After the conclusion of the humanitarian cease-fire, which Israeli unilaterally extended on 7/26, the IDF resumes its assault on the Gaza Strip, killing 16 Palestinians. Armed Palestinian groups...
Undercover Israeli police officers arrest 6 Palestinian youths in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem on suspicion of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at a Jewish settler-owned house....Read more
The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jericho in the morning, and in al-Bireh, 3 villages nr. Tulkarm, 3 nr. Jenin, and 1 nr. Ramallah late in the evening; conducts late-night...Read more
Under continued pressure fr. Obama and Quartet special envoy Tony Blair, Israel’s security cabinet agrees in principle to switch fr. a blanket ban on entry of goods to Gaza to a prohibited list of...Read more
After 2 days of heated debate, Netanyahu’s security cabinet, under heavy international pressure to ease restrictions on Gaza, agrees to increase the amounts of goods already allowed for import and...Read more
Israel begins phase 2 of OCL, a massive ground advance into Gaza, in the evening. The IDF states that “the objective . . . is to destroy the terrorist infrastructure of the Hamas in the precise...Read more
Another FGM boat (see 8/23) carrying 27 international activists defies Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza, sails into a Gaza port delivering humanitarian supplies; Israeli naval vessels do not...Read more
Overnight in Gaza City, Hamasaffiliated police raid a family compound belonging to the Daghmash clan in an attempt to break up the Daghmash-controlled Army of Islam. A heavy exchange of gunfire...Read more
In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem. More than 40 human rights activists fr. 17 countries (including Israel) organized by the U.S.-based Free...Read more
IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire on Palestinian farmers, preventing them fr. reaching their fields nr. the border fence but causing no injuries. In the West Bank, Ni‘lin villagers defy an IDF...Read more
The IDF raids areas of Hebron, performing random ID checks, searching businesses; patrols in Jenin and Nablus, firing on residential areas; raids the offices of the PSA in Hebron, confiscating...Read more
In Gaza, the IDF continues operations in Khuza‘a, wounding 8 Palestinians (including at least 4 civilians), bulldozing areas of agricultural land. In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units...Read more
IDF troops and Shin Bet agents abduct Change and Reform Palestinian Council (PC) mbr. and PC secy. Mahmud Ramahi nr. Ramallah. Also in the West Bank, the IDF fires on a taxi attempting to bypass...Read more
Overnight, the IDF pulls troops out of central Gaza; makes air strikes on the PA Economics Min. offices in Gaza City (causing no injuries), a factory in Gaza City (killing 1 Palestinian, wounding...Read more
Overnight in Gaza, the IDF conducts air strikes heavily damaging the offices of Change and Reform PC mbrs. in Bayt Lahiya (causing no injuries), destroying a bridge linking Nussayrat r.c. with...Read more
Overnight, the IDF makes air strikes destroying the PA FMin. building in Gaza City, wounding 13 bystanders (including 6 children); makes an air strike on Khan Yunis, killing 1 Islamic Jihad mbr.,...Read more
After the conclusion of the humanitarian cease-fire, which Israeli unilaterally extended on 7/26, the IDF resumes its assault on the Gaza Strip, killing 16 Palestinians. Armed Palestinian groups fire around 20 rockets into Israel in the early morning. (AFP, AP, HA, MNA, REU, YA 7/27; PCHR 7/28)
U.S. Pres. Obama speaks to Israeli PM Netanyahu on the telephone, saying it is “strategically imperative” to reach a humanitarian cease-fire that “leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities based on the 11/2012 cease-fire agreement.” Obama also expresses support for the Egyptian diplomatic efforts and affirms that the PA must be part of the solution for the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, Hamas leader Mish‘al says on U.S. television that a lasting cease-fire must be based on lifting the blockade. Also, Hamas calls for a 24-hour humanitarian cease-fire to mark ‘Id. Late at night, the UNSC agrees on a presidential statement drafted by Jordan calling for “an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire.” Israel, however, rejects the calls from Hamas and the UNSC. (AFP, AP, HA, MNA, REU, YA 7/27)
Undercover Israeli police officers arrest 6 Palestinian youths in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem on suspicion of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at a Jewish settler-owned house. In the Gaza Strip, the IDF opens fire on a garbage truck close to the border fence nr. Bayt Hanun, wounding 1 Palestinian. In the West Bank, Jewish settlers from the unauthorized outpost Esh Kodesh nr. Nablus attack the Palestinian village of Qusra, provoking clashes with residents. In response, the IDF deploys troops in the area and fires tear gas and stun grenades at villagers. The IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Tulkarm in the morning, in 1 village nr. Jericho in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Ramallah, 1 village each nr. al-Bireh and Jericho at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in the Old City of Hebron, 1 nearby village, and 1 village nr. Jenin at night. The IDF attacks a nonviolent demonstration against the occupation and settlement expansion held by Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals in Bayt Umar village nr. Hebron, causing no serious injuries. (MNA 1/5, 1/6; PCHR 1/10)
PA security forces arrest the Hebronbased members of the National Unity Brigades, which announced its formation and called for a 3d intifada in a video released on 12/14. (JP 1/5)
Sources tell Palestinian Ma‘an news agency that PLO leaders, the Free Syria Army, and Syrian government forces are working toward a deal to end the fighting in and blockade of Yarmuk r.c. in Damascus, including the withdrawal of rebel fighters and the end to army shelling. (MNA 1/6)
The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jericho in the morning, and in al-Bireh, 3 villages nr. Tulkarm, 3 nr. Jenin, and 1 nr. Ramallah late in the evening; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron. Palestinians (sometimes accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, and al-Nabi Salih. IDF soldiers beat and fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, causing no serious injuries. (PCHR 9/8; OCHA 9/9)
The UN’s Palmer commission releases its long-delayed investigative report on the 5/2010 Gaza flotilla raid in which 9 Turkish activists attempting to break the siege of Gaza were killed in the IDF raid on the Mavi Marmara. The report concludes that Israel had the legal right to impose a naval blockade of Gaza and to stage an armed raid of the boat, but that the force used by IDF soldiers to subdue protesters was “excessive and unreasonable.” In response, Turkey expels Israel’s amb. and several other senior diplomats, suspends military agreements with Israel, and vows to expand its naval presence in the Mediterranean to protect its ships. (NYT, WP 9/2; HA, NYT, WP 9/3; WP 9/5; NYT, WP 9/7)
Under continued pressure fr. Obama and Quartet special envoy Tony Blair, Israel’s security cabinet agrees in principle to switch fr. a blanket ban on entry of goods to Gaza to a prohibited list of items considered “weapons and war-supporting materiel” and to allow “a significantly greater volume of goods” into the Strip. The easing would affect overland transportation only. The naval blockade and all restrictions on exports and the entry and exit of individuals remain. Separately, the U.S. and Israel announce that the Obama-Netanyahu meeting originally set for 6/1 will be held at the White House on 7/6. In addition, Mitchell, who has just returned fr. meetings with the Palestinian (6/18) and Israeli (6/19) peace teams, reports that the sides are ready to consider renewing proximity talks. (NYT, WP 6/21; WP 6/23; JPI 7/9)
The IDF makes a brief incursion into the no-go zone in n. Gaza to investigate a heavy explosion, searching the area and pulling back into Israel without incident. In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas at Palestinians staging a nonviolent demonstration against the separation wall nr. Bethlehem, also violently beating 3 Palestinian cameramen for Palestinian and foreign news outlets; conducts synchronized late-night patrols in villages w. of Jenin, making no arrests. Israeli police in Jerusalem seal the Ilaf Association for Education Support, which provides student loans for some 160 college students, for allegedly hosting Hamas meetings and thereby supporting a “terrorist organization.” (PCHR 6/24; OCHA 6/25)
After 2 days of heated debate, Netanyahu’s security cabinet, under heavy international pressure to ease restrictions on Gaza, agrees to increase the amounts of goods already allowed for import and to add some new items to the permitted import list, including allowing import of all foodstuffs and increasing imports of building materials for construction overseen by credible third parties, such as the UN. The strict naval blockade would remain in place. (IFM 6/17; NYT, OCHA, WP 6/18)
IDF troops on the s. Gaza border fire on armed Palestinians operating nr. the border fence, wounding 1. In 2 separate incidents (in the fmr. n. Gaza settlement sites and the Erez industrial zone), IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction goods nr. the border, causing no injuries. In a 3d incident later in the day, IDF troops make an incursion into n. Gaza nr. Bayt Lahiya and stay there most of the day to prevent Palestinians fr. entering the area to look for construction materials. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts synchronized late-night house searches in villages s. and w. of Jenin, making no arrests; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Ramallah. (PCHR 6/24; OCHA 6/25)
Israel begins phase 2 of OCL, a massive ground advance into Gaza, in the evening. The IDF states that “the objective . . . is to destroy the terrorist infrastructure of the Hamas in the precise area of operation, while taking control of some of [sic] rocket launching areas used by Hamas in order to greatly reduce the quantity of rockets fired at Israel and Israeli civilians.” Israeli FM Livni acknowledges that Israel has broader aims, stating that toppling Hamas is “a strategic Israeli objective,” but that it might take more than one large-scale military operation such as OCL to do the job.
Israeli actions: Before phase 2 begins in the evening, the IDF launches artillery strikes on some 40 targets concentrated in open areas around Bayt Hanun, east of Rafah, and along Gaza’s main north–south artery in an apparent effort to clear the areas of mines and tunnels, to move Palestinians away from those areas in preparation for the insertion of ground forces.
The IDF also continues air strikes and naval bombardments across Gaza. Target areas include Bayt Lahiya, Gaza City (al-Nasser, al-Rimal, al-Shuja‘iyya, al-Tuffah, al-Zaytun), Jabaliya, Juhur al-Dik, Khan Yunis, Khuza, al-Mughraqa, Nussayrat, Rafah, al-Shuka (e. of Rafah). Targets include 2 mosques in Bayt Lahiya and Jabaliya, killing at least 13 worshipers and injuring 30 during evening prayers; a car in Khan Yunis, assassinating senior Hamas military cmdr. Muhammad Ma‘aruf; 2 PA security compounds in Gaza City; the al-Aqsa Radio and the al-Risala newspaper offices in Gaza City; tunnels on the Rafah border; suspected rocket-launching sites and weapons depots. By evening, the Palestinian toll reaches at least 460 dead and more than 2,000 wounded.
At dusk, the IDF drops leaflets on n. Gaza warning residents that troops will soon operate in this area and that they should evacuate for their safety. Around 8:00 P.M. local time, the IDF cuts power to the Strip and begins sending ground forces into n. Gaza, taking up positions on the outskirts of Bayt Hanun and Bayt Lahiya (occupying homes as operational bases); securing areas e. of Gaza City nr. the Qarni crossing, but notably keeping a distance from Jabaliya (considered a Hamas stronghold), and just inside the s. Gaza border e. of Rafah (with tanks firing flechette shells at houses and agricultural areas, killing 1 Palestinian and wounding 7 inside their homes). Heavy gun battles are reported, with Hamas issuing a statement that it is firing mortars at IDF ground forces. After ground operations begin, the IDF announces a naval blockade of Gaza out to 20 nautical miles.
Palestinian actions: During the day, Palestinians fire 28 rockets and 7 mortars into Israel, hitting as far as Ashdod and Ashqelon to the n., and Netivot to the e., lightly damaging 3 homes and an apartment building, lightly injuring 2 Israelis.
Of note: Embedded with some IDF ground units are the first Israeli journalists and 2 foreign reporters (BBC and Reuters) allowed into Gaza since late 10/08. These journalists have been given “trusted” status by the government for their “long history of relations with the IDF” and are under the strict rules of the IDF censor; the general ban on foreign journalists is still in place, despite a 12/31 High Court ruling ordering the government to allow journalists access. (AFP, AP, BBC, IDF, IFM, ITV, Organization of the Islamic Conference [OIC] press release, REU, YA 1/3; HA, IFM, JAZ, JP, NYT, OCHA, WP, WT 1/4; NYT, UNOSAT, WP, WT 1/5; IFM, PCHR 1/8; HA 1/11; JP 1/22; JPI 2/6; Harpers 3/09)
Another FGM boat (see 8/23) carrying 27 international activists defies Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza, sails into a Gaza port delivering humanitarian supplies; Israeli naval vessels do not challenge the boat. In the West Bank, IDF troops operating in Yamun village nr. Jenin before dawn fatally shoot a 67-yr.-old Palestinian shepherd who fired a rifle at the patrol fearing they were rustlers; demolish 6 structures in the bedouin village of Umm al-Khayr nr. Carmiel settlement s. of Hebron, displacing 45 Palestinians, including a 1-wk.-old baby; conduct late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Jenin town and r.c., in Nablus, and nr. Bethlehem and Hebron. Israel’s High Court orders Jewish settlers to vacate the illegal outpost of Beit Shalom, in the al-Rajabi building in Hebron, within 24 hrs. or face eviction (at the end of the quarter, however, the settlers have not been forced to leave). Israel’s High Court also gives approval for the demolition of the historic Ma’man Allah Muslim cemetery (4,000 tombs) in West Jerusalem for construction of the Center for Human Dignity–Museum of Tolerance, designed by Frank Gehry. (NYT, PCHR, WP 10/30; OCHA 11/5; PCHR 11/6; OCHA 11/19s)
Overnight in Gaza City, Hamasaffiliated police raid a family compound belonging to the Daghmash clan in an attempt to break up the Daghmash-controlled Army of Islam. A heavy exchange of gunfire lasting for several hrs. leaves 1 policeman and 11 Daghmash dead (including a 1-yr.-old, 2 other children, 8 gunmen), and 45 wounded (including Army of Islam head Mumtaz Daghmash; at least 15 other Daghmash members, including 2 women; and 10 police); police confiscate 32 truckloads of weapons from the compound. During the day, 6 Palestinian fishing boats carrying FGM activists who sailed into Gaza on 8/22 attempt to outrun the Israeli naval blockade to get the activists back to Cyprus but are fired upon and forced back to shore by the navy, leaving 1 activist injured and 1 boat damaged (see 8/28). The IDF also sends tanks, bulldozers into c. Gaza to level land along the border fence, withdrawing by evening, marking the 1st cross-border incursion since 7/23. In the West Bank, the IDF makes an afternoon raid into Bayt Umar nr. Hebron, firing on stone-throwing Palestinians who confront them, wounding an 11-year-old Palestinian boy; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron, nr. Bethlehem and Jenin.Jewish settlers fr. Maskiyot in the Jordan Valley drive Palestinian shepherds off nearby land. (NYT, OCHA 9/17; PCHR 9/18; AIC 11/9)
In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem. More than 40 human rights activists fr. 17 countries (including Israel) organized by the U.S.-based Free Gaza Movement (FGM) complete a 2-day voyage fr. Cyprus to Gaza, sailing in 2 boats carrying humanitarian aid, to challenge Israel’s blockade; the Israeli navy allows the boats to pass unchallenged. (NYT 8/24; OCHA 8/27; PCHR 8/28; WP 8/29)
IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire on Palestinian farmers, preventing them fr. reaching their fields nr. the border fence but causing no injuries. In the West Bank, Ni‘lin villagers defy an IDF curfew to stage peaceful protest marches against the IDF blockade imposed on 7/5; the IDF fires tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets at the protesters, lightly injuring around 50. The IDF also bulldozes newly paved roads in Ni‘lin while the curfew is in place, damaging part of the municipal sewage system; conducts latenight arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus, in Tulkarm, and nr. Bethlehem, Jenin, Qalqilya, Ramallah. Jewish settlers fr. Asfar settlement nr. Bethlehem beat 2 Palestinian shepherds grazing their flocks nearby. In Hebron, local Jewish settlers harass a French diplomatic delegation touring the city with Palestinian guides, arguing that settlers should lead the tour because the delegation was on “Israeli land.” A carload of Jewish settlers fires on a Palestinian taxi nr. Jenin, seriously wounding 1 Palestinian. (WT 7/7; OCHA 7/9; PCHR 7/10)
The IDF raids areas of Hebron, performing random ID checks, searching businesses; patrols in Jenin and Nablus, firing on residential areas; raids the offices of the PSA in Hebron, confiscating files, sealing the office for 2 yrs.; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem. (PCHR 9/14)
After receiving assurances and pressure fr. the UN, Israel lifts its naval blockade on Lebanon; says that it aims to complete a withdrawal of troops fr. Lebanon in about 2 wks., as the expanded UNIFIL reaches 5,000 troops. Israel, which has been slowly withdrawing troops, says it controls about 25% of the area of s. Lebanon it controlled on 8/14. (NYT, WP, WT 9/9)
In Gaza, the IDF continues operations in Khuza‘a, wounding 8 Palestinians (including at least 4 civilians), bulldozing areas of agricultural land. In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units in a car with Palestinian license plates into Jenin to assassinate Islamic Jihad cmdr. Mujahid alSabi‘, also firing on stone-throwing youths who confront them, wounding 1; raids Kafr Dan, firing on residential areas, wounding 1 Palestinian; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Askar r.c. and nr. Bethlehem, Jenin, Tulkarm. (PCHR, WP 9/7; PCHR 9/14)
Israel announces that, in a deal brokered by the UN, it will remove its air and naval blockade on Lebanon as of 6:00 P.M. local time on 9/7 as British, French, German, Greek, Italian forces take over naval patrols and assist the Lebanese army in border patrol, but says it will reserve the right to attack any smugglers it detects crossing the Syrian border. (IFM 9/6; NYT, WP, WT 9/7)
IDF troops and Shin Bet agents abduct Change and Reform Palestinian Council (PC) mbr. and PC secy. Mahmud Ramahi nr. Ramallah. Also in the West Bank, the IDF fires on a taxi attempting to bypass Hawara checkpoint nr. Nablus, killing 1 Palestinian, wounding 2; raids, searches an Islamist charity nr. Hebron, confiscating computers, a fax, some files; conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Tulkarm r.c., nr. Nablus. In Gaza, the IDF shells residential areas nr. Dayr al-Balah, damaging a house and car, wounding 2 Palestinians; fires on Palestinians collecting scrap metal nr. Erez industrial zone, wounding 1; fires on Palestinian farmers working a field nr. al-Bureij r.c., wounding 2; bulldozes 20 d. of Palestinian olive groves in Rafah. A Palestinian is injured in an exchange of gunfire btwn. rival Fatah factions in Gaza’s al-Maghazi r.c. A Palestinian woman dies of injures received fr. IDF fire in al-Shuka on 8/5. (NYT, WP, WT 8/21; OCHA 8/23; PCHR 8/24)
The UN reports that Lebanon has deployed only about 3,000 troops to s. Lebanon (2,000 along the border with Syria, 1,000 along the coast). Israel continues daily overflights of Lebanon in violation of the 8/14 truce, IDF troops are still in s. Lebanon, and the Israeli air and naval blockade are still in place, but no new clashes btwn. IDF and Hizballah forces in Lebanon are reported. (AP, NYT, WP, WT 8/21)
Overnight, the IDF pulls troops out of central Gaza; makes air strikes on the PA Economics Min. offices in Gaza City (causing no injuries), a factory in Gaza City (killing 1 Palestinian, wounding at least 9), a bridge nr. Bureij r.c.; fatally shoots an unarmed Palestinian who strays close to the Kissufim crossing. Palestinians fire several rockets into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron. A Palestinian dies of injuries received during the IDF’s 7/6 failed assassination attempt on Zubaydi and Sadi. (NYT, WP 7/15; NYT 7/16; PCHR 7/20)
The IDF escalates its attacks on Lebanon, completing the naval blockade of the coast; making air strikes on Hizballah offices, homes of Hizballah leaders and a senior Hamas official; hitting scores of civilian infrastructure targets, particularly in pro-Hizballah neighborhoods in s. Beirut and s. Lebanon, and roads and bridges in e. and n. Lebanon (including destroying the last bridge on the Beirut–Damascus highway), also destroying numerous gas stations, fuel depots (including hitting Jiyeh terminal for a 2d day, creating a major oil slick), a major power plant s. of the capital; shelling ports in Amshit, Batrun, Beirut, Juniyah, Sidon, Tripoli, and Tyre and hitting a radar installation in the new Manara lighthouse in Beirut to disable Lebanon’s coast radar defenses. At least 16 Lebanese civilians are killed in an air strike on a civilian convoy fleeing Marwahin village in s. Lebanon after Israel warned residents to evacuate, bringing the estimated death toll since the start of the crisis to 92 Lebanese killed and at least 250 wounded, almost all of them civilians. Hizballah fires some 90 Katyushas at n. Israel during the day, hitting Tiberias for the 1st time, as well as Carmiel and Nahariya, lightly injuring at least 11 Israelis. Italy begins evacuating its citizens fr. Lebanon; Britain, France, the U.S. say they have plans to do the same. (HA, NYT, WP, WT 7/16; NYT 7/29; WP 8/1; NYT 8/3)
Overnight in Gaza, the IDF conducts air strikes heavily damaging the offices of Change and Reform PC mbrs. in Bayt Lahiya (causing no injuries), destroying a bridge linking Nussayrat r.c. with alMughraqa; directs tank fire on a Palestinian truck approaching its position but refusing orders to halt, killing 1 Palestinian, wounding a 2d. During the day, the IDF continues to shell n. Gaza, targeting 2 PA security offices and damaging 4 Palestinian homes; bulldozes 83 d. of Palestinian land nr. Dayr al-Balah, more than 100 d. of land outside al-Qarara; fires on residential areas of Khuza’ nr. the border, wounding a Palestinian woman inside her home. Some 50 Palestinian militants temporarily take over the Rafah crossing, allowing as many as half of the 4,000 Palestinian stranded on the Egyptian side to enter Gaza; Egyptian border police block Palestinians who try to cross fr. Gaza into Egypt. Palestinians fire at least 7 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing damage in 1 incident but no injuries. The IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron, in Tulkarm; prevents Palestinians under age 45 fr. attending Friday prayers at al-Aqsa mosque. (HA, JP 7/14; NYT, WP 7/15; OCHA 7/19; PCHR 7/20)
Overnight, after Olmert’s security cabinet approves a list of “more significant” Hizballah targets, the IDF makes air strikes on Hizballah sites in s. Beirut and targets the Beirut–Damascus highway (in an attempt to complete an air, sea, and land blockade on Lebanon). During the day, the IDF extends the naval blockade northwards to Tripoli; shells numerous bridges, roads, other civilian infrastructure, especially in s. Beirut; makes air strikes on the building serving as Hizballah’s headquarters and Nasrallah’s residence (destroying it), its al-Nur radio station (missing and hitting an apartment building), and the Beirut airport, a major power plant and a bridge s. of the capital, a PFLP base nr. the Syrian border. At least 8 Lebanese civilians are reported killed (3 in Beirut, 5 in the south), 55 injured during the day, raising the estimated death toll since the start of operations to 66 Lebanese (overwhelmingly civilians), more than 200 wounded. Hizballah continues to fire Katyushas at n. Israel, killing an Israeli woman,her 5-yr.-old grandson in Moshav Meron and injuring as many as 50 Israelis across the Galilee, including in Acre, Carmiel, Kiryat Shimona, Nahariya, Safad. Hizballah also hits an Israeli naval ship 10-mi off the coast nr. Beirut, disabling it, killing 1 Israeli sailor, leaving 3 other sailors missing, raising the comprehensive death toll to 13 Israelis killed (the majority soldiers), around 150 injured (mostly suffering shock). (HA, NYT, WT 7/14; NYT, WP, WT 7/15; NYT, WP 7/16; NYT 7/17, 7/19)
Overnight, the IDF makes air strikes destroying the PA FMin. building in Gaza City, wounding 13 bystanders (including 6 children); makes an air strike on Khan Yunis, killing 1 Islamic Jihad mbr., wounding a 2d; sends troops into al-Qarara, firing on residential and agricultural areas. During the day in Gaza, the IDF continues to shell n. Gaza, wounding at least 2 Palestinians; fires on residential areas nr. Sufa crossing, wounding a Palestinian child outside his home. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Salfit; uproots 50 Palestinian trees nr. the separation wall in Bayt Jala for “security reasons.” A Palestinian teenager wounded in a 7/10 IDF air strike on Bayt Hanun dies. (NYT, WP 7/13; PCHR 7/20)
Officially launching Operation Just Reward (ca. 7/18 renamed Operation Change of Direction), the IDF makes predawn air strikes on s. Lebanon that kill at least 44 Lebanese civilians, wound around 100. Hizballah responds by firing some 60 Katyusha rockets on n. Israel, hitting a home in Nahariya (killing 1 Israeli woman, wounding 29), wounding 11 in Safad, and hitting the northern towns of Carmiel, Majdal Qrum, Zarit. During the day, the IDF intensifies its attacks on Lebanon to cut Hizballah supply lines and prevent internal transportation of weapons and fighters, imposing a naval blockade on Lebanese ports north to Beirut and making air strikes on Beirut International Airport, the Lebanese army’s main Rayak air base nr. the Syrian border, a small military airport in Qulayat in n. Lebanon, Hizballah’s al-Manar TV station outside Beirut (wounding 6) and a relay tower in Baalbek (killing 1 Lebanese, wounding 4), a major oil depot in Jiyeh, numerous roads and bridges. AfterIsrael warns Lebanese to evacuate Hizballah-dominated areas of s. Beirut, Hizballah threatens to strike Haifa if Beirut is targeted. When the IDF conducts overflights of Beirut shortly afterward, Hizballah fires 2 Katyushas at Haifa, damaging a hotel but causing no injuries. Israeli-Hizballah exchanges continue late into the evening, with Hizballah firing around 90 rockets and mortars into Israel, hitting some 20 northern towns and killing a 2d Israeli, whileIsrael attacks 100s of targets across Lebanon (mostly in the south, but including hitting Beirut airport a 2d time, with artillery reportedly fired at a rate of 1 shell per minute throughout the day), killing at least another 10 Lebanese. Total casualties for the day are estimated at 54 Lebanese (overwhelmingly civilians) killed and 103 wounded, and 2 Israelis killed and 90 injured (1 seriously, two-thirds being treated for shock). Israel also warns UNIFIL that the IDF will target anyone moving nr. the Blue Line, including UNIFIL observers, prompting UNIFIL to confine its 2,500 troops (who are either unarmed or lightly armed for personal defense only) to barracks. (AP, HA, MSNBC, National Public Radio, REU 7/13; NYT, UNIS, WP, WT 7/14)