186 / 15237 Results
  • January 26, 2009

    No violence is reported in Gaza. Israel allows in 293 truckloads of humanitarian aid and commercial goods. In the West Bank, the IDF raids Battir village nr. Bethlehem early in the morning and...

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  • January 25, 2009

    IDF troops on the s. Gaza border open fire on residential areas of Khuza, seriously wounding a 55-yr.-old Palestinian man. Israel allows 128 truckloads of humanitarian aid and commercial goods...

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  • January 23, 2009

    On the 1st Friday since the Gaza ceasefire went into effect, Gaza’s imams praise the “victory” of the Palestinian resistance; mosques across the Strip overflow with Hamas supporters. Hamas...

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  • January 22, 2009

    Gaza remains relatively quiet. IDF troops on the s. Gaza border fire on Palestinians inspecting damaged homes in Khuza, wounding 1 Palestinian. Palestinian smugglers work to clear and repair...

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  • January 20, 2009

    Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the U.S. (NYT, WP, WT 1/20; MA, MM, NYT, WP, WT, YA 1/21; HA, JP, MA, MM, QA, al-Ra’i, al-Watan, YA 1/22)

    The IDF completes its withdrawal from...

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  • January 19, 2009

    The Gaza cease-fire holds, with no Israeli or Palestinian violence reported. Israeli officials say the IDF has accelerated its withdrawal fr. Gaza in hopes that it will be completed by the time U....

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  • January 17, 2009

    With the 1/16 MOU in hand, along with a letter from European heads of state pledging to support the U.S.-led efforts outlined therein and a private message from Mubarak to the Israeli security...

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  • January 16, 2009

    In Washington, Livni and Rice sign the MOU on curbing arms smuggling, aimed at facilitating Israel’s acceptance of the EgyptHamas cease-fire offer (see 1/15). Anonymous Israeli military officials...

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  • January 15, 2009

    The 20th day of OCL is marked by serious diplomatic steps toward a cease-fire but also by Israel’s heaviest attacks on Gaza since operations began. Israel’s envoy receives the Egyptian-Hamas cease...

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  • January 14, 2009

    Egypt announces that Gaza- and Damascus-based Hamas officials have agreed on a cease-fire offer to be present to Israel (see Quarterly Update). Israel agrees to send an envoy to Cairo on 1/15 to...

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  • January 13, 2009

    The IDF significantly increases attacks on Gaza for the 2d straight day, as international mediation efforts led by Egypt to secure a cease-fire also intensify.

    Combat notes: The IDF...

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  • January 12, 2009

    Olmert’s security cabinet revives discussion of opening phase 3 of OCL (see 1/9), agreeing to make a final decision whether to expand or wind down operations within 2–3 days, by which time the IDF...

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  • January 9, 2009

    The Israeli security cabinet reportedly begins internal debate on opening phase 3 of OCL, which would involve deep incursions into Gaza’s built-up areas to deal a crushing blow to Hamas. Israeli...

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  • January 7, 2009

    Israel agrees in principle to the 1/6 Egyptian-French cease-fire proposal, agreeing to send an envoy to Cairo on 1/8 to discuss details with Egyptian officials. On the ground, Israeli air, naval,...

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  • January 1, 2009

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

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  • December 31, 2008

    The Israeli cabinet rejects the 12/30 French proposal for a 48-hr. humanitarian truce, complaining that it lacked a mechanism to guarantee enforcement. Damascusbased Hamas leader Khalid Mishal...

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  • December 30, 2008

    International diplomacy to end OCL clicks into gear with France proposing that Israel and Hamas impose a 48-hr. humanitarian truce to try to defuse the violence and restore the Gaza cease-fire,...

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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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  • December 26, 2008

    Israeli DM Barak gives Israeli military and intelligence chiefs the final go-ahead to launch an offensive against Gaza. Olmert and his senior staff begin quietly briefing opposition leaders and...

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  • December 3, 2008

    In Gaza, OCHA reports that since 11/27, Israel has increased from 5 to 11 the number of truckloads of humanitarian aid allowed entry to Gaza per day. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night...

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  • December 1, 2008

    The Israeli navy turns back a Libyan freighter carrying 3,000 tons of humanitarian aid attempting to breach Israel’s blockade of Gaza. In the West Bank, the IDF sends an undercover unit into...

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  • November 24, 2008

    Israel allows 32 truckloads of humanitarian aid, limited fuel imports, and some currency imports into Gaza but maintains a ban on foreign journalists (ban now in place for more than 2 wks.). The...

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  • November 16, 2008

    As the quarter opens, Israel maintains its strict siege of Gaza, imposed following Hamas’s 6/07 takeover of Gaza and tightened dramatically in 1/08 to allow no exports and only the bare minimum of...

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  • November 15, 2008

    As the quarter closes, Israel maintains its ban on all Gaza imports including fuel, medicine, basic foodstuffs, and currency for banks. As a result, 1.5 m. Gazans are without regular electricity,...

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  • November 13, 2008

    In Gaza, UNRWA suspends food deliveries to 750,000 Gazans for lack of stocks and Gaza municipal officials are forced to shut down Gaza’s power plant once again for lack of fuel (see 11/11) after...

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  • August 23, 2008

    In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem. More than 40 human rights activists fr. 17 countries (including Israel) organized by the U.S.-based Free...

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  • August 18, 2008

    Israel opens the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing into Gaza for the first time since 4/08, when a Palestinian suicide bomber struck there; 15 trucks carrying humanitarian aid enter Gaza. Israel...

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  • August 16, 2008

    As the quarter opens, a 6-mo. Hamas-Israel cease-fire in the Hamascontrolled Gaza Strip, which began on 6/19/08, remains in effect, with occasional cross-border incidents reported (see Quarterly...

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  • January 22, 2008

    With the UN Security Council set to open debate on a res. critical of Israel’s actions in Gaza, the Israeli DMin. authorizes the entry to Gaza of a week’s supply of cooking gas, fuel for hospitals...

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  • October 28, 2007

    To increase pressure on Hamas, Israel announces that it will begin curtailing fuel shipments to Gaza by up to 11% and that it has permanently closed the Sufa crossing (closed on 10/26 and 10/27...

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No violence is reported in Gaza. Israel allows in 293 truckloads of humanitarian aid and commercial goods. In the West Bank, the IDF raids Battir village nr. Bethlehem early in the morning and occupies a Palestinian home, stating the home is needed for several days “for security purposes”; makes a latenight raid on a market in al-Fara‘ r.c. nr. Tubas, firing on stone-throwing youths who confront them, wounding 2 but making no arrests; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Bethlehem, nr. Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah. (PCHR 1/29)

Obama’s newly appointed Middle East envoy George Mitchell begins an 8-day “listening tour,” with planned stops in Israel, Ramallah, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, France, and Britain. He will not meet with Hamas officials. (Globes, MM, al-Ra’i, YA 1/26; MM, NHR, NYT, QA, al-Thawra [Damascus], WP 1/27; WJW 1/29)

IDF troops on the s. Gaza border open fire on residential areas of Khuza, seriously wounding a 55-yr.-old Palestinian man. Israel allows 128 truckloads of humanitarian aid and commercial goods into Gaza. In the West Bank, the IDF raids a market in Beita nr. Nablus in search of stone-throwing children, arresting 1 older man; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Bethlehem, Hebron and nr. Ramallah. (PCHR 1/29)

On the 1st Friday since the Gaza ceasefire went into effect, Gaza’s imams praise the “victory” of the Palestinian resistance; mosques across the Strip overflow with Hamas supporters. Hamas security officers deploy outside the posts they guarded before OCL, even if the buildings are no longer standing. Israel allows 65 truckloads of humanitarian aid and commercial goods into Gaza. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Qabatya; fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, percussion grenades at Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists taking part in the weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall in Bil‘in (injuring 1 Palestinian, 2 foreign journalists; live ammunition is also fired but causes no injuries), Jayyus (injuring 1 Palestinian), Ni‘lin (injuring 6 Palestinians; live ammunition is also fired, causing 2 of the injuries). (HA, MM 1/23; NYT, WP 1/24; PCHR 1/29)

Gaza remains relatively quiet. IDF troops on the s. Gaza border fire on Palestinians inspecting damaged homes in Khuza, wounding 1 Palestinian. Palestinian smugglers work to clear and repair tunnels on the Rafah border, estimating their operations will be “back to normal” within a month. Israel allows 204 truckloads of humanitarian aid and commercial goods into Gaza and lifts the ban on foreign journalists entering Gaza, though they must sign a document saying they will not sue Israel should they be injured. The UN estimates 15,000 Gazans are still seeking refuge in UN shelters. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Issawiyya (arresting 16 teenagers and a 20-yr.-old) and nr. Jenin, Nablus. (PCHR 1/29)

Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the U.S. (NYT, WP, WT 1/20; MA, MM, NYT, WP, WT, YA 1/21; HA, JP, MA, MM, QA, al-Ra’i, al-Watan, YA 1/22)

The IDF completes its withdrawal from Gaza’s built-up areas, moving troops to elevations overlooking the Strip, but slows its withdrawal fr. n. Gaza and secures positions inside the northern border after Palestinians fire 8 mortars toward Israel today (all of which land inside Gaza, causing no damage or injuries). The IDF responds with air strikes on several launching sites, causing no reported injuries. IDF troops on the s. Gaza border fire on residential areas of al-Qarara, wounding 1 Palestinian. In Khuza, 1 Palestinian is wounded when he accidentally triggers unexploded IDF ordnance. Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing vessels going out to sea for the first time since OCL began, forcing them to stay close to shore. As Gazans continue to return to their homes, residents of the farming village of Juhur al-Dik (who evacuated the village several days after the ground invasion began on 1/3) report that about a third of the 600 homes have been bulldozed or heavily damaged and much crop land has been razed. Meanwhile, 1,000s of Palestinians turn out for 4 rallies across Gaza organized by Hamas to celebrate the end of OCL. Israel allows 217 truckloads of goods (mostly humanitarian aid) into Gaza. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts synchronized, late-night house searches in Bethlehem and neighboring Aida and Dahaysha refugee camps, making no arrests; conducts similar, synchronized house searches in villages nr. Jenin and villages nr. Hebron, making no arrests; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Nablus. (HA, JP, REU, UNOSAT 1/20; NYT, WP, WT 1/21; DUS, MM, PCHR, WJW 1/22; DUS, MM, al-Ra’i 1/23; PCHR 1/29)

The Gaza cease-fire holds, with no Israeli or Palestinian violence reported. Israeli officials say the IDF has accelerated its withdrawal fr. Gaza in hopes that it will be completed by the time U.S. pres.-elect Barack Obama is sworn in on 1/20. Across Gaza, some stores reopen, and traffic along the main north–south route (occupied by the IDF during the war) resumes, though observers say (WP 1/20) that “much of the main highway was nearly impassable from the dirt and debris plowed up by Israel’s military”; Hamas-led police provide traffic control in damaged areas and generally try to assert a presence. Israel allows a small group of foreign reporters into Gaza and permits them to interview Palestinians, but requires them to team report as a pool and runs their coverage through IDF censors, given the continued presence of Israeli soldiers in the field. Israel for the first time since 12/27 allows a few truckloads of commercial goods into Gaza in addition to humanitarian aid; in total, 208 truckloads are allowed entry. Rescue workers continue searching for survivors and uncovering bodies (at least 14 today), particularly in al-Zaytun. (AY, DUS, MM, YA 1/19; NYT, WP, WT 1/20; DUS, al-Hayat, JP, MM, QA 1/21; NYT, PCHR, UNICEF press release, WT 1/22; PCHR 1/29; AP 1/30; WT 2/4; WP 2/8; Electronic Intifada 2/24)

The IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Jenin, Nablus; issues military orders confiscating 3,000 dunams (d.; 4 d. = 1 acre) of land in Yatta s. of Hebron and 13 d. nr. Bethlehem for settlement expansion, and 500 d. of land in Abu Dis for construction of the separation wall around Jerusalem. A Jewish settler driving nr. Ramallah is shot, seriously wounded fr. a passing car. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces evict a family (18 mbrs.) and seal their home in Jabal al-Mukabir, where Israelis are expanding a Jewish settlement. (HA, NYT 1/20; MM 1/21; PCHR 1/22)

With the 1/16 MOU in hand, along with a letter from European heads of state pledging to support the U.S.-led efforts outlined therein and a private message from Mubarak to the Israeli security cabinet received today, Olmert formally declares a unilateral cease-fire in Gaza effective 2:00 A.M. local time on 1/18 (7:00 P.M. 1/17 EST). Stressing that Hamas was not party to any of the pledges secured by Israel, Olmert states: “If [the Palestinians] stop firing, we will consider leaving Gaza at a time that is suitable to us,” but if they continue rocket fire (NYT 1/17), “the Israeli army will regard itself as free to respond with force.” Hamas denounces Israel for ignoring Egyptian efforts to broker an agreed upon truce.

Combat notes: Olmert’s announcement comes at the end of a day of “sporadic and intensive” fighting in Gaza. The IDF reports hitting more than 120 targets, mostly comprising a final massive bombardment of more than 100 tunnels along the Rafah border that lasts 10 hrs., but also including strikes on at least 10 rocket-launching sites, 5 groups of armed Palestinians, 3 Hamas outposts. In addition to Rafah, air strike target areas include Bayt Hanun, Gaza City (city center), Jabaliya, Khan Yunis. Heavy artillery and tank fire are reported in: Bayt Lahiya, Jabaliya, al-Nasser (n. of Rafah). In Bayt Lahiya, IDF shells (possibly including white phosphorous) hit an UNRWA school sheltering 1,600 Gazans, killing 2 Palestinian brothers (ages 4, 5) and wounding 36 Palestinians (including the boys’ mother, who loses both legs. Naval bombardments center on Khan Yunis. Ground engagements are reported in al-Bureij r.c., al-Mughraqa, Nussayrat r.c., al-Zahra’. Late in the evening, IDF troops pull out of al-Shuka (where troops seized positions on 1/14), with residents reporting many houses demolished and damaged, wide areas of agricultural land razed, and significant damage to the village infrastructure (water systems, etc.).

Palestinians fire 19 rockets and 5 mortars into Israel, lightly injuring 5 Israelis (possibly all shock). The IDF reports 4 IDF soldiers seriously wounded in a friendly fire incident involving Israeli mortar fire, plus another 13 soldiers injured (3 seriously, 3 moderately, 7 lightly) in clashes with Palestinian gunmen over the previous 24 hrs., including 5 soldiers wounded by a Palestinian antitank round today.

With the truce ordered, the IDF put Israel’s comprehensive casualty toll for OCL at 3 (perhaps 4; see casualties chart in special document section for details) civilians and 10 soldiers dead, more than 100 soldiers and an unstated number of civilians injured. (This marks the 1st time the IDF has given estimates for comprehensive IDF casualties inside Gaza.) Gazan health officials estimate the Palestinian toll to be at least 1,200 killed and more than 5,000 wounded, though numbers are expected to change as rescue workers gain access to damaged areas.

Humanitarian notes: The IDF allows 62 truckloads of humanitarian aid into Gaza. Israel gives no indication whether or how quickly it will ease restrictions on imports once the cease-fire goes into effect. (IDF, IFM 1/17; IFM, ITIC, NYT, QA, WP, WT 1/18; ITIC, JP, MM 1/19; JAZ 1/20; PCHR 1/22; FT 1/28; PCHR 1/29)

The IDF imposes a curfew on Hawara village s. of Nablus. (PCHR 1/22)

In Washington, Livni and Rice sign the MOU on curbing arms smuggling, aimed at facilitating Israel’s acceptance of the EgyptHamas cease-fire offer (see 1/15). Anonymous Israeli military officials state that OCL is “in its final act.”

Combat notes: Early in the day, the IDF pulls back to the outskirts of Gaza City (with reports indicating that Tal al-Hawa has been devastated), but fighting intensifies again in the evening. Intensified IDF ground operations under cover of air strikes and heavy shelling are reported on the outskirts of Khan Yunis. The IDF reports hitting more than 50 targets during the day, including 15 rocket-launching sites, 13 groups of armed men, 4 suspected weapons depots, 2 smuggling tunnels, at least 1 mosque, Hamas’s Asda’ media center outside Khan Yunis (previously hit on 12/27). Air strike target areas include Bani Suhayla, Bayt Lahiya, alBureij r.c., the al-Fukhari area, Gaza City (al-Shuja‘iyya, Tal al-Hawa; al-Tuffah), Izbat ‘Abid Rabbuh, Jabaliya town and r.c., Khan Yunis (white phosphorous suspected), alNasser (n. of Rafah), Rafah, the al-Satar al-Gharbi area (nr. Khan Yunis), and the alTannour area (e. of Rafah). Artillery and tank fire are reported in Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr al-Balah (white phosphorous suspected), Gaza City (city center and al-Sudaniyya, al-Zaytun), Jabaliya town, Khan Yunis, al-Qarara, al-Shuka, Twam, Wadi alSilqa (white phosphorous suspected). Naval bombardments center on open areas w. of Khan Yunis and in the al-Mawasi area, and in s. Rafah. Ground engagements are reported in Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, the al-Fukhari area and nearby Ma’an, Gaza City, al-Mughraqa, al-Zahra’. At least 3 ambulances are hit trying to evacuate the dead and wounded in clashes in central Gaza nr. Shuhada junction and in al-Mughraqa.

In a highly publicized incident, IDF tank shells hit a Gaza City home, killing 4 young girls (3 sisters, 1 cousin). Father of the 3 sisters, Izzeddin Abu al-Aish, a prominent Gazan doctor who appears regularly as a commentator on Israeli TV, phones ITV channel 10’s live broadcast to beg for medical assistance for his injured family, reports that his daughters are dead. In addition, an IDF air strike targets a home receiving condolence visits in Gaza City’s al-Shuja‘iyya neighborhood, killing 10 Palestinians, wounding 7. Another air strike on a home in al-Bureij r.c. kills a mother and her 5 children, ages 7–15. Gazan medical officials put the Palestinian toll at 1,140 dead, more than 5,100 wounded (470 in serious condition).

Palestinians fire 22 rockets and 5 mortars into Israel. Areas hit include Ashdod and Kiryat Gat (where at least 3 Israelis are injured, 1 seriously).

Humanitarian notes: The IDF allows up to 109 trucks of humanitarian aid entry to Gaza during the 4-hr. lull. (AFP, AP, IDF, IFM, ITV, MA, MM, REU, XIN, Zaman 1/16; IFM, NYT, WP, WT, XIN 1/17; NYT 1/18; AY, DUS, ITIC, MM 1/19; PCHR, WT 1/22; PCHR 1/29; ITV, MM 2/4; NYT 2/5)

The IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin, Nablus; fires rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinians who attend nonviolent demonstrations against OCL following Friday prayers in Hebron (injuring 4) and neighboring Bayt Umar (injuring 3), Issawiyya (injuring 4); fires live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, percussion grenades, tear gas at Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists taking part in weekly nonviolent protests against the separation wall in Bil‘in (injuring 5 Palestinians, 4 with live ammunition); fires rubber-coated steel bullets, percussion grenades, tear gas at Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists taking part in weekly nonviolent protests against the separation wall in Ni‘lin (injuring 12 Palestinians, including 7 children). In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces beat and fire rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinians protesting against OCL nr. al-Aqsa Mosque (injuring 1) and in Ras al-Amud neighborhood (injuring 1). (PCHR 1/22)

The 20th day of OCL is marked by serious diplomatic steps toward a cease-fire but also by Israel’s heaviest attacks on Gaza since operations began. Israel’s envoy receives the Egyptian-Hamas cease-fire offer in Cairo, returns to Israel to brief the security cabinet. Olmert dispatches Livni to Washington to finalize a bilateral “memorandum of understanding” (MOU) regarding U.S.-led international efforts to halt arms smuggling into Gaza.

Combat notes: The IDF sharply escalates air, naval, and ground attacks across Gaza. IDF ground forces push deep into Gaza City under cover of air strikes and heavy tank and artillery fire. Residents report almost constant air, naval, artillery bombardment from 1:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. local time, and particularly heavy ground engagements in al-Atatra n. of the city and Tal al-Hawa neighborhood on the southern outskirts, as well as in Jabaliya r.c. Thousands of Gaza City residents attempt to flee the fighting, but many cannot leave their homes because of the intensity of Israeli fire. During the operations, Israeli troops surround the home of Hamas’s Mahmud Zahhar (in hiding), killing his security guards. Gaza City fighting eases slightly in the afternoon, but IDF troops remain in the city overnight. The IDF also takes up new positions in Bayt Hanun’s alFarta and al-Nazzaza quarters under cover of heavy shelling and gunfire, ordering residents of the 2 areas (some 20 families) to evacuate.

The IDF reports carrying out more than 80 air strikes today, hitting at least 23 rocket and mortar launching sites, 19 groups of armed Palestinians, 6 suspected weapons depots (including 2 mosques in Gaza City, 1 in Rafah), 4 tunnels, 1 radio station in Gaza City. Air strike target areas include al-Atatra, Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (al-Rimal, al-Sabra, Tal al-Hawa, al-Yarmuk), Jabaliya, Khan Yunis, al-Maghazi r.c., Nussayrat r.c., Rafah, Yibna r.c. Heavy tank and artillery fire are reported in Abasan, Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (al-Sabra, Tal al-Hawa, al-Tuffah), Jabaliya, Khuza, al-Mughraqa, al-Nasser (n. of Rafah), Nussayrat r.c., al-Qarara, Rafah. UNRWA reports 100s of Palestinians fleeing areas of northeastern Rafah to escape heavy bombardments. Reports of Israel using white phosphorous munitions spike sharply, with confirmed use in 3 areas (Abasan, Khuza, al-Qarara) and suspected use in 5 areas (Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Khan Yunis, Nussayrat r.c.). Israeli naval bombardment concentrates on Khan Yunis and the neighboring al-Mahatin area. Closecombat fighting is reported around Jabaliya r.c.

In a major air strike on Jabaliya, the IDF assassinates Gaza’s acting Interior M Said Siyam in his brother’s home, along with his brother and nephew, Hamas internal security head for Gaza Salah Abu Sharah, 4 Palestinians in an adjacent home. In addition, IDF air strikes hit buildings in Gaza City housing UNRWA’s main food depot (3 white phosphorous missiles incinerate tons of food and medicine brought in during the humanitarian lulls); Palestinian Red Crescent Society offices and the adjacent al-Quds Hospital (both hit repeatedly over a 5-hr. period; the patient wing of the hospital is not targeted); and the shared media offices of Abu Dhabi TV, al-Arabiyya TV, Reuters, and the Russian TV channel Rusiya al-Yaum, causing serious damage and injuring 2 journalists. A number of other hospitals in Gaza City are damaged by Israeli mortar fire. Palestinian medical workers say the Palestinian toll is at least 1,090 dead (including 375 children, 150 women, 14 medical workers), more than 5,000 wounded.

Palestinians fire 15 rockets and 8 mortars into Israel, seriously injuring a 7-yr.-old Israeli boy in Beersheba and causing significant damage in 2 instances (both by Qassams in Sederot); at least 3 of the rockets are Grads (2 in and nr. Beersheba, 1 in Gadera).

The Palestinian toll is estimated to be at least 1,090 dead, more than 5,000 wounded.

Humanitarian notes: With diplomacy toward a cease-fire showing progress, Israel extends the daily humanitarian lull to 4 hrs./day, allowing in up to 170 truckloads of humanitarian aid; permits the Qarni crossing conveyor belt to resume operation for the 1st time since 12/27 for the import of grain. Israel also allows the ICRC and Palestinian Energy Authority to begin repairs to part of Gaza’s electricity network. (AFP, AP, HA, IDF, IFM, IHY, MM, RFM, UNOSAT, YA 1/15; HA, IDF Radio, JP, MA, MM, NYT, REU, Scotsman, WP, WT, XIN, YA 1/16; IFM, NYT, XIN 1/17; ITIC 1/19; PCHR 1/22, 1/29)

Citing unspecified security concerns, the IDF imposes a total closure on the West Bank through 1/17. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus. Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar attempt to close a road nr. Nablus to Palestinian traffic, stone Palestinian cars; the IDF forces them to leave. (IDF 1/15; PCHR 1/22)

Egypt announces that Gaza- and Damascus-based Hamas officials have agreed on a cease-fire offer to be present to Israel (see Quarterly Update). Israel agrees to send an envoy to Cairo on 1/15 to be briefed on the plan. Meanwhile, Israel’s intense air, naval, and ground assaults on Gaza continue.

Combat notes: Under cover of air strikes and heavy shelling, IDF troops take up new positions in s. Gaza’s al-Fukhari area nr. the Sufa crossing (occupying several homes and expelling the residents) and al-Shuka village; Israeli fire is so intense that rescuers cannot reach the wounded or retrieve the dead. The IDF reports carrying out approximately 120 air strikes today (70 of them after nightfall) that kill 10s of Palestinians. Targets include at least 24 groups of armed Palestinians, 16 smuggling tunnels, at least 10 suspected weapons depots (including a Rafah mosque), and 24 rocket launching sites (killing senior IQB cmdrs. Walid Za‘abud and Muhammad Dash nr. al-Zaytun). Air strike target areas include Bani Suhayla, Bayt Lahiya, Gaza City (areas northwest of the city and al-Nasser, al-Sabra, al-Sha‘af, Shaykh Ridwan, al-Shuja‘iyya, Tal al-Hawa, al-Yarmuk, al-Zaytun), Khan Yunis, Khuza, al-Mughraqa, Nussayrat r.c., al-Qarara, Rafah, al-Shabura r.c., Twam, Yibna r.c. Heavy artillery and tank fire are reported in and around Bayt Lahiya (white phosphorous suspected), al-Bureij r.c., Gaza City (al-Sabra, al-Tuffah), Jabaliya town and r.c. Naval bombardment centers on Rafah’s Tal al-Sultan neighborhood.

Palestinians fire 14 rockets and 2 mortars, including 4 Grads (2 each in Ashdod and Beersheba), into Israel, causing no injuries. Gaza medical workers put the estimated Palestinian toll at 1,018 dead (including an estimated 300 children), 4,700 injured. The IDF reports 27 soldiers wounded (1 severely, 2 moderately, 24 lightly), mostly in ground fighting with Palestinians n. Gaza, including 7 soldiers wounded (1 severely, 1 moderately, 5 lightly) by a Palestinian antitank missile. The Israeli toll stands at 13–14 dead, more than 150 wounded.

Humanitarian notes: The IDF allows at least 108 truckloads of humanitarian aid into Gaza during the lull. A group of Israeli human rights groups (including Amnesty International–Israel, B’Tselem Gisha, Physicians for Human Rights–Israel) characterize Israel’s restrictions on aid and access to Gaza by relief groups and medial workers as a “blatant violation of the laws of warfare and raises the suspicion, which we ask be investigated, of the commission of war crimes.” (AP, BBC, CBS News, HA, IDF, IFM, JAZ, MM, QA, REU, RFM, XIN 1/14; AYM, HA, IDF, IFM, IHY, JAZ, MA, MM, NYT, PCHR, WP, WT, YA 1/15; ITIC 1/19; PCHR 1/22, 1/29)

The IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron and Jenin, in Bayt Sahur, and nr. Nablus. (PCHR 1/22)

Unidentified assailants fire 3 rockets fr. s. Lebanon into n. Israel. (Up to a dozen rockets total may have been fired, with others landing inside Lebanon). The IDF returns fire. No damage or injuries are reported. (MM, MNR 1/14; WP 1/15)

The IDF significantly increases attacks on Gaza for the 2d straight day, as international mediation efforts led by Egypt to secure a cease-fire also intensify.

Combat notes: The IDF tightens the cordon around Gaza City (focusing attacks on the outlying neighborhoods of Shaykh Ajlin, Tal al-Hawa, and al-Zaytun and open areas n. of the city), with troops reportedly taking fire from Palestinian rocket-propelled grenade antitank missiles and mortars. The IDF also launches a major incursion into Jabaliya under heavy shelling, engaging in heavy exchanges of fire with Palestinian gunmen, killing at least 13. In s. Gaza, the IDF continues heavy attacks on Khuza, including air strikes, intense shelling, and widespread bulldozing of some 50 houses and farms; Israeli fire is so heavy and constant that residents report being unable to reach the injured or flee their homes to seek shelter outside the village; IDF troops pull back fr. Khuza after nightfall.

The IDF reports carrying out more than 160 air strikes across Gaza. Air strike target areas include Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, Gaza City (al-Sabra, Shaykh Ridwan, al-Zaytun), Jabaliya r.c., Khan Yunis, Khuza, Nussayrat r.c., Rafah, al-Shuka, Tal al-Za‘atar, and the Twam area. Israeli gunboats shell Nussayrat r.c. Heavy tank and artillery fire are reported nr. Bayt Lahiya (white phosphorous suspected) and in Dayr al-Balah, Jabaliya town, Khan Yunis (white phosphorous suspected), Khuza, Nussayrat r.c. (confirmed use of flechette shells). For a 2d day, nearly half of the air strikes take place after nightfall, targeting Gaza City. Palestinians report 12 hrs. of constant Israeli bombardment of the Rafah border, with the IDF claiming to destroy 90 smuggling tunnels. (The IDF also demolishes 1 tunnel on the Gaza–Israel border nr. the Nahal Oz crossing.) Specific targets include a Hamas police headquarters in Gaza City, 31 groups of armed men, 25 rocket-launching sites, and 13 suspected weapons manufacturing and storage facilities.

On the ground, the IDF reports a total of 6 soldiers wounded (2 moderately, 4 lightly) in 2 exchanges of gunfire with Palestinians. In a 3d incident, IDF reservists open fire on an IDF paratrooper unit, seriously wounding 1 and moderately wounding 3. Palestinians report around 70 Gazans killed today, putting the estimated Palestinian toll at 971 dead and 4,400 wounded. The Israeli toll stands at 13–14 dead, more than 125 injured. (Israeli military intelligence confirms that 1 soldier killed on 1/6 or 1/8 was targeted by a suicide bomber, stating that several Palestinian suicide bombers, including some women and some dressed as IDF soldiers, have approached combat units.)

Palestinians fire about 11 rockets and 6 mortars into Israel, causing no reported damage or injuries.

Humanitarian notes: The IDF observes another 3-hr. lull, allowing 102 truckloads of aid into Gaza. (The IDF states that 1,028 truckloads of humanitarian goods have been allowed into Gaza since 12/27.) During the lull the ICRC rescues 100 Palestinians trapped in Jabaliya. Heavy IDF attacks in Rafah force UNRWA to close a medical center just n. of the border to ensure the safety of patients and to open more shelters for displaced residents. Human Rights Watch calls Israel’s 3-hr./day breaks to facilitate humanitarian aid “woefully insufficient.” Other aid groups (including Doctors Without Borders, the ICRC, the UN) complain that they are still able to import and distribute only a fraction of the emergency supplies available for Gaza because of Israeli delays and restrictions. (BBC, HA, IDF, IFM, MA, MM, REU, YA 1/13; AYM, IDF, IFM, MM, NYT, WP, WT, YA 1/14; NYT, PCHR, WP, XIN 1/15; ITIC 1/19)

In the West Bank, IDF troops at the Tarqumiyya crossing nr. Hebron fatally shoot a Palestinian who allegedly attempts to grab the gun of a border patrol officer after being denied permission to cross the checkpoint. Late in the evening, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in Bayt Awa, Dura, and Kafr Khalil (all nr. Hebron). A Jewish settler driving nr. Azun village e. of Qalqilya opens fire on Palestinian youths who stone his car, killing 1 Palestinian teenager, wounding 2. (HA 1/13; PCHR 1/15)

A Jordanian soldier fires on an Israeli border patrol unit operating along the Negev border with Jordan n. of Elat. The border police return fire. No injuries are reported. (MM 1/13; WT 1/14; JPI 1/23)

Olmert’s security cabinet revives discussion of opening phase 3 of OCL (see 1/9), agreeing to make a final decision whether to expand or wind down operations within 2–3 days, by which time the IDF believes ground forces will have done all they can from the open and suburban areas they currently hold to weaken Hamas’s ability and desire to fire rockets.

Combat notes: The IDF significantly increases attacks, particularly around Gaza City, and continues to send troops into Gaza. Palestinians report (AYM 1/12) heavy clashes with the IDF n. of Bayt Lahiya, in Daraj and al-Shuja‘iyya neighborhoods on the eastern boundary of Gaza City, and in Dahadih and al-Zaytun to the south of the city. Overnight, the IDF also sends troops back into Khuza (see 1/11) under heavy artillery fire (possibly including white phosphorous), occupying a number of homes as staging posts and prompting 1,000s of residents to flee their homes.

The IDF reports carrying out more than 120 air strikes (half of them after nightfall, targeting Gaza City), uncovering 1 boobytrapped home and 2 booby-trapped tunnels. Targets include the PA Interior Min. offices in n. Gaza, more than 35 tunnels on the Rafah border, homes of Hamas leaders, at least 22 mortar and rocket launching sites, at least 26 groups of armed men, at least 10 “Hamas outposts,” 2 suspected weapons depots and manufacturing facilities, 2 mosques, 2 hotels. Air strike target areas include Bayt Lahiya, Gaza City (city center and Shaykh Ridwan, al-Sudaniyya, Tal al-Hawa, al-Zaytun), Jabaliya town, al-Maghazi r.c., Nussayrat, Rafah, al-Shabura r.c., al-Shuka, Tal al-Za‘atar, the Twam area (northern outskirts of Gaza City), Yibna r.c. IDF gunboats shell Nussayrat, Rafah, a fishing port w. of Rafah. Heavy tank and artillery fire are reported in Bayt Hanun, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (al-Shuja‘iyya, al-Zaytun), Jabaliya town, al-Mughraqa, Twam.

Israeli attacks are so intense that reliable updates on Palestinian casualty estimates are not possible. The IDF estimates killing at least 30 Palestinians in air strikes. UNRWA reports at least 19 Palestinian children killed and 52 children injured in nighttime operations (possibly overlapping with air strikes), 1 paramedic killed by tank fire in Jabaliya during the day. The IDF reports 8 soldiers wounded (1 severely, 1 moderately, 6 lightly) in various incidents, all after nightfall; 3 of the soldiers are injured when they trigger a setup in a booby-trapped house.

Palestinians fire 17 rockets and 7 mortars into Israel, with 1 rocket in Ashqelon and 1 in Sederot causing damage but no reported injuries.

Humanitarian notes: The IDF observes the daily 3-hr. humanitarian lull, allowing 120 trucks carrying humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. UNRWA estimates that internally displaced Gazans number now 90,000: 30,000 seeking shelter in UNRWA schools; 60,000 in the homes of friends and relatives. (AP, AYM, BBC, HA, IDF, IFM, JP, MA, MM, al-Ra’i, REU, RFM, WP, YA 1/12; HA, MM, NYT, REU, WP, WT, YA 1/13; AYM, HA, MM, NYT, WP, WT 1/14; PCHR 1/15; BBC, WJW 1/16; ITIC 1/19)

In the West Bank, unidentified armed Palestinians fire on an IDF patrol nr. Kiryat Arba settlement, wounding 3. In response, the IDF raids, searches Palestinian homes nr. Kiryat Arba, making no arrests. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron. (HA 1/13; PCHR 1/15)

The Israeli security cabinet reportedly begins internal debate on opening phase 3 of OCL, which would involve deep incursions into Gaza’s built-up areas to deal a crushing blow to Hamas. Israeli military and intelligence sources warn that the new goal would require deep, sustained incursions into Gaza’s densely populated areas, likely resulting in months of combat and heavy casualties.

Combat notes: Heavy IDF aerial, naval, and ground assaults across Gaza continue. The IDF reports carrying out more than 110 air strikes, in many cases to support troops battling on the ground. Targets include 20 “terror operatives” (possibly assassinations), more than a dozen rocket-launching sites and squads, more than 20 suspected weapons depots (including homes of 3 Hamas mbrs.) and other outposts, at least 10 homes and 1 apartment building, 2 tunnels on the Rafah border, a market in Bayt Lahiya, 1 ESF post in Gaza City, a mosque in Dayr al-Balah. Target areas include Abasan, Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr alBalah, Gaza City (city center and al-Nasser, Shaykh Ridwan), Jabaliya town and r.c., Khan Yunis, Khuza, Nussayrat, al-Qarara, Rafah, Shati’ r.c., open areas in central Gaza.

At least 1 air strike on a residential area e. of Jabaliya involves white phosphorous munitions that cause extensive fire damage to 4 homes. Another air strike hits the rooftop of a Gaza City building housing the offices of some 20 international press agencies, destroying broadcasting equipment and wounding 1 journalist.

IDF ground forces take up new positions in Juhur al-Dik and al-Mughraqa in c. Gaza, and al-Shuka in s. Gaza (bulldozing 13 homes). Heavy tank and artillery fire are reported in Bayt Lahiya, Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (al-Shuja‘iyya, alTuffah, al-Zaytun), Jabaliya. Heavy closequarter combat is reported in Gaza City and nr. Bayt Lahiya, with Palestinians firing antitank weapons and mortars and sniping at ground troops, moderately wounding 1 IDF soldier and lightly wounding 7.

Palestinians also fire 30 rockets and 1 mortar into Israel (including several Grads that hit Ashqelon), causing no reported damage or injuries.

At least 35 Palestinians are killed during the day, bringing the estimated Palestinian toll to around 795 dead and 3,300 wounded.

Humanitarian notes: The UN and other relief groups resume humanitarian aid transfers after receiving assurances fr. the Israeli government that they will not be targeted. During today’s 3-hr. humanitarian lull, Israel allows 41 trucks carrying food and medicine into the Strip. (Committee to Protect Journalists, Daily News, IDF, MA, MM, YA 1/9; IDF, NYT, WT, WP 1/10; NYT 1/11; PCHR 1/15)

Israel seals the West Bank through 1/10 citing unspecified security concerns. The IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, percussion grenades at Palestinians demonstrating against OCL after Friday prayers in Bayt Umar nr. Hebron (injuring 2), Hawara s. of Nablus, Hebron (injuring 4), Issawiyya, Ras al-Amud in East Jerusalem; also fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, percussion grenades at Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists attending weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall in Bil‘in (injuring 3 Palestinians, arresting 5), Jayyus (injuring 9, including 2 wounded by live ammunition, which is not used at the other rallies), Ni‘lin (injuring 5 Palestinians); conducts late-night house searches in Azmut nr. Nablus. Jewish settlers fr. Shilo nr. Ramallah beat and fire on 2 Palestinians collecting water at a well nr. the settlement, wounding 1. (IDF 1/9; PCHR 1/15)

Israel agrees in principle to the 1/6 Egyptian-French cease-fire proposal, agreeing to send an envoy to Cairo on 1/8 to discuss details with Egyptian officials. On the ground, Israeli air, naval, and ground attacks continue across the Strip, “tightening the noose” around Gaza’s population centers. IDF reservists begin to complete their training and deploy to staging areas on the Gaza border. IDF officials say that since Israeli troops entered Gaza on 1/3, Hamas and other Palestinian fighters have largely pulled back into the cities and refugee camps, sniping and engaging IDF troops on the edges of densely populated areas but not coming out to engage directly.

Combat notes: The IDF carries out more than 40 air strikes on targets across Gaza, hitting the PA presidential compound in Gaza City (already hit several times), 14 rocketlaunching sites, more tunnels on the Rafah border, 9 homes allegedly hiding smuggling tunnels, 4 groups of armed Palestinians, 1 Hamas outpost, 1 suspected weapons depot, 2 mosques (Bani Suhayla, Khan Yunis). Target areas include Abu Middayn (c. Gaza), Bani Suhayla, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (Shaykh Ridwan), the al-Fukhari area (nr. Khan Yunis), Jabaliya, Khan Yunis, Khuza, Ma’an (e. of Khan Yunis), al-Maghazi, Nussayrat, Rafah, the Western Sawahira area (c. Gaza). Particularly heavy IDF artillery fire and exchanges of gunfire are reported in al-Atatra, the al-Salatin area northwest of Bayt Lahiya, the Izbat ‘Abid Rabbuh area e. of Jabaliya, alQarara, and al-Zaytun in Gaza City. In the afternoon, the IDF drops leaflets on houses nr. the Rafah border, ordering residents to evacuate their homes; aerial bombing there begins after dark.

Palestinians fire 17 rockets and 5 mortars into Israel, lightly injuring 2 Israelis; around a dozen are Grads that land in Ashdod and Ashqelon, the rest are Qassams that land closer to the Gaza border. With IDF troops now in control of open areas around Bayt Hanun and Bayt Lahiya, most rocket and mortar fire is coming from densely populated urban areas.

At least 29 Palestinians are killed today, bringing the estimated Palestinian toll to at least 682 dead and 3,085 injured. One IDF soldier is moderately wounded, 8 are lightly wounded in exchanges with Palestinians inside Gaza.

Humanitarian notes: In the afternoon, the IDF observes a 3-hr. cease-fire nr. Gaza City to allow 80 truckloads of humanitarian aid to enter the Strip and to give Gazans an opportunity to seek food, fuel, and medical care. Some Israeli gunfire is reported (WP 1/22) during the lull, leaving at least 2 Palestinian girls (ages 2, 7) dead and their father and sister wounded. Aid groups say the imports do not come close to relieving the dire crisis. Moreover, Palestinians are reportedly (NYT 1/8) running low on cash to buy supplies because Israel has barred the import of currency; banks are closed because of the fighting; and ATMs do not work because of the lack of electricity.

The ICRC reports finding 16 bodies (7 women, 6 children, 3 men) and 18 seriously wounded Palestinians (including 4 emaciated children too weak to stand) in a cluster of destroyed houses in Gaza City’s al-Zaytun neighborhood. The ICRC received specific reports of these casualties on 1/3, but the IDF had barred ambulances and rescue workers fr. reaching the site; international aid workers finally enter the area with donkey carts to evacuate the wounded, ignoring IDF efforts to chase them away. The ICRC later attempts to return to the area to remove the bodies and check reports of additional casualties but is blocked by the IDF. The ICRC’s headquarters in Geneva issues a rare denunciation of Israel, calling (WP 1/8) the IDF’s handling of the incident “unacceptable,” stating that it had “failed to meet its obligations under international law to care for and evacuate the wounded.” (AP, Arutz 7, AYM, BBC, HA, IDF, JP, MA, MM, REU, RFM, RIA, YA 1/7; IDF, IFM, IHY, JP, MA, MM, NYT, PCHR, WP, WT, YA 1/8; WP 1/14; PCHR 1/15; NYT 1/17; ITIC 1/18; WP 1/22)

The IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron; fires rubbercoated steel bullets, tear gas, percussion grenades to disperse Palestinian and international activists demonstrating against OCL in Ni‘lin; no injuries are reported. (PCHR 1/8, 1/15)

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Israeli cabinet rejects the 12/30 French proposal for a 48-hr. humanitarian truce, complaining that it lacked a mechanism to guarantee enforcement. Damascusbased Hamas leader Khalid Mishal says Hamas will consider any cease-fire proposal that includes a lifting of Israel’s embargo, but in Gaza, Haniyeh states that Hamas would not consider any proposals until Israel halts its attacks and opens Gaza’s border crossings, including Rafah.

In a briefing to Olmert’s security cabinet, Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin states that Hamas’s weapons development facilities have been “completely wiped out” and “Hamas’s ability to govern Gaza has been significantly impaired.” Senior Israeli military sources speaking anonymously state that no major hardened targets remain standing but that Hamas’s military wing, the Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades (IQB), “has to a large extent survived the initial onslaught.”

The IDF continues to mass troops and tanks on the Gaza border, stating explicitly for the 1st time that a ground invasion is likely once wet weather clears. The security cabinet increases the number of reservists activated to more than 9,000.

Israeli actions: The IDF carries out some 60 air strikes, and the Israeli navy shells Gaza from the sea. Among the 66 sites hit by the IDF are Haniyeh’s office, the Tal al-Hawa Mosque in Gaza City (Israel claims it was used as a weapons depot), a major Islamic Jihad weapons depot in Khan Yunis (killing senior Islamic Jihad military cmdr. Amar Abu Ghalula, 3 other Islamic Jihad mbrs.), more tunnels on the Rafah border, at least 8 homes, 1 medical clinic, Hamas posts (including money exchanges). Target areas include Abasan, Bayt Hanun, Gaza City, Jabaliya r.c., Khan Yunis, Nussayrat r.c., Rafah. The estimated Palestinian toll reaches 393 dead, more than 1,900 wounded.

The IDF claims to have destroyed 200 smuggling tunnels since 12/27; a Palestinian source in Rafah says the Israelis seem to know which tunnels are commercial and which are used by Hamas, and have been selectively targeting Hamas tunnels.

Palestinian actions: Palestinians fire 49 rockets, 15 mortars into Israel, causing no serious injuries; 4 longer-range rockets land in Beersheba, 25 mi. n. of the Gaza border, 1 of which hits an empty school, causing significant damage to 1 room.

Humanitarian notes: Israel allows 93 truckloads of food, medicine into Gaza. UNRWA issues a $34-m. emergency appeal for additional food, medical, and reconstruction aid for Gaza in the wake of OCL; the appeal is in addition to a $275-m. emergency appeal for the West Bank and Gaza for 2009 issued earlier in the month. UNRWA Commissioner-Gen. Karen AbuZayd, warning of the dire conditions in Gaza (where she currently is based), states that for the first time in her 8 yrs. with UNRWA she has begun to see Palestinians begging on the streets of Gaza.

Of note: Residents in Egyptian Rafah report a heavy military, border police, and plain-clothed intelligence presence on the Egyptian side of the border, which Egypt has declared a closed military zone, preventing demonstrations, keeping journalists away, and preventing breeches of the Rafah border from either direction. (AFP, AP, BBC, Canadian Broadcasting Center, FT, IDF, IFM, JP, REU, UNIS, UNOSAT, XIN 12/31; IDF, JP, NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 1/1; WT 1/2; IDF, Sabah 1/3; WP 1/4; IFM, PCHR 1/8; NYT 1/11)

In the West Bank, observers report that Palestinian sympathy for Hamas is growing, even though overall public reaction to OCL has been muted, largely because PA security forces have been breaking up explicitly pro-Hamas demonstrations. The IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron, nr. Nablus. (PCHR, WP 1/1)

International diplomacy to end OCL clicks into gear with France proposing that Israel and Hamas impose a 48-hr. humanitarian truce to try to defuse the violence and restore the Gaza cease-fire, with humanitarian groups, Egypt, the EU, the Quartet, and the U.S. opening mediation channels (see Quarterly Update). Israel’s security cabinet meets to discuss the French proposal but does not formally respond.

Israeli actions: The IDF conducts 70 air strikes on Gaza, while the Israeli navy continues shelling from the sea, killing at least 10 Palestinians and wounding 40, bringing the death toll to about 370. The IDF reports hitting 110 individual sites, with primary targets being tunnels on the Rafah border, suspected weapons factories and rocket-launching sites, civil and naval police stations, and groups of resistance mbrs. In Gaza City, at least 20 air strikes hit Haniyeh’s offices, PA Interior Min., and main PA government complex in Gaza City, all of which had been targeted previously; 1 air strike hits an ambulance, killing 1 paramedic, seriously wounding a doctor and the driver. Part of Gaza’s main power grid is also hit, cutting all power to Gaza City. A fuel depot in Rafah is destroyed. In al-Bureij r.c., a mosque and health clinic are hit. In Khan Yunis, a money exchange is destroyed. At least 7 homes across the Strip are targeted. Target locations include Abasan, Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City, Jabaliya town and r.c., Khan Yunis, al-Maghazi (c. Gaza), al-Mughraqa, al-Qarara, Rafah. The IDF launches a YouTube channel to broadcast declassified videos of its operations in Gaza, “other footage of interest to the international community” (JPI 1/8) and begins regular briefings for Internet bloggers worldwide.

Palestinian actions: Palestinians fire 41 rockets, 10 mortars into Israel, damaging 1 home in Sederot and causing several light injuries (excluding shock); 1 rocket lands in Beersheba, 25 mi. fr. the Gaza border, marking the farthest strike to date; 2 other long-range rockets land in Ashdod. Humanitarian notes: Israel allows 93 trucks into Gaza (50 carrying medical supplies and food donated by aid groups; 43 carrying commercial goods), but Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital says it is out of 150 kinds of medicine and 230 other medical supplies, including gloves, scissors, sterilization equipment, nitrogen for anesthesia. Fuel shipments are still cut off; Gaza’s power plant shuts down for lack of fuel. (BBC, HA, Independent 12/30; IDF, IFM, NYT, REU, UNOSAT, WP, WT 12/31; JP, PCHR 1/1; ITV 1/2; IDF 1/3; WP 1/4; IFM 1/8; NYT 1/13)

In the West Bank, a Palestinian worker in Mod’in Ilit settlement, angry over Israel’s war on Gaza, stabs, wounds 4 Jewish settlers before being shot and wounded by a paramedic who arrives on the scene. The IDF fires live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, percussion grenades, tear gas at Palestinians demonstrating against OCL in al-Fawar r.c. nr. Hebron, wounding 3 (including teenagers ages 13, 14); makes simultaneous afternoon incursions into Beita and Hawara villages nr. Nablus, imposing curfews through 12/31; conducts simultaneous late-night raids, house searches on 4 villages nr. Jenin, firing on residential areas in all cases, causing no injuries and arresting only 1 teenager; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Abu Dis and Jalazun r.c. nr. Ramallah, and nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarm. (PCHR, WJW 1/1)

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)

Israeli DM Barak gives Israeli military and intelligence chiefs the final go-ahead to launch an offensive against Gaza. Olmert and his senior staff begin quietly briefing opposition leaders and prominent political figures on the impending operation. Israeli defense officials speaking to the press off the record say that a Gaza operation will begin when weather clears to allow precision-targeted air strikes. Meanwhile, the IDF allows 100 truckloads of humanitarian aid and fuel for Gaza’s power plant into Gaza. Palestinians fire about 12 rockets and mortars fr. Gaza toward Israel; 1 rocket falls inside the n. Gaza border, hitting a home, killing 2 Palestinian girls. In the West Bank, the IDF for a 2d night conducts coordinated late-night house searches in villages nr. Jenin, making no arrests; fires rubber-coated steel bullets, percussion grenades, tear gas at Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists taking part in the weekly demonstration against the separation wall in Bil‘in, wounding 2. (HA, NYT, WP 12/27; HA 12/28; WP 12/31; PCHR 1/1; JPI 1/8)

In Gaza, OCHA reports that since 11/27, Israel has increased from 5 to 11 the number of truckloads of humanitarian aid allowed entry to Gaza per day. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Ramallah. The IDF also demolishes an addition to a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem. For a 7th day, 100s of Jewish settlers riot in Hebron, setting fire to Palestinian stores, beating Palestinians, vandalizing homes; the IDF bars journalists, human rights activists fr. entering the area. Jewish settlers uproot 5 Palestinian olive trees nr. Ramallah. (OCHA 12/3; PCHR 12/4; PCHR 12/18)

The Israeli navy turns back a Libyan freighter carrying 3,000 tons of humanitarian aid attempting to breach Israel’s blockade of Gaza. In the West Bank, the IDF sends an undercover unit into Nablus to ambush and assassinate al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AMB) mbr. Muhammad Abu Thira’ while he is in PA security force (PASF) custody in a PASF vehicle being transported fr. his home to a PASF facility where he would stay overnight, as part of the process to be granted amnesty by Israel. IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Jenin town and r.c., nr. Bethlehem; conducts separate, synchronized late-night house searches in 4 villages nr. Jenin, without making any arrests. The IDF guards buses bringing 100s of Jewish settlers to Hebron to “defend” Beit Shalom. After dark, settlers rampage through Palestinian neighborhoods, attempt to seize a Palestinian home, heavily damage others. Jewish settlers fr. Shilo nr. Ramallah protesting the government order to evacuate Beit Shalom rampage through the villages of Turmusayya and Sinjil, slashing tires, vandalizing homes and a mosque, spraying graffitti saying “Death to Arabs” and “Muhammad is a Pig.” (NYT, WT 12/2; WJW, PCHR 12/4)

Israel allows 32 truckloads of humanitarian aid, limited fuel imports, and some currency imports into Gaza but maintains a ban on foreign journalists (ban now in place for more than 2 wks.). The Foreign Press Association appeals to Israel’s High Court to overturn the ban. Despite receiving fuel, Gaza’s power plant cannot resume operation, because its turbine batteries have died from prolonged lack of use and Israel continues to bar the import of maintenance equipment. Palestinians fire 1 rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes a Palestinian home in Azariyya; patrols in, fires on residential areas of Jenin town and r.c., causing no injuries; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches, ID checks in Qalandia r.c. nr. Ramallah. Jewish settlers fr. Beit Shalom vandalize, heavily damage at least 5 Palestinian cars. The Israeli government reaches a deal with the 45 Jewish settler families in the unauthorized outpost of Migron (among the largest unauthorized outposts) near Hebron to relocate closer to the existing authorized Jewish settlement of Adam; the families will be permitted to stay in Migron until new housing is constructed, a process expected to take years. (WP 11/25; OCHA 11/26; PCHR 11/27)

As the quarter opens, Israel maintains its strict siege of Gaza, imposed following Hamas’s 6/07 takeover of Gaza and tightened dramatically in 1/08 to allow no exports and only the bare minimum of humanitarian imports. A 6-mo. Gaza cease-fire, in place since 6/19, technically remains in effect, although significant cross-border exchanges resumed on 11/4. Israel has sealed Gaza borders completely since 11/5, allowing in an average of 5 containers/day of humanitarian aid, whereas the UN estimates that 500/day are needed to sustain the basic human needs of the 1.5 m. population. Today, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) makes an air strike on Gaza City targeting a group of Popular Resistance Comm. (PRC) mbrs. preparing to fire a rocket into Israel, killing 4 PRC mbrs. (The IDF reports that in the past 48 hrs., Palestinians have fired 20 rockets and mortars, including 2 Grad-type rockets, into Israel, causing no damage or injuries.) In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron and Nablus, and nr. Bethlehem, Jenin. Israel’s High Court orders Jewish settlers to evacuate the illegal outpost of Beit Shalom, in the al-Rajabi building in the Wadi al-Nassara area of Hebron, or face eviction, also declaring the State of Israel the temporary custodian of the building until ownership disputes are resolved; settlers ignored a 10/29 High Court order demanding they vacate the building within 24 hrs. (NYT 11/17; OCHA 11/19; PCHR 11/20; OCHA 11/27)

As the quarter closes, Israel maintains its ban on all Gaza imports including fuel, medicine, basic foodstuffs, and currency for banks. As a result, 1.5 m. Gazans are without regular electricity, no Gazan households have daily running water (20% of households receive 6 hrs. of water/5 days, 40% receive 6 hrs. water/4 days, 40% receive 6 hrs. water/3 days), bread is being rationed due to lack of grain, and shortages of milk, red meat, and fresh produce are widespread. UNICEF reports that the Israeli government has been holding 2 shipments of vaccines for Gazan children at Ben-Gurion airport since 10/29. The WHO reports that the stock of 95 of 473 drugs it classifies as “essential” for hospitals and clinics to have on hand and 174 other medical supplies are at zero levels in the Strip. UN Secy.-Gen. Ban Ki-moon calls on Israel to open crossings into Gaza for fuel, food, and humanitarian aid, stating that measures that increase the suffering of Gaza’s civilians “are unacceptable and should cease immediately.” The UN reports that Palestinians have fired some 140 rockets and mortars toward Israel since 11/4, injuring 1 Israeli and causing property damage in 1 incident on 11/14. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Jenin town and r.c. (WT 11/15, 11/16; OCHA 11/17, 11/19; PCHR 11/20)

In Gaza, UNRWA suspends food deliveries to 750,000 Gazans for lack of stocks and Gaza municipal officials are forced to shut down Gaza’s power plant once again for lack of fuel (see 11/11) after Israel suspends food and humanitarian aid shipments to Gaza in response to Palestinians firing 8 rockets and some mortars into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The UN’s World Food Program, which feeds an additional 130,000 nonrefugee Palestinians, says it is delving into its emergency stock of food, which will last only 4 more weeks. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem, Jenin. Israeli police raid an event being held at the Jerusalemite Association for Community Development in Wadi al-Juz in East Jerusalem (attended by, among others, the Egyptian amb. to Israel and a Spanish embassy official), halting the event on the grounds that it constituted illegal Palestinian political activity in Jerusalem. (WP, WT 11/14; OCHA 11/19; PCHR 11/20)

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem. More than 40 human rights activists fr. 17 countries (including Israel) organized by the U.S.-based Free Gaza Movement (FGM) complete a 2-day voyage fr. Cyprus to Gaza, sailing in 2 boats carrying humanitarian aid, to challenge Israel’s blockade; the Israeli navy allows the boats to pass unchallenged. (NYT 8/24; OCHA 8/27; PCHR 8/28; WP 8/29)

Israel opens the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing into Gaza for the first time since 4/08, when a Palestinian suicide bomber struck there; 15 trucks carrying humanitarian aid enter Gaza. Israel says it will allow around 80 trucks to enter over the next few days as a “trial run” prior to reopening the crossing for regular imports as part of the 6/19 cease-fire deal with Hamas. In the West Bank, the IDF searches homes and shops in Tulkarm, making no arrests; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus, in Jenin town and refugee camp (r.c.), and nr. Hebron. As part of a new crackdown on Hamas in Hebron, PA security officials inform the head of the privately run Islamic Charitable Association (ICA), allegedly affiliated with Hamas, that the PA has removed the organization’s governing board and replaced it with a governing body comprising exclusively of Fatah mbrs. to run the charity and its affiliated orphanage and boarding school. (OCHA, WP, WT 8/20; PCHR 8/21; AHR 8/23)

As the quarter opens, a 6-mo. Hamas-Israel cease-fire in the Hamascontrolled Gaza Strip, which began on 6/19/08, remains in effect, with occasional cross-border incidents reported (see Quarterly Update in JPS 149 for background). Israel, however, maintains a tight closure on Gaza Strip (imposed since 1/08), allowing only the minimum amount of food, fuel, and basic humanitarian aid to enter and permitting no exports or individuals to leave. During the day, Israeli naval vessels pursue Palestinian fishing boats off the Gaza coast, confiscating 1, temporarily detaining 2 fishermen. In the West Bank, controlled by the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA), the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) fire tear gas at, beat Palestinians holding a nonviolent demonstration against the separation wall in Dayr al-Bhussun nr. Tulkarm; conduct late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron, nr. Jenin. Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba and the nearby Beit HaShalom outpost in Hebron’s Wadi al-Nassara neighborhood (comprising the al-Rajabi building seized in 4/08 and surrounding land seized last quarter; see Quarterly Update in JPS 149) attack Palestinians and their property in Wadi al-Nassara, wounding 1 Palestinian. (OCHA 8/20; PCHR 8/21)

With the UN Security Council set to open debate on a res. critical of Israel’s actions in Gaza, the Israeli DMin. authorizes the entry to Gaza of a week’s supply of cooking gas, fuel for hospitals and power plants, and 50 trucks of humanitarian aid. Meanwhile, the IDF makes an incursion into al-Shuka, firing on residential areas, conducting arrest raids, exchanging fire with local Palestinians, killing 1 armed Palestinian, wounding 1 Palestinian, arresting 16 (including 3 under age 18). Palestinians fire 17 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Some 5,000 Palestinian women storm the Rafah crossing, demanding that Egypt open it for departure of Palestinians seeking medical care abroad and the import of goods and food; Egyptian border police use clubs, water cannon to keep them at bay, injuring 9; Hamas-affiliated security forces fire in the air to disrupt the riot, wounding 1 Egyptian policeman. Palestinian Red Crescent Society employees across the West Bank stage sit-ins to protest PA salary payment problems. An Islamic Jihad mbr. wounded in a 1/20 IDF missile strike e. of Gaza City dies. (IFM, NYT 1/22; NYT, OCHA, WP, WT 1/23; PCHR 1/24)

To increase pressure on Hamas, Israel announces that it will begin curtailing fuel shipments to Gaza by up to 11% and that it has permanently closed the Sufa crossing (closed on 10/26 and 10/27 for the weekend), leaving Kerem Shalom (fully controlled by Israel) the sole crossing point for goods and humanitarian aid. (Officially the government calls the move “self-defense.”) Israel says that it will allow into Gaza “the minimum amount of food and medicines necessary to avoid a humanitarian crisis.” In Gaza, the IDF shoots, wounds a Palestinian fisherman laying nets on the Bayt Lahiya coast; sends troops into al-Shuka, where they exchange tank and heavy machine gun fire with armed Palestinians firing RPGs, leaving 1 Hamas mbr., 1 IDF soldier dead, 2 IDF soldiers wounded; conducts land-leveling operations inside the Gaza border nr. Dayr al-Balah, firing on residential areas, causing no reported injuries. Palestinians fire an RPG at an IDF jeep patrolling the Gaza border e. of al-Maghazi r.c., missing the target, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus, nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, Ramallah. Jewish settlers fr. Itamar nr. Nablus harass Palestinians harvesting olives nearby; the IDF intervenes, forcing the settlers to leave. In Gaza City, some 300 PA workers stage a peaceful sit-in to protest nonpayment of their salaries. (NYT, WP, WT 10/29; OCHA 10/31; PCHR 11/1)