116 / 14704 Results
  • September 6, 2021

    In the West Bank, Israeli forces raided Zeita, leading to the evacuation of students from an elementary school. Israeli forces also summoned the father and brother of 1 of the Palestinian...

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  • May 26, 2015

    In Gaza, a group claiming affiliation with the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) fires a rocket into Israel nr. Ashdod, causing no damage or injuries (the group will not take credit until 6...

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  • August 8, 2014

    In the Gaza Strip, the 72-hour cease-fire ends at 8:00 A.M. local time and hostilities resume. The IDF continues its assault with aerial and naval bombardment, killing 5 Palestinians. The IAF...

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  • July 6, 2014

    In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians fire 25 rockets into s. Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Attacks are claimed by 4 groups: the PRC, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Democratic Front for the...

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  • June 30, 2014

    In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians fire 18 rockets into s. Israel, causing no damage or injuries except where 2 houses are hit by shrapnel. Two of the rockets are intercepted by Iron Dome missile...

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  • June 29, 2014

    In the Gaza Strip, an IDF drone strikes a target nr. Dayr al-Balah, killing a mbr. of Hamas’s armed wing, al-Qassam Brigades. Meanwhile, the IDF strikes 12 other, separate targets across the Gaza...

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  • June 27, 2014

    In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians fire 6 rockets and 2 mortar shells into s. Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Two of the rockets are intercepted by Iron Dome batteries. In addition, an...

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  • June 18, 2014

    In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians fire 2 rockets into s. Israel, causing light damage but no injuries. Subsequently, the IDF launches 5 air strikes, targeting military sites used by PRC and al-...

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  • June 14, 2014

    In the Gaza Strip, armed Palestinians fire 4 rockets into s. Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF responds with 8 air strikes in the Gaza Strip, targeting military training sites...

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  • March 13, 2014

    In the Gaza Strip, an Egyptian-brokered truce between Israel and Islamic Jihad is secured. A leader of the Palestinian group, Khaled al-Batsh, writes on Facebook that “intensive Egyptian contacts...

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  • November 8, 2012

    PA pres. Abbas circulates a draft resolution to UN member states, ahead of an expected vote later in the month on upgrading the Palestinian status to that of non-member observer state. The draft...

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  • October 27, 2012

    Palestinian newspaper al-Quds alArabi reports that PA pres. Abbas has sent letters to world leaders, including U.S. pres. Obama and the heads of EU mbr. states, to ask that they back the...

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  • October 22, 2012

    Senior IDF commander Col. Amir Baram tells Israeli television that the army may soon need to enter the Gaza Strip, potentially going ‘‘house to house,’’ in order to ‘‘maintain deterrence.’’ (ToI...

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  • October 14, 2012

    The IDF assassinates 3 Palestinian fighters in 2 separate air strikes on Khan Yunis in the morning and Dayr al-Balah in the afternoon; 2 of those killed are identified as members of the Popular...

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  • April 14, 2012

    PRC mbrs. fire a rocket fr. Gaza towards Israel, which explodes prematurely inside Gaza, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, 200 Palestinians and international activists taking part in...

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  • March 10, 2012

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

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  • January 18, 2012

    IDF tanks and aircraft attack Popular Resistance Comm. (PRC) mbrs. planting explosives along the n. Gaza border, killing 2 PRC mbrs. and wounding 2. Later, IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire...

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  • September 6, 2011

    Obama Middle East adviser Dennis Ross and acting U.S. special envoy to the Middle East peace process David Hale arrive in the region for 2 days of mtgs. with Israeli and Palestinian officials...

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  • August 21, 2011

    Israel and Hamas (assisted by Egyptian mediators) agree to restore their cease-fire, ending 4 days of cross-border violence. Hamas says it has secured the agreement of the smaller Palestinian...

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  • August 19, 2011

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

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  • August 18, 2011

    Unidentified assailants armed with heavy weapons and explosives enter s. Israel fr. the Egyptian Sinai and stage coordinated attacks on a bus, several cars, and an IDF patrol, killing 7 Israelis (...

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  • April 9, 2011

    Overnight and during the day, Palestinians fire another 65 projectiles fr. Gaza into Israel, including at least 15 Grads (5 of which are intercepted by the Iron Dome system), damaging 1 house and...

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  • December 28, 2010

    The IDF fires on a PRC border patrol unit nr. the Gaza border fence, killing 1 Hamas mbr. Israeli naval forces detain a fishing boat of the n. Gaza coast, directing it to Ashdod port; the 6...

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  • December 18, 2010

    The IDF makes an air strike on a group of Islamic Jihad and PRC mbrs. preparing to fire a Qassam rocket into Israel, killing 5 armed Palestinians. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 4 villages (...

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  • January 6, 2010

    Egyptian border police clash with 100s of Palestinians protesting Egypt’s refusal to allow a humanitarian aid convoy through the Rafah crossing into Gaza without Israel’s permission and Egyptian...

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  • January 5, 2010

    Israel approves the construction of a new Jewish settlement neighborhood in Jerusalem funded by U.S. settlement financier Irving Moskowitz to build 4 apartment buildings (24 units total) on East...

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  • January 1, 2010

    Overnight, the IDF carries out air strikes on smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border in retaliation for the PFLP’s 12/31 Grad strikes, lightly injuring 4 Palestinians. Later in the day, after the...

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  • February 12, 2009

    Final Israeli election results are posted, showing Kadima maintaining a 1-seat lead over Likud. The close race means that Kadima’s Livni and Likud’s Netanyahu will have to compete to form a...

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  • February 2, 2009

    An IDF drone fires on a car e. of Rafah, assassinating PRC mbr. Ayman Shihada, wounding 2 teenagers nearby. Palestinians fire at least 2 mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries...

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  • January 1, 2009

    As OCL enters day 6, Israel announces that it will allow 443 foreign passportholders living in Gaza (mostly the spouses and children of Gazan Palestinians, including U.S., Russian, Moldovan,...

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In the West Bank, Israeli forces raided Zeita, leading to the evacuation of students from an elementary school. Israeli forces also summoned the father and brother of 1 of the Palestinian prisoners who escaped from an Israeli prison (see below). 10 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around al-Am‘ari refugee camp, Surda, Ramallah, Jalazun refugee camp, Fahma, and Jaba‘. (WAFA 9/6; MEMO 9/7; PCHR 9/9)

6 Palestinian prisoners, including the former al-Aqsa Martyr Brigade leader Zakaria Zubeidi, escaped Gilboa prison in Northern Israel near the West Bank, using a tunnel dug over a period of at least 10 months. All other prisoners in the Gilboa Prison were relocated to other prisons as Israeli authorities investigated the flaws in the prison structure that facilitated the escape. The Israeli prison service also restricted yard exercise time from 4 hours to 1 hour a day as a collective punishment. (AJ, AP, AX, FOX, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, JP, LAT, MEE, MEE, MEE, MEE, MEMO, MEMO, NYT, TOI, TOI, WAFA 9/6; AJ, HA, MEMO, MEMO, MEMO, WAFA 9/7; AX, MEMO, MEMO 9/8; ALM, AP, HA, HA, HA, HA, MEMO 9/9; HA 9/10; HA, HA 9/12; HA 9/14)

All crossings between the West Bank and Gaza to Israel were closed for the Israeli Rosh Hashanah holiday from 4 P.M. 9/6 to midnight between 9/8 and 9/9. Israel also prevented Palestinians from praying at al-Ibrahimi Mosque during the period. (HA 9/5; WAFA 9/7)

The Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza said in a press statement that it had suspended the Gaza fence protests until the middle of September to allow Egyptian and Qatari mediators to facilitate an end to the Israeli siege of Gaza. (ALM 9/10)

Qatar’s ambassador to Gaza Mohammed al-Emadi said Qatar, the UN, the PA, and Israel had agreed to a deal that would allow Qatari aid to enter Gaza. Israel did not comment on the announcement and it was unclear when the deal would be implemented. (AJ, HA, MEMO, REU 9/6)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas spoke to Israel’s president Isaac Herzog and defense minister Benny Gantz, congratulating them on the Jewish new year. (WAFA 9/6; JP, MEMO 9/7)

In Gaza, a group claiming affiliation with the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) fires a rocket into Israel nr. Ashdod, causing no damage or injuries (the group will not take credit until 6/1). Holding Hamas responsible for any projectile fire from Gaza and asserting that Islamic Jihad was the culprit, Israeli Air Force (IAF) jets strike 4 Islamic Jihad, Popular Resistance Comms. (PRC), and Hamas training sites in Rafah, Khan Yunis, and Bayt Lahiya late at night, causing damage but no casualties. Off the coast nr. Khan Yunis and then nr. Gaza City, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats, injuring a fisherman in the later incident. Egyptian authorities open the Rafah border crossing for passage into Gaza only (they will keep it open through 5/28). In the West Bank, IDF troops chase down, shoot, and injure 4 Palestinian workers nr. Qalqilya. Separately, 4 Israeli soldiers detain and assault a Palestinian trying to cross over the separation wall nr. Qalqilya. Unidentified gunmen shoot and injure a Palestinian man in s. Hebron. The IDF conducts late-night raids and house searches late at night in and around Hebron, and in 1 village nr. Nablus, arresting 9 Palestinians; patrols during the day nr. Jericho and Hebron. Israeli forces photograph an electricity network nr. Hebron, then deliver a notice demanding its operations be suspended. They also deliver a stop-work notice for a water well under construction nr. Hebron. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces conduct a late-night raid in Jabal Mukabir, arresting 1 Palestinian. (AP, HA, MNA, WAFA 5/26; HA, JP, MNA, WAFA 5/27; PCHR 5/28; JP 6/10)

In the Gaza Strip, the 72-hour cease-fire ends at 8:00 A.M. local time and hostilities resume. The IDF continues its assault with aerial and naval bombardment, killing 5 Palestinians. The IAF strikes around 50 targets across Gaza. Armed Palestinian groups fire dozens of rockets into Israel, attacks claimed by Islamic Jihad and the PRC, injuring 3. In the West Bank, IDF troops shoot and kill a Palestinian during clashes nr. Psagot settlement close to Ramallah. IDF troops also shoot a Palestinian in clashes nr. Hebron, who later dies of his injuries. In the clashes, 25 are injured with live ammunition and 15 with rubber-coated metal bullets. There are further clashes in Safa village nr. Ramallah, where IDF troops shoot and injure 7 Palestinians, as well as outside Ofer prison, where IDF troops injure 6 Palestinians. IDF troops violently disperse Palestinian, Israeli, and international protesters at weekly demonstrations against Israel’s separation wall, settlements, and occupation in 3 villages nr. Ramallah (Bil‘in, Nabi Salih, and Ni‘lin), and 1 village nr. Qalqilya (Kafr Qaddum). There are no serious injuries, except in Kafr Qaddum, where 4 are injured by live ammunition. The IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah and 2 villages nr. Jericho during the day. (AFP, AP, HA, JP, MNA, REU, YA 8/8; PCHR 8/9)

Egyptian officials call for a resumption of the cease-fire, saying that only a few points remain to be agreed, but Israeli officials say that they are unprepared to negotiate under fire. Israeli officials accuse Hamas of firing a few rockets before the cease-fire even ended. (AFP, AP, HA, JP, MNA, REU, YA 8/8)

In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians fire 25 rockets into s. Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Attacks are claimed by 4 groups: the PRC, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and al-Mujahidin Brigades. The IDF strikes 9 targets across the Gaza Strip throughout the day. A strike in al-Bureij r.c. kills 2 mbrs. of Islamic Jihad’s al-Quds Brigades. Later, during the night, the IDF strikes 14 more targets, killing 9 fighters from al-Qassam Brigades and wounding 4. Six of the fighters are killed in a tunnel collapse, which the IDF says is unrelated to air strikes. One Israeli air strike in Bayt Hanun wounds 5 civilians, including a child. Separately, IDF troops open fire from the border nr. Rafah, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, IDF troops clash with Palestinians in al-‘Arub r.c. nr. Hebron, injuring 15 residents with rubber-coated metal bullets. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 2 villages nr. Ramallah, 1 village nr. Salfit and Jenin at night; patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning, and in 1 village nr. Ramallah at night. Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian cars nr. Bethlehem, damaging 1. In a separate incident, settlers assault a priest nr. Ramallah. In East Jerusalem, around 100 Palestinian youths clash with Israeli security forces, and there are similar clashes in Abu Tur and Hizma. Israeli police detain 6 Jewish men in connection with the murder of Palestinian teenager Abu Khdeir on 7/2. In Israel, meanwhile, a group of bedouin in Tel Sheva nr. Beersheba throw Molotov cocktails and stones at passing cars nr. the Jewish town of Omer, causing damage. There are further violent protests in Shafa ‘Amr, in the Galilee, as well as in Nazareth and nearby town Iksal. Some 200 protesters try to block Route 70 at Yavor Junction in the n. (AP, HA, MNA, REU, YA 7/6; PCHR 7/10)

In the weekly Israeli cabinet meeting, PM Netanyahu and FM Lieberman disagree about how to deal with the escalating situation in Gaza and s. Israel. Netanyahu criticizes Lieberman and Economy Minister Bennett for their repeated public calls for a full ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, and urges ministers to be “level-headed and responsible.” Meanwhile, Israeli authorities decide to reduce the fishing zone open for Gaza fishermen from 6 naut. mi. to 3. (HA, JP, MNA 7/6)

In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians fire 18 rockets into s. Israel, causing no damage or injuries except where 2 houses are hit by shrapnel. Two of the rockets are intercepted by Iron Dome missile defense batteries. According to Israeli officials, Hamas activists were involved in this barrage, making it the 1st time the organization has participated in rocket fire since the 11/2012 cease-fire. IDF troops conduct air strikes on 34 targets across the Gaza Strip, hitting training sites of al-Qassam Brigades, Islamic Jihad, and the PRC, and agricultural areas, killing 1, injuring 4, and causing damage. Off the coast nr. Bayt Lahiya, Israeli naval forces shell an open area on the coast, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Hebron and 1 nearby village at night; patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 village nr. Hebron at night. Israeli settlers attack a Palestinian in Hebron, wounding him. Separately, settlers vandalize 12 olive trees nr. Hebron. In East Jerusalem, Israeli security forces shoot and wound 2 Palestinians with rubber-coated metal bullets during clashes nr. Haram al-Sharif. The confrontations begin after restrictions are placed on worshippers’ access to the area while right-wing Jewish activists are allowed to enter. (AP, HA, IMEMC, JP, MNA 6/30; PCHR 7/3)

Israeli security forces locate the bodies of the 3 Israeli settler teenagers nr. Hebron, not far from where they were kidnapped (on 6/12) and killed. PM Netanyahu and DM Ya’alon propose that the response to the killing of the teens should include a wave of settlement construction. Netanyahu also addresses the increased tensions in Gaza and s. Israel, saying “either Hamas will stop the rocket fire or we will.” Hamas spokesperson Abu Zuhri says that if Israel attacks Hamas in Gaza, “they will open the gates of hell on themselves,” adding that Hamas does not “want any military confrontation with Israel, but if it will be forced on us it will look like in previous rounds.” Meanwhile, U.S. Pres. Barack Obama issues a statement expressing his condolences to the families of the murdered Israeli youth, calls on Israel and the PA to cooperate to bring the guilty parties to justice, and urges all sides to exercise restraint to prevent further destabilization. (AFP, HA, JP, MNA, REU 6/30)

In the Gaza Strip, an IDF drone strikes a target nr. Dayr al-Balah, killing a mbr. of Hamas’s armed wing, al-Qassam Brigades. Meanwhile, the IDF strikes 12 other, separate targets across the Gaza Strip, causing damage and 3 injuries to civilians. The air strikes hit military training facilities belonging to al-Qassam Brigades, Islamic Jihad, and the PRC, as well as a concrete factory. In addition, IDF troops shell agricultural lands close to the border fence nr. Khan Yunis, causing no damage or injuries. Off the coast of Khan Yunis, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishermen, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, IDF troops level land nr. Salfit and destroy dozens of olive trees. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Bethlehem; patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 village each nr. Bethlehem and Jericho at night. Israeli settlers attack Palestinian-owned agricultural land nr. Beitar Ilit, destroying crops. (HA, JP, MNA, REU, WAFA 6/29; PCHR 7/2)

Israeli PM Netanyahu says his country is “ready to expand” the operation in Gaza, in comments at the weekly cabinet meeting. Meanwhile, the PRC in Gaza claims responsibility for rocket fire, which it describes as “retaliation to the Israeli crimes against our Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and the ongoing violations against prisoners.” (AFP, MNA, ToI 6/29)

In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians fire 6 rockets and 2 mortar shells into s. Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Two of the rockets are intercepted by Iron Dome batteries. In addition, an explosive device detonates nr. IDF troops adjacent to the border fence, causing minor damage but no injuries. An IDF drone strikes a car nr. Shati’ r.c., killing 2 senior mbrs. of the PRC and injuring 1. The IDF conducts air strikes on 3 other targets across the Gaza Strip, causing no injuries. Also, IDF troops fire tank shells toward Khuza village close to the border fence, injuring 8. In a separate incident, IDF troops shell agricultural lands close to the border fence nr. Khan Yunis, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, IDF troops shoot and wound 3 Palestinians during clashes with residents outside Balata r.c. nr. Nablus. Meanwhile, during an arrest raid in Bethlehem, IDF troops shoot and wound 1 Palestinian in Dahaysha r.c. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Hebron in the afternoon, and in 2 villages and al-Am‘ari r.c. nr. Ramallah, 2 villages nr. Hebron, and 1 village nr. Bethlehem at night; patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning, in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the afternoon, and in 3 villages nr. Jericho, 2 villages nr. Hebron, and 1 village nr. Nablus at night. IDF troops violently disperse Palestinian, Israeli, and international protesters at weekly demonstrations against Israel’s separation wall, settlements, and occupation in 2 villages nr. Ramallah (Bil‘in and Ni‘lin), and 1 village nr. Qalqilya (Kafr Qaddum). There are no serious injuries. (HA, MNA, REU 6/27; PCHR 7/3)

Martin Indyk resigns as U.S. special envoy, though he will remain an adviser to the Obama administration. Indyk will return to his role as director of the foreign policy program at the Brookings Institution. (HA 6/27)

In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians fire 2 rockets into s. Israel, causing light damage but no injuries. Subsequently, the IDF launches 5 air strikes, targeting military sites used by PRC and al-Qassam Brigades, in which 1 man is injured. In addition, IDF troops conduct a limited incursion to level land alongside the border fence nr. Khan Yunis, while separately, the IDF says that an explosive device is uncovered nr. the border fence. In the West Bank, IDF troops shoot and wound 1 Palestinian in ‘Askar r.c. nr. Nablus during a raid. Separately, IDF troops shoot and wound 1 nr. Nablus during a raid. Meanwhile, IDF troops demolish 7 houses across the s. West Bank: 3 in al-Khadir nr. Bethlehem and 4 nr. Hebron, leaving 7 families homeless. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Hebron and 8 nearby villages, Nablus and nearby ‘Ayn Bayt al-Ma’ r.c. and 5 villages, 3 villages nr. Ramallah, and Jenin r.c. at night. (HA, MNA, YA 6/18; PCHR 6/19)

Israeli PM Netanyahu praises the security forces for the arrest of 53 former prisoners, who were released in the Shalit exchange deal in 2011 and recaptured as a part of OBK. An estimated 240 Palestinians have now been detained since the start of the operation, 180 of them affiliated with Hamas, according to Israeli media reports. Pres. Abbas condemns those behind the kidnapping, comments denounced by Hamas spokesperson Abu Zuhri. U.S. State Dept. spokesperson Psaki praises Abbas’s remarks, saying the administration is calling on Israelis and Palestinians to “show restraint during this difficult period.”

In the Gaza Strip, armed Palestinians fire 4 rockets into s. Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF responds with 8 air strikes in the Gaza Strip, targeting military training sites belonging to Hamas’s Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s al-Quds Brigades, and the Popular Resistance Comms. (PRC) in the c. Gaza Strip, Rafah, and Khan Yunis. Damage is sustained, and 2 civilians are wounded when they are hit by shrapnel in separate attacks. Off the coast nr. Bayt Lahiya, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishermen, causing no damage or injuries. Meanwhile, a 10-year-old boy dies, succumbing to injuries sustained in an Israeli air strike on 6/11. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Ramallah and 8 villages nearby, Nablus and 4 villages and ‘Askar r.c. nearby, Tulkarm and 3 villages and Nur Shams r.c. nearby, Tubas and 1 village and al-Fara‘a r.c. nearby, Jenin and 1 nearby village, Jericho and ‘Ayn al-Sultan r.c. nearby, 1 village each nr. Qalqilya and Jerusalem, and al-Bireh at night; patrols in 2 villages nr. Jericho, 1 village nr. Ramallah at night. Jewish settlers stone Palestinian vehicles nr. Nablus, injuring 3 and causing damage. Separately, Jewish settlers throw stones at Palestinians and their homes in Susia nr. Hebron. (HA, JP, MNA 6/14; PCHR 6/19)

Israeli PM Netanyahu announces that the Israeli govt. holds the PA responsible for the fate of the 3 missing Israeli teenagers, since “the terrorists originated from Palestinian territory.” Anonymous PA officials tell the media that Abbas has instructed his security services to help in the manhunt. Meanwhile, the IDF continues intensive sweeps of the s. West Bank, and wideranging arrest raids, which pick up 80 Palestinians, including 4 mbrs. of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The IDF also imposes a closure on the s. West Bank, from Bethlehem to the Hebron region. IDF sources tell the media that the working assumption is that the youth are alive. (HA, JP, MNA, YA 6/15)

In the Gaza Strip, an Egyptian-brokered truce between Israel and Islamic Jihad is secured. A leader of the Palestinian group, Khaled al-Batsh, writes on Facebook that “intensive Egyptian contacts and efforts” mean a restoration of “the agreement for calm . . . in accordance with understandings reached [on 11/21/12] in Cairo,” a reference to the end of Operation Pillar of Defense. Hamas Dep. FM Ghazi Hamad says that Egypt deliberately ignored the govt. in Gaza and communicated directly with Islamic Jihad, a claim corroborated by an anonymous Egyptian security official. Following the cease-fire, the Popular Resistance Cmte. (PRC) fires 8 rockets into s. Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In response, the Israeli air force conducts air strikes against 4 sites in Rafah and Jabaliya, targeting a PRC training camp and Izzeddin alQassam Brigades sites, causing damage but no injuries, except in Rafah, where 3 civilians are injured. In the West Bank, IDF troops wound 2 Palestinians during a clash with mourners at a funeral in Bayt Umar nr. Hebron. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon; patrols in 3 villages, al-‘Arub r.c. and al-Fawar r.c. nr. Hebron at night. (AFP, HA, MNA, REU, WAFA 13/3; PCHR 3/20)

Israeli science minister Yaakov Peri says that unless Palestinians agree to an extension of peace talks, it would be difficult for Israel to go ahead with a scheduled 4th prisoner release. Israeli FM Lieberman says that “negotiations should be extended to the end of the year at least.” Separately, Israeli authorities approve construction permits for 387 housing units in Ramat Shlomo settlement in East Jerusalem, part of the 1,500 unit-plan approved in 2/2012 by the Jerusalem municipality. Meanwhile, U.S. Secy. of State Kerry tells the House Foreign Relations Cmte. that PM Netanyahu’s insistence on a public statement of recognition from the Palestinians of Israel as a Jewish state is “a mistake.” (AIC, AFP 3/13; JP 3/14)

PA pres. Abbas circulates a draft resolution to UN member states, ahead of an expected vote later in the month on upgrading the Palestinian status to that of non-member observer state. The draft text includes the Palestinian commitment to the two-state solution. An anonymous Palestinian official says that Arab League foreign ministers will discuss the draft and the timing of the vote in a meeting in Cairo on 11/12–13. Israeli FM Lieberman warns of ‘‘far-reaching implications’’ to the UN bid, but Palestinian officials respond with their own threats, such as cancelling the 1994 Paris Protocol, should Israel impose sanctions on the PA after the vote. In meetings with Quartet envoy Tony Blair and the U.S. and French consuls, PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erakat says the UN bid does not contradict the two-state solution. (AP, REU 11/8; JP, MNA 11/9)

The IDF makes a brief incursion into the Gaza Strip nr. Khan Yunis, where troops are engaged by armed PRC mbrs.; the IDF fatally shoots a Palestinian boy during the gun battle. In response, IQB mbrs. detonate a bomb near the border fence, damaging an IDF jeep and wounding 1 soldier. In the West Bank, the IDF uproots trees on land belonging to Nahalin village nr. Bethlehem; patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah, 2 villages nr. Qalqilya, and 4 villages nr. Jenin in the morning; patrols in 1 village nr. Qalqilya, 1 nr. Jenin, and 1 nr. Ramallah (firing rubber bullets and tear gas at stone-throwing Palestinians) at night; conducts late-night house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Ramallah. (MNA, REU, YA 11/8; MNA 11/9; PCHR 11/14)

Three mortar shells fired from inside Syria land inside the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, causing no injuries. (HA 11/8)

Palestinian newspaper al-Quds alArabi reports that PA pres. Abbas has sent letters to world leaders, including U.S. pres. Obama and the heads of EU mbr. states, to ask that they back the Palestinian bid for non-member status at the UNGA. (JP 10/28)

The Israeli military carries out an air strike nr. Khan Yunis, killing 1 armed Palestinian, wounding another. PRC mbrs. fire a Grad rocket that lands nr. Beersheba, causing no injuries. Unidentified Palestinians fire another 2 rockets into Israel late at night, causing no injuries. A smuggling tunnel under the Rafah border collapses, killing 3 Palestinians. An estimated 160 Palestinians have died in the tunnels since 2006. In the West Bank, the IDF arrests the secy.-gen. of the Palestinian parliament, Mahmud al-Ramahi, at the Huwwara checkpoint nr. Nablus; he had been released from Israeli jail less than 4 mos. before. (MNA 10/27; JP, REU 10/28)

Senior IDF commander Col. Amir Baram tells Israeli television that the army may soon need to enter the Gaza Strip, potentially going ‘‘house to house,’’ in order to ‘‘maintain deterrence.’’ (ToI 10/22)

The IDF kills 3 armed Palestinians (including at least 1 Hamas mbr. and 1 PRC mbr.) during an incursion into the Gaza Strip. Armed Palestinians initially fired mortars at the IDF troops when they entered Gaza, and the IDF responded with air strikes. The IDF also opens fire nr. Bayt Hanun in the morning (causing no injuries) and makes brief incursions into areas nr. Bayt Lahiya and Jabaliya (opening fire but causing no injuries). In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm (firing tear gas at stone-throwing Palestinians) and 3 nearby villages at night. (AP, REU 10/22; PCHR 10/24)

Seven people are killed in exchanges of gunfire in Beirut and Tripoli, in unrest related to the 10/19 assassination of senior intelligence official Wissam al-Hassan. The Lebanese army deploys in order to stop the violence. (NYT, REU 10/22)

The IDF assassinates 3 Palestinian fighters in 2 separate air strikes on Khan Yunis in the morning and Dayr al-Balah in the afternoon; 2 of those killed are identified as members of the Popular Resistance Comm. (PRC), which vows to retaliate. In the West Bank, the IDF arrests a number of teachers en route to work in 1 village nr. Hebron; patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah and 1 village nr. Hebron in the afternoon (in the latter’s case confiscating a tractor); arrests a Palestinian working on his land nr. Hebron in the afternoon; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Ramallah and 1 village each nr. Hebron and Tulkarm. Those detained include Ayman Nasser, a researcher from Addameer human rights organization. (REU, MNA 10/14; MNA 10/15; PCHR 10/18).

The UN’s Middle East envoy Robert Serry says that he is alarmed by attacks perpetrated by Jewish settlers against Palestinian farmers and farmland in the West Bank. (ToI 10/14)

PRC mbrs. fire a rocket fr. Gaza towards Israel, which explodes prematurely inside Gaza, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, 200 Palestinians and international activists taking part in a bike along the Jordan Valley intended to draw attention to Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement are blocked by IDF as they leave Ouja village to enter Route 90; at least 1 IDF soldier, an officer, is caught by news cameras beating a Danish activist with his M16 and is dismissed from his post and demoted by the Defense Min. “on moral grounds.” (In total, 2 Palestinians, including a woman, and 3 internationals, including the Dane, are injured.) A small group of Palestinians and international activists hold a weekly nonviolent demonstration in Bayt Umar protesting settlement expansion; the IDF beats and fires stun grenades at the protesters, hitting 1 Palestinian woman with a stun grenade, moderately injuring her. The IDF also conducts morning patrols in `Aqabat Jabir r.c., Jericho and 1 nearby village, 2 villages nr. Tulkarm, and 1 each nr. Jenin and Qalqilya; conducts afternoon patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin and Jericho; and conducts latenight patrols in Tulkarm an 2 nearby villages, 3 villages nr. Qalqilya, 2 nr. Ramallah, and 1 nr. Jenin. (MNA 4/15; NYT, PCHR 4/19; OCHA 4/20)

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

IDF tanks and aircraft attack Popular Resistance Comm. (PRC) mbrs. planting explosives along the n. Gaza border, killing 2 PRC mbrs. and wounding 2. Later, IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinian farmers working their fields nr. the border, forcing them to flee, and make a brief incursion into the former Nisanit settlement site to search the area. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron. (PCHR, WT 1/19; PCHR 1/26; OCHA 1/27)

Obama Middle East adviser Dennis Ross and acting U.S. special envoy to the Middle East peace process David Hale arrive in the region for 2 days of mtgs. with Israeli and Palestinian officials regarding the Palestinian statehood bid and a possible Quartet plan to revive negotiations. As they meet first with Israeli pres. Benjamin Netanyahu and DM Barak, U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton phones Abbas, urging him to “work hard with us to avoid a negative scenario in New York at the end of the month.” (AFP, Bloomberg, NYT 9/6; WP 9/7)

\Overnight, unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In retaliation, the IDF carries out an air strike on a suspected weapons depot in Gaza, causing no reported injuries. Later in the day, the IDF makes a brief incursion into s. Gaza nr. Khan Yunis, exchanging fire with PRC mbrs., causing no initial injuries; when the PRCs. fire mortars toward soldiers, the IDF replies with gunfire fr. a helicopter, killing 1 PRC mbr. and wounding 3 bystanders. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Tulkarm. (IFM 9/6; NYT 9/7; PCHR 9/8; OCHA 9/9)

Israel and Hamas (assisted by Egyptian mediators) agree to restore their cease-fire, ending 4 days of cross-border violence. Hamas says it has secured the agreement of the smaller Palestinian factions and will enforce a moratorium on rocket and mortar fire. A PRC spokesman says, however, that the PRCs will not abide by the cease-fire. Before the new cease-fire goes into effect, unidentified Palestinians fire as many as 27 rockets (including 5 Grads) and 2 mortars into Israel, damaging an empty school but causing no injuries. The IDF carries out 6 air strikes and 2 artillery strikes on the rocket launch site, empty Hamas training sites, and a police station, injuring 12 Palestinians (3 militants and 9 bystanders, including 5 children). In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids and house searches in Dahaysha r.c. nr. Bethlehem. (JP, PCHR, YA 8/21; NYT, WP, WT, YA 8/22; WP 8/23; PCHR 8/25; OCHA 8/26)

An Israeli military delegation arrives in Egypt to discuss the preliminary findings of its investigation of the deaths of the 3 Egyptian soldiers, securing a new Gaza cease-fire (agreed later in the day), and repairing bilateral relations. U.S. asst. secy. of state for Near Eastern affairs Jeffrey Feltman and UN coordinator for the Middle East peace process Robert Serry are also in Cairo to help mediate. Around this time, Israeli DM Ehud Barak sends the message to Egypt’s transitional military council that they may skirt provisions of the 1979 peace treaty and send as many troops, armored vehicles, and helicopters into the Sinai as necessary to restore order and guarantee border security. In Cairo, 100s of Egyptian protesters keep up a demonstration outside the Israeli emb., calling for the amb. to be expelled and the emb. removed. (NYT 8/22; WP 8/23; NYT 8/27)

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

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

Unidentified assailants armed with heavy weapons and explosives enter s. Israel fr. the Egyptian Sinai and stage coordinated attacks on a bus, several cars, and an IDF patrol, killing 7 Israelis (1 IDF soldier, 6 civilians) and wounding up to 40, marking the deadliest attack on Israel since 3/2008. The attacks begin at midday with gunfire on a bus nr. Elat carrying mostly soldiers fr. a nearby army base; when an IDF unit arrives on the scene, it is quickly ambushed and hit with explosive devices. Within the hour, at least 3 reports of mortar fire fr. Egypt and attacks on civilian vehicles with antitank weapons are reported in the Elat area. Israeli security forces engage in firefights with the infiltrators over the next several hours, killing at least 7 attackers, noting that 3 of the bodies were booby trapped. At one point, IDF troops pursue the attackers into Egypt and clash with Egyptian border guards, killing an Egyptian military officer and 2 Egyptian border police and injuring 2 others. Israel accuses Hamas of sending terrorists fr. Gaza through the Rafah smuggling tunnels into Egypt and then on to Israel, and criticizes Egypt’s inability to secure its borders. The IDF quickly launches 12 air strikes on s. Gaza in retaliation, primarily targeting the Popular Resistance Committees (PRCs)—an umbrella group comprising mbrs. of all Gaza factions, including Fatah and Hamas. In total, 7 Palestinians (including 2 children) are killed and at least 23 Palestinians (including 7 children, 6 women) are wounded. Among the dead are 5 senior PRC members who were targeted for assassination, including PRC leader Kamal Abu Abed al-Nairab, PRC chief military cmdr. Imad Hamad, and a PRC rocket expert. Later in the evening, gunfire erupts again in Elat, killing 1 Israeli border policeman and critically injuring another. The PRCs fire 4 rockets (including at least 1 manufactured Grad rocket) fr. Gaza into Israel, where at least 3 are intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system; no damage or injuries are reported. By late evening, the Israeli DMin. reports no further fire, but says assailants may still be on the loose. Hamas and the PRCs deny any part in the attacks. Egyptian and American analysts (e.g., NYT, WT 8/19) say that “it is not a remote possibility for [Egypt’s radical militant elements] to cross the border and launch attacks against Israeli targets. It makes a lot of sense” given Egypt’s recent crackdown on al-Qa‘ida-inspired Islamist militants in the n. Sinai (see 8/13). (AHR, AP, HA, IFM, JP, JTA, MNA, REU, WAFA, YA 8/18; NYT, OCHA, WP, WT 8/19; al-Masri al-Yawm 8/20; JAZ 8/21; PCHR 8/25; OCHA 8/26)

Meanwhile, in the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Bayt Liqya nr. Ramallah during the day and in Jenin, Jericho, and 2 villages nr. Ramallah and Salfit. Jewish settlers fr. Beit El nr. Ramallah enter nearby Dawar al-Qare’ village and set fire to 2 cars. (PCHR 8/25)

Overnight and during the day, Palestinians fire another 65 projectiles fr. Gaza into Israel, including at least 15 Grads (5 of which are intercepted by the Iron Dome system), damaging 1 house and a water main, but causing no injuries. The IDF carries out 4 more air strikes (3 dropped fr. warplanes, 1 drone strike), killing at least 1 senior Hamas mbr. and 1 PRC mbr., and wounding 3 militants (1 Hamas, 2 PRC). In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Qalqilya and Tulkarm during the day and 1 nr. Ramallah late at night; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem. In 2 separate incidents Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar nr. Nablus vandalize Palestinian homes and stone a Palestinian woman in nearby Asira village, and stone laborers and vandalize cars in nearby ‘Urif village. (JP 4/9; HA, IFM, IsRN, NYT 4/10; PCHR 4/14; OCHA 4/15)

The IDF fires on a PRC border patrol unit nr. the Gaza border fence, killing 1 Hamas mbr. Israeli naval forces detain a fishing boat of the n. Gaza coast, directing it to Ashdod port; the 6 fishermen onboard are released hours later, but their boat is confiscated. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Tulkarm. (NYT 12/29; PCHR 12/30; OCHA 12/31)

The IDF makes an air strike on a group of Islamic Jihad and PRC mbrs. preparing to fire a Qassam rocket into Israel, killing 5 armed Palestinians. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 4 villages (2 nr. Jenin, 1 nr. Qalqilya, 1 nr. Tubas), fences off a plot of Palestinian agricultural land nr. ‘Azun village nr. Qalqilya, denying access to farmers. Jewish settlers fr. Itamar settlement nr. Nablus beat a Palestinian shepherd grazing his flock nr. the settlement, forcing him to flee; the settlers gather the sheep and set fire to them, killing 12 and maiming 7. (HA, REU 12/18; JP, NYT, WP 12/19; OCHA, PCHR 12/23)

Egyptian border police clash with 100s of Palestinians protesting Egypt’s refusal to allow a humanitarian aid convoy through the Rafah crossing into Gaza without Israel’s permission and Egyptian plans to build an underground steel wall to deter smuggling tunnels, leaving 1 Egyptian soldier fatally shot, 10s of Palestinians injured. In Gaza, a PRC mbr. injured in the 1/5 Israeli air strike on al-Qarara dies. The UN reports that since 12/23, 1 Palestinian has been killed in a smuggling tunnel collapse on the Rafah border. In the West Bank, the IDF makes a late-night incursion into Zabbuba village nr. Jenin, patrolling streets but making no arrests; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches n. of Jerusalem. Jewish settlers fr. Gilad nr. Qalqilya attack Palestinian farmers working their nearby land. (OCHA 1/6, 1/13; PCHR 1/14)

Israel approves the construction of a new Jewish settlement neighborhood in Jerusalem funded by U.S. settlement financier Irving Moskowitz to build 4 apartment buildings (24 units total) on East Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives, creating Israeli territorial contiguity between Mount Scopus and the Mount of Olives, completely surrounding the Old City of Jerusalem with Jewish settlements; the U.S. issues a stern protest stating the project harms the peace process. Early in the morning, the IDF makes 2 incursions into s. Gaza nr. Abasan and Khuza to bulldoze land to clear lines of sight. Later, unidentified Palestinians fire a rocket into Israel, causing no damage or injuries; the IDF immediately carries out an air strike on smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border (causing no reported injuries). Later, the IDF carries out an air strike in s. Gaza nr. al-Qarara on a group of PRC mbrs. preparing to fire a rocket, killing 1 PRC mbr. and wounding 3 others. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Palestinian areas of Hebron in the morning and in nearby Sa‘ir village in the afternoon. (Globes 1/5; JP, OCHA, PCHR, WP, WT 1/6; PCHR 1/14; JPI 1/15)

Overnight, the IDF carries out air strikes on smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border in retaliation for the PFLP’s 12/31 Grad strikes, lightly injuring 4 Palestinians. Later in the day, after the Popular Resistance Committees (PRCs) fire at least 2 mortars toward the Kerem Shalom crossing (the IDF records 2, while the PRCs claim 5; only 1 lands inside Israel, causing no damage or injuries), the IDF carries out air strikes on an open area e. of Jabaliya in n. Gaza and on a farm in al-Qarara in s. Gaza, causing no damage or injuries. Of note: Israel permanently closes the Nahal Oz crossing, meaning that with the exception of the grain belt operating at Qarni crossing, Kerem Shalom will be the sole transit point for goods coming in and out of Gaza; all fuel shipments will also henceforth go through Kerem Shalom. In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas at stone-throwing Palestinians and nonviolent international (and, in the case of Bil‘in, Israeli) activists taking part in protests against the separation wall in Bil‘in (injuring 1 Palestinian) and Ni‘lin (injuring 2 Palestinians); prevents Palestinian and international activists fr. planting trees on Palestinian land declared a closed military zone by the IDF, confiscating the trees; patrols in al-‘Arub r.c. in the evening, stopping and questioning a group of Palestinian children, arresting 3 teenagers; conducts synchronized late-night house searches in 3 villages southwest of Jenin, making no arrests; later makes a raid on a 4th village in the same area, also making no arrests. Jewish settlers fr. Yakir nr. Salfit stone a Palestinian car driving on the road to Qalqilya, injuring 2 Palestinians. (YA 1/1; HA 1/2; OCHA, PCHR 1/6)

Final Israeli election results are posted, showing Kadima maintaining a 1-seat lead over Likud. The close race means that Kadima’s Livni and Likud’s Netanyahu will have to compete to form a governing coalition. (al-Ahram, AY, IHY, JP, Jordan Times, MA, MM, NHR, QA, al-Ra’i, YA, 2/12; NYT, WP 2/13)

During the day, the IDF makes an air strike on a lumber store in Gaza’s Jabaliya r.c., destroying it, heavily damaging 20 other stores, wounding 11 Palestinians (including 5 children ages 1–6). Late in the evening, an IDF drone fires on 2 PRC mbrs. riding a motorcycle nr. Khan Yunis, assassinating PRC mbr. Ali al-Qidra, wounding a 2d PRC mbr. Israel allows 109 truckloads of humanitarian aid and commercial goods into Gaza, as well as a limited amount of fuel for Gaza’s power plant. In addition, Israel permits Gazans to export 25,000 carnations to Europe via the Kerem Shalom crossing and Ben-Gurion Airport, marking the 1st permitted exports in nearly a yr. The IDF says no further Gazan exports are planned, though the situation will be reviewed periodically. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Qabatya and nr. Hebron, Ramallah, Salfit. (WP 2/13; PCHR 2/19)

An IDF drone fires on a car e. of Rafah, assassinating PRC mbr. Ayman Shihada, wounding 2 teenagers nearby. Palestinians fire at least 2 mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Israel allows 180 truckloads of goods (much of it seed and fodder) and 10 tons of medicine and medical equipment into Gaza. In the West Bank, armed Palestinians fire on an IDF patrol nr. Beit Yatir settlement nr. Hebron from a moving vehicle, causing no reported injuries; the soldiers return fire on the car, killing 1 armed Palestinian. The IDF patrols in Bil‘in, fires on stone-throwing youths who confront them, wounding 1 teenager; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Jenin, nr. Bethlehem. In East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities demolish 2 Palestinian homes in Shu‘fat for being close to the separation wall. (MM 2/2; NYT, WP 2/3; PCHR 2/5)

As OCL enters day 6, Israel announces that it will allow 443 foreign passportholders living in Gaza (mostly the spouses and children of Gazan Palestinians, including U.S., Russian, Moldovan, Ukrainian, Turkish, and Norwegian passport-holders) to leave on 1/2, raising concerns that a major ground incursion into Gaza is imminent.

Israeli actions: The IDF continues air strikes and naval bombardment of Gaza, hitting at least 70 targets and carrying out at least 40 air strikes. Primary targets include the PA parliament building, Justice Min., Education Min., the headquarters of the PA presidency in Gaza City, homes of several other Hamas and PRC cmdrs., tunnels on the Rafah border, suspected weapons depots, 2 mosques in Jabaliya r.c., a fishing harbor w. of Khan Yunis, a water reservoir in Bayt Hanun. Target areas include Abasan, Bani Suhayla, Bayt Hanun, al-Bureij r.c., Gaza City, Jabaliya, Khan Yunis, al-Maghazi r.c., Nussayrat, al-Qarara, Rafah, Tal al-Za‘atar. By day’s end, the Palestinian toll is at least 412 dead.

Palestinian actions: Palestinians fire 59 rockets (at least 10 of them fired by Islamic Jihad) and 1 mortar into Israel, with 1 longrange rocket hitting an apartment building in Ashdod (causing heavy damage but no major injuries) and 3 in open areas outside Beersheba (causing no damage or injuries). Beersheba municipal official Shimon Krief says that city emergency workers received only 18 calls from concerned citizens during incoming rocket warnings today, stating “People are relaxed.” Beersheba hospital reports that since the city first came under rocket fire on 12/30, it has treated 10 Israelis for moderate physical injuries and 154 for stress, adding that “with each attack, we’ve gotten significantly fewer patients.”

Humanitarian notes: Israel allows 60 trucks of humanitarian aid into Gaza. The International Comm. of the Red Cross (ICRC) warns that humanitarian needs are growing sharply despite the limited entry of aid, noting severe shortages of water, cooking gas, electricity. Israeli human rights groups issue an appeal to DM Barak to restore fuel shipments to Gaza to allow proper functioning of hospitals, water services, and so on.

Of note: Air strikes today include an attack on the home of Hamas’s Nizar Rayyan, a cleric and chief liaison btwn. Hamas’s political and military wings, in a densely populated residential area inside Jabaliya r.c., assassinating him and killing his 4 wives and 11 of his 12 children, causing heavy damage to surrounding buildings; Rayyan is the most senior Hamas official to be killed since Israel assassinated Abd al-‘Aziz Rantisi in 2004 and one of the only Hamas figures who has not gone into hiding since OCL began. (AFP, AP, BBC, HA, IDF, REU 1/1; Bloomberg, HA, ITV, NYT, REU, WP, WT 1/2; IDF 1/3; NYT, WP 1/4; MM, QA 1/6; IFM, PCHR 1/8)

The IDF seals the West Bank through 1/3, citing unspecified security concerns. IDF troops at Ni‘lin checkpoint fire rubbercoated steel bullets, percussion grenades, tear gas at mbrs. of a funeral procession that refuses to lower a Palestinian flag while going through the crossing, injuring 2 Palestinians; 1 tear gas canister lands inside a nearby Palestinian home, sparking a fire that guts the 1st floor. (IDF 1/2; PCHR 1/8)