318 / 14429 Results
  • March 5, 2013

    Israeli media reports that PM Benjamin Netanyahu may adopt a package of ‘‘goodwill gestures’’ ahead of U.S. Pres. Obama’s upcoming visit, including transferring responsibility for 2 West Bank...

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  • February 3, 2013

    Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu begins talks with Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party over a possible coalition, with the latter expected to present a lengthy list of demands. (HA 3/2)

    Chief PLO negotiator...

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  • January 21, 2013

    Israeli DM Ehud Barak decides to close a gap in the separation fence between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim settlement, putting Ma’ale Adumim outside the Separation Wall and preventing Palestinians...

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  • December 23, 2012

    In the Gaza Strip, the IDF opens fire on Palestinians nr. Dayr al-Balah, seriously wounding 2. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah and 3 villages nr. Qalqilya in the...

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  • November 26, 2012

    Palestinian pres. Mahmud Abbas heads to New York ahead of the expected 11/29 UNGA vote on a resolution to upgrade the status of Palestine to a non-member observer state. PA officials express...

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  • November 22, 2012

    Israeli leaders defend the 11/21 Gaza cease-fire in the face of strong criticism from politicians like Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid and Kadima’s Shaul Mofaz, who believe that the operation had not...

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  • November 16, 2012

    Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense against Gaza enters its 3d day, leaving another 11 Palestinians dead and bringing the Palestinian death toll since 11/14 to 30, around 1/3 civilians. Intense...

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  • November 14, 2012

    The IDF assassinates Hamas commander Ahmad Jabari and his bodyguard and separately kills 7 other Palestinians in a number of air strikes on military and civilian targets across the Gaza Strip,...

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  • November 12, 2012

    PA pres. Mahmud Abbas confirms that the bid for non-member observer state at the UN will be presented on 11/29. (BBC 11/12)

    The EU, the Netherlands, and Sweden donate $24 mi. to the PA to...

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  • October 25, 2012

    Armed Palestinians fire a mortar from the Gaza Strip into Israel, causing no injuries. Later in the day, an unofficial truce, believed to have been negotiated by Egyptian intelligence, takes hold...

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  • October 17, 2012

    The Guardian reports that the UK government is urging the Palestinian leadership to delay its UN bid for fear of damaging the peace process. Palestinians are confident of winning a majority,...

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  • October 11, 2012

    The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office announces that new elections will be held on 1/22/13, a day after the U.S. presidential inauguration. A poll carried out for Ha’Aretz shows that PM Netanyahu...

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  • August 15, 2012

    The IDF conducts late-night patrols and house searches in 4 villages nr. Hebron (3 synchronized). (PCHR 8/16; OCHA 8/18; PCHR 8/30; OCHA 8/31)

    Fmr. Israeli national security adviser Uzi...

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  • July 31, 2012

    PA PM Fayyad and Israeli Fin. Min. Yuval Steinitz sign an economic agreement, to go into effect on 1/1/2013, that will regulate taxes and bilateral trade with the aim of reducing illegal trade and...

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  • July 16, 2012

    U.S. secy. of state Clinton meets with Israeli leaders (including PM Netanyahu, Pres. Peres, DM Barak, FM Avigdor Lieberman) and Quartet special envoy Tony Blair in Jerusalem and with PA PM Salam...

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  • May 30, 2012

    Israeli naval vessels halt and seize 2 Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, detaining 4 fishermen. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night patrols in al-Fawar r.c. nr. Hebron and...

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  • May 22, 2012

    Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the c. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm and 2 villages in...

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  • May 17, 2012

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

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  • May 6, 2012

    At the annual Likud party convention in Tel Aviv, Israeli PM Netanyahu expresses support for holding early elections in 9/2012, stating that waiting until scheduled elections in 10/2013 could “...

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  • April 22, 2012

    Israeli naval commandos raid a Liberian ship off the Gaza coast, suspecting of carrying weapons for “antiIsraeli militants,” but releases it after finding no arms. Unidentified Palestinians fire a...

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  • April 4, 2012

    Israeli and Palestinian officials confirm that discussions are underway for a high-level meeting between Israeli PM Netanyahu and PA PM Salam al-Fayyad after Passover ends on 4/13. Fayyad plans to...

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  • March 11, 2012

    Cross-border fighting in Gaza enters its 3d day. Palestinians fire 10s of rockets and mortars into Israel, damaging an empty school but causing no injuries. Israel carries out at least 7 air...

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  • January 19, 2012

    Thailand officially recognizes Palestine as an independent state, becoming the 131st country to do so. (NYT 1/21)

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel,...

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  • January 5, 2012

    The State Dept. says Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams will hold a 2d round of talks in Amman on 1/9. Israeli DM Ehud Barak says that “it is clear that [the position paper handed to Israel...

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  • December 13, 2011

    Quartet officials open 2 days of meetings in Israel and Ramallah aimed at reviving peace talks. Palestinian advocacy groups note “a growing disconnect between the Quartet talks and the situation...

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  • December 12, 2011

    IDF spokesman Maj. Guy Inbar acknowledges that Israel plans to relocate some 2,000 Bedouin fr. 20 encampments in the hills e. of Jerusalem (in area C) to clear the way for the expansion of Ma’ale...

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  • September 6, 2011

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

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  • September 5, 2011

    Abbas tells a group of 20 left-leaning Israeli intellectuals that the Palestinians want above all to resume negotiations, stating that “no matter what happens at the [UN], we have to return to...

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  • August 26, 2011

    Hamas officials say that all main Gaza factions have agreed to reimpose their cease-fire immediately, while Egyptian mediators work to secure the compliance of smaller factions. Islamic Jihad says...

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  • August 21, 2011

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

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Israeli media reports that PM Benjamin Netanyahu may adopt a package of ‘‘goodwill gestures’’ ahead of U.S. Pres. Obama’s upcoming visit, including transferring responsibility for 2 West Bank roads to the PA, releasing Fatah prisoners, and approving building plans for Palestinian villages in Area C currently considered illegal. Netanyahu’s office denies the reports and says that any practical steps would only be taken if the Palestinian leadership returns to talks without conditions. (MNA, ToI 3/5)

In the West Bank, Jewish settlers uproot around 100 olive trees in Nahalin village nr. Bethlehem. The IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon, and in Nablus, 1 village nr. Bethlehem, Aida r.c. in Bethlehem, 3 villages nr. Hebron and 2 villages nr. Jenin at night. (AP 3/5; PCHR 3/6)

Israeli security service Shin Bet publishes statistics indicating a 70% increase in violent attacks by Palestinians in the occupied territories during 2/2013 (138 incidents) compared to 1/2013 (83 incidents), most of which were the throwing of Molotov cocktails. (HA 3/5; XIN 8/6)

Hamas reports that PA security forces arrested 66 of the movement’s supporters in the West Bank during 2/2013, and summoned another 38 for interrogation. A senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip says that PA Pres. Mahmud Abbas had ‘‘sold the reconciliation in return for an American smile.’’ (JP 3/5)

A week after assuming office, U.S. Defense Secy. Chuck Hagel hosts Israeli DM Ehud Barak at the Pentagon for talks on Iran and Syria, among other topics. Hagel assures Barak that there would be no interruption of funding for Israeli defense systems like Iron Dome, Arrow and David’s Sling, even as the looming sequester looks set to cost Israel around $155 million in defense assistance. (HA, JTA 3/5)

Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu begins talks with Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party over a possible coalition, with the latter expected to present a lengthy list of demands. (HA 3/2)

Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erakat says that the PA will not return to negotiations until Israel stops settlement construction and releases Palestinian prisoners. He also says that there would be no EU initiative to resume peace talks without U.S. involvement. Meanwhile, PM Netanyahu’s aide Yitzhak Molho announces he will be stepping down from the Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu coalition negotiation team in order to remain as the PM’s special envoy for peace negotiations with the Palestinians. (JP 2/4; HA 2/3)

Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza coast nr. al-Waha, causing no injuries. The IDF also opens fire on Palestinians collecting gravel close to the border fence in the n. Gaza Strip, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, Nablus governor Jibril al-Bakri says that the IDF has reopened several roads in Nablus that had been closed for 13 yrs. The IDF patrols in Jenin in the morning, in 1 village nr. Qalqilya and 1 village nr. Jenin in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Ramallah, 1 village nr. Jericho, 3 villages nr. Salfit, and 1 village nr. Qalqilya at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in Silwan neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem and 1 village nr. Nablus in the afternoon, and in Qalqilya, Nablus and 3 nearby villages, Bethlehem and 3 nearby villages, al-Bireh. Tulkarm, and Hebron and 3 nearby villages at night. The IDF detains 20 Hamas mbrs., including an individual involved in national reconciliation efforts. (MNA 2/3; AP 2/4; PCHR 2/7)

Israeli DM Ehud Barak tells a security conference in Munich that Israel means what it says with regard to threats to take preemptive action against its enemies. The comment is taken as hint of admission that Israel was behind the air strike in Syria. U.S. officials now say that the attack targeted a weapons shipment bound for Lebanon but also caused collateral damage to a nearby research center, an explanation for the discrepancy between accounts of the target (see 1/30, 1/31). Meanwhile, UK newspaper the Sunday Times reports that Israel is considering establishing a 10-mi. buffer zone inside Syria to protect itself from rebels. (AP, JP, WP 2/3)

Israeli DM Ehud Barak decides to close a gap in the separation fence between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim settlement, putting Ma’ale Adumim outside the Separation Wall and preventing Palestinians from reaching area E1. (HA 1/21)

IDF troops on the Gaza border open fire on Palestinians close to the border fence in 2 incidents nr. the Erez crossing (wounding 1) and Jabalya (no injuries). Israeli naval vessels open fire on Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza coast nr. al-Waha, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes agricultural sheds, tin-made homes, and a water well s. of Hebron; patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning; conducts house searches and arrest raids in Jenin and 2 nearby villages, and 1 village each nr. Hebron and nr. Nablus at night. (MNA 1/21; PCHR 1/23)

Palestinian protesters in Balata r.c. nr. Nablus set fire to tires and demonstrate against the PA’s detention of Fatahaffiliated gunmen who gave themselves up on 1/17. Requests by Palestinian Council (PC) deputies to visit the detainees have been ignored. (MNA 1/21)

Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad announces that Hamas and Fatah will form a tripartite comm. with Egypt to implement national reconciliation. Meanwhile, an Egyptian security official confirms that an Egyptian delegation will soon visit the Gaza Strip to push forward the reconciliation efforts. (MNA 1/21)

The EU announces that Denmark and Holland agree to jointly contribute around €7.2 m. to the payment of 12/2012 salaries and pensions for more than 80,000 Palestinian civil servants and pensioners in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. (WAFA 1/21)

In the Gaza Strip, the IDF opens fire on Palestinians nr. Dayr al-Balah, seriously wounding 2. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah and 3 villages nr. Qalqilya in the morning, in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 village nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon, and in 3 villages nr. Qalqilya, 1 village nr. Ramallah, and 1 village nr. Jenin at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon, and 1 village each nr. Hebron and Jenin at night. (AP 12/23; PCHR 12/27)

Israeli PM Netanyahu and DM Barak receive a briefing from the IDF’s Central Command regarding what the army describes as a recent ‘‘escalation of Palestinian violence’’ in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. (JP 12/23)

Turkey lifts its veto of military cooperation between Israel and NATO, which began in the aftermath of Israel’s attack on the Gaza flotilla in 2010. (JP, ToI 12/23)

Palestinian pres. Mahmud Abbas heads to New York ahead of the expected 11/29 UNGA vote on a resolution to upgrade the status of Palestine to a non-member observer state. PA officials express optimism about the anticipated level of European support, and also say they do not take seriously threats from Israel that the PA will be punished for pursuing the initiative. The Palestinians circulate a revised draft resolution. Behind the scenes, Israeli and U.S. officials press the Palestinians to tone down the wording of the text (see Quarterly Update in JPS 167 for details). Israeli diplomatic officials now say that Israel’s response to the bid will depend on what Abbas does with the upgraded status. Meanwhile, Hamas leader Mishal telephones Abbas to express Hamas’s support for the bid. (JP, HA, MNA, REU 11/26)

Israeli DM Barak (Independence party) announces he will leave political life after the national elections scheduled for 1/22/13. Likud primaries are held and result in a win for the more hard-line wing of the party, including an almost guaranteed Knesset seat for far-right activist Moshe Feiglin. Mins. Benny Begin, Dan Meridor, and Michael Eitan all fail to make the top 10 places on the party’s slate. (HA, REU, ToI 11/26)

Egyptian mediators begin separate talks with Hamas and Israel about fleshing out and implementing the details of the cease-fire. Palestinian demands reportedly include the opening of more Israeli crossings into the Gaza Strip. (JP, REU 11/26)

In Gaza, 2 Palestinian civilians die from wounds sustained during Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense, raising the comprehensive Palestinian death toll to 164. During the day, the IDF opens fire on Palestinian civilians approaching the border fence nr. Khan Yunis, lightly injuring 1. The IDF also opens fire on Palestinian civilians and farmers staging a march to the border fence e. of Jabalya to protest Israel’s imposition of a ‘‘no-go’’ buffer zone, injuring 2. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Tulkarm in the morning, in 1 village nr. Jenin and 1 village nr. Tulkarm in the afternoon, and 1 village nr. Tulkarm at night; conducts late-night house searches and arrest raids in al-‘Arub r.c. and 1 other village nr. Hebron, and 1 village nr. Nablus. (MNA 11/26; PCHR 11/29)

Israeli leaders defend the 11/21 Gaza cease-fire in the face of strong criticism from politicians like Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid and Kadima’s Shaul Mofaz, who believe that the operation had not successfully restored ‘‘deterrence.’’ DM Barak asserts that ‘‘it is still not time to enter Gaza in a very wide operation and conquer it.’’ Barak also reveals that Israel dropped 1,000 times as many explosives on the Gaza Strip as landed on its soil. FM Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) states that Israel will ‘‘eventually need to overthrow the Hamas regime.’’ (INN, JP, REU, YA 11/22)

In Gaza, Palestinian factions organize a major rally in Gaza City to celebrate the cease-fire and call for national reconciliation. On a rare visit to Gaza since the Hamas takeover in 2007, Fatah Central Comm. mbr. Nabil Shaath tells the crowds that Israel failed to isolate them from the West Bank. PM Ismail Haniyeh tells the rally that the ‘‘resistance fighters changed the rules of the game’’ but that the fighters should ‘‘guard’’ the truce ‘‘as long as Israel respects it.’’ (AP, MNA 11/22)

Meanwhile, the toll of Operation Pillar of Defense continues to climb: an Israeli soldier dies from injuries sustained by a Palestinian rocket attack during the operation, becoming the 2d soldier and 6th Israeli to die in the fighting. In the Gaza Strip, rescue workers pull the bodies of 2 more Palestinians from the rubble of the Dalou family home (bombed on 11/18), raising the Palestinian toll to 160. Though the ceasefire generally continues to hold, the IDF opens fire on Palestinians who protest at the border fence nr. Khan Yunis, injuring 1 man. (AP, MNA 11/22; PCHR 11/29)

In the West Bank, Israeli authorities transfer 30 Palestinian prisoners to administrative detention, apparently because of their involvement in solidarity events for Gaza. (MNA 11/22)

The IDF patrols in 1 village each nr. Jenin and Tulkarm in the afternoon; conducts house searches and arrests in 1 village nr. Jenin in the morning and in Qalqilya, al-Bireh, Balata r.c. nr. Nablus, 3 villages nr. Hebron, 1 village nr. Jenin, 1 village nr. Qalqilya, 1 village nr. Tulkarm, Nur Shams r.c. nr. Tulkarm, 1 village nr. Ramallah, and Bethlehem, 4 nearby villages, and Dahaysha r.c. and al-Azza r.c. (both nr. Bethlehem) at night. Those detained overnight include at least 5 mbrs. of the Palestinian parliament affiliated with Hamas. Right-wing Jewish extremists chop down 300 olive trees belonging to Palestinians nr. Hebron, leaving graffiti nearby reading ‘‘price tag’’ and ‘‘regards from Beersheba and Tel Aviv.’’ (MNA 11/22; MNA, ToI 11/23; PCHR 11/29)

The European Parliament passes a resolution expressing support for ‘‘Palestine’s bid to become a UN nonmember observer.’’ (EJP 11/22)

The Lebanese army disables a rocket aimed at Israel and say 2 others were fired but fell short of the border. No group claims responsibility. (REU 11/22)

Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense against Gaza enters its 3d day, leaving another 11 Palestinians dead and bringing the Palestinian death toll since 11/14 to 30, around 1/3 civilians. Intense levels of Israeli air strikes continue, with 40 attacks before dawn and at least 200 overall during the day; reports estimate some 500 targets struck by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) since the operation began. The IDF bombs Gaza’s Ministry of Interior building and the offices of Hamas’s acting PM Ismail Haniyeh. Palestinian armed groups fire a total of 190 rockets into Israel, including a rocket that lands in an open area nr. Gush Etzion settlement bloc s. of Jerusalem, causing no damage or injuries. The Israeli cabinet approves Israeli DM Ehud Barak’s requests to mobilize 75,000 reservists. Israel’s FM Avigdor Lieberman states that the 2 goals of the operation are to restore deterrence and destroy long-range missiles. Meanwhile, in the West Bank, Palestinians hold demonstrations to protest the attack on Gaza, including a rally of hundreds of Hamas activists in Ramallah. IDF forces injure dozens of Palestinians in the solidarity protests, seriously wounding 1 man in Kafr Qaddum village nr. Qalqilya with a tear-gas canister to the head. (AP, HA, Guardian, JP, MNA 11/16)

Internationally, there is a mixture of support for Israel’s actions and caution regarding escalation. The U.S. Senate unanimously passes a resolution expressing support for Israel’s ‘‘right to act in self-defense.’’ UK foreign secretary William Hague warns Israel against staging a ground incursion into Gaza. Egyptian PM Hesham Kandil visits the Gaza Strip, during which time Israel temporarily stops its attacks. Egyptian pres. Mohamed Morsi condemns Israel’s operation and pledges Egyptian support for the Palestinians. Meanwhile, UN high commissioner for human rights Navi Pillay condemns Israel’s aerial bombardment of Gaza as well as Palestinian rocket fire. (HA, Guardian, JP, MNA, REU 11/16)

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning, 1 village nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon, and 1 village nr. Ramallah, 2 villages nr. Salfit, and 1 village nr. Jericho at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in Tulkarm in the afternoon, and in Hebron and 1 nearby village, and 1 village nr. Ramallah at night. Israeli soldiers violently disperse Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals taking part in weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the Israeli occupation and land confiscations held in 4 villages nr. Ramallah (Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, al-Nabi Salih, Budrus), 1 village nr. Bethlehem (al-Ma‘sara), and 1 village nr. Qalqilya (Kafr Qaddum). There are no serious injuries, except in Bil‘in, where 2 Palestinians are wounded by a tear-gas canister and rubber-coated steel bullet respectively, and in Kafr Qaddum, where 1 Palestinian is wounded by a tear-gas canister. (PCHR 11/22)

Egyptian security forces say that unidentified militants fire 3 rockets into Israel from the Sinai Peninsula nr. Rafah. No damage or injuries are reported. (MNA 11/16)

In Amman, Jordanian protests over rising fuel prices continue for a 4th day. Protesters clash with security forces, and a rally of several thousand passes off largely peacefully; chants include demands for the departure of King Abdallah II. (WP 11/16)

The IDF assassinates Hamas commander Ahmad Jabari and his bodyguard and separately kills 7 other Palestinians in a number of air strikes on military and civilian targets across the Gaza Strip, leaving around 90 wounded. The dead include 2 children and an elderly man. Code-named Operation Pillar of Cloud in Hebrew (a Torah reference) and renamed Operation Pillar of Defense for foreign audiences, the Israeli military attacks are described as the ‘‘beginning’’ of an effort to increase deterrence and remove Hamas’s rocketlaunching capabilities. The IQB warns that Israel has ‘‘opened the gates of hell’’ with Jabari’s assassination, and fires dozens of rockets and mortars into Israel. They are joined by the DFLP, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, and PRCs, all of whom claim responsibility for rocket and mortar fire. In total, over 90 projectiles hit Israel from the Gaza Strip, causing 4 injuries. The Iron Dome rocket-defense system intercepts 30 rockets. Overnight, the IDF undertakes air strikes on around 100 sites across the Gaza Strip. U.S. pres. Obama calls Israel PM Netanyahu to express his support for Israel’s military operation and the country’s right to selfdefense. Obama also calls Egyptian pres. Mohamed Morsi to stress the importance of de-escalation and to pledge to stay in close touch. Egypt strongly condemns Israel’s military assault, and UN secy.-gen. Ban Ki-moon calls for a cease-fire. The UNSC holds an emergency meeting but takes no action. (Guardian, REU 11/14; JP, MNA 11/15)

Unidentified assailants fire 4 rockets from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula into Israel, landing nr. an agricultural community and causing no injuries. (HA 11/14)

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Jericho in the morning, in 1 village nr. Salfit in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Jericho and 1 village nr. Ramallah at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in Balata r.c. and 1 village nr. Hebron at night. Palestinians across the West Bank demonstrate to mark the day before the 24th anniversary of the PLO’s declaration of independence, blocking roads nr. Bethlehem, Jericho, and Ramallah, and clashing with soldiers at checkpoints in Atara (nr. Ramallah) and Bethlehem. (AFP, PCHR 11/14)

Israeli DM Barak says that almost all the villages nr. the border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights are now controlled by the Syrian opposition. (AP 11/14)

On a 2d day of violent protests in Jordan against price hikes and in general opposition to King Abdullah’s regime, unidentified gunmen attack 2 police stations, and ensuing clashes leave 1 protester dead—the 1st fatality in Jordanian demonstrations in 2012. (AP 11/15)

PA pres. Mahmud Abbas confirms that the bid for non-member observer state at the UN will be presented on 11/29. (BBC 11/12)

The EU, the Netherlands, and Sweden donate $24 mi. to the PA to help pay 10/2011 salaries and pensions. (MNA 11/12)

Hamas and Islamic Jihad declare a cease-fire in Gaza, after reported mediation by Egyptian intelligence officials. Despite the cease-fire, Palestinian fighters fire 6 rockets from Gaza into Israel, causing no injuries—but this marks a huge reduction from the estimated 100 projectiles the previous day. The attacks are claimed by the PFLP, the DFLP, and the PRCs. Israel does not acknowledge the statement by the Palestinian factions. The IDF makes air strikes on 3 targets in Gaza, causing no injuries. (JP, REU 11/12; Daily Star [Beirut], REU 11/13)

The Israeli newspaper Ha’Aretz reports that Israeli DM Barak has approved a plan to expand the Itamar settlement to 5 times its size by adding 538 homes. Meanwhile, Israeli authorities demolish a home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of the Mount of Olives, making 8 people homeless. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning and 1 village nr. Ramallah at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 2 villages nr. Hebron, 1 village nr. Tulkarm, and 1 village nr. Jenin at night. (HA 11/12; AIC 11/13; PCHR 11/14)

The IDF fires tank shells into Syria and hits a Syrian military mobile artillery unit, in response to a Syrian mortar shell that struck the occupied Golan Heights earlier in the day. (REU 11/12)

Armed Palestinians fire a mortar from the Gaza Strip into Israel, causing no injuries. Later in the day, an unofficial truce, believed to have been negotiated by Egyptian intelligence, takes hold, bringing relative calm after 4 days of IDF strikes and Palestinian rocket fire. An aide to Israel’s DM Ehud Barak denies any agreement had been reached with Hamas. (ToI 10/25)

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and FM Avigdor Lieberman announce that their respective Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu parties will run together in the upcoming elections. Reports suggest that there would be no rotation of the PM slot and Netanyahu would remain leader. Lieberman tells reporters that the unity deal was first discussed a year ago. Labor leader Shelley Yacimovich urges a unification of ‘‘centrist’’ parties to challenge the new alliance. Some analysts claim that the move signals the forming of a ‘‘war cabinet’’ for confronting Iran. (HA, JP 10/25; HA, YA 10/26)

Al-Qa‘ida in the Arabian Peninsula issues a statement of condolences for the deaths of 2 Salafist jihadists killed by the IDF in the Gaza Strip on 10/13. (JP 10/25)

The Guardian reports that the UK government is urging the Palestinian leadership to delay its UN bid for fear of damaging the peace process. Palestinians are confident of winning a majority, citing figures showing the support of at least 115 countries, and as many as 150, out of 193. (Guardian 10/17)

A Hamas delegation visits Cairo to discuss the threat posed by a jihadist group (reportedly called the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group) operating in the Sinai with alleged connections to the Gaza Strip. (Egypt Independent, REU 10/17)

The new ambassadors of Jordan and Egypt present their credentials to Israeli pres. Shimon Peres, with the latter’s envoy expressing commitment to existing agreements. (JP 10/18)

Israeli Army Radio reports that the Israeli cabinet will adopt (unspecified) recommendations from the Levy report on West Bank settlements, which rejected the idea that Israel’s presence in the territories constitutes occupation and concluded that unauthorized outposts should be legalized. Israeli DM Ehud Barak opposes the move, citing damage to Israel’s diplomatic image abroad. (HA, JP 10/17)

The union of PA public sector workers calls for a strike on 10/17 and 10/18 and again the next week to protest the PA’s failure to pay salaries. (MNA 10/16)

The IDF makes air strikes on a location in the n. Gaza Strip at night, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin and conducts house searches and arrests in 2 villages nr. Hebron at night. (JP 10/18; PCHR 10/24)

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office announces that new elections will be held on 1/22/13, a day after the U.S. presidential inauguration. A poll carried out for Ha’Aretz shows that PM Netanyahu has no serious challenger in the election. (HA, ToI 10/11)

Israeli DM Ehud Barak allows Jewish settlers to reoccupy a house in Hebron evacuated in 2008, in light of a 9/13/12 court ruling that the acquisition is legal. Palestinians who claim ownership are expected to appeal the decision. (ToI 10/12)

The IDF launches an air strike against a location in the n. Gaza Strip after unidentified Palestinians fire 2 rockets into Israel; no injuries are reported in either instance. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Jericho, 1 village nr. Jenin, 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning; in 1 village nr. Jericho in the afternoon; and in 1 village nr. Jenin at night (where they fire tear gas at stonethrowing Palestinians). (AFP 10/11; PCHR 10/18)

The IDF conducts late-night patrols and house searches in 4 villages nr. Hebron (3 synchronized). (PCHR 8/16; OCHA 8/18; PCHR 8/30; OCHA 8/31)

Fmr. Israeli national security adviser Uzi Arad warns that Pres. Obama has only a ‘‘brief window of opportunity’’ to dissuade PM Netanyahu and DM Barak against striking Iran, saying Obama must quickly impose stiffer sanctions and publicly declare his willingness to use military force. Analysts say (NYT 8/16) that ‘‘Dayan’s assessment seems to buttress the theory that the collective saber rattling is part of a campaign to pressure the Obama administration.’’ (NYT 8/16)

PA PM Fayyad and Israeli Fin. Min. Yuval Steinitz sign an economic agreement, to go into effect on 1/1/2013, that will regulate taxes and bilateral trade with the aim of reducing illegal trade and tax evasion and building the PA’s tax revenue base. It is the first major IsraeliPalestinian economic agreement since the 1994 Paris Protocol, which sets out in detail the economic relationship between Israel and the PA. (JP, UPI 8/1; JPI 8/17)

Overnight (similar to 7/30), IDF troops on the s. Gaza border fire into agricultural areas along the Gaza border e. of Khan Yunis sporadically for hours, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm and 1 village nr. Jenin in the morning; patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin late at night. Jewish settlers fr. Halmish settlement nr. Ramallah uproot and burn 30 Palestinian olive trees on Palestinian land nr. al-Nabi Salih. OCHA reports that Israeli authorities demolished an extension to a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem. (PCHR 8/2; OCHA 8/3)

With the Tal Law exempting the ultraOrthodox from military service set to expire at midnight, Israeli DM Barak orders the IDF to start drafting ultraOrthodox Jewish men and gives IDF officials 1 mo. to draft official guidelines to implement the order. (NYT, WP, WT 8/1)

Israeli pres. Peres’s office releases the text of a letter that it says is from Egyptian pres. Mohamed Morsi, formally responding to a Ramadan greeting Peres sent on 7/15/12. The text, welcomed by Israel, pledges to work to promote Middle East peace and get bilateral Israeli-Egyptian relations back on track, particularly regarding border security. Morsi aides deny that any letter was sent, but Peres’s office releases copies that show Morsi’s name typed (not signed) and an accompanying letter from the Egyptian amb. on embassy letterhead, indicating that the letter had been cleared with Morsi’s office. Official bilateral relations do not suffer, and public optimism on future relations increased. Most analysts believe (e.g., NYT, WP 8/1) that the incident simply reflects Morsi’s attempt to speak to 2 audiences, Israel and the international community, and his constituency in Egypt, hostile or at best ambivalent concerning the peace treaty with Israel. (NYT, WP 8/1)

U.S. secy. of state Clinton meets with Israeli leaders (including PM Netanyahu, Pres. Peres, DM Barak, FM Avigdor Lieberman) and Quartet special envoy Tony Blair in Jerusalem and with PA PM Salam Fayyad in Ramallah. Though the main purpose of her visit is to discuss Iran, Syria, and other regional changes brought by the Arab Spring, she tells the Israeli and Palestinian sides that they must resume peace talks soon and avoid all unilateral actions. She emphasizes that while the international community is ready to offer ample support for a return to negotiations, the hard work must be done by the parties themselves. (WP 7/17)

Israel allows 40 Palestinian prisoners held in its Ramon prison to receive visits from family members from Gaza, marking the 1st time Israel has allowed family visits for Gazan prisoners since Hamas seized control of the Strip in 6/2007. Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts evening arrest raids, house searches nr. Qalqilya; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin; and conducts late-night patrols in al-Nabi Salih. (TOI 7/16; WP 7/17; PCHR 7/19; OCHA 7/20)

Christians United for Israel (CUFI) opens its 7th annual conference in Washington. At least 5,600 participants attend. Organizers note that CUFI now has 1.1 m. members, 754,000 Facebook fans, and 96 college chapters. The conference theme is ‘‘Defend America; Vote Israel.’’ CUFI founder James Hagee focuses on the importance of Christian Zionism and supporting Israel as part of ‘‘living out God’s mandate.’’ Other speakers include Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), fmr. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations head Malcolm Hoenlein, and Zionist Organization of America pres. Morton Klein. The speakers focus on Iran, U.S.-Israel security cooperation, and halting Palestinian incitement. (WJW 7/19)

Israeli naval vessels halt and seize 2 Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, detaining 4 fishermen. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night patrols in al-Fawar r.c. nr. Hebron and in 1 village nr. Jericho, and late-night house searches nr. Bethlehem, summoning 1 Palestinian for interrogation. (PCHR 5/31, 6/7; OCHA 6/8)

At a conference sponsored by Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), Israeli DM Ehud Barak says Israel should consider imposing final borders on the Palestinians, becoming the senior-most official to propose unilateral actions in light of the stalled peace process. Others (unnamed) reportedly (NYT 5/31)

urged against drastic unilateral steps, recommending that ‘‘unilateral steps could be phased in over many years and be designed ... to give Israel a stronger hand in final status’’—effectively what the Israel has been doing as unstated policy for decades. Speaking at the same conference, Gen. Shlomo Brom (Ret.), who heads INSS’s program on the Palestinian conflict, called the unilateral route ‘‘the only remaining course of action,’’ and former Israeli military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, also an INSS staff member, told the conference that unilateralism was ‘‘the best of all evils,’’ urging Israel to take action in its own selfinterest, ‘‘without conditioning it on the agreement of the Palestinians.’’ (NYT 5/31)

At the INSS conference in Tel Aviv, Israeli DM Ehud Barak also states that Israel and the U.S. have different assessments of the Iranian nuclear timetable, stating, ‘‘Our clock is ticking faster.’’ He says Israel believes that Iran is rapidly approaching a ‘‘zone of immunity’’—the point at which its nuclear facilities would be so decentralized and well fortified that they would be beyond reach of a military strike. Speaking at the same forum, Israeli PM Netanyahu says that the only safe route is for Iran to stop all enrichment, to send all its uranium abroad, and to dismantle its nuclear facilities at Fordo, all of which must be verified by the IAEA. Meanwhile, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan argues that ‘‘if we bomb ... we will give them the legitimacy to attain nuclear military capability.’’ Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi (Ret.), former IDF chief of staff, recommended that more time be given for diplomacy and sanctions to work. (WP, WT 5/31)

Washington Times runs a special report on how Israel’s expanding relationship with China is raising international concerns. The report states that Israel has recently been expanding trade relations and military ties with China, seeing it as a large, emerging market for its military goods and an influential player who could pressure Iran. (WT 5/30; see QU in JPS 165 for details)

Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the c. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm and 2 villages in Ramallah in the morning; in 1 village each nr. Jericho and Ramallah in the afternoon; and in Jericho and 1 village nr. Jenin late at night. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Jenin, Nablus, Salfit, Tulkarm, and 1 village each nr. Hebron and Qalqilya. Jewish settlers fr. Tekoa settlement nr. Bethlehem vandalize Palestinian homes in nearby Taqqua’ village; IDF troops observe but do not intervene. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that in the previous week: (1) Israeli authorities demolished a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem’s al-Tur neighborhood (marking the 1st residence demolished in East Jerusalem for 2 mos.) and ordered a Palestinian family to demolish an addition to their home; (2) the IDF removed a major roadblock on the main north–south road to Hebron, significantly reducing travel times between Hebron and 4 villages to the east; and (3) 2 Palestinians died and 4 (including a teenager) were injured in 4 smuggling tunnel accidents on the Rafah border. (PCHR 5/23; OCHA 5/25)

At the close of 2 days of talks in Tehran with Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, IAEA head Yukiya Amano announces that Iran has agreed in principle to provide the IAEA with access to Iran’s nuclear scientists and facilities, but it has not yet signed a formal statement to this effect. P5+1 nations (the 5 permanent UNSC members plus Germany) call the deal ‘‘a step in the right direction,’’ but say they will judge Iran by its actions. Israeli DM Ehud Barak comments: ‘‘It looks like the Iranians are trying to reach a technical agreement that will create a deception of progress in talks in order to reduce the pressure ahead of talks tomorrow in Baghdad and postpone harshening of sanctions.’’ (WP 5/23)

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

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

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

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

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

At the annual Likud party convention in Tel Aviv, Israeli PM Netanyahu expresses support for holding early elections in 9/2012, stating that waiting until scheduled elections in 10/2013 could “damage the state,” but he does not official call for early elections, as many had expected. Polls show that Netanyahu would likely win by a large margin and gain the leeway to form a more supportive and stable ruling coalition, leading some analysts to speculate (see NYT, WP 5/7) that a strong 9/2012 victory might embolden Netanyahu to stage an Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran before U.S. presidential elections in 11/2012. The polls also indicate that the big losers in an early election would be DM Ehud Barak’s Independence party (likely to lose its 1 Knesset seat and control of the Defense Min. portfolio) and the opposition party Kadima (likely to lose half of its 28 seats).NYT, WP 5/7; NYT 5/9)

The IDF makes a brief incursion into the border area e. of al-Maghazi r.c. in c. Gaza, arresting 2 Palestinians who were attempting to cross into Israel to search for jobs. Israeli naval vessels twice fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the s. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts daytime patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 each nr. Jenin and Qalqilya; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Tubas; and conducts late-night patrols in Bayt Umar, Qalqilya, Tulkarm and 1 nearby village. (PCHR 5/10; OCHA 5/11)

Israeli naval commandos raid a Liberian ship off the Gaza coast, suspecting of carrying weapons for “antiIsraeli militants,” but releases it after finding no arms. Unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF stages a morning raid into Kafr Ra’i village nr. Jenin, photographing and ordering residents to abandon a protest tent they recently set up to show solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners. The IDF also conducts morning patrols in Jericho and 1 nearby village, 2 villages nr. Jenin (in 1 instance firing tear gas and stun grenades at stonethrowing youths who confront them), and 1 each nr. Qalqilya and Ramallah; afternoon patrols in Qalqilya and 3 villages nr. Jenin, Jericho, and Ramallah; late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin; and late-night patrols in Jericho (firing tear gas and stun grenades at stone-throwing youths who confront them) and 1 nearby village. (JP 4/22; WP 4/23; PCHR 4/26; OCHA 4/27)

Israeli PM Netanyahu appoints a small ministerial panel (himself, DM Barak, Vice PM Moshe Ya’alon, and Minister-without-Portfolio Benny Begin) intended to legalize 3 unauthorized settlement outposts (Bruchin, Rachelim, and Sansanna) located on what Israel has classified as “state land” in the West Bank. Netanyahu previously pledged to bring the issue of the 3 outposts (which received initial approval from previous governments in the 1980s and 1990s but were never given final approval or permits for construction) “to the government for approval.” Netanyahu says the panel will deal only with these 3 outposts and has no relation to a separate committee, headed by Judge Edmund Levy, that was created earlier in 2012 to “examine the legal issues” of all the unauthorized outposts. However, the wording of the panel’s written mandate is potentially broader, stating its role is to “resolve the issues” of “settlements that are now unauthorized outposts and which were constructed years ago on state land with state funds or with initial agreements from state bodies.” By this definition, two-thirds of the 105 unauthorized outposts could be retroactively legalized. (JPI 5/4)

The state-operated Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company terminates its 2005 contract to ship gas to Israel, stating that Israel has not paid its bill in 4 mos. and that the decision to suspend shipments immediately “has nothing to do with anything outside o the commercial relations.” Israel denies this, calling the move politically motivated. (NYT, WP 4/23; JPI 5/4)

In Washington, Pres. Obama tours the Holocaust Memorial with Jewish-American Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel, stating in an address afterward that: “Too often the world has failed to prevent the killing of innocents . . . , and we are haunted by the atrocities that we did not stop and the lives we did not save.” Weisel follows with comments highly critical of Obama, asking: “How is it that [Syrian pres.] Asad is still in power. How is it that the Holocaust’s No. 1 denier, [Iranian pres. Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, is still a president?” (WT 4/24)

Israeli and Palestinian officials confirm that discussions are underway for a high-level meeting between Israeli PM Netanyahu and PA PM Salam al-Fayyad after Passover ends on 4/13. Fayyad plans to hand Netanyahu a letter from Abbas, which in its current draft includes Palestinian conditions for a return to negotiations (including Israel halting settlement expansion and accepting 1967 lines the basis for talks) and an enumeration of Israeli actions that the Palestinians find counterproductive to peace. (NYT 4/5)

Israeli security forces evict Jewish settler families fr. a house in Hebron that they occupied ca. 4/2/12. Meanwhile, Netanyahu calls on Israel’s atty. gen. to “find a solution” for the unauthorized outpost of Ulpana (which he terms a neighborhood of Beit El settlement) in Hebron that an Israeli court ordered demolished by 5/1/12. He also says that he plans to convene a meeting with DM Barak to seek the permits retroactively to legalize 3 other unauthorized settlement outposts (Bruchin, Rachelim, and Sansanna). Separately, Israel’s Housing Min. issues bids for construction of 800 new settlement housing units in Har Homa settlement in East Jerusalem. (NYT, PCHR, WT 4/5; OCHA 4/13)

Israel allows a small shipment of diesel fuel for Gaza’s power plant allowing 1 turbine to restart for the 1st time since 3/25/12, but rolling blackouts remain up to 16 hrs./day across the Strip. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire into the abandoned Erez industrial zone late at night, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning and another late at night; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Kafr Qaddum (arresting 20) and nr. Tulkarm. (PCHR 4/5; PCHR 4/12)

Cross-border fighting in Gaza enters its 3d day. Palestinians fire 10s of rockets and mortars into Israel, damaging an empty school but causing no injuries. Israel carries out at least 7 air strikes on 7 targets (1 in Abassan, 3 in Gaza City, 3 in Jabaliya), killing 2 Palestinian civilians and wounding 33 Palestinians (2 armed Palestinians and 31 civilians, including 12 children and 5 women). Egypt unsuccessfully attempts to mediate a cease-fire. Israeli DM Ehud Barak acknowledges that Hamas has not taken part in the fighting, but notes that Hamas has not tried to rein in Islamic Jihad or the PRCs. As the fighting continues Islamic Jihad publicly accuses Hamas of failing to protect Gaza. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts morning patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jenin (firing tear gas, stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinian youths who confront them, causing no injuries); patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin (again firing tear gas, stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinian youths who confront them, causing no injuries) and 1 nr. Tulkarm in the afternoon; and conducts late-night patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah and latenight arrest raids and house searches nr. Jenin. Meanwhile, residents of the illegal settlement outpost of Migron (49 families; some 300 settlers), who were informed by Israel’s High Court in 2011 that they must vacate and dismantle the outpost (on private Palestinian land nr. Ramallah) by 3/31/12, sign a deal with the government to move the outpost to a plot of state land 2 miles away, near Psagot settlement, where they will be allowed to build permanent homes, effectively creating a new Jewish settlement in Jerusalem’s environs. The government then requests that the High Court delay the evacuation until the new homes on the new site are completed (target date 2015). (JP, YA 3/11; JP, WP, WT 3/12; PCHR 3/15; OCHA 3/16; JPI 3/23)

Thailand officially recognizes Palestine as an independent state, becoming the 131st country to do so. (NYT 1/21)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF detains Hamas-affiliated PC speaker ‘Aziz Dweik at Jaba’ checkpoint nr. Jerusalem, placing him in administrative detention; makes a late-night raid on Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform PC mbr. Khalid Thwaib’s home in Za’atara village nr. Bethlehem, arresting him and confiscating his computers, phone, and files. The IDF also conducts synchronized morning patrols in 2 villages n. of Jericho; conducts other daytime patrols in 3 villages nr Ramallah, 1 nr. Jenin, 1 nr. Jericho; conducts evening patrols in 1 village nr. Jericho; conducts late-night patrols in al-Bireh. (JP 1/19; WT 1/25; PCHR 1/26; OCHA 1/27)

The U.S.’s new Joint Chiefs of Staff head Gen. Martin Dempsey begins a 3-day visit to Israel for talks on Iran, regional security, and military-tomilitary strategic coordination. He will meet with PM Netanyahu, Pres. Shimon Peres, DM Barak, and senior IDF commanders. (NYT, WT 1/20; NYT, WP 1/21)

Pro-Israel groups (including the Anti-Defamation League [ADL] and American Jewish Committee [AJC]) publicly accuse the Center for American Progress (CAP; a Washington-based think tank seen as close to the Obama admin.) of “anti-Semitism,” citing several Twitter posts by CAP staffers to their private Twitter accounts referring to “Israel-firsters” (i.e., Americans who put Israel’s national interests before America’s) and accusing AIPAC of pushing the U.S. toward war with Iran. The ADL and AJC allege that the private Tweets are part of a “very troubling” pattern of “anti-Semitism and borderline anti-Semitism” at CAP. Former AIPAC spokesman Josh Block says that the pro-Israel groups went public with their complaints only after CAP officials ignored a compilation of CAP staffer’s writings and public statements that he quietly presented to them in 12/2011 that he said amounted to “outrageous vilification of pro-Israel Americans.” CAP says it is “baffled and appalled” by the charges. Some on the left of the pro-Israel spectrum, such as J Street, say the issue is overblown and they suspect that it is being brought forward now “to shut down needed policy debates,” cautioning groups such as the ADL and AJC to “tread lightly” with accusations of anti-Semitism or “people won’t take you seriously.”(WP 1/20)

The State Dept. says Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams will hold a 2d round of talks in Amman on 1/9. Israeli DM Ehud Barak says that “it is clear that [the position paper handed to Israel by the PA on 1/3] is unacceptable in its present state. . . . Long negotiations await us.” (NYT 1/6, 1/10)

OCHA reports that Jewish settlers vandalized more than 10,000 Palestinian olive trees in 2011. The IDF demolished 622 structures in the West Bank and East Jerusalem during 2011 (compared to 431 in 2010), displacing 1,094 Palestinians (compared to 594 in 2010). (OCHA 1/5)

Israel temporarily bans 12 Jewish extremists fr. the West Bank for periods of 3–9 mos. as part of Netanyahu’s crackdown against price-tag attacks. The IDF patrols in 4 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning; in 2 villages nr. Jericho and 1 each nr. Jenin, Qalqilya, and Salfit in the evening; and in al-Bireh, Jericho, 2 villages nr. Qalqilya, and 1 nr. Ramallah late at night. The IDF also demolishes 3 Palestinian homes nr. Jericho; demolishes 2 Palestinian stonecutters’ workshop (confiscating stones worth more than $25,500) and a scrap metal shop in Azariyya; enters Hebron during the day to arrest 1 Palestinian. In Gaza, 1 Palestinian is killed, 1 is injured in a tunnel collapse on the Rafah border. Gaza’s Central Drug Store receives a 2d shipment (see 12/18/11) of medicines and medical supplies fr. the West Bank that should cover needs for 5 wks. (WP 1/6; PCHR 1/12; OCHA 1/13)

Quartet officials open 2 days of meetings in Israel and Ramallah aimed at reviving peace talks. Palestinian advocacy groups note “a growing disconnect between the Quartet talks and the situation on the ground.” (NYT 12/14)

Jewish settlers take over several abandoned churches in a closed military zone nr. the Jordanian border to protest Jordan’s efforts to intervene with the Israeli government over its 12/12 closure of a footbridge used by nonMuslims to reach the Haram al-Sharif/ Temple Mount; IDF troops remove them and arrest 17. Other settlers block a main West Bank road and stone passing Palestinian vehicles. Later, about 50 Jewish settlers with inside information of IDF plans to remove the Mitzpe Yitzhar settlement outpost nr. Nablus that evening attempt to prevent the evacuation by breaking into an IDF base in the West Bank, setting fires, vandalizing vehicles, clashing with troops, and stoning a senior officer; troops detain 2. PM Netanyahu vows to “act aggressively against those harming Israeli soldiers and their commanders”; DM Ehud Barak condemns both incidents as “home-grown terror.” Late at night, Jewish settler youths enter Nablus to pray at Joseph’s Tomb, but they do so without the usual coordination with and escort of the IDF and deface a mosque. Meanwhile, IDF troops make a brief incursion into c. Gaza to level land and clear lines of sight along the border fence e. of Bureij r.c., firing on surrounding areas to keep Palestinians away, wounding a farmer working his field nearby. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinian and international activists staging a nonviolent protest march to the border nr. Bayt Hanun to protests Israel’s imposition of a no-go zone, causing no injuries; also fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction material in the demolished Erez industrial zone, wounding a 14-yr.-old boy. In the West Bank, the IDF makes a latenight raid on the home of Change and Reform PC mbr. Ayman Daraghmeh, arresting him (making him the 24th Hamas-affiliated PC mbr. now in detention); conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Salfit. (NYT, WP, WT 12/14; PCHR 12/15; OCHA 12/16; JPI 12/23)

The PA Tourism Min. launches a campaign in Bethlehem coinciding with Christmas called “Palestine Celebrating Hope.” Tourism M Kholoud Daibes says the intention is to convey to the estimated 50,000 foreigners visiting Bethlehem for Christmas “that we have hope of having our own independent state, and we need international support for that.” The initiative includes special tours of the separation wall around Bethlehem and free postcards of the Church of the Nativity, which tourists can mail at the Manger Square post office with Palestinian stamps. (WT 12/14)

IDF spokesman Maj. Guy Inbar acknowledges that Israel plans to relocate some 2,000 Bedouin fr. 20 encampments in the hills e. of Jerusalem (in area C) to clear the way for the expansion of Ma’ale Adumim settlement into the E1 zone to link it with Jerusalem. Officially, the government says the relocation plans are part of its broader initiative to “provide the bedouin across the West Bank with sites where they can build legally with access to water, electricity, and government services.” Construction in the E1 zone and settlers’ preparations for expansion of Ma’ale Adumim into the area have been planned since 2009, but this marks the 1st admission that the government has started logistical planning to remove the Bedouin population fr. the area. Meanwhile, Israeli DM Ehud Barak approves establishment of a new 40-unit settlement neighborhood and farm nr. Efrat settlement to expand the Gush Etzion settlement block s. of Bethlehem; the new settlement, to be called Givat Hadagan, was approved for development in the 1990s, with plans to build 500 housing units. Israel closes the old wooden Mughrabi footbridge (deemed unsafe) used by non-Muslims to reach the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount; the PA and Waqf officials protest, saying Israel plans to build a larger permanent structure to assert its control over the site, which is holy to both Muslims and Jews. Also in East Jerusalem, the IDF demolishes a Palestinian home in Bayt Hanina. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in Qalqilya twice in the afternoon; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem and Jenin. Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar settlement nr. Nablus vandalize nearby Palestinian homes and cars twice during the day, including throwing a Molotov cocktail at a home. Jewish settlers fr. Karnei Shomron nr. Qalqilya stone passing Palestinian vehicles, injuring 3 Palestinians. (HA 12/12; NYT, WP 12/13; PCHR 12/15; OCHA 12/16; HA 12/18)

Israel’s new amb. to Egypt, Ya’akov Amitai, arrives in Cairo. Israel withdrew its former ambassador for safety reasons on 9/9/11, when Egyptian protesters ransacked the Israeli embassy (see QU in JPS 162). (WP 12/13)

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

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

Abbas tells a group of 20 left-leaning Israeli intellectuals that the Palestinians want above all to resume negotiations, stating that “no matter what happens at the [UN], we have to return to negotiations,” but also that even if there is a last-minute deal to resume talks, the UN bid will proceed. He confirms that in recent months he met 3 times secretly with Israeli pres. Shimon Peres in Amman, London, and Rome to discuss reviving talks. He also reveals that he met secretly on 8/27/11 with Israeli DM Ehud Barak, who asked him to drop the statehood bid. (NYT 9/6; WJW 9/8; OCHA 9/9)

The IDF carries out an air strike on a house in Nussayrat r.c. in c. Gaza, seriously injuring 1 Palestinian woman. Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts morning house searches in Sirris village nr. Jenin, summoning several Palestinians for interrogation; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Qalqilya and Ramallah (arresting Hamas-affiliate PC mbr. Muhammad Abu Tair). The IDF razes 3 buildings in Migron outpost, ordered removed by Israel’s High Court; settlers scuffle with the IDF, which arrests 6. Soon after, Jewish settlers set fire to a mosque in a nearby Palestinian village and spray graffiti saying “Migron.” In other apparent reprisals, Jewish settlers fr. Beitar Ilit nr. Bethlehem pump wastewater on agricultural lands in nearby Husan and Nahalin villages, damaging 100s of trees and crops; Jewish settlers vandalize a Palestinian home in Hebron; Jewish settlers fr. Shilo settlement set up a roadblock on the Nablus–Ramallah road and stone passing vehicles, seriously damaging 1 car and injuring 1 Palestinian; Jewish settlers fr. Keddumim settlement stone Palestinian vehicles on the Qalqilya– Nablus road, causing light damage but no injuries. In addition, Jewish settlers accompanied by IDF soldiers and border police uproot 88 trees on confiscated Palestinian land in al-Walaja nr. Bethlehem. (NYT, WP 9/6; PCHR 9/8)

Hamas officials say that all main Gaza factions have agreed to reimpose their cease-fire immediately, while Egyptian mediators work to secure the compliance of smaller factions. Islamic Jihad says it will observe the moratorium as long as Israel also ceases fire. Israel does not comment. Before the new cease-fire goes into effect, the PFLP and other unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Grad and 2 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Israel does not respond. Israeli DM Barak authorizes construction of a kindergarten in Hebron’s Beit Romano settlement, home to some of the most extremist Jewish settlers. Meanwhile, Jewish settlers uproot olive trees in Qasra village nr. Nablus; when local Palestinians try to drive them away, IDF troops intervene, firing tear gas and live ammunition at the Palestinians, seriously injuring 1. The IDF also patrols in Kafr al-Dik village nr. Salfit. Palestinians (sometimes accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil‘in, al-Ma‘sara, and Ni‘lin, as well as at the Qalandia crossing into Jerusalem. IDF soldiers beat and fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, causing no serious injuries, and arrest 2 Palestinians. (AP, MNA, YA 8/26; MNA, WP 8/27; PCHR 9/8; OCHA 9/9)

In Egypt, 100s of protesters rally outside the Israeli emb. after Friday prayers demanding the expulsion of the amb. (WP 8/28)

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

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