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  • October 17, 2023

    In Gaza, an Israeli airstrike killed 471 Palestinians in al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City. The hospital, which was filled with patients and Palestinians seeking shelter from Israeli bombardment...

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  • August 26, 2014

    The Palestinian and Israeli negotiators agree on an open-ended cease-fire deal, which PA Pres. Abbas confirms in a brief televised address. The agreement contains 3 points: Israel will permit...

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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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  • August 9, 2012

    Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. Dozens of Palestinian supporters of the Democratic Front for the...

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  • June 14, 2012

    Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. IDF troops make a brief incursion into Khuza village in s. Gaza,...

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  • May 17, 2012

    IDF troops make 2 brief incursion into Gaza to level land and clear lines of sight along the border fence nr. Bayt Lahiya in the north and Khan Yunis in the south. IDF soldiers on the n. Gaza...

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  • May 14, 2012

    Most Palestinian hunger strikers agree to a deal brokered by Egypt and Jordan to halt their strike in exchange for agreement from Israel: (1) to free 320 administrative detainees at the end of...

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  • May 7, 2012

    Hours before the Knesset is set to vote on whether to hold early elections, Israeli PM Netanyahu and opposition leader, Kadima party head Shaul Mofaz, make the surprise announcement that Kadima...

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  • April 10, 2012

    IDF troops on the s. Gaza border fire on open areas nr. the border fence e. of Khuza’ and Khan Yunis, damaging 2 houses but causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night...

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  • March 8, 2012

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 mortar fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts morning patrols in Tulkarm, 1 nearby village, and 3 villages nr....

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  • March 1, 2012

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

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  • February 22, 2012

    The IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon (firing tear gas and percussion grenades at stone-throwing youths who confront them, causing no serious injuries); conducts late-night...

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  • February 20, 2012

    IDF troops make a late-night incursion into s. Gaza, arresting 3 Palestinians trapping birds nr. the border. In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units into al-Am’ari r.c. nr. Ramallah in...

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  • February 16, 2012

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

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  • February 15, 2012

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

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  • February 13, 2012

    IDF troops on the c. Gaza border e. of al-Bureij r.c. open fire across the border for 15 mins., causing no reported damage or injuries. Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off...

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  • February 10, 2012

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

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  • January 30, 2012

    In East Jerusalem, the IDF demolishes a Palestinian home in Bayt Hanina and an addition to a Palestinian home in Shu’fat. In the West Bank, the IDF rearrests Hamas mbr. Ayman Salama, 1 of the...

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  • January 15, 2012

    Palestinian and Israeli negotiators hold a 3d round of preliminary talks in Jordan. No details are released. (WP 1/17)

    The IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Jenin, 2 nr. Ramallah, and 1 nr....

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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 30, 2011

    Israel releases the hold on transferring VAT taxes to the PA “following the cessation of unilateral steps by the [PA],” but warns that it could be reimposed if unilateral steps resume. Anonymous...

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  • November 20, 2011

    U.S. Dep. Secy. of State William Burns meets with PA Pres. Mahmud Abbas to urge him to revive peace talks with Israel and delay formation of a unity government with Hamas. (CNN 11/21)

    The...

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  • November 17, 2011

    The IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning; makes a morning raid into Tulkarm city to search the homes of at least 2 mbrs. of the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces; raids...

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  • November 13, 2011

    During the day, the IDF raids and searches the home nr. Qalqilya of a Palestinian released in the Shalit prisoner swap and deported to Gaza, making no arrests. Late at night, the IDF raids the...

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  • November 12, 2011

    IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinian farmers working their land nr. the border fence, forcing them to flee. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts daytime patrols in...

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  • October 18, 2011

    Israel and Hamas implement the 1st stage of their prisoner swap, exchanging IDF Cpl. Shalit for 477 Palestinian prisoners. In the West Bank, crowds welcoming the returning prisoners wave Hamas...

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  • October 11, 2011

    Israel announces it has signed a prisoner swap agreement in Cairo with Hamas, which agreed to free IDF soldier Gilad Shalit (captured on the Gaza border in 6/2006). In return, Israel will release...

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  • October 19, 2010

    The IDF makes 2 brief incursions into Gaza to clear lines of sight along the border e. of Jabaliya r.c. in the n. and al-Qarara in the s., exchanging gunfire with Palestinians in the s., causing...

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  • May 20, 2010

    Israel releases Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Council (PC) mbr. Muhammad Abu Tir, who was among 60 Hamas-affiliated elected officials arrested by Israel after the 6/06 capture of IDF Cpl. Gilad...

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  • December 22, 2009

    In the West Bank, the IDF stages synchronized late-night house searches in and around Jenin town and r.c., making no arrests; conducts other late-night arrest raids, house searches n. of Jerusalem...

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In Gaza, an Israeli airstrike killed 471 Palestinians in al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City. The hospital, which was filled with patients and Palestinians seeking shelter from Israeli bombardment, had received evacuation warnings from Israel on 10/14, 10/15, and 10/16. Israel claimed it was an errant rocket fired by Hamas that caused the mass casualties, however all evidence presented by Israel was debunked in subsequent investigations. Other Israeli airstrikes killed around 200 Palestinians, mostly in Rafah and Khan Yunis. Israel also assassinated the head of Hamas’ Shura Council Osama Mazini, who led negotiations on the prisoner exchange that saw Gilad Shalit transferred to Israel in exchange for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in 2011, and Hamas commanders Muhammad Alwadia, Ayman Nofal, and Akram Hijaz. Israeli airstrikes also reportedly killed 3 members of Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh’s family. 6 were killed in an airstrike on an UNRWA school sheltering Palestinians in al-Maghazi. Rockets were fired at Israel, causing damage. In the West Bank, there were large demonstrations against the PA and the Israeli bombing of the al-Ahli Arab Hospital throughout the West Bank, with PA forces violently dispersing Palestinian protesters, killing a 12-year-old girl in Jenin with live ammunition, and injuring many others with tear gas. Israeli forces shot and killed 2 Palestinians, including a minor, during raids in Halhul and Nabi Salih. An elderly Palestinian succumbed to injuries sustained from Israeli forces on 10/13 in Nablus. Israeli forces also violently dispersed Palestinians, injuring 8 with live ammunition in Nablus. Elsewhere, Israeli forces assaulted an ambulance driver near al-Arroub refugee camp, causing a fractured arm and bruises. Israeli forces arrested Palestinian Legislative Council speaker Aziz Dweik during a raid. 115 others were arrested during raids in and around Hebron, Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Nablus, including 50 Palestinians from Gaza who were employed in Israel before being expelled to the West Bank. The Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners’ Affairs Authority said Israel has arrested 680 Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 10/7. In East Jerusalem, Israeli settlers toured the Haram al-Sharif compound. In Lebanon, Israeli forces attacked targets north of the Blue Line. Hezbollah said it fired an anti-tank missile at a vehicle in Metula; 3 were reportedly injured. Israel said it killed 4 people who had entered Israel from Lebanon. 4 were also killed in an Israeli airstrike west of Yarine. In Jordan, protesters attempted to storm the Israeli embassy in Amman. (AP 10/7; AJ, AP, HA, REU 10/16; AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, AP, AP, AP, AP, HA, HA, NYT, NYT, NYT, REU, REU, REU, REU, REU, UNOCHA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/17; AJ, AJ, AP, AP, AP, HA, HA, NYT, REU, REU, WAFA 10/18)

The Gaza Ministry of Health said at least 3,500 Palestinians have been killed and 12,500 have been injured in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza since 10/7, including 47 entire families consisting of 500 people. In addition, Israeli media reported that 1,500 Palestinian militants have been killed near Gaza. 61 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 10/7, including 13 children. More than 1,230 had been injured, including at least 300 with live ammunition. Israeli officials recorded no new fatalities, leaving the Israeli death toll at around 1,300 Israelis and foreign nationals; 4,229 have been injured since 10/7. The UN reported that over 1 million Palestinians have been displaced since 10/7 and that since 11 p.m. on 10/12 there has been a complete electricity blackout due to the Israeli blockade. At least 11,887 housing units have been destroyed in Israeli airstrikes since 10/7. The number is likely much higher as the latest data is from 10/14. The Palestinian civil defense team said that more than 1,000 Palestinians were under the rubble of buildings in Gaza. The Committee to Protect Journalists said 13 Palestinian, 3 Israeli, and 1 Lebanese journalist have been killed in attacks relating to the Israel-Hamas war since 10/7. (AJ 10/16; AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, HA, HA, UNOCHA, WAFA, WAFA 10/17; HA 10/18)

UNRWA said parts of southern Gaza, containing about 14% of the population, received water for 3 hours. The remaining seawater desalination plant in Gaza shut down due to a lack of fuel. (AJ 10/16; HA 10/17)

Hundreds of trucks carrying aid to Gaza were stuck near the Rafah crossing as Israel continued to prevent safe passage into Gaza. Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry said the crossing was not officially closed but was not functioning due to being targeted 4 times by Israel. (AJ 10/16; HA, REU, REU 10/17)

UN human rights office spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said Israel’s siege and order to evacuate northern Gaza could breach international law. (AJ, REU 10/17)

Israel attempted to deny that it killed hundreds of Palestinian civilians in an airstrike on al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, presenting a range of questionable evidence to put the blame on Islamic Jihad. Israeli government social media accounts published what it claimed to be evidence that it was a rocket misfire not an airstrike, but later deleted the videos when a New York Times journalist questioned the timing of the videos. Military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said “[a]ccording to our intelligence, Hamas checked reports and understood it was a Palestinian Islamic Jihad misfire, then launched a global media campaign to inflate numbers of casualties.” Israel has previously employed misinformation campaigns to deflect blame for atrocities, on occasion then taking responsibility long after the event, as in the case of the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh. A UK Channel 4 investigation said evidence presented by Israel was both likely fabricated and contradictory, but did not reach a conclusion regarding the origin of the blast. Israeli president Isaac Herzog called reports that Israel conducted the airstrike “21st century blood libel.” Many Western leaders called for an investigation or referred to the loss of life without condemning the perpetrators. Leaders in the Middle East were unequivocal in their condemnation of the Israeli airstrike. King Abdullah II of Jordan, PA president Mahmoud Abbas, and Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi canceled meetings with U.S. president Joe Biden scheduled for 10/18 in Amman. The UAE and Russia called a meeting of the UN Security Council on 10/18 on the attack on the hospital. U.S. Defense Department spokesperson Sabrina Singh said in response to questions about the incident that Hamas puts “their command and control units inside hospitals,” adding the U.S. does not know who the perpetrator was. Biden said he spoke to Prime Minister Netanyahu and that his national security team will gather information about the incident. Large demonstrations were held in Washington D.C., Turkey, Jordan, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, and Morocco. (AJ, AP 10/16; AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, HA, HA, NYT, NYT, NYT, REU, REU, REU, REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/17; AJ, AJ, AP, C4, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, NYT, NYT, NYT, REU, REU, REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/18)

The PA foreign ministry accused Israel of ethnic cleansing and genocide aimed at removing all Palestinians from Gaza. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said Israel has killed at least 3,057 Palestinians since the beginning of 2023, including 2,793 in Gaza and 264 in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. (WAFA, WAFA 10/17)

Fatah’s military wing, al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, called on President Abbas to step down as the head of Fatah’s Martyrs and Prisoners Commission. (AJ 10/18)

Military spokesperson Hagari ruled out a ceasefire, saying Israel continues to “prepare for the next stages of war.” Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said the Israeli campaign would take several months. The Israeli military also said that it could not confirm that white phosphorus was used in attacks on Gaza but maintained that it would not be “unlawful” in certain situations. Israeli police commissioner Kobi Shabtai said, “[w]hoever wants to become an Israeli citizen, welcome. Anyone who wants to identify with Gaza is welcome. I will put him on the buses heading there now.” Shabtai also said he had outlawed demonstrations in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza. (HA 10/17; AJ, HA, WAFA 10/18; AJ 10/19)

After the Israeli airstrike on al-Ahli Arab Hospital, President Abbas traveled back from Amman to Ramallah to hold an emergency meeting. In a speech Abbas called the airstrike a heinous crime and declared 3 days of mourning. Earlier in the day Abbas met with U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken in Amman. Blinken later called Abbas to offer condolences on the massacre at al-Ahli Arab Hospital. PA envoy to the UN Riyad Mansour called on the UN Security Council to intervene by demanding a ceasefire. (AJ 10/16; AJ, HA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/17; AJ, HA, WAFA, WAFA 10/18)

Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh spoke with South African foreign minister Nalendi Pandor, who conveyed support for Palestine and expressed sadness for the loss of innocent life in Gaza and Israel. (AJ 10/16; REU 10/18)

The Knesset National Security Committee approved legislation allowing Israeli prisons to admit new inmates above their legal capacity, which would worsen conditions for Palestinian prisoners. Since 10/7, family visits have been suspended, public phones have been blocked, and all electrical devices have been cut off from power. The Hadassah University Hospital refused to treat a Palestinian militant captured by Israel, saying it would “offend national feelings.” (HA, HA 10/17)

The U.S. announced that President Biden will visit Israel on 10/18. The New York Times reported that Biden’s visit will postpone Israel’s planned ground operation in Gaza by at least 24 hours. The Times also reported that Israel has asked the U.S. for $10 billion in emergency aid. Secretary of State Blinken said the announcement was made after Prime Minister Netanyahu committed to allowing aid to enter Gaza and to establishing safe zones at an 8-hour long meeting of the Israeli war cabinet that Blinken attended. New York governor Kathy Hochul said she will visit Israel. Biden also said he will visit Jordan. Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said he would push through an emergency aid package to Israel “as quickly as possible.” 6 Republican senators introduced legislation to end all U.S. funding for UNRWA. All senators except Rand Paul (I-KY) sponsored a resolution in support of Israel’s war against Hamas. (AJ, HA 10/16; AJ, HA, HA, REU, REU 10/17; HA 10/18)

King Abdullah II said Jordan and Egypt would not take in Palestinian refugees from Gaza, calling it a red line. Abdullah II also met with German chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin. Scholz warned Hezbollah and Iran to stay out of the Hamas-Israel war. Scholz later traveled to Israel where he met with Prime Minister Netanyahu, invoking the German genocide of the Jewish people as a reason for Germany to “ensure Israel’s existence and security.” Lebanese foreign minister Abdallah Bou Habib said Israel was “pouring oil on fire” at the Lebanese border. Turkish foreign minister Hakan Fidan said Egypt will host a summit on the situation in Gaza on 10/21. (AJ 10/16; HA, REU, REU, REU 10/17; AP, HA 10/18)

Iranian sources told Al Jazeera that the U.S. had sent the Iranian UN representative a message warning Iran of war if it enters the conflict. (HA 10/17)

U.S. Central Command commander Michael Kurilla arrived in Israel for meetings with Israeli military leaders. The U.S. also sent 2,000 Marines to the Middle East. (AJ, HA, HA, HA 10/16; HA, REU 10/17; AP 10/18)

Russian president Vladimir Putin and Chinese president Xi Jinping discussed the Palestinian-Israeli conflict during a meeting in Beijing. (AJ, AJ, HA 10/17)

159 U.S. citizens were evacuated from Israel headed for Cyprus on a cruise ship. Nearly 1,000 U.S. citizens have left Israel on State Department-charted planes to Europe since 10/13. (AJ, HA, HA 10/16; HA 10/17)

Japanese foreign minister Yoko Kamikawa said Japan will donate $10 million in emergency aid to Gaza. Spain said it would donate $1 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza. The Netherlands pledged $10 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza. (AJ 10/16; HA, REU, REU, REU 10/17)

The EU held a video conference for the leaders of its 27 members to discuss the situation in Gaza and find a unified stance after EU member states had expressed dissatisfaction with the EU leadership’s pro-Israel statements, including European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen’s failure to call on Israel to abide by international law during her visit on 10/17. Irish president Michael D Higgins called von der Leyen’s comments about Israel’s attacks “thoughtless and even reckless,” questioning where she gets the authority to speak on behalf of the EU on the issue. After the meeting, the EU leadership agreed to condemn Hamas’ operation in Israel on 10/7, expressed solidarity with the people of Israel, said Israel has a right to defend itself in line with humanitarian and international law, and called on Hamas to release all captives. (AJ 10/15; AJ 10/16; AJ, EU, HA, REU 10/17)

Germany’s Mainz 05 soccer club suspended Dutch Egyptian player Anwar El Ghazi for a pro-Palestinian social media post. (AJ 10/17)

The Palestinian and Israeli negotiators agree on an open-ended cease-fire deal, which PA Pres. Abbas confirms in a brief televised address. The agreement contains 3 points: Israel will permit humanitarian aid and construction material to enter Gaza; Israel will restore the fishing zone from 3 to 6 naut. mi. away from the shore, and gradually extend it to 12 by the end of 2014; and indirect negotiations will continue within 1 mo. in Cairo to deal with the remaining disputes, including Hamas’s demand for sea and airports in Gaza, and the release of recently rearrested prisoners who were released in the Shalit deal. Additionally, talks between Palestinian officials and Egyptian authorities are scheduled to take place soon with the goal of opening the Rafah crossing permanently. Israeli PM Netanyahu agrees to the cease-fire deal without putting it to a vote in the security cabinet, a move reportedly opposed by Economy Minister Naftali Bennett. Haaretz reports that over half of the security cabinet would have voted against the deal. (AFP, AJ, AP, HA, JP, MNA, NYT, WP 8/26)

In the Gaza Strip, the IDF continues its assault and armed Palestinian groups continue firing projectiles into Israel until the new ceasefire goes into effect in the evening. The Israeli air force hits approximately 32 targets, while IDF troops stationed along the border fence open fire on 3 occasions, 2 with artillery and 1 with live ammunition. Six Palestinians die in the attacks, and dozens are injured. Among the targets in Gaza is the so-called Italian building, a 13-story residential and commercial complex. Though the building is mostly empty at the time of the Israeli strikes, its destruction leaves around 70 families homeless. Prior to the cease-fire, the armed Palestinian groups launch more than 180 projectiles into Israel, killing 2 Israelis and wounding 5. In the West Bank, 7 Israeli settlers attack a Palestinian nr. Jerusalem with knives and stones, leaving him unconscious. The IDF conducts house searches and raids in Nablus, 3 villages nr. Hebron, 3 villages nr. Ramallah, Jenin, 1 village nr. Jenin, and Tulkarm, arresting 17; patrols in 2 villages nr. Hebron and 2 villages nr. Salfit. In East Jerusalem, dozens of Palestinians gather in Bayt Hanina, al-Tur, and Wadi al-Juz to celebrate the cease-fire announcement and Israeli security forces disperse the celebrations with waste water, sound bombs, and tear gas. One Palestinian is arrested in Wadi al-Juz. (MNA, REU, YA 8/26; HA 8/27; PCHR 8/28)

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.”

Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. Dozens of Palestinian supporters of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) stage a protest march fr. Ramallah to Israel’s Ofer military prison nearby to denounce the retrial of DFLP Politburo mbr. Ibrahim Abu Hajla, who was released in the 12/2011 prisoner swap that freed IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit but was later redetained. IDF soldiers fire live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the demonstrators, wounding 5 (including 1 child, 1 woman). (PCHR 8/16; OCHA 8/18)

Experts say that a new malware program spreading across Lebanon, named Gauss, is clearly the product of the same developers as the Stuxnet and Flame viruses used to attack Iran (believed by most experts to have been developed jointly by Israel and the U.S.). Gauss steals customer data from banks (including Citibank and the online service PayPal) to track how money flows into and out of accounts; it appears to have been designed only for surveillance, not attack. Analysts say the virus has also popped up in Israel and the occupied territories, and several other countries worldwide. (NYT, WP 8/10)

Israel’s security cabinet approves an Egyptian request to deploy 5 attack helicopters in the Sinai to bolster security, modifying the terms of their peace treaty. (JPI 8/24)

Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. IDF troops make a brief incursion into Khuza village in s. Gaza, firing on residential areas (causing no injuries), demolishing a house under construction, and leveling 5 d. of agricultural land. Late at night, IDF troops on the s. Gaza border fire several artillery shells at armed Palestinians operating nr. the border e. of Khan Yunis, wounding 2. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts synchronized patrols in 4 villages nr. Jenin in the morning. Other IDF patrols are conducted in Tulkarm, 2 villages nr. Qalqilya, and 1 nr. Ramallah in the morning; in 1 village nr. Tulkarm in the afternoon; and in 1 village nr. Qalqilya in the evening. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Ramallah; 1 of the Palestinians arrested was released during the 2011 prisoner swap that freed captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. (PCHR 6/21; OCHA 6/22)

On the 5th anniversary of Israel’s sealing of Gaza’s borders after Hamas’s 2007 takeover, 50 international aid groups and UN agencies (including UNICEF and the WHO) sign a petition urging Israel to lift the siege of Gaza. The petition reads in full: ‘‘For over five years in Gaza, more than 1.6 million people have been under blockade in violation of international law. More than half of these people are children. We the undersigned say with one voice: end the blockade now.’’ (OCHA 6/14; MNA, NYT 6/15)

IDF troops make 2 brief incursion into Gaza to level land and clear lines of sight along the border fence nr. Bayt Lahiya in the north and Khan Yunis in the south. IDF soldiers on the n. Gaza border nr. Bayt Lahiya fire warning shots at Palestinian farmers who stray too near the border fence, forcing them to leave. IDF soldiers on the s. Gaza border open fire on Palestinian agricultural areas e. of Abasan, causing no reported damage or injuries. Israeli naval vessels fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 each nr. Qalqilya and Tulkarm in the morning; in 2 villages nr. Jenin and 1 each nr. Qalqilya and Tulkarm in the evening; and in 2 villages nr. Jericho and 1 each nr. Ramallah and Tulkarm late at night. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin, including rearresting a PA General Intelligence officer released in the 2011 prisoner swap that freed captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. (PCHR 5/23; OCHA 5/25)

News hits the media that the new U.S. amb. to Israel Dan Shapiro recently told a meeting of the Israeli Bar Association that the U.S. is ready and willing to use military force against Iran if diplomacy and sanctions fail, stating that the military option is ‘‘not just available, but it’s ready. The necessary planning has been done.’’ A tape of Shapiro’s address was leaked to the AP, with an anonymous Israeli official stating: ‘‘Quite clearly he didn’t mean this to be public. ... For the Iranians to understand that he really means it, they have to hear it publicly and clearly.’’ (AP, ITV 5/17; NYT, WT 5/18; see Quarterly Update [QU] in JPS 165 for details on Iran.)

At a private fundraising event in Florida that is secretly taped and leaked to the media on 9/18/12, Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney states that ‘‘the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace’’ and are ‘‘committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel.’’ He also opposes creation of an independent Palestinian state, assuming that it would become a client state of Iran. In terms of a U.S. mediating role in the peace process, he states: ‘‘The idea of pushing on the Israelis—to give something up, to get the Palestinians to act, is the worst idea in the world.’’ In response to the leak, which was seen (e.g., NYT 9/19)

as likely to damage Romney’s ability to act as a peace broker if elected, Romney publicly states on 9/18 that he stands by his longtime support for the U.S. official position advocating a negotiated 2-state solution. (Mother Jones 9/18; NYT 9/19)

Israeli DM Ehud Barak meets with U.S. secy. of defense Leon Panetta in Washington to request an additional $680 m./yr. in aid over 3 yrs. to help purchase 3–4 new Iron Dome antimissile batteries and another $168 m. for 3 other missile programs jointly developed with the U.S. (This is on top of an increase of $99.9 m. in funding for FY 2013 already requested by the Obama admin.) With the appeal coinciding with Israel cutting its defense budget by 5% per year for 2013 and 2014, critics complain (e.g., WP 5/17) that the U.S. is effectively helping balance Israel’s budget before balancing its own. (WP 5/17)

Most Palestinian hunger strikers agree to a deal brokered by Egypt and Jordan to halt their strike in exchange for agreement from Israel: (1) to free 320 administrative detainees at the end of their current 6-mo. sentences, provided no new evidence against them is found; (2) to end solitary confinements; (3) to allow prisoners from Gaza to receive visits from immediate relatives (family visits from Gaza were suspended in 2006 after Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was captured), and (4) to return the bodies of 100 Palestinians who were killed in fighting in Israel and buried there. Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank take to the streets to celebrate. At least 8 Palestinian detainees who went on strike before the mass hunger strike was declared on 4/17 are expected to continue their fasts until they are released—these include Islamic Jihad’s Diab and Halahleh who have not eaten for 77 days and are hospitalized in critical condition. (NYT, WP 5/15)

Israel allows Gazans to export textiles for the 1st time since mid-2007. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts latenight patrols in 1 village nr. Qalqilya. (PCHR 5/17; OCHA 5/18)

Hours before the Knesset is set to vote on whether to hold early elections, Israeli PM Netanyahu and opposition leader, Kadima party head Shaul Mofaz, make the surprise announcement that Kadima has agreed to join the governing coalition and that they will form a new unity government rather than send the country to early elections (see 5/6/12). The deal is contingent on meet 3 Kadima demands: (1) that Mofaz becomes a vice PM and “special minister in charge of the process with the Palestinians” (already agreed by Netanyahu); (2) that the Knesset passes legislation requiring all Israeli citizens including the ultra-Orthodox to perform military service if they are to receive government benefits; and (3) that unspecified elections reforms are enacted. With Kadima’s 28 Knesset seats, the coalition deal gives Netanyahu control of 94 of 120 seats in parliament and leaves no single faction in a position to topple the government. The deal is also a benefit to Netanyahu from the standpoint that he can keep Barak, a strong ally on the Iran issue, as DM. Kadima is seen (e.g., NYT 5/9) as being “given a life-line.” (NYT, WP 5/8; NYT, WP 5/9; WJW 5/10; JPI 5/18)

Israel’s High Court rejects appeals for the release of Islamic Jihad administrative detainees Diab and Halahleh, who have been on hunger strike for 69 days. The High Court also issues a ruling affirming the legal purchase by Jewish settlers of a Palestinian home in Jerusalem’s Old City, ordering the Palestinian family to vacate; and ruling ordering a Palestinian to vacate his shop in the Old City, ruling it is a historic Jewish property. A lower court in Jerusalem rules that Jewish settlers legally purchased a house in Shaykh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, ordering the Palestinian residents to vacate. (NYT 5/8)

The IDF raids the offices of the Palestinian People’s Party and the Public Comm. against the Annexation Wall in al-Bireh, confiscating computers, cameras, files, and photos. The IDF also conducts daytime patrols in Kafr Qaddum and 1 nearby village; conducts late-night patrols, arrest raids, and house searches in and around Tulkarm (rearresting 1 Palestinian released during the recent prisoner swap that freed captured IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit). (PCHR 5/10; OCHA 5/11)

IDF troops on the s. Gaza border fire on open areas nr. the border fence e. of Khuza’ and Khan Yunis, damaging 2 houses but causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night patrols in Tulkarm. OCHA reports that since 4/7, 3 Palestinian children have been injured when they accidentally triggered unexploded IDF ordnance nr. Rafah and Jabaliya r.c. (PCHR 4/12; OCHA 4/13)

Israel says it plans to prevent the entry of 100s of pro-Palestinian activists expected to fly into Israel’s Ben-Gurion airport over the next few days as part of a nonviolent protests called by Palestinian activists. This is the 2d “flytilla” that Palestinians have organize (the 1st was in 7/2011; see QU in JPS 161). (WP, WT 4/11)

Iran announces that it has arrested an Israeli-backed “terrorist team” of 15 people (Iranians and foreigners) that planned attacks inside Iran, stating that “heavy bombs, machine guns, handguns, silencers, military and telecommunications equipment, and other terrorist tools” were found on the team. Israel declines to comment. (WP 4/11; NYT 5/16)

Israeli pres. Shimon Peres sends a letter to U.S. Pres. Obama requesting clemency for convicted spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard, citing his declining health. Today, Peres also forwards 2 petitions he has received urging him to seek Pollard’s release: 1 signed by 35,000 Israeli citizens (including fmr. captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit) and 1 from 80 Israeli MKs. (WJW 4/12)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 mortar fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts morning patrols in Tulkarm, 1 nearby village, and 3 villages nr. Jenin (firing tear gas and stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinians who confront them in 1 instance). In the afternoon, the IDF makes a raid into Yatta nr. Hebron to rearrest a Palestinian who was released in the recent Israeli-Hamas prisoner swap that freed Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, sparking a clash with local Palestinians who attempt to block the arrest; during the raid, 1 IDF soldier is stabbed and wounded and opens fire, killing 1 Palestinian teenager (a bystander) and wounding another (the perpetrator). Later in the day, the IDF patrols in 4 villages nr. Jenin and 1 nr. Ramallah. Palestinians and international activists hold a nonviolent march from Qalandia r.c. to the IDF’s Qalandia checkpoint to mark International Women’s Day, to protest Israeli settlement expansion and land appropriation, and to express solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners. The IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and percussion grenades at the marchers as they approach the checkpoint, causing no serious injuries. (JP 3/8; NYT 3/9; PCHR 3/15; OCHA 3/16)

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

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

The IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon (firing tear gas and percussion grenades at stone-throwing youths who confront them, causing no serious injuries); conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in `Ayn Bayt al-Ma’a r.c. nr. Nablus and Qalqilya, and nr. Tulkarm (arresting 1 Palestinian released in the recent prisoner swap that freed IDF Cpl. Shalit). Israel approves construction of 600 new settlement housing units in Shiloh settlement, deep in the West Bank. (NYT, PCHR 2/2; PCHR 3/1; OCHA 3/2)

Israel’s High Court repeals (6-3) the 2002 Tal Law that exempted ultraOrthodox Jews who attend yeshivas from mandatory military service; the provision was already set to expire in summer 2012 and Netanyahu had indicated he would not renew it. Some (see WT 2/23) fear the decision could spark a coalition crisis. (NYT, WT 2/23)

Hamas’s internal and external leadership hold a 14-hr. meeting in Cairo (2/22) to discuss their differences over the 5/2011 Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement. The Gaza leadership makes new demands that Mishal take numerous stands that run contrary to the 5/2011 deal and that Abbas would certainly reject (including demanding that Hamas be allowed to control the PA Interior Min. in the transitional government, to name Abbas’s deputy to oversee Gaza during the transition, and to maintain its independent security structure in Gaza. (REU 2/23; JP 2/26)

IDF troops make a late-night incursion into s. Gaza, arresting 3 Palestinians trapping birds nr. the border. In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units into al-Am’ari r.c. nr. Ramallah in the morning and detain a Palestinian guard posted outside the Palestinian Red Crescent Society offices; patrols in Qalqilya in the morning; patrols in 2 villages r. Qalqilya and Salfit late at night; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Qalqilya and nr. Tubas, detaining (among others) 2 Palestinians released in the recent prisoner swap that freed IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit (see QU in JPS 163). (PCHR 2/23; OCHA 2/24)

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

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

IDF troops on the c. Gaza border e. of al-Bureij r.c. open fire across the border for 15 mins., causing no reported damage or injuries. Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore; they detain and confiscate 2 boats and arrest 2 fishermen. In the West Bank, the IDF bulldozes 8 tents (housing 83 Bedouin, including 48 children) and 8 sheep pens and fodder storehouses in Khirbet al-Rahwa s. of Hebron, nr. Tene Oranim settlement; demolishes 7 tents (housing 33 Bedouin, including 10 children) and 6 animal pens in Khirbet Tana and Khirbat Tuwayil in the Jordan Valley; conducts synchronized evening patrols in 2 villages nr. Qalqilya; conducts late-night arrest raids and house searches in Qalqilya, including rearresting 2 Palestinians released in the recent prisoner swap that freed IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit. Palestinians (including families of prisoners held in Israel) organized by Birzeit students stage a 2d nonviolent march to Ofer prison (see 2/11/12) to show solidarity with hunger-striking Islamic Jihad prisoner Khader Adnan, where the IDF again fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades to disperse them; 2 Palestinians are lightly injured. In East Jerusalem, Israeli municipal workers escorted by police and border police bulldoze a Palestinian playground, recreational center, and 2 other structures in Silwan; demolish a Palestinian home in al-Siwana. (PCHR 2/16)

Israel accuses Iran of staging 2 bombing attempts today against Israeli diplomatic targets in New Delhi, India, and Tbilisi, Georgia. In New Delhi, an unidentified motorist slaps a magnetic bomb on an Israeli emb. car in traffic; the bomb detonates, wounding the wife of an Israeli diplomat, her driver, and 2 bystanders. In Tbilisi, an unidentified assailant straps a grenade to a parked Israeli emb. vehicle, but it is discovered and disarmed. The attacks come a month after the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist and on the 4th anniversary of the assassination of Hizballah military commander Imad Mughniyah, both thought to have been carried out by Israel’s Mossad. No group claims responsibility; Iran denies responsibility. Indian authorities allow Israeli experts to join their investigation. (NYT, WP, WT 2/14; WP 2/15)

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

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

In East Jerusalem, the IDF demolishes a Palestinian home in Bayt Hanina and an addition to a Palestinian home in Shu’fat. In the West Bank, the IDF rearrests Hamas mbr. Ayman Salama, 1 of the Palestinians released in the 1st stage of 10/2011 prisoner swap that freed IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit; patrols in Qalqilya (briefly detaining a 13-yr.- old Palestinian who allegedly had a knife; Palestinian officials at the District Liaison Office intervene, securing his release), 1 nearby village, and 3 villages nr. Ramallah during the day; conducts synchronized late-night arrest raids, house searches in Nablus and 2 nearby villages; conducts separate late-night arrest raids, house searches in Kafr Qaddum. (PCHR 2/2; OCHA 2/3)

A day before Likud party primaries, Israeli PM Netanyahu approves new financial incentives for Jews to move to 70 West Bank settlements deemed “national priority areas” and appoints a committee to “study the status” of unauthorized settlement outposts, which some see as a move to legalize those (the vast majority) that are not built on private Palestinian land. Both steps are widely seen as aimed at appeasing party hardliners. (WP, WT 2/1; WP 2/2)

Hamas’s Haniyeh begins a 2d regional tour that will include Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Iran. The trip is aimed primarily at raising funds to rebuild Gaza. (MNR 1/30; DS 1/31)

An Israeli drone crashes during a test flight. Some suspect that the modified long-range Heron TP (Eitan) was being refitted for a possible military strike on Iran. The Heron TP is typically fitted with jamming and intelligence equipment; has a 1-ton payload capacity (enough to carry a bunker busting bomb); and can stay aloft for 40 hrs., travel 4,600 mi., and perform in-flight refueling missions. (WP 1/31)

Palestinian and Israeli negotiators hold a 3d round of preliminary talks in Jordan. No details are released. (WP 1/17)

The IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Jenin, 2 nr. Ramallah, and 1 nr. Salfit during the day; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in ‘Ayn Bayt alMa’a r.c. nr. Nablus, in Jenin, and nr. Qalqilya (including rearresting 1 Palestinian freed in the 10/2011 Shalit prisoner release). Jewish settlers fr. Tal Rumayda settlement in Hebron set fire to a nearby Palestinian vehicle. (PCHR 1/19; OCHA 1/20)

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)

Israel releases the hold on transferring VAT taxes to the PA “following the cessation of unilateral steps by the [PA],” but warns that it could be reimposed if unilateral steps resume. Anonymous Palestinian officials confirm (see WP 12/1) that they have no immediate plans to pursue membership in other UN bodies, though Abbas separately states that he remains committed to the Palestinian bid for full member-state status in the UN. (NYT, WP, WT 12/1)

Meanwhile, the IDF makes 2 predawn incursions into c. Gaza to patrol in al-Bureij r.c. and al-Maghazi r.c. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Jericho and 1 nearby village, as well as in 4 villages nr. Ramallah during the day. Late at night, the IDF stages synchronized late-night arrest raids in and around Jenin, arresting 10 Palestinian men ages 37–70, including PFLP Central Comm. mbr. Nasser ‘Aziz; conducts other late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Bethlehem, in Tubas, and nr. Nablus and Ramallah (including rearresting a Palestinian freed in the Shalit prisoner exchange). (NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 12/1; PCHR 12/8; OCHA 12/9)

U.S. Dep. Secy. of State William Burns meets with PA Pres. Mahmud Abbas to urge him to revive peace talks with Israel and delay formation of a unity government with Hamas. (CNN 11/21)

The IDF conducts morning patrols in Qalqilya, Salfit, 2 villages nr. Jenin, and 1 village each nr. Jericho and Tulkarm; fires tear gas, stun grenades to disperse a funeral procession nr. Hebron, causing no serious injuries; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Jenin and in Salfit; conducts late-night patrols in Jericho, 2 villages each nr. Ramallah and Tulkarm, and 1 nr. Salfit. Jewish settlers in Hebron attack the home of a Palestinian released in the prisoner swap deal that freed captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in 10/2011, hang posters urging that he be killed, vandalize a grocery store owned by a relative; the Palestinian, Hani Jaber, had been sentenced to life in prison for fatally stabbing a settler in 1993. The incidents spark several clashes between the settlers and local Palestinians in which settlers attack and vandalize several more Palestinian homes; the IDF intervenes, separating the sides. (WP 11/21; PCHR 11/24; OCHA 11/25)

The IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning; makes a morning raid into Tulkarm city to search the homes of at least 2 mbrs. of the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces; raids Dura nr. Hebron in the afternoon, rearresting a Palestinian released in the 10/2011 prisoner swap for IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit (see Quarterly Update [QU] in JPS 162); patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon. Late at night, the IDF conducts synchronized patrols and 1 arrest raid in 3 villages s. of Jenin late at night; separate patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah; and an arrest raid nr. Hebron. (PCHR 11/24; OCHA 11/25)

A Hamas-appointed lower court in Gaza rules that 2 major banks in Gaza, the Bank of Palestine and Palestine Islamic Bank, must pay 10s of millions of dollars in fines and back fees for refusing to recognize the Hamas authority’s power to levy tax, instead remitting taxes to the West Bank PA. Bank officials boycott the hearings and say they may simply shut down to avoid paying. The ruling is seen as precedent setting and possibly applicable to Gaza’s 6 other banks, as well as companies that import fuel and electricity and operate cell phones. (NYT 11/18)

During the day, the IDF raids and searches the home nr. Qalqilya of a Palestinian released in the Shalit prisoner swap and deported to Gaza, making no arrests. Late at night, the IDF raids the homes of another 13 Palestinians released in the prisoner swap and allowed to return to the West Bank (3 in Qalqilya, 2 in Balata r.c. nr. Nablus, 7 in villages nr. Salfit, 1 in a village nr. Jenin), summoning them to appear for questioning; the fmr. prisoner fr. Jenin is given a map of the district delineating boundaries past which he cannot go and a warning not to engage in any security activity. The IDF also begins bulldozing Palestinian agriculture land in ‘Azun ‘Atma village nr. Qalqilya for construction of a “security fence” around Oranit settlement (residents estimate that 40 farmers will be affected); conducts late-night patrols in another 3 villages nr. Salfit, and 2 nr. Tulkarm; conducts additional arrest raids, house searches in Balata r.c., Salfit. (PCHR 11/17; OCHA 11/18)

IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinian farmers working their land nr. the border fence, forcing them to flee. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts daytime patrols in Tulkarm, 2 villages nr. Jenin, and 1 nr. Ramallah; conducts late-night patrols in 1 village nr. Qalqilya; conducts other late-night arrest raids nr. Hebron. The IDF also conducts late-night raids on the homes (in al-Nabi Salih and 2 nr. Ramallah) of 3 Palestinians released in the Shalit prisoner swap, summoning them for questioning. (PCHR 11/17; OCHA 11/18)

Israel and Hamas implement the 1st stage of their prisoner swap, exchanging IDF Cpl. Shalit for 477 Palestinian prisoners. In the West Bank, crowds welcoming the returning prisoners wave Hamas flags. (IFM 10/18; NYT, WP, WT 10/19; OCHA 10/21; JPI 11/4)

The IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon. (PCHR 10/20; OCHA 10/21)

Israel announces it has signed a prisoner swap agreement in Cairo with Hamas, which agreed to free IDF soldier Gilad Shalit (captured on the Gaza border in 6/2006). In return, Israel will release around 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in 2 stages: the 1st 450 Palestinians would be exchanged for Shalit within a wk.; the remaining 550 or so Palestinians would be freed within 2 mos. In Gaza, 1,000s pour into the streets to celebrate. (NYT, WP, WT 10/12; NYT, WP 10/13; NYT 10/17, 11/6)

Unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, IDF troops in Hebron violently beat a group of Palestinian children and teachers who refuse new IDF demands to submit to searches before crossing a permanent checkpoint in al-Shuhada Street to reach the Cordoba Elementary School, moderately injuring 7 children (ages 10–15). The IDF also demolishes a newly constructed mosque in Khirbat Yazra nr. Tubas; demolishes 2 Palestinian homes and an animal pen belonging to a bedouin family outside Qalqilya; conducts synchronized latenight patrols in 2 villages nr. Qalqilya. (YA 10/11; PCHR 10/13; OCHA 10/14)

The IDF makes 2 brief incursions into Gaza to clear lines of sight along the border e. of Jabaliya r.c. in the n. and al-Qarara in the s., exchanging gunfire with Palestinians in the s., causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols without incident in Bayt Liqya and Jit nr. Qalqilya during the day and in Jinsafut village nr. Qalqilya late at night; conducts late-night house searches nr. Hebron, making no arrests. Israel releases Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Council mbr. Ali Romanin, who was detained by the IDF in 2006 as a bargaining chip following the capture of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Jewish settlers fr. Beitar Ilit nr. Bethlehem set fire to 30 d. of nearby Palestinian agricultural land, damaging at least 600 trees. OCHA (10/22) reports that in the previous week an ailing 2-yr.-old Palestinian girl fr. Gaza died as a direct result of Israel delaying her transfer to an Israeli hospital for treatment. (MNA 10/19; PCHR 10/21; OCHA 10/22)

Israel releases Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Council (PC) mbr. Muhammad Abu Tir, who was among 60 Hamas-affiliated elected officials arrested by Israel after the 6/06 capture of IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit (of the 60 at least 10 are still in custody). Hrs. later, Israeli security forces raid his home in Umm Tuba village s. of Jerusalem and order him to refrain fr. any public celebration of his release. The IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin, Jericho. (AFP 5/20; OCHA, PCHR 5/27)

In the West Bank, the IDF stages synchronized late-night house searches in and around Jenin town and r.c., making no arrests; conducts other late-night arrest raids, house searches n. of Jerusalem. The UN reports that in the previous wk., 1 alleged Hamas mbr. was killed and another wounded mishandling explosives in Gaza; 1 Palestinian was electrocuted and injured in a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border. (OCHA, PCHR 12/23; PCHR 12/30)

After 2 days of intensive talks and a meeting that stretches overnight, Netanyahu is unable to secure cabinet approval for a German deal endorsed by Hamas to release some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for the release of captured IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit. DM Barak tells the press that freeing Shalit is still a “top priority” but “not at any price.” (WP 12/22; WT 12/23; JPI 1/1)