266 / 14704 Results
  • August 12, 2012

    A day after the PA urges Egypt to destroy smuggling tunnels on the Gaza border, saying they pose a threat to Egyptian security and undermine Palestinian national unity efforts, Hamas officials in...

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  • August 9, 2012

    Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. Dozens of Palestinian supporters of the Democratic Front for the...

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  • August 7, 2012

    With Israel’s suspension of fuel shipments to Gaza since 8/5, rolling blackouts across Gaza increase fr. 8–10 hrs./day to 12 hrs./day. An uncorroborated report says that unidentified Palestinians...

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  • July 31, 2012

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

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  • July 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 18, 2012

    The IDF bulldozes 3 agricultural storehouses and a well nr. Hebron; conducts late-night patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah, 1 nr. Hebron, and 1 nr. Jenin; and conducts separate late-night arrest...

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  • July 15, 2012

    Around this date (before Ramadan begins on 7/20), Israel, as a goodwill gesture to Abbas, advances the PA almost $45 m. in VAT taxes for 7/2012 to help it meet monthly budget expenditures. Israel...

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  • July 9, 2012

    An Israeli government-appointed commission headed by former Israeli supreme court justice Ephraim Levy issues a nonbinding legal judgment that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is not occupation...

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  • July 7, 2012

    IDF troops open fire across the s. Gaza border into residential and agricultural areas of Khan Yunis in the morning, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm, 3...

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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 25, 2012

    Russian pres. Vladimir Putin makes a 1-day visit to Israel for the unveiling of a monument dedicated to Russian soldiers. In addition, he meets with Israeli PM Netanyahu, DM Barak, and other...

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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 13, 2012

    Israeli troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials in the demolished Erez industrial zone, forcing them to flee. A Palestinian is killed...

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  • June 6, 2012

    The IDF conducts late-night patrols in 1 village each nr. Jericho and Ramallah; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin. (PCHR 6/7, 6/14; OCHA 6/15)

    The Knesset votes...

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  • May 29, 2012

    The IDF makes brief incursions into s. Gaza nr. Khan Yunis and c. Gaza nr. Wadi al-Silqa to level land and clear lines of sight along the border fence; in both cases, Israeli helicopters providing...

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  • May 23, 2012

    A Palestinian sniper operating nr. the former Kissufim crossing on the c. Gaza border shoots and wounds 2 IDF soldiers inside Israel; no group claims responsibility. The IDF bulldozes a...

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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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  • May 5, 2012

    Early in the morning and late at night, Israeli naval vessels fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the s. Gaza coast (forcing them to return to shore); they halt and confiscate 1 boat, detaining...

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  • April 29, 2012

    Israeli naval vessels halt a Palestinian fishing boat 2 naut. mi. off the Gaza coast, detaining 6 fishermen and confiscating the boat; 5 of the fishermen (all Palestinians) are questioned and...

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  • April 22, 2012

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

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  • April 17, 2012

    Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat and PA intelligence chief Majid Faraj deliver the long-anticipated letter fr. Pres. Abbas to Israeli PM Netanyahu and his chief negotiator Yitzhak Molcho...

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  • April 15, 2012

    Israel detains all but a few of 100s of pro-Palestinian protesters attempting to enter Israel through Ben-Gurion Airport to attend an anti-occupation rally in Bethlehem. Organizers claim that more...

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  • April 2, 2012

    Early in the morning, the IDF drops leaflets from helicopters over n. Gaza border areas nr. Bayt Lahiya warning that the IDF will use deadly force against anyone approaching the border fence. Late...

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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 25, 2012

    The Israeli High Court rejects the state’s 3/11/12 request to delay the evacuation of the unauthorized settlement outpost of Migron until a new housing at a new site is completed in 2015, ordering...

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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 20, 2012

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Nr. al-Maghazi r.c., 2 Palestinians are injured when they accidentally trigger unexploded IDF...

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  • March 19, 2012

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts morning patrols in 2 villages each nr. Jenin and Ramallah in...

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  • March 11, 2012

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

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  • February 27, 2012

    Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF makes a major raid into Jenin r.c., surrounding the homes of...

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A day after the PA urges Egypt to destroy smuggling tunnels on the Gaza border, saying they pose a threat to Egyptian security and undermine Palestinian national unity efforts, Hamas officials in Gaza say that they will close tunnels on the Rafah border if Egypt opens the border to trade. (JPI 8/24)

An unconfirmed report says that unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Salfit late in the evening, firing warning shots at a Palestinian car (no injuries reported) and ordering it to stop; the car is searched and allowed to go on its way. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Nablus, and Salfit. Jewish settlers fr. Susia settlement nr. Hebron spread poison on nearby grasslands used by local Palestinian shepherds, killing 7 sheep. (Mivzak Live [Internet] 8/12; PCHR 8/16; OCHA 8/18)

IDF Central Command formally reclassifies Bruchin outpost as a legal settlement, implementing a 3/2012 cabinet decision to legalize 3 outposts retroactively (see QU in JPS 163). The formal reclassifications of Rachelim and Sansanna have not been implemented yet. (JPI 8/24; PCHR 8/16)

Israel’s daily Ha’Aretz for the 2d time in recent days reports that a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) by the Obama admin. has added a ‘‘lastminute update’’ on Iran stating that Iran has ‘‘boosted efforts’’ to advance its nuclear program. The U.S. meanwhile has not announced that a new NIE has been written. U.S. officials refuse to comment except to say that U.S. intelligence continues to believe: (1) that Iran has not made a decision on whether to develop a nuclear weapon and (2) that Iran’s is years away from being able to produce a nuclear bomb. Meanwhile, Israel’s dep. FM Danny Ayalon calls on the international community to issue a declaration that diplomacy toward Iran has failed, raising fears that Israel is preparing a military strike. (HA, REU 8/12; NYT, WP 8/13)

Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. Dozens of Palestinian supporters of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) stage a protest march fr. Ramallah to Israel’s Ofer military prison nearby to denounce the retrial of DFLP Politburo mbr. Ibrahim Abu Hajla, who was released in the 12/2011 prisoner swap that freed IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit but was later redetained. IDF soldiers fire live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the demonstrators, wounding 5 (including 1 child, 1 woman). (PCHR 8/16; OCHA 8/18)

Experts say that a new malware program spreading across Lebanon, named Gauss, is clearly the product of the same developers as the Stuxnet and Flame viruses used to attack Iran (believed by most experts to have been developed jointly by Israel and the U.S.). Gauss steals customer data from banks (including Citibank and the online service PayPal) to track how money flows into and out of accounts; it appears to have been designed only for surveillance, not attack. Analysts say the virus has also popped up in Israel and the occupied territories, and several other countries worldwide. (NYT, WP 8/10)

Israel’s security cabinet approves an Egyptian request to deploy 5 attack helicopters in the Sinai to bolster security, modifying the terms of their peace treaty. (JPI 8/24)

With Israel’s suspension of fuel shipments to Gaza since 8/5, rolling blackouts across Gaza increase fr. 8–10 hrs./day to 12 hrs./day. An uncorroborated report says that unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning; conducts arrest raids, house searches in 1 village nr. Jenin in the morning and 2 villages nr. Hebron and Jenin late at night. OCHA reports that since 8/1, the IDF has demolished 3 structures in the Bethlehem area: a restaurant, part of another building, and a local road used by Palestinian farmers to access their crop land. (Mivzak Live [Internet] 8/7; PCHR 8/9; OCHA 8/10)

Israel’s Finance Comm. allocates nearly $1.8 m. to move some structures at Migron settlement outpost to the site near Psagot where Migron settlers are to relocate. (JPI 8/17)

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

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

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

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

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)

The IDF bulldozes 3 agricultural storehouses and a well nr. Hebron; conducts late-night patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah, 1 nr. Hebron, and 1 nr. Jenin; and conducts separate late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron. Hundreds of Jewish settlers, escorted by the IDF, enter Balata village nr. Nablus to pray at Joseph’s Tomb; the IDF imposes a curfew on local Palestinians during the visit. (PCHR 7/19, 7/26; OCHA 7/27)

In Bulgaria, a suicide bomber detonates a device outside a bus boarding Israeli tourists in the port city of Burgas, killing at least 6 Israelis and wounding 32 plus the Bulgarian tour operator. Israel blames Iran for the blast and vows retaliation, but Iran denies the allegation, and no group takes responsibility. (NYT, WT 7/19; NYT, WP 7/20; JPI 7/27)

Around this date (before Ramadan begins on 7/20), Israel, as a goodwill gesture to Abbas, advances the PA almost $45 m. in VAT taxes for 7/2012 to help it meet monthly budget expenditures. Israel notably makes the move just before a visit by U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton, though it says it was not asked to do so by the U.S. (JPI 8/3)

The IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Jericho in the morning; conducts late-night patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah, in Jenin and 1 nearby village (synchronized), and in 1 village nr. Jericho; conducts latenight arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, and Nablus. (PCHR 7/19; OCHA 7/20)

An Israeli government-appointed commission headed by former Israeli supreme court justice Ephraim Levy issues a nonbinding legal judgment that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is not occupation and that the government should grant retroactive approval to unauthorized settlement outposts. The commission states that unauthorized outposts were established with the knowledge and encouragement of senior government officials that amounted to ‘‘implied agreement’’ by the government. (NYT 7/10) (see Doc. C1 in JPS 165)

During the day, unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the evening, Palestinian gunmen inside Gaza fire into Israel, hitting a parked civilian vehicle, but causing no injuries. Late at night, Israeli warplanes and helicopters carry out 3 air strikes on Khan Yunis and Rafah in s. Gaza, causing no reported casualties. The targets include a training site used by the al-Ansar Brigades (military wing of a small faction called al-Ahrar Movement, which was formed shortly after Hamas’s 2007 takeover of Gaza by disaffected Fatah members who aligned themselves with Hamas), and 2 open areas used by rocket-launching teams. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning; in Tulkarm in the afternoon; and in Qalqilya, 1 nearby village, and 1 village nr. Jenin late at night. The IDF also bulldozes a plot of Palestinian agricultural land outside Qalqilya and conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Bayt Umar. Jewish settlers stone Palestinian cars driving nr. Hebron. Jewish settlers also enter a Palestinian area (exact location not reported) to pray at a local religious site without proper coordination with the IDF; the IDF intervenes to remove the settlers. (TOI 7/9; WT 7/11; PCHR 7/12; OCHA 7/13; JPI 7/20)

IDF troops open fire across the s. Gaza border into residential and agricultural areas of Khan Yunis in the morning, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm, 3 villages nr. Ramallah, and 1 village nr. Jericho in the morning; in Tulkarm and 1 village nr. Jericho in the afternoon; and in 2 villages nr. Jericho late at night. (PCHR 7/12; OCHA 7/13)

Acting on a tip from Israeli intelligence, police in Cyprus arrest a suspected Hizballah operative (a dual Lebanese-Swedish citizen) for allegedly plotting an attack on Israeli tourists. (JTA 7/15; NYT 7/19; JPI 7/27)

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)

Russian pres. Vladimir Putin makes a 1-day visit to Israel for the unveiling of a monument dedicated to Russian soldiers. In addition, he meets with Israeli PM Netanyahu, DM Barak, and other senior officials who urge Russia to pressure Iran to halt its nuclear program, Syria to halt violence against the opposition, and the Palestinians to resume negotiations. Putin is noncommittal. (NYT, WP 6/26; JPI 7/6)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Israeli naval vessels fire warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning; and in Qalqilya, 1 nearby village, and 1 village nr. Ramallah late at night. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron and nr. Salfit. (TOI 6/25; PCHR 6/28)

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)

Israeli troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials in the demolished Erez industrial zone, forcing them to flee. A Palestinian is killed and another is injured when they are crushed by construction materials being moved through a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night patrols in Jericho. (PCHR 6/14, 6/21; OCHA 6/22)

Israel’s state comptroller Micah Lindenstrauss issues a long-awaited report faulting PM Netanyahu for ‘‘poor decision-making’’ in the lead-up to the 2010 Gaza aid flotilla incident that left 9 Turkish activists dead aboard the Mavi Marmara, concluding that Netanyahu did not listen to IDF warnings that the boarding of the flotilla could lead to violence and had not consulted adequately. (WP 6/14)

U.S. pres. Obama presents Israeli pres. Shimon Peres with the Congressional Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the U.S. During their one-on-one meeting at the White House, Peres gives Obama a petition signed by 75,000 Israelis seeking the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. (NYT, WP, WT 6/14; WP 6/17; JPI 6/22)

Casino magnate and major proIsrael political donor Sheldon Adelson gives $10 m. to a pro-Romney political action committee (PAC). This election marks the first time that unlimited corporate donations have been allowed under super PACs, which were deemed legal by a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. (WP 6/14)

The IDF conducts late-night patrols in 1 village each nr. Jericho and Ramallah; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin. (PCHR 6/7, 6/14; OCHA 6/15)

The Knesset votes down (69–22) a resolution that would have retroactively legalized unauthorized settlement outposts built on private Palestinian land. Hundreds of right-wing settlers gather outside the High Court in Jerusalem to protest. The decision clears the way for implementation of a High Court order to demolish Ulpana outpost by 7/1/12 and Migron outpost by 8/1/12 (see QU in JPS 164 for background). In 4/2012, Netanyahu had urged the government to find a solution that would legalize Ulpana, but knew this draft bill would not pass legal muster with Israel’s High Court and had urged MKs to defeat the measure. Instead, he vows to have the Ulpana buildings physically moved to neighboring Beit El settlement and to build 300 new housing units inside Beit El. At the same time, the Israeli Housing Min. announces plans to build another 551 new settlement housing units in various other West Bank settlements. (NYT, WT 6/7; JPI 6/15)

The International Israel Allies Caucus Foundation hosts members of Congress and some 100 evangelical Christians for a prayer breakfast to mark ‘‘the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967.’’ Nine Republican House reps. [Michele Bachmann (MN), John Fleming (LA), Trent Franks (AR), Louie Gohmert (TX), Randy Hultgren (IL), Doug Lamborn (CO), Steve Stivers (OH), Joe Walsh (IL), Allen West (FL)] attend and speak at the session, all calling for moving the U.S. emb. to Jerusalem. (WJW 6/14)

The IDF makes brief incursions into s. Gaza nr. Khan Yunis and c. Gaza nr. Wadi al-Silqa to level land and clear lines of sight along the border fence; in both cases, Israeli helicopters providing cover to the troops fire on Palestinians working their lands nearby, causing no injuries but starting several brush fires (the largest of which destroys 30 d. of wheat). Later in the afternoon, IDF troops on the c. Gaza border fire toward Wadi al-Silqa, wounding 1 Palestinian civilian 1 km from the border fence (well outside Israel’s 300 m. no-go zone). In the West Bank, the IDF bulldozes at least 30 d. of Palestinian crop land nr. Hebron for the expansion of Harsina settlement, where 500 new housing units are planned. The IDF also conducts synchronized patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin in the morning and patrols in Tulkarm town and r.c. late at night (firing tear gas and stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinians who confront them, causing no reported injuries). Jewish settlers fr. Keddumim settlement nr. Qalqilya violently beat a Palestinian teenager passing nearby. An Israeli court sentences Bassim al-Tamimi, the main organizer of the weekly nonviolent demonstrations in al-Nabi Salih, to 13 mos. in jail (time already served) for instructing youths to throw stones at IDF troops during protests. The case rested on the testimony of a 15-yr.-old Palestinian who confessed to stone-throwing during interrogation in custody, without access to a lawyer. Tamimi was granted a humanitarian release in 4/2012 after his mother suffered a stroke. Israel’s Tourism Min. and municipal officials in Jerusalem allocate more than $1 m. for a new settlement project in Silwan, in East Jerusalem. OCHA reports that in the previous week, Israeli authorities demolished 17 Palestinian structures in West Bank Area C (including 7 residences) and 11 animal pens in East Jerusalem; and ordered East Jerusalem Palestinians to demolish 1 home and 1 other structure or face demolition and fines by Israel. (WT 5/30; PCHR 5/31; OCHA 6/1)

Iranian officials confirm government computers are currently under attack by a sophisticated new virus called Flame, and accuse Israel and the U.S. of being behind it. (The U.S. declines to comment, whereas Israeli officials comment that ‘‘Israel is blessed with being a country rich in hi-tech ... both in the civilian and defense sector’’ and that ‘‘it’s certainly reasonable that [someone who views Iran as a threat] uses all means at his disposal, including these, to harm the Iranian nuclear system.’’) The new virus is a keystroke-logging program that steals data from infected computers and can be controlled remotely by whoever installed it. (NYT, WP 5/30; WT 5/31; JPI 6/8)

A Palestinian sniper operating nr. the former Kissufim crossing on the c. Gaza border shoots and wounds 2 IDF soldiers inside Israel; no group claims responsibility. The IDF bulldozes a Palestinian barnyard nr. Hebron; tears down 6 residential tents in a different area nr. Hebron; demolishes a poultry farm nr. Ramallah. (PCHR, YA 5/23; OCHA 6/1; JPI 6/15)

At least 25 Senate Democrats (of 53 total) meet with reps. of 17 American Jewish groups in Washington for talks on Iran and other domestic issues. The senators challenge the Jewish leaders’ portrayal of Obama as weak on Iran, stating that more time is needed for strong sanctions to have deep impact. The off-the-record function is organized by the Democratic Steering and Outreach Comm. roughly every yr. to 18 mos. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), who has been deeply involved in forming the current U.S. policy on Iran as chmn. of the Senate Foreign Relations Comm., says the Obama admin. is willing to take military action if necessary but is concerned about Israel acting alone, stating ‘‘If we must act, we should act together.’’ The meeting coincides with the opening of talks in Baghdad between the P5+1 and Iran aimed at drafting specific proposals and counterproposals for reaching (in EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton’s words) ‘‘a comprehensive negotiated solution which restores international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program.’’ (NYT, WP, WT 5/24; NYT 5/25; 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)

Early in the morning and late at night, Israeli naval vessels fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the s. Gaza coast (forcing them to return to shore); they halt and confiscate 1 boat, detaining 2 fishermen for questioning before releasing them later in the day. IDF troops on the s. Gaza border fire on agricultural areas in al-Qarara, killing a camel. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts morning patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah (2 synchronized) in the morning; 3 villages nr. Qalqilya and 1 each nr. Ramallah and Tulkarm in the afternoon; and 4 villages nr. Jericho, Qalqilya, Ramallah, and Tulkarm late at night. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Salfit. Dozens of Palestinians rally outside Ofer prison to show solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners; IDF troops fire live ammunition and tear gas at them, wounding 2. (PCHR 5/10; OCHA 5/11)

Under increased international criticism for recent PA arrests of Palestinian journalists and bloggers critical of his administration (e.g., 4/5/12, 4/15/12, 4/26/12), PA Pres. Abbas issues a statement ordering all PA agencies to take all steps to ensure the “sacred right” of freedom of expression, including ordering the PA Atty. Gen. Mughni to lift the block on websites supporting his political rival, Muhammad Dahlan. (NYT 5/7; JPI 5/18)

Israeli naval vessels halt a Palestinian fishing boat 2 naut. mi. off the Gaza coast, detaining 6 fishermen and confiscating the boat; 5 of the fishermen (all Palestinians) are questioned and released by nightfall; the 6th fisherman (an Egyptian) is arrested. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts morning patrols in Qalqilya, 3 villages nr. Ramallah, 2 each nr. Jericho and Tulkarm, and 1 nr. Jenin; patrols in 3 villages nr. Tulkarm (2 synchronized) and 1 nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon; conducts latenight arrest raids and house searches in and around Hebron, in Jenin, and nr. Tubas; and conducts late-night patrols in 2 villages nr. Qalqilya, 2 nr. Ramallah, and 1 nr. Jenin. (PCHR 5/3; OCHA 5/4)

Netanyahu says he plans to meet with his coalition partners soon to debate calling early elections for fall 2012, a year ahead of schedule. (WP 4/30)

Addressing a hostile American audience at a conference in New York organized by the Jerusalem Post, fmr. Israeli PM Ehud Olmert strongly criticizes PM Netanyahu for his policies towards the Palestinians, the peace process, and Iran and his dismissive stands towards the U.S. and the international community, characterizing them dangerous and counterproductive. The crowd boos him, shouting “naïve!” and “Neville Chamberlain!” to which he responds: “I love very much the courage of those who live 10,000 miles away from the State of Israel and . . . [encourage] every possible mistake that will cost lives of Israelis.” (NYT 4/30; JPI 5/11

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

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

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

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

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat and PA intelligence chief Majid Faraj deliver the long-anticipated letter fr. Pres. Abbas to Israeli PM Netanyahu and his chief negotiator Yitzhak Molcho at a meeting in Jerusalem. Netanyahu pledges to respond in writing within 2 wks. While the letter is not released publicly, a draft version was leaked to the press by a Palestinian source on 4/15, with the disclaimer that that the text might change before it was given to Netanyahu. Of note: PA PM Fayyad had planned to deliver the letter, but pulled out at the last minute. While there is no official comment as to why, various Palestinian sources say (WP 4/18) that Fayyad either (1) disagreed with the content of the letter or (2) thought it would be inappropriate for him to hold a high-level meeting with Netanyahu on the same day as an annual rally in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Fayyad had opposed early drafts that threatened to dissolve the PA if there was no significant progress toward peace. The 4/15 draft includes an implied threat, stating: “The PA is no longer as was agreed and this situation cannot continue.” (Times of Israel 4/15; NYT, WP 4/18)

IDF troops on the s. Gaza border e. of Khan Yunis fire into Gaza for unknown reasons, wounding a Palestinian man in Khuza’ village, 2,000 m. from the border (well outside the 300-m. no-go zone). In the West Bank, the IDF imposes a late-night curfew on Kafr Haris village nr. Salfit and escorts at least 3,000 Jewish settlers into the village to perform religious services at a local holy site; the group stays for 6 hrs., attacking and beating Palestinians who venture onto the street; the IDF arrests 1 Palestinian. The IDF conducts latenight patrols in Tulkarm, firing tear gas and stun grenades at stone-throwing youths who confront them and searching 1 home. Across the West Bank, Palestinians demonstrate in solidarity with the 4,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails to mark Prisoners Day. IDF troops fire live ammunition, rubbercoated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at 1 group demonstrating outside Ofer prison nr. Ramallah, wounding 2. About 1,200 Palestinian prisoners declare a hunger strike to protest their conditions and detentions without trial. (According to B’Tselem, there are currently about 320 administrative detainees, down from about 800 in 2007.) About 10 Palestinians have already gone on hunger strike, including 2 who have been granted early release (including Khader Adnan, who is freed today and Hana Shalabi, freed on 4/1) and 2 (Islamic Jihad mbrs. Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh) who have now been hospitalized after refusing food for more than 40 days. (NYT, WT 4/18; PCHR 4/19; OCHA 4/20; WP 4/24; JPI 4/27)

Israel detains all but a few of 100s of pro-Palestinian protesters attempting to enter Israel through Ben-Gurion Airport to attend an anti-occupation rally in Bethlehem. Organizers claim that more than 1,500 supporters booked tickets to Israel, but only 3 make it to Bethlehem. Israel says most were stopped at their point of departure after it gave foreign governments no-fly lists identifying suspected activists. (NYT, WP, WT 4/16; JPI 4/27)

Israeli naval vessels detain a fishing boat that approaches the 3 naut. mi. boundary off the Gaza coast, detaining and questioning 3 fishermen onboard, releasing them by the end of the day, but confiscating their boat. Unidentified Palestinians fire at least 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Late at night, an Israeli warplane makes an air strike on an open area nr. Gaza City, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts morning patrols inside Jericho and Qalqilya (normally the PA security forces have security control during daylight hours and the IDF stays away), as well as in 1 village nr. Ramallah; conducts afternoon patrols in 2 villages nr. Qalqilya (synchronized), 2 nr. Ramallah, and 1 nr. Jericho; and conducts late-night patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah. Jewish settlers fr. Nachliel settlement nr. Ramallah uproot around 250 olive trees on a nearby plot of Palestinian land. Jewish settlers fr. Ma’on settlement nr. Hebron fire at several Palestinian farmers and shepherds working nearby, causing no reported injuries. (JP, YA 4/15; PCHR 4/19; OCHA 4/20)

The New York Times reports that around this date, the PASF detains 2 prominent Palestinians for posting comments critical of the PA on Facebook: Palestinian blogger Jamal Abu Raihan for posing a satirical column depicting PA Pres. Abbas as a donkey and complaining of PA corruption; and Palestinian journalist Tareq Khamees for posting a comment in support of others who have recently been arrested for criticizing the PA (also seizing his laptop). By this date, the PA Atty. Gen. Ahmad al-Mughni has also ordered PA authorities to block several websites supportive of Abbas rival, former Gaza security chief Muhammad Dahlan. (NYT 5/7) (see 4/5/12 and Quarterly Update in JPS 164 for details)

Early in the morning, the IDF drops leaflets from helicopters over n. Gaza border areas nr. Bayt Lahiya warning that the IDF will use deadly force against anyone approaching the border fence. Late at night, IDF troops on the s. Gaza border fire on residential areas of Khan Yunis, damaging a house but causing no injuries. On the Rafah border, 1 Palestinian is killed and 2 are injured in a smuggling tunnel collapse. In the West Bank, Israel’s Shin Bet arrests 13 Palestinians fr. al-Am’ari r.c. (including 2 Palestinian Red Crescent Society employees, the goalie of Palestine’s Olympic soccer team, and a senior PA intelligence officer) for plotting a series of attacks on IDF soldiers nr. Ramallah, claiming that the prominent mbrs. of the group intended to use their status to perpetrate attacks. The IDF seals off a plot of land in the al-Ja’wana area Bayt Furik village (nr. Nablus), confiscating 6 tents and 2 water tanks belonging to local Palestinians; patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah (synchronized) and 1 nr. Qalqilya in the morning; patrols in 3 villages nr. Jenin, Qalqilya, and Ramallah in the afternoon; and conducts late-night patrols in 1 village nr. Tulkarm. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Qalqilya and nr. Nablus. A Palestinian shot during an arrest raid nr. Ramallah on 3/26 dies of his injuries. (OCHA, PCHR 4/5; JPI 4/13)

The IDF issues an eviction order to several Jewish settler families who moved into a house in Hebron, near the al-Ibrahimi Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs, several days ago that they claim to have purchased fr. the Palestinian owner (who claims the deeds were forged). The IDF cites the settlers for failing to secure the proper permits from the Israeli military to reside in the West Bank, calling their presence “a risk to public order,” and ordering them to vacate the building by 3:00 p.m. local time on 4/3. (NYT 4/4, 4/5)

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 Israeli High Court rejects the state’s 3/11/12 request to delay the evacuation of the unauthorized settlement outpost of Migron until a new housing at a new site is completed in 2015, ordering it to be dismantled by 8/1/12. An anonymous Israeli official says that the evacuated Migron settlers will likely move to the new site near Psagot immediately and begin work to fulfill the long-term government plan as laid out on 3/11/12. A settlement supporter says, “People close to Netanyahu teased the Peace Now movement [which brought the case on behalf of the Palestinian land owners], we should actually bless them because now we’re going to build another settlement which is not disputed legally, and it’s going to be much, much larger.” (NYT, WP, WT 3/26; WP 3/31; JPI 4/6)

Gaza’s power plant shuts down for lack of fuel (see 3/23/12). The IDF issues evacuation orders for several Palestinian homes in Hebron that are deemed too close to Susia settlement; patrols in 3 villages nr. Ramallah, 2 nr. Jenin, and 1 in Tulkarm in the morning; patrols in Qalqilya and 2 nearby villages (synchronized), and 1 village each nr. Jenin and Tulkarm in the afternoon; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in al-Bireh (nr. Bethlehem) and nr. Qalqilya; conducts late-night patrols in Salfit and 1 village nr. Jenin. (PCHR 3/29; OCHA 3/30)

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)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Nr. al-Maghazi r.c., 2 Palestinians are injured when they accidentally trigger unexploded IDF ordnance while scavenging for scrap metal. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 4 villages nr. Tulkarm (2 simultaneously) and 2 in Ramallah in the morning; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Nabi Salih and nr. Jenin. Hunger-striking administrative detainee Hana Shalabi is “in grave danger of dying” according to Physicians for Human Rights–Israel, which provides her with a doctor. OCHA reports that since 3/14, 4 Palestinians have been injured in smuggling tunnel accidents on the Gaza border. (JP 3/20; WT 3/21; PCHR 3/22; OCHA 3/23)

JSC head Gen. Dempsey receives IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz in Washington for talks on Iran and Syria as part of the regular U.S.-Israel strategic dialogue. Gantz also meets with White House and Defense Dept. officials, but no details are released. (JPI 3/30)

Speaking at a conference on Palestinian refugees in Brussels, EU foreign policy adviser Catherine Ashton expresses condolences for the 3/19/12 Jewish deaths in Toulouse and regrets over recent tragedies worldwide that have resulted in child casualties, citing among them Israel’s recent air strikes on Gaza (3/9–12) that injured 14 Palestinian children. Israeli PM Netanyahu denounces her for making “the comparison between a deliberate massacre of children and defensive, surgical actions.” Ashton’s spokesman issues a statement saying that her words were “grossly distorted.” (NYT 3/21)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts morning patrols in 2 villages each nr. Jenin and Ramallah in the morning and afternoon patrols in Qalqilya and in 2 villages each nr. Jenin, Qalqilya (synchronized), and Tulkarm; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Nablus. (JP 3/19; PCHR 3/22; OCHA 3/23)

In Toulouse, France, a gunman on a motor scooter opens fire on a Jewish school, killing a rabbi and 4 students (all dual French-Israeli citizens), wounding another 6 students (1 seriously). Authorities say the shooting appears linked to 2 recent shootings of 3 French soldiers in and nr. Toulouse. In those attacks, an assailant believed to be targeting French soldiers of Arab extraction to punish them as traitors for participating in the French military given its involvement in Afghanistan allegedly lured and shot 3 soldiers; 2 of North African origin were killed, whereas a black soldier was wounded. (NYT, WP, WT 3/20)

British FM Hague meets with Israel’s Vice PM Dan Meridor on a 2-day official visit to Israel. Talks cover Iran but focus on economic cooperation. (JPI 3/30)

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

Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF makes a major raid into Jenin r.c., surrounding the homes of local Islamic Jihad leader Mahmoud Sa’adi, 4 other Islamic Jihad mbrs., and 1 Fatah member, detaining all 6; the 5 Islamic Jihad members are released later in the day. The IDF also conducts latenight arrest raids, house searches, and patrols in 2 villages nr. Qalqilya. A Jewish settler fires at Palestinians grazing their sheep nr. Hebron and attempts to steal several sheep. (PCHR 3/1; OCHA 3/2)

Israeli PM Netanyahu receives a delegation of senior executives of the Jewish Federation of North American, an umbrella group representing a network of Jewish donors across Canada and the U.S., who say they would provide financial and political support to Israel if tension with Iran escalate. (JPI 3/9)