14 / 15225 Results
  • January 16, 2024

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers raid a nursery in Deir Sharaf, setting fire to 2 bulldozers, a truck, and a forklift. Israeli settlers also raid Sinjil, vandalizing Palestinian-owned vehicles....

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  • October 13, 2012

    The IDF carries out an air strike on n. Gaza, assassinating 2 armed Palestinians, at least 1 of whom was from the Salafist group al-Tawhid wal-Jihad and also wounding a child. Earlier, the group...

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  • October 9, 2012

    Israel’s PM Netanyahu announces his intention to hold early elections in around 3 mos. time (elections were due to take place in November 2013). (972mag 10/9)

    Unidentified Palestinians fire...

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  • January 31, 2011

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 Grad rockets fr. Gaza into Israel in 2 barrages; 1 Grad strikes in Netivot, causing minor damage, while the other lands nr. Ofakim, causing no damage or injuries....

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  • December 31, 2009

    Mbrs. of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) claim responsibility for firing 2 manufactured Grad rockets fr. Gaza into Israel; the missiles hit nr. Netivot, causing no damage...

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  • March 5, 2009

    Overnight, the IDF makes an air strike on Islamic Jihad mbrs. operating nr. the Gaza border fence e. of al-Maghazi r.c. who fire 2 rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) at the Kissufim IDF base inside...

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  • January 4, 2009

    IDF ground forces backed by naval and air support continue to enter Gaza overnight, with troops taking up positions across n. Gaza (from which most Palestinian rockets have been fired),...

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  • January 3, 2009

    Israel begins phase 2 of OCL, a massive ground advance into Gaza, in the evening. The IDF states that “the objective . . . is to destroy the terrorist infrastructure of the Hamas in the precise...

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  • December 29, 2008

    As Israel continues widespread air and naval bombardment of Gaza for a 3d day, Israeli DM Barak declares “all-out war” on Hamas. The IDF declares a 2-mi. buffer zone around the Strip a closed...

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  • December 27, 2008

    After early morning consultations with senior cabinet mbrs., the IDF launches its major offensive on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead (OCL), at 11:25 A.M. local time (4:25 A.M. EST). Israeli DM Barak...

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  • October 7, 2007

    IDF troops on the Israeli side of the Qarni crossing shoot, wound 2 Palestinian children (ages 11, 14) who stray nr. the border fence. Islamic Jihad fires a Grad rocket (more accurate, longer...

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  • August 17, 2005

    Before dawn the IDF moves troops into Gaza en masse to begin the forcible evacuation of Jewish settlers and disengagement protesters who have not yet left, begins demolishing settler homes in n....

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  • May 12, 1983

    Casualties:

    Armed Phalangists enter Ain el-Hilweh refugee camp in Sidon, force adults and schoolchildren to make blood donations.

    Political Responses:

    Israel/ Occupied...

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  • January 28, 1983

    Military Action:

    Car bomb explodes outside Fateh military intelligence office in East Lebanon town of Chtoura; car bomb in Beirut's Hamra street.

    Casualties:

    53 wounded in...

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In the West Bank, Israeli settlers raid a nursery in Deir Sharaf, setting fire to 2 bulldozers, a truck, and a forklift. Israeli settlers also raid Sinjil, vandalizing Palestinian-owned vehicles. Elsewhere, Israeli settlers build a settler road near al-Rakiz in the Masafer Yatta area. Israeli settlers also bring their cattle to graze on Palestinian farmland near Qarawat Bani Hassan, causing damage to crops. Meanwhile, Israeli settlers place a mobile home on Palestinian-owned land near Tuqu’. Israeli forces raid Askar refugee camp, Ein as-Sultan, ‘Anata, Madama, and ‘Asira ash-Shamaliya, injuring 7 Palestinians, including 6 with live ammunition. Elsewhere, Israeli forces demolish 7 structures and seize vehicles in Idhna. Israeli forces also issue a $38,500 ransom for the release of 48 cows they seized from a Palestinian in ‘Ain al-Hilweh. Israeli forces arrest 35 Palestinians during late-night raids in and around Hebron, Jenin, Qalqilya, and Ramallah. In East Jerusalem, Israeli settlers tour the Haram al-Sharif compound. In Gaza, telecommunications services are down for the fifth day in a row. Israeli forces bomb Khan Yunis, Rafah, Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City, Maghazi, Jabalia refugee camp, and al-Bureij refugee camp, killing at least 158 people, including at least 20 in a strike on a house in Gaza City. Israeli airstrikes also target al-Amal Hospital in Khan Yunis and an UNRWA warehouse in Dayr al-Balah, causing damage. 50 rockets are fired at Israel, causing damage in Netivot. 2 Israeli soldiers are killed in combat. In Lebanon, Israeli forces carry out airstrikes in Ayta ash Shab. In the Red Sea, Houthis say they targeted a Greek ship bound for Israel after its crew rejected its warnings. The U.S. attacks Houthis in Yemen for the third time in a week. In Pakistan, Iranian forces bomb what they call terrorist targets in Koh Sabz, killing 2 children. (AJ, AJ, AP, AP, HA, HA, HA, NYT, NYT, NYT, REU, REU, UNOCHA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 1/16; AP, AP, NYT 1/17; AP 1/19)

More than 24,285 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza, including at least 10,600 children and 7,200 women, and around 61,154 have been injured since 10/7. At least 7,000 people are missing in rubble, including 1,700 children. 348 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 10/7, including 87 children. More than 4,215 people have been injured. Israel reports that 1,139 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed and 5,400 have been injured in Israel since 10/7, including Israeli soldiers. In addition, 188 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 1,135 injured in Gaza since the ground invasion began on 10/27. Over 1.93 million Palestinians, nearly 85% of the population of Gaza, have been displaced since 10/7. There has been a complete electricity blackout in Gaza since 10/12 due to the Israeli blockade. At least 69,000 housing units have been destroyed and 290,000 have been damaged in Israeli airstrikes since 10/7, constituting over 60% of all housing units. 204 trucks carrying aid enter Gaza via the Rafah and Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossings. (AJ, REU, UNOCHA 1/16)

Israel releases the body of a 4-year-old Palestinian its forces killed on 1/7 in Beit Iksa to her family. (AJ, WAFA 1/16)

Al Jazeera Gaza bureau chief Wael Dahdouh arrives in Qatar for treatment of his injuries sustained in an Israeli airstrike in December which killed his colleague. Dahdouh has lost most of his family to Israeli airstrikes in October and earlier this month. (AP 1/16; AJ 1/17)

Israel and Qatar announce that medicine will enter Gaza to help both Palestinians and Israelis kept in captivity. A delegation of Israeli security officials meet with Egyptian officials in Egypt.  (AJ, AJ, HA, HA 1/16; AJ, AP, NYT 1/17)

PA spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh says any reforms to the PA will be made according to the Palestinian agenda, not external agendas, in reference to reports that the U.S. is requiring the PA to reform before it can take control of Gaza. (WAFA 1/16)

Jordanian prime minister Bisher Khasawneh says the displacement of Palestinians would be an existential threat to Jordan. (AJ, HA, REU 1/16)

U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken tells CNBC that Israel has a right to defend itself but “at the same time, we want to see this conflict come to an end as quickly as possible.” Blinken also says Arab countries are not interested in rebuilding Gaza if Israel destroys what is built again shortly after. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby says the U.S. is prepared to increase humanitarian assistance to Gaza. Kirby also says National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk has been in Qatar in recent days to negotiate the release of Israeli captives held in Gaza. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan meets with Qatari prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani in Davos, Switzerland, discussing aid to Gaza and negotiations over the release of captives. Sullivan tells the World Economic Forum that Saudi-Israeli normalization is linked to creating a pathway for the establishment of a Palestinian state. (AJ, AX, HA, REU 1/16; NYT 1/17)

U.S. senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) forces a vote on a Senate resolution that would oblige the State Department to provide the Senate with a report on whether U.S.-provided arms to Israel have been used to violate human rights in Gaza within 30 days. The resolution fails with 72 votes against and 11 for. (AJ, AP, HA, INT, NYT 1/16; REU 1/17)

Norwegian foreign minister Espen Barth Eide says in an interview that a “number of countries” are working to build a broad Palestinian unity government. (HA, REU 1/16)

The EU adds Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar to its terrorism sanctions blacklist. Hamas calls the decision silly, saying Sinwar does not have money or assets in Palestine or elsewhere. (AJ, AP, HA, REU 1/16)

The Times of Israel reports that the Israeli Ministry of Health has instructed doctors and medics not to talk to UN investigators that are investigating Hamas’s Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on 10/7/2023. (AJ 1/16)

Der Spiegel reports that Germany is considering sending tank ammunition to Israel. Israel reportedly requested 10,000 rounds of 120mm ammunition from Germany and departments involved with the arms transfer have reportedly already agreed in principle to the transfer. Hamas responds to the reporting, saying Germany would become “a direct partner in the war against our people in Gaza.” (REU 1/16; AJ 1/17)

The IDF carries out an air strike on n. Gaza, assassinating 2 armed Palestinians, at least 1 of whom was from the Salafist group al-Tawhid wal-Jihad and also wounding a child. Earlier, the group claimed responsibility for a rocket that hit the Israeli city of Netivot. In the night, the IDF fires a missile at a Hamas training site nr. Gaza City, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin in the morning, and in 1 village nr. Qalqilya, 1 village nr. Jenin, and 1 village nr. Tulkarm at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 1 village nr. Jenin and 1 village nr. Hebron. Suspected Jewish settlers burn down olive trees belonging to residents of a village nr. Nablus. (IMEMC, NYT, ToI 10/13; PCHR 10/18)

Israel’s PM Netanyahu announces his intention to hold early elections in around 3 mos. time (elections were due to take place in November 2013). (972mag 10/9)

Unidentified Palestinians fire rockets from the Gaza Strip into s. Israel during the day, causing no injuries. At night, the IDF shells and opens fire at positions in the Gaza Strip, causing no injuries, and fires a missile at a warehouse nr. Bayt Lahiya, destroying it but causing no injuries. An Israeli military source claims that the target was a training camp used by Hamas fighters, and the strike a response to recent rocket fire. The IDF also enters the Gaza Strip nr. Rafah at night to level land near the border, directing sporadic shelling and live fire at the surrounding area, causing no injuries. Palestinian fighters identified as Salafists fire rockets overnight into Israel from Gaza, landing nr. Sderot and Netivot, causing no injuries. (AFP 10/10; PCHR 10/11)

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm (firing stun grenades and teargas bombs at Palestinians throwing stones) and 1 village nr. Jenin at night; conducts house searches and arrest raids in 3 villages nr. Hebron, 1 village nr. Ramallah (arresting Mohammad Tamimi of the Popular Committee against Settlements in al-Nabi Salih), and 1 village nr. Jenin (questioning Khader Adnan, arrested on 12/17/11 and released after a highly publicized hunger strike) (see QU in JPS 164). Jewish settlers cut down more than 120 olive trees in a village nr. Nablus, according to PA officials and eyewitnesses. (IDFS10/9; MNA 10/10; PCHR 10/11)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 Grad rockets fr. Gaza into Israel in 2 barrages; 1 Grad strikes in Netivot, causing minor damage, while the other lands nr. Ofakim, causing no damage or injuries. Israel files a formal complaint with the UN regarding the Grad fire. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials in the fmr. settlement sites, wounding 1. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts evening and late-night patrols in village nr. Jenin, Tulkarm, and Ramallah; and conducts latenight arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem. Jewish settlers gather nr. Bayt Lid junction nr. Tulkarm to throw stones at Palestinian cars on the Tulkarm–Nablus road, causing no injuries. (PCHR 2/3; OCHA 2/4)

Mbrs. of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) claim responsibility for firing 2 manufactured Grad rockets fr. Gaza into Israel; the missiles hit nr. Netivot, causing no damage or injuries. Egypt allows a token delegation of around 85 international activists to cross into Gaza to demonstrate with Gazans for an end to Israel’s siege, while in Cairo, Egyptian authorities disperse another 1,000 international activists calling on Egypt and Israel to open the Gaza border. Inside Israel, about 1,000 Israeli Palestinian and Jewish peace activists march to the Erez crossing in solidarity with the internationals in Egypt. Israeli police arrest a Jewish settler teenager connected to the outlawed right-wing group Kahane Chai suspected in the 12/11 arson of a mosque in Yasuf. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes 2 animal shelters on a Palestinian farm located nr. an unauthorized Israeli settlement outpost northeast of Hebron, saying they had been erected illegally; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron. Jewish settlers fr. Shavei Shomron and Einav settlements set up an outpost on a hill nr. Nablus overlooking the spot where a settler was ambushed and killed on 12/24. Jewish settlers at another settlement outpost northwest of Hebron raze 1,500 d. of surrounding Palestinian agricultural land, saying they plan to build a park and swimming pools. (JP 12/31; NYT, WP 1/1; HA 1/2; OCHA, PCHR 1/6; WJW 1/7)

Overnight, the IDF makes an air strike on Islamic Jihad mbrs. operating nr. the Gaza border fence e. of al-Maghazi r.c. who fire 2 rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) at the Kissufim IDF base inside Israel (causing no injuries), killing 3 Islamic Jihad mbrs., wounding 1. Palestinians fire several rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, damaging a synagogue in Netivot, but causing no injuries. In the afternoon and late evening, the IDF makes at least 9 air strikes on the Rafah border, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF sends troops into Bil‘in village during the day, firing toward stone-throwing youths who confront them, causing no reported injuries; conducts evening arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem; conducts similar late-night operations in ‘Aqabat Jabir r.c. nr. Jericho and nr. Jenin. In Jerusalem, a Palestinian construction worker in a bulldozer rams and flips a police car, pushing it into an empty bus, injuring 2 police officers, before police and bystanders shoot him dead; Israel considers it a terrorist attack, though the man apparently acted on his own. Jewish settlers fr. Matityahu settlement nr. Ramallah burn a Palestinian home. (NYT, WP 3/6; OCHA 3/10, 3/11; PCHR 3/12)

IDF ground forces backed by naval and air support continue to enter Gaza overnight, with troops taking up positions across n. Gaza (from which most Palestinian rockets have been fired), surrounding Gaza City, retaking the former Netzarim settlement site nr. the Gaza coast south of Gaza City, and bifurcating the Strip into e. and w. (cutting a swath roughly from the Qarni and Nahal Oz crossings to Netzarim on the coast, driving 1,000s of residents from Juhur al-Dik, al-Mughraqa, and al-Zahra’ with heavy artillery and tank fire), but not entering dense urban areas.

Combat notes: IDF-Palestinian ground fighting is described as “fierce,” characterized by heavy IDF artillery fire and heavy Palestinian sniping and mortar fire. Because the IDF stays out of built-up areas, there are few reports of close-quarter combat or heavy exchanges of gunfire. While ground troops concentrate in the north, Israeli air strikes and naval bombardment focus equally on the north and south, hitting more tunnels on the Rafah border and targeting Hamas leaders for assassination. (The IDF claims to assassinate Hamas rocket cmdr. Hussam Hamdan and IQB and long-range rocket cmdr. Muhammad Hilu in Khan Yunis, senior IQB mbr. Muhammad Shalbush in Jabaliya, but there is no independent confirmation.)

The IDF reports hitting 45 sites and carrying out 40 air strikes during the day, striking a produce market in Gaza City, several mosques, a medical building and 3 mobile clinics in Shati’ r.c. run by a Danish charity, homes of at least 4 Hamas mbrs. (most of whom have gone into hiding), and suspected weapons depots across Gaza. Target areas include Abasan, Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (al-Daraj, Tal al-Hawa, al-Tuffah, al-Yarmuk, al-Zaytun), Jabaliya, Juhur al-Dik, Khan Yunis, al-Mughraqa, al-Nasser (n. of Rafah), Rafah, Shati’ r.c., al-Shuka, al-Zahra’. After dark, IDF troops conduct door-to-door searches on the outskirts of Gaza City.

Palestinians fire 29 rockets (including at least 12 Grads) and 5 mortars into Israel, hitting Ashdod, Ashqelon, Netivot, Ofakim, and Sederot; 1 house in Sederot is damaged and 1 Israeli woman lightly injured. 

At least 47 Palestinians (including 4 paramedics) are killed and 400 wounded (including 3 paramedics) during the day; 1 IDF soldier is killed, 1 is seriously wounded in a heavy exchange of gunfire nr. Jabaliya; 15 IDF soldiers are wounded (3 seriously) by Palestinian mortar fire inside Gaza. The UN and Palestinian medical workers estimate the Palestinian toll to have reached at least 507 dead, 2,400 injured. The Israeli toll stands at 5–6 killed, more than 40 injured.

Humanitarian notes: The Israeli FMin. announced a new joint office of the FMin. and Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, called the Humanitarian Affairs Coordination Center (HACC), to coordinate humanitarian organizations operating on aid transfers to the Strip. The UN reports that shortages of fuel, electricity, and water are worsening. Gazan hospitals report drastic shortages of anesthesia, surgical equipment, heaters, spare parts. (AP, BBC, IDF, JAZ, National Public Radio, OCHA, REU, WT 1/4; IDF, IFM, NYT, RFM, UNOSAT, WP, WT 1/5; BBC 1/6; IFM, PCHR 1/8; WP 1/27)

In the West Bank, the IDF fatally shoots 1 Palestinian demonstrator who attempts to climb the separation wall nr. Qalqilya; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in al-Arub r.c. nr. Hebron, nr. Jenin. Israel’s High Court rules that the IDF may seal 2 floors of the home of the East Jerusalem Palestinian who killed 8 students at the Mercaz HaRava yeshiva in Jerusalem in 3/6/08, even though the gunman was killed during the attack and sealing the home would serve only to punish his extended family; another floor of the home will not be sealed because it is being rented to an unrelated family. (PCHR 1/8)

Israel begins phase 2 of OCL, a massive ground advance into Gaza, in the evening. The IDF states that “the objective . . . is to destroy the terrorist infrastructure of the Hamas in the precise area of operation, while taking control of some of [sic] rocket launching areas used by Hamas in order to greatly reduce the quantity of rockets fired at Israel and Israeli civilians.” Israeli FM Livni acknowledges that Israel has broader aims, stating that toppling Hamas is “a strategic Israeli objective,” but that it might take more than one large-scale military operation such as OCL to do the job.

Israeli actions: Before phase 2 begins in the evening, the IDF launches artillery strikes on some 40 targets concentrated in open areas around Bayt Hanun, east of Rafah, and along Gaza’s main north–south artery in an apparent effort to clear the areas of mines and tunnels, to move Palestinians away from those areas in preparation for the insertion of ground forces.

The IDF also continues air strikes and naval bombardments across Gaza. Target areas include Bayt Lahiya, Gaza City (al-Nasser, al-Rimal, al-Shuja‘iyya, al-Tuffah, al-Zaytun), Jabaliya, Juhur al-Dik, Khan Yunis, Khuza, al-Mughraqa, Nussayrat, Rafah, al-Shuka (e. of Rafah). Targets include 2 mosques in Bayt Lahiya and Jabaliya, killing at least 13 worshipers and injuring 30 during evening prayers; a car in Khan Yunis, assassinating senior Hamas military cmdr. Muhammad Ma‘aruf; 2 PA security compounds in Gaza City; the al-Aqsa Radio and the al-Risala newspaper offices in Gaza City; tunnels on the Rafah border; suspected rocket-launching sites and weapons depots. By evening, the Palestinian toll reaches at least 460 dead and more than 2,000 wounded.

At dusk, the IDF drops leaflets on n. Gaza warning residents that troops will soon operate in this area and that they should evacuate for their safety. Around 8:00 P.M. local time, the IDF cuts power to the Strip and begins sending ground forces into n. Gaza, taking up positions on the outskirts of Bayt Hanun and Bayt Lahiya (occupying homes as operational bases); securing areas e. of Gaza City nr. the Qarni crossing, but notably keeping a distance from Jabaliya (considered a Hamas stronghold), and just inside the s. Gaza border e. of Rafah (with tanks firing flechette shells at houses and agricultural areas, killing 1 Palestinian and wounding 7 inside their homes). Heavy gun battles are reported, with Hamas issuing a statement that it is firing mortars at IDF ground forces. After ground operations begin, the IDF announces a naval blockade of Gaza out to 20 nautical miles.

Palestinian actions: During the day, Palestinians fire 28 rockets and 7 mortars into Israel, hitting as far as Ashdod and Ashqelon to the n., and Netivot to the e., lightly damaging 3 homes and an apartment building, lightly injuring 2 Israelis.

Of note: Embedded with some IDF ground units are the first Israeli journalists and 2 foreign reporters (BBC and Reuters) allowed into Gaza since late 10/08. These journalists have been given “trusted” status by the government for their “long history of relations with the IDF” and are under the strict rules of the IDF censor; the general ban on foreign journalists is still in place, despite a 12/31 High Court ruling ordering the government to allow journalists access. (AFP, AP, BBC, IDF, IFM, ITV, Organization of the Islamic Conference [OIC] press release, REU, YA 1/3; HA, IFM, JAZ, JP, NYT, OCHA, WP, WT 1/4; NYT, UNOSAT, WP, WT 1/5; IFM, PCHR 1/8; HA 1/11; JP 1/22; JPI 2/6; Harpers 3/09)

As Israel continues widespread air and naval bombardment of Gaza for a 3d day, Israeli DM Barak declares “all-out war” on Hamas. The IDF declares a 2-mi. buffer zone around the Strip a closed military zone and continues amassing tanks and troops there, indicating further preparations for a ground invasion. Israeli military officials speaking anonymously say they have expanded the IDF’s target list to include Hamas’s support network and symbols of Hamas power, stating that “there are many aspects of Hamas, and we are trying to hit the whole spectrum, because everything is connected and everything supports terrorists against Israel” and that “anything affiliated with Hamas is a legitimate target.”

Israeli actions: The IDF reports hitting 100 sites today, including more Islamic University buildings (including the engineering dept., library); homes and offices of Hamas leaders; PA government buildings (including the Interior Min., Finance Min., Foreign Min., Labor Min., Construction and Housing Min., and a PA presidential guest house); Bani Suhayla’s municipal building; the alZawiyya Mosque in Jabaliya r.c. and Omar Bin al-Khattab Mosque in al-Bureij r.c.; more civil and naval police stations; more tunnels along the Rafah border; the headquarters of Hamas’s al-Aqsa TV; Gaza’s port (for a 2d day); and 1 Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades training site. Target areas include Abasan, Bani Suhayla, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (city center, al-Rimal, al-Sabra, Shaykh Ajlin, Tal al-Hawa), Jabaliya town and r.c., Khan Yunis, Nussayrat r.c., al-Qarara, Rafah, Shati’ r.c., Tal al-Za‘atar. Just before strikes on Rafah, Israeli Military Intelligence makes 10,000 automated calls to Rafah residents warning of pending air strikes, breaks into Palestinian radio broadcasts to urge residents across Gaza to move to city centers. Palestinian medical officials report at least 364 Palestinians dead, 1,500 wounded since 12/27.

Palestinian actions: Palestinians fire 66 rockets, 14 mortars into Israel (twice as many as in the previous 24 hrs.), killing 3 Israeli civilians (1 each in Nahal Oz, Ashdod, Ashqelon; 1 of them an Israeli Palestinian) and wounding 5 (3 of them Israeli Palestinians), with 2 rockets hitting 23 mi. north in Gan Yavne/Ashdod. A Palestinian mortar hits an IDF base in Netivot, s. and e. of the Nahal Oz crossing, killing 1 IDF soldier (a Druze), seriously wounding 1, lightly injuring 4. The Israeli toll stands at 4–5 dead, about 20 injured. Reports circulate (e.g., NYT 12/30) of Hamas gunmen executing at least 5 accused collaborators with Israel inside hospitals; the 5 had been jailed for collaboration and transferred to hospitals after being wounded in IDF air strikes on jails.

Humanitarian notes: Israel allows 40 truckloads of humanitarian aid into Gaza; Egypt allows 23 truckloads of emergency goods in, some wounded out through Rafah. International aid groups (including Amnesty International, the UN) say aid transfers are insufficient, warn that the death toll is rising in part because of lack of medicines and medical supplies, food, and fuel.

Of note: One Israeli air strike heavily damages the UN Special Coordinator’s Office (UNSCO) headquarters in Gaza City, prompting the UN to issue a formal complaint. Egyptian TV reports that captured IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit has been wounded in an Israeli air strike in recent days; Hamas does not comment. (BBC, CNN, HA, Houston Chronicle, IFM, REU, White House press briefing, YA 12/29; BBC, IDF, Independent, NYT, WP, WT 12/30; IDF, UNOSAT 12/31; JP, PCHR, WJW 1/1; ITV 1/2; IDF 1/3; NYT, WP 1/4; WT, UNOSAT 1/5; IFM 1/8; Committee to Protect Journalists 1/9)

In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubbercoated steel bullets, percussion grenades, tear gas at Palestinians demonstrating against OCL in Issawiyya, Shu‘fat r.c., al-Tur neighborhood in East Jerusalem, causing no serious injuries; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in East Tura village nr. Jenin, Hebron. (PCHR 1/1)

After early morning consultations with senior cabinet mbrs., the IDF launches its major offensive on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead (OCL), at 11:25 A.M. local time (4:25 A.M. EST). Israeli DM Barak acknowledges (WP 12/28) that OCL has been planned for several months, stating that the aim is “to strike Hamas severely so as to change the situation from its base,” cautioning that “it won’t be short.”

Israeli actions: After an initial “shock and awe campaign” lasting 3 min. and 40 sec., with 64 warplanes hitting more than 50 targets across the Strip, the IDF conducts periodic air strikes throughout the day, recording a total of 170 sorties against 150 targets, killing at least 228 Palestinians, wounding more than 700 (140 seriously), marking the highest single-day death toll and Israel’s largest offensive in the territories since 1967. The midday timing of the initial onslaught, just as schools let out for lunch, increases the number of civilian casualties, including an estimated 25 women and children. Israeli Military Intelligence sends automated calls to 20,000 Palestinians across the Strip warning of further air strikes targeting anyone with weapons or guns.

Targets struck are primarily civil police stations, military training bases, Hamas-related command-and-control centers, suspected weapons depots, and sites believed to manufacture rockets. Target areas include Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (the city center and al-Daraj, al-Shuja‘iyya, Tal al-Hawa, alTuffah, al-Zaytun neighborhoods), Jabaliya r.c., Khan Yunis, al-Mughraqa (s. of Gaza City), Rafah, Shati’ r.c., and al-Zahra’ (c. Gaza nr. Jabaliya).

Palestinian actions: Palestinians fire 59 rockets (including some that reach the farthest north to date), 19 mortars into Israel during the day, killing 1 Israeli civilian in Netivot, wounding 4. (The fatality may have occurred before the official launch of OCL.)

Humanitarian notes: Gaza’s hospitals report (BBC 12/27) overflowing wards and not enough surgeons or supplies to cope. Egypt temporarily opens the Rafah crossing to allow transportation of some wounded to Egyptian hospitals.

Of note: During the initial “shock and awe,” the IDF hits a police academy graduation ceremony in Gaza City, killing at least 60 new civil police recruits and the chief of Palestinian police Maj. Gen. Tawfiq Jabber. Other targets include Gaza City’s main jail (the Saraya, holding Hamas opponents, hitting only the gates), the PA Preventive Security headquarters in Gaza City, the PA security compound in Rafah (southern headquarters of the PASF, PA Internal Security Service, and PA civil police), PA naval police facilities in n. Gaza and Khan Yunis, Palestinian Telecommunication Company offices in n. Gaza, a Gaza City mosque identified by the IDF as “a base for terrorist activities,” Hamas’s al-Aqsa TV station, the agriculture control dept. in Khan Yunis, numerous police stations and training sites, at least 9 homes, several workshops (considered rocket-manufacturing sites), and Hamas’s Asda’ media center outside Khan Yunis. One IDF airstrike on a PA ministry building kills 8 Palestinian students at an adjacent UNRWA training center, wounding 19 others (8 seriously). Hamas and Palestinian human rights groups in Gaza estimate that the dead include around 165 civil police officers (including those at the graduation ceremony) and Hamas’s central district governor, Abu Ahmad Ashur. Some targets are hit with U.S.-supplied GBU-39 bunkerbusting munitions received as recently as 9/08 (see Quarterly Update in JPS 150 and the “Israeli Arsenal” document in this issue’s Special Focus section). (al-Arabiyya TV, BBC, HA, IDF, JAZ, Middle East News Agency [Cairo], Palestine News Agency, YA 12/27; AFP, AP, BBC, HA, IFM, JAZ, NYT, Radikal, REU, WP, WT, XIN 12/28; JP, NYT, Zaman [Ankara] 12/29; PCHR 1/1; BBC 12/30; UNOSAT 12/31; JP, WJW 1/1; WP 1/4; Eurasia Daily Monitor [online], NYT, UNOSAT 1/5; IFM, JPI 1/8; NYT 1/11)

In other Israeli-Palestinian violence, the IDF fires tear gas, percussion grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets to disperse Palestinians demonstrating against OCL in the East Jerusalem suburbs of Anata, Issawiyya, Shu‘fat r.c. An E. Jerusalem Palestinian, reportedly angry over events in Gaza, injures an Israeli border police officer in a deliberate hit and run in the city. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem, Jenin. (HA 12/28; PCHR, WJW 1/1)

IDF troops on the Israeli side of the Qarni crossing shoot, wound 2 Palestinian children (ages 11, 14) who stray nr. the border fence. Islamic Jihad fires a Grad rocket (more accurate, longer range [7.5–12.5 mi.] than homemade Qassam rockets [5–7.5 mi.]), 8 mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, striking 7 mi. fr. the border in Netivot, causing light damage and marking the 4th time a Grad has been fired; the IDF suspects that Islamic Jihad has about a dozen Grads, but the Israeli FMin. says Hamas is ultimately responsible. Palestinians also fire a rocket fr. Gaza toward Israel, but it lands nr. Bayt Hanun, injuring a Palestinian teenager. The ESF demolishes a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus (an IDF soldier is wounded in an exchange of gunfire in Balata r.c.), in alBireh and Ramallah, nr. Bethlehem and Jenin (targeting Islamic Jihad). A prominent Gaza Christian, Protestant Holy Bible Society dir. Rami Ayyad, is abducted and murdered, raising concerns among Gaza’s Christians; no group takes responsibility. Ayyad had previously received anonymous death threats accusing him of proselytizing; Hamas vows to bring the murderers to justice.Islamic Jihad mbr. ‘Ali Abu Rmila, wounded in an IDF assassination attempt on 8/25 that killed 2 other Islamic Jihad mbrs., dies of his injuries. (IFM, NYT, WP 10//8; OCHA 10/10; PCHR 10/11)

Before dawn the IDF moves troops into Gaza en masse to begin the forcible evacuation of Jewish settlers and disengagement protesters who have not yet left, begins demolishing settler homes in n. Gaza. By the end of the day, evacuations of Bedolah (est. 1986, pop. 220, size 1,456 d., hrs. to evac. 6), Ganei Tal (est. 1979, pop. 350, size 2,050 d., hrs. to evac. 11), Kerem Atzmona (est. 2001, pop. 24, hrs. to evac. 6), Morag (est. 1972, pop. 220, size 1,300 d., hrs. to evac. 7), Tal Katifa (est. 1992, pop. 60, size 183 d., hrs. to evac. 5) are completed; most residents of Gadid leave voluntarily. Settlers in Atzmona agree to evacuate voluntarily by 8/21, those in Netzarim by 8/22. Settlers who have not arranged their evacuation with the government will be housed temporarily in hotels, mobile homes: e.g., more than half of Morag’s settlers take up temporary residence in the West Bank settlement of Ofra; Israel’s Jerusalem municipality temporarily houses 1,000 Neve Dekalim settlers who have left voluntarily in a Jerusalem hotel. Generally there is little strong resistance; the IDF optimistically says it hopes that the evacuations could be completed within days instead of wks., as earlier estimated. During the day, some scuffles btwn. soldiers, settlers are reported; in some areas settlers set fire to tires and in garbage bins to prevent soldiers fr. entering settlements; at least 2 settlers set fire to their homes before leaving. In Morag, a female IDF soldier is stabbed with a syringe, lightly injured by a disengagement protester. (In total, 13 Israeli soldiers and police are lightly injured during the day.) Gaza settlers and protesters also attack Palestinians: some 200 Kefar Darom settlers rampage through nearby Palestinian areas, set fire to a Palestinian house; 20 Neve Dekalim settlers march through al-Mawasi, spread nails on roads to damage Palestinian cars, try to provoke Palestinian residents (the IDF intervenes, removes the settlers); other Jewish settlers fire on Palestinian homes, vandalize Palestinian greenhouses in the same area. The IDF also demolishes a Palestinian home, conducts arrest raids in al-Mawasi. Meanwhile, Palestinians in Khan Yunis begin returning to their homes on the edge of town facing the settlements, which they had fled since the start of the intifada in 9/00 because of IDF gunfire. Islamic Jihad mbrs. in some 50 boats, carrying banners and weapons, hold a seaborne victory parade off Gaza to celebrate disengagement. Some disengagement protests in Israel turn violent: a disengagement protester tosses a grenade at an IDF checkpoint in s. Israel, wounding 5 IDF soldiers; a female settler fr. Keddumim in the West Bank sets fire to herself during a demonstration in Netivot, is seriously injured. In the West Bank, a Jewish settler fr. Shvut Rachel steals a gun fr. an Israeli security guard at the industrial area of Shilo settlement, fires on Palestinian workers, killing 4 Palestinians, wounding 1. Sharon denounces the attack as “Jewish terror”; Palestinian Authority (PA) PM Mahmud Abbas calls on Palestinian factions to maintain calm, refrain fr. retaliation. At Sanur (to be evacuated under disengagement), 600 Jewish settlers hold an antidisengagement rally. The IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron and in Nur al-Shams refugee camp (r.c.), Tulkarm. Also in Hebron, 4 bedouin children herding goats are injured when they accidentally trigger an unexploded IDF phosphorus shell; the IDF says it uses the shells only in training. A 9-yr.-old Palestinian dies of injuries received when she accidentally triggered unexploded IDF ordnance nr. Karmil. (Arutz 7, BBC, HA, IMEMC, NYT, REU, USA Today, WP, WT, YA 8/17; Voice of Israel, VOP 8/17 in WNC 8/18; BBC, HA, NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 8/18; MENA 8/18 in WNC 8/19; NYT 8/20; PCHR, PR 8/25; IMEMC 9/22; HA 11/10) 

Casualties:

Armed Phalangists enter Ain el-Hilweh refugee camp in Sidon, force adults and schoolchildren to make blood donations.

Political Responses:

Israel/ Occupied Territories: Foreign Ministry officials meet Habib to discuss clarifications of agreement; after funeral of Netivot resident shot in Gaza, 5 bakery workers from Gaza beaten by Jews in Netivot; Beit Sahour mayor meets head of Israeli Civil Administration, breaking national consensus of non-cooperation; senior police officer says that in West Bank there is a see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil attitude among Jews about Jewish vigilantism; Deputy Attorney General Y. Karp, head of a Justice Ministry committee investigating Jewish vigilantism, reportedly resigned last month because no action taken in year on recommendations for stricter law enforcement, including criticism of intervention by politicians on behalf of arrested suspects and the dependence of the police on the Military Government; Foreign Minister Shamir on tour of West Bank settlement says the Green Line has been erased in political consciousness and on the ground.

Palestinians/ Lebanese: Lebanese Foreign Minister Salem meets President Assad in Damascus; Lebanese Cabinet discusses agreement, gives no formal endorsement of it; Lebanese Parliament extends Cabinet's emergency powers until end of September, extends its own life by 18 months to end of 1984; Haddad calls on IDF to disarm Phalange and Guardians of the Cedars militias operating in his area to carry out death sentences against Palestinians; 34th tripartite session of withdrawal talks takes place at Netanya to work out final wording of agreement.

Arab Governments: Syrian Air Force and Soviet advisers reportedly complete sophisticated 230-mile long anti-aircraft missile defense system stretching from Latakia in north to Jordanian border in south; Jordanian minister of health says he cannot fully accept results of WHO inquiry into West Bank illnesses, even if it is psychological pressure this is a poison of the mind.

US and Other Countries: US Defense Secretary Weinberger meets Saudi Defense Minister Abdel Aziz in Paris, reportedly asks Saudi assistance to persuade Syria to withdraw its forces from Lebanon, US considering direct talks with Syria on troop withdrawal; State Dept. letters show US knew last September that 300-600 armed PLO fighters remained in Beirut in violation of August cease-fire agreement.

UN: WHO assembly votes 65 to 17, with 25 abstentions, for direct supervison of health services in Israeli occupied territories, expresses great concern over epidemic.

Military Action:

Car bomb explodes outside Fateh military intelligence office in East Lebanon town of Chtoura; car bomb in Beirut's Hamra street.

Casualties:

53 wounded in Chtoura; 5 wounded in Hamra street.

Political Responses:

Israel/ Occupied Territories: Israeli trade with Lebanon in last half of 1982 valued at $50 million; Sharon invites Soviet Union to have talks with Israel; Army central commander Orr denies the existence of a policy of harassment and severe punishment of West Bank Palestinians while testifying at trial of seven Israeli soldiers in Jaffa; new religious Zionist movement Netivot Shalom ("Paths to Peace") reportedly formed with goal that peace is more important than land, against settlements in densely populated areas of West Bank; Hebron area Village League chairman Mohammed Nasser tells Israel Bonds meeting that Leagues now represent the silent majority.

Arab Governments: King Hussein, on diplomatic trip to gain support for peace, visits Belgium and Spain.