Occupied Palestine/Israel: A Jerusalem court convicts Israeli army Capt. Shlomo Leviatan and Maj. Ronnie Gila of complicity in bombings carried out by anti-Arab...
Qalqilya from laying water pipes from a well to a nearby plot of agricultural land, confiscating their excavator and a welding machine. The IDF also a patrols in Tulkarm in the morning; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron. Jewish settlers fr. Susia settlement nr. Hebron seize 5 d. of nearby Palestinian land. (PCHR 7/26; OCHA 7/27)
The longest-ever Palestinian hunger striker, Akram Rikhawi, ends his fast after 103 days in exchange for a pledge that Israel will release him 5 mos. early (in 1/2013). (NYT 7/24)
In Brussels for a regular meeting with the EU, Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman requests that, in light of the 7/18 Bulgaria attack, the EU add Hizballah to its terrorist list. The EU says that thus far there is no proof of Hizballah’s involvement in terror. (NYT 8/16)
Egypt eases travel restrictions on Palestinians that will make it easer for Gazans to enter and will allow them to stay for up to 72 hrs. before returning or transiting through. All Palestinians must still have Palestinian national identification, a passport, or proof of residency in a 3d country and obtain a visa. The move comes a week after newly elected Egyptian pres. Mohamed Morsi held separate meetings in Cairo with PA pres. Abbas and Hamas leader Khalid Mishal. (NYT, WT 7/24)
As announced on 6/1, Egypt opens its side of the Rafah border in both directions to Palestinian medical cases, students, other humanitarian cases with proper travel documents, as well as to foreign passport holders; 1,000s of Gazans stream to the border crossing in hopes of reaching stores in Egyptian Rafah, but Hamas and Egyptian officials allow fewer than 500 out and fewer than 600 in the first day. (The crossing remains open continuously through the end of the quarter, but average daily numbers allowed to cross are slightly lower than these, with Egypt denying entry to a significant number of Palestinians approved for exit by Hamas.) Twice during the day, IDF troops on the Israeli side of the Erez crossing fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging construction materials inside the Erez industrial zone, wounding 1 Palestinian. 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 evening arrest raids in al-Ma‘sara. Jewish settlers set fire to crop land in 4 Palestinian village nr. Nablus, destroying 450 olive trees and 300 almond trees. (PCHR 6/3; OCHA 6/4)
With Israeli permission, Egypt allows Gazan university students with valid travel visas and other foreign passport holders to exit Gaza through the Rafah checkpoint; at least 600 of the 1,000 persons qualified leave the Strip. In the West Bank, the IDF makes a rare morning raid on a factory in Ramallah, questioning workers but making no arrests; takes up positions in Tulkarm at midday, randomly checking Palestinian IDs; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Bethlehem. In East Jerusalem, Israeli security forces forcibly remove a solidarity tent set up on the site of a Palestinian home demolished in 11/08. (WP 2/23; OCHA 2/24, 2/25; PCHR 2/26)
In Gaza, IDF undercover units capture Palestinian Riad Ayad, wanted for firing mortars at Jewish settlements. The IDF also conducts an arrest raid in Qabatiyya, detaining 4 Hamas mbrs., including most-wanted mbr. Nasir Zarkana; shells residential areas nr. Khan Yunis. Israel bans all PA passport holders fr. entering, exiting Israel through Ben-Gurion airport. (AP, NYT, PCHR, PMC, WP 1/2; PR 1/17)
The U.S. announces that in light of the relative calm on the Israeli-Palestinian front, special envoy Zinni will return to the region on 1/3 for a 4-day visit to urge the sides to begin implementing the Tenet cease-fire steps. Sharon says he still demands 7 days of complete quiet before resuming talks with the PA; claims that the recent decline in violence is due more to an Israeli crackdown than to any effort by Arafat. (AP, NYT, WP, WT 1/2; al-Quds 1/2 in WNC 1/3; HA 1/3)
The U.S. announces a "major gesture" to Iran, acknowledging (but not apologizing for) past meddling in Iran, including the 1953 CIA-backed coup that restored the monarchy; promising steps toward the return of assets frozen since the 1979 revolution; lifting a ban on imports of Iranian luxury goods; easing restrictions on Iranian academics and athletes visiting the U.S. Secy. of State Albright adds that the U.S. will also consider the upcoming trial 13 Iranian Jews as a "barometer of U.S.-Iran relations." (NYT, WP, WT 3/17; NYT, WP 3/18; IRNA 3/18, 3/19 in WNC 3/21; NYT 3/19; MM 3/20; AYM 3/21 in WNC 3/23; CSM, MM 3/24; NY 4/27) (see 2/2)
Lebanon grants asylum to 1 of 5 Japanese Red Army mbrs. who just completed prison terms for passport forgery. The other 4 mbrs. are deported to Jordan, which hands them over to Japanese officials for extradition to Tokyo, where they will stand trial for bombings they carried out there in the 1970s. When they hear the news, angry demonstrators rally outside Lebanese PM Salim al-Huss's home. Huss claims Lebanon did not have an agmt. with Jordan, Japan to send the 4 back to Tokyo. (NYT, WP 3/18; al-Safir 3/18 in WNC 3/21; NYT 3/19; MM 3/21; WP, WT 3/22; MEI 5/5) (see 7/31/97)
Israeli cabinet approves (10-7) 1st stage of FRD covering 9% of West Bank. (MM 3/6; MM, NYT, WP, WT 3/7; RE 3/7 in WNC 3/11; ITV 3/7 in WNC 3/13; NYT WP 3/8; CSM 3/13; JP 3/15; Hatzofe [Tel Aviv] 3/17 in WNC 3/19; WP 3/25; Vesti [Tel Aviv] 3/24 in WNC 3/27; PR 3/14)
12 Mediterranean (including Egypt, Israel, Jordan, PA), 15 EU states attend Euro-Mediterranean conference in London. (JT 3/8 in WNC 3/13)
Jordan says that Lebanon is barring entry to Jordanian trucks transporting produce, claiming that the Lebanese markets are inundated; believes the move is in violation of trade agmt. stipulations that Jordan may sell unspecified amounts of produce to Lebanon until the end of April; bars the entry of Lebanese produce in response. (JT 3/6 in WNC 3/7)
Lebanon releases 3 Japanese citizens arrested along with 5 Red Army mbrs. on 2/15; charges the 5 Red Army mbrs. with passport forgery, entering the country illegally. (Kyodo [Tokyo] 3/14 in WNC 3/17) (see 3/3)
IDF declares Jericho a closed military zone after a settler is slightly injured by rocks thrown at his car. (QY 2/18 in FBIS 2/20)
Hizballah initiates a series of cross border raids into Israel fr. s. Lebanon. IDF attacks Hizballah positions in retaliation. (WT 2/18)
In Damascus, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan meets with Pres. Hafiz al-Asad. Farrakhan is on a controversial 27-day tour of the Middle East and Africa. Stops include, Libya, Iraq, Iran, the Sudan. State Dept. threatens to confiscate his passport upon his return. (WP, WT 2/18)
Occupied Palestine/Israel: P.M. Shamir states Jonathan Pollard's fate is no concern of Israeli government. "Citizens for Pollard" begins soliciting donations to assist Pollards with their legal fees [NYT 3/11].
Other Countries: U.S. administration officials say they made a mistake in not questioning Israeli P. M. Shamir "more forcefully" on the Pollard spy case during his February visit [JP 3/11]. U.S. State Dept. confirms that it has confiscated passport of M. T. Mehdi, secretary general of National Council on Islamic Affairs, for violating ban on travel to Lebanon [BS 3/12].
Occupied Palestine/Israel: A Jerusalem court convicts Israeli army Capt. Shlomo Leviatan and Maj. Ronnie Gila of complicity in bombings carried out by anti-Arab Jewish underground group [JP, WP 4/15]. U.S. Asst. Sec. of State Murphy meets with Bethlehem Mayor Iliyas Furayj at reception at American consulate in East Jerusalem; reports circulate that they discussed the "Gaza first" proposals being floated by some circles in Jerusalem; Murphy confirms he attempted to ease tensions between Israel and Syria during recent meetings with Syrian Pres. Hafiz al-Asad [JP 4/15]. Students at Hebron Polytechnic demonstrate in protest of Tehiya convention; 70 students are arrested [JP 4/15; FJ 4/18].
Arab World: West Bank Palestinians travelling to Jordan are experiencing increased bureaucratic harassment, including passport confiscation and interrogation by Jordanian authorities; moves seem to be targetting Fateh supporters [JP 4/14].