22 / 15269 Results
  • November 6, 2018

    In the West Bank, IDF troops shoot and injure a Palestinian at a gas station near Jerusalem after she allegedly attempts to stab an Israeli border police officer with scissors. They also arrest 7...

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  • August 15, 2018

    After a meeting of the Israeli security cabinet, an Egypt- and UN-backed cease-fire between Israel and Hamas goes into effect. It is reportedly based on the principles of the cease-fire deal that...

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  • July 6, 2017

    In the West Bank, IDF troops arrest 1 Palestinian during a raid nr. Salfit, and patrol nr. Hebron and Qalqilya. In East Jerusalem, a Palestinian refuses to allow Israeli forces to search him...

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  • June 6, 2016

    In the West Bank, armed Palestinians open fire on 2 Israeli settler vehicles nr. Ramallah, causing no injuries. The IDF then raids nearby Dayr Abu Mash‘al village, imposing a temporary blockade on...

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  • May 7, 2015

    IDF troops on the Gaza border e. of Dayr al-Balah fire warning shots at Palestinian farmers approaching the border fence, causing no injuries. Off the coast nr. Dayr al-Balah, Israeli naval forces...

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  • November 3, 2014

    In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village each nr. Hebron and Ramallah, and in Jenin r.c. at night; patrols in 1 village each nr. Hebron and Salfit. The IDF...

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  • October 27, 2014

    In the West Bank, IDF troops shoot and wound 2 Palestinians in clashes sparked by a patrol in Bayt Furik village nr. Nablus. Israeli soldiers also shoot and wound 1 Palestinian nr. Kafr Ya‘bid,...

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  • March 13, 2014

    In the Gaza Strip, an Egyptian-brokered truce between Israel and Islamic Jihad is secured. A leader of the Palestinian group, Khaled al-Batsh, writes on Facebook that “intensive Egyptian contacts...

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  • 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...

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  • October 30, 2013

    In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops conduct a limited incursion nr. Bayt Hanun to level land close to the border fence. In the West Bank, Israeli troops shoot and kill a Palestinian in Qabatya village...

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  • August 25, 2013

    In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the afternoon and in 1 village each nr. Ramallah and Salfit at night, patrols in 2 villages nr....

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  • May 13, 2013

    Israeli media, citing anonymous government officials, reports that issuance of tenders for construction of 1,500 new settlement housing units in Ramat Shlomo settlement in East Jerusalem have been...

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  • December 18, 2012

    Israel’s Housing and Construction Ministry publishes tenders for construction of West Bank settlement housing units in Karnei Shomron, Efrat, and Givat Ze’ev as part of the government’s decision...

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  • December 17, 2012

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

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  • August 11, 2011

    Israel’s Interior Min. gives final approval for the construction of the 1,600 new housing units in Ramat Shlomo settlement in East Jerusalem that were first announced during U.S. VP Joe Biden’s...

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  • March 19, 2010

    Overnight, the IDF carries out 6 air strikes on smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border, 2 open areas nr. Khan Yunis, and a metal workshop in Gaza City in retaliation for the fatal 3/18 rocket...

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  • March 16, 2010

    Facing increasing bipartisan pressure to tone down criticism of Israel, Secy. Clinton reiterates the U.S. call for Israel to demonstrate its “full commitment” to the peace process but assures that...

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  • March 12, 2010

    In a 45-min. phone conversation, U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton sharply rebukes Netanyahu for the 3/9 Ramat Shlomo construction approval, demanding that Israel prove its desire to seek peace...

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  • March 11, 2010

    Biden wraps up his trip to Israel with a big speech to the Israeli public at Tel Aviv University, underscoring American solidarity with Israel. He reiterates U.S. disapproval of the Ramat Shlomo...

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  • March 10, 2010

    Biden spends the day in the West Bank, meeting with Abbas and Fayyad. After receiving assurances that the U.S. will press Israel to reverse the 3/9 Ramat Shlomo decision, the PA indicates that it...

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  • March 9, 2010

    Biden spends the 1st full day of his visit in Israel meeting with Israeli pres. Shimon Peres, visiting Yad Vashem (the Holocaust memorial museum) and Mount Herzl national cemetery, and giving...

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  • June 13, 2008

    Just before U.S. secy. of state Condoleezza Rice arrives in Israel for 6/15–16 mtgs. to encourage Israeli-Palestinian negotiations (see Quarterly Update), the Israeli Housing Min. announces...

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In the West Bank, IDF troops shoot and injure a Palestinian at a gas station near Jerusalem after she allegedly attempts to stab an Israeli border police officer with scissors. They also arrest 7 Palestinians during late-night raids near Jenin, Tulkarm, and Ramallah; and patrol near Jenin, Nablus, and Hebron. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian residential building in Silwan and 2 Palestinian homes in Bayt Hanina. (JP, MNA, MNA, TOI, WAFA, WAFA 11/6; PCHR 11/8)

PLO Executive Committee member Azzam al-Ahmad denies the 11/4 report that the Fatah leadership has agreed to support the recent Egyptian proposal of a “calm” between Israel and Hamas. He also denies that PA president Abbas discussed the issue with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in their meeting on 11/3. (WAFA 11/6)

Qatar’s Gaza Reconstruction Committee announces that it plans to provide temporary support 50,000 Gazans families. Each family is set to receive approximately $100 in the “next few days,” according to a statement from the committee. Separately, Hamas announces a series of large infrastructure projects in Gaza, including 1 set to create 10,000 jobs for university graduates. The official announcing the projects offers no details about who is funding them, what type of work they will require, and how long they may last. (AFP, TOI, YA 11/7)

The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee approves a plan to expand East Jerusalem’s Ramat Shlomo settlement with 640 new housing units, some of which are set to be built on Palestinian-owned land. “It’s very disappointing that the district committee relied on formalistic reasons to approve a step that violates the property rights of Palestinian landowners through and through,” says a researcher with the anti-settlement group Ir Amim. “This decision is additional proof that Israeli control in East Jerusalem means a regime based on serious discrimination.” (HA 11/7)

Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad says that the Syrian government has a plan for the “return” of Palestinian refugees to the Yarmouk refugee camp now that government forces have retaken control of the area. Yarmouk was home to approximately 160,000 Palestinian refugees prior to the Syrian civil war in 2011. Very few are still living there today. (AFP, TOI 11/7; EI 11/10)

After a meeting of the Israeli security cabinet, an Egypt- and UN-backed cease-fire between Israel and Hamas goes into effect. It is reportedly based on the principles of the cease-fire deal that halted Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza, and it provides for a cessation of all hostilities. The Israeli cabinet reportedly approved the agreement in principle on 8/12 and only met today to review the details one last time. Earlier, Israeli DM Lieberman announced the reopening of the Kerem Shalom border crossing (effectively lifting the last of the restrictions the Israeli authorities imposed on 7/9) and the expansion of the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast to nine nautical miles, up from as few as three at the peak of the Israeli crackdown. “The opening of the Kerem Shalom crossing, after four days of quiet, is intended to indicate to the population in Gaza that maintaining quiet is first and foremost an interest for Gaza’s residents,” he says. (EI, HA, JP, MNA, TOI, WAFA, YA 8/15; AHR, MNA, TOI 8/16)

Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Bayt Lahiya and Dayr al-Balah, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, Israeli settlers assault a Palestinian farmer outside Salfit, preventing him from working his land. They also break into a Palestinian home in central Hebron and violently attack 2 Palestinian minors; there are no reported injuries. IDF troops conduct raids in central Hebron, sparking clashes with stone-throwing Palestinian minors; 1 Palestinian is injured. They arrest 5 Palestinians and issue 1 arrest summons during further raids near Jericho, Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Qalqilya; and patrol in and around Hebron and Qalqilya. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian residential building under construction in Issawiyya. They also detain 9 Palestinian women at Haram al-Sharif for undisclosed reasons (8 are released later in the day and banned from the sanctuary for 15 days); and arrest 4 Palestinians and issue 1 arrest summons during late-night raids in Silwan, Ras al-Amud, Sur Bahir, and the Old City. (MNA, WAFA 8/15; MNA, PCHR 8/16; PCHR 8/30)

The Palestinian Central Council convenes in Ramallah for its 29th regular meeting. The PLO body discusses a variety of issues related to statehood, including the stalled national reconciliation process, and plans to meet again on 8/16. In a speech kicking off the meetings, PA president Abbas says that Hamas is not serious about reconciliation. “Hamas principally does not have intentions to achieve reconciliation,” he says. Abbas also criticizes the Trump administration’s peace efforts and reiterates that he wants to unify the West Bank and Gaza with “one government, one law, and one legitimate force without militias.” (TOI, WAFA 8/15)

The Israel Land Authority (ILA) publishes tenders for the construction of 602 new housing units in the Ramat Shlomo settlement of East Jerusalem. The 603 units are part of a larger development plan that dates back to 2010. The ILA separately reaches a $380 million agreement with the Jerusalem Municipality for a series of development projects across the city, including 20,000 new housing units. The Jerusalem City Council is expected to approve the plan next week. (HA, YA 8/15)

In the West Bank, IDF troops arrest 1 Palestinian during a raid nr. Salfit, and patrol nr. Hebron and Qalqilya. In East Jerusalem, a Palestinian refuses to allow Israeli forces to search him outside the Old City, then allegedly “attacks” the soldiers, lightly injuring 1, according to an Israeli police spokesperson. The Palestinian is arrested and found to be carrying no weapons. Meanwhile, Israeli forces assault 2 Palestinians and arrest 2 during raids in Silwan. Israeli settlers assault Palestinian youths in Silwan, causing minor injuries and sparking clashes between their Israeli police escort and residents of the neighborhood; there are no serious injuries. Along Gaza’s border, Israeli forces conduct a limited incursion to level lands nr. Gaza City. (MNA, TOI 7/6; PCHR 7/13)

The day after approving 800 new settler homes in East Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Municipality advances 2 construction plans for Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, including 500 new housing units on one side of Ramat Shlomo and 152 on the other. (HA 7/7)

In the West Bank, armed Palestinians open fire on 2 Israeli settler vehicles nr. Ramallah, causing no injuries. The IDF then raids nearby Dayr Abu Mash‘al village, imposing a temporary blockade on the area. IDF troops arrest 7 Palestinians during raids nr. Bethlehem and Hebron and patrol nr. Ramallah, Tulkarm, and Hebron throughout the day. Meanwhile, the Israeli authorities limit the fishing zone off Gaza’s s. coast to 6 naut. mi., having extended it to 9 on 4/3. (MNA, TOI, WAFA 6/7; PCHR 6/9)

The Jerusalem Planning and Building Comm. approves 2 permits to build 82 new housing units in the Ramat Shlomo settlement in East Jerusalem. (MNA 6/8)

IDF troops on the Gaza border e. of Dayr al-Balah fire warning shots at Palestinian farmers approaching the border fence, causing no injuries. Off the coast nr. Dayr al-Balah, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats, damaging 1. In the West Bank, IDF troops detain a Palestinian singer while he is shooting a music video at a checkpoint nr. Nablus; patrol in 1 village each nr. Hebron and Ramallah. Overnight, Israeli forces demolish a power network in a village nr. Hebron, sparking minor clashes with youth in the area. They also demolish an auto repair shop in a village nr. Bethlehem; set up explosive mines and barbed wire around a water source nr. Hebron. Later, Israeli forces confiscate a Palestinian man’s car nr. Salfit after detaining him for 3 hours. Israeli settlers throw stones at a senior PA official’s car nr. Nablus, causing damage. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces deliver demolition orders to 3 Palestinian homes. Light Rail guards assault a Palestinian woman. (MNA, WAFA 5/7; MNA 5/9; PCHR 5/14)

Hours after Israeli PM Netanyahu announced the new ruling coalition on 5/6, Jerusalem municipal authorities approve construction of 900 new homes in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood of East Jerusalem. U.S. State Dept. spokesperson Jeff Rathke says that the Obama admin. is “disappointed” and “concerned” with the announcement. The White House, however, releases a statement congratulating Netanyahu on forming a new govt. Meanwhile, EU amb. to Israel FaaborgAndersen says there is a growing frustration within the EU about the lack of progress between Israel and the Palestinians. (AFP, HA, JP, MNA, WAFA, YA 5/7; AP 5/8; TOI 5/9)

An EU observer delegation arrives in Gaza to monitor the Rafah border crossing. (MNA 5/7)

The U.S. Senate passes the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act by a vote of 98–1. The bill, which will allow Congress to review and either approve or disapprove of any final agreement made between the P5+1 and Iran, now goes to the House for consideration. AIPAC and other major pro-Israel groups laud its passage. (JP, TOI 5/7; TOI 5/8)

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village each nr. Hebron and Ramallah, and in Jenin r.c. at night; patrols in 1 village each nr. Hebron and Salfit. The IDF demolishes 3 homes in Aqraba village nr. Nablus. In East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities continue restrictions on access to al-Aqsa mosque compound, denying entry to Palestinian men under 40. (MNA, JP 11/3; PCHR 11/6)

An Israeli govt. comm. advances plans for 500 residences in the East Jerusalem settlement Ramat Shlomo. PM Netanyahu approved the move on 10/27. The U.S. State Dept. criticizes the move, as it did on 10/28. In Washington along with PA intelligence chief Majid Faraj, PLO chief negotiator Erakat meets with U.S. Secy. of State Kerry and urges the U.S. to support the PA’s plan to seek a UNSC res. that will set a timetable for the end of the Israeli occupation. (AP, HA, JP 11/3)

In the West Bank, IDF troops shoot and wound 2 Palestinians in clashes sparked by a patrol in Bayt Furik village nr. Nablus. Israeli soldiers also shoot and wound 1 Palestinian nr. Kafr Ya‘bid, after several Palestinians throw stones at Israeli settlers’ vehicles nearby. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village each nr. Hebron, Ramallah, and Tulkarm; patrols in 2 villages each nr. Ramallah and Salfit; demolishes 4 structures nr. Hebron. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces raid Issawiyya, Silwan, and Bayt Hanina, sparking clashes with residents. (HA, MNA 10/27; PCHR 10/30)

Israeli PM Netanyahu approves plans for 1,060 new housing units in East Jerusalem settlements Ramat Shlomo and Har Homa. The EU foreign affairs office and U.S. State Dept. both criticize the move. (AFP, HA 10/27)

In the Gaza Strip, an Egyptian-brokered truce between Israel and Islamic Jihad is secured. A leader of the Palestinian group, Khaled al-Batsh, writes on Facebook that “intensive Egyptian contacts and efforts” mean a restoration of “the agreement for calm . . . in accordance with understandings reached [on 11/21/12] in Cairo,” a reference to the end of Operation Pillar of Defense. Hamas Dep. FM Ghazi Hamad says that Egypt deliberately ignored the govt. in Gaza and communicated directly with Islamic Jihad, a claim corroborated by an anonymous Egyptian security official. Following the cease-fire, the Popular Resistance Cmte. (PRC) fires 8 rockets into s. Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In response, the Israeli air force conducts air strikes against 4 sites in Rafah and Jabaliya, targeting a PRC training camp and Izzeddin alQassam Brigades sites, causing damage but no injuries, except in Rafah, where 3 civilians are injured. In the West Bank, IDF troops wound 2 Palestinians during a clash with mourners at a funeral in Bayt Umar nr. Hebron. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon; patrols in 3 villages, al-‘Arub r.c. and al-Fawar r.c. nr. Hebron at night. (AFP, HA, MNA, REU, WAFA 13/3; PCHR 3/20)

Israeli science minister Yaakov Peri says that unless Palestinians agree to an extension of peace talks, it would be difficult for Israel to go ahead with a scheduled 4th prisoner release. Israeli FM Lieberman says that “negotiations should be extended to the end of the year at least.” Separately, Israeli authorities approve construction permits for 387 housing units in Ramat Shlomo settlement in East Jerusalem, part of the 1,500 unit-plan approved in 2/2012 by the Jerusalem municipality. Meanwhile, U.S. Secy. of State Kerry tells the House Foreign Relations Cmte. that PM Netanyahu’s insistence on a public statement of recognition from the Palestinians of Israel as a Jewish state is “a mistake.” (AIC, AFP 3/13; JP 3/14)

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)

In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops conduct a limited incursion nr. Bayt Hanun to level land close to the border fence. In the West Bank, Israeli troops shoot and kill a Palestinian in Qabatya village nr. Jenin, during clashes sparked by an arrest raid. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Bethlehem and nearby Dahaysha r.c., in al-Bireh, and 1 village each nr. Jenin and Ramallah at night. In East Jerusalem, Israeli security forces demolish a 3-story building containing shops and residential apartments, home to 8 family mbrs. It is the 2d such demolition in Bayt Hanina in consecutive days. (MNA, PCHR 10/30)

Israel announces the construction of 1,500 new homes in the East Jerusalem settlement of Ramat Shlomo, following shortly after the Palestinian prisoners release. The govt. also advances plans for a national park on the slopes of Mount Scopus and the establishment of a visitor’s center in the settler-run “City of David” national park in Silwan. Israeli officials brief that both the U.S. and Palestinians knew in advance that such announcements of construction would accompany prisoner releases. Likud dep. minister Ophir Akunis also claims that there was approval for plans for 2,000 further units in settlements outside the blocs. UN Secy.-Gen. Ban Ki-moon calls the news “an obstacle to peace,” while U.S. State Dept. spokesperson Jen Psaki responds by saying that the administration views “continued settlement activity” do not serve to “create a positive environment for the negotiations.” PA Pres. Abbas spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudayna says that the move “destroys the peace process.” (AFP, JP, YA 10/30)

Unnamed Western and Arab diplomats are reported as saying that it is unlikely the “Geneva 2” conference about the future of Syria will take place in 11/2013, as previously mooted. One of the main complications is the question of representation of the opposition, with opinions divided about whether the SNC should be the umbrella under which the opposition enters the negotiations. (REU 10/30)

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the afternoon and in 1 village each nr. Ramallah and Salfit at night, patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin and 1 village each nr. Jericho, Ramallah and Tulkarm in the morning, in al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Tulkarm and 1 village each nr. Jenin and Salfit at night. Israeli bulldozers level privately-owned Palestinian land nr. Nablus to enlarge an illegal settlement outpost. In Jerusalem, dozens of right-wing Jewish activists enter the al-Aqsa compound and held discussions on the possibility of building a Jewish temple there. (MNA 8/25, PCHR 8/29)

The Jerusalem Municipality approves a budget for a NIS 62.4 million extension of the Ramat Shlomo settlement, adding some 1,600 housing units. Other projects approved include a NIS 20 million budget for developing a national park at the settlerowned “City of David” project in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan. Half of that latter budget will come from the prime minister’s office. Meanwhile, Israel’s Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel dedicates 2 new neighborhoods of 160 homes in the West Bank settlement Keddumim and says that a two-state solution will never happen. (AP, HA, JP 8/25)

Israel’s cabinet unanimously approves the appointment of Yossi Cohen as the new head of the National Security Council (NSC). Cohen, who spent 3 decades working for Mossad, replaces Yaakov Amidror. (YA 8/25)

Syria agrees to allow UN inspectors to visit the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack in Ghouta, a Damascus suburb. The U.S. State Dept. says that Secy. of State John Kerry told his counterparts in Britain, France, Russia, and Canada in a round of phone calls that there is “very little doubt” the Syrian govt. is responsible for gassing its own citizens. An unnamed administration official tells the media that despite this near certainty in Washington, the pres. still hasn’t decided how to respond. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich says that the U.S. and its allies should await the findings of the UN inspection team and avoid military action. (AP, REU, 8/25)

Three leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, including the organization’s Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie did not appear in court on the 1st day of their separate trials, apparently due to security reasons. The judge adjourns proceedings until 10/29. The charges are of inciting lethal violence during the events leading up to the military coup. (REU 8/25)

Israeli media, citing anonymous government officials, reports that issuance of tenders for construction of 1,500 new settlement housing units in Ramat Shlomo settlement in East Jerusalem have been delayed for at least 3 weeks for ‘‘political reasons’’ related to the peace process. (JP 5/13)

In the West Bank, Jewish settlers attack Palestinian property and agricultural lands in 2 villages nr. Nablus, causing damage but no injuries. The IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning, in 1 village nr. Tulkarm in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jericho at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Hebron at night. (MNA 5/13; PCHR 5/16)

Turkish media report that Ankara is close to agreement with Israel over joint energy projects involving the natural gas discoveries off Israel’s coast. (JP 5/13)

Israel’s Housing and Construction Ministry publishes tenders for construction of West Bank settlement housing units in Karnei Shomron, Efrat, and Givat Ze’ev as part of the government’s decision to build 3,000 new settlement units to punish the Palestinians for their successful UN bid. The U.S. expresses disappointment with what it calls Israel’s ‘‘pattern of provocative action’’ with regard to settlement construction, saying the repeated announcements and plans ‘‘run counter to the cause of peace’’ and put the two-state solution ‘‘further at risk.’’ Britain, France, Germany and Portugal–European members of the UNSC–issue a joint statement condemning Israel’s 12/17 decision to construct homes in Ramat Shlomo settlement in occupied East Jerusalem. (ToI, AP, HA 12/18)

IDF forces make a brief incursion into s. Gaza to level land along the border fence. In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinians nr. Aida r.c. in Bethlehem, causing no injuries; this marks the 6th day of confrontations since Israeli forces killed a Palestinian youth in Hebron’s Old City on 12/12. The IDF also conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 each village nr. Bethlehem and Hebron at night. (PNN 12/19; PCHR 12/20)

Israeli military sources say that there are cracks appearing in the co-operation between the IDF and the PA’s security forces, though the operational relationship remains generally positive. One example of this deterioration is the PA security forces stopping IDF troops from pursuing their activities on at least 2 occasions in the past few weeks. (YA 12/18)

Reports suggest that more than 1,000 Palestinian refugees living in Syria crossed over the border into Lebanon in just 24 hours, fleeing fighting in Yarmuk r.c. (REU 12/18)

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

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

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

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

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

Israel’s Interior Min. gives final approval for the construction of the 1,600 new housing units in Ramat Shlomo settlement in East Jerusalem that were first announced during U.S. VP Joe Biden’s visit to Israel in 3/2010 (see Quarterly Update in JPS 156). The ministry says it also intends to give final approval to another 2,700 new units in East Jerusalem’s Givat HaMatos and Pisgat Ze’ev settlements in response to the recent popular protests in Israel that have demanded, among other things, more and cheaper housing. The U.S. says “unilateral action of this kind works against our [peace] efforts.” Israel’s Peace Now accuses the government of “exploiting the housing crisis in Israel to promote its settlement policy” with the intention of undermining the peace process. (NYT, WP 8/12; PCHR 8/18; OCHA 8/19)

In Gaza, a mbr. of Hamas’s Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades is killed in a “mysterious explosion” in Rafah. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning and in 1 nr. Jericho late at night; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Ramallah and Tubas. In Nablus, 1,200 international activists fr. 22 countries take part in a peace rally in solidarity with the Palestinians; the event was organized by Los Angles Cable International Center in coordination with Nablus’s governor. (AFP 8/11)

Overnight, the IDF carries out 6 air strikes on smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border, 2 open areas nr. Khan Yunis, and a metal workshop in Gaza City in retaliation for the fatal 3/18 rocket strike; 2 Palestinian civilians are wounded in Rafah. After unidentified Palestinians fire another Qassam rocket into Israel during the day (causing no damage or injuries), the IDF carries out air strikes on a Hamas facility nr. Dahaniyya airport (11 Palestinians injured) and on smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border (injuring 14). In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas at Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists staging nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall in Bil‘in (10s suffer tear gas inhalation), Budrus village nr. Ramallah (1 Palestinian injured; 3 Palestinians, including 2 journalists arrested), Dayr Nizam/ al-Nabi Salih (11 Palestinians injured), and Ni‘lin (10s suffer tear gas inhalation); protesters in Ni‘lin throw stones at IDF troops, but the other demonstrations are nonviolent. Palestinians also demonstrate against the separation wall at the Qalandia checkpoint, setting fire to tires and throwing stones and bottles at IDF troops, who respond with rubber-coated steel-bullets, injuring 3 and arresting 1. The IDF also carries out late-night arrest raids, house searches in Qalandia r.c. nr. Ramallah. Jewish settlers burn a wooded area of Palestinian land nr. Bet Ayn settlement nr. Hebron. (JP, NYT, YA 3/19; HA, WP 3/20; OCHA, PCHR 3/25)

At a meeting in Moscow, the Quartet issues a strong statement “condemning” Israel’s Ramat Shlomo construction plan, “recalling that the annexation of East Jerusalem is not recognized by the international community,” and reiterating that Israel was obligated irrespective of Palestinian reciprocity to “freeze all settlement activity, including natural growth, dismantle outposts erected since March 2001; and to refrain from demolitions and evictions in East Jerusalem.” (WP 3/19, 3/20; NYT 3/21)

Facing increasing bipartisan pressure to tone down criticism of Israel, Secy. Clinton reiterates the U.S. call for Israel to demonstrate its “full commitment” to the peace process but assures that the U.S.- Israel relationship is not threatened, emphasizing the administration’s “absolute commitment to Israel’s security” and the U.S.’s “close, unshakable bond” with Israel. Netanyahu immediately welcomes Clinton’s “warm words” but says nothing about the U.S. demands. Meanwhile, Israel issues bids for construction of 309 settlement housing units in Neve Ya’acov in East Jerusalem (NYT, WP, WT 3/17)

In Gaza, unidentified Palestinians fire 2 mortars toward Israel, which land harmlessly in Gaza. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border nr. Bayt Lahiya fire in the air to disperse Gazans staging a nonviolent march to the border fence to protest Israel’s no-go zone. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Madama village nr. Nablus late in the evening, firing stun grenades, arresting 3 Palestinians; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem, Hebron. In East Jerusalem, 100s of Palestinians protest Israel’s efforts to Judaize East Jerusalem in light of the 3/15 synagogue opening in the Old City and the 3/9 Ramat Shlomo announcement, throwing stones at Israeli forces, who respond with rubbercoated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas; 166 Palestinians are injured (at least 10 seriously), 60 arrested; 15 Israeli police are also injured. Separately, Israeli police storm a small section of Jerusalem’s Old City known as the African quarter, raiding and searching homes, firing tear gas, detaining 5 Palestinians (including 1 child and 1 journalist). Protests spread to the rest of the West Bank, with clashes between Palestinians and the IDF reported in Bethlehem, Hebron, and Ramallah, leaving another 23 Palestinians, 2 IDF soldiers, and 2 Jewish settlers injured. (JP 3/16; NYT, WP, WT 3/17; OCHA, PCHR 3/18)

In a 45-min. phone conversation, U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton sharply rebukes Netanyahu for the 3/9 Ramat Shlomo construction approval, demanding that Israel prove its desire to seek peace by revoking the plans, stating that the U.S. viewed his apology for the timing of the announcement alone as inadequate. She lists several additional steps the U.S. expects Israel to take to support the peace process and warns of consequences if Israel does not comply; no details are made public (State Dept. press release 3/12; WP 3/13; HA 3/15)

The IDF makes a day-long incursion 200 m into Gaza e. of Jabaliya, later moving s. toward Gaza City, to level land along the border fence to clear lines of sight. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border nr. Bayt Hanun fire on Palestinians scavenging construction materials from destroyed buildings, forcing them to flee, causing no injuries. Late in the evening, the IDF makes air strikes on a suspected weapons lab in Khan Yunis in retaliation for Palestinian rocket fire on 3/11, causing no reported injuries; Israeli naval vessels fire on a Palestinian fishing boat off the Bayt Lahiya coast, forcing it to return to shore. Israel, fearing serious Palestinian protests after Friday prayers over the 3/9 Ramat Shlomo construction approval, imposes a general closure on the West Bank through 3/16 and deploys extra units of riot police around Jerusalem; no violence is reported. In an effort to halt weekly Palestinian protests against the separation wall, the IDF issues a military order declaring Bil‘in and Ni‘lin closed military zones on Fridays until 8/17. Today the order is ignored: Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists stage a nonviolent march to the separation wall in Bil‘in and a protest against the wall in Ni‘lin, where some of them throw stones at IDF troops. In both cases, IDF troops fire rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas (injuring 2 Palestinians in Bil‘in; arresting 1 Palestinian, 1 Israeli in Ni‘lin). The IDF also fires rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas at Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists staging a nonviolent protest against settlement expansion nr. Dayr Nizam/al-Nabi Salih (injuring 18); fires stun grenades and beats Palestinian and international activists demonstrating against the separation wall in al-Ma‘sara village s. of Bethlehem (injuring 2 Palestinians). Jewish settlers fr. Eli nr. Nablus uproot 40 Palestinian olive trees in nearby Qaryut village. (YA 3/12; OCHA, PCHR 3/18)

Biden wraps up his trip to Israel with a big speech to the Israeli public at Tel Aviv University, underscoring American solidarity with Israel. He reiterates U.S. disapproval of the Ramat Shlomo housing plan because it “undermined the trust required for productive negotiations,” but accepts what he calls “significant” assurances from Netanyahu that the construction will not break ground for years, expressing hope that negotiations would “resolve this and other outstanding issues” before construction could begin. He then heads to Jordan. Separately, Netanyahu issues a statement apologizing for the “unfortunate timing” of the Ramat Shlomo announcement, but notably not apologizing for the construction itself. At the same time, Israel’s Jerusalem municipality announces plans to build 1,000s of settlement housing units e. and s. of Jerusalem in areas Israel intends to keep under final status, including 3,000 units each in Gilo and Givat Matosim, 1,500 units each in Har Homa and Pisgat Ze’ev, 1,200 units in Ramot, 600 in Armona Netseev, 450 in Neve Ya’acov, and 144 in Olive Mount. The U.S. does not comment. Abbas warns Biden by phone that the PA cannot start proximity talks until Israel reverses the construction approval. (JTA 3/11; NYT, WP, WT 3/12)

In Ramallah, at least 1 PA security official and 1 Fatah Central Comm. member take part in a ceremony in Ramallah naming a public square after Dalal Mughrabi, a 19-yr.-old Fatah member who in 1978 led a squad from Lebanon that sailed to Israel where they staged attacks killing 1 American and 38 Israelis before being shot dead; Netanyahu denounces the official Fatah and PA participation as incitement undermining the peace process. Late in the evening, the IDF patrols in Ramallah, firing rubber-coated steel bullets at stonethrowing Palestinian youths who confront them, causing no injuries; carries out latenight house searches in Jenin town and r.c., making no arrests. In Gaza, the littleknown Salafist group Ansar al-Sunna fires a Qassam rocket into Israel, causing no damage or injuries but marking the 1st incidence of rocket fire since 2/12. Later in the day, unidentified Palestinians fire 2 more Qassams toward Israel, but they land harmlessly inside Gaza. Late at night, the IDF makes an air strike on a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border, causing no injuries. Hamas authorities in Gaza release British journalist Paul Martin, held for 25 days on suspicion of security offenses (see 3/1). (NYT, YA 3/12; OCHA, PCHR 3/18)

Biden spends the day in the West Bank, meeting with Abbas and Fayyad. After receiving assurances that the U.S. will press Israel to reverse the 3/9 Ramat Shlomo decision, the PA indicates that it will move forward with plans for indirect talks with Israel. Meanwhile, Israeli officials stress that Israel will never cede Jerusalem and will build unimpeded within Jerusalem’s municipal borders. The Arab League reconvenes to discuss the situation and withdraws support for proximity talks, phoning Abbas to urge against negotiations. Abbas consequently informs the U.S. that the Palestinians cannot restart talks with Israel until the approval of the 1,600 housing units is rescinded. (IFM, JTA 3/10; NYT, WP, WT 3/11; NYT 3/29)

In the West Bank, the IDF sets up a checkpoint at the entrance to Rumana in the morning, checking Palestinian vehicles and arresting 1 Palestinian. Israel also authorizes the UN to send bomb disposal units into Gaza to identify and disarm unexploded IDF ordnance fr. OCL; the UN says the operation may take several months. (JTA 3/10; NYT, PCHR 3/11; OCHA, PCHR 3/18)

Biden spends the 1st full day of his visit in Israel meeting with Israeli pres. Shimon Peres, visiting Yad Vashem (the Holocaust memorial museum) and Mount Herzl national cemetery, and giving addresses highlighting the U.S.’s “absolute, total, unvarnished commitment to Israel’s security” and admiration of the Israeli people. Late in the afternoon, Israel’s interior M Eliyahu Yishai (Shas) announces approval of 1,600 new settlement housing units in Ramat Shlomo in East Jerusalem, in a move that threatens to scuttle the new peace initiative announced on 3/8. Initially unsure of how to react, Biden ultimately issues a statement “condemning” Israel’s move for undermining the peace process. (IFM, JTA 3/9; NYT, WP, WT 3/10; IFM 3/11; JPI 3/19)

No Israeli-Palestinian violence is reported. The UN reports that since 3/3, 2 Palestinians have been killed in tunnel incidents (1 collapse, 1 electrocution). (OCHA, PCHR 3/11)

Just before U.S. secy. of state Condoleezza Rice arrives in Israel for 6/15–16 mtgs. to encourage Israeli-Palestinian negotiations (see Quarterly Update), the Israeli Housing Min. announces approval for construction of 1,300 new settlement housing units in Ramat Shlomo in East Jerusalem. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Qalqilya and nr. Salfit; fires rubber-coated steel bullets, percussion grenades, tear gas at Palestinian, Israeli, international activists taking part in the weekly nonviolent demonstration against the separation wall in Bil‘in (injuring 2); fires tear gas, percussion grenades at a similar protest al-Ma‘sara (injuring 5). Jewish settlers enter Nablus to pray at Joseph’s Tomb without prior coordination with the IDF; the IDF evacuates and arrests them. The IDF also sends tanks into Gaza e. of al-Maghazi r.c. to level land along the border fence. In Gaza’s al-Bureij r.c., Hamas-affiliated police attempt to arrest 2 wanted Fatah mbrs., but are attacked, forced to retreat by neighbors and Fatah supporters; no serious injuries are reported. (WT 6/15; MM 6/16; OCHA 6/18; PCHR 6/19)