34 / 14704 Results
  • October 5, 2016

    A small Salafi group fires a rocket from Gaza into Israel, which explodes in Sderot, causing no injuries and minor damage. Holding Hamas responsible, the IDF fires tank shells and launches at...

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  • August 21, 2016

    Palestinian fighters in Gaza launch a rocket into Israel, which lands in Sderot, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF then launches dozens of air strikes on “key Hamas strategic assets,”...

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  • May 25, 2016

    Late at night, Gazan fighters affiliated with the Salafi group Ajnad Bayt al-Maqdis fire 4 rockets toward Israel. All fall short of the border except 1, which lands in an open area in s. Israel,...

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  • August 26, 2015

    In Gaza, fighters from the Salafi group Sarayat al-Shaykh Umar Hadid fire a rocket into Israel late at night, causing no damage or injuries. IAF jets launch a retaliatory air strike on a Hamas...

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  • June 7, 2015

    In the West Bank, IDF troops shoot and injure 2 Palestinian men after they throw a pipe bomb at an IDF site nr. Bethlehem, and the IDF consequently conducts raids in the area and temporarily...

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  • July 15, 2014

    IDF strikes in the Gaza Strip continue, except in the hours following the govt.’s acceptance of the Egyptian cease-fire, killing 13 Palestinians. The IDF warns 100,000 residents of the al-Zaytun...

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  • September 20, 2013

    In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops open fire on Palestinians walking close to the border fence nr. Bayt Lahiya, wounding 2. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1...

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  • August 22, 2013

    In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian fishermen nr. Bayt Lahiya, causing no injuries or damage to vessels. In the West Bank, the IDF shoots and injures a Palestinian in Dahaysha r...

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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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  • April 30, 2013

    U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry welcomes the Arab League’s expression of support for reviving peace talks made the previous day, describing it as a ‘‘very big step forward.’’ An Israeli official...

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  • April 2, 2013

    Palestinian prisoner Maysara Abuhamdieh dies in Israeli jail from complications caused by terminal cancer, prompting clashes between protesters and IDF forces in Hebron. The Palestinian Prisoners...

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  • December 9, 2012

    At an Arab League meeting in Doha, Palestinian pres. Abbas calls for renewed negotiations with Israel for a 6-mo. period, provided that Israel freeze all West Bank and East Jerusalem settlement...

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  • October 13, 2012

    The IDF carries out an air strike on n. Gaza, assassinating 2 armed Palestinians, at least 1 of whom was from the Salafist group al-Tawhid wal-Jihad and also wounding a child. Earlier, the group...

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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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  • September 17, 2012

    A Gaza court convicts several Palestinians identified as mbrs. of the Hamas security forces working for a Salafist group of the 2011 killing of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni (see QU in JPS...

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  • August 17, 2012

    Unidentified Palestinians fire a rocket from the Gaza Strip into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF makes a brief incursion into the Gaza Strip nr. Rafah to level land along the border...

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  • June 20, 2012

    Kadima head Shaul Mofaz arrives in Washington for his 1st official visit as Israel’s vice PM in charge of overseeing peace process issues. He meets with U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton and U.S...

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  • December 27, 2011

    In the morning, IDF troops on the c. Gaza border fire toward the village of al-Mussaddar, seriously wounding a 12-yr.-old boy on a donkey cart. In the evening, an Israeli drone fires a missile at...

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  • October 31, 2011

    Bosnia, a rotating UNSC mbr., announces that it will abstain from the vote on the Palestinian membership in the UN, making it impossible for the Palestinians to secure the 9 votes needed to...

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  • October 30, 2011

    In the afternoon, the IDF carries out an air strike on a rocket-launching team in s. Gaza, killing 1 DFLP mbr. and seriously wounding another. By nightfall, Egypt announces it has secured pledges...

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  • August 19, 2011

    Cross-border exchanges in Gaza continue overnight and throughout the day. The PRCs, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AMB), and a small Salafist group (the Abdullah Azzam Brigades) fire around 17...

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  • August 3, 2011

    The small Salafist group, Abdullah Azzam Brigades fires 2 Grad rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing light damage to a road in 1 instance but no injuries. Late at night, the IDF retaliates with 2...

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  • May 7, 2011

    In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm and several nearby villages repeatedly during the day; patrols in a major show of force in Nabi Salih late at night, firing live ammunition, rubber-...

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  • April 14, 2011

    In Gaza, the radical Salafist group Tawhid and Jihad issues a statement saying it has kidnapped an Italian national in Gaza and will kill him by 5:00 p.m. local time on 4/15 if Hamas authorities...

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  • April 12, 2011

    In Gaza, 4 Palestinians die, 5 are injured in a smuggling tunnel collapse. The small Salafist group Tawhid and Jihad claims to fire 2 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, but the IDF says it has no...

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  • October 18, 2010

    The IDF makes another (see 10/17) brief incursion into s. Gaza nr. Abasan to level land to clear lines of sight. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts synchronized daytime patrols in 3 villages nr....

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  • September 19, 2010

    In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night patrols in Tulkarm town and r.c. and in 3 villages nr. Qalqilya, 2 nr. Ramallah, 2 nr. Salfit, facing stone-throwing youths in 1 instance (firing...

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  • May 19, 2010

    Ansar al-Sunna, a Salafist militant group opposed to Hamas, fires a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF responds with air strikes on 2 open areas along the s...

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  • April 2, 2010

    In response to recent escalating rocket and mortar fire, IDF warplanes and helicopters carry out 7 early morning air strikes on 2 caravans nr. Khan Yunis (no injuries), a cheese factory in Gaza...

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  • March 26, 2010

    IDF troops on the s. Gaza border fire on armed Palestinians laying a roadside bomb nr. the border fence e. of Khan Yunis. When Palestinians return fire, the troops enter the Strip in pursuit,...

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A small Salafi group fires a rocket from Gaza into Israel, which explodes in Sderot, causing no injuries and minor damage. Holding Hamas responsible, the IDF fires tank shells and launches at least 25 air strikes on Hamas military sites in Bayt Hanun, Khan Yunis, and Gaza City, causing substantial damage. After the air strikes, the Israeli press reports that Hamas sent a message via a 3d party pledging to try to deescalate tensions and to stop small armed groups from firing more rockets. Meanwhile, an Israeli jet crashes on its return trip from a sortie in Gaza, killing the pilot and injuring another Israeli airman. An IDF spokesperson says that the 2 men ejected from the aircraft before the crash, and that the cause of the crash was unknown. (HA, JP, MNA, TOI, WAFA, YA 10/5; PCHR, TOI 10/6)

The IDF lifts its 3-day general closure of the West Bank overnight, allowing Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to use border crossings into Israel again. They also lift their 1.5 mo. closure of Kifl Haris village nr. Salfit. The village was closed after reports of stonethrowing in the area. Elsewhere in the West Bank, Israeli forces level 36 dunams (9 acres) of Palestinian land nr. Hebron, destroying numerous plum and olive trees. IDF troops arrest 17 Palestinians during late-night raids and house searches nr. Ramallah, Hebron, Tulkarm, and Bethlehem. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest 15 Palestinians during raids in Issawiyya and al-Tur. Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats nr. Gaza City and Khan Yunis, causing no damage or injuries. Along Gaza’s border, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian farmers and shepherds working nr. Gaza City, causing no injuries. (MNA, WAFA 10/5; PCHR 10/13)

A delegation of ICC officials, including chief prosecutor Bensouda, arrives in Israel for a 5-day educational visit. They will meet with both Israeli and Palestinian officials. Bensouda is still conducting the preliminary examination into alleged war crimes that she initiated in 1/2015 at the Palestinians’ request. However, the ICC officials explicitly state that they are not in Israel to “engage in evidence collection in relation to any alleged crimes” or to “assess the adequacy of the respective legal systems to deal with crimes that fall within ICC jurisdiction." (HA, JP, TOI 10/5)

Israeli naval forces intercept the ship Zaytouna around 35 naut. mi. off the coast of Gaza and peacefully arrest its all-female crew of solidarity activists. The takeover and escort to the port of Ashdod are “uneventful,” according to the IDF. The women are then detained at Givon Prison ahead of their likely deportation. PLO secy.-gen. Saeb Erekat says, “We strongly condemn the Israeli aggression today against the international flotilla that attempted to break the illegal Israeli siege over 1.8 m. people in Gaza.” (EI, HA, MNA, NYT, WAFA 10/5)

Palestinian fighters in Gaza launch a rocket into Israel, which lands in Sderot, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF then launches dozens of air strikes on “key Hamas strategic assets,” according to IDF sources on 8/23. The IDF also targets Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and other factions’ sites in and around Bayt Hanun, injuring at least 7 Palestinians (3 of whom are Hamas mbrs.). Also, an Israeli tank fires 6 shells at a Gazan water storage facility along the border nearby, causing damage. Initial reports say that the PFLP’s armed wing is responsible for the rocket launch; later, a Salafi group affiliated with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claims responsibility. Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats, causing no injuries; 2 fishermen are arrested. In the West Bank, IDF troops conduct raids and house searches in and around Hebron, as well as in Bethlehem and nr. Salfit, arresting 8 Palestinians; and patrol nr. Nablus, Salfit, Ramallah, and Hebron. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces issue arrest summons for 6 Palestinians during raids in Jabal Mukabir. (AP, HA, JP, MNA, TOI, WAFA 8/21; HA 8/22; TOI 8/24; PCHR 8/25)

An Israeli delegation meets with their Egyptian diplomatic counterparts in Cairo to discuss Pres. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s efforts to revive the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. After the meetings, al-Sisi says he recently spoke with Russian pres. Vladimir Putin about hosting a round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Moscow, and indicated that Putin would be willing to do so. (TOI 8/21; JP, TOI 8/22)

Late at night, Gazan fighters affiliated with the Salafi group Ajnad Bayt al-Maqdis fire 4 rockets toward Israel. All fall short of the border except 1, which lands in an open area in s. Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, the group explains that it was hoping Israel would retaliate against Hamas, which has been suppressing Salafi groups in Gaza over the past year. Israeli Air Force (IAF) jets launch retaliatory air strikes on Hamas military sites in c. and s. Gaza, causing damage. Separately, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian farmers and shepherds working in 4 separate areas along Gaza’s border, causing no injuries. Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats nr. Gaza City, causing damage to 1. In the West Bank, IDF troops arrest 3 Palestinians during latenight raids nr. Nablus and Ramallah, and patrol during the day nr. Hebron. (MNA, WAFA 5/25; HA, JP, MNA, WAFA 5/26; PCHR 5/27; PCHR 6/2)

Yisrael Beytenu chair Lieberman signs a deal with Israeli PM Netanyahu to bring his party’s 6 mbrs. of Knesset (MKs) into the ruling coalition. Lieberman will be sworn in as DM the following week. (HA, JP, TOI, USSD, YA 5/25; ALM, REU 5/26)

In Gaza, fighters from the Salafi group Sarayat al-Shaykh Umar Hadid fire a rocket into Israel late at night, causing no damage or injuries. IAF jets launch a retaliatory air strike on a Hamas weapons facility in c. Gaza, causing damage but no injuries. Following 2 days of increased tension in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian attacks a group of Israeli border police nr. the Damascus Gate to the Old City, stabbing and injuring 1. The Israeli police assault and arrest the man. Israeli forces demolish 2 Palestinian homes and 7 stores in al-‘Izzariya to clear space for the expansion of the separation wall. They also detain 4 Palestinians at Haram al-Sharif. Late at night, Palestinian youths throw a firebomb at an Israeli police jeep in al-Tur, sparking clashes with Israeli forces; 2 Palestinians are detained. In the West Bank, IDF troops conduct house searches and raids nr. Tulkarm, Hebron, Jenin, and Qalqilya, arresting 11 Palestinians. (AP, HA, JP, MNA, WAFA, YA 8/26; HA, JP, MNA, PCHR, YA 8/27; TOI 8/28; PCHR 9/3)

In the West Bank, IDF troops shoot and injure 2 Palestinian men after they throw a pipe bomb at an IDF site nr. Bethlehem, and the IDF consequently conducts raids in the area and temporarily closes a nearby road. Separately, IDF troops patrol in a village nr. Qalqilya, sparking minor clashes with stone-throwing Palestinian youths; 1 Palestinian is arrested and there are no serious injuries. IDF troops on a late-night arrest raid in Ramallah disperse stone-throwing Palestinian youths. The IDF conducts further raids and house searches in Tulkarm, 3 villages nr. Hebron, and 1 village each nr. Nablus and Bethlehem, arresting 6 Palestinians; patrols in al-Fawar r.c. and 1 village nr. Hebron, 2 villages nr. Jenin, and 1 village each nr. Jericho and Ramallah. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest 3 Palestinians exiting Haram al-Sharif. (MNA, WAFA 6/7; MNA 6/8; PCHR 6/11)

IDF maj.-gen. Sami Turgeman, cmdr. of the IDF’s s. operations, says that the recent rockets fired from Gaza “are isolated incidents” and that the IDF will not launch “an operation in the Strip because of them.” He reaffirms that Israel holds Hamas responsible for all rockets from Gaza, but notes that it is making efforts to stop the small Salafist groups from launching the attacks. (HA, JP, TOI 6/7)

According to a senior Israeli official, China recently informed Israel that it will not allow any of its citizens to work on Israel’s West Bank settlements. The restriction comes in the context of bilateral trade negotiations, which Israeli finance min. Moshe Kahlon initiated to facilitate his broader push to expedite construction of housing across Israel. Kahlon is hoping to have thousands of foreign workers come, replacing the current system of private construction firms hiring foreign workers as needed, which has resulted in a series of labor law violations and international criticism. Since 2011, Israel has signed similar agreements with Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Romania, bringing more than 12,000 foreign workers to Israel. (HA, TOI 6/7; AFP 6/8)

IDF strikes in the Gaza Strip continue, except in the hours following the govt.’s acceptance of the Egyptian cease-fire, killing 13 Palestinians. The IDF warns 100,000 residents of the al-Zaytun and al-Shuja‘iya neighborhoods to evacuate before morning on 7/16. Palestinians fire more than 120 rockets into Israel, including dozens directed at Tel Aviv, in a barrage claimed jointly by al-Qassam Brigades and al-Quds Brigades. Nr. the Erez crossing, 1 Israeli civilian is killed by a mortar shell while distributing food supplies to IDF soldiers. Nine rockets are intercepted by Iron Dome, and the rest caused no damage or injuries. (AFP, AP, HA, MNA, REU, WAFA 7/15)

Israel’s security cabinet votes 6–2 in favor of accepting the Egyptian cease-fire proposal from the previous day, and the IDF stops all strikes for several hours. PM Netanyahu says that if Hamas rejects the initiative, Israel will have “legitimacy” to take further action “to restore quiet.” PA Pres. Abbas, in Cairo for talks with Egyptian pres. al-Sisi, calls for the acceptance of the proposal. However, Hamas rejects the text, describing it as “an initiative of kneeling and submission,” and both the armed Palestinian groups and the IDF continue hostilities. Hamas spokesperson Abu Zuhri says that the group was ignored by Egyptian mediators, with Islamic Jihad official Khalid al-Batsh commenting that “initiatives shouldn’t be proposed through media outlets, but rather through the obvious channels, which are resistance factions and their leaders.” An unnamed senior PLO official says that “the Egyptians coordinated the initiative with Abbas and ignored Gaza,” and thus “Hamas leaders felt humiliated by the fact that the proposal was released without them being consulted about its contents ahead of time.” (AFP, AP, HA, MNA, REU, WAFA 7/15; PCHR 7/16)

After Hamas rejects the deal, Netanyahu vows to “significantly expand our offensive,” saying that the group “will pay for its decision.” Meanwhile, Dep. DM Danny Danon describes the Israeli govt.’s response to the Gaza crisis as a “failure” and Netanyahu fires him. (AFP, AP, HA, REU 7/15)

Suspected Salafi jihadists fire 3 rockets from the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, into Israel, wounding 4 civilians in Eilat. (REU 7/15)

In Vienna, reps. of Iran and the P5+1 powers continue their negotiations leading up to the 7/20 deadline for a comprehensive agreement on Iran’s disputed nuclear program. U.S. Secy. of State Kerry says they “have made progress . . . but there’s still more work to do.” Iranian FM Zarif says that Iran wants to “arrive at a solution everyone can be happy about.” The key issues remaining are Iran’s centrifuges and its uranium enrichment capacity over the next 10 years. (ALM, NYT 7/15)

In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops open fire on Palestinians walking close to the border fence nr. Bayt Lahiya, wounding 2. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Qalqilya at night; patrols in 2 villages nr. Hebron, 1 village nr. Jericho and Jenin at night. IDF troops violently disperse Palestinian, Israeli, and international protesters at weekly demonstrations against Israel’s separation wall, settlements, and occupation in 3 villages nr. Ramallah (Bil‘in, Nabi Salih, and Ni‘lin), and 1 village nr. Qalqilya (Kafr Qaddum). There are no serious injuries, except in Kafr Qaddum, where 5 are injured (4 struck by tear gas canisters, including 1 international, and 1 hit by a live bullet). (MNA 9/20; PCHR 9/26)

An Arab-introduced res. at the IAEA’s annual conference in Vienna to censure Israel’s refusal to allow international oversight of its nuclear weapons is voted down 43–54–32 (and another 30 countries were absent during the vote). (AP 9/20)

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) says that Syria has given details of some of its arsenal but still needs to fill in the gaps by next week to satisfy the timetable proposed by the Russian-U.S. plan. (REU 9/20)

White House dep. spokesperson Josh Earnest says that the Obama administration is ready to engage in talks with Iran “on the basis of mutual respect” about the country’s nuclear program. (REU 9/20)

Egyptian police arrest some 87 wanted men in a village nr. Cairo, while separately, gunmen target 3 military vehicles in Rafah, injuring 3 soldiers. Security forces say they also arrested 15 Salafist militants in villages in the n. Sinai. (AFP, AP, MNA 9/20)

In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian fishermen nr. Bayt Lahiya, causing no injuries or damage to vessels. In the West Bank, the IDF shoots and injures a Palestinian in Dahaysha r.c. in Bethlehem after troops entered the camp, provoking clashes. IDF troops also clash with residents in Jaba‘ village nr. Jenin during a patrol, with Palestinian youth throwing stones and soldiers responding with rubber-coated metal bullets. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Hebron at night, patrols in 1 village each nr. Jenin and Ramallah in the morning, 1 village nr. Hebron in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 village nr. Jenin at night. (PCHR 8/29; WAFA 8/22)

Palestinian officials say that U.S. envoy Martin Indyk and his team have not attended any of the negotiating sessions thus far at the request of the Israelis. Both Yasir ‘Abid Rabbuh and Hanan Ashrawi claim that Israel intends for the lack of U.S. participation in the 3 meetings, since the resumption of talks to strengthen Israel’s power over the Palestinians. Meanwhile, Pres. Mahmud Abbas meets with a delegation from the Israeli party Meretz in Ramallah, telling them that signing a peace agreement will mean the “end of the conflict” and that a future Palestinian state would agree to be demilitarized. Abbas also tells the Israeli politicians that the Palestinian leadership is unhappy with the slow pace of negotiations. (HA, JP, ToI 8/22)

Suspected mbrs. of the al-Qa‘ida-linked Brigades of Abdullah Azzam fire 4 rockets from s. Lebanon into n. Israel, causing no damage or injuries (and with 1 intercepted by Iron Dome missile defense batteries). The IDF says it views the attack as an isolated incident, and attributes it to “global jihad” elements. On 8/27, the brigades appear to directly claim responsibility for the attack via a statement published on the Twitter account of a Salafist cleric known to be affiliated with the group. Meanwhile, gunmen in Tripoli open fire and kill 3 outside the home of Hizballah supporter. (AP, HA, REU 8/22; YA 8/27)

Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz says that the govt. believes that Syrian forces are responsible for a chemical weapons attack that reportedly killed hundreds of people in Ghouta, a rebel-controlled suburb of Damascus. Meanwhile, Syria’s dep. PM says that foreign fighters and their international supporters are to blame for the attack. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich says that his govt. urges the Syrian authorities and the UN to agree on chemical weapons experts visiting the site of the alleged attack. (AP, AFP, REU 8/22)

Former Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak is released from a prison cell and moved to house arrest at a military hospital. (NYT 8/22)

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)

U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry welcomes the Arab League’s expression of support for reviving peace talks made the previous day, describing it as a ‘‘very big step forward.’’ An Israeli official welcomes the development, but says that the framework will not be a starting point for talks. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni says that the Arab League proposal represents encouragement for the Palestinians that they have regional support for a negotiated agreement. PLO Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat says that the Arab League’s support for land swaps is nothing new. Meanwhile, Israel’s Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel says that his party, Bayit Yehudi, will not back a 2013 budget that does not include full funding for West Bank settlement construction projects. (NYT 4/29; MNA, JP 4/30)

In the Gaza Strip, the IDF makes an air strike nr. Rafah assassinating Hitham al-Mishal, whom Israel accuses of being a Salafist militant responsible for arms manufacturing. In response, Hamas urges Egypt to ensure that Israel stays committed to the truce deal signed at the end of Operation Pillar of Defense in 11/2012 (see QU 167). Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen twice, once off the central Gaza coast nr. Dayr al-Balah and once off the south Gaza coast nr. Rafah, in the latter case causing damage and 1 injury. IDF forces also make a brief incursion into central Gaza nr. Juhr al-Dikto level land and clear lines of sight along the border fence. In the West Bank, a Palestinian fatally stabs a Jewish settler from Yitzhar at a Tapuach junction bus stop. In retaliation, Jewish settlers riot and attack Palestinians across the West Bank, including blocking roads and throwing stones at passing vehicles. Overall, the Palestinian civil defense report 57 fires across the West Bank caused by settlers, with damage to hundreds of olive and almond trees. In the most serious incident, Jewish settlers from Yitzhar settlement attack a mosque in Urif village and try to set it on fire; and stone a bus carrying Palestinian schoolchildren, injuring 2. The attack on Urif sparks clashes between IDF forces and Palestinians, leaving 4 Palestinians injured. Meanwhile, the IDF patrols in Hebron and 2 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning; conducts house searches and arrest raids in Tulkarm in the afternoon, and in Bethlehem and Tulkarm at night. (HA, MNA 4/30; MNA 5/1; PCHR 5/2)

UNRWA estimates that 235,000 Palestinian refugees have been displaced inside Syria during the ongoing civil war. (AP, WAFA 4/30)

Palestinian prisoner Maysara Abuhamdieh dies in Israeli jail from complications caused by terminal cancer, prompting clashes between protesters and IDF forces in Hebron. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Committee blames Israel for Abuhamdieh’s death, saying that he did not receive adequate medical treatment. Gaza’s tiny Salafist group, the Mujahidin Shura Council, fires 3 mortars towards Israel, claiming retaliation for Abuhamdieh’s death; 2 of the mortars fall within Gaza. In retaliation, the IDF makes 2 nighttime airstrikes nr. Bayt Lahiya. No injuries are reported in either incident. Meanwhile, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Tulkarmin the morning, and in and around Hebronin the afternoon; conducts house searches and arrest raids in and around Bethlehem and nearby Dahaysha r.c., in and around Hebron, in Jenin, and in 1 village nr. Tulkarm at night. (HA 4/2; ToI, YA 4/3; PCHR 4/4)

Hamas’ Shura Council elects Khalid Mishal as politburo head for the fourth time, according to Egyptian officials. The secret election is conducted in a Cairo hotel. (MNA 4/2)

Israeli forces and unidentified armed persons in Syria briefly exchange fire across the demarcation line on the Golan Heights. The IDF reports no injuries or damage on its side, but claim that its return of fire scored a ‘‘direct hit.’’ (AP, REU 4/2)

At an Arab League meeting in Doha, Palestinian pres. Abbas calls for renewed negotiations with Israel for a 6-mo. period, provided that Israel freeze all West Bank and East Jerusalem settlement construction during that time. Responding to recent public Palestinian criticism over the increasing cost of living, Abbas also calls for an amendment to the 1994 Paris Protocol covering economic relations between Israel and the PA. At the meeting, Qatari PM Shaykh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani says that the 2002 Arab peace initiative (offering full normalization for full peace; see Quarterly Update in JPS 124) should be reviewed, though Abbas urges against withdrawing the initiative. Arab states agree to provide the PA with a monthly ‘‘safety net’’ of $100 m. to help bridge the PA budget deficit. The PA announces that it hopes to pay civil servants’ salaries for 11/2012 in the coming days. (AFP, JP, MNA, REU, ToI 12/9)

Israeli PM Netanyahu criticizes PA pres. Abbas for engaging with Hamas in reconciliation efforts. In Gaza, visiting Hamas leader Mishal says that it is time for Hamas and Fatah to put past mistakes behind them, though free and fair Palestinian elections should come first. (MNA, ToI 12/9)

In the Gaza Strip, the Hamas government releases Abu Hafs al-Maqdisi, leader of Salafist group Jaysh al-Ummah (Army of the Nation). The IDF fires warning shots at Palestinians collecting gravel and rubble close to the border fence nr. Bayt Hanun, wounding 1. In the West Bank, Jewish settlers throw stones at Palestinian vehicles in 2 incidents nr. Bethlehem and Hebron, injuring 1 Palestinian woman. The IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning, in 1 village nr. Ramallah and 2 villages nr. Tulkarm in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Ramallah at night. The IDF also conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon, in Nablus and 2 nearby villages, and 1 village each nr. Bethlehem and Ramallah at night. (MNA 12/10; PCHR 12/13)

The death toll in clashes in Tripoli between Lebanese Sunni and Alawite militias hits at least 17, with over 100 wounded, in the worst case of spill-over violence in Lebanon from Syria’s civil war. (NYT 12/9)

The IDF carries out an air strike on n. Gaza, assassinating 2 armed Palestinians, at least 1 of whom was from the Salafist group al-Tawhid wal-Jihad and also wounding a child. Earlier, the group claimed responsibility for a rocket that hit the Israeli city of Netivot. In the night, the IDF fires a missile at a Hamas training site nr. Gaza City, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin in the morning, and in 1 village nr. Qalqilya, 1 village nr. Jenin, and 1 village nr. Tulkarm at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Jenin and 1 village nr. Hebron. Suspected Jewish settlers burn down olive trees belonging to residents of a village nr. Nablus. (IMEMC, NYT, ToI 10/13; PCHR 10/18)

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 Gaza court convicts several Palestinians identified as mbrs. of the Hamas security forces working for a Salafist group of the 2011 killing of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni (see QU in JPS 160). (MNA 9/17)

A PA court in Jericho extends the detention of Freedom Theater director and former AMB commander Zakaria Zubeidi by 19 days. In response, Zubeidi renews his hunger strike, which he had previously relaxed. (MNA 9/17)

Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen nr. Bayt Lahiya, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Hebron at night. Jewish settlers assault 3 Palestinian farmers in a village nr. Nablus. (MNA 9/18; PCHR 9/20)

Unidentified Palestinians fire a rocket from the Gaza Strip into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF makes a brief incursion into the Gaza Strip nr. Rafah to level land along the border fence in the morning. In the West Bank, the IDF reopens a road linking Jericho and the Jordan Valley with cities in the northern West Bank to Palestinians for the 1st time in a decade. (MNA, ToI 8/17; PCHR 8/30)

In Gaza, Hamas security forces arrest Salafist leader Shaykh Abu Suhaib Rashwan, allegedly linked to the group responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni in 2011 (see QU in JPS 160). (MNA 8/17)

Egyptian pres. Mohamed Morsi says that Egypt will continue to target ‘‘terrorists’’ in the Sinai Peninsula, working with others, including Palestinians. (ToI 8/17)

Kadima head Shaul Mofaz arrives in Washington for his 1st official visit as Israel’s vice PM in charge of overseeing peace process issues. He meets with U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton and U.S. security officials and urges the U.S. to support reviving peace talks with the Palestinians, stating that the greatest threat to Israel is not Iran but a Palestinian demographic majority. He presents his own peace plan (1st unveiled in 2009 and not endorsed by Netanyahu), which calls for the creation of an interim Palestinian state with temporary borders on 60% of the West Bank, land swaps making up for the other 40%, and Israel’s permanent control over most settlement areas. (WP 6/20)

Israeli drones and warplanes carry out another 5 air strikes across Gaza, leaving at least 2 armed Palestinians and 1 Palestinian child dead and 10 Palestinians (2 armed, 8 civilian) wounded. The strikes include (1) an air strike on Gaza City targeting 2 members of the Salafist Tawhid and Jihad (TAJ) group whom Israel now alleges were involved in the 6/18 attack on Israel from the Sinai (1 TAJ member is killed, 1 is wounded; a family picnicking nearby is also hit, leaving a 13-yr.-old Palestinian boy dead, and 4 mbrs. of his family, including 3 children, seriously injured); (2) 2 missiles fired at a rocket-launching team in Rafah (1 armed Palestinian killed, 1 wounded); (3) air strikes on 2 IQB training camps in Jabaliya r.c. and Nussayrat r.c. (injuring 5 bystanders in nearby homes). Meanwhile, Palestinians fire more rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, damaging a house but causing no injuries. Since 6/17, Israel has carried out at least 17 air strikes on Gaza, and Palestinians have fired more than 100 rockets and mortars. By late evening, Hamas officials in Gaza say that Gaza’s factions have agreed to an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire with Israel to end 3 days of cross-border violence. In addition, Israeli naval vessels fire on and detain 3 Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza shore, questioning 6 fishermen (all released on 6/21). In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Salfit, and nr. Hebron and Jenin; conducts late-night patrols in Jericho. (YA 6/20; NYT, PCHR, WP 6/21; PCHR 6/28; OCHA 6/29)

Overnight, the YESHA settlers’ council reaches a deal with the Israeli government to peacefully evacuate Ulpana outpost in exchange for a promises that 300 new housing units will be built in neighboring Beit El settlement and that the deal would not be used as a precedent for deciding the fate of other unauthorized settlement outposts. Meanwhile, some 1,000 Israeli police officers undergo special training to prevent violence and injuries during the Ulpana evacuation. (NYT 6/20)

Several U.S. representatives from both parties testifying before the House Armed Services Comm. recommend that the Pentagon begin preparing for military action against Iran, including expediting deployment of bunker-busting munitions that could target Iran’s underground facilities. (WP 6/21)

In the morning, IDF troops on the c. Gaza border fire toward the village of al-Mussaddar, seriously wounding a 12-yr.-old boy on a donkey cart. In the evening, an Israeli drone fires a missile at 2 mbrs. of a Salafist group riding a motorcycle in Jabaliya, assassinating 1 Salafist (Abdullah al-Talbani) and wounding a 2d Salafist and 3 civilian bystanders (including a child). In response, unidentified Palestinians fire a rocket toward Israel, but it lands inside the Strip, causing no damage or injuries. Late at night, an Israeli warplane carries out a 2d air strike on a car in Gaza City carrying 4 unidentified Palestinian resistance mbrs., wounding them. The right-wing Israeli Eldad Foundation announces plans to build a new tourism center at a disputed archaeological site just outside the Old City in East Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood. (JP, NYT 12/28; PCHR 12/29; OCHA 1/5)

Bosnia, a rotating UNSC mbr., announces that it will abstain from the vote on the Palestinian membership in the UN, making it impossible for the Palestinians to secure the 9 votes needed to approve the application, making a U.S. veto unnecessary. The lack of 9 supporting votes also means the Palestinians cannot ask the UNGA to consider the measure under the Uniting for Peace res. (res. 377). (NYT 11/1)

UNESCO’s general conference votes (107-14, with 52 abstentions and 20 not present) to approve Palestine’s full membership. The U.S., Israel, and Canada immediately announce they are cutting off funding to the organization. (CNN, HA 10/31; NYT, WT 11/1)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 5 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Israel prepares to launch a major attack on Gaza in response, but Egypt intervenes, saying intelligence indicates it was a small Salafist group that fired the rockets, not Hamas or Islamic Jihad, and asking Israel to wait 24 hrs. before responding to see if the cease-fire will take hold. The IDF demolishes 3 Palestinian homes in al-Khan al-Ahmar in East Jerusalem; patrols in Tulkarm, 1 nearby village, and 1 village nr. Jenin in the morning; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Jenin and 1 nearby village; conducts late-night patrols in 3 villages nr. Jenin, Qalqilya, and Tulkarm. Jewish settlers fr. Migron settlement nr. Ramallah stone an elderly Palestinian woman harvesting olives on her property, moderately injuring her. (IDFS, JP, REU 10/31; HA 11/2; PCHR 11/3; OCHA 11/4; JPI 11/11)

In the afternoon, the IDF carries out an air strike on a rocket-launching team in s. Gaza, killing 1 DFLP mbr. and seriously wounding another. By nightfall, Egypt announces it has secured pledges fr. the Palestinian factions to a reimpose the cease-fire. Netanyahu publicly states that “there is no cease-fire,” vowing to attack if Israel perceives a threat; Islamic Jihad says it reserves the right to respond if attacked. Late at night, the IDF carries out 3 air strikes targeting mbrs. of the armed wing of the Salafist alAhrar Movement nr. Khan Yunis, killing 2 al-Ahrar mbrs., and fires 2 drone missiles at another group of armed Palestinians in Jabaliya in n. Gaza, causing no reported injuries. There is no immediate Palestinian retaliation. In the West Bank, the IDF daytime patrols in Tulkarm town and r.c., 3 villages nr. Ramallah, 2 nr. Salfit, and 1 each nr. Jenin and Jericho; conducts late-night patrols in Jericho, Salfit (summoning 1 Palestinian for questioning), Tulkarm, and 4 villages nr. Qalqilya (summoning 2 Palestinians for questioning). (AHR, IDFS 10/30; IDF, NYT 10/31; PCHR 11/3; OCHA 11/4)

Cross-border exchanges in Gaza continue overnight and throughout the day. The PRCs, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AMB), and a small Salafist group (the Abdullah Azzam Brigades) fire around 17 rockets (including at least 4 Grads) and at least 2 mortars into Israel, seriously injuring 2 Israelis and damaging a religious seminary and a synagogue. The IDF carries out at least 25 air strikes (warplanes and drones) and 5 artillery strikes, killing at least another 7 Palestinians (5 militants and 2 bystanders, including 1 child) and wounding at least 40; the attacks include the targeted assassination of Islamic Jihad’s senior military cmdr. Mu’ataz Quraiqe‘ in Gaza City, also killing his brother and 2-yr.-old son. (The other 4 militants killed, including senior PRC cmdr. Samed Abed, apparently were targeted after firing rockets.) Other targets include smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border, the main waste treatment facility in Nussayrat refugee camp (r.c.) in central Gaza, and numerous Hamas facilities and suspected weapons storage facilities across the Strip. With air strikes continuing into the evening, Hamas’s military wing, the Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades (IQB), declares that it no longer considers itself bound by a unilateral cease-fire that had been in place since the end of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in 1/2009. Israeli officials discuss the possibility of launching an all-out offensive on Gaza. A Hamas mbr. injured in an 8/15/11 Israeli air strike on Gaza dies. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin and 1 each nr. Jericho, Qalqilya, and Ramallah. 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, Ni‘lin, and al-Nabi Salih. IDF soldiers beat and fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, injuring 1 Palestinian. (JP, MNA, YA 8/19; NYT, WP 8/20; IMEU, JAZ 8/21; PCHR 8/25; OCHA 8/26; NYT 8/27)

In Cairo, 100s of Egyptians angry over Israel’s killing of 3 soldiers in the Sinai on 8/18 gather outside the Israeli emb., demanding Israel’s amb. be expelled. Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF; the interim military leadership) summons the Israeli amb. to demand an apology and call for an investigation into the killings. The Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate for pres., Abdel Moneim Abou el-Fatouh, calls the incident an Israeli act of war, saying the SCAF should abrogate the 1979 peace treaty. (NYT, WP 8/20)

The small Salafist group, Abdullah Azzam Brigades fires 2 Grad rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing light damage to a road in 1 instance but no injuries. Late at night, the IDF retaliates with 2 air strikes on alleged Hamas training facilities in Gaza City and 1 on a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border, injuring 2 Palestinian children. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Tulkarm. (AFP, JTA, PCHR 8/4; PCHR 8/11; OCHA 8/12)

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm and several nearby villages repeatedly during the day; patrols in a major show of force in Nabi Salih late at night, firing live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades in the streets to harass residents and temporarily occupying the local council headquarters as an observation post. Palestinians and international activists demonstrate in Bayt Umar against settlement expansion; the IDF fires stun grenades and beats several demonstrators, injuring 4 Palestinians (including 1 child). In Gaza City, Hamas authorities break up a demonstration by 10s of Salafists protesting the U.S. assassination of Osama Bin Laden. (WP 5/8; OCHA, PCHR 5/12)

In Syria, troops and tanks surround, cut off, and raid Baniyas and Zabadani village outside Damascus. (NYT, WP 5/8)

In Gaza, the radical Salafist group Tawhid and Jihad issues a statement saying it has kidnapped an Italian national in Gaza and will kill him by 5:00 p.m. local time on 4/15 if Hamas authorities do not release its imprisoned leaders (Hisham Saidani and Shaykh Abu Wali al-Makdisi, arrested in 3/2011), other supporters, and “global jihadists.” A Palestinian wounded by IDF shelling in Gaza on 4/8 dies of his injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Jericho and Ramallah in the morning and 4 villages nr. Qalqilya, 1 nr. Nablus, and 1 nr. Tulkarm late at night. Jewish settlers fr. Brakha settlement nr. Nablus attack Palestinian farmers working their land nearby; when the Palestinians throw stones at the settlers, the IDF intervenes, firing tear gas at the Palestinians to disperse them. (NYT 4/15; PCHR 4/21; OCHA 4/29)

In Gaza, 4 Palestinians die, 5 are injured in a smuggling tunnel collapse. The small Salafist group Tawhid and Jihad claims to fire 2 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, but the IDF says it has no record of any incidents. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in ‘Ayn al-Sultan r.c. nr. Jericho in the morning; conducts late-night patrols in Jericho, Salfit, 2 villages nr. Qalqilya, and 1 nr. Ramallah. (AFP 4/12; MNA, NYT 4/13; PCHR 4/14; OCHA 4/15)

The IDF makes another (see 10/17) brief incursion into s. Gaza nr. Abasan to level land to clear lines of sight. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts synchronized daytime patrols in 3 villages nr. Tulkarm, making no arrests; conducts synchronized late-night patrols in 2 villages southeast of Jenin, making no arrests; conducts similar late-night patrols in Bal‘a village nr. Tulkarm; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron. Of note: Islamic Jihad in Gaza issues a statement that “the leadership has taken a crucial decision to disown all members who go out on impromptu missions or under the banner of other organizations, such as those who refer to themselves as Salafists.” The statement notably does not explicitly bar mbrs. participation in the PRCs, an umbrella group comprising mbrs. of all Palestinian factions, suggesting that Islamic Jihad, like Hamas, is increasingly worried about radical Islamist groups in Gaza. (AFP 10/18; PCHR 10/21; OCHA 10/22)

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night patrols in Tulkarm town and r.c. and in 3 villages nr. Qalqilya, 2 nr. Ramallah, 2 nr. Salfit, facing stone-throwing youths in 1 instance (firing rubber-coated steel bullets at them, causing no injuries) and making no arrests; conducts synchronized late-night arrest raids, house searches in Jenin town and r.c. and 3 neighboring villages; conducts additional late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron. Jewish settlers fr. Harsina settlement nr. Hebron uproot 70 grapevines from nearby Palestinian land. In Gaza, 25 unidentified gunmen (suspected Salafists) set fire to a popular water park, completely destroying it, and beat the 2 night watchmen. (PCHR 9/23; OCHA 9/24; JPI 10/1)

Ansar al-Sunna, a Salafist militant group opposed to Hamas, fires a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF responds with air strikes on 2 open areas along the s. Gaza border and on a Hamas training site in central Bayt Hanun in n. Gaza; no casualties are reported, but significant damage to surrounding civilian buildings is noted in Bayt Hanun. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around East Jerusalem and nr. Bethlehem, Ramallah. (JP 5/19; PCHR 5/20; AFP, JP 5/21; OCHA, PCHR 5/27)

U.S. special envoy George Mitchell arrives in the region for 2 days of indirect Israeli-Palestinian talks, marking the first full round of “proximity talks” since their launch on 5/9. The sides continue to differ on the agenda for talks and which issues should be negotiated first. (CSM, IFM, WP 5/20; WSJ 5/21) 

In response to recent escalating rocket and mortar fire, IDF warplanes and helicopters carry out 7 early morning air strikes on 2 caravans nr. Khan Yunis (no injuries), a cheese factory in Gaza City (injuring 3 Palestinian children nearby), and a metal foundry in Nussayrat r.c. (no injuries) that Israel claims were weapons factories and arms depots, warning of broader retaliation if rocket attacks continue. The U.S. urges both sides to display restraint. Hrs. later, Hamas issues a statement saying it is working with Gaza factions to reimpose the cease-fire with Israel before it escalates out of control, but also condemns the Israeli air strikes for aggravating the situation and calls on the international community to press Israel to keep retaliation in check. (Salafist groups opposed to Hamas refuse to participate in the ceasefire.) In the West Bank, Palestinians stone a settler vehicle outside Hawara village nr. Nablus, causing it to crash (no word on injuries); the IDF sends troops into Hawara in pursuit of the stone throwers, arresting 1 Palestinian. The IDF also fires rubbercoated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas at Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists taking part in nonviolent weekly demonstrations against the separation wall and settlement expansion in Bil‘in (10s suffer tear gas inhalation; 1 Israeli is arrested), Dayr Nizam/al-Nabi Salih (3 Palestinians injured), al-Ma‘sara (where only Palestinians demonstrated; 4 injured), and Ni‘lin (10s suffer tear gas inhalation); conducts latenight arrest raids, house searches nr. Qalqilya. (AFP, JAZ, NYT, YA 4/2; NYT, WP 4/3; YA 4/7; PCHR 4/8; OCHA 4/15)

IDF troops on the s. Gaza border fire on armed Palestinians laying a roadside bomb nr. the border fence e. of Khan Yunis. When Palestinians return fire, the troops enter the Strip in pursuit, triggering at least 1 buried device and drawing Palestinian mortar fire, which prompts the IDF to move several tanks and armed bulldozers into Gaza, shelling areas outside Khan Yunis. The exchange leaves 2 armed Palestinians, 1 Palestinian bystander, and 2 IDF soldiers dead and 3 IDF soldiers and 6 Palestinians (including at least 2 civilians, one a 13-yr.-old boy) wounded, marking the 1st deadly exchange of fire in Gaza since OCL ended on 1/18/09. The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Islamic Jihad, and a group calling itself Palestinian Taliban (believed to be a radical Salafist splinter group opposed to Hamas) claim their fighters were involved in the initial border incident; the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades claims responsibility for ambushing and firing mortars at IDF troops once they entered Gaza, causing the IDF casualties. In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas at Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists taking part in weekly demonstrations against the separation wall and settlement expansion in Bil‘in (10s suffer tear gas inhalation; 1 Israeli is arrested), Dayr Nizam/al-Nabi Salih (2 Palestinians injured), and Ni‘lin (10s suffer tear gas inhalation). (JP 3/27; WP 3/28; OCHA, PCHR 4/1; PCHR 4/8)