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  • June 26, 2023

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers set up tents on land near Deir Sharaf. Israeli settlers also threw stones at Palestinian vehicles traveling near Duma, injuring 2 Palestinians and damaging a car...

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  • December 6, 2022

    In the West Bank, 1 Israeli settler was injured by unidentified stone throwers hitting his car near the Carmiel settlement. Israeli forces shot and injured 1 Palestinian with a baton round and...

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  • November 30, 2020

    In the West Bank, Israeli settlers with military escort threw stones at Palestinians protesting settlement expansion west of Salfit; Israeli forces also beat several Palestinian protesters....

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  • February 10, 2012

    In the evening, unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, damaging 2 houses but causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah in the...

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  • January 25, 2012

    Palestinian and Israeli negotiators hold a 5th round of talks in Amman. Molcho verbally outlines Israel’s guiding principles on borders and security, offering nothing new and putting nothing in...

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  • June 7, 2011

    IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians and international activists taking part in a nonviolent march to the border fence to protest Israel’s imposition of a no-go zone...

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  • January 23, 2011

    Al-Jazeera and Britain’s Guardian newspaper release a set of documents written by Palestinian officials (the “Palestine Papers”) that they claim constitutes “the confidential record of 10 years of...

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  • December 27, 2009

    In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Jenin. A Jewish settler fr. Carmiel opens fire on a Palestinian woman grazing sheep nr. the settlement,...

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  • November 20, 2009

    In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubbercoated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas at stone-throwing Palestinians taking part in weekly protests against the separation wall in Bil‘in (10s suffer...

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  • November 14, 2009

    In the West Bank, Palestinian activists celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with a protest against the separation wall in Dayr Ghusun nr. Tulkarm attempt to remove and...

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  • November 12, 2009

    In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes 12 partially built Palestinian homes and 1 poultry farm in Rujib nr. Nablus; issues demolition orders for 17 other Palestinian civilian structures (including 9...

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  • July 17, 2009

    In the West Bank, the IDF declares 300 d. of Palestinian agricultural land e. of Carmiel settlement nr. Hebron a closed military zone; fires rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas,...

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  • April 23, 2009

    In the West Bank, the IDF halts PA construction of a staging area outside Bethlehem where Pope Benedict XVI will be received when he visits the city on his upcoming tour (5/8–15), arguing that the...

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  • April 9, 2009

    In the West Bank, the IDF conducts latenight house searches in Qalqilya, but makes no arrests. Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba in Hebron set up 2 mobile homes and an electricity generator nr. the...

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  • April 1, 2009

    In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Azariyya and Tulkarm, nr. Bethlehem and Jenin. Palestinians report that in the previous wk., the IDF continued...

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  • March 15, 2009

    The IDF opens a main checkpoint at Bayt Ibia nr. Nablus for the 1st time in 8 yrs., as a 1st step toward permanently relocating it (see 3/30 below). Unidentified gunmen fatally shoot 2 Israeli...

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  • October 29, 2008

    Another FGM boat (see 8/23) carrying 27 international activists defies Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza, sails into a Gaza port delivering humanitarian supplies; Israeli naval vessels do not...

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  • September 19, 2007

    Olmert convenes his security cabinet, which declares Gaza “hostile territory” controlled by a “terrorist organization” (Hamas); imposes additional sanctions on Gaza with the stated aim of reducing...

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  • May 21, 2007

    The IDF makes air strikes on a car in Bayt Lahiya, assassinating 4 Islamic Jihad mbrs. (Muhammad Abu Nima, Mahmud Awad, Majid al-Batash, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Hilu); on an alleged weapons factory in...

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  • January 28, 2007

    IDF troops on the n. Gaza border nr. Bayt Hanun shoot, wound 2 Palestinians who stray nr. the border fence while trapping birds. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in...

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  • August 11, 2006

    IDF gunboats off the Gaza coast shell the fmr. settlement areas of Ganei Tal, Netzer Hazani in s. Gaza, causing no damage or injuries In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house...

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  • August 10, 2006

    In Gaza, the IDF opens Rafah crossing for departures only, opens Qarni crossing for imports only; makes late-night air strikes destroying a store, house in Jabaliya r.c. (warning the residents in...

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  • August 7, 2006

    In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units into Azun in a car with Palestinian license plates, surrounds a home, arrests 1 PSF mbr. who surrenders; conducts random ID checks in, fires on...

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  • August 4, 2006

    The IDF continues operations al-Shuka, making air and artillery strikes on buildings allegedly housing Hamas and Islamic Jihad weapons caches, exchanging fire with Palestinian gunmen, conducting...

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  • July 28, 2006

    The IDF withdraws troops fr. the outskirts of Gaza City, where residents find the bodies of another Hamas mbr. and a 13-yr.-old Palestinian killed during recent clashes, 9 Palestinian homes...

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  • July 27, 2006

    In Gaza, the IDF closes the Nahal Oz pipeline; shells areas nr. Gaza City, killing at least 1 Palestinian militant, 1 Palestinian farmer working in her field; shells areas nr. Bayt Hanun (killing...

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  • July 26, 2006

    The IDF expands Operation Summer Rains overnight, sending 50 tanks, troops back into n. Gaza in and around Gaza City, engaging in intense clashes with and conducting air strikes on Palestinian...

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  • July 22, 2006

    The IDF continues to shell n. Gaza, wounding at least 1 Palestinian civilian. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem. A Palestinian militant wounded during...

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  • July 21, 2006

    Overnight, the IDF withdraws fr. alMaghazi r.c., leaving a total of 207 d. of land, 4 Palestinian homes demolished, 9 other homes partially demolished. Also in Gaza, the IDF fires a tank shell at...

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  • July 20, 2006

    In Gaza, the IDF continues operations in al-Maghazi r.c., engaging in heavy clashes with local gunmen, killing 4 armed Palestinians and 1 bystander, wounding at least 32 (in addition, 1...

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In the West Bank, Israeli settlers set up tents on land near Deir Sharaf. Israeli settlers also threw stones at Palestinian vehicles traveling near Duma, injuring 2 Palestinians and damaging a car. Elsewhere, Israeli settlers assaulted Palestinians with pepper spray near Jamma’in, injuring 1. Israeli forces uprooted 70 olive trees in Khallet al-Qutun near Tuqu’. Israeli forces also leveled land near Qaryut in preparation for settlement expansion. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces raided the home of 16 Palestinians who had previously been imprisoned by Israel, seizing cash, several vehicles, and jewelry, claiming that the Palestinians had received payments from the PA. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 6/26; PCHR 7/6; UNOCHA 7/8)

The Israeli military alleged that a rocket was launched from the Jenin area at Israel before exploding within the West Bank, causing neither damage nor injuries. (HA, JP, TOI 6/26)

An Israeli parole board denied an early release petition for Palestinian prisoner Walid Daqqa, who the Israeli prison service acknowledge is terminally ill with cancer. Daqqa, who has been imprisoned by Israel for 39 years, has already completed his original sentence but was sentenced to an additional 2 years for allegedly helping smuggling cellphones into prison. (WAFA 6/26; HA 6/27)

In Lebanon, 1 Israeli drone was shot down by Hezbollah militants near Zibqin. (AJ, ALM, AP, HA, REU 6/26)

The Israeli Higher Planning Council approved 5,700 settlement housing units and retroactively approved the Palegi Maim, HaYovel, and Nof Harim settlement outposts. 818 housing units received final validation including 359 in Elkana, 381 in Revava, 29 in Givat Ze’ev, 42 in Carmiel, and 7 in Hermesh. 4,915 housing units were approved for deposit, including 1,563 in Eli, 98 in Ariel, 714 in Givat Ze’ev, 340 in Ma ‘ale Adumim, 312 in Beitar Ilit, 310 in Adora, 264 in Etz Efraim, 152 in Ma ‘ale Amos, 78 in Asfar, and 754 in the 3 settlement outposts. Peace Now reported that more than 13,000 housing units had been approved in the first half of 2023. The French foreign ministry and the UN issued a statement condemning the settlement approval and the recent Israeli settler violence. The U.S. said it was “deeply troubled by Israel’s decision.” (HA 6/25; AJ, ALM, ALM, AP, BBC, HA, HA, PCN, REU, WAFA, WAFA 6/26; WAFA 6/27; UN 6/28; NYT 6/29)

The Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza announced that it had filed a complaint against Israel with the ICC over the Israeli blockade of Gaza. (MDW 6/29)

Israeli public broadcaster Kan reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had told a Knesset committee that his government is ready to help the PA financially to prevent it from collapsing but that the Palestinian “ambitions for the establishment of a state must be eliminated.” (NA, QDS 6/26; MEMO 6/27; QDS 6/29)

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs counted 570 Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians and Palestinian property between 1 January and 26 June, raising the number of attacks counted by the UN from 71 in 2022 to 95 incidents in the first half of 2023. (HA 7/1)

The Taub Center for Israel Studies at New York University made available documents from the Israeli archives showing that the Israeli military poisoned Palestinian land around Aqraba in 1972 to ensure that Palestinians could not cultivate the land as Israel established the Gitit settlement on land confiscated from the town’s residents. The Israeli military estimated that they had caused property loss from the spraying of the land amounting to $25,000. (HA 6/23)

In the West Bank, 1 Israeli settler was injured by unidentified stone throwers hitting his car near the Carmiel settlement. Israeli forces shot and injured 1 Palestinian with a baton round and injured others with tear gas during a raid in ‘Usarin. Israeli forces also shot and injured 3 Palestinians in al-Bireh. It was reported that the Israeli forces used expanding bullets known as dumdum. Elsewhere, Israeli forces demolished 2 agricultural structures in Nahalin. Israeli forces also delivered 10 stop-work orders for 10 homes in Qarawat Bani Hassan. (MEE, MEMO, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 12/6; HA 12/7; PCHR 12/8; UNOCHA 12/22)

The French foreign ministry said that it is assisting Palestinian human rights lawyer Salah Hamouri with legal support and has urged Israel to release Hamouri and allow him to reside in East Jerusalem, where he is from. An Israeli court decided to extend Hamouri’s detention until 1/1/2023. (WAFA 12/6; ALM 12/7)

Al Jazeera announced that it had filed a lawsuit with the ICC against Israel over the killing of its journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Al Jazeera said it had found new evidence that refutes Israel’s claim that Abu Akleh was killed by mistake in an exchange of fire between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants. The U.S. state department spokesperson Ned Price said that the U.S. opposed Al Jazeera’s lawsuit at the ICC. Itamar Ben-Gvir, presumed to be the next Israeli national security minister, subsequently said that Al Jazeera should be expelled from Israel. (AJ, GDN, HA, MEE, MEMO, WAFA 12/6; AJ, AJ, MEMO, MEMO 12/7; MDW 12/11)

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers with military escort threw stones at Palestinians protesting settlement expansion west of Salfit; Israeli forces also beat several Palestinian protesters. Israeli forces delivered demolition notices for 3 Palestinian-owned homes in Ya‘bad and demolished 1 house in al-Khadir; 1 house under construction and 1 well near Halhul; and 2 shacks in Qalqilya. 13 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Izzariya, Anata, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jericho, and Jenin. In East Jerusalem, 1 Palestinian family started demolishing their own home in Jabal Mukabir to avoid paying exorbitant Israeli demolition fees; 6 people were displaced. In Gaza, Israeli forces made incursions to level agricultural lands east of al-Bureij. Israeli forces also opened fire on Palestinians near the Erez crossing; no injuries were reported. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 11/30; WAFA 12/1; PCHR 12/3)

PA and Israeli officials met to discuss the details of transferring the $756 million to the PA in taxes owed. (WAFA 11/30)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas met with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo. According to WAFA, President al-Sisi confirmed Egypt’s support of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. (WAFA 11/30; WAFA 12/1)

A court in Israel rejected a lawsuit brought by 1 Palestinian-Israeli on behalf of his nephew and niece who have to travel outside the city of Carmiel to go to school as there are no Arabic-speaking schools in their city. The suit asked for the city to pay their expenses for traveling to the Arabic-speaking school, but the Israeli court dismissed the suit, citing the Jewish Nation-State Law saying the city’s Jewish character had to be preserved. The judge wrote in his ruling, “Carmiel, a Jewish city, was meant to establish Jewish settlement in the Galilee . . . Establishing an Arabic-language school . . . [and] funding school rides for Arab students . . . could change the demographic balance and damage the city’s character.” (Adalah, HA, HA 11/30)

Saudi Arabia allowed Israeli airlines to fly over their airspace for commercial flights 1 day before the 1st commercial flight between Israel and the UAE was set to happen. The flight was said to be at risk of being canceled; however, according to a U.S. official, U.S. special advisor to the president Jared Kushner and Saudi officials were able to “reconcile the issue.” Special Advisor Kushner is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar this week. (AJ, HA 11/30; MEE 12/1)

The EU donated $11.15 million to the PA to help pay for medical transfers to East Jerusalem hospitals. (WAFA 11/30)

In the evening, unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, damaging 2 houses but causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah in the morning, in Tulkarm in the afternoon, and in 2 villages nr. Jenin (firing stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinians who confront them in 1 instance) and 1 nr. Qalqilya late at night. In the afternoon, the IDF raids and searches stores nr. Qalqilya and enters al-Zira village nr. Bethlehem in search of Palestinian youths who had stoned a patrol earlier (questioning youths at random, arresting 4). Late at night, the IDF patrols in Aqabat Jabir r.c. nr. Jericho, firing live ammunition, rubbercoated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinians who confront them, wounding 3 Palestinians with live ammunition (2 seriously); enters Jericho and 1 nearby village to serve 3 Palestinians with papers summoning them for questioning. The IDF also makes a late-night raid on and search of the Nablus-area home of a Palestinian released in the recent prisoner swap that freed IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit, serving him with orders to appear for questioning; during the raid, a pregnant woman in the home complains of pain and is taken to the hospital, where she miscarries. Palestinians (sometimes accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil’in, Kafr Qaddum, Nabi Salih, and Ni’lin; demonstrations in Bil’in, Nabi Salih, and Ni’lin also call for solidarity with hungerstriking Islamic Jihad prisoner Khader Adnan. IDF soldiers fire live ammunition (Nabi Salih only), rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters; 3 Palestinian protesters, 1 Palestinian journalist, and 1 New York Times reporter are injured. Palestinians in Kafr al-Dik village nr. Salfit hold their first nonviolent protest against recent IDF actions in the nearby Dayr Sam’an archeological area that have been interpreted as preliminary steps to annex the area; IDF troops fire tear gas and percussion grenades to disperse them, causing no injuries. Jewish settlers fr. Carmiel settlement nr. Hebron escorted by IDF troops plant trees on 40 d. of nearby Palestinian agricultural land along a new settleronly bypass road. (JP 2/11; PCHR 2/16; OCHA 2/17)

Hamas’s Haniyeh arrives in Iran. Neither side discusses the visit, hoping to keep a low profile. Arab media reports (see NYT 2/11) say Hamas is resisting pressure fr. Iran to demonstrate support for Syria’s Asad. Gulf leaders urged Haniyeh against visiting Iran, but he demurred. (NYT 2/11)

Palestinian and Israeli negotiators hold a 5th round of talks in Amman. Molcho verbally outlines Israel’s guiding principles on borders and security, offering nothing new and putting nothing in writing. Afterward, Abbas meets with King Abdallah and issues a statement saying the exploratory talks with Israel have ended without progress; the Palestinians will weigh their next steps in consultation with the Arab League at a meeting in Cairo on 2/4 (later moved to 2/12). He says: “If we demarcate the borders, we can return to negotiations, but the Israelis do not want demarcation of borders.” Israel sticks by its position that Israel technically has until 4/3 to produce position papers (since teams began meeting on 1/3) and that if the Palestinians refuse to continue talks until 4/3, it is they who are walking away fr. negotiations. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, already in the region, meets separately with PA Pres. Abbas and Israeli PM Netanyahu to urge them to keep the talks going, especially pressing Israel to make some kind of confidence-building gesture (she recommends transferring more authority to the PA). Late at night, after these meetings, the Israeli team gives the Palestinians a document (not released) that puts the guiding principles in writing (reportedly including Israeli control over Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley, and almost all settlements); no maps are included. UN Secy.-Gen. Ban Ki-Moon says he will make his own visit to the region in the next week to encourage the sides to continue talks. (WAFA 1/25; HA, NYT, WP, WT 1/26; REU, WP 1/27; NYT 1/28; Asia Times 1/31)

The IDF demolishes a Palestinian home adjacent to Carmiel settlement nr. Hebron. A Palestinian is killed when he is accidentally buried by a supply of construction gravel being transported through a smuggling tunnel. (PCHR 1/26; OCHA 2/3)

IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians and international activists taking part in a nonviolent march to the border fence to protest Israel’s imposition of a no-go zone, moderately injuring 1 Palestinian. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts separate synchronized morning patrols in 2 villages nr. Tulkarm and in 2 villages nr. Salfit; also patrols in 1 village nr. Ramallah in the morning and in Jericho and 2 villages nr. Salfit late at night; fires live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at stone-throwing Palestinian youths who confront them in Nabi Salih, causing no serious injuries; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in ‘Azun. Jewish settlers set fire to a mosque in al-Mughayyir nr. Ramallah, spray graffiti that says “Price Tag—Aley Ayin,” indicating the attack was in retribution for the IDF’s removal of structures at Aley Ayin outpost on 6/2. Jewish settlers fr. Carmiel settlement nr. Hebron prevent local Palestinians farmers and shepherds from reaching their land nr. the settlement, stoning the Palestinians and killing several sheep; the IDF observes but does not intervene. (AP, REU 6/7; WP, WT 6/8; PCHR 6/9; OCHA 6/10)

Al-Jazeera and Britain’s Guardian newspaper release a set of documents written by Palestinian officials (the “Palestine Papers”) that they claim constitutes “the confidential record of 10 years of efforts to seek a peace agreement with Israel.” The more than 1,600 pages of documents dating from 1999 to 2010 are mostly from the PLO Negotiation Affairs Dept. (PLONAD) and its successor body, the Negotiations Support Unit (NSU), headed by chief negotiator Saeb Erakat, and include memos, emails, maps, minutes from private meetings, accounts of high-level exchanges, strategy papers, and Power Point presentations. The papers apparently were leaked to al-Jazeera by several PLONAD/NSU staff. Timed with the release, al-Jazeera begins a 4-night series (1/23–26) of hour-long programs to discuss the contents of the leaked material thematically: Jerusalem and settlements, refugees and right of return, PA security coordination with Israel, and the negotiations process. (AP, Globe and Mail, Guardian, JAZ, NYT, REU 1/23; BBC, Guardian, HA, MM, NYT, WP 1/24; MM, NYT, WP 1/25; MM 1/26)

In the West Bank, the IDF opens fire at a car driving quickly toward a checkpoint nr. Hebron, wounding 2 unarmed Palestinians; conducts daytime incursions into 2 villages nr. Qalqilya searching shops and questioning Palestinians; conducts latenight arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem and Qalqilya. Israeli border police for unknown reasons enter Haris village nr. Salfit, beating several Palestinians and firing on 1 man who attempts to flee, wounding a bystander. Jewish settlers fr. Carmiel settlement nr. Hebron attack Palestinian shepherds grazing sheep nearby and 2 Italian human rights activists protecting them; the IDF intervenes to arrest the 2 Italians. Jewish settlers fr. Ma’on settlement nr. Hebron attack a Palestinian family living nr. the settlement, shooting dead a sheep and a dog, attacking cattle, and threatening to shoot 2 children. (PCHR 1/27; OCHA 1/28)

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Jenin. A Jewish settler fr. Carmiel opens fire on a Palestinian woman grazing sheep nr. the settlement, missing her; IDF police detain the woman and interrogate her at Kiryat Arba settlement before releasing her. (PCHR 12/30; OCHA 1/6)

In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubbercoated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas at stone-throwing Palestinians taking part in weekly protests against the separation wall in Bil‘in (10s suffer tear gas inhalation) and against Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists taking part in weekly nonviolent demonstration against the separation wall in Ni‘lin (injuring 3 Palestinians); fires stun grenades and tear gas at Palestinian and international activists taking part in the weekly nonviolent demonstration against the separation wall in al-Ma‘sara s. of Bethlehem (injuring 3 Palestinians, including a 9-yr.-old boy); conducts late-night arrest raids on several coffee shops nr. Qalqilya, detaining 3 PA security officers and 3 teenagers (including a 14-yr.- old boy). In Hebron, Jewish settlers fr. Ma’on in Hebron beat 4 Palestinian youths tending sheep nearby, chasing them off the land; Jewish settlers fr. Carmiel attack and vandalize a Palestinian home nearby, attempting to drive the Palestinian family off the land. (OCHA, PCHR 11/25)

In the West Bank, Palestinian activists celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with a protest against the separation wall in Dayr Ghusun nr. Tulkarm attempt to remove and subsequently damage a gate in the separation wall that prevents Palestinian farmers in the area fr. reaching their lands. The IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, sound bombs, tear gas at the protesters (causing no reported injuries) and arrests 6 Palestinians (including 2 teenagers). Jewish settlers fr. Carmiel attack Palestinians fr. the nearby Bedouin village of Umm al-Khayr, badly injuring 1 Palestinian woman and damaging several Palestinian houses and 1 car. (MNA 11/14; PCHR 11/19; OCHA 11/20)

In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes 12 partially built Palestinian homes and 1 poultry farm in Rujib nr. Nablus; issues demolition orders for 17 other Palestinian civilian structures (including 9 homes housing 57 people, of whom 39 are children) in Umm al-Khayr nr. Hebron’s Carmiel settlement; and conducts latenight raids, house searches in Tulkarm, summoning 4 Palestinians for interrogation. Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar uproot nearly 100 olive trees fr. nearby Palestinian land. (OCHA 11/12; PCHR 11/19)

In the West Bank, the IDF declares 300 d. of Palestinian agricultural land e. of Carmiel settlement nr. Hebron a closed military zone; fires rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas, and a foul-smelling spray called “skunk” (not used by the IDF for many mos.; see Quarterly Update in JPS 149) at stone-throwing Palestinians protesting the separation wall in Bil‘in, causing no major injuries; fires tear gas at Palestinian and international activists taking part in a nonviolent demonstration against the separation wall in al-Ma‘sara, violently beating 3 Palestinian demonstrators (including a 14-yr.-old boy); conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Bil‘in, nr. Hebron. (OCHA, CHR 7/23)

In the West Bank, the IDF halts PA construction of a staging area outside Bethlehem where Pope Benedict XVI will be received when he visits the city on his upcoming tour (5/8–15), arguing that the plot falls in area C and therefore construction requires coordination with Israeli authorities. The IDF also beats several Palestinians holding a nonviolent protest against construction of a new settler-only bypass road nr. Carmiel settlement s. of Hebron (see 4/9), which is expected to displace 13 Palestinian families; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Tulkarm. Around 20 Jewish settlers fr. Kefar Etzion nr. Bethlehem chase off a Palestinian farmer working his land nr. the settlement. Nr. Qalqilya, Jewish settlers escorted by IDF troops prevent Palestinian farmers in Jit village fr. farming their land, vandalize 5 homes in the village. (OCHA, PCHR 4/29)

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts latenight house searches in Qalqilya, but makes no arrests. Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba in Hebron set up 2 mobile homes and an electricity generator nr. the vacated Beit Shalom site; IDF troops observe but do not intervene. Jewish settlers fr. Carmiel s. of Hebron attack 3 Palestinian shepherds (including a pregnant woman) nr. the settlement. Jewish settlers fr. Carmiel and nearby Ma’on plant wheat on large areas of Palestinian land nr. the settlements and build a new road s. of Carmiel in an apparent effort to expand, and possibly link, the settlements (which are 3 km apart). (OCHA 4/15; PCHR 4/16)

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Azariyya and Tulkarm, nr. Bethlehem and Jenin. Palestinians report that in the previous wk., the IDF continued bulldozing land to expand a settler-only bypass road to Carmiel (see 3/15). (PCHR 4/2; OCHA 4/8; PCHR 4/9)

The IDF opens a main checkpoint at Bayt Ibia nr. Nablus for the 1st time in 8 yrs., as a 1st step toward permanently relocating it (see 3/30 below). Unidentified gunmen fatally shoot 2 Israeli border policemen driving nr. Massu’a settlement in the Jordan Valley n. of Jericho, marking the 1st Israeli death in the West Bank since 4/25/08; Israel blames Palestinians, and individuals identifying themselves as mbrs. of the Imad Mughniyah Group, after the Hizballah military cmdr. assassinated in Damascus by unknown assailants in 2/08, later (3/16) claim responsibility. Jewish settler groups in the n. West Bank say Israel’s reckless removal of Palestinian checkpoints is to blame for the policemen’s deaths; the Israeli government denies any connection. The IDF conducts rare daytime arrest raids, house searches in Jalazun r.c.; patrols in Bayt Rima nr. Ramallah in the afternoon, firing on stone-throwing youths who confront them, wounding 4; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Tulkarm, and nr. Jenin, Ramallah. Palestinians in Umm Lasfa village southeast of Hebron report that in the past few days, the IDF has leveled 500 d. of village land to build 2 km of a new settler bypass road to Carmiel settlement; once completed, the IDF is expected to confiscate 1,000 d. of Palestinian land and displace 13 Palestinian families. (IFM 3/15; AFP, HA, NYT, WP 3/16; OCHA 3/17, 3/18; PCHR, WJW 3/19)

Another FGM boat (see 8/23) carrying 27 international activists defies Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza, sails into a Gaza port delivering humanitarian supplies; Israeli naval vessels do not challenge the boat. In the West Bank, IDF troops operating in Yamun village nr. Jenin before dawn fatally shoot a 67-yr.-old Palestinian shepherd who fired a rifle at the patrol fearing they were rustlers; demolish 6 structures in the bedouin village of Umm al-Khayr nr. Carmiel settlement s. of Hebron, displacing 45 Palestinians, including a 1-wk.-old baby; conduct late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Jenin town and r.c., in Nablus, and nr. Bethlehem and Hebron. Israel’s High Court orders Jewish settlers to vacate the illegal outpost of Beit Shalom, in the al-Rajabi building in Hebron, within 24 hrs. or face eviction (at the end of the quarter, however, the settlers have not been forced to leave). Israel’s High Court also gives approval for the demolition of the historic Ma’man Allah Muslim cemetery (4,000 tombs) in West Jerusalem for construction of the Center for Human Dignity–Museum of Tolerance, designed by Frank Gehry. (NYT, PCHR, WP 10/30; OCHA 11/5; PCHR 11/6; OCHA 11/19s)

Olmert convenes his security cabinet, which declares Gaza “hostile territory” controlled by a “terrorist organization” (Hamas); imposes additional sanctions on Gaza with the stated aim of reducing Palestinian rocket fire, including cutting back fuel and electricity services to the Strip, further reducing imports to and travel from Gaza. Early in the morning, the IDF sends troops into al-Shuka to raid and search homes. The IDF also makes an air strike on a PRCtraining camp e. of Bayt Lahiya, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF continues operations in ‘Ayn Bayt al-Ma’a for a 2d day, raiding and searching homes, fatally shooting a mentally handicapped Palestinian who steps onto his balcony, firing on stone-throwing youths who confront the troops, wounding 8; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Tulkarm and in Jenin, Qalqilya, Ramallah. Jewish settlers fr. Karmiel settlement nr. Hebron vandalize a nearby, fenced-in crop area planted by local bedouin to feed their herds.Suspected Fatah mbrs. fire on an ESF patrol nr. Shati’ r.c. in Gaza, injuring 2 ESF officers. Nr. Gaza City, the ESF intervenes to prevent a group of Islamic Jihad mbrs. fr. firing rockets into Israel, sparking an exchange of gunfire that leaves no reported injuries. In Rafah, unidentified gunmen shoot, wound a Hamas mbr. (IFM 9/19; NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 9/20; NYT 9/22; IFM 9/24; OCHA 9/26; PCHR 9/27)

In Beirut, unidentified assailants detonate a car bomb assassinating Christian Phalange party MP Antoine Ghanem (the 8th anti-Syrian figure killed in the past 3 yrs.), reducing the governing coalition’s parliamentary majority to 67 of 128 seats only 6 days before parliament is to convene to elect a new pres. by simple majority. Ghanem’s bodyguard and 5 bystanders are also killed; 56 are wounded (19 seriously). (REU 9/19; NYT, WP, WT 9/20; NYT, WT 9/21)

The IDF makes air strikes on a car in Bayt Lahiya, assassinating 4 Islamic Jihad mbrs. (Muhammad Abu Nima, Mahmud Awad, Majid al-Batash, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Hilu); on an alleged weapons factory in Gaza City, damaging several neighboring houses but causing no injuries; on a group of armed Palestinians in al-Bureij r.c., missing them, hitting a building, damaging 7 homes, injuring 4 bystanders (including a 1-yr.-old child). The IDF also conducts an arrest raid in Bayt Lahiya. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Comms. (PRCs) fire 15 rockets fr. Gaza toward Israel (3 land in Gaza), hitting a car in Sederot, killing 1 Israeli woman (the 11th killed by Palestinian rocket fire since rockets came into use in 1/02; the previous deadly strike occurred on 11/21/06), wounding 2 men. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus, and in Balata r.c. (targeting the AMB), Qalqilya, Tulkarm. Jewish settler teenagers fr. Karmi’el nr. Hebron throw stones at a bedouin woman nr. Yatta, injuring her. Fatah mbrs. shoot, wound 2 Hamas mbrs. in Khan Yunis and set fire to a library on the campus of the predominantly Hamas College of Science and Technology. An NSF mbr. dies of injuries received in clashes with Hamas on 5/16. (NYT, WP, WT 5/22; OCHA, WP 5/23; PCHR 5/24)

The Lebanese army’s siege of Nahr al-Barid r.c. continues overnight. During the day, fighting is heavy: Army snipers atop buildings surrounding the camp firing on anyone moving in the streets inside, soldiers open machine gun fire on anyone trying to leave the camp; FI responds with automatic weapons, mortar fire, anti-aircraft guns; the army responds with artillery, tank fire. (The army also surrounds the volatile ‘Ayn al-Hilwa r.c. as a precaution, prompting armed Palestinian factions there to go on alert.) The UN secures a brief cease-fire in the afternoon, allowing the evacuation of 16 wounded Palestinian civilians fr. the camp before FI breaks the truce. Lebanese PM Fuad Siniora asks the U.S. to expedite $280 m. in previously pledged military aid to more effectively combat FI. After dark, army shelling of Nahr al-Barid increases significantly. In Beirut, another car bomb explodes in the predominantly Sunni Verdun area, wounding 6 Lebanese, setting 2 buildings on fire. (AP, NYT, REU 5/21; NYT, WP, WT 5/22; NYT, WP 5/23)

IDF troops on the n. Gaza border nr. Bayt Hanun shoot, wound 2 Palestinians who stray nr. the border fence while trapping birds. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in Qalqilya, nr. Jenin; begins construction of a new fence around Karmi’el, Ma’on settlements nr. Hebron that will confiscate around 1,000 d. of Palestinian land to create territorial unity btwn. the 2 settlements. In Gaza City, Hamas-Fatah violence continues for a 6th day, leaving an ESF officer, 3 Hamas mbrs. dead, and 8 ESF mbrs. injured; among the incidents, a bomb explodes outside the home of a Dahlan bodyguard (causing no injuries), Hamas mbrs. fire mortars and antitank rounds at the Fatah-controlled PA police headquarters. Other clashes are reported in and around Khan Yunis, nr. Jabaliya, and in Bayt Hanun. Several Palestinians are also kidnapped during the day in Hamas-Fatah rivalries: Fatah’s Brig. Gen. Sayyid Shaban, head of the PA National Security Forces in central Gaza (quickly released); senior Hamas cmdr. Ashraf Firwana; 2 teenage children of a Fatah col.; a senior Fatah official; a Fatah municipal official. A Fatah mbr. dies of injuries received in the latest round of intra-Palestinian fighting. Fighting also spreads to Nablus, where Fatah mbrs. kidnap, quickly release several Hamas mbrs. In Jabaliya r.c., PFLP mbrs., Islamist parties hold a sit-in to protest the ongoing Palestinian violence. In Ramallah, AMB mbrs. kidnap, kill an alleged Palestinian collaborator with Israel. (MM, NYT, WP, WT 1/29; OCHA 1/31; PCHR 2/1; AIC 2/13)

IDF gunboats off the Gaza coast shell the fmr. settlement areas of Ganei Tal, Netzer Hazani in s. Gaza, causing no damage or injuries In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem and in Abu Dis, Hebron. The IDF also bars Palestinians under age 40 fr. Friday prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque. (OCHA 8/16; PCHR 8/17)

In the afternoon, after seeing a draft UN res. on halting violence that he says he cannot accept, Olmert authorizes the IDF to expand ground operations in s. Lebanon. The IDF quickly begins moving additional troops, armor into s. Lebanon, while troops already in Lebanon prepare to move toward the Litani. During the day, the IDF continues air and artillery strikes, hitting targets in s. Beirut, areas of n. Lebanon (including Abu Diya, Akkar), s. of Sidon, and in the Biqa‘ Valley (including strafing some 1,300 cars evacuating some 3,000 residents of Marja’uyun, occupied by the IDF on 8/10, who chose to follow a convoy of 350 UNIFIL and Lebanese army troops evacuating the area in coordination with the IDF; 6 Lebanese civilians, 1 Lebanese soldier are killed and 36 are wounded). Ground operations continue in Labuna in the east, Aita al-Sha‘b in central s. Lebanon, and Khiyam, Markaba, Qantara, Qlei‘a further to the northeast. Hizballah fires 124 rockets into n. Israel, injuring 5 Israelis and targeting sites in Acre, Carmiel, Ma’alot, Nahariya, Safad, Shlomi. (AP, WP 8/11; NYT, WP, WT 8/12; NYT, WP 8/13; WP 8/24)

Late in the evening, the UN Security Council unanimously passes Res. 1701, calling for Israel and Hizballah to halt violence in place as of 8:00 A.M. on 8/14 local time (1:00 A.M. ET), demanding that Hizballah cease all attacks and that Israel stop offensive operations (allowing “defensive” responses if they perceive a threat). (IFM, NYT, WP, WT 8/12; NYT 8/14; NYT 8/15) 

In Gaza, the IDF opens Rafah crossing for departures only, opens Qarni crossing for imports only; makes late-night air strikes destroying a store, house in Jabaliya r.c. (warning the residents in advance to leave), damaging 3 nearby homes. In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units into Tulkarm in a car with Palestinian license plates, surrounds the home of a wanted Hamas mbr., fires on the home, arrests the wanted man when he surrenders; sends troops into Ramallah, occupying offices in the PA Public Works Min. as an observation post, surrounding an apartment building, ordering residents to evacuate, arresting 3 Palestinians, firing on stone-throwing Palestinians who confront the troops, wounding 1; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Aqabat Jabir r.c. nr. Jericho; issues military orders confiscating 8 d. of Palestinian land nr. Qalqilya for the separation wall. (OCHA 8/16; PCHR 8/17)

The IDF drops leaflets on Beirut warning residents of the capital to expect escalated bombing whose “painful and severe results will not be limited” to Hizballah targets, urging residents of 3 neighborhoods (Burj al-Barajneh, Hay Sullum, al-Shiyah) to evacuate immediately (the areas are vacant by the end of the day, with the government bussing residents without transportation to Juniyah); drops leaflets on n. Lebanon, warning truck drivers to stay off roads to Syria. Meanwhile, Israel asks the U.S. to speed delivery of M-26 artillery shells (short-range antipersonnel rockets armed with cluster munitions) along with other unspecified weapons for use against Hizballah. The IDF continues air and artillery strikes across Lebanon, including firing missiles at an unused radio tower in downtown Beirut; targeting traffic on roads nr. Tyre, destroying roads in the Biqa‘ Valley, killing at least 2 Lebanese. Ground operations continue in s. Lebanon, reportedly focusing on areas stretching fr. Marja’uyun to al-Khiyam (with the IDF claiming to have taken control of Marja’uyun) and fr. Aita alSha‘b to Bint Jubayl, leaving at least 1 IDF soldier dead, 2 wounded nr. Qlei‘a. Hizballah fires at least 140 rockets into n. Israel, hitting Acre, Carmiel, Dayr al-Assad (killing an Israeli Palestinian woman, her son and wounding 11), Haifa, Kiryat Shimona, Ma’alot, Nahariya, Safad. (WP 8/10; NYT, WP, WT 8/11; WP 8/13)

In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units into Azun in a car with Palestinian license plates, surrounds a home, arrests 1 PSF mbr. who surrenders; conducts random ID checks in, fires on residential areas of Kafr Dan nr. Jenin; conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Jenin and Nablus, in Dahaysha r.c., nr. Bethlehem, Hebron; burns 70 d. of agricultural land btwn. the separation wall and the Green Line nr. Tulkarm (see 8/5). In Ramallah, 7 Palestinians working in the PC building are taken to the hospital with breathing difficulties after opening a suspicious letter addressed to PM Haniyeh; the building is evacuated. The PA head of military intelligence for n. Gaza dies of injuries received in an ambush in Jabaliya r.c. on 8/6; no group claims responsibility. (AP 8/7; WP 8/8; OCHA 8/9; PCHR 8/10)

Overnight, the IDF destroys the last remaining bridge over the Litani River linking n. and s. Lebanon; this cuts off access to Tyre. The IDF announces a 10:00 P.M. curfew on Tyre, saying that any movement there after dark and any vehicular traffic s. of the Litani River at any time will henceforth be considered Hizballah activity and a legitimate target. As UN mbrs. narrow differences on a cease-fire res., Olmert’s security cabinet discusses speeding up the IDF’s advance to the Litani River, escalating attacks on Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure. During the day, the IDF continues heavy air, artillery strikes on some 150 targets across Lebanon, hitting s. Beirut (including 47 killed, 70 wounded in the Christian-Shi‘i suburb of al-Shiyah, where Shi‘a are pro-Amal), the Biqa‘ Valley (including Baalbek, Masnaa), in and around Nabatiyya (including 7 civilians killed in air strikes on cars traveling in Qasmiyya; 15 killed, 20 wounded in an air strike on an apartment building in Ghaziyya), and across s. Lebanon (including demolishing a 4-building apartment complex in Tyre), killing at least 69 Lebanese civilians; continues ground operations across s. Lebanon that leave 3 IDF soldiers dead, 7 wounded in Bint Jubayl and include heavy fighting in Hula (the IDF claims to kill at least 15 Hizballah mbrs.); downs an unmanned Hizballah drone off the s. Lebanon coast. Hizballah fires 130 rockets into n. Israel, injuring 10 Israelis, hitting targets in Acre, Carmiel, Kiryat Shimona (70 rockets), Ma’alot, Nahariya, Safad. The ICRC says that the IDF has barred humanitarian aid missions to the south for 3 days. (BBC, NYT, WP 8/7; BBC, NYT, WP, WT 8/8; WP, WT 8/9; WP 8/10)

The IDF continues operations al-Shuka, making air and artillery strikes on buildings allegedly housing Hamas and Islamic Jihad weapons caches, exchanging fire with Palestinian gunmen, conducting house-tohouse searches, prompting residents to flee, leaving 2 Palestinian civilians, 1 Palestinian militant dead, at least 1 Palestinian wounded. Late in the evening, the IDF expands operations deeper into Rafah, making air strikes on militant targets in heavily residential areas, killing 1 Islamic Jihad mbr., 2 other armed Palestinians, a Palestinian woman and her 2 children, wounding at least 3 Palestinians; also destroys the remaining parts of a PA security barracks. Also in Gaza, the IDF makes an air strike destroying a home in Shatti r.c. nr. Gaza City after warning residents to evacuate. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids in Tulkarm town; patrols in Tulkarm r.c.; conducts random ID checks in Hebron. The IDF also bars Palestinians under age 45 fr. attending Friday prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque. (NYT 8/4; WP 8/5; PCHR 8/10)

The IDF calls up more reservists (no details reported), moves additional artillery to the border with Lebanon; escalates air strikes on s. Beirut (killing at least 1 Lebanese soldier, wounding 2 soldiers, 4 civilians), hitting bridges and roads in Christian areas n. of the capital along the coast for the 1st time (killing a least 5 Lebanese civilians, wounding 19; hitting an 8-truck UN convoy, preventing the movement of other aid convoys south); also strikes targets in s. Lebanon (flattening 2 houses, leaving 50 Lebanese missing) as well as in Baalbek, Hermel, Qana (killing at least 28 farm workers, mostly Syrian Kurds) in the Biqa‘ Valley. Ground operations in s. Lebanon continue, with especially intense fighting in Aita al-Sha‘b, Markaba (where at least 3 IDF soldiers are killed and 1 tank is destroyed), Taybeh. Hizballah fires 195 rockets into n. Israel, hitting Buaineh, Carmiel, Hadera (50 mi. fr. the border, the deepest strike to date), Kiryat Shimona (hit by 60 missiles), Ma’alot, Migdal Hamek, Nahariya, Qunaytra, Safad, Shar Yishuv; killing 4 Israelis (including 3 Druze; 1 in Maghir, 2 in Majd al-Krum) wounding 8. (AP, NYT 8/4; NYT, WP, WT 8/5)

The IDF withdraws troops fr. the outskirts of Gaza City, where residents find the bodies of another Hamas mbr. and a 13-yr.-old Palestinian killed during recent clashes, 9 Palestinian homes completely demolished, 16 partially destroyed, at least 80 d. of agricultural land razed; conducts an air strike destroying a shed nr. the Rafah border allegedly hiding a smugglers tunnel. Palestinians fire rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, lightly wounding 2 Israelis. In the West Bank, the IDF sends troops into Azun nr. Qalqilya, fires on stone-throwing youths who confront them, wounding 1; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem. (NYT, WT 7/29; PCHR 8/3)

The IDF continues air and artillery strikes across Lebanon, including making about 70 air strikes on Baruk in the central Biqa‘ valley, hitting a convoy of civilian vehicles evacuating Rmaysh in s. Lebanon, wounding a journalist. Ground fighting continues in Bint Jubayl, where the IDF claims at least 26 Hizballah mbrs. are killed; 6 IDF soldiers wounded. Hizballah for the 1st time fires 2 Khaybar-1 rockets (range up to 50 mi, payload up to 200 lb), striking Afula, 30 mi inside Israel, just n. of the West Bank; fires more than 100 rockets into n. Israel during the day, wounding 14 Israelis and hitting targets in Carmiel, Ma’a lot, Nahariya, Safad, Tiberias. (AP, ICRC press release 7/28; NYT, WP, WT 7/29)

In Gaza, the IDF closes the Nahal Oz pipeline; shells areas nr. Gaza City, killing at least 1 Palestinian militant, 1 Palestinian farmer working in her field; shells areas nr. Bayt Hanun (killing 1 Palestinian child outside his home, wounding 5 Palestinians), in al-Shuka; makes air strikes destroying 3 houses nr. Bayt Lahiya (killing 1 Palestinian bystander), in Bayt Hanun, Khan Yunis (also destroying 2 adjacent homes). In Jerusalem, a Palestinian gunman fires on Israeli police, wounding 2 before being shot dead. In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units into Jenin r.c. in cars with Palestinian license plates, surrounds a home, opens fire (wounding a Palestinian bystander in an apartment building nearby), occupying several surrounding houses as sniper positions, evacuates and checks IDs of residents, arrests 1 Palestinian, fires on stone-throwing Palestinians who confront the troops, wounding 8 Palestinians (including 2 journalists covering the incident for al-Jazeera, Reuters); patrols in al-Bireh; begins construction of a new segment of the separation wall in Bayt Jala that will cut Palestinians off fr. 5,000 d. of agricultural land and cut off the access of Battir and Husan Nahalin villages to Bethlehem. The body of a Jewish settler fr. Yakir missing since early in the morning is found in a burnt-out vehicle nr. a West Bank Palestinian village; the AMB takes responsibility for kidnapping, killing him. In Israel, Israeli police free dual Israeli-Canadian citizen Falah after a Haifa District Court orders the police and/or Shin Bet to file formal charges against him or let him go (see 7/26). A Palestinian wounded during the 7/26 IDF raid on Kafr Qadim dies. A 2d Palestinian dies of injuries received during IDF operations in Nablus on 7/19. (OCHA 7/27; NYT 7/28; NYT 7/29; PCHR 8/3)

Israel’s security cabinet approves call-ups for up to 3 divisions of reservists (15,000–30,000 reserves) for the war on Lebanon. The IDF makes some 180 air and artillery strikes on targets across Lebanon, including hitting radio and TV relays in Amshit n. of Beirut, 3 trucks in the Biqa‘ Valley carrying emergency food supplies to Beirut. Ground clashes continue in Bint Jubayl, 2 residential apartment buildings nr. an Amal headquarters in Tyre; a Lebanese army base in n. Lebanon; roads, buildings in s. Lebanon and the Biqa‘ Valley, including al-Khiyam, Kafr, Nabatiyya, Sidon, Tuffah, Riyaq, Zahleh. The IDF broadcasts radio warnings to s. Lebanon residents that their villages would be “totally destroyed” if rockets are fired fr. them. Hizballah fires some 110 rockets into n. Israel, wounding 7 Israelis and hitting an empty factory in Haifa, also hitting sites in Carmiel, Nahariya Safad, Tiberias. (IFM 7/27; NYT, WP, WT 7/28)

The IDF expands Operation Summer Rains overnight, sending 50 tanks, troops back into n. Gaza in and around Gaza City, engaging in intense clashes with and conducting air strikes on Palestinian gunmen, leaving at least 7 Hamas mbrs., 5 Islamic Jihad mbrs., 9 civilians dead, at least 57 Palestinians wounded, bulldozing wide tracts of land. In at least 3 incidents in Jabaliya r.c., the IDF phones Hamas mbrs. warning them to evacuate their houses, then conducts air strikes destroying the homes. The IDF also closes the Qarni crossing. Palestinians fire 13 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, lightly injuring 1 Israeli in Sederot. In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units in a car with Palestinian license plates into Kafr Qadim nr. Qalqilya, surrounds a home, evacuates and checks residents, demolishes the home, arrests 1 Palestinian, injures 1; bars a Palestinian heart attack victim fr. crossing a checkpoint to reach a Qalqilya hospital, allowing him to die; patrols, searches cars in Yatta nr. Hebron; conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron, and in al-Fara‘a r.c. nr. Jenin, Nablus. In Rafah, a Palestinian is killed in an exchange of fire btwn. PA security forces, armed Palestinians. Israeli security sources reveal that Israeli-Canadian citizen Falah, arrested on 7/8 and held without access to a lawyer, was detained for photographing a military antenna nr. Ras al-Naqura, alleging that he was sent “to photograph and report where rockets have landed in Israel,” noting that he visited Beirut, Tehran within the last 2 yrs.; Falah, who was arrested before Hizballah’s 7/12 cross-border raid and the firing of rockets into Israel, said the photos were for academic purposes, he did not know the antenna was military, and his trips to Lebanon, Iran were public knowledge. (REU, NYT, WP 7/26; NYT, WP, WT 7/26; PCHR 7/27; OCHA 8/2; PCHR 8/3)

The IDF faces intense fighting in s. Lebanon, where some 100 Hizballah mbrs. ambush an elite IDF Golani Brigade unit in Bint Jubayl, pinning them down for 1 hr. under a heavy barrage of mortars, antitank rounds, RPGs, and small-arms fire before they could return fire, killing 8 IDF soldiers, wounding at least 22; the IDF estimates that it killed around 20 Hizballah mbrs. A 9th IDF soldier is killed, 5 are wounded by antitank fire in clashes nr. Maroun al-Ras. Meanwhile, the IDF continues air strikes nr. Beirut and in s. Lebanon, including hitting an Amal command center and the Hizballah headquarters in Tyre. In Anjar nr. the Syrian border, a truck carrying emergency food, medical supplies donated by the UAE (see 7/18) is hit, killing the Syrian driver. Hizballah fires around 150 rockets into Israel, striking Carmiel, Haifa, Jish, Safad, Tiberias. Israel allows 2 Jordanian military transports carrying humanitarian aid to land at Beirut airport, though it still will not provide safety guarantees for trucks transporting the supplies southward on the coastal highway or across the border fr. Syria, where relief goods for 20,000 people have been stockpiled. The UN moves 5 convoys of supplies (containing wheat, soap, diapers, water purification tablets, medical kits) to the south on 5 routes approved for one-time use by the IDF. (NYT, WP, WT 7/27)

The IDF continues to shell n. Gaza, wounding at least 1 Palestinian civilian. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem. A Palestinian militant wounded during the 7/19–20 IDF raid on al-Maghazi r.c. dies of his injuries. (PCHR 7/27)

The IDF continues its troop build-up on the n. Israel border, artillery strikes and heavy air raids across Lebanon, incursions by small special forces units into the south. In its 1st major ground operation, the IDF sends some 2,000 soldiers, a tank brigade, armor into Maroun al-Ras (a Hizballah stronghold, reportedly largely depopulated since fighting began) on the central s. Lebanese border, stating later that after heavy, close combat, it has taken control of the town and several surrounding villages; at least 3 Hizballah mbrs., as many as 7 IDF soldiers may have been killed, several tanks disabled. Meanwhile, the IDF continues to warn s. Lebanon residents to move northward; Sidon reports some 35,000 displaced Lebanese arriving in the city today; Tyre, the largest s. Lebanese town, reports that only around 5,000 of its 175,000 residents remain. Among the targets hit in IDF air strikes are TV and cell phone transmission towers n. of Beirut (killing at least 1 Lebanese); 2 ICRC ambulances nr. Qana, killing 1 patient and injuring 6 medics, 2 patients; Hizballah targets in Baalbek, s. Beirut, Hermel, Sidon, Tyre. At least 8 Lebanese are killed during the day. Hizballah fires some 130 rockets into n. Israel, wounding 10–20 Israelis (3 seriously); targets include Carmiel, Haifa, Kiryat Shimona, Nahariya, Safad. Israel allows some ships bearing humanitarian aid to enter Lebanese ports. (AFP 7/22; NYT, WP, WT 7/23; NYT 7/24; WP 7/25)

Overnight, the IDF withdraws fr. alMaghazi r.c., leaving a total of 207 d. of land, 4 Palestinian homes demolished, 9 other homes partially demolished. Also in Gaza, the IDF fires a tank shell at a home in Gaza City, alleging that a Hamas mbr. on the roof was preparing to fire an RPG, killing a handicapped Palestinian on the roof, 3 relatives inside, wounding 2; shells areas nr. Khan Yunis and the Sufa crossing in the south and in n. Gaza, wounding at least 6 Palestinian civilians. In the West Bank, the IDF withdraws troops fr. Nablus, ending a 3-day operation; before leaving, troops blow up the main government offices (killing a Palestinian bystander), fire on stone-throwing Palestinians youths, wounding 21. The IDF also conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Qalqilya. (WP 7/21; NYT, PCHR 7/22; PCHR 7/27; B’Tselem 8/3)

The IDF calls up 3 battalions (several 1,000) additional reserves, positions troops and armor on the n. Israel border in preparation for “limited” ground operations to “mop up” Hizballah strongholds and weapons sites, continues pinpoint special forces operations inside s. Lebanon, urges residents to evacuate n. of the Litani River immediately (see 7/20; local officials estimate that 70% of the southern population has left). The U.S. approves Israel’s request to expedite delivery of precision-guided missiles (including at least 25, possibly 100, 5,000-lb GBU-28 bunker busters) to maintain the intensity of IDF air strikes. IDF artillery hits a UN observation post in Zarit, s. Lebanon, causing extensive damage but no injuries; makes air strikes on the Beirut–Damascus highway and several bridges, targeting empty passenger busses returning fr. Syria after evacuating foreigners; continues air strikes on Baalbek (killing at least 5 Lebanese civilians, wounding 20) and on s. Lebanon. At least 12 Lebanese are killed during the day. Hizballah fires 35–50 rockets into n. Israel, 10 of them hitting Haifa (injuring 3 Israelis) and others hitting Carmiel, Kiryat Shimona, Nahariya, Safad, Tiberias, and several n. Israeli villages. Hizballah acknowledges that 6 Hizballah mbrs. have been killed since 7/12, whereas Israel claims that around 100 have been killed. UN humanitarian relief coordinator Jan Egeland estimates that 500,000 Lebanese are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, but says that the UN cannot provide it without Israel, Lebanon guaranteeing safe corridors for movement of civilians and aid. Today, Israel allows 1 Greek ship carrying 22 tons of humanitarian goods to enter Beirut. (AP 7/21; NYT, WP, WT 7/22; NYT 8/11)

In Gaza, the IDF continues operations in al-Maghazi r.c., engaging in heavy clashes with local gunmen, killing 4 armed Palestinians and 1 bystander, wounding at least 32 (in addition, 1 Palestinian child wounded in al-Maghazi on 7/19 dies of her injuries); drops leaflets across Gaza warning that “anyone who has . . . an arsenal, ammunition, or weapons in their house must destroy them or will face dangerous consequences.” The IDF also continues to shell n. and s. Gaza to prevent rocket fire; makes air strikes on 2 groups of Palestinians allegedly laying roadside bombs (no injuries are reported); fires warning shots fr. gunboats to keep Palestinian fishermen fr. going out to sea. Palestinians fire at least 1 rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, lightly wounding 1 Israeli. In the West Bank, the IDF continues major operations in Nablus, surrounding the local PA headquarters where a number of wanted Palestinians have taken refuge since fighting began on 7/19; 15 give themselves up during the day, but 10 remain inside, as IDF tanks shell the building and bulldozers begin to demolish the structure, troops fire on stone-throwing Palestinians who confront them (wounding 5). Also in Nablus, some 4,000 Palestinians demonstrate in support of Hizballah. The IDF also conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron; clears Palestinian trees nr. Har Homa settlement. (NYT, WP 7/21; IFM 7/22; PCHR 7/27)

Israel warns Lebanese s. of the Litani River that they have 24 hrs. to evacuate to the north. The IDF increases pinpoint ground operations in s. Lebanon, engaging in fierce clashes with Hizballah, leaving at least 2 IDF soldiers, 2 Hizballah mbrs. dead and 6 IDF soldiers injured; sends tanks, bulldozers across the n. border to destroy tunnels, bunkers, posts used by Hizballah (Hizballah claims to destroy 2 tanks; the IDF does not comment); continues air and artillery strikes on 150 targets across Lebanon, including Baalbek, Hermel, and al-Khiyam (destroying the infamous jail there, formerly run by Israel’s proxy, the South Lebanon Army). Late in the evening, 2 IDF helicopters collide over n. Israel nr. the Lebanese border, killing at least 4 IDF soldiers. Hizballah fires some 40 rockets at n. Israel, hitting Carmiel, Kiryat Shimona, Safad, Tiberias; there are no reported injuries. Syria reports that more than 140,000 people have crossed over fr. Lebanon since the violence began. Some 10,000 foreigners are evacuated by sea fr. Beirut and Tyre (including some 2,250 Americans and many Southeast Asian laborers evacuated by the Indian navy); UNIFIL evacuates its post at Naqura. Lebanese report that the cost of basic goods has risen 500% in some areas. (BBC, UNIS, WP 7/20; AP, NYT, WP, WT 7/21; WP 7/22)