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  • September 18, 2013

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

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  • May 2, 2013

    In a meeting with Swiss FM Didier Burkhalter, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu says that he intends to bring any proposed peace agreement with the Palestinians to a national referendum. Meanwhile,...

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  • January 24, 2013

    Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid to have the 1st discussions about forming a coalition. Lapid reportedly sets 2 conditions for joining a governing coalition: (1...

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  • November 19, 2012

    The IDF strikes another 80 targets, including Gaza’s football stadium and smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border. Gaza’s Ministry of Health says that the Palestinian death toll surpasses 100,...

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  • November 18, 2012

    On the 5th day of Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense, the IDF attacks on the Gaza Strip kill 31 Palestinians, including 10 civilians from the same family (al-Dalou), who die in a single air...

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  • November 17, 2012

    The IDF’s attacks on the Gaza Strip continue, with reports indicating nearly 20 more Palestinians killed and as many as 300 Israeli air strikes during the day. As the Palestinian death toll...

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  • November 15, 2012

    Israel’s military assault on the Gaza Strip (Operation Pillar of Defense) continues, and projectile fire from Palestinian factions into Israel intensifies. The IDF kills 9 Palestinians, bringing...

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  • November 14, 2012

    The IDF assassinates Hamas commander Ahmad Jabari and his bodyguard and separately kills 7 other Palestinians in a number of air strikes on military and civilian targets across the Gaza Strip,...

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  • October 9, 2012

    Israel’s PM Netanyahu announces his intention to hold early elections in around 3 mos. time (elections were due to take place in November 2013). (972mag 10/9)

    Unidentified Palestinians fire...

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  • August 12, 2012

    A day after the PA urges Egypt to destroy smuggling tunnels on the Gaza border, saying they pose a threat to Egyptian security and undermine Palestinian national unity efforts, Hamas officials in...

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  • August 8, 2012

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF enters 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon, searching a car repair...

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  • August 7, 2012

    With Israel’s suspension of fuel shipments to Gaza since 8/5, rolling blackouts across Gaza increase fr. 8–10 hrs./day to 12 hrs./day. An uncorroborated report says that unidentified Palestinians...

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  • August 5, 2012

    As many as 35 unidentified gunmen attack an Egyptian checkpoint near the Rafah border, fatally shooting 16 Egyptian security officers and wounding 3. Some of the assailants then steal 2 armored...

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  • July 28, 2012

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrives in Israel on the 2d stage of his international tour (see 7/26), which he hopes will increase support for him among evangelical Christian...

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  • July 16, 2012

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

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  • July 9, 2012

    An Israeli government-appointed commission headed by former Israeli supreme court justice Ephraim Levy issues a nonbinding legal judgment that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is not occupation...

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  • July 6, 2012

    For the 2d day in a row, unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Jericho, nearby ‘Ayn al-Sultan r.c...

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  • July 5, 2012

    IDF troops on the n. Gaza border nr. Bayt Hanun fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for recyclable goods in the former settlement sites, wounding 1 Palestinian. Unidentified Palestinians...

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  • June 23, 2012

    Cross-border violence continues in Gaza. During the day, Palestinians fire some 20 rockets into Israel, causing damage in 1 instance but no injuries. Israel warplanes and drones carry out at least...

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  • June 21, 2012

    On the 2d day of his trip to Washington, Israeli vice PM Mofaz meets with U.S. national security adviser (NSA) Thomas Donilon. Pres. Obama joins the meeting unexpectedly and talks with Mofaz for...

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  • June 17, 2012

    IDF troops under helicopter escort make a predawn incursion into Wadi alSilqa in c. Gaza to level Palestinian land to clear lines of sight. During the 12-hr. operation, Israeli helicopters...

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  • June 3, 2012

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Late at night, Israeli warplanes carry out 2 air strikes on areas s. and e. of Gaza City,...

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  • June 1, 2012

    An armed Palestinian teenager infiltrates the Israeli border e. of Abassan village in s. Gaza before dawn, exchanging gunfire with IDF soldiers who also call in air strikes to target the border...

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  • May 15, 2012

    In the morning, unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, about 1,000 Palestinians hold a Nakba Day rallies nr. Ramallah...

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  • May 9, 2012

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes 2 shops and confiscates items from a 3d in the Husan...

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  • May 1, 2012

    Unidentified gunmen fire on the home of Jenin governor Qaddura Moussa in apparent effort to assassinate him; the shots miss, but within hours Moussa dies of a heart attack. By 5/9, the PASF...

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  • April 30, 2012

    The IDF makes 3 brief incursions into Gaza (2 areas of n. Gaza nr. Bayt Hanun in the north; 1 area of c. Gaza e. of al-Bureij r.c.) in the morning to level land and clear lines of sight. Late in...

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  • April 23, 2012

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. IDF troops make a brief incursion into n. Gaza to level land and clear lines of sight along the...

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  • April 22, 2012

    Israeli naval commandos raid a Liberian ship off the Gaza coast, suspecting of carrying weapons for “antiIsraeli militants,” but releases it after finding no arms. Unidentified Palestinians fire a...

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  • April 15, 2012

    Israel detains all but a few of 100s of pro-Palestinian protesters attempting to enter Israel through Ben-Gurion Airport to attend an anti-occupation rally in Bethlehem. Organizers claim that more...

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

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

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

In a meeting with Swiss FM Didier Burkhalter, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu says that he intends to bring any proposed peace agreement with the Palestinians to a national referendum. Meanwhile, Israeli sources suggest that PM Netanyahu is afraid that Israel’s negotiation position would be undermined if U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry accepts the Arab League’s recent statement on borders and territorial exchange (see 4/29). Hamas leader Khalid Mishal rejects the Arab League endorsement of land swaps, and claims that the proposal is designed to find economic peace between Arab states and Israel. Meanwhile, Israel’s Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Netanyahu’s negotiation adviser Yitzhak Molcho arrive in Washington to discuss peace process issues with Kerry. (AP, HA, MNA 5/2)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 mortars from Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Hamas deploys Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigade (IQB) members nr. along the border fence to prevent rocket fire. Meanwhile, the IDF make a brief incursion into Gaza nr. Bayt Hanun to level land and clear lines of sight along the border fence. In the West Bank, Jewish settlers cut down over 50 olive trees in Dayr Jarir village nr. Ramallah. IDF forces attack a Palestnian funeral procession in Bayt Ummar village nr. Hebron, shooting and injuring 3 mourners. The IDF patrols in al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron, 3 villages nr. Hebron, 1 village nr. Jenin, 2 villages nr. Jericho and 1 village nr. Ramallah at night. At night, IDF troops conduct house searches and arrest raids in 2 villages nr. Bethlehem at night. (AA, MNA, ToI, YA 5/2; PCHR 6/9)

Hamas authorities in Gaza say that they have arrested 6 Salafists on suspicion of stealing weapons and plotting attacks. The Mujahidin Shura Council calls on the government to stop the detention campaign against its members. (MNA 5/2; PCHR 5/9)

Israel’s High Court orders DM Moshe Ya’alon to halt construction of the separation wall nr. the West Bank village of Batir, in response to a petition submitted by residents and Friends of the Earth Middle East. (HA, MNA 5/2)

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid to have the 1st discussions about forming a coalition. Lapid reportedly sets 2 conditions for joining a governing coalition: (1) a universal draft bill (see Quarterly Update in JPS 165) and (2) the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians. Meanwhile, Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman says that domestic issues will be the priority of the next government. (HA, YA, JP 1/24)

Secy.-gen. of the PLO Executive Comm. Yasir ‘Abid Rabbuh says that Pres. Abbas wants to meet and talk with centrist mbrs. of the new Knesset in coming weeks, including newcomers such as Yair Lapid. (YA 1/24)

Nominated U.S. secy. of state John Kerry tells his Senate confirmation hearing that he intends to invest effort in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and hopes that the Israeli election can help restart talks. (JP 1/24)

Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza coast nr. al-Waha, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes 4 homes in 2 communities in the n. Jordan Valley; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Salfit at night. The IDF also patrols in 3 villages nr. Jenin, 2 each nr. Jericho and Ramallah, and 1 nr. Tulkarm in the morning; in Tulkarm and 1 village nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon; and in ‘Ayn al-Sultan r.c. nr. Jericho, 2 villages each nr. Jenin and Qalqilya, and 1 village each nr. Jericho and Ramallah at night. (MNA 1/24; PCHR 1/31)

The International Federation of Journalists condemns a week of arrests of journalists by Hamas security forces in the Gaza Strip, and calls for the release of 6 detained media workers. (MNA 1/24)

Israeli security agency Shin Bet announces that for the 1st year since 1973, there were no Israeli casualties from a Palestinian attack in the West Bank. The report covering 2012 says that there was an uptick in so-called popular terror in the West Bank, referring to stone-throwing and Molotov cocktails. The report notes that 10 Israelis were killed in security-related incidents during 2012, and that more than 2,500 rockets and mortar shells were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. However, Shin Bet reports that since Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, no rockets have been fired. The report also records that 8 rockets were fired at Israel from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, and that there were 11 attempts to fire anti-aircraft weaponry at IDF planes, up from just 1 effort in 2011. (HA 1/24)

A number of Fatah leaders who fled the Gaza Strip during the Fatah-Hamas fighting in 2007 return to the territory, including former PA preventive security service head in Khan Yunis, Nasser al-Saqq. (MNA 1/24)

UN special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism Ben Emmerson announces that the UN is launching an inquiry into the impact on civilians of drone strikes that will focus on 5 locations, including the Palestinian territories. The other 4 are Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. (BBC 1/24)

The IDF strikes another 80 targets, including Gaza’s football stadium and smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border. Gaza’s Ministry of Health says that the Palestinian death toll surpasses 100, including over 30 women and children. The IDF puts the death toll at 95, and says 1/3 were civilians. Rescue workers continue to search for 2 missing persons in the rubble of the destroyed al-Dalou family home (see 11/18). Palestinian armed groups fire 42 rockets into Israel, bringing the total to 1,128 rockets since Israel’s operation began on 11/14; over 300 rockets have been intercepted by Iron Dome, and fewer than 40 have landed in populated areas. (AP, MNA, REU 11/19)

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu rebuffs a French-Qatari cease-fire initiative on the grounds that it could interfere with Egyptian mediation efforts (see 11/18). UN secy.-gen. Ban Ki-moon arrives in Cairo to discuss the cease-fire talks. Hamas chief Mishal meets with Egyptian intelligence officials in Cairo, with the Egyptian side indicating that a cease-fire is close. Turkish PM Erdogan denounces Israel for conducting ‘‘terrorist attacks’’ in Gaza. A coalition of almost 40 international aid agencies issue an urgent call for a cease-fire; Amnesty International calls additionally for an arms embargo on Israel and Hamas. (Guardian, HA, WSJ 11/19)

In the West Bank, the IDF kills 2 Palestinians in separate incidents, as Palestinians continue to protest the attack on Gaza: 1 Palestinian from alNabi Salih dies of wounds he sustained on 11/17 when the IDF opened live fire on demonstrators, and the 2d Palestinian is shot dead by IDF troops in Hebron, who claimed they felt that their lives were in danger. At night, the IDF also conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Qalqilya, Bethlehem, Tubas and 1 nearby village, 1 village nr. Nablus, al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron, and 1 village nr. Hebron. A Jewish settler injures a Palestinian man in a deliberate hit-and-run nr. Ofra settlement, after a Palestinian demonstration against Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense. (MNA 11/19; PCHR 11/22; OCHA 11/27)

On the 5th day of Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense, the IDF attacks on the Gaza Strip kill 31 Palestinians, including 10 civilians from the same family (al-Dalou), who die in a single air strike on a 3-story home in Jabalya. The Palestinian death toll now stands at 66. The IDF also targets a building used by media workers, injuring 6 Quds TV employees. Israel claims it was a legitimate strike on Hamas communications infrastructure. Some 80 targets are hit by the IDF overnight, with the Israeli military reporting having struck over 1,000 sites across the Gaza Strip since the operation began. Palestinian rocket fire into Israel continues, with 2 rockets wounding 7 Israelis in separate incidents. Israel reports that Palestinians have fired around 900 rockets and mortars into Israel since the beginning of the operation, with 1/3 intercepted by Iron Dome. (REU, AFP, MNA, HA 11/18)

In Cairo, Hamas officials and an Israeli delegation discuss a possible cease-fire through Egyptian mediation, though with no sign of a breakthrough. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority (PA) calls for an emergency Arab League summit to address Israel’s ‘‘aggression.’’ (HA, MNA 11/18)

French FM Laurent Fabius, speaking alongside Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman at a press conference in Jerusalem, says that his government is talking with Israel, Egypt, and Qatar in effort to deescalate the situation. (HA, MNA 11/18)

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning and 1 village nr. Jericho in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 village nr. Jericho at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon, and in Hebron, 2 villages nr. Nablus, and al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron at night. (PCHR 11/22)

The IDF’s attacks on the Gaza Strip continue, with reports indicating nearly 20 more Palestinians killed and as many as 300 Israeli air strikes during the day. As the Palestinian death toll approaches 50, with scores more wounded, Gaza’s hospitals feel the strain. IDF targets include the private homes of Hamas officials, police buildings, government buildings, and smuggling tunnels. Israel’s interior min. Eli Yishai says that the goal of the operation is to ‘‘send Gaza back to the Middle Ages.’’ Palestinian armed groups fire over 70 rockets into Israel, with Israel’s Iron Dome defense system intercepting 57 rockets, bringing the total of intercepted projectiles since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense to over 250. Sixteeen Israelis are injured. (REU, BBC, HA, MNA 11/17)

Tunisian FM Rafik Abdesslem makes a solidarity visit to the Gaza Strip, vowing that his government will take steps in the Arab League and UN to stop Israeli aggression. Most of the diplomatic focus is on tentative Egyptian efforts to mediate a cease-fire. In Cairo, Egyptian pres. Morsi holds talks with Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Qatar’s Emir Shaykh Hamad Bin-Khalifa al-Thani, Hamas leader Khalid Mishal, and Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan ‘Abdallah Shalah. Dep. head of Hamas’s politbureau Musa Abu Marzuq says despite efforts to secure a temporary cease-fire, Israel and Hamas are both far from reaching an agreement. As part of a potential deal, Hamas officials are reported to be demanding an easing of the blockade and an end to the assassination of Hamas leaders. (Guardian, MNA, MNA, WP 11/17)

Palestinians demonstrate across the West Bank to protest the continued Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, with IDF forces wounding and arresting dozens, including in major clashes nr. Huwara checkpoint outside Nablus. The IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning, and in 2 villages nr. Salfit, 1 village nr. Ramallah, 2 villages nr. Qalqilya, Tulkarm, 3 villages nr. Hebron, and al-‘Arub refugee camp (r.c.) nr. Hebron, where IDF soldiers wound 1 Palestinian with live ammunition in clashes with residents, at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in Jenin, 1 village each nr. Hebron, Nablus at night. (MNA 11/17; PCHR 11/22)

Israel’s military assault on the Gaza Strip (Operation Pillar of Defense) continues, and projectile fire from Palestinian factions into Israel intensifies. The IDF kills 9 Palestinians, bringing the death toll since 11/14 to 19, including 6 children. The IDF claims to have struck a total of 300 ‘‘terror activity’’ sites in the Gaza Strip, deploying air strikes, tank, and naval shelling and destroying 70 unmanned missile launch sites. The Israeli army also calls up 30,000 army reservists to prepare for a potential ground invasion. Three Israelis are killed by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip that hits a residential building in Kiryat Malakhi. The IDF cites an estimated 270 rockets fired by Palestinian factions since the start of the Israeli military assault, with over 100 shot down by the Iron Dome missile defense/intercept system. Meanwhile, the Israeli daily Ha’Aretz reports that Hamas leader Ahmad Jabari was negotiating a permanent truce agreement with Israel just hours before his assassination on 11/14 (see Selections from the Press in JPS 166). (BBC, HA, MNA, REU 11/15, 11/16)

Internationally, the U.S. continues to show support for Israel’s operation, with the Senate unanimously passing a resolution backing Israel’s right to defend itself (62 senators were cosponsors). Egypt, Jordan, Russia, and Turkey all condemn Israel’s use of force as disproportionate, while Hizballah leader Hasan Nasrallah calls on Arab countries to support Hamas. PA pres. Mahmud Abbas calls for an urgent Arab League meeting, and Egypt and Tunisia announce plans to send delegations to the Gaza Strip on 11/16 and 11/18 respectively. (Guardian, REU, ToI 11/15)

For a 3d night, Jordanians in various cities across Jordan protest against King Abdullah and a reduction in public fuel subsidies. Islamist opposition groups vow to keep up the demonstrations. Gunmen attack 2 police stations, sparking a clash that leaves 1 attacker dead and 17 people injured (including 13 police officers). (AP, NYT 11/15)

The IDF assassinates Hamas commander Ahmad Jabari and his bodyguard and separately kills 7 other Palestinians in a number of air strikes on military and civilian targets across the Gaza Strip, leaving around 90 wounded. The dead include 2 children and an elderly man. Code-named Operation Pillar of Cloud in Hebrew (a Torah reference) and renamed Operation Pillar of Defense for foreign audiences, the Israeli military attacks are described as the ‘‘beginning’’ of an effort to increase deterrence and remove Hamas’s rocketlaunching capabilities. The IQB warns that Israel has ‘‘opened the gates of hell’’ with Jabari’s assassination, and fires dozens of rockets and mortars into Israel. They are joined by the DFLP, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, and PRCs, all of whom claim responsibility for rocket and mortar fire. In total, over 90 projectiles hit Israel from the Gaza Strip, causing 4 injuries. The Iron Dome rocket-defense system intercepts 30 rockets. Overnight, the IDF undertakes air strikes on around 100 sites across the Gaza Strip. U.S. pres. Obama calls Israel PM Netanyahu to express his support for Israel’s military operation and the country’s right to selfdefense. Obama also calls Egyptian pres. Mohamed Morsi to stress the importance of de-escalation and to pledge to stay in close touch. Egypt strongly condemns Israel’s military assault, and UN secy.-gen. Ban Ki-moon calls for a cease-fire. The UNSC holds an emergency meeting but takes no action. (Guardian, REU 11/14; JP, MNA 11/15)

Unidentified assailants fire 4 rockets from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula into Israel, landing nr. an agricultural community and causing no injuries. (HA 11/14)

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Jericho in the morning, in 1 village nr. Salfit in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Jericho and 1 village nr. Ramallah at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in Balata r.c. and 1 village nr. Hebron at night. Palestinians across the West Bank demonstrate to mark the day before the 24th anniversary of the PLO’s declaration of independence, blocking roads nr. Bethlehem, Jericho, and Ramallah, and clashing with soldiers at checkpoints in Atara (nr. Ramallah) and Bethlehem. (AFP, PCHR 11/14)

Israeli DM Barak says that almost all the villages nr. the border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights are now controlled by the Syrian opposition. (AP 11/14)

On a 2d day of violent protests in Jordan against price hikes and in general opposition to King Abdullah’s regime, unidentified gunmen attack 2 police stations, and ensuing clashes leave 1 protester dead—the 1st fatality in Jordanian demonstrations in 2012. (AP 11/15)

Israel’s PM Netanyahu announces his intention to hold early elections in around 3 mos. time (elections were due to take place in November 2013). (972mag 10/9)

Unidentified Palestinians fire rockets from the Gaza Strip into s. Israel during the day, causing no injuries. At night, the IDF shells and opens fire at positions in the Gaza Strip, causing no injuries, and fires a missile at a warehouse nr. Bayt Lahiya, destroying it but causing no injuries. An Israeli military source claims that the target was a training camp used by Hamas fighters, and the strike a response to recent rocket fire. The IDF also enters the Gaza Strip nr. Rafah at night to level land near the border, directing sporadic shelling and live fire at the surrounding area, causing no injuries. Palestinian fighters identified as Salafists fire rockets overnight into Israel from Gaza, landing nr. Sderot and Netivot, causing no injuries. (AFP 10/10; PCHR 10/11)

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm (firing stun grenades and teargas bombs at Palestinians throwing stones) and 1 village nr. Jenin at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 3 villages nr. Hebron, 1 village nr. Ramallah (arresting Mohammad Tamimi of the Popular Committee against Settlements in al-Nabi Salih), and 1 village nr. Jenin (questioning Khader Adnan, arrested on 12/17/11 and released after a highly publicized hunger strike) (see QU in JPS 164). Jewish settlers cut down more than 120 olive trees in a village nr. Nablus, according to PA officials and eyewitnesses. (IDFS10/9; MNA 10/10; PCHR 10/11)

A day after the PA urges Egypt to destroy smuggling tunnels on the Gaza border, saying they pose a threat to Egyptian security and undermine Palestinian national unity efforts, Hamas officials in Gaza say that they will close tunnels on the Rafah border if Egypt opens the border to trade. (JPI 8/24)

An unconfirmed report says that unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Salfit late in the evening, firing warning shots at a Palestinian car (no injuries reported) and ordering it to stop; the car is searched and allowed to go on its way. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Nablus, and Salfit. Jewish settlers fr. Susia settlement nr. Hebron spread poison on nearby grasslands used by local Palestinian shepherds, killing 7 sheep. (Mivzak Live [Internet] 8/12; PCHR 8/16; OCHA 8/18)

IDF Central Command formally reclassifies Bruchin outpost as a legal settlement, implementing a 3/2012 cabinet decision to legalize 3 outposts retroactively (see QU in JPS 163). The formal reclassifications of Rachelim and Sansanna have not been implemented yet. (JPI 8/24; PCHR 8/16)

Israel’s daily Ha’Aretz for the 2d time in recent days reports that a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) by the Obama admin. has added a ‘‘lastminute update’’ on Iran stating that Iran has ‘‘boosted efforts’’ to advance its nuclear program. The U.S. meanwhile has not announced that a new NIE has been written. U.S. officials refuse to comment except to say that U.S. intelligence continues to believe: (1) that Iran has not made a decision on whether to develop a nuclear weapon and (2) that Iran’s is years away from being able to produce a nuclear bomb. Meanwhile, Israel’s dep. FM Danny Ayalon calls on the international community to issue a declaration that diplomacy toward Iran has failed, raising fears that Israel is preparing a military strike. (HA, REU 8/12; NYT, WP 8/13)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF enters 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon, searching a car repair shop and arresting 1 Palestinian. (Israel Army Radio 8/8; PCHR 8/9, 8/16; OCHA 8/18)

The Washington Post runs a special report on the tensions in Druze villages in the Golan Heights over the civil war in Syria, noting that deepening divisions between Asad loyalists and an increasing number of critics have occasionally erupted in violence. (WP 8/8)

With Israel’s suspension of fuel shipments to Gaza since 8/5, rolling blackouts across Gaza increase fr. 8–10 hrs./day to 12 hrs./day. An uncorroborated report says that unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning; conducts arrest raids, house searches in 1 village nr. Jenin in the morning and 2 villages nr. Hebron and Jenin late at night. OCHA reports that since 8/1, the IDF has demolished 3 structures in the Bethlehem area: a restaurant, part of another building, and a local road used by Palestinian farmers to access their crop land. (Mivzak Live [Internet] 8/7; PCHR 8/9; OCHA 8/10)

Israel’s Finance Comm. allocates nearly $1.8 m. to move some structures at Migron settlement outpost to the site near Psagot where Migron settlers are to relocate. (JPI 8/17)

As many as 35 unidentified gunmen attack an Egyptian checkpoint near the Rafah border, fatally shooting 16 Egyptian security officers and wounding 3. Some of the assailants then steal 2 armored personnel carriers, which they pack with explosives and drive toward Kerem Shalom commercial crossing, where the borders of Egypt, Israel, and Gaza meet. The IDF calls in an air strike on the vehicles as they breach the border, killing at least 3 assailants. No group takes responsibility. Egypt seals the Rafah border crossing into Gaza as a precaution. Israel shuts the Israeli-Egypt side of Kerem Shalom and halts fuel shipments to Gaza through the Israel-Gaza side, but otherwise continues to allow limited imports of goods from Israel to Gaza. Hamas authorities in Gaza deny any Palestinian involvement, call the attack ‘‘terrorism,’’ and close smuggling tunnels from their side as well, stating that ‘‘Palestinian resistance factions are committed to fighting only against the Israeli occupation, and they launch their operations only from the Palestinian territories.’’ (MNA, NYT, WP 8/6; NYT 8/7)

An Israeli warplane makes an air strike on Rafah targeting 2 Tawhid and Jihad mbrs. as they ride a motorcycle through Rafah, assassinating Eid Oukal and wounding Ahmad Said Isma‘il; Israel accuses the men of being behind the 6/18 Sinai attack that killed an Israeli Palestinian worker and of plotting other crossborder attacks on Israeli civilians; no mention is made of the Sinai attack earlier in the day. Later, unidentified Palestinians fire 2 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF responds by directing artillery fire and shooting from helicopters at the demolished Dahaniyya airport site and open areas e. of Rafah for several hours, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, and Ramallah. (NYT, PCHR 8/6; PCHR 8/9; OCHA 8/10)

The PA cancels plans to host a meeting in Ramallah of foreign envoys representing the Non-Aligned Movement to express solidarity with the Palestinians, stating that Israel has refused to grant entry permits to the representatives of Algeria, Bangladesh, Cuba, Indonesia, and Malaysia on the grounds that their countries do not recognize the State of Israel. The PA reportedly (NYT 8/6) intended to announce plans to revive its UN statehood effort at the opening of the next UNGA session in 9/2012. The group was also expected to release a ‘‘Ramallah Declaration’’ denouncing Israeli settlement expansion. (NYT, WP 8/6)

Iran airs the confessions of more than a dozen alleged conspirators to the killing of 5 nuclear scientists since 2010, claiming that the suspects were trained in Israel by the Mossad. (WP 8/6)

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrives in Israel on the 2d stage of his international tour (see 7/26), which he hopes will increase support for him among evangelical Christian voters who are wary of his Mormon faith and among Democratic Jewish voters disaffected by Pres. Obama. He pledges that he will ‘‘stand as one’’ with Israel. (NYT, WP, WT 7/28; NYT 7/30)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts early morning patrols in Jericho, nearby ‘Ayn al-Sultan r.c., and 1 village nr. Ramallah; patrols in al-Nabi Salih in the afternoon, firing rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at stone-throwing youths who confront them (causing no serious injuries) and arresting 1 Palestinian teenager; and patrols in 1 village nr. Jericho in the evening. Late at night, 14 Palestinians without Israeli work permits drive towards the al-Za‘im checkpoint e. of Jerusalem, believing the checkpoint would be unmanned and they would be able to sneak into Israel to find work; when they discover that Israeli border police are at the crossing, they attempt to turn their car around to flee; the Israeli border police open fire on the vehicle, killing 1 Palestinian, wounding 3, and arresting the rest. (YA 7/28; PCHR 8/2; OCHA 8/3)

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

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

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

An Israeli government-appointed commission headed by former Israeli supreme court justice Ephraim Levy issues a nonbinding legal judgment that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is not occupation and that the government should grant retroactive approval to unauthorized settlement outposts. The commission states that unauthorized outposts were established with the knowledge and encouragement of senior government officials that amounted to ‘‘implied agreement’’ by the government. (NYT 7/10) (see Doc. C1 in JPS 165)

During the day, unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the evening, Palestinian gunmen inside Gaza fire into Israel, hitting a parked civilian vehicle, but causing no injuries. Late at night, Israeli warplanes and helicopters carry out 3 air strikes on Khan Yunis and Rafah in s. Gaza, causing no reported casualties. The targets include a training site used by the al-Ansar Brigades (military wing of a small faction called al-Ahrar Movement, which was formed shortly after Hamas’s 2007 takeover of Gaza by disaffected Fatah members who aligned themselves with Hamas), and 2 open areas used by rocket-launching teams. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning; in Tulkarm in the afternoon; and in Qalqilya, 1 nearby village, and 1 village nr. Jenin late at night. The IDF also bulldozes a plot of Palestinian agricultural land outside Qalqilya and conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Bayt Umar. Jewish settlers stone Palestinian cars driving nr. Hebron. Jewish settlers also enter a Palestinian area (exact location not reported) to pray at a local religious site without proper coordination with the IDF; the IDF intervenes to remove the settlers. (TOI 7/9; WT 7/11; PCHR 7/12; OCHA 7/13; JPI 7/20)

For the 2d day in a row, unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Jericho, nearby ‘Ayn al-Sultan r.c. and Fasayil village, and 3 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning; and in Jenin in the afternoon. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Tulkarm. Palestinians (accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil‘in, Kafr Qaddum, al-Nabi Salih, and Ni‘lin. IDF soldiers fire live ammunition (al-Nabi Salih only), rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters. A Palestinian in Bil‘in is moderately injured by a rubber-coated steel bullet; 3 Palestinians (including a child) are hit by tear gas canisters in Kafr Qaddum; and 3 internationals and 1 Palestinian are arrested. In addition, tear gas canisters and percussion grenades spark a brush fire in Kafr Qaddum, destroying 20 Palestinian olive trees. (TOI 6/6; PCHR 7/12; OCHA 7/13)

IDF troops on the n. Gaza border nr. Bayt Hanun fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for recyclable goods in the former settlement sites, wounding 1 Palestinian. Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. OCHA reports that over the past 3 days, Israel has allowed Gaza authorities to import 20,000 tons of construction aggregates that have been stored at the Sufa crossing since it was closed in 10/2007. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Jericho and Ramallah in the morning; in 2 villages nr. Jenin and Jericho in the afternoon; and in Jericho, 1 nearby village, and 2 villages nr. Ramallah late at night. Jewish settlers fr. Taffuh settlement nr. Nablus cut down at least 120 olive trees in the nearby Palestinian village of Yatma. Jewish settlers also seize 5 d. of Palestinian agricultural land nr. al-Khadir village nr. Bethlehem and install a mobile home. (TOI 6/5; PCHR 7/12; OCHA 7/13)

Ha’Aretz journalist Uri Blau, who used leaked classified government documents for several reports he published, confesses to reduced charges of possessing classified information without authorization but ‘‘with no intention to harm national security’’ in exchange for 4 mos. community service. (WP 7/6) (see 5/31/12)

Cross-border violence continues in Gaza. During the day, Palestinians fire some 20 rockets into Israel, causing damage in 1 instance but no injuries. Israel warplanes and drones carry out at least 3 air strikes on groups of armed Palestinians in Gaza City and n. Gaza, killing 2 Palestinians (1 civilian, 1 Popular Resistance Comm. [PRCs] mbr.) and wounding 9 (2 armed and 7 civilian, including 1 woman). Late in the evening, Hamas authorities in Gaza announce that another cease-fire with Israel has been brokered by Egypt, effective immediately. After the announcement, Palestinians fire at least 5 more rockets (no damage or injuries), but Israel does not respond. In total across 6/17–23, 11 Palestinians (7 armed; 4 civilians, including 2 children) were killed, and 49 Palestinians (7 armed; 6 PASF; and 36 civilians, including 2 women and 1 child) and 3 Israelis (2 police, 1 civilian) were injured. Palestinians fired around 155 rockets (including at least 10 Grads) and mortars; Israel carried out at least 25 air strikes. In addition, OCHA reports that during the period, several Palestinian rockets fired toward Israel fell short or exploded prematurely, killing 2 Palestinian children (a baby and a 5-yr.-old) and injuring 19 Palestinians (including 4 children ages 3–12). Furthermore, 2 armed Palestinians were killed and 26 were injured when a building that had been hit by the IDF collapsed while they were inspecting the damage. Meanwhile, in the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning; 1 village each nr. Jericho and Ramallah in the afternoon; and Ni‘lin and 1 village nr. Salfit late at night. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Salfit. Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists take part in a nonviolent demonstration against Israeli land confiscations and settlement expansion in Bayt Umar nr. Hebron; the IDF fires tear gas and percussion grenades to disperse them, causing no injuries; 3 Palestinians are arrested. Jewish settlers seize several water wells on Palestinian farmland nr. al-Khadir village nr. Bethlehem. (HA 6/23; WP 6/24; PCHR 6/28; OCHA 6/29; see also OCHA 6/22)

On the 2d day of his trip to Washington, Israeli vice PM Mofaz meets with U.S. national security adviser (NSA) Thomas Donilon. Pres. Obama joins the meeting unexpectedly and talks with Mofaz for 35 mins. about his recent calls to resume negotiations. (WJW 6/28)

Violence on the Gaza border is down significantly, with the 6/20 cease-fire generally seeming to hold. The IDF reports 7 Qassam rockets fired into Israel during the day, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, Ulpana settlers agree to the deal brokered by YESHA on 6/20 to evacuate their outpost voluntarily. The IDF patrols in 4 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jericho in the morning; and in Tulkarm, 1 nearby village, 2 villages nr. Ramallah, and 1 nr. Qalqilya late at night. (HA 6/21; PCHR 6/28; OCHA 6/29)

IDF troops under helicopter escort make a predawn incursion into Wadi alSilqa in c. Gaza to level Palestinian land to clear lines of sight. During the 12-hr. operation, Israeli helicopters repeatedly fire on surrounding areas to keep Palestinians away, wounding 1 Palestinian and starting a brush fire that destroys 15 d. of wheat. Late at night, unidentified Palestinians fire at least 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel. Israeli helicopters respond by firing 2 missiles at a Palestinian workshop in Rafah, injuring 5 Palestinian civilians (1 seriously) and damaging 7 nearby houses. IDF troops stationed on the Israeli side of the Erez crossing fire on open areas along the border inside Gaza, causing no reported injuries. Meanwhile, Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast 3 separate times and off the s. Gaza coast once, forcing the boats to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts 2 sets of synchronized morning patrols in 3 villages nr. Jenin and 3 nr. Ramallah. Other IDF patrols are conducted in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning; in Tulkarm and 2 villages nr. Qalqilya in the evening; and in Jenin and 1 village each nr. Jericho and Tulkarm late at night. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Tulkarm and nr. Tubas. A Jewish settler driving nr. Hebron fatally shoots 2 Palestinians standing at an intersection, saying he felt threatened. Jewish settlers fr. Keddumim settlement nr. Qalqilya set fire to Palestinian olive and almond trees on a nearby plot of Palestinian land. A Palestinian demolishes his own home and farm in Bayt Iksa village just n. of Jerusalem after being given orders to tear down the structures or face a fine and fee for having the IDF do the job. (IDFS 6/18; PCHR 6/21; OCHA 6/22)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Late at night, Israeli warplanes carry out 2 air strikes on areas s. and e. of Gaza City, targeting a dairy factory and an open area; no injuries are reported. Meanwhile, Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Ramallah, 2 villages each nr. Jericho and Salfit, and 1 nr. Qalqilya in the morning; stages synchronized patrols in 3 villages nr. Jenin in the afternoon; patrols in 1 village each nr. Jericho and Ramallah late at night; and conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Qalqilya, and in Salfit. (JP 6/3; PCHR 6/7; OCHA 6/8)

An armed Palestinian teenager infiltrates the Israeli border e. of Abassan village in s. Gaza before dawn, exchanging gunfire with IDF soldiers who also call in air strikes to target the border area; the Palestinian gunman and 1 IDF soldier are killed. Later in the morning, IDF troops in the area fire across the border into Gaza, causing no injuries but starting a brush fire. Unidentified Palestinians respond by firing 2 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Hrs. later, Israeli warplanes fire 3 missiles at a Palestinian car inside Abassan village, killing 2 armed Palestinians and injuring at least 1. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning; in Qalqilya in the afternoon; and in Jericho and al-Nabi Salih late at night. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron. Palestinians (accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil‘in, Kafr Qaddum, and al-Nabi Salih. IDF soldiers fire live ammunition (al-Nabi Salih only), rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters; 3 Palestinians (including 1 child) are wounded by live ammunition and 3 are hit by tear gas canisters. Jewish settlers fr. Adei Ad outpost nr. Ramallah uproot 75 almond trees fr. a nearby Palestinian plot. (JP, IDFS, REU 6/1; NYT 6/2; PCHR 6/7; OCHA 6/8)

In the morning, unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, about 1,000 Palestinians hold a Nakba Day rallies nr. Ramallah, clashing with IDF troops at the Beitunia and Qalandia checkpoints; 30 Palestinians (including 4 children) are injured and 2 Palestinians and 1 international activist are arrested. The IDF patrols in Qalqilya in the morning and again late at night; also patrols in 2 villages nr. Qalqilya and Tulkarm. (JP 5/15; WP 5/16; PCHR 5/17; OCHA 5/18)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes 2 shops and confiscates items from a 3d in the Husan industrial zone nr. Bethlehem; demolishes 2 structures nr. Jenin; conducts daytime patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in al-Arroub r.c., nr. Hebron, and nr. Nablus; conducts late-night patrols in al-Bireh. (JP 5/9; PCHR 5/10, 5/17; OCHA 5/18)

Unidentified gunmen fire on the home of Jenin governor Qaddura Moussa in apparent effort to assassinate him; the shots miss, but within hours Moussa dies of a heart attack. By 5/9, the PASF detains 10s of Palestinians in connection to the shooting but does not made a formal arrest. Those detained include a number of PASF officers, raising concerns of fissuring and infighting within the PASF. Others worry (see NYT 5/10) that gangs might be attempting to assert local authority. Jenin residents say that instability in Jenin has been growing since the 4/4/11 murder of Jenin’s Freedom Theater director, Juliano Mer-Khamis. The decline in Jenin worries Israel and the Quartet, which have considered Jenin a model for transition from Israeli to Palestinian security control. (NYT 5/10)

Israel’s Jerusalem municipality submits maps for plans for the massive housing construction (4,010 units, first announced in 10/2011) in Givat Hamatos settlement in s. Jerusalem. The drawings show new ideas for construction of 9 hotels (1,100 rooms) in the area, intended to make the area a major tourist center that would compete with Bethlehem by capitalizing on its close proximity to Bethlehem’s religious sites. Meanwhile, Israeli authorities seize a Palestinian home in Bayt Hanina, East Jerusalem, and turn it over to a Jewish settler family that claims to own the land on which the house sits. (HA, WAFA 5/1; PCHR 5/3, 5/10)

In the morning, IDF troops make 2 incursions in to s. Gaza e. of Abassan and al-Qarara to level lands and clear lines of sight. IDF troops and a helicopter guarding the unit nr. Abassan fire on surrounding agricultural areas to keep Palestinians away, wounding 1 Palestinian. Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Late at night, an Israeli warplane fires a missile at a smuggling tunnel on the n. Gaza border nr. Bayt Hanun, causing no injuries. OCHA reports that in the previous week, Israel granted 60 of 100 applications from Gazan UN staffers for 3-month multiple exit permits (rather than time-bound permits for specific events, valid for up to 1 week only). OCHA says this marks 1st time the UN has received so many long-term permits at one time and constitutes a considerable improvement in access for UN Gaza staff. In the West Bank, the IDF bulldozes 2 cow pens and 2 structures nr. a settler-only bypass road outside Hebron; demolishes a Palestinian home under construction without permits nr. Qalqilya. About 30 Palestinians rally in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners outside the IDF’s Ofer prison nr. Ramallah; IDF troops fire live ammunition and tear gas at the demonstrators, wounding 3. (WP, YA 5/2; NYT, PCHR 5/3; OCHA 5/4)

The IDF ends is probe into the 1/5/2009 shelling of a house in Gaza City during Operation Cast Lead that killed 21 mbrs. of a family that had been ordered by troops on the ground to stay in the home, concluding that the building was not deliberately targeted and therefore the incident did not constitute a war crime. (WP 5/2; NYT 5/3)

The IDF makes 3 brief incursions into Gaza (2 areas of n. Gaza nr. Bayt Hanun in the north; 1 area of c. Gaza e. of al-Bureij r.c.) in the morning to level land and clear lines of sight. Late in the evening, unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 each nr. Jenin, Jericho, and Tulkarm in the morning; patrols in 3 villages nr. Jenin, Qalqilya, and Ramallah in the afternoon; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Jericho and nr. Jenin and Nablus; and conducts late-night patrols in Kafr Qaddum, Tulkarm (twice, different sections), and 1 village nr. Qalqilya. (JP 4/30; PCHR 5/3; OCHA 5/4)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. IDF troops make a brief incursion into n. Gaza to level land and clear lines of sight along the border fence n. of Bayt Hanun, occasionally firing on the surrounding area to keep Palestinians away (no injuries reported). In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes 2 Palestinian water tanks serving Palestinian agricultural land in area C; bulldozes 1 d. of agricultural land nr. Qalandia (n. of Jerusalem) that was previously confiscated for construction of the separation wall; conducts morning patrols in Qalqilya and 1 nearby village, 2 villages each nr. Ramallah and Tulkarm, and 1 nr. Jericho; afternoon patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jenin; late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron; and late-night patrols in Bayt Umar, Birzeit, Jericho and 1 nearby village, Tulkarm, and 2 villages nr. Hebron and Ramallah (firing tear gas and stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinian youths who confront them). Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar settlement nr. Nablus, escorted by IDF troops, throw stones at a Palestinian elementary school in nearby Ourif village; when local Palestinians throw stones back at the settlers, IDF soldiers fire tear gas at them to force them to disperse, causing no serious injuries. (JP, YA 4/23; PCHR 4/26; OCHA 4/27)

A Turkish official says that Turkey has blocked NATO from inviting Israel to participate in a NATO summit planned for Chicago in 5/2012 as part of a NATO outreach program to boost ties with nonmember states. NATO officials deny that the issue was ever discussed. Israel does not comment. (WP 4/24)

Israeli naval commandos raid a Liberian ship off the Gaza coast, suspecting of carrying weapons for “antiIsraeli militants,” but releases it after finding no arms. Unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF stages a morning raid into Kafr Ra’i village nr. Jenin, photographing and ordering residents to abandon a protest tent they recently set up to show solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners. The IDF also conducts morning patrols in Jericho and 1 nearby village, 2 villages nr. Jenin (in 1 instance firing tear gas and stun grenades at stonethrowing youths who confront them), and 1 each nr. Qalqilya and Ramallah; afternoon patrols in Qalqilya and 3 villages nr. Jenin, Jericho, and Ramallah; late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin; and late-night patrols in Jericho (firing tear gas and stun grenades at stone-throwing youths who confront them) and 1 nearby village. (JP 4/22; WP 4/23; PCHR 4/26; OCHA 4/27)

Israeli PM Netanyahu appoints a small ministerial panel (himself, DM Barak, Vice PM Moshe Ya’alon, and Minister-without-Portfolio Benny Begin) intended to legalize 3 unauthorized settlement outposts (Bruchin, Rachelim, and Sansanna) located on what Israel has classified as “state land” in the West Bank. Netanyahu previously pledged to bring the issue of the 3 outposts (which received initial approval from previous governments in the 1980s and 1990s but were never given final approval or permits for construction) “to the government for approval.” Netanyahu says the panel will deal only with these 3 outposts and has no relation to a separate committee, headed by Judge Edmund Levy, that was created earlier in 2012 to “examine the legal issues” of all the unauthorized outposts. However, the wording of the panel’s written mandate is potentially broader, stating its role is to “resolve the issues” of “settlements that are now unauthorized outposts and which were constructed years ago on state land with state funds or with initial agreements from state bodies.” By this definition, two-thirds of the 105 unauthorized outposts could be retroactively legalized. (JPI 5/4)

The state-operated Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company terminates its 2005 contract to ship gas to Israel, stating that Israel has not paid its bill in 4 mos. and that the decision to suspend shipments immediately “has nothing to do with anything outside o the commercial relations.” Israel denies this, calling the move politically motivated. (NYT, WP 4/23; JPI 5/4)

In Washington, Pres. Obama tours the Holocaust Memorial with Jewish-American Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel, stating in an address afterward that: “Too often the world has failed to prevent the killing of innocents . . . , and we are haunted by the atrocities that we did not stop and the lives we did not save.” Weisel follows with comments highly critical of Obama, asking: “How is it that [Syrian pres.] Asad is still in power. How is it that the Holocaust’s No. 1 denier, [Iranian pres. Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, is still a president?” (WT 4/24)

Israel detains all but a few of 100s of pro-Palestinian protesters attempting to enter Israel through Ben-Gurion Airport to attend an anti-occupation rally in Bethlehem. Organizers claim that more than 1,500 supporters booked tickets to Israel, but only 3 make it to Bethlehem. Israel says most were stopped at their point of departure after it gave foreign governments no-fly lists identifying suspected activists. (NYT, WP, WT 4/16; JPI 4/27)

Israeli naval vessels detain a fishing boat that approaches the 3 naut. mi. boundary off the Gaza coast, detaining and questioning 3 fishermen onboard, releasing them by the end of the day, but confiscating their boat. Unidentified Palestinians fire at least 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Late at night, an Israeli warplane makes an air strike on an open area nr. Gaza City, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts morning patrols inside Jericho and Qalqilya (normally the PA security forces have security control during daylight hours and the IDF stays away), as well as in 1 village nr. Ramallah; conducts afternoon patrols in 2 villages nr. Qalqilya (synchronized), 2 nr. Ramallah, and 1 nr. Jericho; and conducts late-night patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah. Jewish settlers fr. Nachliel settlement nr. Ramallah uproot around 250 olive trees on a nearby plot of Palestinian land. Jewish settlers fr. Ma’on settlement nr. Hebron fire at several Palestinian farmers and shepherds working nearby, causing no reported injuries. (JP, YA 4/15; PCHR 4/19; OCHA 4/20)

The New York Times reports that around this date, the PASF detains 2 prominent Palestinians for posting comments critical of the PA on Facebook: Palestinian blogger Jamal Abu Raihan for posing a satirical column depicting PA Pres. Abbas as a donkey and complaining of PA corruption; and Palestinian journalist Tareq Khamees for posting a comment in support of others who have recently been arrested for criticizing the PA (also seizing his laptop). By this date, the PA Atty. Gen. Ahmad al-Mughni has also ordered PA authorities to block several websites supportive of Abbas rival, former Gaza security chief Muhammad Dahlan. (NYT 5/7) (see 4/5/12 and Quarterly Update in JPS 164 for details)