286 / 14643 Results
  • July 30, 2012

    At a $50,000-a-couple fundraising breakfast for top donors in Jerusalem, Republican presidential candidate Romney tells supporters that the Palestinian economy is more the victim of ‘‘cultural’’...

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  • July 29, 2012

    On the 2d day of his trip to Israel, Republican presidential candidate Romney prays at the Western Wall and gives a public address to 300 select supporters in Jerusalem (calling Jerusalem the...

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  • July 26, 2012

    Gaza’s power plant begins operating on 4 turbines for the first time since 2006, after Israel (in a gesture to mark Ramadan) allowed the UN Development Program to import new transformers to...

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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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  • June 28, 2012

    The PA announces that pres. Abbas will receive new Israeli vice PM Mofaz on 7/1 in Ramallah to discuss relaunching peace talks. Mofaz’s office says discussions about a meeting are underway but...

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  • June 21, 2012

    On the 2d day of his trip to Washington, Israeli vice PM Mofaz meets with U.S. national security adviser (NSA) Thomas Donilon. Pres. Obama joins the meeting unexpectedly and talks with Mofaz for...

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  • June 18, 2012

    Three unidentified assailants cross into Israel from Egypt and plant a roadside bomb that they detonate when 2 vehicles pass carrying laborers who are working to build Israel’s new border fence;...

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  • June 4, 2012

    In Hebron, a knife-wielding Palestinian attempts to attack IDF soldiers posted outside the al-Ibrahimi Mosque/ Cave of the Patriarchs but is shot and seriously wounded. The IDF patrols in 3...

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  • May 24, 2012

    The IDF issues a military order confiscating 29 dunams (d.; 4 d. = 1 acre) of Palestinian land in Dayr Istya village nr. Salfit for ‘‘security and military purposes and to combat terrorist attacks...

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  • May 21, 2012

    The IDF patrols in Tulkarm and 2 nearby villages, 2 villages nr. Jenin, and 1 each nr. Jericho, Hebron, and Ramallah in the morning; stages 3 groups of synchronized patrols s. of Jenin (4 villages...

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  • May 7, 2012

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

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  • April 10, 2012

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

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  • April 9, 2012

    IDF troops make 2 brief incursions into c. Gaza e. of Bureij r.c. and s. Gaza e. of Khan Yunis to leveling land and clear lines of sight along the border fence. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts...

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  • March 27, 2012

    No Israeli-Palestinian violence is reported. OCHA reports, however, that in the previous week, 2 Palestinian children were injured when they accidentally triggered unexploded IDF ordnance while...

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  • March 26, 2012

    The IDF makes a brief early morning incursion into c. Gaza, searching and firing on residential areas in Bureij r.c., but entering no buildings and making no arrests. In the West Bank, the IDF...

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  • March 22, 2012

    The IDF patrols in Tulkarm, 2 villages nr. Jenin, 2 nr. Ramallah, and 1 nr. Jericho in the morning; patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin in the afternoon, firing stun grenades at stone-throwing...

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  • March 6, 2012

    IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots and tear gas at Palestinians and international activists staging a nonviolent march towards the Erez crossing to protest Israel’s imposition of...

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  • March 5, 2012

    Obama and Netanyahu meet at the White House to discuss Iran. Obama reiterates that the U.S. wants time for diplomacy to work but has left all options, including a military strike, on the table. He...

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  • March 1, 2012

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

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  • January 24, 2012

    In a State of the Union address devoted to domestic affairs, Pres. Obama pointedly calls on Syrian pres. Asad to realize “that the forces of change cannot be reversed and that human dignity cannot...

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  • January 9, 2012

    Palestinian and Israeli peace teams hold a 2d very low-profile meeting in Amman. The sides downplay the meeting, calling them “exploratory sessions,” so as not to raise expectations of a...

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  • January 3, 2012

    In Amman, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators meet with Quartet reps. (including special envoy Blair) and then with Jordanian FM Nasser Judeh. Judeh says that the Palestinian team, as requested,...

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  • December 22, 2011

    The IDF makes a brief incursion into n. Gaza in the morning to level lands and clear lines of sight along the border e. of Jabaliya r.c., firing on nearby residential areas to keep Palestinians...

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  • October 14, 2011

    Israel approves formal plans to build an entirely new 2,610-unit Jewish settlement, Givat Hamatos, in southern East Jerusalem with the aim of completely dividing Jerusalem from Bethlehem. The IDF...

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  • September 27, 2011

    Israel advances plans to build 1,100 Jewish settlement housing units in Gilo in southern East Jerusalem nr. Bethlehem. The U.S. says it is “deeply disappointed,” and calls the move “...

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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 1, 2011

    Ramadan begins. Unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, lightly injuring 1 bedouin woman. Late at night, the IDF retaliates with air strikes on a smuggling tunnel on...

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  • July 11, 2011

    At EU urging, the Quartet convenes a senior-level mtg. in Washington to discuss issuing a statement on how to jumpstart the peace process, but because of sharp disagreements over a draft prepared...

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  • July 5, 2011

    A French boat in the Freedom Flotilla II secretly departs Greece and is the first boat from the group to make it into international waters, headed toward Gaza. In the early afternoon, the IDF...

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  • May 30, 2011

    The IDF conducts a major late-night operation targeting Islamic Jihad in and around Jenin, raiding and searching the homes of at least a dozen local Islamic Jihad figures (arresting all but 1) and...

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At a $50,000-a-couple fundraising breakfast for top donors in Jerusalem, Republican presidential candidate Romney tells supporters that the Palestinian economy is more the victim of ‘‘cultural’’ flaws than Israeli restrictions. Romney also dramatically understates Israeli GNP ($21,000 per capita vs. $32,282) and overstates Palestinian GNP ($10,000 per capita vs. $1,600). Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat remarks: ‘‘All I can say is that this man needs a lot of education. He doesn’t know the region, he doesn’t know Israelis, he doesn’t know Palestinians, and to talk about the Palestinians as an inferior culture is really a racist statement.’’ Romney then leaves for Poland, the last leg of his tour. Of note: the breakfast, which brought in over $1 m., marks the 1st fundraising event for a U.S. presidential candidate ever to be held in Israel. (NYT, WP 7/31; WJW 8/2; JPI 8/10; see also WP 7/28)

Overnight, IDF troops on the s. Gaza border sporadically fire into agricultural areas along the Gaza border e. of Khuza for hours, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts latenight patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Qalqilya and nr. Jenin. (PCHR 8/2; OCHA 8/3)

On the 2d day of his trip to Israel, Republican presidential candidate Romney prays at the Western Wall and gives a public address to 300 select supporters in Jerusalem (calling Jerusalem the capital of Israel). He vows to support Israel’s right to defend itself and calls for Israel and the U.S. to use ‘‘any and all means’’ to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. He does not repeat the comment his foreign policy aide, Dan Senor, made en route to Israel that Romney would ‘‘respect’’ an Israeli decision to strike Iran unilaterally, nor does he mention the Palestinians or the peace process. Romney meets with his former business colleague PM Netanyahu, who makes kind remarks but is seen (e.g., WP 7/30) as being careful not to take sides in the election. He also meets with Israeli pres. Peres and PA PM Salam Fayyad; the Romney camp cancels at the last minute a planned meeting with Labor party officials. In an interview with CNN later in the day, Romney says that the U.S., in consultation with Israel, should move its embassy to Jerusalem. In response, White House spokesman Josh Earnest says: ‘‘The view of this administration is the capital should be determined in final status negotiations between the parties. That’s the position held by the previous administrations, both Democratic and Republican.’’ (NYT, WP, WT 7/30; WP 7/31; WJW 8/2)

Timed with Romney’s visit to Israel, the Obama admin. leaks a story to the Israeli daily Ha’Aretz that NSA Donilon briefed an Israeli official (some say PM Netanyahu, though Israel explicitly denies this) over dinner in Israel earlier in 7/2012 on ‘‘U.S. contingency plans for any attack on Iran,’’ emphasizing that the U.S. is making serious preparations for a military strike if such action is deemed necessary. A Netanyahu spokesman says Donilon did not share any operational plans. Donilon’s office says it does not comment on private meetings. (WT 7/30)

In Tunis en route to Israel, U.S. defense secy. Leon Panetta says Israel and the U.S. are united in support of strong sanctions against Iran. (NYT, WP 7/30)

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 patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jenin in the morning; patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin and Ramallah in the evening. Jewish settlers block roads and stone Palestinian cars nr. the evacuated settlement of Homesh nr. Jenin. (PCHR 8/2; OCHA 8/3)

Gaza’s power plant begins operating on 4 turbines for the first time since 2006, after Israel (in a gesture to mark Ramadan) allowed the UN Development Program to import new transformers to replace those destroyed by an Israeli air strike in 2006. The improved capacity of the plant and additional Israeli fuel imports to mark Ramadan reduce rolling blackouts across Gaza to 8–10 hrs./day (down from around 12 hrs./day in recent months). The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Jericho and Ramallah in the morning; conducts synchronized patrols in 4 villages nr. Jenin at midday; patrols in alNabi Salih in the afternoon, firing rubbercoated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinian youths who confront them (causing no serious injuries); and conducts synchronized patrols in 2 villages nr. Jericho in the evening. (PCHR 8/2; OCHA 8/3)

PA Fin. Min. Nabil Kassis says the government is finding it harder each month to meet its routine budget expenses because donors, including the U.S. and Arab states, have failed to fulfill their 2012 pledges. The PA had hoped to close a $1.1 b. gap in its $4 b. budget, but is expected to fall short by $250,000, despite increasing taxes and making cuts to subsidies. (WT 7/27)

Republican candidate Mitt Romney begins a 6-day international tour of Britain, Israel, and Poland to point up his foreign policy skills. The theme of the trip is ‘‘the importance of locking arms with the nation’s allies.’’ Aides say that on the Middle East, Romney intends to highlight differences with Obama over plans for the peace process, support for Israel, Iran’s nuclear program, and the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. (WT 7/26; see QU in JPS 165 for details.)

The International Israel Allies Caucus Foundation (formed by Israeli Knesset mbrs. and mbrs. of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008) sponsors 2 panels on Capitol Hill to mark nearly 20 yrs. since the signing of the 9/2003 Oslo Accord and to discuss how to move the peace process forward. Speakers include former State Dept. adviser to the negotiations Aaron David Miller, Likud MK and avid settlement supporter Danny Danon (who supports annexation of the West Bank except for the Palestinian population, which would be left to fend for itself), right-wing settler leader and former MK Rabbi Benny Elon (who supports annexation of the West Bank and creation of a Palestinian state in Jordan), and Israeli negotiator to the Oslo talks Yossi Beilin (who says: ‘‘My interest is not necessarily a Palestinian state. All I want is a Jewish majority forever.’’), and Jerusalem Post dep. managing editor Caroline Glick (who says Oslo was destined to fail because Palestinian leaders ‘‘raised a generation of kids who value death’’). The only representative of the Palestinian viewpoint, American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) dir. Ghaith al-Omari, praises Oslo for establishing a sense of ‘‘mutual respect’’ necessary for moving talks forward and calls for a quick resumption of negotiations. Elon responds that there will be no progress until the Palestinians understand that the Jewish people ‘‘are back in Zion, back in Jerusalem.’’ (WJW 7/26)

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)

The PA announces that pres. Abbas will receive new Israeli vice PM Mofaz on 7/1 in Ramallah to discuss relaunching peace talks. Mofaz’s office says discussions about a meeting are underway but does not confirm that a date has been set. (WP 6/29)

Jewish settlers complete the evacuation of Ulpana outpost. The IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Tulkarm in the morning; and in 1 village each nr. Jenin, Jericho, Qalqilya, and Ramallah late at night. (NYT 6/29; PCHR 7/5; JPI 7/6; OCHA 7/13)

Hamas reports that senior IQB official Kamal Ghanaja (an aide to assassinated IQB commander Mahmud al-Mabhuh; (see QU in JPS 155) has been killed in Damascus. His body, bound and tortured, was found in his burned Damascus home. While Hamas accuses Israel of assassination, Israel says it believes the Syrian regime, angry over Hamas’s refusal to support Asad, carried out the murder. Syrian opposition groups suspect pro-government militias. (WP 6/29)

Washington Jewish Week reports that 60 rabbis representing the Washingtonbased Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federation of North America (JFNA) recently made a lobbying trip to New York to meet with the UN representatives of 12 countries (mostly Eastern European) to press the UN to reverse its ‘‘poor and unjust treatment of Israel,’’ to block Palestinian statehood efforts, and to urge the dismantling of UN committees that focus exclusively on Palestinian issues (e.g., the Division for Palestinian Rights, the Comm. on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and the Special Comm. to Investigate Israeli Human Rights Practices Affecting the Palestinian People). The group was advised by fmr. U.S. ambs. to the UN Richard Shifter and Jeanne Kirkpatrick. The JFNA says it requested meetings with 14 countries, but 2 (unnamed) declined. (WJW 6/28)

On the 2d day of his trip to Washington, Israeli vice PM Mofaz meets with U.S. national security adviser (NSA) Thomas Donilon. Pres. Obama joins the meeting unexpectedly and talks with Mofaz for 35 mins. about his recent calls to resume negotiations. (WJW 6/28)

Violence on the Gaza border is down significantly, with the 6/20 cease-fire generally seeming to hold. The IDF reports 7 Qassam rockets fired into Israel during the day, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, Ulpana settlers agree to the deal brokered by YESHA on 6/20 to evacuate their outpost voluntarily. The IDF patrols in 4 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jericho in the morning; and in Tulkarm, 1 nearby village, 2 villages nr. Ramallah, and 1 nr. Qalqilya late at night. (HA 6/21; PCHR 6/28; OCHA 6/29)

Three unidentified assailants cross into Israel from Egypt and plant a roadside bomb that they detonate when 2 vehicles pass carrying laborers who are working to build Israel’s new border fence; they then open fire on the vehicles with automatic weapons and rocketpropelled grenades; 1 Israeli Palestinian worker is killed. Israeli border police respond to the scene and exchanges fire with the infiltrators, leaving 2 assailants dead and 4 policemen injured. The 3d assailant escapes back into Egypt; Israeli units do not pursue him. (NYT, WP 6/19; NYT 6/20; JPI 6/29)

In actions Israel says are unrelated to the attack from Egypt, the IDF carries out 2 air strikes on n. Gaza: 1 targets a Palestinian sniper team that fired across the Gaza border into Israel (causing no damage or injuries), killing 2 Islamic Jihad mbrs.; the other targets Palestinians who attempted but failed to fire a rocket into Israel, killing 1 IQB mbr. and 1 al-Aqsa Guards Group mbr. Late at night, IDF troops on the c. Gaza border fatally shoot 2 Palestinians (1 a teenager) attempting to sneak into Israel to find work. Meanwhile, IDF troops make a brief incursion into n. Gaza nr. Bayt Hanun to level land and clear lines of sight. Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the n. and c. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Jericho in the morning; and in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the evening. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron and Tulkarm, and nr. Jenin. (JP 6/18; NYT, WP 6/19; NYT 6/20; PCHR 6/21; OCHA 6/22; JPI 6/29)

The Israel Project, a Washingtonbased pro-Israel group, hosts a debate between foreign policy advisers to Pres. Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, covering numerous issues including Iran, Syria, military aid, and Obama’s commitment to Israel. Romney advisers accuse Obama of failing to support Israel and of being more concerned with preventing Israel from attacking Iran than halting Iran’s nuclear program. Obama adviser Robert Wexler calls Obama’s ‘‘degree of military and strategic support [to Israel] unparalleled,’’ emphasizing that the Obama admin. worked strenuously behind the scenes to ensure there has not been a UN vote on Palestinian statehood since the Palestinians launched their UN statehood bid in 9/2011. (WJW 6/21)

In Lebanon, clashes erupt at the funeral for a Palestinian refugee slain by Lebanese troops outside Nahr al-Barid r.c. on 6/15, leaving 1 Palestinian dead and 7 Palestinians and 3 Lebanese soldiers injured. The clashes spread to ‘Ayn al-Hilwa r.c. in Sidon, where at least 1 Palestinian is killed and 3 Palestinians and 3 Lebanese soldiers are injured. Demonstrations (but no clashes or injuries) are reported in Biddawi r.c. nr. Tripoli and Shatila r.c. in Beirut. (JAZ 6/18)

In Hebron, a knife-wielding Palestinian attempts to attack IDF soldiers posted outside the al-Ibrahimi Mosque/ Cave of the Patriarchs but is shot and seriously wounded. The IDF patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 each nr. Jenin, Jericho, and Tulkarm in the morning; in 2 villages nr. Tulkarm in the afternoon; and in Jericho, al-Nabi Salih, Tubas, and another 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 each nr. Jenin, Jericho, and Tulkarm late at night. (PCHR 6/7; OCHA 6/8)

Reuters reports that the PA security forces (PASF) have launched a campaign to crack down on ‘‘lawlessness and the proliferation of weapons’’ in Jenin that continues into mid-7/2012 at least. Responding to a wave of drive-by shootings and increased drug trafficking, the PASF makes nightly arrest raids. Among those reportedly arrested are ‘‘rogue’’ members of the security forces who have been exploiting their positions to organize and direct illegal activity. (REU 6/4; PCHR 7/19)

U.S. Treasury undersecy. for terrorism and financial intelligence David Cohen briefs Israeli officials in Israel on U.S. plans to impose additional bilateral sanctions on Iran if the current restrictions do not convince Iran to take positive steps on the nuclear front. (WJW 6/7)

The IDF issues a military order confiscating 29 dunams (d.; 4 d. = 1 acre) of Palestinian land in Dayr Istya village nr. Salfit for ‘‘security and military purposes and to combat terrorist attacks.’’ The IDF patrols in Tulkarm and 2 villages nr. Qalqilya in the morning; stages synchronized patrols in 3 villages nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon; conducts other patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin and Salfit in the afternoon; and undertakes late-night patrols in Tulkarm and neighboring Nur Shams r.c. Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar settlement nr. Nablus set fire to a small plot of crop land and attack Palestinians in nearby Madama village. (PCHR 5/31; OCHA 6/1)

Washington Jewish Week reports that in the previous wk., a U.S. court awarded the family of an American teenager killed in a 2006 Islamic Jihad suicide bombing in Tel Aviv (his father was seriously injured in the attack) $332 m. in damages from Iran and Syria. The family’s lawyers argued that Islamic Jihad was sheltered by Syria and funded by Iran. The family is unlikely to collect the money. (WJW 5/24)

After a 2d day of P5+1 talks with Iran, EU foreign policy chief Ashton announces that ‘‘significant differences’’ remain, but enough ‘‘common ground’’ existed to schedule a 3d round of meetings in Moscow on 6/18–19. (NYT, WP, WT 5/25)

The New York Times runs a special report on a congressional race for a House seat representing Queens, NY, that has been dubbed ‘‘Israelapalooza’’ for the way in which the candidates have touted their pro-Israel credentials in effort to win the endorsement of Ed Koch, former Democratic mayor of New York City, and the votes of Jewish constituents who make up 20% of the district’s population. For example, candidate Grace Meng, who built her political career as an advocate for Chinese Americans and yet has never visited China, made a recent trip to Israel that she has highlighted during her campaign. (NYT 5/24)

The IDF patrols in Tulkarm and 2 nearby villages, 2 villages nr. Jenin, and 1 each nr. Jericho, Hebron, and Ramallah in the morning; stages 3 groups of synchronized patrols s. of Jenin (4 villages), e. and n. of Jenin (3 villages), and n. of Ramallah (2 villages) in the afternoon; conducts synchronized late-night patrols in 3 villages nr. Tulkarm; and conducts other late-night patrols in Jericho and nearby ‘Aqabat Jabir r.c., and in 1 village nr. Salfit. The IDF also conducts arrest raids, house searches in East Jerusalem in the afternoon and nr. Hebron late at night; bulldozes Palestinian irrigation networks located between 2 Jewish settlements nr. Hebron; and confiscates a bulldozer and rock crusher from a Palestinian quarry n. of Jerusalem. (PCHR 5/23; OCHA 5/25)

The White House convenes a meeting with American Jewish leaders to reassure them that the Obama admin. is committed to keeping Iran free of nuclear weapons. In Israel, PM Netanyahu reiterates his position that ‘‘the objectives of Iran are clear: It wants to destroy Israel and is developing nuclear weapons to realize that goal.’’ (HA 5/21; NYT, WP, WT 5/22; WJW 5/31)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IDF troops make 2 brief incursions into c. Gaza e. of Bureij r.c. and s. Gaza e. of Khan Yunis to leveling land and clear lines of sight along the border fence. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts morning patrols in 3 villages nr. Jericho, Qalqilya, and Ramallah; afternoon patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin and Ramallah; and late-night patrols in Jericho, Kafr Qaddum, 2 villages nr. Tulkarm, and 1 nr. Qalqilya. (PCHR 4/12; OCHA 4/13)

Egypt’s natural gas pipeline to Israel is attacked and damaged for the 14th time since the Arab Spring uprising began in 1/2011. (WJW 4/12)

No Israeli-Palestinian violence is reported. OCHA reports, however, that in the previous week, 2 Palestinian children were injured when they accidentally triggered unexploded IDF ordnance while playing nr. Gaza City (different from those injured on 3/20). (PCHR 3/29; OCHA 3/30)

Israel’s centrist Kadima party replaces Tzipi Livni as leader, giving the post to fmr. IDF chief of staff Shaul Mofaz. (NYT 3/28)

Some 700 mbrs. of the critically pro-Israel lobbying group J Street spend the day lobbying Capitol Hill against a military strike on Iran. The advocacy day is part of J Street’s annual conference, which this yr. drew 2,500 participants. The conference itself, in addition to focusing on lobbying against a strike on Iran, stressed the importance of supporting a 2-state solution and settlement expansion as undermining peace. (NYT 3/28; WJW 3/29)

The IDF makes a brief early morning incursion into c. Gaza, searching and firing on residential areas in Bureij r.c., but entering no buildings and making no arrests. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes 4 tents, 3 barnyards, and 3 residential barracks in a bedouin encampment in al-Maleh in the Jordan Valley; demolishes 2 barnyards nr. Tubas. The IDF also patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning, 1 village nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon, and 1 village nr. Ramallah in the evening; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron, nr. Bethlehem, and nr. Ramallah (firing on the occupants of 1 raided home, wounding 3 Palestinians); conducts late-night patrols in 1 village nr. Qalqilya. Jewish settlers fr. Brakha settlement nr. Nablus attack Palestinian farmers working their land nearby; the IDF observes but does not intervene. Jewish settlers escorted by IDF troops begin leveling a large area of Palestinian agricultural land in Kafr Lakif village nr. Qalqilya; local Palestinian gather to protest and are informed by the IDF that the area has been approved for construction of an industrial zone; the soldiers agree to suspend the digging until the matter is clarified but bar Palestinians from the site. (PCHR 3/29; OCHA 3/30)

Jailed Fatah tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti issues a statement on the 10th anniversary of his arrest by Israel that is read to a crowd of supporters in Ramallah, stating that “the launch of large-scale popular resistance at this stage serves the cause of our people.” He also calls for “stopping all forms of security and economic coordination [with Israel] in all areas immediately.” (JPI 4/6)

Israel severs working relations with the UNHRC over the 3/22/12 res. calling for an investigation into settlements, calling the council biased against Israel. (NYT, WP, WT 3/27; JPI 4/6)

The U.S. Supreme Court orders a lower court to decide whether Americans born in Jerusalem can claim Israel as their birthplace on their passports. Congress approved legislation in 2002 allowing this, but the executive branch has claimed Congress overstepped its authority by attempting to override the president’s right to set foreign policy. The U.S. officially recognizes Jerusalem as occupied Palestinian territory and does not recognize Israel’s claim to united Jerusalem as its capital. (NYT 3/27; WJW 3/29)

J Street holds its annual conference. Fmr. Israeli PM Ehud Olmert gives the keynote speech at the gala dinner, emphasizing that PA pres. Abbas “wants peace with Israel and he accepts the existence of Israel as Israel declares itself to be.” (JPI 4/6)

The IDF patrols in Tulkarm, 2 villages nr. Jenin, 2 nr. Ramallah, and 1 nr. Jericho in the morning; patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin in the afternoon, firing stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinian youths who confront them in 1 instance and stopping a Palestinian boy on the street and briefly detaining him for questioning in the other; conducts late night patrols in 2 villages nr. Jericho, 1 nr. Jenin, and 1 nr. Ramallah; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron. (PCHR 3/29; OCHA 3/30)

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) approves 5 resolutions critical of Israel, including a res. (approved 36-1, with 10 abstentions and the U.S. voting against) calling for a UN team to be sent to investigate how Jewish settlements in the West Bank affect Palestinian rights. Israel denounces the res., vowing not to cooperate with the mission. Netanyahu’s spokesman says the council should deal with “real issues of human rights” instead of harassing Israel. Israel’s FMin. threatens to cut off all operation with the UNHRC, accusing it of “working to satisfy the Palestinians’ whims and to harm future chances of reaching an agreement though peaceful means.” (WP 3/23; NYT 3/24; JPI 4/6)

A bipartisan group of 34 U.S. representatives and 10 senators submits an appropriations request seeking $2 m. for the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Program for FY 2013. The program includes such projects as solar thermal plant and smart grid designs for commercial and residential use and is seen as another “vehicle for expanding . . . common interests” between the nations. The Israeli government would match the funding dollar for dollar. (WJW 4/5)

IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots and tear gas at Palestinians and international activists staging a nonviolent march towards the Erez crossing to protest Israel’s imposition of a no-go zone, causing no serious injuries. The IDF raids several auto repair shops in Barta’a village nr. Jenin, confiscating 17 cars with Israeli license plates. Nr. Hebron, 2 Palestinian teenagers are killed and 3 are wounded when then accidentally trigger an unexploded IDF mortar shell while scavenging at a refuse dump. OCHA reports that 1 Palestinian was killed in the previous week in a smuggling tunnel accident on the Rafah border. (PCHR 3/8; OCHA 3/9)

On the morning of Super Tuesday primary voting, the 3 leading Republican presidential candidates (Gingrich, Romney, and Santorum) address the AIPAC conference via satellite, accusing Obama of being weak on Iran and insufficiently supportive of Israel. Sometime today, Netanyahu gives Romney a personal briefing by phone on the situation in Iran. (NYT 3/7; WJW 3/15; NYT 4/8)

Obama holds a press conference to criticize Republicans and other mbrs. of Congress for “beating the drums of war” against Iran, stating: “When I see the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war, I’m reminded of the costs involved in war . . . [T]his is not a game.” (NYT 3/7)

Obama and Netanyahu meet at the White House to discuss Iran. Obama reiterates that the U.S. wants time for diplomacy to work but has left all options, including a military strike, on the table. He also says that Israel has the right to act in its own national interests. Afterward, Netanyahu tells a cheering AIPAC audience that sanctions have done nothing to slow Iran’s progress toward achieving a nuclear weapon and warns that time for diplomacy is running out. Observers say (WP 3/6) Obama’s statement “could easily be considered green light for Israeli action. And if Obama is flashing a green light, Israel’s advocates in Congress are waving a starter’s flag.” (NYT, WT 3/6; MA, Raidió Teilifís Éireann, REU, WJW 3/8; OCHA 3/9)

After 6 mos. of negotiation with the UN, Israel permits the 1st 2 truckloads of Palestinian exports to the West Bank (date bars for distribution to needy children through the UN’s World Food Program) since the beginning of the siege in mid-2007; the UN notes that this does not mark the resumption of regular trade between Gaza and the West Bank. The IDF patrols in `Ayn al-Sultan r.c. and 2 villages nr. Jericho, 3 villages nr. Jenin, and 2 nr. Qalqilya during the date; patrols in Tulkarm town and r.c., 2 nearby villages late at night; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron (including Bayt Umar) and Nablus. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights notes (3/8) that 45 Bayt Umar residents (including 20 children) have been arrested by the IDF since 1/1/2012. Dozens of Palestinians march to the IDF’s Atara checkpoint outside Ramallah to mark the 2d anniversary of the death of a local Palestinian family when a IDF jeep collided with their taxi; IDF troops at checkpoint fire tear gas and stun grenades at the marchers who respond by throwing stones; during the exchange, an IDF soldier fires a tear gas canister at a Palestinian teenager 20 meters away, hitting him in the head and fracturing his skull, critically injuring him. (PCHR 3/8)

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

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

In a State of the Union address devoted to domestic affairs, Pres. Obama pointedly calls on Syrian pres. Asad to realize “that the forces of change cannot be reversed and that human dignity cannot be denied” and urges the international community to “isolate” his regime. He also stresses that the U.S. will not take any options (i.e., a military strike) off the table in dealing with Iran and emphasizes “our ironclad commitment—and I mean ironclad—to Israel’s security.” (NYT, WP, WT 1/25; WJW 2/2)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border nr. the Erez crossing fire warning shots and tear gas at a group of Palestinians and international activists staging a nonviolent march to the crossing to protest Israel’s imposition of a no-go zone; no serious injuries are reported. With a sharp increase in the number of Gazans seeking to exit to Egypt through the Rafah border, the Gaza Interior Min. reimposes requirements (lifted on 12/18/11) that Gazans register with the ministry before traveling. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes 8 Palestinian homes in Anata village nr. East Jerusalem, displacing 52 Palestinians, including 29 children; escorts 100s of Jewish settlers to pray at Joseph’s tomb in Balata village nr. Nablus; patrols in 1 village nr. Salfit in the morning, briefly detaining several Palestinian for questioning; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron and Nablus. (JP 1/24; PCHR 1/26; OCHA 1/27)

After a long delay, Hamas authorities in Gaza allow the Central Elections Commission to open a voter registration office in Gaza to prepare for eventual elections in implementation of the 5/2010 national unity deal. (WP 1/25)

Jordan says King Abdallah will receive Hamas leader Mishal on 1/29, when he makes his 1st official visit to Jordan in 13 yrs. Officials say that the kingdom will continue to bar Hamas for undertaking political activities on its soil. Analysts view this as: (1) Jordan trying to take a more active diplomatic role and say reopening diplomatic ties with Hamas could be a step toward trying to broker reconciliation btwn. Hamas and Fatah (WP 1/25); and (2) the king engaging with Islamists, who have gained strength regionally during the Arab Spring, to quiet Jordan’s own Islamist opposition. (WP, WT 1/25)

Police in Azerbaijan arrest several people allegedly linked to an Iranian-backed Hizballah cell for plotting an attack against Israeli amb. to Azerbaijan Michael Lotem and on a Jewish school in Baku. (JPI 2/3; NHR 2/21)

A Lebanese court sentences fmr. brig. gen. Fayiz Karam to 2 yrs. in jail (including time served) for giving classified information to Israel. Karam, jailed in mid-2009, will be released in 6 mos. (NYT 1/25)

Palestinian and Israeli peace teams hold a 2d very low-profile meeting in Amman. The sides downplay the meeting, calling them “exploratory sessions,” so as not to raise expectations of a negotiating breakthrough. An anonymous Palestinian official says that the Israelis did not offer anything today that would move the peace process forward. Judeh does not issue a formal statement, and Israel refuses to comment. (NYT, WT 1/10)

The IDF conducts morning patrols in Qalqilya, 2 villages nr. Jenin, and 1 nr. Tulkarm; afternoon patrols in 2 villages nr Jenin (firing tear gas at stonethrowing youths in 1 incident), and 1 nr. Qalqilya; late-night patrols in Tulkarm and nearby Bayt Lid and in 1 village nr. Qalqilya. The IDF also enters ‘Azzoun village nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon to summon for interrogation 3 Palestinians released in the 10/2011 Shalit prisoner swap; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron and nr. Nablus. (PCHR 1/12; OCHA 1/13)

On the day before the New Hampshire primaries, Republican presidential candidates Ron Paul and Rick Santorum both stress that the U.S. must maintain close ties with Israel. Paul, who opposes all foreign aid, says he is against continuing massive assistance to Israel, stating “I don’t believe that I should take money from anybody here and send money to them,” saying it sends the message “we own you.” Santorum stresses the threat from Iran, whereas Paul calls the danger of Iran achieving nuclear weapons “way overblown.” (WT 1/10)

The White House announces that Pres. Obama has tapped his dir. of the Office of Budget and Management, Jack Lew, as his new chief of staff, replacing outgoing chief of staff William Daley. American Jewish organizations praise the selection of Lew, an Orthodox Jew who is very involved in Jewish events in Washington, stating that since Dennis Ross’s departure as Obama’s chief adviser on the Middle East they had worried that there was no one “left to call in a White House that has hemorrhaged top Jews over the last year or so” that could directly weigh in with the pres. on issues of concern to Israel. (JTA 1/10; WJW 1/12, 1/19)

In Amman, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators meet with Quartet reps. (including special envoy Blair) and then with Jordanian FM Nasser Judeh. Judeh says that the Palestinian team, as requested, turned over its position papers on security and borders and that the Israeli team formally received them. The sides have agreed to hold talks “on a continual basis” in Jordan to explore reviving formal negotiations and to observe a media blackout, with only Judeh issuing public statements after the sessions. Israel does not submit its own comprehensive position papers, but pledges “that through this continuing dialogue there will be an Israeli counterproposal or an Israeli response.” (WJW 1/3; NYT, WP 1/4; WT 1/5)

IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials inside the demolished Erez industrial zone, forcing them to flee. IDF troops make a brief incursion into s. Gaza to level land and clear lines of sight along the border fence e. of Abasan and Khuza, firing toward nearby residential areas to keep Palestinians indoors (causing no reported injuries). 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 patrols in Jenin and (synchronized) in 3 villages nr. Ramallah; conducts evening patrols in Tulkarm and 1 village nr. Jenin; conducts latenight arrest raids, house searches nr. Qalqilya. OCHA reports that since 12/21, the IDF has demolished 25 water-related structures (wells, cisterns, water pools, and water storage tanks) used for domestic and agricultural purposes; 21 were in Hebron governorate, 4 in Salfit governorate. OCHA also reports that in the past 2 wks., the IDF has demolished the remaining structures on the Palestinian side of the Qarni crossing, which Israel closed on 3/2/11 when the Kerem Shalom crossing became fully operational. (OCHA, PCHR 1/5)

The Israeli High Court accepts an agmt. reached between the state and settlers under which the state agrees to suspend plans to demolish immediately 9 structures in the Ramat Gilad unauthorized settlement outpost, giving the settlers until 3/2012 to remove the structures themselves. The settlers claim that the state has agreed in exchange to expand the zoning boundaries for nearby Karnei Shomron settlement to include Ramat Gilad (retroactively legalizing the outpost), but the official documents submitted to the court do not say this. (JPI 1/3)

The IDF makes a brief incursion into n. Gaza in the morning to level lands and clear lines of sight along the border e. of Jabaliya r.c., firing on nearby residential areas to keep Palestinians indoors. In Dura and Ithna villages nr. Hebron, the IDF destroys 1 Palestinian home, part of 2 other homes, 9 agricultural pools and irrigation networks, 4 water tanks, and 5 wells, also confiscating 15 water pumps and other agricultural equipment. The IDF also patrols in 3 villages nr. Qalqilya and 1 nr. Jenin in the evening; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Bethlehem and neighboring Dahaysha r.c. Washington Jewish Week reports that in the previous wk., Israel’s Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court rejected 2 lawsuits demanding the eviction of Palestinian families fr. their Silwan homes; the suits were brought by Eldad, an organization seeking to Judaize Jerusalem in part by settling Jews in the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, nr. the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount. (WJW 12/22; PCHR 12/29; OCHA 1/5)

At the close of 2 days of talks in Cairo, Fatah’s Abbas and Hamas’s Mishal agree that they will both sit on the comm. that will prepare for the next elections of the PLO’s parliament-in-exile, the Palestinian National Council (PNC), marking a major step toward Hamas joining the PLO. They also agree to form an interim unity government by the end of 1/2012 and to bring elected Hamas-affiliated legislators back into the PA’s parliament, the Palestinian Council (PC), in 2/2012. (NYT, AP, WP, WT 12/23; HA 12/28)

Reports indicate that Hamas is scaling back its presence in Syria because of violence there, but overall feels buoyed by the Arab Spring. Senior Hamas official Mahmud Zahar states that Hamas feels strengthened and validated by the popular support shown for Islamist parties in countries affected by the Arab Spring, suggesting that the new Tunisian model of power-sharing among Islamist and secular nationalist parties could be a model for the Palestinians. (WP 12/22)

Israel approves formal plans to build an entirely new 2,610-unit Jewish settlement, Givat Hamatos, in southern East Jerusalem with the aim of completely dividing Jerusalem from Bethlehem. The IDF conducts synchronized afternoon patrols in the same 2 villages northeast of Jenin they patrolled on 10/13, synchronized late-night patrols in 6 villages btwn. Jenin and Tulkarm, and separate late-night patrols in Jenin (shooting in the air to intimidate residents). The weekly demonstrations by Palestinians and international activists in Bil‘in express solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, calling for the release of Fatah’s Barghouti and the PFLP’s Sa‘adat. In Ni‘lin and al-Nabi Salih, Palestinians and international activists rally in support of the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN. In all 4 cases, IDF soldiers beat and fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, but no significant injuries are reported. Jewish settlers fr. Gil’ad settlement nr. Qalqilya escorted by IDF troops stop a Palestinian family fr. harvesting olives on their land, saying they had exceeded the time allocated by the IDF for the harvesting. (NYT 10/15; PCHR, WJW 10/20; OCHA 10/21; PCHR 10/27; WJW 11/6)

Israel advances plans to build 1,100 Jewish settlement housing units in Gilo in southern East Jerusalem nr. Bethlehem. The U.S. says it is “deeply disappointed,” and calls the move “counterproductive” to peace. 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 synchronized daytime patrols in 2 villages s. of Jenin; conducts separate patrols in 1 village nr. Tulkarm in the morning and 2 nr. Jenin in the evening. Jewish settlers erect racist banners against Palestinians along the Tulkarm–Nablus road nr. Einav checkpoint. In Gaza, 2 Palestinians working in a smuggling tunnel are killed when Egyptian security forces pump in wastewater to seal the tunnel. (NYT, WP, WT 9/28; PCHR, WJW 9/29; OCHA 9/30)

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)

Ramadan begins. Unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, lightly injuring 1 bedouin woman. Late at night, the IDF retaliates with air strikes on a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border and a “terrorist center” in n. Gaza, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF searches a home in Issawiyya in the morning; conducts synchronized raids into 3 villages e. of Qalqilya, searching several homes and summoning 4 Palestinians for interrogation; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Bayt Umar. (AFP 8/1; AFP, JP, REU, YA 8/2; PCHR 8/4; OCHA 8/5)

Israeli and Lebanese troops briefly exchange fire across their common border, causing no injuries. Lebanese troops fired first, believing the IDF patrol strayed into Lebanese territory, though the IDF denies this. (DS 8/1; NYT, WP 8/2; WJW 8/5; JPI 8/12)

At EU urging, the Quartet convenes a senior-level mtg. in Washington to discuss issuing a statement on how to jumpstart the peace process, but because of sharp disagreements over a draft prepared by the U.S. in consultation with Israel, the members fail to issue a statement. (AFP 7/11; AP 7/12; WJW 7/14; Foreign Policy [online] 7/22; WJW 8/5) 

Unidentified assailants attack Egypt’s natural gas pipeline to Israel and Jordan again (see 7/4). In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes a grocery store, sheep farm, and garage on land in al-Jib village nr. Jerusalem, strategically located between Givat Ze’ev and Givon settlements; declares a Palestinian olive grove in the Wadi Qana area nr. Salfit a closed military zone and uproots 600 trees; patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah, 2 nr. Salfit, and 1 nr. Jenin; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Jenin town and r.c. and in Qalqilya. The World Zionist Organization’s settlement division (newly transferred to Netanyahu’s control; see 6/19) allocates 54,000 d. of agricultural land to 21 Jewish settlements in Jordan Valley, nearly doubling the total farmland under their control to 110,000 d.; it also increases water allocations to Jewish farmers in the Jordan Valley. (JP 6/28; WP 7/12; PCHR 7/14; OCHA 7/15)

The Knesset passes (47-38) into law a bill that would sanction individuals and organizations that call for a boycott of Israel or its settlements, denying them tax breaks and barring them from working for the government. The Knesset’s legal adviser warns, however, that the measure is “borderline illegal” since it strays into the right to free political expression. Human rights groups plan to challenge the law in the High Court within days. (HA, JTA, MNA 7/11; JTA, WJW 7/14; JPI, WP 7/22)

A French boat in the Freedom Flotilla II secretly departs Greece and is the first boat from the group to make it into international waters, headed toward Gaza. In the early afternoon, the IDF carries out air strikes on mbrs. of Tawhid and Jihad, a radical Islamist group that claims inspiration from al-Qa‘ida and is opposed to Hamas, as they prepare to launch a rocket fr. c. Gaza into Israel, killing 2 armed Palestinians and wounding 1. Late at night, the IDF carries out another air strike on armed Palestinians operating e. of Gaza City, lightly wounding 3. 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 late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Nablus. Israel’s Jerusalem municipality approves construction of 900 new housing units in Gilo settlement in East Jerusalem. (HA, JTA, YA 7/5; JP, NYT, WP, WT 7/6; PCHR, WJW 7/7; OCHA 7/8)

The IDF conducts a major late-night operation targeting Islamic Jihad in and around Jenin, raiding and searching the homes of at least a dozen local Islamic Jihad figures (arresting all but 1) and raiding, searching, and confiscating the files of 2 charities affiliated with Islamic Jihad. The Jenin offices of the Palestine People’s Party are also searched. During the day, the IDF demolishes a Palestinian construction company building in Jinsafut nr. Qalqilya; sends undercover units in a civilian vehicle with Palestinian license plates into al-Bireh to raid and search a restaurant, arresting 4 Palestinians and seizing surveillance tapes; conducts early morning patrols in Silat alDahir nr. Jenin (photographing old houses and alleys), Iraq Burin nr. Nablus (firing rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas at stone-throwing youths who confront them, seriously wounding 1), and Tulkarm; conducts afternoon and evening patrols in ‘Azun nr. Qalqilya (without incident) and in Bayt Liqya and Nabi Salih (in both cases firing live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at stonethrowing youths who confront them, causing no serious injuries); conducts late-night patrols in Alar nr. Tulkarm and late-night arrest raids, house searches in ‘Azun. Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar set fire to Palestinian crops s. of Nablus; the IDF hinders Palestinian fire crews from reaching the scene. The IDF escorts 1,600 Jewish worshipers to visit Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus; some 200 Israelis who did not have authorization for the visit sneak in with the group, refuse to leave, and are forcibly removed by soldiers. (MNA 5/30; PCHR, WJW 6/2; OCHA 6/3)

At a massive rally in Istanbul commemorating the 1st anniversary of Israel’s 5/2010 attack on the aid flotilla to Gaza that killed 9 Turkish activists aboard the Mavi Marmara, the flotilla organizers, the U.S.-based Free Gaza Movement (FGM), and the Turkish charity Humanitarian Relief Foundation (known by its Turkish acronym IHH), announce plans for at least 1,500 activists and 10 boats to set sale in late 6/2011 as part of the “Freedom Flotilla II” to break the Gaza siege. Israel denounces the effort as supporting “a designated terrorist group” (Hamas) and warns it will use force if necessary to halt the flotilla. (DPA, REU 5/30)