demolished 1 Palestinian school in Jubbet ad-Dik; the EU delegation to the Palestinians called the demolition appalling. Israeli forces also demolished 1 guest house in Jiftlik and 2 houses under construction in al-‘Awja. 8 Palestinians were arrested, including 3 minors, during late-night raids in Ras Karkar, Jalazun refugee camp, Bayt Jala, Beit Sahour, al-‘Awja, and Masafer Yatta. In East Jerusalem, Israeli settlers toured the Haram al-Sharif compound. (AN, F24, MEE, REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 5/7; HA, WAFA 5/8; PCHR 5/11; UNOCHA 5/19)

Israeli forces partially lifted the siege on Jericho after 16 days, easing restrictions on entry and exiting the city, but maintaining the barriers and checkpoints that have been erected. (QDS 5/7)

The Israel Land Authority issued tenders for 1,248 housing units in the Beitar Ilit, Efrat, Kiryat Arba, Ma’ale Ephraim, and Karnei Shomron settlements in the West Bank and in the Gilo settlement in East Jerusalem. (REU 5/7; QDS, WAFA 5/8)

The Supreme Court of Israel denied a petition to immediately expel Palestinians living in Khan al-Ahmar. The judges said in the ruling that they accepted the government’s argument that the Palestinians cannot be expelled “for current reasons related to the security of a country and its foreign relations.” The petition was submitted by the settler organization Regavim. (HA 5/7; AA, HA 5/8)

The Israeli government allocated $8.8 million to develop an archaeological site in Sebastia. The government wrote in the proposal for the development of the site that it is doing so to prevent the PA from restoring the site. (TOI 5/7; PCN 5/8)

The World Food Programme announced that it will suspend food aid to 200,000 Palestinians, about 60% of current recipients in Palestine, from June due to severe shortage in funds. The organization said that it will have to suspend all its programs in the West Bank and Gaza by August if it does not receive new funding. (HA, REU 5/7; PCHR 5/8; AJ 5/28; HA 5/31)

Israel released Jordanian lawmaker Imad al-Adwan who was arrested on 4/23 at the Allenby Bridge, accused of smuggling weapons and gold. (AJ, AP, HA, REU 5/7)

U.S. national security advisor Jake Sullivan met with Saudi crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman in Riyadh, discussing normalization with Israel and peace in Yemen. Sullivan also met with the national security advisors of India and the UAE to discuss infrastructure plans in the Middle East. (AX 5/6; REU 5/7; AJ, AP, AX 5/8; HA 5/9)

The Arab League voted to readmit Syria to the organization during a closed meeting of foreign ministers in Cairo. Syria’s membership was suspended in 2011. (AJ, HA, MEE, NYT, REU 5/7)

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers assaulted Palestinians in Fasayil, injuring 1. Israeli forces raided Nablus and took measurements for a punitive demolition of a home belonging to the family of a Palestinian killed during an Israeli raid on Jenin on 3/7. Israeli forces also issued 15 stop-work orders for structures in al-Jiftlik and demolition orders for 4 homes and 1 agricultural structure in Idhna. Elsewhere, Israeli forces raided Qaddura refugee camp, firing tear gas near the Palestine Medical Complex, leading to tear-gas related injuries among patients. 26 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in Khirbet Abu Falah, Qaddura refugee camp, Eizariya, ‘Anata, ad-Doha, al-Walaja, Bethlehem, Beit Umar, Dura, Fawwar refugee camp, Aqabat Jaber refugee camp, Ein as-Sultan, Nablus, ‘Askar refugee camp, and Ya’bad. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 3/22; PCHR 3/23; UNOCHA 3/31)

The Israeli Land Authority published tenders for construction of 940 settlement units in the West Bank settlements Efrat and Beitar Illit and 89 settlement units in the Gilo settlement in East Jerusalem. (AP, PCN, WAFA 3/24; WAFA 3/25; MEMO 3/26; WAFA 3/27)

In Syria, Israeli forces conducted airstrikes on Aleppo International Airport for the second time this month, causing damage. (AJ, ALM, AP, HA, REU 3/22)

Haaretz reported that the Israeli military had conducted a psychological warfare operation against Israelis during the 2021 Operation Guardian of the Wall to garner support among the Israeli public for the Israeli military’s attacks on Gaza. The military used the social media platforms Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to upload propaganda from fake profiles. The campaign was launched 2 days into Israel assault on Gaza, as Israeli military personnel feared they were losing public support. (AP, HA 3/22) 

The Jordanian parliament voted to recommend expelling the Israeli ambassador to the country in protest over Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich’s comments on 3/19 in Paris that the Palestinian people do not exist while standing in front of a map depicting Greater Israel, including all of Palestinian and Jordan. (AX, WAFA 3/20; AJ, WAFA 3/22)

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers threw stones at 1 Palestinian vehicle driving near the Homesh settlement outpost, injuring 1 and damaging the car. Thousands of Palestinians partook in a funeral ceremony in Ramallah for Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed by Israeli forces on 5/11 in Jenin refugee camp. PA president Mahmoud Abbas spoke at the ceremony and awarded her the Al-Quds star of honor. Abu Akleh will be buried in East Jerusalem on 5/13. Israeli forces prevented Palestinians in the funeral procession from accompanying her casket through the Qalandia checkpoint from Ramallah to East Jerusalem. Israeli forces also demolished a water collection pond used for irrigation in Marj Na‘aj. 7 Palestinians were arrested, including 5 during a late-night raid in Hebron, Rumana, Qabatiya, and Burqin, and 2 at flying checkpoints in Hebron and Tulkarm. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces raided a house in Bayt Hanina, where friends and family of Abu Akleh were holding a memorial ceremony for her; Israeli forces confiscated Palestinian flags. Israeli police also raided Abu Akleh’s house on 5/11, confiscating Palestinian flags. 5 Palestinians were arrested during raids. (AJ, AJ, AP, CNN, GDN, HA, MEE, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 5/12; WAFA 5/13; PCHR 5/19; UNOCHA 6/4)

Israel’s higher planning council approved 4,427 new settlement housing units in the West Bank. 2,791 received final approval, while 1,636 were deposited for public comment before final approval. Among the new housing units are the retroactive legalization of the Mitzpeh Dani and Givat Oz VeGaon settlement outposts and expansion of the settlements of Negohot, Shvut Rachel, Dolev, Betar Ilit, and Kiryat Arba. According to Haaretz, the government’s meeting to approve the settlements was a condition by Yamina MK Nir Orbach to remain in the fragile government coalition. UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland condemned the settlement expansions. On 5/13, 15 European countries urged Israel to reverse its decision, including France, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Poland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden. (PCN 5/9; ABC, AJ, AP, GDN, HA, JP, MEE, MEMO, REU, TOI, WAFA 5/12; AJ, ALM, F24, REU, WAFA, WAFA 5/13)

Ecuadorian president Guillermo Lasso met with Israeli president Isaac Herzog in Jerusalem, saying he will open a representative office in Jerusalem and support Israel in votes at the UN. President Lasso also met with prime minister Naftali Bennett and foreign minister Yair Lapid. (HA 5/12)

The New York Times reported that the FBI stated in a 2018 letter to the Israeli government that it wanted to use NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware “for the collection of data from mobile devices for the prevention and investigation of crimes and terrorism” before purchasing the spyware later the same year. (NYT 5/12)

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers tried to steal sheep in Qarawat Bani Hassan before being chased away by Palestinians. Israeli forces delivered stop-work notices for 1 house, 1 water well, and 1 outhouse in al-Twana. 6 Palestinians, including 2 11-year-old boys, were arrested during late-night raids in Hebron, Husan, and al-Zawiya. In East Jerusalem, 1 Palestinian minor was arrested during a late-night raid in Silwan. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen within 3 nautical miles west of Gaza; no injuries were reported. (PCHR 10/28; HA 11/26; BTselem 11/28)

Israel advanced 1,355 Israeli settlement units in the West Bank by inviting bids for construction, the last step before they are constructed. It was the 1st time that Israel promoted new settlement units since U.S. president Joe Biden took office in 1/2021. Of the 1,355 units, 729 are for the Ariel settlement, 324 are for the Beit El settlement, 102 are for the Elkana settlement, and some are for the Geva Binyamin, Immanuel, Karnei Shomron, and Betar Illit settlements. The Israeli construction and housing ministry said it is working toward doubling the settler population in the Jordan Valley by 2026. The UN envoy to the Middle East Tor Wennesland said that the UN is “deeply concerned” about the settlement expansion. The U.S. state department spokesperson Ned Price said, after being asked, that the U.S. is “concerned” and asked both Israel and the PA not to take steps to undermine a 2-state solution. The EU called on Israel to reverse its decision to publish the tenders for the construction. (AJ, DW, HA, HILL, JP, MEE, WAFA, WAFA 10/24; HA, MEMO, MEMO, MEMO, WAFA, WAFA 10/25; WAFA 10/26)

Israel’s Knesset passed a bill to connect homes built without a permit before 2018 to the electricity grid inside of Israel. The bill, pushed by the United Arab List, will provide electricity to many Palestinian Israelis living in the Negev desert. (HA 10/24)

Israeli Labor leader Merav Michaeli and Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz, both part of the Israeli government coalition, demanded in a cabinet meeting that prime minister Naftali Bennett put a hold on the 10/22 labeling of 6 Palestinian rights organizations as terrorist organizations and further settlement expansion. The leaders of all government coalition parties are scheduled to meet on 10/29 to discuss their disagreements on several issues. (TOI 10/24; HA 10/25; ALM 10/26)

The IDF imposes several punitive measures on Husan village nr. Bethlehem in response to reports of stone throwing in the area. They bar residents from entering nearby Beitar Ilit settlement, where many work, and confiscate several vehicles. Elsewhere in the West Bank, Palestinian youths throw a Molotov cocktail at an IDF patrol in Shuqba village nr. Ramallah, causing no injuries. IDF troops arrest 6 Palestinians during late-night raids nr. Qalqilya, Tulkarm, and Jenin, and patrol nr. Ramallah and Nablus. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolish 2 homes and a room in a 3d in Hizma, and arrest 4 Palestinians during late-night raids in Silwan and Issawiyya. Along Gaza’s border, IDF troops open fire on agricultural lands nr. Bayt Hanun. In Israel, Israeli forces demolish a home in the Negev bedouin village of al-Za‘arurah. (MNA, WAFA 2/15; MNA, PCHR 2/16; PCHR 2/23)

A Palestinian in Gaza succumbs to injuries he sustained in a confrontation with IDF troops in 2005. (MNA 2/16) 

Israeli PM Netanyahu meets with U.S. pres. Trump in Washington for the first time. They discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran, and other issues related to the Middle East. In a joint press conference, Trump says that both the Israelis and Palestinians must make concessions to reach a final deal. He also says that, although he would prefer a 2-state solution, he “could live with” either a 1-state or a 2-state solution. The White House later issues a statement about the meeting, saying that Trump and Netanyahu “agreed to continue [discussions about settlement construction] and to work out an approach that is consistent with the goal of advancing peace and security.” (AP, EI, HA, JP, NYT 2/15; HA, JP, TOI, WAFA 2/16; ALM 2/19)

In the Gaza Strip, an IDF drone strikes a target nr. Dayr al-Balah, killing a mbr. of Hamas’s armed wing, al-Qassam Brigades. Meanwhile, the IDF strikes 12 other, separate targets across the Gaza Strip, causing damage and 3 injuries to civilians. The air strikes hit military training facilities belonging to al-Qassam Brigades, Islamic Jihad, and the PRC, as well as a concrete factory. In addition, IDF troops shell agricultural lands close to the border fence nr. Khan Yunis, causing no damage or injuries. Off the coast of Khan Yunis, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishermen, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, IDF troops level land nr. Salfit and destroy dozens of olive trees. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Bethlehem; patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 village each nr. Bethlehem and Jericho at night. Israeli settlers attack Palestinian-owned agricultural land nr. Beitar Ilit, destroying crops. (HA, JP, MNA, REU, WAFA 6/29; PCHR 7/2)

Israeli PM Netanyahu says his country is “ready to expand” the operation in Gaza, in comments at the weekly cabinet meeting. Meanwhile, the PRC in Gaza claims responsibility for rocket fire, which it describes as “retaliation to the Israeli crimes against our Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and the ongoing violations against prisoners.” (AFP, MNA, ToI 6/29)

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village each nr. Hebron, Jenin, Jerusalem, Nablus, and Ramallah at night; patrols in 1 village nr. Hebron at night. (PCHR 11/7)

Israel issues tenders for the construction of more than 1,700 homes, shortly ahead of a visit by U.S. Secy. of State Kerry. The tenders are part of 3,500 homes whose planned construction was announced after the latest prisoner release. The tenders are for homes in East Jerusalem settlements Ramat Shlomo and Gilo, as well as West Bank settlements like Elkana, Ma’ale Adumim, and Beitar Ilit. There is also 196 homes planned for Karnei Shomron, a settlement outside the “blocs” Israel expects to keep in any future deal. Separately, Israeli media report that PM Netanyahu intends to build a separation barrier between the West Bank and Jordan, as part of the govt.’s plans to maintain an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley. Responding to developments, Pres. Abbas spokesperson Abu Rudayna says that the decision to build a fence along the border with Jordan is aimed at undermining Kerry’s upcoming mission, while PLO mbr. Wassel Abu Yousef slams the settlement tenders and says the PLO is considering how to get UN action against these decisions. Kerry, in Egypt, responds to a question at a press conference with FM Nabil Fahmy by saying that settlement construction disturbs “people’s perceptions of whether . . . we’re moving in the right direction.” (AFP, JP, MNA, REU, ToI 11/3)

U.S. Undersecy. of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman assures Israel that Obama has not offered any sanctions relief to Iran and that Israeli security is a priority of the administration. Speaking to Israeli television, Sherman says that the U.S. may offer temporary, limited sanctions relief as part of the diplomatic process while leaving core oil and banking sanctions in place. (HA, JP 11/3)

In Egypt, U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry expresses optimism about a return to democracy, and describes Cairo as a vital partner of Washington. Unnamed senior State Dept. officials say that Kerry did not discuss ousted pres. Morsi’s trial in meetings with Pres. Adly Mansour and Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. (REU 11/3)

IDF soldiers shoot and wound 2 Palestinian teenagers, 1 seriously, in clashes between the army and protesters nr. Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem. Palestinians throwing stones at Israeli cars on a road nr. Beitar Illit settlement lightly injure an Israeli child. Hundreds of Palestinian protesters demonstrating in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners march to Ofer prison nr. Ramallah and clash with Israeli forces, who wound 11 with rubber-coated metal bullets. IDF soldiers shoot and wound 1 Palestinian at demonstrations in Tulkarm, and IDF soldiers open fire and wound 2 at demonstrations in Taqou’ village nr. Bethlehem. Israeli soldiers arrest 19 Palestinian schoolchildren in Til village nr. Nablus and take them to Hawara detention facility, releasing them after around 5 hours. The IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning, and in 1 village nr. Hebron, al-Fawar r.c. nr. Hebron, and in 1 village nr. Nablus in the afternoon (clashes in all three, no serious injuries), in 1 village nr. Ramallah at night. Off the coast of the Gaza Strip, Israeli naval vessels opens fire on Palestinian fishermen off the north Gaza coast, causing no injuries or damage. (MNA, 2/25; HA 2/26; PCHR 2/28)

PA Pres. Mahmud Abbas meets with his security chiefs and orders them to enforce calm in the West Bank. Meanwhile, in a press briefing U.S. deputy State Dept. spokesperson Patrick Ventrell calls on Israelis and Palestinians to ‘‘exercise maximum restraint’’ and ‘‘refrain from provocative actions that could destabilize conditions on the ground.’’ (AFP 2/25; HA 2/26)

Israel carries out a successful test of its upgraded Arrow III missile interceptor in, a joint project with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. (HA 2/25)

A PA spokesperson tells the Independent (UK) that international donors have provided only 40% of pledged aid for 2012, meaning that 150,000 PA employees have been warned that it is not known when they will receive their 9/2012 salaries. (Independent 10/10)

Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar says that the group is coordinating with other Palestinian factions to respond to Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip. (MNA 10/10)

Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the Gaza Strip nr. Bayt Lahiya, causing no injuries; the IDF fires a missile at a training site for the IQB at night, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF fires tear gas at Palestinians throwing stones after the soldiers appear at a funeral in Bayt Umar village nr. Hebron. The IDF patrols in Hebron and 9 villages nr. Hebron at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 5 villages nr. Hebron at night. A Palestinian teenager attacks a Jewish settler nr. Beitar Ilit settlement, injuring him. Jewish settlers from Shilo settlement destroy 250 olive trees in a village nr. Ramallah. (MNA, ToI 10/10; PCHR 10/11, 10/18)

PA pres. Mahmud Abbas addresses the UNGA in New York, announcing as expected that his government will seek non-member observer state status for Palestine (see Doc. B4 in JPS 166). Abbas also refers to current Israeli policies as ‘‘ethnic cleansing,’’ singling out settlement construction and home demolition for particular criticism. Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) criticize the speech for not offering anything new, but Fatah praises it as ‘‘historic.’’ Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu also addresses the assembly, notably literally drawing a ‘‘red line’’ on a cartoon of a bomb to illustrate his claim that Iran would be capable of making a nuclear weapon within a year. In contrast, U.S. officials play down the notion that Iran is on the brink of achieving a nuclear weapon. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Iran is making progress in building a research reactor capable of potential weapon material, and Israeli media describe the Netanyahu government as urging the EU to impose further sanctions on Iran in light of the economic damage achieved by sanctions to date. (AP, HA, MNA, REU, ToI 9/27)

Israel approves a proposal to allow 5,000 additional entry permits for Palestinian construction and agricultural workers, bringing the total number of work permits issued by Israel to West Bank Palestinians to over 45,000. Israel also allows, for the 1st time since 2007, 3 truckloads of furniture to be exported from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank, destined for PA-run schools. This marks the 3d time in 2012 that Israel permitted the passage of goods from Gaza to the West Bank. Meanwhile Egypt informed Palestinian officials of their intention to ease travel through the Rafah crossing over coming days. (JP, MNA 9/27)

In the West Bank, Jewish settlers fr. Beitar Ilit settlement nr. Bethlehem dump sewage water on agriculture lands in the Fukin valley. Jewish settlers fr. Brakha settlement nr. Burin village s. of Nablus cut down over 60 olive trees. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Jericho, 2 villages nr. Ramallah, and 1 village nr. Jenin in the morning; patrols in 1 village nr. Qalqilya and 1 village nr. Ramallah in the afternoon; patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah, 1 village nr. Tulkarm (firing sound bombs), and 1 village nr. Hebron at night; conducts a house raid and summons in Qalqilya in the morning and house raids in 1 village nr. Hebron at night (beating 2 residents, arresting another 2, and firing tear-gas canisters at homes) at night. (PCHR 10/4)

U.S. and Lebanese government officials allege that Hizballah has sent military advisers to help the Asad government in Syria. UNRWA estimates that the total number of refugees fleeing Syria will reach 700,000 by the end of 2012. (REU, WP 9/27)

Israeli military authorities confiscate Palestinian land in a village nr. Nahalin, close to the Jewish settlement of Beitar Ilit. The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 village nr. Jericho at night; conducts house searches in 2 villages nr. Hebron. (MNA 8/30; PCHR 9/6)

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

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

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

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

Abbas tells a group of 20 left-leaning Israeli intellectuals that the Palestinians want above all to resume negotiations, stating that “no matter what happens at the [UN], we have to return to negotiations,” but also that even if there is a last-minute deal to resume talks, the UN bid will proceed. He confirms that in recent months he met 3 times secretly with Israeli pres. Shimon Peres in Amman, London, and Rome to discuss reviving talks. He also reveals that he met secretly on 8/27/11 with Israeli DM Ehud Barak, who asked him to drop the statehood bid. (NYT 9/6; WJW 9/8; OCHA 9/9)

The IDF carries out an air strike on a house in Nussayrat r.c. in c. Gaza, seriously injuring 1 Palestinian woman. 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 conducts morning house searches in Sirris village nr. Jenin, summoning several Palestinians for interrogation; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Qalqilya and Ramallah (arresting Hamas-affiliate PC mbr. Muhammad Abu Tair). The IDF razes 3 buildings in Migron outpost, ordered removed by Israel’s High Court; settlers scuffle with the IDF, which arrests 6. Soon after, Jewish settlers set fire to a mosque in a nearby Palestinian village and spray graffiti saying “Migron.” In other apparent reprisals, Jewish settlers fr. Beitar Ilit nr. Bethlehem pump wastewater on agricultural lands in nearby Husan and Nahalin villages, damaging 100s of trees and crops; Jewish settlers vandalize a Palestinian home in Hebron; Jewish settlers fr. Shilo settlement set up a roadblock on the Nablus–Ramallah road and stone passing vehicles, seriously damaging 1 car and injuring 1 Palestinian; Jewish settlers fr. Keddumim settlement stone Palestinian vehicles on the Qalqilya– Nablus road, causing light damage but no injuries. In addition, Jewish settlers accompanied by IDF soldiers and border police uproot 88 trees on confiscated Palestinian land in al-Walaja nr. Bethlehem. (NYT, WP 9/6; PCHR 9/8)

Israel issues tenders for construction of 294 new settlement housing units in Beitar Ilit nr. Jerusalem and Karnei Shomron nr. Nablus (see 5/21). The IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at mourners attending a funeral in Bayt Umar, sparking stone-throwing clashes that leave 3 Palestinians injured; patrols in al-Til nr. Tulkarm, randomly stopping and searching Palestinian cars; conducts late-night patrols in Tulkarm and late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem and in Jenin. Jewish settlers fr. Migron settlement outpost nr. Ramallah stone and beat 3 Palestinian shepherds. (HA 7/18; PCHR 7/20; OCHA 7/22)

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in and around Tulkarm and in 1 village nr. Jenin during the day; makes a late-night raid into Kafr Ra‘i village nr. Jenin, detaining 2 Palestinians and taking them to a military court in nearby Salem village to testify as witnesses in the case against another Palestinian; makes a late-night raid into Ramallah, searching a home and ordering the owner to appear for questioning. The IDF also fires tear gas, stun grenades at Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists staging a nonviolent march through Iraq Burin village nr. Nablus to nearby Brakha settlement to protest the settlers’ seizure of village lands to expand the settlement. The Israeli human rights group Peace Now reports that in late 4/2011, the Israeli DMin. approved construction of 294 settlement housing units in Beitar Ilit (south and west of Jerusalem), saying tenders for the construction should be issued soon. (UPI 5/23; PCHR 5/26; OCHA 5/27)

The IDF makes 2 brief incursions into Gaza to clear lines of sight along the border e. of Jabaliya r.c. in the n. and al-Qarara in the s., exchanging gunfire with Palestinians in the s., causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols without incident in Bayt Liqya and Jit nr. Qalqilya during the day and in Jinsafut village nr. Qalqilya late at night; conducts late-night house searches nr. Hebron, making no arrests. Israel releases Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Council mbr. Ali Romanin, who was detained by the IDF in 2006 as a bargaining chip following the capture of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Jewish settlers fr. Beitar Ilit nr. Bethlehem set fire to 30 d. of nearby Palestinian agricultural land, damaging at least 600 trees. OCHA (10/22) reports that in the previous week an ailing 2-yr.-old Palestinian girl fr. Gaza died as a direct result of Israel delaying her transfer to an Israeli hospital for treatment. (MNA 10/19; PCHR 10/21; OCHA 10/22)

U.S. VP Joe Biden begins a 4-day trip aimed at boosting the peace process and reassuring Israel on Iran, marking the highest level visit to the region to date by an Obama admin. official. Timed with his arrival, special envoy Mitchell formally announces that Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to hold indirect talks, while stating that the structure and scope of the talks has not been agreed. (To date, Israel has insisted that proximity talks deal only with procedural issues, while Palestinians want all issues, especially borders, discussed.) He also calls on both sides “to refrain from any statements or actions which may inflame tensions or prejudice the outcome of these talks.” While Mitchell is meeting with Abbas in Ramallah, however, Israel announces construction of 112 new settlement housing units in the West Bank settlement of Beitar Ilit w. of Bethlehem, part of a planned 300-unit project (the foundations for the other units had already been poured when the 10-mo. construction freeze went into effect, automatically exempting them). Israel says that the empty site poses a safety hazard and that construction to address “safety problems for . . . projects started before the freeze” is not a violation of the freeze. (NYT, WP, WT 3/9)

In the West Bank, IDF troops raid a school in Azun village nr. Qalqilya, claiming students had thrown stones at their unit, attempting to arrest 1 boy; the headmaster bars the boy’s removal from the school and asks the Israeli-Palestinian liaison department to intervene; the soldiers leave the school after 2 hrs. of mediation, without making any arrests. The IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron, nr. Bethlehem. In Hebron, a 15-yr.-old Jewish settler assaults 2 Palestinian boys (ages 11, 12) on their way home from school; the IDF observes but only intervenes when the settler boy cuts his hand when he tried to take a birdcage away from the Palestinian boys, arresting the Palestinians but releasing them on bail hrs. later. (JP 3/8; OCHA, PCHR 3/11)

Egyptian border police discover, demolish 20 smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border; smugglers exchange fire with police, leaving 2 unidentified individuals dead and 4 wounded inside Egyptian territory. In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, percussion grenades at Palestinian, Israeli, and international peace activists taking part in a nonviolent demonstration against the separation wall in Ni‘lin, wounding 7. For a 2d day, armed Jewish settlers attempt to enter Shu‘fat r.c. to establish an unauthorized outpost; the IDF bars their entry. Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba dump trash in front of the entrance of Hebron’s al-Ras Mosque. Jewish settlers fr. Givat Ha’avot settlement in Hebron vandalize 5 nearby Palestinian homes. The Israeli Interior Min. approves construction of 400 new settler housing units in Neve Ya’acov settlement n. of Jerusalem, and authorizes tenders to be issued for construction of 286 housing units in Beitar Ilit nr. Bethlehem (approved by the Housing Min. on 5/21) and 130 units in Har Homa in East Jerusalem (some of which may have been approved by the Interior Min. on 7/9). Israel also reportedly agrees to transfer settlers living in the unauthorized outpost of Migron nr. Ramallah to another settlement (as yet undecided) where 40 new units would be built to accommodate them. (OCHA 8/13; PCHR 8/14)

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

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

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

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

In Gaza, the IDF bulldozes 24 d. of olive groves and a small Gaza police outpost nr. al-Maghazi r.c. Egyptian border police discover, demolish a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes a Palestinian home in Anata nr. Jerusalem; occupies a Palestinian home nr. Jenin as a military outpost; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Tulkarm and in al-Bireh (raiding and searching the municipal building, rounding up 2 municipal employees fr. their homes and bringing them to the offices to log onto password-protected computers), Ramallah (raiding the chamber of commerce offices), Jericho. The Israeli Housing Min. presents Olmert with a proposal for construction of 1,900 new Jewish settler housing units across the West Bank in 2008: 682 units in Beitar Ilit nr. Bethlehem, 510 units in Givat Ze’ev n. of Jerusalem, 302 units in Ma’ale Adumim e. of Jerusalem, 160 units in Binyamin settlement n. of Jerusalem, 158 units in Efrat nr. Bethlehem, and 48 units each in Ariel nr. Salfit and Kiryat Arba in Hebron. Palestinians throw stones at Jewish settler vehicles nr. Nablus; the settlers respond by shooting, killing 3 Palestinian sheep nearby. Jewish settlers fr. Keddumim nr. Qalqilya stone Palestinian vehicles driving nearby, causing no reported injuries. PA security forces impose a night curfew on Kafr Thuluth nr. Qalqilya to prevent clashes btwn. feuding families (the curfew is still in place as of 4/8). (PCHR 4/3; OCHA, PCHR 4/9)

The IDF fires a surface-to-surface missile at central Bayt Lahiya in an attempt to assassinate 3 Hamas mbrs., missing them but injuring 3 bystanders, damaging 2 homes and a car. The Israeli navy fires on 2 Islamic Jihad mbrs. in a boat off the Gaza coast, killing them. The IDF also withdraws troops from a strip of land northeast of Bayt Lahiya occupied on 10/19. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Nablus, Ramallah; raids and searches homes, checks IDs of residents in Bayt Jala nr. Bethlehem. Jewish settlers fr. Shavei Shomron nr. Nablus, escorted by IDF troops, attack Palestinians harvesting olives nearby. Jewish settlers fr. Beitar Ilit nr. Bethlehem beat a Palestinian passing by the settlement. Jewish settlers fr. Karnei Shomron steal a harvest of olives fr. a Palestinian farmer nr. Qalqilya. In Gaza City, mbrs. of a Fatah-affiliated clan fire on a car of Hamas mbrs., sparking clashes that leave 3 Palestinians dead (1 clan member, 2 bystanders), 35 wounded. In Rafah, ESF officers attempt to confiscate a vehicle fr. armed Islamic Jihad mbrs., sparking an exchange of fire that leaves 1 Palestinian bystander dead and 16 Palestinians (including bystanders) injured. (WP, WT 10/21; OCHA 10/24; PCHR 10/25)

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron and Jenin town and r.c., nr. Bethlehem (targeting the AMB; firing on stone-throwing youths who confront them, wounding 2); raids an Islamic charity in Tubas nr. Jenin, confiscating computers, files. The Israeli Housing Min. issues tenders for construction (approved under the Sharon admin.) for construction of 690 new settlement housing units in Beitar Ilit (342 units), Ma’ale Adumim (348 units) in the E-1 area outside Jerusalem. In Nablus, Fatah gunmen enforcing the open-ended Government Employees Union strike (see 9/2) by keeping children, teachers away fr. schools, shoot, wound a 12-yr.-old Palestinian boy. (HA 9/4; NYT 9/5; REU 9/6; PCHR 9/7)

In Gaza, the IDF shells areas nr. Khan Yunis, wounding 2 Palestinians and damaging an ambulance coming to their rescue; fires on a Palestinian family tending their fields nr. the border fence with Israel e. of al-Qarara, killing a Palestinian teenager; bulldozes 7 d. of agricultural land nr. al-Maghazi r.c. Palestinians fire several rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the Israeli forces send undercover units into al-Bireh for a day-long operation, imposes a curfew, surrounds 2 apartment buildings, occupies neighboring homes as sniper and observation posts, orders all residents out for ID checks, then raids the building arresting a wanted Palestinian; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem, Hebron (firing on stone-throwing Palestinians who confront the troops, wounding 1), Nablus; bulldozes 10s of d. of agricultural land nr. Bethlehem for construction of the separation wall. To protest U.S. Secy. of State Condoleezza Rice’s mtg. with Abbas today, Palestinians in Ramallah observe a general strike, 100s conduct a protest march (some waving Lebanese flags). A Jewish settler fr. Beitar Ilit nr. Bethlehem fires on a 47- yr.-old Palestinian walking nearby, wounding him with a live bullet in the jaw. A Jewish settler fr. Tene Oranim in Hebron throws a grenade at Palestinian shepherds tending a flock nearby, wounding 1 Palestinian, killing 3 sheep. A Palestinian civilian injured during Israeli operations in al-Maghazi r.c. on 7/19 dies. (NYT, WP, WT 7/26; PCHR 7/27)

Israeli Forces conduct air and artillery strikes on a UN Observer Group Lebanon post near al-Khiyam, hitting the area 21 times (at least 11 of them air strikes), killing 4 unarmed UN Truce Supervision Organization mbrs., continuing the aerial assault while rescue efforts are underway; continues air strikes in s. Beirut and across s. Lebanon, especially in Nabatiyya (where at least 6 Lebanese civilians are killed when 2 homes are hit by missiles), Tyre. Ground battles involving Israeli tank and Hizballah antitank fire, fierce house-to-house combat supported by Israeli artillery and helicopter fire continue in Bint Jubayl and Maroun al-Ras and are reported in Yaron to the west; by nightfall, Israel claims to have secured control of Bint Jubayl, killed senior Hizballah cmdr. Abu Jaafir and 20–30 Hizballah mbrs., though there is no independent confirmation; at least 3 Israeli soldiers are wounded. Hizballah fires more than 90 rockets into n. Israel, killing an Israeli Druze in Maghir, injuring 30 Israelis (mostly suffering fr. shock); other targets include Haifa, Ma’alot, Nahariya, Safad, Tiberias. (NYT, WP, WT 7/26; NYT 7/27)

The IDF opens Gaza’s Sufa commercial crossing (closed since 5/17); shells Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, injuring a 12-yr.-old Palestinian; sends troops into Hebron to surround the Polytechnic University campus, firing percussion grenades, tear gas and arresting 7 students; sends undercover units into Tamun nr. Jenin in a car with Palestinian license plates to arrest 3 Palestinians; sends troops into Tubas nr. Jenin, firing on stonethrowing youths who confront them; patrols in, fires on residential areas of Nablus; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Tulkarm and nr. Hebron, Jenin, Nablus. Israeli DM Amir Peretz authorizes the expansion of the “jurisdictional area” of 4 West Bank Jewish settlements, often the prelude to construction of new settlement neighborhoods: Givat Ze’ev nr. Jerusalem (to be expanded by 60 dunum [d.; 4 d. = 1 acre].); Beitar Ilit nr. Bethlehem (to be expanded by 400 d.); Oranit, just over the Green Line nr. Kefar Saba; Maskiyot, in the Jordan Valley, where Israel plans to relocate the 40 settlers evacuated fr. Shirat Hayam settlement in Gaza. Jewish settlers fr. Ma’on nr. Hebron attack Palestinian school children being escorted to school by the IDF, injuring 2. PA security forces find, dismantle a 150-lb roadside bomb planted along the motorcade route of Internal Security Service dir. gen. Rashid Abu Shibak, who was appointed by Abbas to the new position on 4/6 in a bid to wrest control of the security forces away fr. Interior M Siyam; no group takes responsibility, but Fatah officials hint that Hamas is to blame, note that the PRCs have previously fired on his home. In reaction, 100s of Fatah mbrs. rally in Gaza City in support of the PA security forces, offering to volunteer their services to counterbalance Siyam’s new volunteer force. Overnight, a previously unknown group calling itself the al-Qa‘ida Organization of the State of Palestine claims responsibility for the 5/20 attack on Abu Rajab in a statement on the Internet. (MM, NYT 5/22; OCHA 5/24; see also MA 5/20 in WNC 5/21; PCHR, PNN 5/25)

The IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus and in Aida r.c., Ramallah (surrounding 2 mosques and stopping Palestinians for ID checks as they head to morning prayers); occupies a house under construction nr. Tulkarm as an IDF post; fires on residential areas of Nablus, wounding 2 Palestinians. Palestinians fire 2 rockets fr. Gaza towards Ashkelon (causing damage but no injuries), 2 towards Sederot (causing no damage or injuries); the IDF responds with artillery fire on n. Gaza. The AMB,Islamic Jihad, PRCs issue a statement that they plan to carry out joint attacks on Israeli targets if Israel goes ahead with plans to enforce a no-go area in n. Gaza. Israel issues tenders for construction of 150 new settlement housing units in Beitar Ilit and 78 in Efrat, both nr. Jerusalem. (IMEMC 12/26; JTA, REU, WT, XIN 12/27; PCHR 12/29)

An IDF soldier, who deserted 2 mos. ago to protest disengagement and moved to the right-wing West Bank settlement of Tapuach, boards a Haifa–Shafa‘ Amr bus, still dressed in fatigues and carrying his military issue weapon; when the bus enters the Israeli Palestinian town of Shafa ‘Amr, the driver asks him whether he’s on the right bus; the soldier then shoots the Israeli Palestinian driver dead and opens fire on the passengers, killing another 3 Israeli Palestinians, wounding 20 before a mob beats him to death. Sharon denounces the “reprehensible act by a bloodthirsty Jewish terrorist”; YESHA settlers council also condemns the attack; the U.S. terms it a “terrible act of terrorism.” In Gaza City, the PA opens (symbolically on Arafat’s birthday) a 2-wk. “victory festival” to celebrate the pending disengagement and a wk.-long UNDP-funded publicity campaign called “Gaza—Reclaiming our Gem”; 10,000s of Palestinians, predominantly Fatah supporters, rally outside Gaza’s PC headquarters to hear speeches by Abbas, Qurai‘, Dahlan, who emphasize national unity, call on Palestinians not to take any actions that would jeopardize the national image, emphasize that the world is watching how Palestinians react to disengagement and assume responsibility for Gaza. The IDF raids Ramallah, arrests Islamic Jihad spokesman Shaykh Khadir ‘Adnan; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Aida r.c. (arresting a PA security officer), Bayt Fajjar, Hebron (occupying 2 houses as observation posts), al-Til, Yatta; patrols in Bethlehem; arrests a PA security officer at a checkpoint outside Jerusalem. A Jewish settler fr. Neve Dekalim throws a Molotov cocktail at a Palestinian home in al-Mawasi, causing damage but no injuries. Israel announces plans to build 72 new housing units in Beitar Ilit settlement nr. Jerusalem. A Palestinian dies of injures received on 8/2 in Bayt Hanun. (IMEMC, HA, REU, YA 8/4; AFP, BBC, JAZ, MA, NYT, WP, WT, YA 8/5; VOP 8/5 in WNC 8/5; NYT, WP, WT 8/6; OCHA, PR 8/10; PCHR 8/11)

The BBC reports that papers in the British National Archives show that in 1958, Britain secretly sold Israel 20 tons of heavy water vital for production of plutonium and the manufacture of nuclear weapons at its Dimona reactor. No “peaceful use only” condition was placed on the sale. (BBC 8/4) The World Bank releases a report showing Israel to be 2d only to Italy as the most corrupt, least efficient of developed countries. The report states that “Israel is considered one of the riskiest places in the Western world, with an unstable, inefficient regime, low accountability, a relative high rate of state corruption, and poor law enforcement.” (HA 8/4)

Palestinian gunmen fire on an IDF post in Hebron, wounding 2 soldiers; the IDF returns fire, killing a Palestinian bystander. The IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in Balata r.c., fires on residential areas of Jenin r.c. and town. Jewish settlers fr. Avraham Avino rampage through Palestinian areas of Hebron, damaging Palestinian property, threatening residents. Jewish settlers fr. Beitar Ilit severely beat a 75-yr.-old Palestinian farmer working his land in Husan. Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar attack, vandalize Palestinian homes in Ourif nr. Nablus; the IDF intervenes to fire tear gas at Palestinians who attempt to fend off the settlers. Hamas mbr. Hamad Adah dies of injuries received in the 7/15 IDF air strike on Gaza City that assassinated 4 other Hamas mbrs. (AFP, IMEMC, PRCS 7/22; OCHA 7/27; PCHR 7/28)

Israel releases 500 Palestinian prisoners, all of whom must sign pledges that they “opposed terror” and will not undertake “any activity against the State of Israel”; the IDF bars journalists fr. filming prisoners released at Tarqumiyya crossing nr. Hebron, detaining 3 journalists for 1 hr. The IDF imposes a curfew, closure on Nahalin village after local Palestinian youths throw stones at Beitar Ilit settlement, lightly injuring a 2-yr.-old child; raids Nablus to arrest a senior Hamas mbr. who allegedly was plotting a car bombing against an IDF target; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Bayt Umar nr. Hebron; fires on Palestinians demonstrating against the separation wall nr. Bil‘in outside Ramallah, wounding 10. Jewish settlers place 5 mobile homes on Palestinian land in al-Rashayda nr. Bethlehem, establishing an unauthorized outpost. (HA, MM 2/211; NYT, WP, WT 2/22; NYT, PR 2/23; PCHR 2/24; MEI 3/4)

The IDF continues operations in Nablus, conducting house searches, firing on stonethrowing youths, fatally shooting a 9-yr.- old Palestinian sitting on the stoop of his home. The IDF also fatally shoots 2 al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AMB) mbrs. laying a roadside bomb outside Gaza’s Atzmona settlement; demolishes 3 Palestinian homes in Brazil r.c.; directs heavy machinegun fire at residential areas of Rafah; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Dahaysha r.c. nr. Bethlehem and nr. Khan Yunis, Qalqilya, Ramallah; raids the offices of the National Society in Dahaysha r.c., arresting 3 employees, confiscating computers, sparking clashes with local Palestinians, wounding 5. The Israeli Housing Min. issues tenders for construction of 1,001 new housing units in 4 Jewish settlements (Ariel, 214; Beitar Ilit, 604; Karnei Shomron, 42; Ma’ale Adumim, 141). (HA, MM 8/17; VOP 8/17 in WNC 8/19; MM, NYT, PCHR, PR, WP, WT 8/18; PCHR, WJW 8/19; MM 8/20, 8/23; MEI 8/27)