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  • March 31, 2024

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers assault 4 Palestinians during a raid in Arab ar-Rashaiyda. Israeli settlers also assault a Palestinian man near Dura, threatening to kill him if he continues to...

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  • March 6, 2024

    In the West Bank, a Palestinian man succumbs to injuries sustained from Israeli forces on 3/4 in Burin. An Israeli settler is stabbed and injured at a bus stop near the Neve Yaakov settlement; a...

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  • November 12, 2018

    After Hamas fighters fire an anti-tank missile at an IDF bus near Kibbutz Kfar Aza, critically injuring an Israeli soldier, Israeli forces continue the assault on Gaza that began last night,...

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  • January 20, 2015

    In the Gaza Strip, Egyptian authorities open the Rafah border crossing for passage in both directions. Civil employees go on a 1-day general strike in protest of the fact that they haven’t been...

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  • December 29, 2008

    As Israel continues widespread air and naval bombardment of Gaza for a 3d day, Israeli DM Barak declares “all-out war” on Hamas. The IDF declares a 2-mi. buffer zone around the Strip a closed...

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  • December 27, 2008

    After early morning consultations with senior cabinet mbrs., the IDF launches its major offensive on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead (OCL), at 11:25 A.M. local time (4:25 A.M. EST). Israeli DM Barak...

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  • July 5, 2007

    The IDF launches a major day-long incursion (including infantry, tanks, bulldozers, air support) into areas of Gaza e. of al-Bureij r.c. and al-Maghazi r.c. to “root out terrorist infrastructures...

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In the West Bank, Israeli settlers assault 4 Palestinians during a raid in Arab ar-Rashaiyda. Israeli settlers also assault a Palestinian man near Dura, threatening to kill him if he continues to herd his sheep in the area. Elsewhere, Israeli settlers steal a tractor in Battir. Israeli settlers also throw stones at Palestinian vehicles traveling between Huwwara and Qalqilya. Israeli forces raid Balata refugee camp, demolishing homes and razing a main street. Israeli forces also arrest 10 Palestinians during late-night raids in and around Nablus, Balata refugee camp, Qalqilya, Bethlehem, Hebron, and Jenin. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest 5 Palestinians during raids in al-Tur and Shu’fat refugee camp. In Gaza, Israeli forces bomb Maghazi, Dayr al-Balah, Khan Yunis, and Gaza City, killing at least 77 people, including 4 at a tent for journalists outside of al-Aqsa Hospital in Dayr al-Balah where a WHO team is visiting to the assess needs of the hospital. Israeli forces also continue to raid and besiege al-Shifa Hospital. 4 Palestinians die of starvation at the Kamal Adwan Hospital, bringing the number of hunger-related deaths to at least 34. An Israeli soldier is killed in combat and another soldier succumbs to wounds sustained on 3/29. In Ashdod, Israeli forces shoot and kill a Palestinian man who allegedly stabbed and injured 3 Israelis in a shopping mall. In Beersheba, Israeli forces shoot and kill a Palestinian citizen of Israel who allegedly stabbed and injured an Israeli soldier at a bus station. In Jerusalem, tens of thousands of Israelis rally, calling for new elections. In Lebanon, Israeli forces bomb Kounine, killing Hezbollah commander Ismail al-Zin. Israeli forces also bomb Meiss Ej-Jabal, Blida, Markaba, and Kafr Kila. Hezbollah forces attack Israeli military sites in Metulla and al-Manara. In Syria, Israeli forces bomb Damascus, killing 2 people. (AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, HA, HA, NYT, REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 3/31; AJ, HA, HA, NYT 4/1; UNOCHA 4/3)

More than 32,782 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza, including at least 13,400 children and 8,900 women, and around 75,298 have been injured since 10/7/2023. At least 7,000 people are missing in rubble, including 1,700 children. 445 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 10/7/2023, including 112 children. More than 4,700 people have been injured. Israel reports that 1,139 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed and 5,400 have been injured in Israel since 10/7/2023, including Israeli soldiers. In addition, 254 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 1,520 injured in Gaza since the ground invasion began on 10/27/2023. Over 1.93 million Palestinians, nearly 85% of the population of Gaza, have been displaced since 10/7/2023. There has been a complete electricity blackout in Gaza since 10/12/2023 due to the Israeli blockade. At least 70,000 housing units have been destroyed and 290,000 have been damaged in Israeli airstrikes since 10/7/2023, constituting over 60% of all housing units. 226 trucks carrying aid enter Gaza. U.S. forces airdrop 50,000 meals over northern Gaza. UK forces also airdrop aid over Gaza. (AJ, HA, WAFA, WAFA 3/31; UNOCHA 4/3)

Israeli military officials and soldiers tell Haaretz that Israel has designated “kill zones” in Gaza where all Palestinians entering the invisible zone are classified as terrorists and soldiers are ordered to kill all unarmed adult men. (HA 3/31)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas swears in the new PA government headed by prime minister Mohammad Mustafa, who also will be the new foreign minister. (HA 3/30; AJ, WAFA 3/31; WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 4/1)

A Hamas official tells Al-Aqsa TV that the PA has sent undercover security forces to Gaza using an Egyptian aid convoy and that 6 members of the security forces have been arrested. The PA denies the claim. (AJ, REU 3/31; HA 4/1)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says in a speech that “the whole world is ganging up on us,” calling on Israelis to unite in defending Israel physically and morally. Netanyahu also says the invasion of Rafah is not delayed due to U.S. pressure and rejects calls for early elections. After the speech Netanyahu undergoes surgery for a hernia, leaving Justice Minister Yariv Levin as acting prime minister. Netanyahu will be released from the hospital on 4/2. (AJ, AP, HA, NYT, REU 3/31; HA, REU 4/1)

Israeli attorney general Gali Baharav-Miara sends letters to the ministers of defense and education, telling them that ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students must be drafted into the military starting on 4/1. (AJ, HA 3/31)

Pope Francis calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the release of captives during his Easter address. (AJ, AJ, HA, NYT, WAFA 3/31)

The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. is concerned that intelligence sharing with Israel is leading to civilian deaths. The Journal also says that the Biden administration wrote a memo after 10/7/2023 expanding the scope of intelligence sharing with Israel. (AJ, HA, WSJ 3/31)

UN sources tell the Guardian that Israeli military chief of staff Herzi Halavi presented to UN officials last week a plan to dismantle UNRWA, which would include the transfer of some UNRWA staff to a replacement agency that would focus on the delivery of aid in Gaza or expanding the World Food Programme’s operations in Gaza. (GDN 3/31; AJ 4/1)

In the West Bank, a Palestinian man succumbs to injuries sustained from Israeli forces on 3/4 in Burin. An Israeli settler is stabbed and injured at a bus stop near the Neve Yaakov settlement; a Palestinian child is later arrested and accused of stabbing the settler. Israeli settlers with a military escort raid Jenin to visit Joseph’s Tomb. Israeli forces shoot and injure 7 Palestinians during a raid in Dheisheh refugee camp. Israeli forces also arrest 25 Palestinians during raids in and around Hebron, Ramallah, al-Bireh, Bethlehem, Tulkarm, and Qalqilya. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolish a retaining wall and raze a tract of land in Silwan. In Gaza, Israeli forces bomb Nuseirat refugee camp, Jabalia refugee camp, Khan Yunis, Rafah, and Dayr al-Balah, killing at least 86 people, including al-Aqsa TV presenter Muhammad Salama and his family in Dayr al-Balah. Israeli forces also open fire at Palestinians waiting to receive aid in Gaza City, injuring 8 people. A child and an elderly man die of starvation at the Kamal Adwan Hospital, bringing the death toll from starvation to at least 20 people. In Lebanon, Israeli forces attack Yaroun, Kafra, Yatar, and Fardis. Hezbollah forces attack Metula. In Syria, Israeli forces fire artillery, saying 2 rockets were launched at the Golan Heights. In Yemen, Houthi militants fire a missile at the True Confidence cargo ship, killing 3 people. It is the first time that a Houthi attack enforcing the Red Sea blockade has caused casualties. (AJ, AJ, HA, REU, UNOCHA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 3/6; AP, AP, REU, UNOCHA, WAFA 3/7)

More than 30,717 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza, including at least 13,400 children and 8,900 women, and around 72,156 have been injured since 10/7/2023. At least 7,000 people are missing in rubble, including 1,700 children. 416 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 10/7/2023, including 108 children. More than 4,648 people have been injured. Israel reports that 1,139 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed and 5,400 have been injured in Israel since 10/7/2023, including Israeli soldiers. In addition, 244 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 1,453 injured in Gaza since the ground invasion began on 10/27/2023. Over 1.93 million Palestinians, nearly 85% of the population of Gaza, have been displaced since 10/7/2023. There has been a complete electricity blackout in Gaza since 10/12/2023 due to the Israeli blockade. At least 70,000 housing units have been destroyed and 290,000 have been damaged in Israeli airstrikes since 10/7/2023, constituting over 60% of all housing units. 195 trucks carrying aid enter Gaza. (REU, UNOCHA, UNOCHA, WAFA 3/6; UNOCHA 3/7)

Israel’s National Planning and Building Council approves the advancement of 3,476 new settlement units in the Ma’ale Adumim, Kedar, and Efrat settlements. 694 units in Efrat receive final approval, while 2,452 in Ma’ale Adumm and 330 in Kedar are moved to the planning process. The PA calls for sanctions to deter Israel from its settlement enterprise. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, Turkey, and Qatar condemn the settlement expansion. German asks Israel to withdraw the approval, ‘strongly condemning’ the decision. (AJ, HA, HA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 3/6; AJ, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 3/7)

HaMoked says the number of Palestinian prisoners has risen to 9,077, including more than 3,500 held in administrative detention. (AJ 3/6)

South Africa asks the ICJ to order additional emergency measures against Israel, citing imminent widespread famine, and tells the ICJ that Israel is breaching the measures the court already ruled it has to follow. (AJ, AJ, AP, HA, REU, WAFA 3/6; NYT, REU 3/7)

Israeli UN ambassador Gilad Erdan says Israel may close the UN’s headquarters in Jerusalem, deport UN officials from Israel, and evacuate UNRWA compounds in Jerusalem if UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres does not invoke Article 99 of the UN Charter to force the Security Council to discuss captives held in Gaza and allegations of sexual crimes committed on 10/7/2023. Israel approves aid funded by the UAE entering Gaza via the sea. The aid will be shipped from Cyprus to a dock controlled by Israel where it will be distributed using hovercrafts. (AJ, HA 3/6)

Qatari prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani meets with UK foreign secretary David Cameron, discussing the situation in Gaza and ceasefire negotiations. Cameron and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak meet Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz in London, telling him more aid needs to enter Gaza. (AJ, AP, HA, NYT, WAFA 3/6; NYT 3/7)

Jordanian foreign minister Ayman Safadi speaks with U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken, calling for an immediate ceasefire. (AJ 3/6)

The Washington Post reports that the U.S. has secretly approved and delivered more than 100 separate arms shipments to Israel since 10/7/2023. The Post says the U.S. has circumvented congressional oversight in the majority of instances by processing arms sales that are below the threshold to notify Congress. The transfers include thousands of 155mm shells, tens of thousands of bomb guidance systems, Hellfire air-to-surface missiles, drones, Iron Dome munitions and more. (AJ, HA 3/6; HA 3/7)

Iraq and Qatar pledges $25 million to UNRWA. (AJ 3/6)

After Hamas fighters fire an anti-tank missile at an IDF bus near Kibbutz Kfar Aza, critically injuring an Israeli soldier, Israeli forces continue the assault on Gaza that began last night, striking approximately 100 Hamas and other armed groups’ sites across Gaza; 3 Palestinians are killed and at least 20 more are injured. The strikes destroy 4 residential buildings, 5 commercial buildings, 3 tunnels, 1 intelligence compound, and the headquarters of al-Aqsa TV in Gaza City. Meanwhile, armed groups in Gaza retaliate by launching more than 300 rockets and other projectiles into southern Israel, injuring approximately 70 Israelis and destroying several Israeli buildings. Initially reported as an Israeli civilian casualty, a West Bank Palestinian is killed when a rocket hits the building in Ashqelon where he was staying (2 women in the building are injured as well). Around mid-day, there are reports that the Israeli authorities have stopped working with Egyptian and UN mediators to de-escalate the violence. A Hamas military spokesperson threatens major Israeli cities like Beersheba and Ashdod with rocket fire if “Israel persists in its aggression.” (BBC, EI, HA, JP, MNA, MNA, TOI, TOI, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 11/12; EI, HA, HA, MNA, MNA, YA, YA 11/13; PCHR 11/15)

In the West Bank, Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian residential structure near Nablus. They also arrest 2 Palestinians during late-night raids near Ramallah and Bethlehem; and patrol near Ramallah, Tulkarm, and Hebron. (MNA 11/12; PCHR 11/15)

In the Gaza Strip, Egyptian authorities open the Rafah border crossing for passage in both directions. Civil employees go on a 1-day general strike in protest of the fact that they haven’t been paid a full salary since 6/2, and dozens stage a sit-in protest outside the PA unity govt.’s headquarters in Gaza City. Off the coast nr. Bayt Lahiya, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, IDF troops violently disperse a peaceful protest outside Ofer detention center nr. Ramallah, injuring 1 Palestinian with live ammunition. Israeli forces demolish 2 homes, a store, and a barn in a village s. of Hebron; deliver 34 evacuation notices to Palestinian families in 2 villages in the Jordan Valley. The IDF also conducts house searches and arrest raids in ‘Askar r.c., Balata r.c., al-‘Arub r.c., as well as nr. Ramallah and Hebron, where they arrest a journalist with al-Aqsa TV; patrols nr. Hebron, Qalqilya, and Salfit. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces clash with stone-throwing Palestinians in al-Tur and Issawiyya, injuring 2 with rubbercoated metal bullets. They also arrest Palestinians in al-Tur, Issawiyya, and Bab Hettah. Meanwhile, around 40 officials from Israel’s Foreign Affairs Ministry and 30 rightwing Jewish activists tour Haram al-Sharif accompanied by IDF troops. In Israel, Palestinian citizens observe a general strike protesting the killing of 2 Palestinian bedouin men in Rahat by Israeli police. Residents of Rahat continue their strike, which they began on 1/18, and around 200 Palestinians throwing stones clash with Israeli police; 4 Palestinians are arrested. (MEE, MNA, TOI, WAFA 1/20; HA, MNA, WAFA, YA 1/21; PCHR 1/22; MNA 1/23) 

In his annual State of the Union address, U.S. Pres. Obama reiterates his promise to veto any new legislation relating to the sanctions on Iran that would threaten the ongoing negotiations between Iran and the P5+1. (NYT 1/21; HA 1/23)

The IAEA publishes a report on Iran’s adherence to the Joint Plan of Action, which governs its negotiations with the P5+1. It concludes that Iran has not enriched any uranium above 5% or made any “further advances” at the Natanz or Fordow plants, or the Arak reactor. (AP 1/21)

As Israel continues widespread air and naval bombardment of Gaza for a 3d day, Israeli DM Barak declares “all-out war” on Hamas. The IDF declares a 2-mi. buffer zone around the Strip a closed military zone and continues amassing tanks and troops there, indicating further preparations for a ground invasion. Israeli military officials speaking anonymously say they have expanded the IDF’s target list to include Hamas’s support network and symbols of Hamas power, stating that “there are many aspects of Hamas, and we are trying to hit the whole spectrum, because everything is connected and everything supports terrorists against Israel” and that “anything affiliated with Hamas is a legitimate target.”

Israeli actions: The IDF reports hitting 100 sites today, including more Islamic University buildings (including the engineering dept., library); homes and offices of Hamas leaders; PA government buildings (including the Interior Min., Finance Min., Foreign Min., Labor Min., Construction and Housing Min., and a PA presidential guest house); Bani Suhayla’s municipal building; the alZawiyya Mosque in Jabaliya r.c. and Omar Bin al-Khattab Mosque in al-Bureij r.c.; more civil and naval police stations; more tunnels along the Rafah border; the headquarters of Hamas’s al-Aqsa TV; Gaza’s port (for a 2d day); and 1 Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades training site. Target areas include Abasan, Bani Suhayla, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (city center, al-Rimal, al-Sabra, Shaykh Ajlin, Tal al-Hawa), Jabaliya town and r.c., Khan Yunis, Nussayrat r.c., al-Qarara, Rafah, Shati’ r.c., Tal al-Za‘atar. Just before strikes on Rafah, Israeli Military Intelligence makes 10,000 automated calls to Rafah residents warning of pending air strikes, breaks into Palestinian radio broadcasts to urge residents across Gaza to move to city centers. Palestinian medical officials report at least 364 Palestinians dead, 1,500 wounded since 12/27.

Palestinian actions: Palestinians fire 66 rockets, 14 mortars into Israel (twice as many as in the previous 24 hrs.), killing 3 Israeli civilians (1 each in Nahal Oz, Ashdod, Ashqelon; 1 of them an Israeli Palestinian) and wounding 5 (3 of them Israeli Palestinians), with 2 rockets hitting 23 mi. north in Gan Yavne/Ashdod. A Palestinian mortar hits an IDF base in Netivot, s. and e. of the Nahal Oz crossing, killing 1 IDF soldier (a Druze), seriously wounding 1, lightly injuring 4. The Israeli toll stands at 4–5 dead, about 20 injured. Reports circulate (e.g., NYT 12/30) of Hamas gunmen executing at least 5 accused collaborators with Israel inside hospitals; the 5 had been jailed for collaboration and transferred to hospitals after being wounded in IDF air strikes on jails.

Humanitarian notes: Israel allows 40 truckloads of humanitarian aid into Gaza; Egypt allows 23 truckloads of emergency goods in, some wounded out through Rafah. International aid groups (including Amnesty International, the UN) say aid transfers are insufficient, warn that the death toll is rising in part because of lack of medicines and medical supplies, food, and fuel.

Of note: One Israeli air strike heavily damages the UN Special Coordinator’s Office (UNSCO) headquarters in Gaza City, prompting the UN to issue a formal complaint. Egyptian TV reports that captured IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit has been wounded in an Israeli air strike in recent days; Hamas does not comment. (BBC, CNN, HA, Houston Chronicle, IFM, REU, White House press briefing, YA 12/29; BBC, IDF, Independent, NYT, WP, WT 12/30; IDF, UNOSAT 12/31; JP, PCHR, WJW 1/1; ITV 1/2; IDF 1/3; NYT, WP 1/4; WT, UNOSAT 1/5; IFM 1/8; Committee to Protect Journalists 1/9)

In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubbercoated steel bullets, percussion grenades, tear gas at Palestinians demonstrating against OCL in Issawiyya, Shu‘fat r.c., al-Tur neighborhood in East Jerusalem, causing no serious injuries; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in East Tura village nr. Jenin, Hebron. (PCHR 1/1)

After early morning consultations with senior cabinet mbrs., the IDF launches its major offensive on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead (OCL), at 11:25 A.M. local time (4:25 A.M. EST). Israeli DM Barak acknowledges (WP 12/28) that OCL has been planned for several months, stating that the aim is “to strike Hamas severely so as to change the situation from its base,” cautioning that “it won’t be short.”

Israeli actions: After an initial “shock and awe campaign” lasting 3 min. and 40 sec., with 64 warplanes hitting more than 50 targets across the Strip, the IDF conducts periodic air strikes throughout the day, recording a total of 170 sorties against 150 targets, killing at least 228 Palestinians, wounding more than 700 (140 seriously), marking the highest single-day death toll and Israel’s largest offensive in the territories since 1967. The midday timing of the initial onslaught, just as schools let out for lunch, increases the number of civilian casualties, including an estimated 25 women and children. Israeli Military Intelligence sends automated calls to 20,000 Palestinians across the Strip warning of further air strikes targeting anyone with weapons or guns.

Targets struck are primarily civil police stations, military training bases, Hamas-related command-and-control centers, suspected weapons depots, and sites believed to manufacture rockets. Target areas include Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (the city center and al-Daraj, al-Shuja‘iyya, Tal al-Hawa, alTuffah, al-Zaytun neighborhoods), Jabaliya r.c., Khan Yunis, al-Mughraqa (s. of Gaza City), Rafah, Shati’ r.c., and al-Zahra’ (c. Gaza nr. Jabaliya).

Palestinian actions: Palestinians fire 59 rockets (including some that reach the farthest north to date), 19 mortars into Israel during the day, killing 1 Israeli civilian in Netivot, wounding 4. (The fatality may have occurred before the official launch of OCL.)

Humanitarian notes: Gaza’s hospitals report (BBC 12/27) overflowing wards and not enough surgeons or supplies to cope. Egypt temporarily opens the Rafah crossing to allow transportation of some wounded to Egyptian hospitals.

Of note: During the initial “shock and awe,” the IDF hits a police academy graduation ceremony in Gaza City, killing at least 60 new civil police recruits and the chief of Palestinian police Maj. Gen. Tawfiq Jabber. Other targets include Gaza City’s main jail (the Saraya, holding Hamas opponents, hitting only the gates), the PA Preventive Security headquarters in Gaza City, the PA security compound in Rafah (southern headquarters of the PASF, PA Internal Security Service, and PA civil police), PA naval police facilities in n. Gaza and Khan Yunis, Palestinian Telecommunication Company offices in n. Gaza, a Gaza City mosque identified by the IDF as “a base for terrorist activities,” Hamas’s al-Aqsa TV station, the agriculture control dept. in Khan Yunis, numerous police stations and training sites, at least 9 homes, several workshops (considered rocket-manufacturing sites), and Hamas’s Asda’ media center outside Khan Yunis. One IDF airstrike on a PA ministry building kills 8 Palestinian students at an adjacent UNRWA training center, wounding 19 others (8 seriously). Hamas and Palestinian human rights groups in Gaza estimate that the dead include around 165 civil police officers (including those at the graduation ceremony) and Hamas’s central district governor, Abu Ahmad Ashur. Some targets are hit with U.S.-supplied GBU-39 bunkerbusting munitions received as recently as 9/08 (see Quarterly Update in JPS 150 and the “Israeli Arsenal” document in this issue’s Special Focus section). (al-Arabiyya TV, BBC, HA, IDF, JAZ, Middle East News Agency [Cairo], Palestine News Agency, YA 12/27; AFP, AP, BBC, HA, IFM, JAZ, NYT, Radikal, REU, WP, WT, XIN 12/28; JP, NYT, Zaman [Ankara] 12/29; PCHR 1/1; BBC 12/30; UNOSAT 12/31; JP, WJW 1/1; WP 1/4; Eurasia Daily Monitor [online], NYT, UNOSAT 1/5; IFM, JPI 1/8; NYT 1/11)

In other Israeli-Palestinian violence, the IDF fires tear gas, percussion grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets to disperse Palestinians demonstrating against OCL in the East Jerusalem suburbs of Anata, Issawiyya, Shu‘fat r.c. An E. Jerusalem Palestinian, reportedly angry over events in Gaza, injures an Israeli border police officer in a deliberate hit and run in the city. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem, Jenin. (HA 12/28; PCHR, WJW 1/1)

The IDF launches a major day-long incursion (including infantry, tanks, bulldozers, air support) into areas of Gaza e. of al-Bureij r.c. and al-Maghazi r.c. to “root out terrorist infrastructures,” sparking heavy clashes with local Palestinians and calling in air strikes in support; 11 Palestinian gunmen are killed (including at least 7 Hamas mbrs., 1 Islamic Jihad mbr.), 2 IDF soldiers and 25 Palestinians are wounded, 1 home is demolished, 80 d. of olive trees and agricultural land are bulldozed, 1 Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance is confiscated by the IDF, and at least 9 of about 70 Palestinians interrogated by troops are sent to Israel for further questioning. (Among the Palestinians wounded is an al-Aqsa TV cameraman, who is repeatedly shot at close range as he lies prone after initially being wounded, leaving him a double amputee; an IDF official speaking anonymously states that al-Aqsa TV employees should not be considered bona fide journalists but “Hamas operatives in every respect,” alleging that they gather intelligence and document attacks on Israeli forces for Hamas.) Islamic Jihad fires 2 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel during the clashes, causing no damage or injuries. The PRC also fires 2 rockets fr. Rafah toward Kerem Shalom crossing; 1 explodes on the launcher, injuring 1 PRC mbr., while the other lands inside Gaza, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Tulkarm town and r.c., nr. Qalqilya, and in Jenin town and r.c., Nablus, Tubas. In keeping with a decree issued by PA PM Fayyad earlier in the wk. changing the official weekend from Thursday/Friday to Friday/Saturday, Fatah-affiliated PA employees in Gaza attempt to go their workplaces today (Thursday) but are blocked by ESF officers who force the ministries to stay closed; Fatah civil servants pledge not to work on Saturday, in keeping with the decree and as a protest against Haniyeh’s provisional government. In Gaza City, 2,000 Palestinians hold a peaceful demonstration calling on Fatah, Hamas to work together. A PSF officer dies of injuries received in interfactional clashes in Jabaliya on 6/11. (NYT, WP, WT 7/6; NYT 7/7; WP 7/8; OCHA 7/11; PCHR 7/12)