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  • May 6, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers threw stones at 1 Palestinian man, who was hospitalized for his injuries, in the Masafer Yatta area. Israeli settlers also threw stones at Palestinian vehicles...

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  • May 5, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli forces shot and killed 1 Palestinian minor with 2 shots to his back and injured his cousin with live ammunition during a raid in Odla near Nablus; the deceased’s aunt...

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  • April 7, 2021

    In the West Bank, 1 Israeli settler struck and killed 1 Palestinian woman with their car near al-Samu’; it was unclear if the settler had rammed the woman intentionally. Israeli settlers with...

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  • February 20, 2020

    In the West Bank, Israel issued demolition orders for 4 residential structures south of Hebron and 5 homes in the Ramallah area as punitive demolitions against alleged Palestinian attackers....

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  • July 27, 2016

    Overnight in the West Bank, IDF troops assault the Hebron-area home of a Palestinian, allegedly a mbr. of PIJ involved in the killing of an Israeli on 7/1. After declaring the village a closed...

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  • March 30, 2015

    IDF troops on the Gaza border e. of Khan Yunis open fire on Palestinians nr. the border fence gathering to commemorate Land Day, injuring 2. In the West Bank, thousands of Palestinians gather in...

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  • March 25, 2015

    In the West Bank, a Palestinian man dies from injuries sustained during clashes with IDF troops in Jalazun r.c. on 3/18. Another Palestinian succumbs to injuries sustained when he fell off the...

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  • December 24, 2014

    In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces shoot and kill 1 Palestinian mbr. of Hamas’s military wing and injure 2 others in a cross-border firefight nr. Khan Yunis. The Palestinian fighters shoot and...

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  • December 3, 2014

    In the Gaza Strip, the union of hospital sanitation workers goes on a full strike following weeks of partial strikes protesting the govt.’s failure to pay them since 6/2. Off the coast nr. Gaza...

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  • November 5, 2014

    In the West Bank, the IDF shoots and wounds 2 Palestinians during a protest nr. Ramallah. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 2 villages nr. Nablus and 1 village each nr. Hebron...

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  • October 27, 2014

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

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  • May 26, 2014

    In the n. Gaza Strip, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian civilians on the shore nr. the border fence, wounding 1. Off the coast of the Gaza Strip nr. al-Sudaniyya, Israeli naval forces open fire...

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  • February 5, 2014

    In the West Bank, the IDF expels 35 Palestinian Bedouin families from their homes in the n. Jordan Valley. The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Hebron at night; conducts house searches and arrest...

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  • July 1, 2013

    An anonymous, senior Israeli official says that U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry presented Palestinian pres. Mahmud Abbas with a proposal for the renewal of direct negotiations during meetings in...

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  • June 30, 2013

    In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 2 villages nr. Nablus, Tulkarm, 1 village nr. Hebron, 1 village nr. Ramallah, 1 village nr. Bethlehem and Aida r.c. in...

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  • June 26, 2013

    In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 3 villages nr. Hebron, Tulkarm, and 1 nearby village, Nablus, Tubas, and 1 village nr. Ramallah at night; patrols in Jenin and...

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  • March 13, 2013

    In the West Bank, the IDF opens fire on Palestinians protesting the killing of a man in al-Fawar r.c. on 3/12, injuring 4 with rubber-coated steel bullets. The IDF conducts house searches and...

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  • December 19, 2012

    Fourteen of 15 mbrs. of the UNSC make statements condemning Israel’s settlement construction plans, while the U.S. vows to veto any resolution on the issue. Four separate statements are made by...

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  • December 3, 2012

    Britain, Denmark, France, Spain, and Sweden summon the Israeli ambassadors to their countries to protest Israel’s settlement construction plans. An anonymous senior European diplomat tells the...

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  • August 22, 2012

    In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Tulkarm (firing tear gas at stone-throwing Palestinians in one case) in the morning, in 1 village nr. Tulkarm and 1 village nr. Hebron, and in...

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  • August 13, 2012

    In East Jerusalem, PLO Exec. Comm. mbr. Hanan Ashrawi addresses diplomats from Asia, the EU, Latin America, and the Middle East, calling on them to increase donor aid to the PA and to support a...

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  • April 4, 2012

    Israeli and Palestinian officials confirm that discussions are underway for a high-level meeting between Israeli PM Netanyahu and PA PM Salam al-Fayyad after Passover ends on 4/13. Fayyad plans to...

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  • December 18, 2011

    The last U.S. combat troops pull out of Iraq 2 wks. ahead of Obama’s 12/31/11 target date; 1,000s of U.S. diplomats and contractors remain in the country, as well as 150 U.S. soldiers tasked to...

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  • November 15, 2011

    During a regular security briefing to the Knesset, IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz says that Israel may need to strike Gaza if rocket fire continues, stating that Israel would initiate an...

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  • November 1, 2011

    Retaliating for the 10/31 UNESCO vote, Netanyahu suspends the transfer of VAT taxes Israel collects on the PA’s behalf and orders accelerated construction of 2,000 settlement housing units in East...

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  • August 9, 2011

    IDF troops on the c. Gaza border e. of Juhur al-Dik fire on a Palestinian shepherd who strays nr. the border fence, wounding her and killing 8 sheep. Israeli bulldozers working nr. the fmr. Nahal...

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  • August 4, 2011

    The Obama admin. invites Palestinian officials to Washington to discuss conditions under which they might drop their UN statehood bid. The PA says chief negotiator Saeb Erakat and Abbas spokesman...

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  • May 19, 2011

    U.S. pres. Barack Obama gives a major speech on the Middle East meant to reassess U.S. priorities in the region, particularly in light of the recent prodemocracy uprisings (the “Arab Spring”). He...

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  • December 21, 2010

    AOI mbrs. fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel that lands nr. an empty school nr. Ashqelon, causing light damage and injuring 1 Israeli. In the afternoon, an IDF drone makes a missile strike...

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  • November 8, 2010

    Israel’s Interior Min. says it will move forward with plans to build 1,300 new Jewish settlement housing units in East Jerusalem (978 in Har Homa/Jabal Abu Ghunaym, 320 in Ramot). At the same time...

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In the West Bank, Israeli settlers threw stones at 1 Palestinian man, who was hospitalized for his injuries, in the Masafer Yatta area. Israeli settlers also threw stones at Palestinian vehicles near al-Mughayyir and Madama, causing damage. 3 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Tubas and Bethlehem. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinian protesters in Shaykh Jarrah demonstrating against Israeli threats of evictions to several families in the neighborhood; 22 were injured, including 6 by rubber-coated bullets. At a counter-protest, the Kahanist lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir from Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) had set up an outdoor office protected by dozens of Israeli police officers. In a video of the counter-protest, the deputy mayor of Jerusalem Aryeh King was filmed yelling to a Palestinian activist, while standing next to Ben-Gvir, “Abu Hummus [the Palestinian activist], how is your ass? Did they take the bullet out of your ass? Did they take it out already? It is a pity it did not go in here,” pointing to his head. Nearby, 1 Israeli settler-owned vehicle was set on fire, to which 3 Israeli settlers armed with live ammunition fired at unarmed Palestinians; no injuries were reported. 1 Israeli settler also used pepper spray on Palestinians eating an iftar meal near 1 of the houses Palestinians are threatened with eviction; clashes subsequently broke out. In a separate incident, 1 Israeli settler stabbed 1 Palestinian at his workplace, who was hospitalized for his injures. 15 Palestinians were arrested in Shaykh Jarrah. 1 Palestinian Waqf guard was also arrested at the Haram al-Sharif compound. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen within 3 nautical miles west of al-Sudaniyya, damaging 1 boat; no injuries were reported. In Gaza, Israel said 6 incendiary balloons from Gaza had started fires in Israel. (AP, HA, WAFA, WAFA 5/6; HA, HA, MEE, MEMO, TOI, WAFA, WAFA 5/7; HA 5/10; PCHR 5/11)

The lawyer representing the Palestinian families under the eviction threat in Shaykh Jarrah said the families reached an agreement with the Israeli settlers supposed to take over their homes, as was asked of them by an Israeli judge. The lawyer also said he had asked the court to allow more data to be presented on behalf of the Palestinians proving their ownership. The judge of the Israeli court subsequently ruled to postpone the decision until 5/10. (WAFA, WAFA 5/6; ALM, MEMO 5/7)

1 Palestinian reporter said that she was beaten by a Hamas police officer for not wearing a headscarf while working on a news story on 4/25. The Hamas interior ministry said it would present an apology to the reporter, as the police officer had acted in violation of policy. (AP 5/6; ALM 5/11)

Foreign minister of Jordan Ayman Safadi called on Israel to protect the ownership rights of the Palestinians facing eviction in Shaykh Jarrah, saying that Jordan has provided the PA with documents that proves “beyond doubt” that the Palestinians own the homes. The Arab League also condemned Israel for evicting Palestinians in East Jerusalem. (MEMO 5/6; HA 5/7)

At a military court in the West Bank, Israel charged a Spanish woman with financially aiding the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which Israel considers a terrorist organization. The woman lives in the West Bank and works for a Palestinian health NGO. (AP 4/6)

For the 2d day in a row, Israeli forces attacked Syria. In this attack, an Israeli helicopter fired near Quneitra; there were no reports of damage nor injuries. (REU 5/5; HA 5/6)

A group of 185 Israelis, including prize winners, professors, authors, activists, and military personnel wrote a letter to the ICC, saying not to trust Israel’s own conclusions from investigations into war crimes, suggesting that the ICC instead work with Israeli human rights organizations. (HA, MEE 5/6)

In a joint statement, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK urged “Israel to reverse its decision to advance the construction of 540 settlement units in the Har Homa E area of the occupied West Bank, and to cease its policy of settlement expansion across the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” (REU 5/6; AJ, ALM, HA, JP, WAFA, WAFA 5/7)

In the West Bank, Israeli forces shot and killed 1 Palestinian minor with 2 shots to his back and injured his cousin with live ammunition during a raid in Odla near Nablus; the deceased’s aunt said that the cousins were running home when they were shot in their backs. Israeli forces raided Aqraba, attacking a house where the suspect of a drive-by shooting against 3 Israeli settlers on 5/2 was allegedly hiding, leading to a firefight; the suspect was later arrested in Silwad. 11 Palestinians were arrested during raids in Aqraba, Dura, Idhna, and Hizma. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinians protesting the pending evictions of several Palestinian families from Shaykh Jarrah, injuring 22, including 6 from live ammunition, and 12 were arrested. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen within 3 nautical miles west of al-Sudaniyya; no injuries were reported. (AP, HA, HA, MEE, WAFA, WAFA 5/5; AJ, ALM. AP, PCHR, PCHR, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 5/6; HA, HA, MEE 5/7)

1 Israeli settler victim of a drive-by shooting in the West Bank on 5/2 succumbed to his injuries. (HA 5/5; HA 5/7)

The PA said it had complained to the ICC about the pending forced eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in Shaykh Jarrah. (MEMO 5/6)

PA foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki met with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, discussing revamping the duties of the Middle East Quartet. Foreign Minister Lavrov said that Russia has offered to mediate between the PA and Israel “to resolve all fundamental final-status issues.” Foreign Minister al-Maliki also called on Russia to pressure Israel to allow Palestinians in East Jerusalem to partake in Palestinian elections. (AP 5/5; WAFA 5/6)

Israeli fighter jets attacked several locations near Latakia in Syria, killing 1 and injuring 6. (AJ, AP, HA, JP, MEE 5/5)

Israeli president Reuven Rivlin picked Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid as the next candidate to try to form a government after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s mandate expired on 5/4. (AJ, GDN, NPR, REU 5/5; HA 5/6)

The EU called on Israel to reverse its decision to build 540 settler units in Har Homa and that the EU, with concern, was following the situation in Shaykh Jarrah, Silwan, and al-Walaja. (WAFA 5/6; MEMO 5/7)

The Methodist Church of England said it had divested from the construction company Caterpillar in response to continued use of the company’s products in displacing Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory. (Sabeel-Kairos, WAFA 5/5)

In the West Bank, 1 Israeli settler struck and killed 1 Palestinian woman with their car near al-Samu’; it was unclear if the settler had rammed the woman intentionally. Israeli settlers with military escort raided Kafr Haris and Sabastiyya, closing off areas of both towns for Palestinians. Israeli forces issued demolition orders against 64 Palestinian-owned structures in Ras al-Ahmar. Israeli forces also delivered demolition notices for 2 residential structures and 2 agricultural structures in al-Jiftlik. 19 Palestinians were arrested during raids in and around Ras Karkar, Dayr Jarir, Bayt Umar, Yatta, Tulkarm, Jenin, and Tubas. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolished 1 car repair shop, 1 garage, 2 rooms in Issawiyya, and seized vending stalls near the Haram al-Sharif compound. 1 Palestinian was arrested during a house raid in Ras Khamis. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen within 3 nautical miles west of Bayt Lahiya; no injuries were reported. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 4/7; PCHR, WAFA 4/8)

Hamas declared a total lockdown of Gaza to curb the COVID-19 virus, which has been spreading at unprecedented levels. The lockdown will last until the morning of 4/16. Only food vendors and pharmacies will be allowed to remain open. In the 24 hours before the announcement, 6 people had succumbed to the virus in Gaza and 38 percent of tests were positive. 150 people were receiving care for the illness at a hospital. (HA 4/7)

An Israeli planning commission approved 540 new settlement units in Har Homa in East Jerusalem between the city and Bethlehem. The Jerusalem District Planning Committee will need to give the final approval to 540 units on 4/21. The PA condemned the decision. (HA, WAFA 4/7; MEMO, TOI 4/8)

1 Palestinian prisoner in administrative detention suspended his 47-day-long hunger strike after being promised that Israel would set a date for his release. (WAFA 4/7)

Palestinian human rights activist Issa Amro was acquitted of all charges in a Palestinian court. He had been charged with insulting higher authorities, causing public strife, and disturbing public order after writing criticism about the PA. (Twitter 4/7; Twitter 4/8)

Right-wing Israeli politician and leader of HaTzionut HaDatit (Religious Zionist Party) Bezalel Smotrich wrote on Twitter, “I heard that after Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, may he live a long life, said that a true Muslim must know that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People, Ahmad Tibi opened his mouth against him. So, Ahmad, a true Muslim must know that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people, and over time Arabs like you, who do not recognize that, will not remain here. Rabbi Shmuel and tens of thousands of his students, including us, will make sure that happens.” Smotrich’s comments about Palestinian-Israeli politician Ahmad Tibi drew condemnation from pro-Israel organizations in the U.S., including the Anti-Defamation League and AIPAC offshoot Democratic Majority for Israel. (HA, HA 4/7)

Jordanian king Abdullah II said that “the sedition has been buried,” in reference to the alleged plot against him from 4/3, where his half-brother Prince Hamzah bin Hussein was placed under house arrest for steering the plot. The Jordanian government has banned all national outlets from covering the issue. U.S. president Joe Biden assured Abdullah II of his support in a call. (AJ, AP, REU 4/6; AJ, AP, HA, HA, REU 4/7)

The U.S. announced that it will resume providing aid to the UNRWA, which has been cut since 2018. In its 1st aid package, the U.S. will provide $150 million to the UNRWA, $75 million in economic and development assistance to the West Bank and Gaza, and $10 million for “peacebuilding programs” through the USAID. The U.S. also sent $15 million in assistance to the West Bank and Gaza to help with their COVID-19 response in March. The Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Gilad Erdan condemned the U.S. decision to resume aid to UNRWA, saying that Palestinian refugees are not “real” refugees. (AJ, ALM, AX, HA, NYT, REU, USAID, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 4/7; GDN, WAFA, WAFA 4/8; WAFA 4/12)

The U.S. also said it was ready to lift “sanctions that are inconsistent with the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action]” on Iran. The announcement came as indirect talks about the U.S. rejoining the Iran nuclear deal, brokered by the EU, were underway in Vienna. (HA 4/8)

Axios reported that the U.S. has asked Israel to provide the water to Jordan it requested last month, but that Israel is said to withholding due to prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal feud with King Abdullah II, which has been growing in recent months and straining the 2 countries’ relationship. (AX 4/7)

In the West Bank, Israel issued demolition orders for 4 residential structures south of Hebron and 5 homes in the Ramallah area as punitive demolitions against alleged Palestinian attackers. Israeli forces violently dispersed a protest against the U.S. administration’s peace plan in Qalqilya, leading to tear-gas related injuries. 7 Palestinians were arrested during raids in and around Halhul, Ramallah, Salfit, and Anata. Israeli settlers severely beat 1 Palestinian doctor visiting patients near Bethlehem. In East Jerusalem, 3 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Silwan and Issawiyya. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire on Palestinian fishermen west of Bayt Lahiya; no injuries were reported. In Gaza, Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian lands near Bayt Hanun and east of Dayr al-Balah. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 2/20; PCHR 2/27)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel will expand 2 settlements, Har Homa and Givat Hamatos, in East Jerusalem with 2,200 and 3,000 housing units respectively. Prime Minister Netanyahu also said that Israel would apply sovereignty to al-Ibrahimi Mosque. The PA called Netanyahu’s announcement part of “a systematic destruction of the two-state solution.” (HA, NYT, WAFA 2/20; JP 2/23)

Israel and the PA ended its trade dispute, allowing Palestinian goods to exit the West Bank and Israeli agricultural products to enter the West Bank market. Israel started banning Palestinian goods to the Israeli market on 2/2 and later expanded the ban of export from the West Bank altogether. (HA, WAFA, WAFA 2/20)

Overnight in the West Bank, IDF troops assault the Hebron-area home of a Palestinian, allegedly a mbr. of PIJ involved in the killing of an Israeli on 7/1. After declaring the village a closed military zone, they cut the Internet and electricity, fire anti-tank missiles and other artillery at his 3-story residential building for 7 hours, and eventually demolish it, killing the man and injuring a 2d Palestinian. The operation sparks clashes with stone-throwing Palestinians in the area; 5 Palestinians are injured and 3 are arrested. (BBC, MNA, WAFA 7/27; PCHR 8/4)

After the major IDF operation nr. Hebron overnight, the PA announces that the IDF has agreed to begin lifting its general closure of Hebron and the surrounding district, which it put in place in the wake of a Palestinian’s shooting of a settler on 7/1. Tension remains high in Hebron, as the IDF patrols the region throughout the day. (JP 7/27)

Elsewhere in the West Bank, IDF troops arrest 11 Palestinians during late-night raids in Nablus and nr. Bethlehem. In East Jerusalem, Israeli police arrest 2 mbrs. of the Islamic Waqf after they allegedly assault 2 Israeli archaeologists at Haram al-Sharif, and arrest 2 Palestinians during raids in Silwan. Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces confront a Palestinian fishing party late at night, damaging 1 boat and arresting 5 Palestinians. Meanwhile, a Gazan succumbs to injuries sustained in a confrontation with Israeli forces on 11/23/2001. In Israel, Israeli forces demolish several structures in the bedouin village of al-Araqib for the 101st time since 6/2010. The demolitions spark minor clashes, and several Palestinians are arrested. (HA, JP, MNA, TOI, WAFA, YA 7/27; EI, MNA, PCHR, WAFA 7/28; PCHR 8/4)

Israeli NGO Peace Now announces that the Israeli govt. has opened tenders for the construction of 323 housing units in Israeli settlements nr. Jerusalem, including 89 in Gilo, 36 in Neve Ya’acov, 68 in Pisgat Ze’ev, and 130 in Har Homa. Meanwhile, the Israeli Knesset’s Ministerial Comm. for Legislation gives preliminary approval to a bill that would make some West Bank settlements eligible for special tax breaks in connection with the severity of their security situation. (MNA, PNOW 7/27; HA, TOI 7/28)

IDF troops on the Gaza border e. of Khan Yunis open fire on Palestinians nr. the border fence gathering to commemorate Land Day, injuring 2. In the West Bank, thousands of Palestinians gather in several villages and cities for Land Day; IDF troops violently disperse protests in villages nr. Nablus and Ramallah, causing a number of Palestinians to suffer tear gas inhalation. The IDF conducts house searches and raids in 2 villages nr. Hebron, 1 nr. Jenin, and Tulkarm, arresting 4 Palestinians; patrols in 5 villages nr. Ramallah, 1 nr. Jericho, and al-‘Arub r.c. and 1 village nr. Hebron. Israeli forces deliver demolition notices to 7 Palestinian-owned agricultural structures and water wells in a village nr. Nablus and to 7 residential structures in a village nr. Hebron. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces violently disperse Palestinians marching through the Old City to commemorate Land Day, injuring 1 and arresting 2. They also arrest 3 Palestinians at Haram al-Sharif, 3 in the Old City, and 1 during a house search in Silwan. Meanwhile, Palestinian citizens of Israel gather in Jerusalem, Dayr Hanna in the Galilee, and Rahat in the Negev to commemorate Land Day, but the Arab High Follow-Up Comm. does not call for a general strike as it did in 2014. (HA, JP, MNA, WAFA, YA 3/30; YA 3/31; PCHR 4/2)

The Jerusalem Municipality announces that it has approved tenders to build 142 new residences in the Har Homa settlement in East Jerusalem. Also, the Interior Ministry’s District Planning and Building Comm. approves a plan to construct over 2,200 new residences for Palestinians in Jabal Mukabir, East Jerusalem, and to retroactively approve hundreds that have already been built in the neighborhood. (WAFA 3/30; TOI 3/31; HA 4/1)

The PA Ministry of Civil Affairs announces that it will be providing 1 year of financial support to the approximately 15,000 Palestinian families in Gaza whose homes were destroyed during OPE. The project will be funded by international donors, primarily Arab League mbrs., and will grant families between NIS 1,000 and 1,500 per mo. ($250 to $378). (MNA, WAFA 3/30)

A bipartisan group of 4 U.S. senators sends a letter to Pres. Obama stating their opposition to the admin.’s reported reassessment of its policies regarding Israel and the possible end of U.S. support of Israel in international institutions, such as the UN. (TOI 3/31)

In the West Bank, a Palestinian man dies from injuries sustained during clashes with IDF troops in Jalazun r.c. on 3/18. Another Palestinian succumbs to injuries sustained when he fell off the separation wall nr. Jerusalem last week while trying to cross into Israel for work. IDF troops raid a school nr. Ramallah, blocking entrances and exits for 2 hours; patrol in 3 villages nr. Hebron, 1 nr. Tulkarm, and Jenin. They also conduct raids and house searches in al-‘Arub r.c. and 1 village nr. Hebron, as well as 2 villages nr. Jenin, arresting 5 Palestinians. Off the coast of Gaza nr. Gaza City, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats, causing damage but no injuries. In East Jerusalem, 78 right-wing Jewish activists tour Haram al-Sharif. Meanwhile,Israeli forces raid Shu‘fat r.c. to detain several youths, sparking clashes with local residents and injuring 3 Palestinians; conduct raids in the Old City, arresting 3 Palestinians. (JP, MNA, REU, TOI, WAFA 3/25; MNA, PCHR 3/26; PCHR 4/2)

Israeli pres. Reuven Rivlin meets with PM Netanyahu and asks him to form the next govt., after the CEC delivers Rivlin the official results from the 3/17 election. The Israeli govt. has temporarily frozen the construction of 1,500 settler residences in Har Homa, East Jerusalem. The PM’s office denies a report that the freeze was motivated by U.S. diplomatic concerns. (AFP, HA, JP, TOI, YA 3/25; TOI 3/26)

Hours before leaving office, IDF Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon signs orders that will apply Israel’s penal code to Palestinians in the West Bank, except for a key amendment exempting people from criminal charges if they take action “urgently required to ward off someone who breaks into his home, business or farm.” The key amendment would have provided additional protections for Palestinians in confrontations with Israeli settlers. (HA 3/26)

A PA unity govt. delegation led by PM Hamdallah arrives in Gaza for a planned 3-day visit. Hamdallah meets with local Fatah officials as well as senior Hamas officials to discuss the reconstruction of Gaza and national reconciliation. They agree to form a joint comm. to cooperate on several issues relating to Gaza. (AFP, JP, MNA, WAFA 3/25)

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces shoot and kill 1 Palestinian mbr. of Hamas’s military wing and injure 2 others in a cross-border firefight nr. Khan Yunis. The Palestinian fighters shoot and severely injure an Israeli soldier during the exchange. In the West Bank, a Palestinian man is found dead in Jericho with several stab wounds. Clashes break out between stonethrowing Palestinian youth and Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint nr. Hebron; dozens of Palestinians suffer from tear gas inhalation. More clashes break out nr. Hebron and Nablus, where 2 Palestinians are moderately injured. Israeli forces demolish 400 m of stone walls in a village nr. Nablus and 2 agricultural buildings nr. Hebron. IDF troops arrest 4 Palestinians at a checkpoint nr. Jenin; conduct house searches and arrest raids in and around Nablus and Hebron, as well as nr. Ramallah. Israeli settlers enter Salfit to perform religious rites, and settlers separately open fire on PA police officers nearby. Israeli settlers attack a Palestinian construction worker in Hebron, lightly injuring him. PA security forces conduct raids across the West Bank and detain 14 mbrs. of Hamas. In East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities return the bodies of the 2 Palestinians who were killed after attacking a synagogue in West Jerusalem on 11/18. Israel punitively held the bodies for over a mo. Israeli security forces clash with stone-throwing Palestinians in Issawiyya, and 1 Palestinian child is injured with a rubber-coated metal bullet. Israeli forces conduct arrest raids in Issawiyya, Sur al-Bahir, and al-Tur, where they also demolish 2 residential structures and a barn. (AP, HA, IMEMC, JP, MNA, TOI, WAFA, YA 12/24; HA, MEMO, WAFA 12/25; PCHR 12/31)

The World Bank transfers $31.6 m. to the PA via the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan Trust Fund. The money was donated by Australia, the UK, and Norway and will fund, among other things, emergency needs in Gaza. (WAFA 12/24; MNA 12/25)

Israeli authorities approve the construction of 380 new residences in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Har Homa and Ramot, as well as a separate plan for 1,850 residences in Arnona. (AFP, HA, IMEMC, WAFA 12/24)

In the Gaza Strip, the union of hospital sanitation workers goes on a full strike following weeks of partial strikes protesting the govt.’s failure to pay them since 6/2. Off the coast nr. Gaza City, Israeli naval forces open fire on a Palestinian fishing boat, critically injuring 1 fisherman. IDF troops along the e. border open fire on agricultural lands, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, a Palestinian man enters a supermarket in Mishor Adumim, an Israeli industrial zone in the Ma’ale Adumim settlement bloc, and stabs 2 Israeli settlers, lightly injuring them. An off-duty Israeli security officer shoots him in the leg and the Israeli police detain him. Later, 2 Palestinian men are arrested in connection with the incident and IDF troops raid the injured man’s home in al-‘Izzariya. Separately, IDF troops shut down a secondary school nr. Nablus after a group of Palestinians throws stones at Israeli vehicles on a nearby road on 12/2. IDF troops patrol in ‘Askar r.c. nr. Nablus and 1 area in the e. part of the city, sparking clashes with residents and shooting 1 Palestinian in the foot. Israeli forces deliver demolition orders and stop-work notices to Palestinians in 2 villages nr. Bethlehem. The IDF conducts arrest raids and house searches nr. Nablus, Ramallah, and Tulkarm. In East Jerusalem, Israeli security forces enter the Jabal Mukabir neighborhood, sparking clashes with stone-throwing Palestinians nr. the homes of the 2 Palestinian men who were killed after they attacked a West Jerusalem synagogue on 11/18. During the clashes, Israeli forces detain 1 Palestinian boy and injure others with tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets. Separately, Israeli forces arrest another Palestinian boy in Silwan. Meanwhile, around 300 Israeli security officers escort multiple construction vehicles into Shu‘fat r.c., and they demolish around 20 stores and the abandoned Cola building for the expansion of an Israeli checkpoint. None of the Palestinian proprietors were notified prior to the demolition. Also, Israeli forces raid the home of a Palestinian reporter with Ma‘an News Agency. The soldiers detain his brother and father and tell the reporter that they will not be released until he turns himself in, which he does soon after. (AnA, AP, HA, JP, MNA, WAFA, YA 12/3; MEMO, MNA, PCHR 12/4; PCHR 12/11)

Reps. of all the parties in the Knesset meet and agree to hold elections on 3/17/2015. Following the meeting, the full body votes in favor of dissolving the 19th Knesset. This vote constitutes a 1st reading, and like any bill it must pass 2 more (both scheduled for 12/8) before being implemented. (AFP, IHY, JP, TOI, YA 12/3)

The Jerusalem City Council announces its plans to use NIS 50 m. to fund new construction projects in the Har Homa settlement in East Jerusalem. (AFP 12/3; JP 12/4)

The U.S. House of Reps. passes the U.S.- Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014, after the Senate passed it on 9/19. U.S. Pres. Barack Obama will sign it into law on 12/19. (AFP 12/3)

In the West Bank, the IDF shoots and wounds 2 Palestinians during a protest nr. Ramallah. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 2 villages nr. Nablus and 1 village each nr. Hebron and Jenin at night; patrols in 1 village and al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron during the day. A Palestinian drives his car into Israeli soldiers positioned at a checkpoint nr. al-‘Arub, injuring 3 of them. In East Jerusalem, a Palestinian drives his car into a light rail station, killing 1 border policeman and injuring 13. The driver, a resident of Shu‘fat, is shot and killed at the scene. Israeli security forces, meanwhile, clash with Palestinian worshippers at Haram al-Sharif, injuring dozens of protesters. (HA, MNA, REU 11/5; PCHR 11/6)

The Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Comm. renews 278 previously approved housing permits for East Jerusalem settlement Ramot Shlomo and Har Homa, and approves 28 new ones for Ramot. (JP 11/5)

Jordan recalls its amb. to Israel in protest of an increase in Israeli “violations,” including the 10/30 closure of Haram al-Sharif. This is the 1st time it has done so since the countries signed a peace treaty in 1994. (REU 11/5)

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

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

In the n. Gaza Strip, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian civilians on the shore nr. the border fence, wounding 1. Off the coast of the Gaza Strip nr. al-Sudaniyya, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats, causing no injuries or damage. In the West Bank, a Palestinian man dies from excessive tear gas inhalation. He was hospitalized after sustaining injuries in his own home while the IDF was raiding Abu Dis on 5/23. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Tulkarm, Tubas, and 1 village each nr. Hebron and Jenin at night; patrols in Hebron and 1 nearby village, and 1 village nr. Bethlehem in the afternoon, and in 2 villages and al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron at night. Jewish settlers cut down 30 almond and olive trees nr. Nablus. (MNA, WAFA 5/26; PCHR 5/29)

Jerusalem municipality approves 50 new housing units in 5 buildings in Har Homa, East Jerusalem. PA spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudayna says the decision is “immoral, illogical, and uncivilized.” (AFP, JP 5/26)

In Egypt, polls open on the 1st of 2 days scheduled for the presidential election. Former head of the Egyptian armed forces Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who resigned from the military in 3/2014, is widely expected to win a clear majority. (AJ 5/26)

In the West Bank, the IDF expels 35 Palestinian Bedouin families from their homes in the n. Jordan Valley. The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Hebron at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in al-‘Arub. r.c. nr. Hebron in the afternoon. Jewish settlers destroy around 100 olive trees in Wadi Yanun nr. Nablus. Separately,settlers assault a Palestinian in the village of Turmus ‘Ayya. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolish 3 Palestinian homes in Bayt Hanina, Sur alBahir, and Jabal Mukabir, and compel another man to demolish his own home, leaving 28 homeless. Clashes erupt in Jabal Mukabir, leaving 15 Palestinians injured and 7 arrested. (MNA, WAFA 2/5; PCHR 2/6)

The Jerusalem municipality approves plans for 558 new housing units in East Jerusalem settlements Har Homa, Neve Ya’acov and Pisgat Ze’ev. The U.S. State Dept. condemns the decision, with spokesperson Jen Psaki telling the daily press briefing that they oppose “any unilateral actions” that prejudice the creation of “a positive atmosphere for the negotiations.” (JP, REU 2/5)

U.S. Under Secy. of State Wendy Sherman tells the Senate Foreign Relations Cmte. that the Obama administration is warning businesses heading to Iran that “Tehran is not open for business” because the “sanctions relief is quite temporary, quite limited, and quite targeted.” Meanwhile, a French business delegation with 116 mbrs. visits Tehran. (AFP 2/5)

An anonymous, senior Israeli official says that U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry presented Palestinian pres. Mahmud Abbas with a proposal for the renewal of direct negotiations during meetings in the past few days. The official did not elaborate on the proposal’s contents. With Kerry now in Brunei, Middle East adviser Frank Lowenstein and State Dept. legal expert Jonathan Schwartz meet with Israel’s National Security Adviser Ya’akov Amidror and Special Envoy Yitzhak Molcho to continue discussions on how to break the deadlock. (HA, JP 7/1; JP 7/2)

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 2 villages and al-Jalazun r.c. nr. Ramallah, and 1 village each nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, and Jerusalem at night. (PCHR 7/4)

Jerusalem Municipal officials meet with members of the Knesset Finance Cmte. and approve funding for infrastructure construction on housing tenders for 930 homes in Har Homa settlement. The work is part of a project approved in 8/2011 for around 1,000 housing units to further the development of Har Homa. Meanwhile, Israeli DM Moshe Ya’alon announces that extremist Jewish settlers carrying out so-called price-tag attacks against Palestinians will be designated a “forbidden organization,” enabling security forces to use broader powers in investigating such incidents. The statement comes 2 weeks after the cabinet approved the step. (HA 7/1)

The Egyptian military issues a 48-hour ultimatum to Pres. Mohamed Morsi to meet the demands of protesters or face the army’s intervention, as hundreds of thousands of supporters and opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated govt. again take to the streets. (AP, REU 7/1)

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 2 villages nr. Nablus, Tulkarm, 1 village nr. Hebron, 1 village nr. Ramallah, 1 village nr. Bethlehem and Aida r.c. in Bethlehem at night; patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah and 1 village nr. Bethlehem in the morning, in 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Jericho and 1 village nr. Ramallah at night. Meanwhile, Jewish settlers set fire to Palestinian-owned land nr. Nablus. (WAFA 6/30; PCHR 7/4)

U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry makes one more visit to Ramallah in the morning, holding brief talks with Palestinian pres. Mahmud Abbas, their 3d meeting in 3 days. Afterward, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat says that there had been no breakthrough. Kerry, speaking to reporters in Ben-Gurion Airport on his way to Brunei, sounds a more positive note and cites unspecified “real progress.” Kerry departs after 4 days and 13 total hours of talks with Abbas and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Meanwhile, Netanyahu tells a cabinet meeting that any future agreement with the Palestinians will be submitted for approval in a national referendum. (AFP, HA 6/30)

Israeli media reports that the Jerusalem Municipality will advance plans to build 930 new housing units in Har Homa settlement, a development that Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat condemns in a Ramallah press conference. (JP 6/30)

Millions of demonstrators take to the streets across Egypt on a planned day of protest against the govt. of Pres. Mohamed Morsi. As night falls, violent clashes break out between opponents and supporters of Morsi, resulting in 4 deaths. Assailants storm the Cairo headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, setting it on fire. (REU, WP 6/30)

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 3 villages nr. Hebron, Tulkarm, and 1 nearby village, Nablus, Tubas, and 1 village nr. Ramallah at night; patrols in Jenin and 1 nearby village, and 1 village each in Bethlehem and Hebron. Jewish settlers attack Palestinian-owned vehicles nr. Nablus, causing damage but no injuries. Settlers also set fire to olive trees nr. Hawara village. (MNA 6/26; PCHR 6/27)

The Israeli army reopens Kerem Shalom and Erez border crossings into the Gaza Strip, closed on 6/23 as a punitive measure following rocket fire. (AFP 6/26)

The Jerusalem municipality approves construction permits for 69 new homes in East Jerusalem settlement Har Homa, a day before U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry is due to arrive for talks in Israel and the West Bank. (AFP, JP 6/26)

UNESCO’s World Heritage Cmte. in Phnom Penh passes a Jordanian-sponsored resolution in an 8–3–10 vote condemning Israeli actions in Jerusalem, such as developments of the Western Wall and Temple Mount site, and resolving to maintain the places of the Old City and Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on its World Heritage Sites in Danger list. Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs criticizes the resolution, saying it is a “dark day for UNESCO.” (ToI 6/26)

Austria completes the withdrawal of its UNDOF peacekeepers from the Golan Heights, with the remaining 70 departing via Israel. (HA 6/26)

Unidentified gunmen kidnap 2 Egyptian police officers in the s. Sinai, reportedly in revenge for an earlier assault on a Bedouin man by a police officer during a dispute at a petrol station. (Ahram 6/26)

In the West Bank, the IDF opens fire on Palestinians protesting the killing of a man in al-Fawar r.c. on 3/12, injuring 4 with rubber-coated steel bullets. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village each nr. Bethlehem and nr. Ramallah at night. In the Gaza Strip, IDF forces conduct an incursion nr. Khan Yunis with bulldozers, levelling land alongside the border fence in Abasan nr. Khan Yunis. (MNA 3/13; PCHR 3/14)

Jerusalem’s municipal Planning and Building Committee removes from its agenda two construction plans for the expansion of Har Homa settlement and a waste infrastructure project for Ma’ale Adumim settlement. The decision comes a week before the arrival of U.S. Pres. Barack Obama and is understood to have been taken to avoid diplomatic friction. (JP 3/14)

The World Bank transfers $60.5 million to the PA from the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan MultiDonor Trust Fund (PRDP-MDTF), a budget support mechanism that, in this instance, is channelling money from the UK and Norway to support urgent PA budget needs. (WAFA 3/13)

Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip launch an amnesty campaign for collaborators with Israel, saying that anyone who turns themselves in by 4/11 will not be interrogated or imprisoned. Meanwhile, Hamas also denies claims by Israeli security service Shin Bet that it is trying to set up cells in the West Bank. (Guardian, MNA 3/13)

Fourteen of 15 mbrs. of the UNSC make statements condemning Israel’s settlement construction plans, while the U.S. vows to veto any resolution on the issue. Four separate statements are made by the 8 council mbrs. from the Non-Aligned Movement, the 4 European mbrs., as well as Russia and China. Meanwhile, the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Comm. approves the creation of a new Jewish settlement, Givat Hamatos, in the s. of East Jerusalem, not far from Har Homa. In addition, Israel’s Defense Ministry advances plans to build 523 homes in Giva’ot settlement in the Gush Etzion bloc, though this plan is long-standing and unrelated to the recent high-profile construction announcements tied to the Palestinian bid at the UN. (REU, HA, JP 12/19)

The IDF announces that it will issue permits to around 500 Christian Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to visit Bethlehem for Christmas. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Jenin, Nur Shams r.c. nr. Tulkarm, 1 village each nr. Hebron and Jenin, and 2 villages nr. Nablus. (JP 12/19; PCHR 12/20)

Palestinian government employees begin a 2-day general strike to protest a delay in the payment of their wages due to Israel’s withholding of around $100 m. customs revenue. Around 50,000 workers take part in the strike. Meanwhile, Palestine Monetary Authority chief Jihad al-Wazir says that Palestinian banks will lend the PA $100 m., set to be repaid when the Arab League delivers its promised financial safety net. (REU 12/19; MNA 12/19)

Israel’s Central Elections Comm. votes to disqualify MK Haneen Zoabi, from Balad party, from running in the forthcoming elections, a decision based largely on her participation in the 2010 Gaza flotilla. (HA 12/19)

Palestinian pres. Mahmud Abbas offers to take in Palestinian refugees fleeing from fighting in Syria, and UN secy.-gen. Ban Ki-moon calls on Israel to facilitate their entry. Meanwhile, the UN launches its biggest aid appeal to date for Syria, estimating that it needs $1.5 b. to cope with a ‘‘dramatically deteriorating humanitarian situation.’’ Meanwhile, the Security Council passes a U.S.-and-Russian-drafted resolution on extending the peacekeeping mission in the demilitarized zone between Syria and Israel. The resolution expresses concern at the presence of both government and rebel forces in the zone. (MNA 12/18; AP, Guardian, UN News Center 12/19)

Britain, Denmark, France, Spain, and Sweden summon the Israeli ambassadors to their countries to protest Israel’s settlement construction plans. An anonymous senior European diplomat tells the Israeli newspaper Ha’Aretz that Britain and France see E1 development as a ‘‘red line’’ and feel Israel is acting ungratefully after the support it received during Operation Pillar of Defense. Former U.S. amb. to Israel Dan Kurtzer tells Ha’Aretz that the Obama admin. is angry over an Israeli official’s suggestion in a recent briefing that Israel generated the E1 plan in anticipation that Obama would refuse to reaffirm Bush’s 2004 letter to Sharon (which Israel views as U.S. approval of Israeli settlement expansion in areas it intends to keep under final status; see the Quarterly Update in JPS 132), when he entered office in 1/2009, as indeed occurred. Meanwhile, a source in the Israeli PM’s Office says there will be no retraction of the E1 construction plan. (HA, NYT, YA 12/3)

The dep. mayor of Jerusalem reveals that the municipality is expected to give final approval to a new settlement in occupied East Jerusalem called Givat Hamatos, the 1st of its kind since Har Homa in 1997. Located between Talpiot and Bayt Safafa, the new settlement will be on the agenda of the planning comm. on 12/19. In addition, Jewish settlers occupy a 5-story building in the Har Homa/Jabal Mukabir neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem that had previously been sold to a settler organization. (HA, JP 12/3)

Twelve Fatah mbrs. return to the Gaza Strip after fleeing in the 2007 conflict with Hamas. Returning Fatah mbr. Mahmoud Musleh says that around 450 Fatah mbrs. who fled to countries across the region, as well as to the West Bank, will return once procedures are complete. (MNA 12/3)

PM Ismail Haniyeh appeals to Arab states to help pay for reconstruction of the Gaza Strip following damage inflicted during Operation Pillar of Defense, estimated at $250–545 m. (REU 12/3)

In the Gaza Strip, the IDF shoots a Palestinian child nr. al-Bureij r.c. close to the border fence, causing minor injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF kills a Palestinian civilian when a military jeep hits a car traveling on the Nablus– Ramallah road. The IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning, and in Jericho and 1 nearby village, 3 villages nr. Ramallah, and 2 villages nr. Jenin later in the day; conducts night-time house searches and arrest raids in 1 village each nr. Hebron and Tulkarm, and in Nablus and Balata r.c. (MNA 12/3; PCHR 12/6)

UN secy.-gen. Ban Ki-moon accuses the Syrian government of serious violations of the 1974 agreement separating Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan Heights. In a UNSC report, Ban expresses concern about recent incidents across the cease-fire line, and recommends a 6-mo. extension of the UN peacekeeping force in the Golan Heights. (AP 12/3)

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Tulkarm (firing tear gas at stone-throwing Palestinians in one case) in the morning, in 1 village nr. Tulkarm and 1 village nr. Hebron, and in Hebron and 1 village nr. Tulkarm; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Hebron, ‘Ayn Bayt al-Ma’ refugee camp (r.c.), 1 village nr. Nablus, and 1 village in Jenin. Jewish settlers try to set fire to 2 cars and write racist slogans in a village nr. Nablus. (MNA 8/22; PCHR 8/30)

Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman writes to members of the Quartet, urging them to call for new elections in the PA and describing Pres. Abbas as an obstacle to peace due to his weak mandate and determination to pursue goals in international forums. (HA, ToI 8/22)

European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton criticizes Israel for its recently announced plans to expand Har Homa settlement in occupied East Jerusalem. (HA, ToI 8/22)

Sectarian clashes between Sunni Muslims and Alawites in Lebanon continue, with a death toll of 12 in 3 days of fighting in the northern city of Tripoli. (REU 8/22)

In East Jerusalem, PLO Exec. Comm. mbr. Hanan Ashrawi addresses diplomats from Asia, the EU, Latin America, and the Middle East, calling on them to increase donor aid to the PA and to support a revived Palestinian statehood bid at the UN (see QU in JPS 165 for details). (NYT 8/14)

Israeli Jerusalem municipal officials approve construction of 12 commercial and hotel towers (24–33 floors each) on East Jerusalem’s Jabal Abu Ghunaym/Har Homa settlement site. The IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin and Qalqilya. Jewish settlers fr. Eliezer settlement nr. Bethlehem, escorted by the IDF, bulldoze and level 5 d. of Palestinian agricultural land and a well in nearby al-Khadir village; the leveling cuts off Palestinian access to another 11 d. of crop land. (PCHR 8/16; OCHA 8/18)

Israeli and Palestinian officials confirm that discussions are underway for a high-level meeting between Israeli PM Netanyahu and PA PM Salam al-Fayyad after Passover ends on 4/13. Fayyad plans to hand Netanyahu a letter from Abbas, which in its current draft includes Palestinian conditions for a return to negotiations (including Israel halting settlement expansion and accepting 1967 lines the basis for talks) and an enumeration of Israeli actions that the Palestinians find counterproductive to peace. (NYT 4/5)

Israeli security forces evict Jewish settler families fr. a house in Hebron that they occupied ca. 4/2/12. Meanwhile, Netanyahu calls on Israel’s atty. gen. to “find a solution” for the unauthorized outpost of Ulpana (which he terms a neighborhood of Beit El settlement) in Hebron that an Israeli court ordered demolished by 5/1/12. He also says that he plans to convene a meeting with DM Barak to seek the permits retroactively to legalize 3 other unauthorized settlement outposts (Bruchin, Rachelim, and Sansanna). Separately, Israel’s Housing Min. issues bids for construction of 800 new settlement housing units in Har Homa settlement in East Jerusalem. (NYT, PCHR, WT 4/5; OCHA 4/13)

Israel allows a small shipment of diesel fuel for Gaza’s power plant allowing 1 turbine to restart for the 1st time since 3/25/12, but rolling blackouts remain up to 16 hrs./day across the Strip. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire into the abandoned Erez industrial zone late at night, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning and another late at night; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Kafr Qaddum (arresting 20) and nr. Tulkarm. (PCHR 4/5; PCHR 4/12)

The last U.S. combat troops pull out of Iraq 2 wks. ahead of Obama’s 12/31/11 target date; 1,000s of U.S. diplomats and contractors remain in the country, as well as 150 U.S. soldiers tasked to train Iraqi security forces. (National Public Radio, REU 12/18; NYT 12/19)

Israel frees 550 Palestinian prisoners in the 2d stage of the swap that freed IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit in 10/2011; 41 are released to Gaza, more than 500 to the West Bank, a few to East Jerusalem and Jordan. Under the terms of the deal, Israel picked which prisoners to free and picked mostly Fatahaffiliated West Bankers as a gesture to Abbas; none are mbrs. of Hamas or Islamic Jihad or were involved in killing or wounding anyone; Palestinians complain that “many of those being released were due to get out within months anyway. . . . If Israel had wanted to make a real good-will gesture, the list would have been totally different.” (NYT, WP 12/19)

Stone-throwing Palestinian youths clash with IDF at the Beitunia checkpoint where some of the Palestinian prisoners freed by Israel are released, leaving 10s of Palestinians and 1 IDF soldier injured. Elsewhere in the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Jenin in the morning and in 3 villages nr. Jenin, Qalqilya, and Salfit in the evening (firing tear gas at stone-throwing youths in Jenin); makes a brief incursion into Qalqilya where they set up 2 checkpoints, detain 2 PA security forces officers for several hours, and summon 1 Palestinian for questioning. Jewish settlers block a Palestinian road nr. Moshe Zouhar settlement outpost nr. Qalqilya. Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the Gaza City shore, detaining 1 boat and questioning 4 Palestinians (3 are released, 1 is sent to Israel for an unrelated medical issue). Gaza’s Interior Min. drops requirements for Gazans to register in advance of leaving Gaza through the Rafah crossing. The Israeli Housing Min. published tenders for construction of 1,028 Jewish settlement units in East Jerusalem (500 in Har Homa, 348 in Beitar Ilit, and 180 in Givat Ze’ev). The Gaza Central Drug Store receives an urgent shipment of medicine and supplies fr. the West Bank, enough to replenish its stores for several weeks (see 12/6/12). (HA 12/18; NYT, WP 12/19; PCHR 12/22; OCHA 12/23)

IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz announces that in light of the dramatically increasing number of covert foreign operations Israel has undertaken in the past year, the Israeli DMin. has formed a new operational branch called the Depth Corps specifically to handle special operations “deep in enemy territory.” The new branch (separate fr. the existing Northern, Southern, and Central Commands) will be headed by former special operations commander Maj. Gen. Shai Avital and will pull and coordinate resources fr. the military’s various elite commando units on an ad hoc basis, depending on the mission. While Israel does not confirm or deny covert operations abroad, media reports over the past year have indicated that Israel has carried out operations in Sudan (targeting arms traffic to Hizballah and Hamas), Iran, Lebanon, and Syria. According to HA, since most recent covert ops have targeted Iran, IDF insiders often refer to the Depth Corps as “Iran Command.” (AFP, IHY 12/16; HA 12/18; JPI 2/10)

During a regular security briefing to the Knesset, IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz says that Israel may need to strike Gaza if rocket fire continues, stating that Israel would initiate an operation before it would allow itself to be “dragged into” one. Later in the day, unidentified Palestinians fire 2 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, damaging an empty kindergarten but causing no injuries. Late at night, the IDF carries out 2 air strikes (warplane and drone) targeting a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border and a group of armed Palestinians nr. Jabaliya, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes 4 Palestinian homes n. of Jericho; patrols in al-Bireh and 3 villages nr. Ramallah during the day; conducts late-night house searches nr. Nablus, confiscating computers but making no arrests. Taking inspiration from the U.S. civil rights movement of the 1960s, 6 Palestinian peace activists, dubbed the Freedom Riders, board an Israeli commuter bus linking the West Bank Jewish settlements with Jerusalem and are arrested at an IDF checkpoint outside the city. The Israeli Housing Min. launches a major advertising campaign selling 277 subsidized apartments in Ariel settlement nr. Salfit, 743 in Ramot and 130 in Har Homa settlement in Jerusalem, and 164 in Mod’in nr. Ramallah, as well as leasing 213 plots of land zoned for construction in Efrat settlement nr. Bethlehem, 207 in Mod’in, 168 in Har Homa, and 18 in Pisgat Ze’ev in Jerusalem. (JP, WP 11/16; PCHR 11/17; OCHA 11/18)

Retaliating for the 10/31 UNESCO vote, Netanyahu suspends the transfer of VAT taxes Israel collects on the PA’s behalf and orders accelerated construction of 2,000 settlement housing units in East Jerusalem’s Har Homa settlement and the nearby West Bank settlements Efrat and Ma’ale Adumim, calling it Israel’s “right and obligation” to build in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, Palestinian IP addresses and Palestinian phone networks in the West Bank and Gaza come under “multiple attacks” by computer hackers originating from many countries; the PA says the attacks appeared linked to the UNESCO vote and it believes they were “organized by a state” [i.e., Israel]. (HA, NYT, WP 11/2)

The IDF drops flyers over Khan Yunis warning residents to stay away fr. the 300-m. no-go zone. IDF troops manning the observation towers on the Israeli side of the Erez crossing fire warning shots at Palestinians and international activists marching toward the border to protest Israel’s imposition of a no-go zone; no casualties are reported. In the evening, unidentified Palestinians fire a rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in ‘Ayn Bayt al-Ma’ r.c. nr. Nablus and nr. Jenin; conducts late-night patrols in Jenin. The Israeli Comm. against House Demolitions (ICHAD) submits a report to the UN special rapporteurs on Palestine that concludes that Israeli policies in East Jerusalem (e.g., restricting building permits, demolitions, revoking permanent residency status) are forcing Palestinians to flee in what may constitute a war crime. In the West Bank, the IDF rearrests senior Hamas official Hassan Yousef in Ramallah for having links to a “terrorist” organization; Yousef was 1st arrested in 2005, was released on 8/4/11 as part of a mass release to ease prison overcrowding. (JP 11/1; PCHR 11/3; OCHA 11/4)

IDF troops on the c. Gaza border e. of Juhur al-Dik fire on a Palestinian shepherd who strays nr. the border fence, wounding her and killing 8 sheep. Israeli bulldozers working nr. the fmr. Nahal Oz crossing sever fiber-optic lines providing all mobile, landline, and Internet service to Gaza; Hamas authorities blame the IDF, but the IDF says it was not responsible. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in al-‘Arub r.c. and Bayt Umar. Jewish settlers escorted by the IDF enter Palestinian areas nr. Bethlehem and in Hebron to hold religious services. (Press TV [Tehran] 8/10; PCHR 8/11; OCHA 8/12)

The U.S. says it is “deeply concerned” by Israel’s 8/4 approval of 930 new settlement housing units in Har Homa/Jabal Abu Ghunaym in East Jerusalem, stating “such unilateral actions work against efforts to resume direct negotiations.” (WT 8/10)

The Obama admin. invites Palestinian officials to Washington to discuss conditions under which they might drop their UN statehood bid. The PA says chief negotiator Saeb Erakat and Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina will head to Washington soon. (JP 8/4)

As a gesture to the PA to mark the start of Ramadan, Israel releases 200 Palestinian prisoners who were set to complete their sentences soon, including senior Hamas official Shaykh Hassan Yousef (arrested in 2006 and set for release in 9/2011). At the same time, however, Israel’s Interior Min. gives final approval for the construction of 930 new settlement housing units in East Jerusalem’s Har Homa/Jabal Abu Ghunaym. Meanwhile, the PA orders its security forces to prevent violence after the UN vote in 9/2011 and informs Israel of its intention to keep the peace and avoid confrontation. In Gaza, unidentified Palestinians fire 2 Qassam rockets into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF retaliates late at night with 2 artillery shells and 7 air strikes on 5 Hamas sites in c. and s. Gaza, injuring 2 Hamas mbrs. and killing 500 chicks at a poultry farm. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Tulkarm, 2 nr. Ramallah, and 1 nr. Jericho; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Tulkarm. (AFP, HA, JTA, MNA, WAFA, YA 8/4; PCHR 8/11; OCHA 8/12)

U.S. pres. Barack Obama gives a major speech on the Middle East meant to reassess U.S. priorities in the region, particularly in light of the recent prodemocracy uprisings (the “Arab Spring”). He speaks extensively about the peace process at the close of the address (including denouncing the Palestinian statehood initiative, urging against Hamas participation in a national unity government, and endorsing the 1967 lines with agreed land swaps as the basis of border negotiations) but does not offer a new U.S. peace initiative. Netanyahu immediately denounces the reference to 1967 lines, saying they would jeopardize Israeli security. (HA, MNA, MA, NYT, WP, YA 5/19; NYT, WP, WT 5/20)

Israel’s Jerusalem planning commission approves construction of 1,600 new settlement housing units in East Jerusalem (Har Homa/Jabal Abu Ghunaym and Pisgat Ze’ev). In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm, 3 villages nr. Ramallah, and 1 village nr. Jenin during the day and in Jericho and Birzeit nr. Ramallah late at night; conducts arrest raids nr. Bethlehem (targeting stone-throwing youths) and Qalqilya. (WAFA, YA 5/19; PCHR 5/26; OCHA 5/27)

AOI mbrs. fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel that lands nr. an empty school nr. Ashqelon, causing light damage and injuring 1 Israeli. In the afternoon, an IDF drone makes a missile strike on a Hamas building in Rafah, injuring 2 IQB mbrs.; an hr. later, Israeli war planes make 3 air strikes on the same site, destroying it but causing no further injuries. IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi warns that the tension along the Gaza border is “fragile and explosive,” adding that while small Palestinian groups seem to be behind the recent rocket fire, Israel will hold Hamas responsible. Meanwhile, IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials in the fmr. settlement sites, wounding 1. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes a Palestinian home in al-Nu‘man village nr. East Jerusalem’s Har Homa settlement (Jabal Abu Ghunaym), firing tear gas and beating Palestinians who attempt to stop the demolition, moderately injuring 1; the family had already been fined more than $13,500 for building without a permit. IDF troops also patrol in Silat al-Harithiyya nr. Jenin in the afternoon, firing tear gas at stone-throwing Palestinians who confront them and then raiding several Palestinian homes, summoning 1 Palestinian for questioning. The IDF also conducts latenight arrest raids, house searches in Nur Shams r.c. nr. Tulkarm and nr. Hebron. In East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities force a Palestinian to demolish his own home in Ras al-Amud or pay the government nearly $5,500 for doing the job. Israeli authorities demolish a 2d Palestinian home in Sur Bahir, southeast of Jerusalem; the family had already paid nearly $1,750 for building without a permit. (JP, REU, UPI, YA 12/21; NYT 12/22; OCHA, PCHR 12/23)

Israel’s Interior Min. says it will move forward with plans to build 1,300 new Jewish settlement housing units in East Jerusalem (978 in Har Homa/Jabal Abu Ghunaym, 320 in Ramot). At the same time, Israel issues construction tenders for 800 units in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, which Israel intends to keep under final status. Meanwhile, Israel’s Jerusalem municipal authorities issue a report stating that the municipality is currently building more than 13,500 housing units for Jews in various Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. The UN, U.S., and PA denounce the plans. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols without incident in Zayta village nr. Tulkarm in the morning; patrols in Bayt Liqya late at night, firing rubbercoated steel bullets, tear gas, stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinian youths who confront them, causing no serious injuries. (HA, JAZ, MNA, YA 11/8; HA, NYT, WP, WT 11/9; OCHA, PCHR 11/11)

Pres. Obama dispatches U.S. Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on a 3-day regional tour of the Middle East, with stops in Syria (to warn Damascus against interfering in Lebanon), Turkey (to urge Turkey to repair its ties with Israel), Lebanon (to show support for Pres. Michel Suleiman), and Israel and Ramallah (to explore ways of reviving the peace talks). (XIN 11/8; AP 11/9; NYT 11/11)