530 / 14704 Results
  • August 22, 2013

    In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian fishermen nr. Bayt Lahiya, causing no injuries or damage to vessels. In the West Bank, the IDF shoots and injures a Palestinian in Dahaysha r...

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  • August 19, 2013

    In the West Bank, IDF troops shoot and injure a Palestinian with live ammunition during clashes prompted by soldiers raiding the village of Jaba‘ nr Jenin. There are also clashes but no injuries...

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  • June 10, 2013

    Israeli PM Netanyahu accuses the Palestinians of setting preconditions for talks, speaking in a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Cmte. meeting on the same day that it is reported by Israeli...

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  • March 23, 2012

    Israel allows a 2-day supply of diesel fuel into Gaza, allowing Gaza’s power plant to restart 1 turbine for the 1st time since 3/10/12. Hamas officials organize protests in Gaza calling on Egypt...

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  • February 11, 2011

    In East Jerusalem, a group of Jewish settlers stabs and beats 2 East Jerusalem Palestinians, killing 1 Palestinian and wounding the other; Israeli authorities confiscate the body of the man killed...

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  • February 8, 2011

    The PA sets 7/9/2011 as the start date for municipal elections in the West Bank. (WT 2/9)

    In the morning, unidentified Palestinians fire 2 mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, causing light damage...

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  • February 2, 2011

    In retaliation for rocket fire on 1/31, the IDF makes an air strike on a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF arrests 3 Palestinian children (ages...

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  • January 30, 2011

    In light of domestic security concerns, Egypt seals its border with Gaza, causing almost all trade through the smuggling tunnels along the Rafah border to cease, sparking hoarding by Gazans. Hamas...

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  • January 28, 2011

    Paraguay recognizes Palestine as independent state on the 1967 borders. (JP 2/5)

    In Gaza, 1,000s of Hamas supporters protest against the PA in light of the Palestine Papers revelations...

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  • January 14, 2011

    Guyana recognizes a “sovereign Palestine,” but says borders must be agreed with Israel. (JTA 1/14)

    In the West Bank, the IDF conducts afternoon patrols in numerous villages around Jenin and...

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  • January 6, 2011

    Meeting in Sharm al-Shaykh, Israeli PM Netanyahu asks Egyptian pres. Mubarak to press the Palestinians to return to “direct, intensive, and serious negotiations,” but Mubarak replies that Israel...

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  • September 16, 2010

    Clinton meets with Abbas in Ramallah, then stops in Amman to brief King Abdullah on the Sharm al-Shaykh talks. Clinton and Mubarak issue statements saying that they have jointly recommended a...

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  • September 14, 2010

    The 2d round of direct talks opens in Sharm al-Shaykh, Egypt, with Mubarak hosting Abbas, Netanyahu, and Clinton for the first day of meetings with talks now set to continue in Jerusalem on 9/15...

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  • September 1, 2010

    On the eve of ceremonies reopening direct Israeli-Palestinian talks, U.S. Pres. Barack Obama holds separate meetings with Abbas, Netanyahu, Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak, and Jordan’s King Abdullah...

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  • July 17, 2010

    Mitchell returns to the region for 3 days of talks with Israeli and Palestinian peace teams, Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak, and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi Shaykh Muhammad bin Zayid al-Nahayan to...

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  • December 29, 2009

    Some 1,000 international activists gather in Egypt in preparation for a 12/31 solidarity march to the Rafah border to mark the 1-yr. anniversary of Operation Cast Lead (OCL) and bring tens of...

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  • June 4, 2009

    In Cairo, Obama gives a major address calling for a “new beginning” in relations btwn. the U.S. and the Muslim world, acknowledging historic missteps btwn. the two, stressing mutual interests and...

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  • May 11, 2009

    In the morning, the IDF raids the Ambassador Hotel in Shaykh Jarrah in East Jerusalem, shuts down a temporary news bureau set up by the Palestinian Media Center to cover the pope’s visit,...

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  • January 17, 2009

    With the 1/16 MOU in hand, along with a letter from European heads of state pledging to support the U.S.-led efforts outlined therein and a private message from Mubarak to the Israeli security...

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  • January 5, 2009

    As OCL enters day 10, IDF ground forces tighten the circle around Gaza City and continue to operate against Palestinian rocketlaunching units across n. Gaza, still avoiding entering densely...

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  • December 25, 2008

    In Cairo, Livni rejects Mubarak’s call to renew the Gaza cease-fire. Palestinians in Gaza fire 3 rockets, 15 mortars into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts...

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  • December 22, 2008

    Hamas’s Gaza leadership calls on factions to halt their fire for 24 hrs. in an effort to restore the truce. Senior Hamas official Mahmud Zahhar appears on Israeli TV to state that Hamas seeks a...

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  • January 23, 2008

    Before dawn, Hamas mbrs. detonate explosives at 17 points along the 7-mi.-long Rafah border wall, allowing 10,000s of Palestinians to stream into Egypt to buy food, fuel, medicine, cement,...

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  • January 13, 2007

    The IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem. Jewish settlers in Hebron beat a 13-yr.-old Palestinian boy. The Fatah-aligned PA Government Employees Union (GEU; comprising some 80,...

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  • February 8, 2005

    Abbas, Sharon hold their 1st talks in Sharm al-Shaykh, then each meets separately with Mubarak, King Abdallah of Jordan. Afterward, Abbas announces that “Palestinian will stop all acts of violence...

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  • November 18, 2004

    IDF fatally shoots 3 Egyptian border policemen on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border whom they assumed were armed Palestinians attempting to plant a bomb or infiltrate the border; Israeli PM...
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  • March 11, 2004

    The IDF raids a high school nr. Nablus, arrests a 10th grader; raids a mosque in al-Bireh, arresting 1 Palestinian; fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis, wounding a man on his roof; conducts...

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  • May 12, 2003

    The IDF fatally shoots 2 AMB mbrs. laying a roadside bomb nr. the Rafah border; fatally shoots a Palestinian farmer tilling a field nr. Khan Yunis; raids a hospital in Nablus, closing it for 3 hrs...

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  • January 29, 2003

    The IDF lifts the comprehensive curfew on the occupied territories imposed on 1/26; fatally shoots 1 Palestinian shepherd who leads his flock too near IDF bulldozers leveling 400 dunams of...

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  • July 15, 2002

    In Qalqilya, IDF soldiers chasing curfew breakers toss stun grenades into a building, sparking a fire that kills 1 Palestinian. The IDF fatally shoots a 2d Palestinian during an arrest raid in...

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In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian fishermen nr. Bayt Lahiya, causing no injuries or damage to vessels. In the West Bank, the IDF shoots and injures a Palestinian in Dahaysha r.c. in Bethlehem after troops entered the camp, provoking clashes. IDF troops also clash with residents in Jaba‘ village nr. Jenin during a patrol, with Palestinian youth throwing stones and soldiers responding with rubber-coated metal bullets. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Hebron at night, patrols in 1 village each nr. Jenin and Ramallah in the morning, 1 village nr. Hebron in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 village nr. Jenin at night. (PCHR 8/29; WAFA 8/22)

Palestinian officials say that U.S. envoy Martin Indyk and his team have not attended any of the negotiating sessions thus far at the request of the Israelis. Both Yasir ‘Abid Rabbuh and Hanan Ashrawi claim that Israel intends for the lack of U.S. participation in the 3 meetings, since the resumption of talks to strengthen Israel’s power over the Palestinians. Meanwhile, Pres. Mahmud Abbas meets with a delegation from the Israeli party Meretz in Ramallah, telling them that signing a peace agreement will mean the “end of the conflict” and that a future Palestinian state would agree to be demilitarized. Abbas also tells the Israeli politicians that the Palestinian leadership is unhappy with the slow pace of negotiations. (HA, JP, ToI 8/22)

Suspected mbrs. of the al-Qa‘ida-linked Brigades of Abdullah Azzam fire 4 rockets from s. Lebanon into n. Israel, causing no damage or injuries (and with 1 intercepted by Iron Dome missile defense batteries). The IDF says it views the attack as an isolated incident, and attributes it to “global jihad” elements. On 8/27, the brigades appear to directly claim responsibility for the attack via a statement published on the Twitter account of a Salafist cleric known to be affiliated with the group. Meanwhile, gunmen in Tripoli open fire and kill 3 outside the home of Hizballah supporter. (AP, HA, REU 8/22; YA 8/27)

Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz says that the govt. believes that Syrian forces are responsible for a chemical weapons attack that reportedly killed hundreds of people in Ghouta, a rebel-controlled suburb of Damascus. Meanwhile, Syria’s dep. PM says that foreign fighters and their international supporters are to blame for the attack. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich says that his govt. urges the Syrian authorities and the UN to agree on chemical weapons experts visiting the site of the alleged attack. (AP, AFP, REU 8/22)

Former Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak is released from a prison cell and moved to house arrest at a military hospital. (NYT 8/22)

In the West Bank, IDF troops shoot and injure a Palestinian with live ammunition during clashes prompted by soldiers raiding the village of Jaba‘ nr Jenin. There are also clashes but no injuries during an IDF raid of Jenin r.c. The IDF conducts additional house searches and arrest raids in Hebron and 1 nearby village, Qalqilya and Jenin in the afternoon, and in Nablus at night, patrols in 1 village nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon, and in 1 village each nr. Qalqilya and Tulkarm at night. The IDF also demolishes 11 residential tents home to more than 50 Bedouin Palestinians in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Bayt Hanina. (MNA, WAFA 8/19; PCHR 8/22)

Pres. Mahmud Abbas meets with U.S. peace process envoy Martin Indyk in Ramallah to discuss the latest developments. (WAFA 8/19)

An Egyptian court orders the release of former pres. Husni Mubarak after he was cleared by a prosecutor in a corruption case. However, there is an outstanding retrial on charges of complicity in the murder of protesters during the 2011 revolution that deposed him. Meanwhile, Egyptian security forces arrest Muslim Brotherhood head Mohamed Badie, who was charged in 7/2013 with inciting the murder of protesters. UN Secy.-Gen. Ban Ki-moon calls for the release of Pres. Morsi and says that“the political space for the Muslim Brotherhood should be expanded.” (NYT, REU 8/19)

Unnamed diplomats accredited to the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) say that Iran seems to be continuing to convert quantities of uranium gas into reactor fuel, thus holding back growth of the stockpile deemed most sensitive by the international community. (REU 9/18)

Israeli PM Netanyahu accuses the Palestinians of setting preconditions for talks, speaking in a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Cmte. meeting on the same day that it is reported by Israeli media that U.S. Secy. of State John Kerry will postpone a planned visit to Israel and the West Bank, with Kerry now likely to arrive within a week to 10 days. Meanwhile, Israeli army radio reports that no new construction projects have been started in East Jerusalem since the start of 2013, suggesting that there could be a policy of a “silent freeze.” Former FM Avigdor Lieberman responds to the reports by describing the de facto freeze as a “temporary hiatus” designed to allow Kerry’s peace efforts to succeed. (AFP, HA, JP, MNA, ToI 6/10)

In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops operating from a watchtower nr. Khan Yunis open fire on gravel collectors working nr. the border fence, wounding 1. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Hebron in the afternoon, and in Nablus, 2 villages nr. Nablus, 2 villages nr. Hebron, 1 village nr. Tulkarm and Jenin at night; patrols in 1 village each nr. Ramallah and Tulkarm in the morning, in 1 village nr. Tulkarm in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Ramallah, 1 village nr. Hebron, and 1 village nr. Jenin at night. (MNA 6/10; PCHR 6/13)

A Cairo court adjourns to 7/6 the retrial of ousted pres. Husni Mubarak on charges of corruption and responsibility for the deaths of protesters, and at the same time, release his 2 sons Alaa and Gamal. They remain in detention, however, over other corruption-related cases. (AP 6/10)

Israel allows a 2-day supply of diesel fuel into Gaza, allowing Gaza’s power plant to restart 1 turbine for the 1st time since 3/10/12. Hamas officials organize protests in Gaza calling on Egypt to resume the transfer of fuel through Gaza’s smuggling tunnels. Late at night, an IDF undercover unit enters a Palestinian village as part of a training mission and is challenged by 3 stickwielding Palestinians who think the soldiers are burglars; the soldiers open fire, seriously wounding the 3 Palestinians (including shooting and beating at least 1 after he was severely injured) and delaying medical treatment for 1 hr. before taking them to an Israeli hospital for treatment; 1 Palestinian later dies. The IDF also patrols in 4 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning; patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin in the afternoon, firing stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinian youths who confront them in 1 instance and stopping to question several boys in the other; conducts late-night patrols in 2 villages nr. Salfit and 1 each nr. Hebron, Jericho, and Ramallah. An 8-yr.- old Palestinian boy is seriously injured nr. Nablus when he accidentally triggers unexploded IDF ordnance that he found in a field. Palestinians (accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil’in, Kafr Qaddum, and al-Ma’sara. IDF soldiers beat and fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, injuring 4 Palestinians (3 in al-Ma’sara who are beaten; 1 in Kafr Qaddum who is hit by a tear-gas canister). (NYT 3/24; PCHR 3/29; OCHA 3/30; HA 4/5, 4/26)

Muslim Brotherhood officials in Egypt say they are distancing themselves a bit from Hamas and opening new channels of communication with Fatah in hopes of pressing Hamas to compromise with Fatah on national unity issues so as to increase pressure on Israel. The officials argue that if the 2 Palestinian factions create a untied front with a “newly assertive” Egypt, Egypt will have a better chance of pressuring Israel to make concessions over Palestinian statehood. The Muslim Brotherhood was the top vote-getter in Egyptian recent parliamentary elections after the 2/2011 ouster of fmr. pres. Husni Mubarak. (WP 3/24)

In East Jerusalem, a group of Jewish settlers stabs and beats 2 East Jerusalem Palestinians, killing 1 Palestinian and wounding the other; Israeli authorities confiscate the body of the man killed and return it to the family with orders to hold the burial immediately, with no more than 10 family mrbs. present to prevent rioting (the family complies). In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah, 2 nr. Qalqilya, and 2 nr. Tulkarm in the afternoon and evening, and in 1 village nr. Qalqilya late at night; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Nablus. Palestinians (accompanied by Israeli and international activists in some areas) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, and Dayr Nizam/Nabi Salih. IDF soldiers fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters; 3 Palestinians are injured, and 3 are arrested. (PCHR 2/17; OCHA 2/18)

Early in the day, with massive antigovernment protests expected in Egypt after Friday’s midday prayers, rumors spread that Mubarak has left Cairo for his residence in Sharm al-Shaykh under pressure from the army. Soon after, the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces issues communiqué no. 2 indicating that the military is in effective control of the country and will oversee “the peaceful transfer of authority . . . towards a free democratic community that the people aspire to,” and pledging not to take action against protesters for demonstrating against the government. Timed with lateevening prayers, VP Suleiman confirms that Mubarak has “decided to relieve himself of his position as president and the supreme military council has taken control of the state’s affairs,” ending the 82-yr.-old leader’s 30-yr. rule. Flag-waving crowds in Tahrir Square and nationwide erupt in celebration. (AHR, NYT 2/11; NYT, WP, WT 2/12)

In Gaza, 1,000s of Hamas supporters rally to celebrate Mubarak’s fall, calling on the next Egyptian government to open the Rafah border and reconsider Egypt’s relations with Israel. In the West Bank, the PA continues to bar rallies in solidarity with Egyptian protesters, but 100s of Palestinians spontaneously honk horns and cheer in the streets when news of Mubarak’s exit broadcast. (NYT 2/12)

The PA sets 7/9/2011 as the start date for municipal elections in the West Bank. (WT 2/9)

In the morning, unidentified Palestinians fire 2 mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, causing light damage but no injuries. In the afternoon, Islamic Jihad mbrs. fire 2 more mortars into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Late in the evening, the IDF retaliates with an air strike, destroying an abandoned plastics factory in Gaza City (an alleged weapons manufacturing facility), also damaging a nearby PA Health Min. warehouse used for storing medicine, a textile factory, and a school and lightly injuring 11 Palestinian civilians (including 4 children). An hr. later, the IDF makes 2 air strikes on an Islamic Jihad training site in Khan Yunis (injuring 2 Islamic Jihad mbrs.) and a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border (no injuries). Also during the day, the IDF makes a brief incursion into s. Gaza e. of Shuka village to level lands and clear lines of sight, firing on nearby residential areas to keep Palestinians indoors, causing no injuries. UNRWA reports that it has resumed 3 stalled construction projects in Gaza after Israel allowed in 2 large shipments of construction aggregates (see 2/1). In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night patrols in 1 village nr. Tulkarm; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Tubas, in Nablus, and nr. Hebron. (YA 2/9; PCHR 2/10; OCHA 2/11)

Egyptian demonstrators hold the largest rally in Tahrir Square to date and surround the parliament building, rejecting government proposals for an extended transition and demanding Mubarak’s immediate removal and dissolution of parliament. Huge demonstrations are also held in Alexandria, Suez, and other cities. Egyptian labor unions begin a nationwide general strike to observe a “Week of Steadfastness” with demonstrators. Since 2/4, Mubarak has released some activists arrested since 1/25, allowed government contact with the Muslim Brotherhood for the first time, agreed in principle to lift emergency regulations and allow a free press, formed a legal panel (all Mubarak loyalists) to explore constitutional changes demanded by protesters, announced 15% raises for civil servants and pensioners, and vowed to open corruption investigations of senior government and NDP party officials. Some opposition figures note (e.g., WP 2/7) that some of these steps were significant and might have been enough to appease protesters 2 wks. ago, but that the mood has shifted significantly since then and these steps are now seen as far too little. Another round of massive demonstrations in Tahrir Square is called for Friday 2/10. In the interim, labor strikes and demonstrations grow and spread nationwide. (NYT, WP, WT 2/8; NYT, WP, WT 2/9; NYT, WP, WT 2/10; see also NYT, WP 2/6; NYT, WP, WT 2/7)

In retaliation for rocket fire on 1/31, the IDF makes an air strike on a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF arrests 3 Palestinian children (ages 13–16) for straying nr. the separation wall in Bil‘in; makes a late-night raid on a Palestinian home in al-Khadir nr. Bethlehem looking for a 12- yr.-old boy who threw stones at troops earlier in the day, assaulting a boy in the house and knocking him unconscious (he is taken by ambulance to a hospital for evaluation), roughly searching rooms, and allegedly stealing gold; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Ramallah. (AFP, YA 2/2; PCHR 2/3, 2/10; OCHA 2/11)

In Ramallah, the PA, which had banned anti-Mubarak protests in the West Bank, organizes 100s of Fatah mbrs. into proMubarak demonstrations, with the PAcontrolled media denouncing Egyptian opposition figure El-Baradei as a war criminal and CIA agent, calling him responsible for the war on Iraq. Later in the day, some 150 Palestinians in Ramallah organize a counterdemonstration in solidarity with the Egyptian people but are beaten and dispersed by PA riot police, who arrest 2 journalists and a human rights worker monitoring the rally. To date, the PFLP is the only Palestinian faction to come out in support of the Egyptian demonstrators. (JP 2/2; Human Rights Watch press release, NYT, WP, WT 2/3; NYT 2/4; WP 2/7) 

Yemen’s pres. Saleh pledges he will not run again when his term ends in 2013 or appoint his son to succeed him. In the past 10 days, he has also promised to lift the state of emergency imposed since 1992, raised the salaries of soldiers and civil servants, pledged to hire more college graduates, cut income taxes, imposed price controls, extended welfare payments to an additional 500,000 Yemenis, waived college tuition fees for students for the current year, and promised to reopen voter registration to enable some 1.5 m. Yemenis to register to vote. Today, Obama issues a statement welcoming Saleh’s reform steps. The opposition remains dubious, with many saying Saleh must step down immediately. Hereafter, protests shrink in size (from the 1,000s to the 100s) but increase in frequency, becoming near daily events in Sana’a and Aden through the end of the quarter. (NYT, WP 2/3; NYT 2/4)

In light of domestic security concerns, Egypt seals its border with Gaza, causing almost all trade through the smuggling tunnels along the Rafah border to cease, sparking hoarding by Gazans. Hamas authorities assure the public that it has enough fuel and food stockpiled to last several days, warning merchants against hiking prices. OCHA however—noting that Israel continues to cut off all industrial fuel imports to Gaza for a 3d week making Gaza all the more reliant on smuggled fuel—expresses concern that fuel shortages will quickly become a problem, affecting the ability of municipal authorities to provide electricity, water, and sewage treatment. Meanwhile, Hamas officials in Gaza report that at least 8 Hamas mbrs. jailed in Egypt are among those freed during prisons breaks and rioting across Egypt in recent days; at least 2 have already returned to Gaza through smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in a village nr. Tulkarm during the day; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron and nr. Jenin and Qalqilya (warning the mayor of Jayyus that his house would be turned into an IDF post if stone-throwing at troops fr. the village continued). (AFP, MNA 1/30; PCHR 2/3; OCHA 2/4)

With major protests (10,000s) in Egypt continuing unabated and a “march of millions” called for 2/1, the Obama admin. calls on Mubarak to facilitate an “orderly transition” to a more representative government but does not explicitly call on him to resign, with Secy. Clinton stressing “we are not advocating any specific outcome,” but “it needs to be done immediately.” France and Germany issue similar statements. Joint Chiefs of Staff head Adm. Mike Mullen phones Egyptian military chief of staff Gen. Sami Anan to express “his appreciation for the continued professionalism of the Egyptian military” in refusing to engage protesters. Amid signs that Mubarak’s regime might really topple, Egypt’s organized opposition parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood, huddle for most of the day to discuss whether they could project a united front to provide direction and leadership to the popular protests, choosing opposition figure and fmr. IAEA head Muhammad El-Baradei (as a nonthreatening figure to the West) to represent the opposition in negotiations with the government over a transition and naming 10 persons they would delegate to an interim unity government. But when El-Baradei speaks in Tahrir Square in the evening, demonstrators reject him, saying the opposition parties do not represent them. Fearing that outside forces could begin smuggling weapons into the country to back an overthrow, Egypt seals the Gaza border indefinitely and, with Israel’s permission, moves 2 battalions (800 soldiers) into the Sinai for the 1st time since the 1979 peace treaty was reached, requiring the area to be a demilitarized zone. Israeli officials hold nearly around-the-clock strategy meetings to discuss the implications for Israel if Mubarak’s government falls, fearing that Mubarak’s overthrow could strengthen Hamas in Gaza and destabilize Jordan, but seeing Mubarak’s appointment of Suleiman, who has overseen Israeli-Hamas prisoner release talks, as a hopeful sign. Netanyahu orders officials to stay publicly silent as events play out. (MNA, NYT, WP 1/30; NYT, WP, WT 1/31)

Paraguay recognizes Palestine as independent state on the 1967 borders. (JP 2/5)

In Gaza, 1,000s of Hamas supporters protest against the PA in light of the Palestine Papers revelations about negotiation concessions, particularly on the right of return. In the West Bank, around 2,000 Palestinians in Hebron and smaller groups in other cities attend Fatah-organized rallies in support of Abbas and against al-Jazeera. Also in the West Bank, a group of 100 armed Jewish settlers hiking nr. Khirbat Safa nr. Hebron is confronted by stone-throwing Palestinian youths, prompting 1 Jewish settler to open fire, killing 1 Palestinian teenager and wounding a 2d, marking the 2d such shooting in 2 days. Jewish settlers fr. Yonatan outpost in the East Jerusalem environs attack nearby Palestinian houses; accompanying IDF soldiers fire tear gas and stun grenades to keep Palestinians at a distance, sparking a fire that lightly damages 1 home. Meanwhile in the West Bank, the IDF patrols in villages nr. Ramallah, Tulkarm; enters Jayyus village nr. Qalqilya, searching 1 home but making no arrests. Palestinians (accompanied by Israeli and international activists in some areas) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil‘in and Ni‘lin. IDF soldiers fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, injuring 2 Palestinians. PA General Intelligence units detain leading Hizb al-Tahrir mbr. Mus‘ab Abu Arqub after Friday prayers in Dura nr. Hebron. (WP 1/29, MNA 1/30; PCHR 2/3; OCHA 2/4)

Across Egypt, 100,000s of protesters heed the call to observe a “Friday of rage” in Egypt, launching massive demonstrations after midday prayers. Protesters burn the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) headquarters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Police stations and NDP offices are torched in several of Cairo’s middleclass neighborhoods and poorer quarters, as well as in Alexandria, Suez, Port Said, Damietta, Damanhour, and other areas of Upper Egypt and Sinai; prisoners in several jails are freed. With regular police already largely having withdrawn fr. the street, not wanting to confront protesters, Mubarak sends out security and plain-clothes police who violently clash with demonstrators and target journalists, killing as many as 300 and injuring as many as 2,000. Protesters in Cairo and Alexandria overwhelm the security police by dusk, forcing Mubarak to withdraw them to regroup and send the army and tanks into the cities to impose a curfew; but when protesters ignore the curfew, the army does not act. Later, Mubarak appears on state TV and, in effort to appease critics and quell protests, pledges to speed up his program of political and economic reforms, announcing that he has dissolved his cabinet, appointed a new PM to form a new government, and named military intelligence chief Gen. Omar Suleiman as his 1st ever VP, but protesters vow to remain in the streets until he steps down. The U.S. issues its first warnings that it will review its $1.56 b. in annual aid to Egypt depending on how events unfold in the coming days, pressing its contacts within the Egyptian army to avoid violence. Abbas, however, phones Mubarak to assure him of the PA’s support for Egypt’s security and stability. (IHS Global Insight, Middle East Research and Information Project, NYT, WP 1/29; MNA 1/30)

In Jordan, where criticism of the king is banned, 1,000s of demonstrators inspired by events in Egypt and Tunisia turn out after Friday prayers in Amman and cities across the kingdom to demand the resignation of PM Samir al-Rifa‘i and his cabinet, dissolution of the parliament, and a new round of free and fair elections. (The last parliamentary elections held in 11/2010 were widely criticized as fraudulent.) (NYT 1/29; NYT, WP 1/30; WP 2/1; NYT 2/2)

Guyana recognizes a “sovereign Palestine,” but says borders must be agreed with Israel. (JTA 1/14)

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts afternoon patrols in numerous villages around Jenin and Qalqilya; conducts latenight patrols nr. Ramallah; and conducts late-night arrest raids and house searches in Hebron. Palestinians (accompanied by Israeli and international activists in some areas) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, and Dayr Nizam/Nabi Salih. IDF soldiers fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters; 2 Palestinians (including 1 child), 1 Dutch activist, and 1 Israeli are injured. (PCHR 1/20; OCHA 1/21)

Fearing massive protests later in the day, Tunisia’s Ben Ali declares a state of emergency in the morning, dissolves his government, and pledges early elections within 6 mos. Within hours, he and his family flee Tunisia for Saudi Arabia, where they are granted asylum. Ben Ali’s close ally, PM Muhammad Ghannouchi, assumes temporary control, saying he will move the government quickly toward elections. Protesters denounce his attempt to take control and demand his ouster for attempting to perpetuate Ben Ali’s corrupt regime, noting that constitutionally power should transfer to the head of parliament. In Cairo, a small group of Egyptian protesters gathers outside the Tunisian emb. in solidarity with Tunisian demonstrators, but also calling Mubarak a “fraud” and calling for his ouster. Police surround and outnumber them, but there is no violence. (NYT, WP 1/15; NYT 2/24)

Meeting in Sharm al-Shaykh, Israeli PM Netanyahu asks Egyptian pres. Mubarak to press the Palestinians to return to “direct, intensive, and serious negotiations,” but Mubarak replies that Israel must change its stance on settlement construction if it hopes to reach a final status accord with the Palestinians, blaming Israel for the latest impasse. Mubarak also cautions Israel against carrying out a major offensive against Gaza over escalating rocket and mortar fire in the past wk. (NYT, WP 1/7)

The PFLP fires 3 mortars fr. Gaza toward the IDF base at the fmr. Kissufim crossing into Gaza (closed in 8/2005); only 1 shell strikes inside Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF makes synchronized late-night air strikes on an IQB building in Gaza City and an open area e. of al-Shuka village in s. Gaza; no injuries are reported in either incident. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm, 5 villages nr. Jenin, and 1 village nr. Jericho during the afternoon. (JP, MNA 1/6, JP, MNA, OCHA 1/7; PCHR 1/13; OCHA 1/14)

Clinton meets with Abbas in Ramallah, then stops in Amman to brief King Abdullah on the Sharm al-Shaykh talks. Clinton and Mubarak issue statements saying that they have jointly recommended a short 3 or 4 mo. extension to the settlement freeze during which Israel and the PA would focus on border issues in hopes of solving which settlements would stay and go under final status. Abbas states: “We all know there is no alternative to peace other than negotiating peace, so we have no alternative but to continue peace efforts.” (NYT, WP 9/17)

Mitchell goes to Damascus to brief Syrian pres. Bashar al-Asad on the peace talks, saying for the first time that the U.S. intends to push for renewed Israeli-Syrian peace talks parallel to Israeli-Palestinian talks. (Asia Times 9/16)

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts synchronized late-night patrols in 2 villages e. of Qalqilya, making no arrests; similar late-night patrols without incident in villages nr. Salfit; late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron, Tulkarm. (PCHR 9/23; OCHA 9/24)

The 2d round of direct talks opens in Sharm al-Shaykh, Egypt, with Mubarak hosting Abbas, Netanyahu, and Clinton for the first day of meetings with talks now set to continue in Jerusalem on 9/15 and Ramallah on 9/16, and thereafter alternating between Jerusalem and Jericho. The U.S. tries but is unable to secure Israeli-Palestinian agreement on the agenda for the talks. (YA 9/14; NYT, WP, WT 9/15; JPI 9/24)

As Abbas and Netanyahu meet in Egypt, Israel’s Jerusalem city planners schedule a meeting for 10/7/2010 to debate construction of 1,362 new settlement housing units in Givat HaMatos s. of the Old City btwn. Gilo and Talpiot settlements. In addition, the Israeli construction company Na’out HaPisga, citing business losses, resumes construction of 2,400 settlement housing units in Mod’in Ilit settlement west of Ramallah that had been halted under the settlement freeze. In Gaza, IDF troops make a brief incursion into c. Gaza e. of Gaza Valley village to level land in the no-go zone to clear lines of sight, firing 4 artillery shells at armed Palestinians in the area, seriously wounding 1 and cutting electricity to nearby areas. Late in the evening, armed Palestinians on the n. Gaza border fire an antitank missile at IDF troops operating inside Israel, causing no damage or injuries; IDF troops fire back, killing 1 armed Palestinian, seriously wounding at least 1 other. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches, patrols in 5 villages nr. Qalqilya between late afternoon and late evening; also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron. In Tel Aviv, Israeli police fatally shoot an East Jerusalem Palestinian who is handcuffed and in custody on charges of car theft, claiming that the Palestinian attacked an officer, who accidentally shot him. OCHA reports that since 9/1, 1 Palestinian was fatally electrocuted in a tunnel accident on the Rafah border. (HA 9/14; PCHR 9/16; OCHA 9/17; JPI 9/24)

On the eve of ceremonies reopening direct Israeli-Palestinian talks, U.S. Pres. Barack Obama holds separate meetings with Abbas, Netanyahu, Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak, and Jordan’s King Abdullah. In the evening, Obama hosts the leaders for a working dinner at the White House. (WP 9/1; NYT 9/2)

In the West Bank, the IDF continues to impose a curfew on Palestinian areas nr. the site of the 8/31 attack nr. Hebron and carries out house-to-house searches for the Hamas mbrs. involved, rounding up scores of Palestinians with suspected ties to the organization. In the evening, IQB gunmen shoot at another Jewish settler vehicle nr. Ramallah, in area C, wounding 2 settlers (1 seriously). The IDF also conducts latenight arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron, and nr. Ramallah, Salfit, Tulkarm. Jewish settlers retaliating for the 8/31 Hamas attack stake out a 15-d. plot of Palestinian land (exact location not reported) for a new settlement outpost but leave the area by nightfall, stone Palestinian vehicles on the Nablus–Qalqilya road, and vandalize a Palestinian home and set fire to adjacent grass land in Hebron. Meanwhile, in Gaza, IDF troops on the Israeli side of the Erez crossing fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction material in the demolished Erez industrial zone, causing no injuries. The IDF also makes an incursion into the s. Gaza border areas e. of al-Shuka, accompanied by drones and helicopters, but withdraws 6 hrs. later without incident. (NYT, PCHR 9/2; PCHR 9/8; OCHA 9/17)

Mitchell returns to the region for 3 days of talks with Israeli and Palestinian peace teams, Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak, and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi Shaykh Muhammad bin Zayid al-Nahayan to press Israel and the Palestinians to resume direct talks. After their meeting, Abbas says he will begin direct talks with Israel if it accepts the 1967 borders as the baseline for negotiations and accepts deployment of international forces to guard them. (UPI 7/17; WP 7/18; AFP 7/19)

IDF troops on the northeastern Gaza border fire 3 artillery shells into an open area e. of Jabaliya, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF escorts Jewish settlers into Kafr Haris village nr. Salfit late at night to conduct religious ceremonies; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin; conducts latenight patrols in Tulkarm without incident. Palestinians and international activists take part in weekly nonviolent demonstrations against land confiscation and settlement expansion nr. Karme Tzur settlement nr. Hebron and outside Beit Romano settlement in Hebron; the IDF fires rubbercoated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, leaving 5 Palestinian injured (including 3 journalists), 10s suffering tear gas inhalation, 1 Palestinian cameraman under arrest, 1 international activist detained for questioning (later released). At least 10 Jewish settlers attack a Palestinian nr. the al-Ibrahimi Mosque/ Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, moderately injuring him; IDF troops observe but only intervene to defend the settlers when Palestinians try to protect the injured man. In Gaza, Hamas authorities attempting to boost their Muslim credentials, begin enforcing a ban (announced 1 yr. ago) on women smoking water pipes in public. (NYT 7/18; WP, WT 7/19; OCHA, PCHR 7/22)

Some 1,000 international activists gather in Egypt in preparation for a 12/31 solidarity march to the Rafah border to mark the 1-yr. anniversary of Operation Cast Lead (OCL) and bring tens of thousands of dollars of humanitarian aid into Gaza, but Egypt vows to keep the border closed. French activists protest outside the French emb. in Cairo, while American activists visit the U.S. emb. Israel allows 3 container shipments of glass into Gaza for the first time since 6/07; says it will allow 3 containers of glass per day for 5 days a week for the next month (a total of 81 containers are allowed in as of 2/9, about 90 percent of what Israel had pledged). In the West Bank, Jewish settlers fr. Bet Ayn nr. Hebron attempt to force 2 Palestinian shepherds grazing their sheep on nearby Palestinian land to leave the area; when they refuse, 1 settler opens fire, hitting 1 shepherd in the shoulder; the IDF arrests both Palestinians while they are receiving medical care from paramedics. (NYT, PCHR 12/30; OCHA, PCHR 1/6; OCHA 2/11)

In Cairo, Mubarak and Netanyahu hold a 3-hr. mtg. to discuss the peace process. Afterward, Egyptian FM Ahmad Abu al-Ghayt publicly praises Netanyahu for raising new ideas for advancing the peace process. (NYT 12/30; HA 12/31; AFP, al-Dustur 1/5)

The Lebanese army directs symbolic anti-aircraft fire at 4 Israeli warplanes that violate Lebanese air space in s. Lebanon. (WT 12/30)

In Cairo, Obama gives a major address calling for a “new beginning” in relations btwn. the U.S. and the Muslim world, acknowledging historic missteps btwn. the two, stressing mutual interests and respect to combat stereotypes. He refers to Israel’s “occupation” as “intolerable” and notes the “daily humiliations—large and small” that Palestinians suffer, but also stresses the U.S.’s “unbreakable bond” with Israel. On the sidelines, Obama meets privately with Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak to discuss the peace process and Iran. (IFM 6/4; NYT, WP, WT 6/5; NYT 6/6; NYT 7/10)

In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes about a third of the Jordan Valley Bedouin community of Khirbat al-Ras al-Ahmar, razing 15 residential structures, 30 animal pens, 18 traditional ovens, displacing 128 Palestinians who have resided in the area since the 1960s, including 66 children, confiscating a tractor and water tank; fires rubber-coated steel bullets at stone-throwing Palestinians demonstrating against the separation wall in Bil‘in; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Nablus. Right-wing Jewish settlers send a letter to an IDF general threatening him and his children, and equating soldiers who evacuate settlement outposts with Nazi collaborators. PASF officers and Hamas mbrs. exchange fire in Qalqilya (see 5/31), leaving 2 Hamas mbrs., 1 PASF officer dead. (Yedi’ot Aharonot 6/4; NYT 6/5; NYT 6/6; HA 6/8; OCHA, PCHR 6/11)

In the morning, the IDF raids the Ambassador Hotel in Shaykh Jarrah in East Jerusalem, shuts down a temporary news bureau set up by the Palestinian Media Center to cover the pope’s visit, confiscates documents fr. the news team, and threatens to close the hotel if it allows Palestinian media to work fr. the site again. Late in the evening, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron. A PA court in Nablus sentences Hamas mbr. Muhammad Silman Qatanani, arrested by the PA 10 mos. ago on suspicion of illegal possession of weapons and explosives, to 18 mos. in prison for establishing clandestine Hamas cells with the aim of staging a coup against the Abbas government. (OCHA 5/13; PCHR, WJW 5/14)

Netanyahu meets with Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak in Sharm al-Shaykh to promote building a regional coalition against Iran, as well as his idea for economic (as opposed to comprehensive) peace with the Palestinians. (WT 5/11; WP 5/12)

With the 1/16 MOU in hand, along with a letter from European heads of state pledging to support the U.S.-led efforts outlined therein and a private message from Mubarak to the Israeli security cabinet received today, Olmert formally declares a unilateral cease-fire in Gaza effective 2:00 A.M. local time on 1/18 (7:00 P.M. 1/17 EST). Stressing that Hamas was not party to any of the pledges secured by Israel, Olmert states: “If [the Palestinians] stop firing, we will consider leaving Gaza at a time that is suitable to us,” but if they continue rocket fire (NYT 1/17), “the Israeli army will regard itself as free to respond with force.” Hamas denounces Israel for ignoring Egyptian efforts to broker an agreed upon truce.

Combat notes: Olmert’s announcement comes at the end of a day of “sporadic and intensive” fighting in Gaza. The IDF reports hitting more than 120 targets, mostly comprising a final massive bombardment of more than 100 tunnels along the Rafah border that lasts 10 hrs., but also including strikes on at least 10 rocket-launching sites, 5 groups of armed Palestinians, 3 Hamas outposts. In addition to Rafah, air strike target areas include Bayt Hanun, Gaza City (city center), Jabaliya, Khan Yunis. Heavy artillery and tank fire are reported in: Bayt Lahiya, Jabaliya, al-Nasser (n. of Rafah). In Bayt Lahiya, IDF shells (possibly including white phosphorous) hit an UNRWA school sheltering 1,600 Gazans, killing 2 Palestinian brothers (ages 4, 5) and wounding 36 Palestinians (including the boys’ mother, who loses both legs. Naval bombardments center on Khan Yunis. Ground engagements are reported in al-Bureij r.c., al-Mughraqa, Nussayrat r.c., al-Zahra’. Late in the evening, IDF troops pull out of al-Shuka (where troops seized positions on 1/14), with residents reporting many houses demolished and damaged, wide areas of agricultural land razed, and significant damage to the village infrastructure (water systems, etc.).

Palestinians fire 19 rockets and 5 mortars into Israel, lightly injuring 5 Israelis (possibly all shock). The IDF reports 4 IDF soldiers seriously wounded in a friendly fire incident involving Israeli mortar fire, plus another 13 soldiers injured (3 seriously, 3 moderately, 7 lightly) in clashes with Palestinian gunmen over the previous 24 hrs., including 5 soldiers wounded by a Palestinian antitank round today.

With the truce ordered, the IDF put Israel’s comprehensive casualty toll for OCL at 3 (perhaps 4; see casualties chart in special document section for details) civilians and 10 soldiers dead, more than 100 soldiers and an unstated number of civilians injured. (This marks the 1st time the IDF has given estimates for comprehensive IDF casualties inside Gaza.) Gazan health officials estimate the Palestinian toll to be at least 1,200 killed and more than 5,000 wounded, though numbers are expected to change as rescue workers gain access to damaged areas.

Humanitarian notes: The IDF allows 62 truckloads of humanitarian aid into Gaza. Israel gives no indication whether or how quickly it will ease restrictions on imports once the cease-fire goes into effect. (IDF, IFM 1/17; IFM, ITIC, NYT, QA, WP, WT 1/18; ITIC, JP, MM 1/19; JAZ 1/20; PCHR 1/22; FT 1/28; PCHR 1/29)

The IDF imposes a curfew on Hawara village s. of Nablus. (PCHR 1/22)

As OCL enters day 10, IDF ground forces tighten the circle around Gaza City and continue to operate against Palestinian rocketlaunching units across n. Gaza, still avoiding entering densely populated areas. Troops deploy to segment the Strip into 3 main operational zones: a northern zone running fr. the n. Gaza border south to Netzarim Junction (the Qarni Crossing–Netzarim settlement line drawn on 1/4); a central zone fr. Netzarim Junction to Khan Yunis; and a southern zone fr. Khan Yunis to the Rafah border. While IDF troops are still entering Gaza, IDF reservists have not yet been sent in.

Meanwhile, French pres. Nicholas Sarkozy begins a regional tour to press for a 48-hr. humanitarian cease-fire, meeting with Mubarak in Cairo and Olmert in Israel).

Combat notes: In Gaza City, residents and medical workers report that IDF troops are concentrated in the al-Shuja‘iyya, al-Tuffah, and al-Zaytun neighborhoods (al-Zaytun is a strategic high point, providing a view over the breadth of the Strip) and that fighting is so intense (involving heavy Israeli tank and helicopter fire) that bodies of the dead have been left lying in the street and ambulances are unable to reach the area. IDF troops occupy at least 3 high-rise buildings in eastern areas of Gaza City as observation posts, expelling the residents and exchanging heavy gunfire with Palestinian gunmen. Israeli aircraft drop leaflets over Gaza City warning residents to evacuate their neighborhood; 1,000s of Gazans report receiving automated phone messages form the IDF saying “We are getting rid of Hamas.”

In addition to carrying out air strikes in support of advancing ground troops, the IDF reports making 40 air strikes targeting tunnels on the Rafah border, weapons caches, homes of senior Hamas and PFLP mbrs. (most of whom are in hiding), the Gaza airport site. Target areas include Abasan, Bayt Hanun, Bani Suhayla, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (the center city, al-Tuffah, al-Shuja‘iyya, Tal al-Hawa, alZaytun), Jabaliya, Khan Yunis, Khuza, the al-Mawasi area (w. of Khan Yunis), Nussayrat, Rafah, al-Shabura r.c. (nr. Rafah), Shati’ r.c., al-Shuka, Yibna r.c. (nr. Rafah).

Of particular note: A home in Gaza City’s al-Zaytun neighborhood, where the IDF placed 110 Palestinians it had rounded up on 1/4, is hit by an air strike and repeatedly shelled, killing at least 30 mbrs. of an extended family (including 5 children age 4 and younger) and wounding scores; the IDF bars relief workers fr. reaching the scene until 1/7. A shell fired from an Israeli naval vessel hits a Palestinian home in Shati’ r.c., killing a family of 7 asleep in their beds. A late-night air strike hits an UNRWA school in Shati’ r.c. being used as a shelter, killing 3 members of a single family. The IDF also makes air strikes hitting the offices of the Hamas-affiliated al-Risala for a 2d time (see 1/3). Photographs and live footage of the ongoing operations clearly show IDF artillery firing white phosphorus shells on densely populated areas, though Israel denies using the munitions. The IDF fires flechette shells on residential areas nr. Bayt Hanun, killing at least 1 Palestinian, wounding at least 3.

Palestinians fire 28 rockets, 5 mortars into Israel, hitting Ashdod, Ashqelon, Beersheba, Sederot, and Shaar Hanegev, damaging an empty kindergarten in Ashdod, injuring 2 Israelis in Shaar Hanegev.

More than 40 Palestinians are killed today (almost half of them children), bringing the estimated Palestinian toll to 550 dead, 2,500 injured. The Israeli toll reaches 9–10 dead, more than 70 wounded: 3 IDF soldiers are killed, 24 wounded (4 seriously) by friendly fire when their unit is hit by an Israeli tank shell outside Gaza City; an IDF officer is killed during an exchange of fire in n. Gaza, possibly by an IDF tank shell; 6 IDF soldiers are wounded in clashes with Palestinians nr. the e. Gaza border.

Humanitarian notes: Israel allows 80 truckloads of food, medicine, and medical equipment into Gaza, but the UN says much more is needed. Relief agencies (including the ICRC, UNRWA, and UNSCO) warn that two-thirds of the Strip is still without power, suffering freezing winter temperatures; 250,000 Gazans are without any running water; and water supplies for another 500,000 Gazans are expected to run out within days because of lack of fuel for pumps and backup generators. Shifa hospital, which has been running fully on generators for 3 days, warns that it has only a 2-day supply of generator fuel. (BBC, CNN, IDF, IDF Radio, MM, NYT, REU, RFM, UNIS, UNOSAT, WT 1/5; AFP, BBC, Guardian, HA, IDF, IFM, Israel Radio News, MA, MM, NYT, WP, WT, YA 1/6; IFM, PCHR, WJW, WT 1/8; Committee to Protect Journalists, MM, YA 1/9; NYT, WP 1/10; NYT 1/17; WP 1/27; BBC 2/23)

The IDF arrests 2 12-yr.-old Palestinians at an OCL protest nr. Hebron; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem and in al-Bireh, Ramallah. Clubwielding PASF officers violently disperse a protest against OCL by students attempting to march fr. Ramallah’s Birzeit University to a main IDF checkpoint at Atarot. (PCHR 1/8)

In Cairo, Livni rejects Mubarak’s call to renew the Gaza cease-fire. Palestinians in Gaza fire 3 rockets, 15 mortars into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts simultaneous late-night house searches in 2 villages nr Jenin, making no arrests. An Israeli court sentences jailed Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Ahmad Saadat, detained in 2001 for involvement in the assassination of Israeli cabinet minister Rehavam Ze’evi, to 30 yrs. in jail; Saadat is acquitted of planning the assassination but found guilty of plotting other anti-Israel attacks. (IFM 12/25; NYT, WP, WT 12/26; PCHR 1/1; NYT 1/3)

Hamas’s Gaza leadership calls on factions to halt their fire for 24 hrs. in an effort to restore the truce. Senior Hamas official Mahmud Zahhar appears on Israeli TV to state that Hamas seeks a new cease-fire in exchange for regular food and electricity in Gaza and a halt to IDF operations in the West Bank. On the ground, Palestinians (suspected to be Islamic Jihad, which says it had not agreed to suspend attacks) fire 3 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. An unnamed senior Israeli security official states (YA 12/23) that “all of the IDF’s preparations for a military operation are continuing as planned. As far as we are concerned the clock is ticking down on a military operation.” Israel, which maintains a full seal on Gaza, dispatches diplomats to lobby for international support and sympathy for Israel in the face of rocket attacks. Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak asks Israeli FM Livni to come to Cairo on 12/25 for talks on renewing the truce. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Jenin, Nablus. (IFM 12/22; HA, JP, MA, MM, WP, YA 12/23; PCHR 12/24)

Before dawn, Hamas mbrs. detonate explosives at 17 points along the 7-mi.-long Rafah border wall, allowing 10,000s of Palestinians to stream into Egypt to buy food, fuel, medicine, cement, livestock, and other goods that have been banned by Israel since 6/07; Gazans who have been stranded in Egypt reenter Gaza. (For details on the border breach, see the Quarterly Update.) Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak authorizes border police to stand down, saying Egypt will not be party to starving the Palestinians, but makes it clear that Egypt expects Gazans to return home quickly. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fatally shoot a Palestinian farmer working his land northwest of Bayt Lahiya. The IDF also levels land inside Gaza northeast of Bayt Hanun, uprooting 350 d. of olive and citrus groves. A Palestinian is injured when 2 rockets to be fired into Israel explode at the launch site. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, searches in and around Hebron (including surrounding and searching a medical clinic, interrogating staff and patients, arresting 2 staff mbrs.), in Balata r.c., and nr. Jenin, Salfit; raids a hospital in Bethlehem, confiscating 3 computers and a diagnostic machine that tests for osteoporosis; returns 200 olive trees to a farmer in Qaryut nr. Nablus who had 300 trees stolen by Jewish settlers fr. Shilo settlement in 6/07. A Palestinian civilian dies of injuries received during IDF operations in Nablus on 1/3. (HA, Independent, JAZ, NYT 1/23; NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 1/24; WP 1/28; OCHA 1/30; PCHR 1/31)

The IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem. Jewish settlers in Hebron beat a 13-yr.-old Palestinian boy. The Fatah-aligned PA Government Employees Union (GEU; comprising some 80,000 members, about half of public workers, including 25,000 healthcare workers and 37,000 teachers) ends a strike that began on 9/2 to protest the Hamas-led PA’s failure to pay salaries (see Quarterly Update in JPS 142); the workers are to receive 1-mo.’s salary immediately, with the remaining back salaries paid in installments over the next 6 mos. In Jabaliya r.c., unidentified gunmen shoot, wound 2 PRC mbrs. (NYT 1/14; OCHA 1/17; PCHR 1/18)

U.S. Secy. of State Condoleezza Rice begins a 3-day tour of Israel, Ramallah, Egypt, Jordan to explore with Olmert, Abbas, Pres. Husni Mubarak of Egypt, King Abdallah of Jordan the possibilities of reviving road map implementation and Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. (IFM, NYT, State Dept. press release, WP, WT 1/14; IFM, MM, NYT, WP, WT 1/15 MM, NYT, WP, WT 1/16; MM 1/18)

Abbas, Sharon hold their 1st talks in Sharm al-Shaykh, then each meets separately with Mubarak, King Abdallah of Jordan. Afterward, Abbas announces that “Palestinian will stop all acts of violence against all Israelis everywhere,” Sharon vows to “cease all military activity against all Palestinians anywhere,” including assassinations, to the extent that the Palestinians halt violence. Sharon announces a package of gestures to be implemented if quiet is maintained, including Israel’s turnover of security control for 5 West Bank cities, a prisoner release, easing restriction on Palestinian movement. Hamas, Islamic Jihad say that they will not officially sign onto the cease-fire, but will not abrogate it. (BBC, HA, MM, NYT, REU, WP, WT 2/8; AFP, ATL, AYM, HJ, ITAR-TASS, JAZ, MENA, QA, VOI, VOP 2/8, XIN 2/9 in WNC 2/9; CSM, MM, NYT, WP, WT 2/9; al-Quds 2/12 in WNC 2/13; PR 2/16; MEI 2/18)

The IDF reopens Qarni commercial crossing after a 4-wk. closure, allowing only about one-third of normal traffic through, limiting imports to basic goods and exports to flowers, tomatoes; raids, searches a secondary school in al-Khadir; conducts arrest raids in al-Mawasi; confiscates a strip of land 2 d. long and 350 m. wide to create a corridor linking Hebron’s Tal Rumayda settlement with Shuhada Street. Late in the evening, after the Sharm al-Shaykh summit, AMB gunmen fire on a Jewish settler vehicle in the West Bank, throw Molotov cocktails at IDF jeeps that arrive on the scene, causing no injuries. PA security forces find, seal 2 smugglers’ tunnels in Rafah. The NIHC protests the PA security forces’ arrest of 3 DFLP central comm. mbrs. on 2/5; demands the immediate release of Issam Abu Duqqah, who is still in custody. (HJ, VOI, YA 2/8 in WNC 2/9; WT 2/9; PCHR 2/10; PR 2/16)

IDF fatally shoots 3 Egyptian border policemen on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border whom they assumed were armed Palestinians attempting to plant a bomb or infiltrate the border; Israeli PM Ariel Sharon immediately phones Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak, issues a public
statement apologizing for the “tragic” accident, vows an investigation. Nonetheless, Egypt postpones to early 12/04 a visit to Israel by Egyptian envoy Omar Sulayman, FM Ahmad Abu al-Ghayt that was set to begin on 11/24. The IDF raids a Birzeit University dorm, detains 4 students, orders them to collect their belongings, handcuffs and blindfolds them, places them in military detention. The IDF also releases Hamas political leader Hassan Yusuf, who has been held in administrative detention for 2 yrs.; Yusuf—a Ramallah resident and one of the 400 Hamas mbrs. deported by Israel to Lebanon in 1990, became Hamas’s senior West Bank political leader in 8/01 andwas arrested during Operation Defensive Shield in 4/02—advocates Hamas participation in all levels of Palestinian elections and is seen as a leading moderate in the movement. An IDF sniper shoots, seriously wounds wanted Hamas mbr. Ghanim al-Hashash as he leaves a Rafah mosque in an apparent attempted assassination. The IDF rescues, arrests 5 Palestinians trapped in a collapsed smuggler’s tunnel on the Rafah-Egypt border; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Bayt Iqsa e. of Jerusalem, Duha nr. Bethlehem, Yatta; fires on residential areas in and nr. Nablus, Rafah. Armed Jewish settlers fr. Dotem settlement ambush, stone Palestinian cars in nearby Tubas. (AP, BBC, MM 11/18; HA, MENA, VOI, VOP 11/18 in WNC 11/20; MM, NYT, WP, WT 11/19; VOI 11/19 in WNC 12/4; HA 11/21; CSM 11/22; PR 11/24; PCHR 11/25; PR 12/22)

The IDF raids a high school nr. Nablus, arrests a 10th grader; raids a mosque in al-Bireh, arresting 1 Palestinian; fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis, wounding a man on his roof; conducts house searches, arrest raids in Nablus, Rafah. In implementation of a new security plan (Quarterly Update), the PA deploys large numbers of PSF officers on the streets of Gaza City. (MM 3/11; HA 3/14; PR 3/17; PCHR 3/18)

The U.S.’s Abrams, Burns, Hadley arrive in Israel for further consultations on Sharon’s disengagement plan. Meanwhile in Washington, Israeli DM Shaul Mofaz briefs U.S. VP Dick Cheney, Powell on Israel’s latest thinking regarding evacuating settlements, maintaining security control in Gaza postwithdrawal. In Cairo, Israeli FM Silvan Shalom meets with Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak and FM Ahmad Maher, who provide assurances that Egypt would secure its border with Gaza following an Israeli pullout. (AFP, HA, JP, MM, NYT, REU 3/11; MENA 3/11 in WNC 3/13; MM, WP 3/12; MA 3/12 in WNC 3/16; PR 3/17; MEI 3/19)

The IDF fatally shoots 2 AMB mbrs. laying a roadside bomb nr. the Rafah border; fatally shoots a Palestinian farmer tilling a field nr. Khan Yunis; raids a hospital in Nablus, closing it for 3 hrs., but leaving without arresting anyone; conducts arrest raids in Nablus (targeting the tanz im), Qalqilya (targeting the PFLP). A Palestinian dies of injuries received earlier. Jewish settlers set up a tent at the site of the fatal 5/5 shooting of a Jewish settler on the Nablus–Ramallah road, vowing to erect a permanent settlement at the location. Palestinians fire a mortar at a Jewish settlement in Gaza, causing no damage or injuries. Israel releases another 35 Palestinian prisoners—significantly less than the 120 Israel had said it would release today. (HA 5/12; NYT, WP 5/13; PCHR 5/15)

Powell meets briefly with Quartet reps. in Jerusalem before meeting with Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak in Cairo, King Abdallah of Jordan in Amman to rally Arab support for a PA crackdown on Palestinian militant groups. Powell says that it makes “no difference” whether or not Israel has declared acceptance of the road map; the important thing is for both sides to begin implementation. (HA, NYT, WP 5/12; MENA 5/12 in WNC 5/13; HA, WP, WT 5/13)

Late in the evening, on the eve of Powell’s arrival in Saudi Arabia, suicide bombers in Riyadh simultaneously detonate 3 car bombs outside residential compounds for foreigners and 1 outside a Saudi-U.S.-owned business, killing 34 persons (including8 Americans, 5 Saudis), wounding around 200 (including at least 40 Americans), many seriously. Most of the bombers appear to be Saudi, but no group takes responsibility; the U.S., Saudi Arabia suspect al-Qa‘ida. (BBC, NYT, WP, WT 5/13; NYT, REU, WP, WT 5/14; NYT, WP 5 /15)

The IDF lifts the comprehensive curfew on the occupied territories imposed on 1/26; fatally shoots 1 Palestinian shepherd who leads his flock too near IDF bulldozers leveling 400 dunams of Palestinian crops nr. Jabaliya r.c.; bulldozes land around, fires on residential areas of Tal al-Sultan, wounding 18 Palestinians; reportedly finds, disables 2 bombs planted nr. a Jewish settlements in Gaza, inside a PSF station in Hebron. A Palestinian gunman fires at a Jewish settler vehicle nr. Beit El settlement, wounding 2 Jewish settlers. A 2d Palestinian gunman shoots, lightly injures an IDF soldier outside a Jewish settlement in Gaza; soldiers fire on residential areas nearby in response, wounding 19 Palestinians. A Palestinian dies of injuries received during the IDF’s 1/25 attack on Gaza City. Jewish settlers attack 2 international peace activists who approach Itamar settlement to investigate Palestinian claims that settlers had taken over Palestinian farmland. Settlers beat the activists: steal their phone, camera; take their jackets, shoes, socks, wallets, passports; forcibly take them to Itamar. The IDF arrests the activists for trespassing on settler property. An Israeli court authorizes Israel’s seizure of over $9 m. fr. the PA’s frozen funds to pay the Ayalon insurance company to cover claims for cars stolen btwn. 1996 and 2000, allegedly with the PA’s knowledge and cooperation. (HA, International Solidarity Movement press release, LAW, PCHR 1/29; HA, NYT 1/30; PR 2/5)

Arafat calls on Sharon to immediately resume peace talks in light of his election victory, but Sharon says he will not deal with Palestinians “involved in terror.” (HA 1/29; NYT 1/30)

Bush phones Sharon to congratulate him on his election victory. Also calling to congratulate Sharon are Egyptian Pres. Husni Mubarak, who invites him to reopen peace talks with the Palestinians in Cairo after his new government is formed, and European Union (EU) pres. Romano Prodi who urges him to take action on the road map quickly, now that elections are over. (HA, MM 1/30, 1/31; MM 2/5; MEI 2/21)

In Qalqilya, IDF soldiers chasing curfew breakers toss stun grenades into a building, sparking a fire that kills 1 Palestinian. The IDF fatally shoots a 2d Palestinian during an arrest raid in Bayt Lahia; bulldozes 4 dunams of Bayt Lahia farmland nr. Dugit settlement; raids the Ramallah offices of the largest Palestinian Internet service provider, PalNet, disabling email, Internet access; conducts house-to-house searches in Hebron. (UPMRC, WT 7/16; LAW, PCHR 7/17; LAW 7/19)

In Alexandria, Ben-Eliezer confers with Mubarak, reportedly presents a "Gaza First" plan, which has not been endorsed by Sharon. Mubarak also meets with PA Local Government M Saeb Erakat; there is no evidence that Ben-Eliezer and Erakat meet. (MM 7/15; MENA 7/15, QA 7/16 in WNC 7/17; MM, NYT, WT 7/16; WT 7/17; JPI 7/26; MM 7/29)