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  • September 6, 2011

    Obama Middle East adviser Dennis Ross and acting U.S. special envoy to the Middle East peace process David Hale arrive in the region for 2 days of mtgs. with Israeli and Palestinian officials...

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  • June 16, 2011

    Obama’s senior Middle East adviser Dennis Ross and acting U.S. special envoy to the peace process David Hale make an unannounced visit to the region in effort “to find a formula for talks that...

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  • May 13, 2011

    The White House announces that U.S. special envoy George Mitchell has submitted his resignation, effective 5/20 (the day Obama is to meet with Netanyahu at the White House). Secy. of State Clinton...

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  • August 11, 2010

    U.S. special envoy Mitchell ends a 2-day visit to the region aimed at securing Israeli and Palestinian agreement to resume direct peace talks by 9/1 based on a letter of assurances fr. the Quartet...

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Obama Middle East adviser Dennis Ross and acting U.S. special envoy to the Middle East peace process David Hale arrive in the region for 2 days of mtgs. with Israeli and Palestinian officials regarding the Palestinian statehood bid and a possible Quartet plan to revive negotiations. As they meet first with Israeli pres. Benjamin Netanyahu and DM Barak, U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton phones Abbas, urging him to “work hard with us to avoid a negative scenario in New York at the end of the month.” (AFP, Bloomberg, NYT 9/6; WP 9/7)

\Overnight, unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In retaliation, the IDF carries out an air strike on a suspected weapons depot in Gaza, causing no reported injuries. Later in the day, the IDF makes a brief incursion into s. Gaza nr. Khan Yunis, exchanging fire with PRC mbrs., causing no initial injuries; when the PRCs. fire mortars toward soldiers, the IDF replies with gunfire fr. a helicopter, killing 1 PRC mbr. and wounding 3 bystanders. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 1 village nr. Tulkarm. (IFM 9/6; NYT 9/7; PCHR 9/8; OCHA 9/9)

Obama’s senior Middle East adviser Dennis Ross and acting U.S. special envoy to the peace process David Hale make an unannounced visit to the region in effort “to find a formula for talks that would entice the Palestinians to drop their bid for unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state” at the UN in 9/2011. (NYT 6/17)

Overnight, the IDF carries out an air strike on a smuggling tunnel on the c. Gaza border with Israel in retaliation for the 6/15 rocket fire, causing no reported injuries. During the day, unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket toward Israel, but it lands inside Gaza, hitting a Palestinian home nr. al-Maghazi r.c., injuring 1 Palestinian. In the West Bank, the IDF raids the Hebron home of Hamas-affiliated PC mbr. Samir al-Qadi and arrests him. The IDF also patrols in 5 villages nr. Qalqilya, Ramallah, and Tulkarm during the day and in Jericho, 3 villages nr. Salfit, and 1 nr. Ramallah late at night; raids an auto repair shop in Nabi Elias nr. Qalqilya during the day, questioning but not arresting 2 Palestinians; and conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron. The IDF also escorts Jewish settlers into Kafr Haris to pray at a religious site. (NYT, WP 6/17; PCHR 6/23; OCHA 6/24)

The White House announces that U.S. special envoy George Mitchell has submitted his resignation, effective 5/20 (the day Obama is to meet with Netanyahu at the White House). Secy. of State Clinton appoints Mitchell aide David Hale as interim special envoy. (NYT, WP 5/14)

In Jerusalem, Israeli police and settlement security guards outside Beit Yonatan in Silwan fire on stone-throwing Palestinian youths, seriously wounding a Palestinian teenager walking some distance away. Numerous clashes are also reported, particularly around East Jerusalem, as Palestinians demonstrate in commemoration of the Nakba. In the Jordan Valley, a Palestinian boy is injured when he accidentally triggers IDF UXO. Palestinians (sometimes accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, and Nabi Salih. IDF soldiers fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, injuring 2 Palestinians (including 1 child) and 1 international activist; 2 Palestinians and 2 Israeli activists are arrested. (WP 5/15; PCHR 5/19; OCHA 5/20)

Heeding calls fr. Palestinian organizers on Facebook, 100s of Jordanians in Amman and 1,000s of Egyptians in Cairo rally after Friday prayers in support of Palestinian rights. (AP, DPA, Huffington Post 5/13)

U.S. special envoy Mitchell ends a 2-day visit to the region aimed at securing Israeli and Palestinian agreement to resume direct peace talks by 9/1 based on a letter of assurances fr. the Quartet. After separate talks with Abbas in Ramallah and Netanyahu in Jerusalem he is unusually upbeat and says he is optimistic that direct talks will resume soon, but gives no details. He leaves Dep. Asst. Secy. of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Hale in the region to continue discussions and finalize details of a Quartet statement. (State Dept. daily press briefing, WT 8/11; see also WP 8/10)

The IDF announces that for the month of Ramadan (8/10–9/10) it is extending operating hours at some checkpoints along the separation wall in the Bethlehem, Jenin, and Ramallah to facilitate travel to Jerusalem; removing earthen mounds along 3 routes in Nablus, Ramallah, Hebron to improve traffic flow; and issuing an additional 200 visitor permits for nationals of select Arab countries to enter the West Bank. Israel has also, however, limited Palestinian access to Jerusalem during Ramadan to men over 50 and women over 45 years of age. Meanwhile, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron, nr. Ramallah. As a goodwill gesture to mark the start of Ramadan, Hamas authorities in Gaza release 100 Fatah-affiliated prisoners, while the PA in the West Bank releases 8 Hamas-affiliated prisoners (MNA 8/11; PCHR 8/12, 8/19; OCHA 8/20)