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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 1, 2012

    Israel releases administrative detainee Hana Shalabi, who spent more than 40 days on hunger strike to protest her detention without trial, and deports her to Gaza (she is from the West Bank). The...

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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 15, 2012

    Retaliating for Palestinian rocket fire on 3/14, the IDF carries out 2 air strikes on training sites in Gaza. Unidentified Palestinians fire at least 2 rockets in response. No injures are reported...

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  • February 16, 2012

    Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 homemade Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In response, Israeli warplanes make 2 late-night air strikes on a suspected weapons...

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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 releases administrative detainee Hana Shalabi, who spent more than 40 days on hunger strike to protest her detention without trial, and deports her to Gaza (she is from the West Bank). The Palestinian Prisoners Society in Ramallah says that several other Palestinians being held in administrative detention in Israel are now on hunger strike, 2 of them fasting for over a month. (NYT, WP 4/2; OCHA, PCHR 4/5)

In Gaza, Palestinians stage a nonviolent protest march to the border fence e. of Abassan to protest Israel’s imposition of a no-go zone; the IDF fires warning shots forcing them to flee, causing no injuries. The IDF also makes a brief incursion into c. Gaza, searching border areas e. of al-Bureij r.c. for several hours. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning; patrols 2 villages nr Ramallah (firing rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at stonethrowing youths who confront them in 1 instance, causing no injuries) and 1 nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon; and conducting synchronized late-night patrols in Qalqilya and 4 nearby villages; conducting additional late-night patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah; and conducting late-night arrest raids and house searches in Nablus and Tubas, and nr. Jenin and Ramallah. (OCHA, PCHR 4/5)

Tunisia’s new government, elected in 10/2011 and led by a coalition headed by the Islamist Ennahda party, says that it cannot normalize relations with Israel, stating that “Tunisians’ problem is with Zionism, not with Judaism.” (WT 4/2)

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)

Retaliating for Palestinian rocket fire on 3/14, the IDF carries out 2 air strikes on training sites in Gaza. Unidentified Palestinians fire at least 2 rockets in response. No injures are reported in the exchange. IDF soldiers at the Qalandia crossing detain a Palestinian leaving Jerusalem for the West Bank, suspecting him of involvement in the stabbing and wounding of an IDF soldier on Jerusalem’s light rail train earlier in the day. The IDF also demolishes a Palestinian home and animal farm in Qalqilya; uproots olive and almond trees on 30 d. of confiscated Palestinian agricultural land nr. Hamra settlement (nr. Nablus); patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah (synchronized), 1 nr. Qalqilya, and 1 nr. Tulkarm in the morning; and in 3 villages nr. Jenin (synchronized) and 1 nr. Ramallah late at night. Palestinian rights activists report that the health of administrative detainee Hana Shalabi is deteriorating after 30 days on hunger strike (see 2/16/12). Dozens of Palestinians rally outside Ofer prison in solidarity with her; IDF troops fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, stun grenades to disperse them. (JP, YA 3/15; WP, WT 3/16; PCHR 3/22; OCHA 3/23)

After Syrian pres. Asad issues a statement reiterating his position that opposition forces must first halt their fire before his forces would cease fire, Hizballah chief Nasrallah issues a statement saying that both sides should cease fire simultaneously. The statement is seen as Hizballah’s 1st cautious attempt to tone down its support for the Asad regime since Arab Spring protests in Syria began in 1/2011. Days after this, Nasrallah calls on Asad to undertake “serious and genuine” reform efforts, stating that it is the duty of all “whose hearts are throbbing with sympathy for the Syrian people” to seek a political solution to the problem (a statement seen as a rebuke to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, which wanted to arm the Syrian opposition forces to overthrow Asad). (NYT 4/6)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 2 homemade Qassam rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In response, Israeli warplanes make 2 late-night air strikes on a suspected weapons factory in Gaza City, lightly injuring 1 Palestinian. Later, unidentified Palestinians fire a 3d rocket into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. A Palestinian child is killed in a smuggling tunnel collapse on the Rafah border. In the West Bank, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) patrols in Tulkarm, 3 villages nr. Qalqilya, 2 villages nr. Ramallah, and 1 nr. Jericho in the morning; patrols in 1 village nr. Jenin (firing tear gas and percussion grenades at stone-throwing youths who confront them, causing no injuries), 1 nr. Jericho, 1 nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon; patrols in 2 villages nr. Qalqilya, 1 nr. Jenin, 1 nr. Jericho, and 1 nr. Ramallah late at night; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon and nr. Hebron late at night. One of those detained in the West Bank arrest raids is Hana Shalabi, an Islamic Jihad mbr. who was released after 2 years in administrative detention in the 10/2011 Hamas-Israel prisoner swap that freed captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit (see QU in JPS 163); she immediately begins a hunger strike to protest her renewed detention without charge. (PCHR 2/23; OCHA 2/24; NYT 4/2)