430 / 15199 Results
  • March 21, 2012

    The donors’ Ad Hoc Liaison Comm. (AHLC) holds a regular semiannual meeting in Brussels to discuss the state of the Palestinian economy, PA budget priorities, and donor assistance. The AHLC...

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  • March 20, 2012

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Nr. al-Maghazi r.c., 2 Palestinians are injured when they accidentally trigger unexploded IDF...

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  • March 19, 2012

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts morning patrols in 2 villages each nr. Jenin and Ramallah in...

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  • March 16, 2012

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF raids and searches the home of a PASF officer in Qalqilya in the...

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  • March 15, 2012

    Retaliating for Palestinian rocket fire on 3/14, the IDF carries out 2 air strikes on training sites in Gaza. Unidentified Palestinians fire at least 2 rockets in response. No injures are reported...

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  • March 14, 2012

    Retaliating for Palestinian rocket fire on 3/13, Israeli warplanes carry out 3 air strikes on open areas north and southeast of Gaza City and on a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border, in 1...

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  • March 12, 2012

    Gaza fighting continues for a 4th day, with Israel carrying out another 9 air strikes on 9 targets (1 in Abassan, 3 in Bayt Lahiya, 3 in Gaza City, 1 in alQarara, 1 in Rafah), killing 6...

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  • March 10, 2012

    Overnight, Palestinians fire about 20 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel in retaliation for the Qaissi assassination on 3/9, injuring 3 Israelis (1 seriously); and Israel responds with at least 10 air...

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  • March 9, 2012

    Israeli drones makes an air strike on a car in Gaza City, assassinating Zuhair al-Qaissi, top military cmdr. the Popular Resistance Comms. (PRCs) and senior PRC mbr. Mahmoud Hanani, and seriously...

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  • March 3, 2012

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 4 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jenin in the morning; 1...

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  • March 2, 2012

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 each nr. Jenin, Qalqilya, and...

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  • March 1, 2012

    Israel allows a shipment of fuel for Gaza’s power plant (shut down on 2/28), allowing 1 of 4 turbines to restart, but reduces the amount of cooking fuel and gasoline, aggravating shortages of...

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  • February 28, 2012

    Gaza’s power plant shuts down completely for lack of fuel imports— a result of Israeli import restrictions; OCHA reports that because of ongoing fuel and electricity shortages, more than 40% of...

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  • February 26, 2012

    Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. Unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage...

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  • February 25, 2012

    Gaza border fire on agricultural areas nr. al-Qarara, causing no damage or injuries. In the evening, unidentified Palestinians fire 3 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israeli, causing no damage or...

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  • February 23, 2012

    Israeli and Palestinian officials issue opposing statements on the content of Israel’s principles on borders presented in the Jordanian-sponsored exploratory talks last quarter. Israeli officials...

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  • February 19, 2012

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah, 2 nr. Tulkarm, 1 n r. Jenin in the morning; patrols...

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  • February 18, 2012

    During the day, unidentified Palestinians fire 1 manufactured Grad rocket fr. Gaza into Israel (causing no damage or injuries) and 1 homemade Qassam rocket (which lands inside Gaza, damaging a...

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  • February 17, 2012

    IDF troops on the c. Gaza border fire 2 artillery shells at a Palestinian Authority security forces (PASF) building e. of al-Bureij refugee camp (r.c.), causing no injuries. Unidentified...

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  • February 16, 2012

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 homemade Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In response, Israeli warplanes make 2 late-night air strikes on a suspected weapons...

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  • February 15, 2012

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 5 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel during the day, causing no damage or injuries. Late at night, IDF warplanes carry out 2 air strikes on a Hamas training base in...

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  • February 11, 2012

    PA Pres. Abbas meets with Quartet special envoy Blair in Jordan before leaving for Cairo to meet with Arab League FMs. Blair urges Abbas to continue low-level talks on borders; says he has urged...

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  • February 10, 2012

    In the evening, unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, damaging 2 houses but causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah in the...

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  • February 6, 2012

    Fatah PA pres. Abbas and Hamas leader Mishal end 2 days of talks in Qatar on forming by Fatah-Hamas consensus a transitional government of independent technocrats with a limited mandate to take...

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  • February 1, 2012

    In Jerusalem UN Secy.-Gen. Ban urges Israeli PM Netanyahu to draft a package of goodwill gestures (including a settlement frees) to offer in exchange for the Palestinians’ agreeing to resume...

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  • January 24, 2012

    In a State of the Union address devoted to domestic affairs, Pres. Obama pointedly calls on Syrian pres. Asad to realize “that the forces of change cannot be reversed and that human dignity cannot...

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  • January 19, 2012

    Thailand officially recognizes Palestine as an independent state, becoming the 131st country to do so. (NYT 1/21)

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel,...

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  • December 29, 2011

    Unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. On 3 occasions during the day, Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the n...

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  • December 28, 2011

    Anonymous Israeli officials say that 2 wks. ago, Abbas, under heavy Quartet pressure (especially fr. the U.S.), submitted a proposal for restarting talks that dropped demands that Israel halt...

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  • December 6, 2011

    Israel releases Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Council (PC) mbr. Ahmad ‘Attoun, discharging him at the Qalandia crossing and ordering him to Ramallah. Israel revoked ‘Attoun’s Jerusalem residency...

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The donors’ Ad Hoc Liaison Comm. (AHLC) holds a regular semiannual meeting in Brussels to discuss the state of the Palestinian economy, PA budget priorities, and donor assistance. The AHLC expresses concern that the growth of the Palestinian economy slowed significantly in 2011 and that the PA budget deficit has grown dangerously, largely because donor contributions have fallen and Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement and access have not been adequately reduced. While acknowledging PA efforts to maintain a stable economy, the AHLC warns that the PA cannot be successful without increased donor support and positive actions from Israel. (Europa 3/31)

The IDF makes a pre-dawn incursion into n. Gaza to level land and clear lines of sight along the border fence nr. Bayt Lahiya, firing on nearby agricultural areas to keep Palestinians away, causing no injuries. In the evening, unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket and 2 mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night patrols in Tulkarm and 1 village nr. Jericho. (YA 3/21; PCHR, YA 3/22; PCHR 3/29; OCHA 3/30)

A 24-yr.-old French man of Algerian descent, Mohammed Merah, claims responsibility for the shootings in and around Toulouse (see 3/19/12) and barricades himself in his apartment in a tense stand-off that includes exchanges of gunfire, leaving 2 police officers wounded. Merah confirms that he carried out the attacks to protest French foreign intervention in Afghanistan, as well as to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children killed by the IDF in Gaza. While Merah claims to have received al-Qa`ida training and had been on French and U.S. government watch lists, the French authorities believe he acted alone and had no serious link to alQa`ida or other groups. (NYT 3/22)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Nr. al-Maghazi r.c., 2 Palestinians are injured when they accidentally trigger unexploded IDF ordnance while scavenging for scrap metal. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 4 villages nr. Tulkarm (2 simultaneously) and 2 in Ramallah in the morning; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Nabi Salih and nr. Jenin. Hunger-striking administrative detainee Hana Shalabi is “in grave danger of dying” according to Physicians for Human Rights–Israel, which provides her with a doctor. OCHA reports that since 3/14, 4 Palestinians have been injured in smuggling tunnel accidents on the Gaza border. (JP 3/20; WT 3/21; PCHR 3/22; OCHA 3/23)

JSC head Gen. Dempsey receives IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz in Washington for talks on Iran and Syria as part of the regular U.S.-Israel strategic dialogue. Gantz also meets with White House and Defense Dept. officials, but no details are released. (JPI 3/30)

Speaking at a conference on Palestinian refugees in Brussels, EU foreign policy adviser Catherine Ashton expresses condolences for the 3/19/12 Jewish deaths in Toulouse and regrets over recent tragedies worldwide that have resulted in child casualties, citing among them Israel’s recent air strikes on Gaza (3/9–12) that injured 14 Palestinian children. Israeli PM Netanyahu denounces her for making “the comparison between a deliberate massacre of children and defensive, surgical actions.” Ashton’s spokesman issues a statement saying that her words were “grossly distorted.” (NYT 3/21)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts morning patrols in 2 villages each nr. Jenin and Ramallah in the morning and afternoon patrols in Qalqilya and in 2 villages each nr. Jenin, Qalqilya (synchronized), and Tulkarm; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Nablus. (JP 3/19; PCHR 3/22; OCHA 3/23)

In Toulouse, France, a gunman on a motor scooter opens fire on a Jewish school, killing a rabbi and 4 students (all dual French-Israeli citizens), wounding another 6 students (1 seriously). Authorities say the shooting appears linked to 2 recent shootings of 3 French soldiers in and nr. Toulouse. In those attacks, an assailant believed to be targeting French soldiers of Arab extraction to punish them as traitors for participating in the French military given its involvement in Afghanistan allegedly lured and shot 3 soldiers; 2 of North African origin were killed, whereas a black soldier was wounded. (NYT, WP, WT 3/20)

British FM Hague meets with Israel’s Vice PM Dan Meridor on a 2-day official visit to Israel. Talks cover Iran but focus on economic cooperation. (JPI 3/30)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF raids and searches the home of a PASF officer in Qalqilya in the morning, confiscating several cell phones; patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Qalqilya in the morning and in 1 village in Qalqilya in the afternoon; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron; conducts latenight patrols in Tulkarm and 1 village nr. Jenin. 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-Ma’sara nr. Bethlehem; demonstrations in Bil’in also call for solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. IDF soldiers fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, causing no reported injuries; 2 Palestinians are arrested. Jewish settlers fr. Esh Kodesh settlement nr. Nablus uproot 220 olive trees on a nearby plot of Palestinian land. (YA 3/16; PCHR 3/22; OCHA 3/23)

Retaliating for Palestinian rocket fire on 3/14, the IDF carries out 2 air strikes on training sites in Gaza. Unidentified Palestinians fire at least 2 rockets in response. No injures are reported in the exchange. IDF soldiers at the Qalandia crossing detain a Palestinian leaving Jerusalem for the West Bank, suspecting him of involvement in the stabbing and wounding of an IDF soldier on Jerusalem’s light rail train earlier in the day. The IDF also demolishes a Palestinian home and animal farm in Qalqilya; uproots olive and almond trees on 30 d. of confiscated Palestinian agricultural land nr. Hamra settlement (nr. Nablus); patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah (synchronized), 1 nr. Qalqilya, and 1 nr. Tulkarm in the morning; and in 3 villages nr. Jenin (synchronized) and 1 nr. Ramallah late at night. Palestinian rights activists report that the health of administrative detainee Hana Shalabi is deteriorating after 30 days on hunger strike (see 2/16/12). Dozens of Palestinians rally outside Ofer prison in solidarity with her; IDF troops fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, stun grenades to disperse them. (JP, YA 3/15; WP, WT 3/16; PCHR 3/22; OCHA 3/23)

After Syrian pres. Asad issues a statement reiterating his position that opposition forces must first halt their fire before his forces would cease fire, Hizballah chief Nasrallah issues a statement saying that both sides should cease fire simultaneously. The statement is seen as Hizballah’s 1st cautious attempt to tone down its support for the Asad regime since Arab Spring protests in Syria began in 1/2011. Days after this, Nasrallah calls on Asad to undertake “serious and genuine” reform efforts, stating that it is the duty of all “whose hearts are throbbing with sympathy for the Syrian people” to seek a political solution to the problem (a statement seen as a rebuke to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, which wanted to arm the Syrian opposition forces to overthrow Asad). (NYT 4/6)

Retaliating for Palestinian rocket fire on 3/13, Israeli warplanes carry out 3 air strikes on open areas north and southeast of Gaza City and on a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border, in 1 instance causing a brush fire that heavily damages several business and 1 home, but causing no injuries. Later, unidentified Palestinians fire 2 rockets (1 Qassam, 1 Grad) fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, IDF demolishes a car wash facility in Husan village (nr. Bethlehem) that is 200 meters fr. a settler-only bypass road. (JP, PCHR, YA 3/15; PCHR 3/22; OCHA 3/23)

As fighting between Syrian government and opposition forces intensifies, Hizballah endorses a Hamas’s plan to reach out to Syrian opposition contacts inside Syria and offer to mediate a cease-fire with the regime, but does not offer to participate itself. Hamas and Hizballah made a similar joint offer in 4/2011 to mediate a cease-fire but it was rebuffed by the Syrian government. (NYT 4/6)

Gaza fighting continues for a 4th day, with Israel carrying out another 9 air strikes on 9 targets (1 in Abassan, 3 in Bayt Lahiya, 3 in Gaza City, 1 in alQarara, 1 in Rafah), killing 6 Palestinians (4 Islamic Jihad mbrs. and 2 civilians, including 1 woman) and wounding 5 (2 Islamic Jihad mbrs. and 3 civilians, including 2 children). Islamic Jihad and the PRCs continue to fire rockets and mortars into Israel (at least 163 since 3/9), injuring 2 Israelis and damaging 2 buildings. Late in the evening, Egypt says it has mediated a cease-fire, but no one on the Israeli or Palestinian side immediately confirms. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Tulkarm and 1 nr. Ramallah in the morning; conducts late-night patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah and late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Nablus. (JP, YA 3/12; NYT, WP, WT, YA 3/13; PCHR 3/15; OCHA 3/16)

Overnight, Palestinians fire about 20 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel in retaliation for the Qaissi assassination on 3/9, injuring 3 Israelis (1 seriously); and Israel responds with at least 10 air strikes on 6 targets (1 each in Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City, and Rafah; 3 in Bayt Lahiya), killing 6 Islamic Jihad mbrs. and wounding 6. During the day, at least another 4 Palestinians (all PRC mbrs.) are killed, 18 Palestinians are wounded (2 militants and 16 civilians, including 1 child), and 1 Israeli is injured by cross-border fire. These attacks include 9 Israel air strikes on 5 targets (1 in Abassan, 2 in Gaza City, 2 in Rafah), IDF cross-border gunfire on unarmed civilian protesters, and another 80 Palestinian rockets and mortars fired into Israel (exclusively by Islamic Jihad and the PRCs). Meanwhile, Gaza’s power plant shuts down completely for lack of fuel imports (see 3/1/12). In the West Bank, the IDF conducts morning patrols in 4 villages nr. Jenin (synchronized), 2 nr. Jericho (synchronized), and 2 nr. Ramallah; and conducts evening patrols in 2 villages each nr. Jenin, nr. Jericho, and Ramallah and in 1 village nr. Tulkarm. (JP, NYT, YA 3/10; WP 3/11; PCHR 3/15; OCHA 3/16)

Israeli drones makes an air strike on a car in Gaza City, assassinating Zuhair al-Qaissi, top military cmdr. the Popular Resistance Comms. (PRCs) and senior PRC mbr. Mahmoud Hanani, and seriously wounding 1 civilian bystander. Israel accuses Qaissi of plotting a cross-border attack similar to the 8/2011 Elat attack from Egypt. In response, Islamic Jihad and the PRCs fire at least 6 Qassam rockets, 4 Grads, and 2 mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Later, Israel carries out 2 more air strikes on a rocket-launching team e. of Gaza City, killing 3 Islamic Jihad mbrs. Late in the evening Israeli warplanes make 3 air strikes on separate targets nr. Gaza City, striking a residential area (lightly injuring 2 civilians inside their home), targeting a garage under an apartment building (injuring 3 civilians, including a child), and targeting a group of armed Palestinians, killing 1 Islamic Jihad mbr. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 6 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning; 3 villages nr. Jenin in the evening (firing tear gas and stun grenades at stone-throwing youths who confront them in 1 instance, causing no injuries); and 1 village nr. Tulkarm late at night. Palestinians (accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil’in, Nabi Salih, and Ni’lin; demonstrations in Bil’in and Nabi Salih also call for solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Similar protests area also held in Bayt Dajan nr. Nablus and Kafr Qaddum nr. Qalqilya. IDF soldiers fire live (Nabi Salih only) and rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, causing no reported injuries; 1 American activist is arrested. Jewish settlers fr. Eli settlement nr. Nablus uproot 40 nearby Palestinian olive trees. Jewish settlers fr. Metzad settlement nr. Hebron uproot 240 newly planted Palestinian olive and fruit trees nearby. (JP 3/9; NYT, WP, YA 3/10; PCHR 3/15; OCHA 3/16)

As the armed conflict in Syria escalates, Hamas officials in Lebanon meet with Hizballah leaders to urge them to back away from supporting the Asad regime, warning that continued support for a regime that kills innocent civilians would undermine Hizballah’s reputation. (NYT 4/6)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 4 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jenin in the morning; 1 nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon; and in Jenin and 1 nearby village, Tulkarm and 1 nearby village, and 1 village each nr. Jericho, Qalqilya, and Ramallah late at night. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Qalqilya and nr. Hebron. Jewish settlers fr. Havat Gilad nr. Qalqilya uproot 35 nearby Palestinian olive trees. (JP 3/3; PCHR 3/8; OCHA 3/9)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 each nr. Jenin, Qalqilya, and Salfit in the morning; patrols in 2 villages nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon; and patrols in Nabi Salih, Tulkarm and 1 nearby village, and 1 village nr. Salfit late at night. Palestinians (accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil’in and Nabi Salih; demonstrations in Bil’in also call for solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. IDF soldiers fire live (Bil’in only) and rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, causing no reported injuries. (YA 3/2; PCHR 3/8; OCHA 3/9)

Israel allows a shipment of fuel for Gaza’s power plant (shut down on 2/28), allowing 1 of 4 turbines to restart, but reduces the amount of cooking fuel and gasoline, aggravating shortages of these supplies. Gazans across the Strip continue to experience rolling blackouts of 8–16 hrs./day; 40% of Gaza receive running water for several hrs. once every 4 days. Unidentified Palestinians fire 3 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 5 villages nr Jenin, Jericho, Qalqilya, Ramallah, and Tulkarm in the morning; in 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Qalqilya and Ramallah late at night. (JP 3/2; PCHR 3/8; OCHA 3/9)

U.S. Reps. Howard Berman (D-CA) and Joe Walsh (R-IL), along with 50 cosigners from both parties, send a letter urging U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder to indict, extradite, and prosecute “Palestinian terrorists” who have killed or wounded American citizens, particularly any Palestinian prisoners released under the 10/2011 and 12/2011 Hamas-Israel prisoner swap that freed Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. The letter states that since the Koby Mandell Act was passed in 2005 allowing the U.S. to try foreigner terrorists who have harmed U.S. citizens abroad, not one Palestinian has been tried though as many as 71 Palestinians attacks (by their count) have left 54 Americans dead and 83 injuring since the 1993 Oslo Accords were signed. (WJW 3/8)

Gaza’s power plant shuts down completely for lack of fuel imports— a result of Israeli import restrictions; OCHA reports that because of ongoing fuel and electricity shortages, more than 40% of Gazans have been without running water for the past week and rolling blackouts across the Strip have increased to 18 hrs./day. Israel allows the International Comm. of the Red Cross (ICRC) to bring in enough fuel to supply back-up generators at Gaza hospitals for 2 weeks. Unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians and international activists staging a nonviolent march to the Erez crossing to protest Israel’s imposition of a no-go zone along the border; no injuries are reported. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Zabbuba village nr. Jenin in the afternoon, firing on residential areas to keep Palestinians indoors and then firing tear gas at stone-throwing youths who confront them, causing no serious injuries; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus, and nr. Qalqilya and Salfit. Jewish settlers enter a Palestinian a Palestinian area n. of Hebron but are followed and removed by Israeli border police. (JP, YA 2/28; PCHR 3/1; OCHA 3/2)

Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. Unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF fences off 21 d. of Palestinian land belonging to the Qarawat Bani Hassan village n. of Salfit for expansion of Burkan settlement (confiscation orders for the plot were issued in 2011); patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus and nr. Qalqilya. Outside Jerusalem, in al-Ram village, IDF troops fire rubbercoated steel bullets, tear gas, and percussion grenades at Palestinians holding a nonviolent demonstration against Israeli settlement expansion and construction of the separation wall, moderately injuring 1. (JP 2/26; PCHR 3/1; OCHA 3/2)

Gaza border fire on agricultural areas nr. al-Qarara, causing no damage or injuries. In the evening, unidentified Palestinians fire 3 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israeli, causing no damage or injuries. Late at night, Israeli warplanes carry out 2 airstrikes targeting a factory nr. Rafah and a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 5 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning and in Nabi Saleh (nr. Ramallah) late at night. Palestinians and international activists hold a nonviolent demonstration in Bayt Umar village nr. Hebron to protest Israel’s confiscation of Palestinian land for the expansion of Karmei Tzur settlement. The IDF beats and fires percussion grenades at protesters, moderately injuring 1 Palestinian. (JP, YA 2/25; Times of Israel [online], YA 2/26; PCHR 3/1; OCHA 3/2)

Israeli and Palestinian officials issue opposing statements on the content of Israel’s principles on borders presented in the Jordanian-sponsored exploratory talks last quarter. Israeli officials say the principles “effectively means a withdrawal from 90% of the West Bank,” similar to proposals made by Israel at the 2008 Annapolis conference. Palestinian officials counter that Israel never presented maps or discussed percentages, stating “If they wanted to say 90% they should have said 90%.” (WT 2/24)

Jerusalem Post reports that Naftali Bennett, former head of PM Netanyahu’s office and a former head of the YESHA settlers council who has recently launched a new group called One State Israel, has started circulating his proposed solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict to Israel’s political and military elites, who reportedly give it “high praise.” His “Israel Stability Initiative,” which he describes as “a practical plan for managing the . . . conflict,” calls for: (1) Israel unilaterally extending sovereignty over West Bank area C (60% of the West Bank); (2) granting citizenship to the 50,000 (by his estimate; as of 8/2011, OCHA put the figure at 150,000) Palestinians in Area C; (3) full PA “autonomy” in and freedom of movement among West Bank areas A and B; (4) no right of return for Palestinian refugees and no access for Palestinian refugees to areas under PA control; (5) a “full Israeli security umbrella” covering all of the West Bank; (6) the permanent separation of Gaza from the West Bank; and (7) heavy Israeli investment in economic projects in the West Bank that reinforce separation, such as joint industrial zones and separate road networks. (JP 2/23; YA 2/24; Foreign Policy online 5/1; see also OCHA, “Displacement and Insecurity in Area C of the West Bank,” 8/2011)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In retaliation, Israeli warplanes and IDF troops on the s. Gaza border fire on open areas e. of Khan Yunis, causing no reported injuries. Late at night, after unidentified Palestinians fire another 2 Qassam rockets into Israel (causing no damage or injuries), Israeli warplanes make 3 air strikes on a group of armed Palestinians operating nr. Gaza City and on a Hamas training base in n. Gaza, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, IDF troops nr. Hebron uproot 690 trees and bulldoze 22 dunams (d.; 4 d. = 1 acre) of agricultural land, a well and water tank, and 800 meters (m) of fence surrounding the fields, located in Surif village; and demolish a mosque, a school, and 19 shelters in Khirbat Janba bedouin community; conducts daytime patrols in Qalqilya, Tulkarm, 4 villages nr. Ramallah, and 1 nr. Jenin (accidentally damaging 1 home and a water network when an IDF vehicle gets stuck); conducts afternoon and evening patrols in Qalqilya and 1 nearby village, Tulkarm and 3 nearby villages, and 1 village nr. Salfit; conducts late night patrols nr. Qalqilya. In Jerusalem, Israeli police arrest 7 Palestinians for jeering a group of Jews touring the Temple Mount/alAqsa Mosque compound. (JP 2/23; JP, WT, YA 2/24; PCHR 3/1; OCHA 3/2)

PA pres. and Fatah head Abbas holds separate meetings in Cairo with Hamas leader Mishal and Hamas’s acting PM in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh (marking their 1st meeting since 2007). Afterward, Fatah officials stated (Jerusalem Post 2/26) that Abbas has agreed to Mishal’s request to suspend talks on implementation of the 5/2011 Fatah-Hamas unity deal until Hamas resolves its internal disputes. (REU 2/23; JP 2/26)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah, 2 nr. Tulkarm, 1 n r. Jenin in the morning; patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin (firing tear gas and percussion grenades at stone-throwing youths in 1 instance), 2 nr. Qalqilya, and 1 nr. Tulkarm in the afternoon; and patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin late in the evening; and conducts arrest raids, house searches in Tulkarm (targeting Islamic Jihad mbrs.) and 1 nr. Jenin late in the evening. Jewish settlers vandalize a Baptist church and 3 cars in East Jerusalem. (JP 2/20; PCHR 2/23; OCHA 2/24; JPI 3/2)

U.S. National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon, Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) chmn. Gen. Michael Dempsey, and British FM William Hague are in Israel for talks on Iran and Syria, specifically urging Israel not to launch a preemptive attack on Iran. (WP, WT 2/20; WT 2/29)

During the day, unidentified Palestinians fire 1 manufactured Grad rocket fr. Gaza into Israel (causing no damage or injuries) and 1 homemade Qassam rocket (which lands inside Gaza, damaging a Palestinian home, but causing no reported injuries). Late at night Israeli warplanes make 2 air strikes targeting 1 Palestinian home in Gaza City (the shell does not explode, but injures 3 Palestinians) and a Hamas training site (causing no injuries, but resulting in extensive damage to an adjacent school). In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah, 1 nr. Jenin (summoning 1 Palestinians for questioning by Israeli intelligence), and 1 nr. Qalqilya in the morning; patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin in the afternoon; patrols in Jericho late at night; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Ramallah. (JP, YA 2/18; PCHR 2/23; OCHA 2/24)

A meeting of all Palestinian factions set for today at the request of Palestinian Authority (PA) pres. and Fatah head Mahmud Abbas and Hamas leader Khalid Mishal to endorse several compromises that would facilitate implementation of the 5/2011 Fatah-Hamas unity deal and appointment of a transitional government to take Palestinians toward new elections does not take place because of divisions within Hamas. Senior Hamas members in Gaza are reportedly angry at Mishal and the external leadership for failing to consult adequately with the Gaza leadership over the idea of Abbas serving as both PM and president in the transitional government. (NYT 3/8) (see Quarterly Update in JPS 164 for details)

IDF troops on the c. Gaza border fire 2 artillery shells at a Palestinian Authority security forces (PASF) building e. of al-Bureij refugee camp (r.c.), causing no injuries. Unidentified Palestinians fire 3 homemade Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 5 villages nr. Ramallah, 1 nr. Qalqilya in the morning; patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon; patrols in 2 villages nr. Salfit, 1 nr. Ramallah late at night; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin in the morning and in Aqabat Jabir r.c. late at night. Palestinians (sometimes accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil’in, Nabi Salih, and Ni`lin nr. Ramallah and in Kafr Qaddum nr. Qalqilya; all demonstrations except those in Kafr Qaddum also call for solidarity with hunger-striking Islamic Jihad prisoner Khader Adnan, who is on the 63d day of a fast to protest Israel’s administrative detention policy. IDF soldiers fire live ammunition (Nabi Salih only), rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters; a total of 7 Palestinians are injured. (YA 2/17, JP 2/18; PCHR 2/23; OCHA 2/24)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 homemade Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In response, Israeli warplanes make 2 late-night air strikes on a suspected weapons factory in Gaza City, lightly injuring 1 Palestinian. Later, unidentified Palestinians fire a 3d rocket into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. A Palestinian child is killed in a smuggling tunnel collapse on the Rafah border. In the West Bank, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) patrols in Tulkarm, 3 villages nr. Qalqilya, 2 villages nr. Ramallah, and 1 nr. Jericho in the morning; patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin (firing tear gas and percussion grenades at stone-throwing youths who confront them, causing no injuries), 1 nr. Jericho, 1 nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon; patrols in 2 villages nr. Qalqilya, 1 nr. Jenin, 1 nr. Jericho, and 1 nr. Ramallah late at night; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon and nr. Hebron late at night. One of those detained in the West Bank arrest raids is Hana Shalabi, an Islamic Jihad mbr. who was released after 2 years in administrative detention in the 10/2011 Hamas-Israel prisoner swap that freed captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit (see QU in JPS 163); she immediately begins a hunger strike to protest her renewed detention without charge. (PCHR 2/23; OCHA 2/24; NYT 4/2)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 5 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel during the day, causing no damage or injuries. Late at night, IDF warplanes carry out 2 air strikes on a Hamas training base in Gaza City, damaging several surrounding homes and injuring 10 Palestinians (including 2 children); and 3 air strikes on an Islamic Jihad training camp nr. Nussayrat r.c., causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF stages synchronized late-night raids on the homes of 3 Hamas-affiliated PC mbrs. (Ibrahim Dahbour, Khalid Abu Hassan, Khalid Yahya) and the Reform and Change party headquarters in Jenin, confiscating computers, documents, cell phones, and videotapes but making no arrests; separately, the IDF makes a late-night raid on the Jenin home of former Palestinian prisoner Hanaa Shalibi, who was released in the recent prisoner swap that freed IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit, rearresting him; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron; bars Palestinian access to 300 d. of agricultural land adjacent to Shilo settlement nr. Ramallah and bulldozes more than 280 olive and fig trees. Palestinians organized by Birzeit students stage a 3d nonviolent march to Ofer prison (see 2/11/12, 2/13/12) to show solidarity with hunger-striking Islamic Jihad prisoner Khader Adnan; the IDF fires rubbercoated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades to disperse them, lightly injuring 2 Palestinians (including PC mbr. Mustafa Barghouti). (IDFS, JP, PCHR 2/16; MNA 2/18)

PA Pres. Abbas meets with Quartet special envoy Blair in Jordan before leaving for Cairo to meet with Arab League FMs. Blair urges Abbas to continue low-level talks on borders; says he has urged Israel to make goodwill gestures to revive talks, including easing security restrictions in the West Bank and releasing prisoners. (UPI, WAFA 2/11; YA 2/12)

Unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In response, Israeli warplanes make 4 late-night air strikes on s. Gaza, targeting an open area nr. al-Shuka and 3 Palestinian homes in Gaza City, al-Qarara, and Rafah (suspected weapons depots and entrances to smuggling tunnels), killing 1 Palestinian civilian, wounding another, and causing heavy damage. The IDF patrols in Tulkarm and 2 villages nr. Jenin in the morning; patrols in another 2 villages nr. Jenin in the afternoon (in 1 instance firing tear gas and stun grenades at stone-throwing youths who confront them); conducts late-night patrols in 1 village each nr. Jenin, Jericho, Qalqilya, Ramallah, and Tulkarm; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Qalqilya and Ramallah. Palestinian students at Birzeit University hold a nonviolent march to Israel’s Ofer prison nr. Ramallah to show support for hunger-striking Islamic Jihad prisoner Khader Adnan; IDF troops outside the prison fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, stun grenades at the protesters who reply with stones; 4 journalists and several protesters are lightly injured. Jewish settlers fr. Susia settlement in Hebron attack 6 Palestinians planting almond trees on a 20-d. plot nearby (moderately injuring them) and uproot the newly planted seedlings; the IDF observes but does not intervene. (JP 2/11, 2/12; PCHR 2/16; OCHA 2/17)

In the evening, unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, damaging 2 houses but causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning, in Tulkarm in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Jenin (firing stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinians who confront them in 1 instance) and 1 nr. Qalqilya late at night. In the afternoon, the IDF raids and searches stores nr. Qalqilya and enters al-Zira village nr. Bethlehem in search of Palestinian youths who had stoned a patrol earlier (questioning youths at random, arresting 4). Late at night, the IDF patrols in Aqabat Jabir r.c. nr. Jericho, firing live ammunition, rubbercoated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinians who confront them, wounding 3 Palestinians with live ammunition (2 seriously); enters Jericho and 1 nearby village to serve 3 Palestinians with papers summoning them for questioning. The IDF also makes a late-night raid on and search of the Nablus-area home of a Palestinian released in the recent prisoner swap that freed IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit, serving him with orders to appear for questioning; during the raid, a pregnant woman in the home complains of pain and is taken to the hospital, where she miscarries. Palestinians (sometimes accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil’in, Kafr Qaddum, Nabi Salih, and Ni’lin; demonstrations in Bil’in, Nabi Salih, and Ni’lin also call for solidarity with hungerstriking Islamic Jihad prisoner Khader Adnan. IDF soldiers fire live ammunition (Nabi Salih only), rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters; 3 Palestinian protesters, 1 Palestinian journalist, and 1 New York Times reporter are injured. Palestinians in Kafr al-Dik village nr. Salfit hold their first nonviolent protest against recent IDF actions in the nearby Dayr Sam’an archeological area that have been interpreted as preliminary steps to annex the area; IDF troops fire tear gas and percussion grenades to disperse them, causing no injuries. Jewish settlers fr. Carmiel settlement nr. Hebron escorted by IDF troops plant trees on 40 d. of nearby Palestinian agricultural land along a new settleronly bypass road. (JP 2/11; PCHR 2/16; OCHA 2/17)

Hamas’s Haniyeh arrives in Iran. Neither side discusses the visit, hoping to keep a low profile. Arab media reports (see NYT 2/11) say Hamas is resisting pressure fr. Iran to demonstrate support for Syria’s Asad. Gulf leaders urged Haniyeh against visiting Iran, but he demurred. (NYT 2/11)

Fatah PA pres. Abbas and Hamas leader Mishal end 2 days of talks in Qatar on forming by Fatah-Hamas consensus a transitional government of independent technocrats with a limited mandate to take the Palestinians to new presidential and parliamentary elections and to lead reconstruction of Gaza, as agreed under the 5/2011 national unity deal. To overcome international concerns about Hamas’s participation and differences between Fatah and Hamas regarding who should serve as PM (Hamas strongly opposed current PA PM Salam al-Fayyad), the sides agree that Abbas would lead the transitional government, serving as both pres. and PM. They stress that the new government “will be a technical one more than a political one” and that diplomacy will rest with the PLO. A meeting of all Palestinian factions is set for 2/18 to endorse the plan. Israeli PM Netanyahu immediately denounces Abbas for “joining forces with the enemies of peace.” The EU and U.S. say they look forward to continuing their support of the PA, provided the new government is committed to the Quartet principles of nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and adherence to existing peace agreements. (NYT, WP 2/6; AP, NYT, WP 2/7; see also MNA 2/5)

Unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In response, Israeli warplanes make late-night air strikes on open areas nr. the Gaza border n. of Bayt Hanun, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Salfit; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Tulkarm and nr. Jenin and Nablus. Just outside East Jerusalem nr. al-Tur, Israeli border police and an undercover unit bulldoze 20 d. of Palestinian land, demolishing 2 walls, 3 natural caves, and a water network supplying several Palestinian homes. Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba settlement in Hebron escorted by IDF troops begin planting trees on 150 d. of nearby Palestinian agricultural land that the IDF previously declared a closed military zone. (PCHR 2/9; OCHA 2/10)

In Jerusalem UN Secy.-Gen. Ban urges Israeli PM Netanyahu to draft a package of goodwill gestures (including a settlement frees) to offer in exchange for the Palestinians’ agreeing to resume direct talks. He then meets with PA Pres. Abbas and PA officials in Ramallah. (NYT, WP 2/2; NYT 2/3; JPI 2/10)

In the evening, unidentified Palestinians fire 8 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Late at night, the IDF directs artillery (2 shells) and helicopter gunfire at open areas northeast of Bayt Hanun, causing no reported injuries. Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar settlement nr. Nablus stone a Palestinian vehicle driving nearby, breaking a window and hitting a passenger in the head, leaving injuries requiring hospitalization. (HA, JP, YA 2/1; PCHR 2/2; OCHA 2/10)

The New York Times reports that for the past 2 weeks, Palestinians (including the private sector, unions, elements of Fatah, and youth groups) have been holding demonstrations against PA PM Salam al-Fayyad in Ramallah and other cities to protest soaring prices and proposed PA austerity measures, including tax increases, cutbacks on services, and a plan to force retirement on 20,000 civil servants. (Electricity costs, for example, have nearly tripled in the past year.) Protesters demand salary increases and subsidies to compensate for inflation, but the PA faced a $350 m. budget shortfall for 2011. Even with Israeli transfers of VAT taxes restored, the foreign aid received by the PA is not enough to cover recurrent expenses. The demonstrations have been so heated that Fayyad has suspended imposition of the tax hike until mid2/2012 and dropped the early retirement proposal, pending talks to ease tensions. (NYT 2/1)

In a State of the Union address devoted to domestic affairs, Pres. Obama pointedly calls on Syrian pres. Asad to realize “that the forces of change cannot be reversed and that human dignity cannot be denied” and urges the international community to “isolate” his regime. He also stresses that the U.S. will not take any options (i.e., a military strike) off the table in dealing with Iran and emphasizes “our ironclad commitment—and I mean ironclad—to Israel’s security.” (NYT, WP, WT 1/25; WJW 2/2)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border nr. the Erez crossing fire warning shots and tear gas at a group of Palestinians and international activists staging a nonviolent march to the crossing to protest Israel’s imposition of a no-go zone; no serious injuries are reported. With a sharp increase in the number of Gazans seeking to exit to Egypt through the Rafah border, the Gaza Interior Min. reimposes requirements (lifted on 12/18/11) that Gazans register with the ministry before traveling. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes 8 Palestinian homes in Anata village nr. East Jerusalem, displacing 52 Palestinians, including 29 children; escorts 100s of Jewish settlers to pray at Joseph’s tomb in Balata village nr. Nablus; patrols in 1 village nr. Salfit in the morning, briefly detaining several Palestinian for questioning; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron and Nablus. (JP 1/24; PCHR 1/26; OCHA 1/27)

After a long delay, Hamas authorities in Gaza allow the Central Elections Commission to open a voter registration office in Gaza to prepare for eventual elections in implementation of the 5/2010 national unity deal. (WP 1/25)

Jordan says King Abdallah will receive Hamas leader Mishal on 1/29, when he makes his 1st official visit to Jordan in 13 yrs. Officials say that the kingdom will continue to bar Hamas for undertaking political activities on its soil. Analysts view this as: (1) Jordan trying to take a more active diplomatic role and say reopening diplomatic ties with Hamas could be a step toward trying to broker reconciliation btwn. Hamas and Fatah (WP 1/25); and (2) the king engaging with Islamists, who have gained strength regionally during the Arab Spring, to quiet Jordan’s own Islamist opposition. (WP, WT 1/25)

Police in Azerbaijan arrest several people allegedly linked to an Iranian-backed Hizballah cell for plotting an attack against Israeli amb. to Azerbaijan Michael Lotem and on a Jewish school in Baku. (JPI 2/3; NHR 2/21)

A Lebanese court sentences fmr. brig. gen. Fayiz Karam to 2 yrs. in jail (including time served) for giving classified information to Israel. Karam, jailed in mid-2009, will be released in 6 mos. (NYT 1/25)

Thailand officially recognizes Palestine as an independent state, becoming the 131st country to do so. (NYT 1/21)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF detains Hamas-affiliated PC speaker ‘Aziz Dweik at Jaba’ checkpoint nr. Jerusalem, placing him in administrative detention; makes a late-night raid on Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform PC mbr. Khalid Thwaib’s home in Za’atara village nr. Bethlehem, arresting him and confiscating his computers, phone, and files. The IDF also conducts synchronized morning patrols in 2 villages n. of Jericho; conducts other daytime patrols in 3 villages nr Ramallah, 1 nr. Jenin, 1 nr. Jericho; conducts evening patrols in 1 village nr. Jericho; conducts late-night patrols in al-Bireh. (JP 1/19; WT 1/25; PCHR 1/26; OCHA 1/27)

The U.S.’s new Joint Chiefs of Staff head Gen. Martin Dempsey begins a 3-day visit to Israel for talks on Iran, regional security, and military-tomilitary strategic coordination. He will meet with PM Netanyahu, Pres. Shimon Peres, DM Barak, and senior IDF commanders. (NYT, WT 1/20; NYT, WP 1/21)

Pro-Israel groups (including the Anti-Defamation League [ADL] and American Jewish Committee [AJC]) publicly accuse the Center for American Progress (CAP; a Washington-based think tank seen as close to the Obama admin.) of “anti-Semitism,” citing several Twitter posts by CAP staffers to their private Twitter accounts referring to “Israel-firsters” (i.e., Americans who put Israel’s national interests before America’s) and accusing AIPAC of pushing the U.S. toward war with Iran. The ADL and AJC allege that the private Tweets are part of a “very troubling” pattern of “anti-Semitism and borderline anti-Semitism” at CAP. Former AIPAC spokesman Josh Block says that the pro-Israel groups went public with their complaints only after CAP officials ignored a compilation of CAP staffer’s writings and public statements that he quietly presented to them in 12/2011 that he said amounted to “outrageous vilification of pro-Israel Americans.” CAP says it is “baffled and appalled” by the charges. Some on the left of the pro-Israel spectrum, such as J Street, say the issue is overblown and they suspect that it is being brought forward now “to shut down needed policy debates,” cautioning groups such as the ADL and AJC to “tread lightly” with accusations of anti-Semitism or “people won’t take you seriously.”(WP 1/20)

Unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. On 3 occasions during the day, Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, confiscating 1 boat (arresting 1 fisherman and briefly detaining 2) and forcing the others to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Jenin; conducts morning arrest raids, house searches nr. Qalqilya. The independent Palestinian Center for Human Rights accuses the Hamas authorities in Gaza of harassing Fatah mbrs., saying Hamas police have summoned about 50 former mbrs. of the Fatah security forces in since 12/26, questioning them at length, detaining some, and searching some homes. (JP, PCHR 12/29; NYT 12/30; OCHA, PCHR 1/5)

Anonymous Israeli officials say that 2 wks. ago, Abbas, under heavy Quartet pressure (especially fr. the U.S.), submitted a proposal for restarting talks that dropped demands that Israel halt settlement construction but demanded that Israel release in exchange 100 Palestinian prisoners jailed since before the Oslo process began. Israel rejected this on the grounds that (1) it would replace 1 precondition with another, and (2) it was vague about whether the talks that would result would be preparatory talks or direct negotiations between Abbas and Netanyahu. There is no official Palestinian, U.S., or Quartet comment on this. Another Israeli official says that Israel is concerned that if talks do not resume by 1/26/12, Abbas would resume Palestinian statehood efforts at the UN, including seeking membership in various UN organizations. (HA 12/28, 1/1)

Late at night, unidentified Palestinians fire 4 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In response, Israeli warplanes carry out 3 air strikes on a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border and 1 air strike on a Hamas training site s. of Gaza City; damage but no injuries are reported. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts latenight arrest raids, house searches in Azariyya nr. East Jerusalem, in Hebron, and nr. Tulkarm. Israeli municipal officials in Jerusalem approve construction of another 130 housing units in Gilo settlement, s. of Jerusalem. (PCHR 12/29; YA 12/30; OCHA, PCHR 1/5)

As of this date, Congress has freed up only $40 m. of the $192 m. in humanitarian aid to the Palestinians that was frozen in light of the UN bid (see QU in JPS 162). USAID and the White House are pressuring Congress to release the rest of the money, calling it “in the interest of the Palestinians, Israel and the United States” to ensure continued development “vital to the establishing and strengthening the foundations necessary for a future Palestinian state.” (WP 12/29)

Israel releases Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Council (PC) mbr. Ahmad ‘Attoun, discharging him at the Qalandia crossing and ordering him to Ramallah. Israel revoked ‘Attoun’s Jerusalem residency status in 9/2009 on the grounds that he was affiliated with a “terrorist organization” (i.e., Hamas) and warned him in 5/2010 to leave the city or face deportation to the West Bank (QU in JPS 157). He was arrested in East Jerusalem on 9/26/11, when he went to address a protest rally in Shaykh Jarrah, and was charged with “being illegally present in the city.” (MNA 12/6; PCHR 12/8)

Israeli municipal forces in East Jerusalem demolish a Palestinian home. IDF troops make a brief incursion into al-Shuja’iyya neighborhood in Gaza City, leveling land to clear lines of sight and exchanging gunfire with Palestinians, causing no injuries. Late in the evening the IDF carries out 2 air strikes at armed Palestinians preparing to fire rockets fr. Gaza City into Israel, the 1st killing 1 Islamic Jihad mbr. and wounding 2 in al-Shuja’iyya, and the 2d seriously wounding an unidentified armed Palestinian in al-Zaytun neighborhood. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Jenin during the day; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Nablus and nearby Balata r.c., detaining around 12 PFLP mbrs. (including 1 senior mbr.) and 1 senior Hamas mbr. The IDF reports that 3 IDF soldiers have been arrested on suspicion of participating in “pricetag” attacks in the West Bank. Health officials in Gaza report that Gaza’s Central Drug Store is lacking 120 essential medicines and 140 essential medical supplies, including medicine for the anesthesia, cancer, hemophilia, and kidney dialysis (450 patients); the shortage is the result of poor coordination between the Min. of Health branches in Gaza and the West Bank (where no shortages are reported). (MNA 12/6; DUS, JP, Taiwan News, WT 12/7; PCHR, WP 12/8; OCHA 12/9; NYT 12/10; JPI 12/16; OCHA 12/23)