U.S. special envoy Mitchell returns to the region for a 2-day visit aimed at reviving indirect talks. He says he will urge the Israeli and Palestinian sides to present their final status positions...
December 13, 2010Read more
July 21, 2010
IDF troops make a brief incursion 200 m into n. Gaza n. of Bayt Hanun, firing 5 flechette rounds at a group of Palestinians preparing to fire a rocket, killing 2 Islamic Jihad mbrs., wounding 8...Read more
March 1, 2010
IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire 2 artillery shells at open areas nr. al-Nada housing project, causing no damage or injuries. Later, IDF troops on the n. Gaza border nr. Bayt Lahiya fire 4...Read more
September 20, 2009
In Gaza, the bodies of 2 Palestinians, an IQB mbr. and a mbr. of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s (PFLP) armed wing, are found nr. the Gaza border nr. Jabaliya, possibly the...Read more
June 2, 2009
Overnight, in East Jerusalem, an Israeli gunman fires on 3 Israeli Palestinians at a bus stop in an apparent hate crime, killing 1 Israeli Palestinian, seriously wounding the 2d, and missing the...Read more
January 13, 2009
The IDF significantly increases attacks on Gaza for the 2d straight day, as international mediation efforts led by Egypt to secure a cease-fire also intensify.
Combat notes: The IDF...Read more
January 5, 2009
As OCL enters day 10, IDF ground forces tighten the circle around Gaza City and continue to operate against Palestinian rocketlaunching units across n. Gaza, still avoiding entering densely...Read more
January 3, 2009
Israel begins phase 2 of OCL, a massive ground advance into Gaza, in the evening. The IDF states that “the objective . . . is to destroy the terrorist infrastructure of the Hamas in the precise...Read more
April 16, 2008
Israel resumes shipments (suspended 4/9) of industrial gasoline for Gaza’s power plant but continues to suspend gasoline and diesel for cars and generators. The UNOCHA calls the fuel supplies for...Read more
November 23, 2007
The IDF enters the Erez industrial zone on the n. Gaza border and levels the remaining buildings and factories, builds sand berms to block the road from the zone into Gaza, shells Palestinian...Read more
March 22, 2004
The IDF assassinates Hamas spiritual leader and founder Shaykh Ahmad Yasin, firing 3 internationally banned flechette missiles at him as he leaves a Gaza City mosque after morning prayers, also...Read more
November 6, 2003
The IDF fires on residential areas of Nablus, killing a Palestinian woman inside her home; fires on a taxi circumventing a roadblock, killing 1 Palestinian passenger; fires flechette shells, live...Read more
October 22, 2003
The IDF assassinates wanted AMB mbr. ‘Abd al-Hadi Natsha in Hebron, local PFLP military cmdr. Ahmad ‘Atiya in Qalqilya; bulldozes 20 dunams of land, fires a flechette shell at Palestinian houses...Read more
January 31, 2003
IDF undercover units raid a fire station in Jenin, assassinate wanted Hamas mbr. Iyad Musa, also killing a Palestinian firefighter. IDF tanks fire 3 flechette shells at a group of Palestinian...Read more
December 28, 2002
The IDF fatally shoots a 8-yr.-old Palestinian girl in Khan Yunis; fires flechette shells at 2 unarmed Palestinians who stray too near the Israeli border nr. Bayt Hanun, seriously injuring them;...Read more
December 12, 2002
The IDF fires flechette shells, live ammunition at 5 unarmed Palestinian laborers attempting to sneak into Israel nr. the Qarni border crossing, killing them; the IDF says it thought they were...Read more
October 15, 2001
The IDF withdraws fr. Palestinian areas of Hebron, vandalizing several homes, cars before leaving. The National Union and Yisrael Beitunia bloc (led by Tourism M Rehavam Ze'evi, Infrastructure M...Read more
June 12, 2001
Palestinian snipers kill a Greek monk driving nr. Ma'ale Adumim settlement, wound an IDF soldier nr. Shavei Shomron settlement. Palestinians also fire mortars at Jewish settlements in Gaza,...Read more
December 12, 1996
PA, EU sign a free trade agmt., called the "provisional association agmt.," which will go into effect in 1/97. The EU parliament will review the document for "final ratification" in 3/97. (PR 12/...Read more
U.S. special envoy Mitchell returns to the region for a 2-day visit aimed at reviving indirect talks. He says he will urge the Israeli and Palestinian sides to present their final status positions separately to the U.S. in writing so that the U.S. can recommend bridging proposals. (HA 12/13; NYT, WP 12/14)
EU FMs meeting in Brussels say the EU will not recognize a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood until “an appropriate time.” (WJW 12/14)
In the afternoon, IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire a flechette round on a group of armed IQB mbrs. operating nr. the border fence n. of Bayt Lahiya, wounding 2. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Qalqilya, Ramallah. Jewish settlers fr. Susia settlement nr. Hebron attack 4 nearby Palestinian homes, beating several Palestinians. (PCHR 12/16; OCHA 12/17)
IDF troops make a brief incursion 200 m into n. Gaza n. of Bayt Hanun, firing 5 flechette rounds at a group of Palestinians preparing to fire a rocket, killing 2 Islamic Jihad mbrs., wounding 8 Palestinian bystanders (including 5 children between the ages of 4 and 9), and damaging 5 Palestinian homes. In the West Bank, the IDF makes a predawn incursion into Khirbat Qays village nr. Salfit, patrolling streets but making no arrests; makes a morning incursion into Qalqilya, raiding a workshop and arresting 1 Palestinian; demolishes 2 Palestinian homes under construction, 3 shops, and 1 barn nr. Ramallah and 1 house and barn nr. Hebron; conducts latenight patrols in al-Mazra‘a al-Gharbiyya nr. Ramallah, making no arrests. (NYT, OCHA, PCHR, WP 7/22; PCHR 7/29; OCHA 7/30)
IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire 2 artillery shells at open areas nr. al-Nada housing project, causing no damage or injuries. Later, IDF troops on the n. Gaza border nr. Bayt Lahiya fire 4 flechette rounds at armed Palestinians operating 700 m fr. the border, killing 1 armed Palestinian, wounding 1. IDF troops at the Erez crossing fire into Gaza at Palestinians demonstrating against Israel’s imposition of a 300-m no-go zone along the length of the Gaza border, causing no injuries. Hamas authorities in Gaza extend for 15 days the detention of British journalist Paul Martin, detained (2/14) on suspicion of security offenses based on his testimony in a trial in Gaza on behalf of a Palestinian accused of collaboration with Israel. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Jericho. PA Pres. Mahmud Abbas holds his weekly cabinet session in Hebron instead of Ramallah to protest Israel’s decision to include the Tomb of the Patriarchs/ al-Ibrahimi Mosque (located in Hebron) and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem as Israeli national heritage sites, calling the move contrary to international law. (NYT 3/2; OCHA, PCHR 3/4)
In Gaza, the bodies of 2 Palestinians, an IQB mbr. and a mbr. of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s (PFLP) armed wing, are found nr. the Gaza border nr. Jabaliya, possibly the victims of an IDF flechette shell; the IDF does not comment. The IDF carries out air strikes on smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border, causing no reported injuries. (PCHR 10/1; OCHA 10/2)
In the West Bank, a fire in a field nr. the unauthorized settlement outpost of Gil’ad Farm nr. Nablus destroys Palestinian olive trees, 2 settler homes, utility lines and injures 6 settlers. Palestinians claim the fire was started by settlers, while settlers accuse the Palestinians; the IDF arrests 4 Palestinian farmers. IDF troops violently beat a Palestinian at Jibara checkpoint nr. Tulkarm; carry out late-night raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem and Ramallah, arresting 4 Palestinians and summoning 3 more for interrogation; patrol and open fire in Jenin town and r.c., causing no injuries and making no arrests. (JPI, PCHR 10/1; OCHA 10/2)
Overnight, in East Jerusalem, an Israeli gunman fires on 3 Israeli Palestinians at a bus stop in an apparent hate crime, killing 1 Israeli Palestinian, seriously wounding the 2d, and missing the 3d before being arrested. In Gaza, IDF troops on the n. Gaza border for no apparent reason fire 4 flechette rounds at a Bedouin village, injuring 2 teenagers. In the West Bank, the IDF announces that effective immediately the Atara and al-Tayba checkpoints will no longer be staffed, easing Palestinian movement btwn. the n. West Bank and Ramallah, and btwn. Ramallah and Jericho, respectively; patrols in Ramallah in the morning, halting Palestinians to check their IDs. The UN notes that in the previous wk., the PASF for the 1st time arrested more Palestinians in the West Bank than the IDF, detaining 122 Palestinians compared to around 80 arrested by the IDF. (OCHA, PCHR, WJW 6/4)
The IDF significantly increases attacks on Gaza for the 2d straight day, as international mediation efforts led by Egypt to secure a cease-fire also intensify.
Combat notes: The IDF tightens the cordon around Gaza City (focusing attacks on the outlying neighborhoods of Shaykh Ajlin, Tal al-Hawa, and al-Zaytun and open areas n. of the city), with troops reportedly taking fire from Palestinian rocket-propelled grenade antitank missiles and mortars. The IDF also launches a major incursion into Jabaliya under heavy shelling, engaging in heavy exchanges of fire with Palestinian gunmen, killing at least 13. In s. Gaza, the IDF continues heavy attacks on Khuza, including air strikes, intense shelling, and widespread bulldozing of some 50 houses and farms; Israeli fire is so heavy and constant that residents report being unable to reach the injured or flee their homes to seek shelter outside the village; IDF troops pull back fr. Khuza after nightfall.
The IDF reports carrying out more than 160 air strikes across Gaza. Air strike target areas include Bayt Hanun, Bayt Lahiya, Gaza City (al-Sabra, Shaykh Ridwan, al-Zaytun), Jabaliya r.c., Khan Yunis, Khuza, Nussayrat r.c., Rafah, al-Shuka, Tal al-Za‘atar, and the Twam area. Israeli gunboats shell Nussayrat r.c. Heavy tank and artillery fire are reported nr. Bayt Lahiya (white phosphorous suspected) and in Dayr al-Balah, Jabaliya town, Khan Yunis (white phosphorous suspected), Khuza, Nussayrat r.c. (confirmed use of flechette shells). For a 2d day, nearly half of the air strikes take place after nightfall, targeting Gaza City. Palestinians report 12 hrs. of constant Israeli bombardment of the Rafah border, with the IDF claiming to destroy 90 smuggling tunnels. (The IDF also demolishes 1 tunnel on the Gaza–Israel border nr. the Nahal Oz crossing.) Specific targets include a Hamas police headquarters in Gaza City, 31 groups of armed men, 25 rocket-launching sites, and 13 suspected weapons manufacturing and storage facilities.
On the ground, the IDF reports a total of 6 soldiers wounded (2 moderately, 4 lightly) in 2 exchanges of gunfire with Palestinians. In a 3d incident, IDF reservists open fire on an IDF paratrooper unit, seriously wounding 1 and moderately wounding 3. Palestinians report around 70 Gazans killed today, putting the estimated Palestinian toll at 971 dead and 4,400 wounded. The Israeli toll stands at 13–14 dead, more than 125 injured. (Israeli military intelligence confirms that 1 soldier killed on 1/6 or 1/8 was targeted by a suicide bomber, stating that several Palestinian suicide bombers, including some women and some dressed as IDF soldiers, have approached combat units.)
Palestinians fire about 11 rockets and 6 mortars into Israel, causing no reported damage or injuries.
Humanitarian notes: The IDF observes another 3-hr. lull, allowing 102 truckloads of aid into Gaza. (The IDF states that 1,028 truckloads of humanitarian goods have been allowed into Gaza since 12/27.) During the lull the ICRC rescues 100 Palestinians trapped in Jabaliya. Heavy IDF attacks in Rafah force UNRWA to close a medical center just n. of the border to ensure the safety of patients and to open more shelters for displaced residents. Human Rights Watch calls Israel’s 3-hr./day breaks to facilitate humanitarian aid “woefully insufficient.” Other aid groups (including Doctors Without Borders, the ICRC, the UN) complain that they are still able to import and distribute only a fraction of the emergency supplies available for Gaza because of Israeli delays and restrictions. (BBC, HA, IDF, IFM, MA, MM, REU, YA 1/13; AYM, IDF, IFM, MM, NYT, WP, WT, YA 1/14; NYT, PCHR, WP, XIN 1/15; ITIC 1/19)
In the West Bank, IDF troops at the Tarqumiyya crossing nr. Hebron fatally shoot a Palestinian who allegedly attempts to grab the gun of a border patrol officer after being denied permission to cross the checkpoint. Late in the evening, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in Bayt Awa, Dura, and Kafr Khalil (all nr. Hebron). A Jewish settler driving nr. Azun village e. of Qalqilya opens fire on Palestinian youths who stone his car, killing 1 Palestinian teenager, wounding 2. (HA 1/13; PCHR 1/15)
A Jordanian soldier fires on an Israeli border patrol unit operating along the Negev border with Jordan n. of Elat. The border police return fire. No injuries are reported. (MM 1/13; WT 1/14; JPI 1/23)
As OCL enters day 10, IDF ground forces tighten the circle around Gaza City and continue to operate against Palestinian rocketlaunching units across n. Gaza, still avoiding entering densely populated areas. Troops deploy to segment the Strip into 3 main operational zones: a northern zone running fr. the n. Gaza border south to Netzarim Junction (the Qarni Crossing–Netzarim settlement line drawn on 1/4); a central zone fr. Netzarim Junction to Khan Yunis; and a southern zone fr. Khan Yunis to the Rafah border. While IDF troops are still entering Gaza, IDF reservists have not yet been sent in.
Meanwhile, French pres. Nicholas Sarkozy begins a regional tour to press for a 48-hr. humanitarian cease-fire, meeting with Mubarak in Cairo and Olmert in Israel).
Combat notes: In Gaza City, residents and medical workers report that IDF troops are concentrated in the al-Shuja‘iyya, al-Tuffah, and al-Zaytun neighborhoods (al-Zaytun is a strategic high point, providing a view over the breadth of the Strip) and that fighting is so intense (involving heavy Israeli tank and helicopter fire) that bodies of the dead have been left lying in the street and ambulances are unable to reach the area. IDF troops occupy at least 3 high-rise buildings in eastern areas of Gaza City as observation posts, expelling the residents and exchanging heavy gunfire with Palestinian gunmen. Israeli aircraft drop leaflets over Gaza City warning residents to evacuate their neighborhood; 1,000s of Gazans report receiving automated phone messages form the IDF saying “We are getting rid of Hamas.”
In addition to carrying out air strikes in support of advancing ground troops, the IDF reports making 40 air strikes targeting tunnels on the Rafah border, weapons caches, homes of senior Hamas and PFLP mbrs. (most of whom are in hiding), the Gaza airport site. Target areas include Abasan, Bayt Hanun, Bani Suhayla, Bayt Lahiya, al-Bureij r.c., Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City (the center city, al-Tuffah, al-Shuja‘iyya, Tal al-Hawa, alZaytun), Jabaliya, Khan Yunis, Khuza, the al-Mawasi area (w. of Khan Yunis), Nussayrat, Rafah, al-Shabura r.c. (nr. Rafah), Shati’ r.c., al-Shuka, Yibna r.c. (nr. Rafah).
Of particular note: A home in Gaza City’s al-Zaytun neighborhood, where the IDF placed 110 Palestinians it had rounded up on 1/4, is hit by an air strike and repeatedly shelled, killing at least 30 mbrs. of an extended family (including 5 children age 4 and younger) and wounding scores; the IDF bars relief workers fr. reaching the scene until 1/7. A shell fired from an Israeli naval vessel hits a Palestinian home in Shati’ r.c., killing a family of 7 asleep in their beds. A late-night air strike hits an UNRWA school in Shati’ r.c. being used as a shelter, killing 3 members of a single family. The IDF also makes air strikes hitting the offices of the Hamas-affiliated al-Risala for a 2d time (see 1/3). Photographs and live footage of the ongoing operations clearly show IDF artillery firing white phosphorus shells on densely populated areas, though Israel denies using the munitions. The IDF fires flechette shells on residential areas nr. Bayt Hanun, killing at least 1 Palestinian, wounding at least 3.
Palestinians fire 28 rockets, 5 mortars into Israel, hitting Ashdod, Ashqelon, Beersheba, Sederot, and Shaar Hanegev, damaging an empty kindergarten in Ashdod, injuring 2 Israelis in Shaar Hanegev.
More than 40 Palestinians are killed today (almost half of them children), bringing the estimated Palestinian toll to 550 dead, 2,500 injured. The Israeli toll reaches 9–10 dead, more than 70 wounded: 3 IDF soldiers are killed, 24 wounded (4 seriously) by friendly fire when their unit is hit by an Israeli tank shell outside Gaza City; an IDF officer is killed during an exchange of fire in n. Gaza, possibly by an IDF tank shell; 6 IDF soldiers are wounded in clashes with Palestinians nr. the e. Gaza border.
Humanitarian notes: Israel allows 80 truckloads of food, medicine, and medical equipment into Gaza, but the UN says much more is needed. Relief agencies (including the ICRC, UNRWA, and UNSCO) warn that two-thirds of the Strip is still without power, suffering freezing winter temperatures; 250,000 Gazans are without any running water; and water supplies for another 500,000 Gazans are expected to run out within days because of lack of fuel for pumps and backup generators. Shifa hospital, which has been running fully on generators for 3 days, warns that it has only a 2-day supply of generator fuel. (BBC, CNN, IDF, IDF Radio, MM, NYT, REU, RFM, UNIS, UNOSAT, WT 1/5; AFP, BBC, Guardian, HA, IDF, IFM, Israel Radio News, MA, MM, NYT, WP, WT, YA 1/6; IFM, PCHR, WJW, WT 1/8; Committee to Protect Journalists, MM, YA 1/9; NYT, WP 1/10; NYT 1/17; WP 1/27; BBC 2/23)
The IDF arrests 2 12-yr.-old Palestinians at an OCL protest nr. Hebron; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem and in al-Bireh, Ramallah. Clubwielding PASF officers violently disperse a protest against OCL by students attempting to march fr. Ramallah’s Birzeit University to a main IDF checkpoint at Atarot. (PCHR 1/8)
Israel begins phase 2 of OCL, a massive ground advance into Gaza, in the evening. The IDF states that “the objective . . . is to destroy the terrorist infrastructure of the Hamas in the precise area of operation, while taking control of some of [sic] rocket launching areas used by Hamas in order to greatly reduce the quantity of rockets fired at Israel and Israeli civilians.” Israeli FM Livni acknowledges that Israel has broader aims, stating that toppling Hamas is “a strategic Israeli objective,” but that it might take more than one large-scale military operation such as OCL to do the job.
Israeli actions: Before phase 2 begins in the evening, the IDF launches artillery strikes on some 40 targets concentrated in open areas around Bayt Hanun, east of Rafah, and along Gaza’s main north–south artery in an apparent effort to clear the areas of mines and tunnels, to move Palestinians away from those areas in preparation for the insertion of ground forces.
The IDF also continues air strikes and naval bombardments across Gaza. Target areas include Bayt Lahiya, Gaza City (al-Nasser, al-Rimal, al-Shuja‘iyya, al-Tuffah, al-Zaytun), Jabaliya, Juhur al-Dik, Khan Yunis, Khuza, al-Mughraqa, Nussayrat, Rafah, al-Shuka (e. of Rafah). Targets include 2 mosques in Bayt Lahiya and Jabaliya, killing at least 13 worshipers and injuring 30 during evening prayers; a car in Khan Yunis, assassinating senior Hamas military cmdr. Muhammad Ma‘aruf; 2 PA security compounds in Gaza City; the al-Aqsa Radio and the al-Risala newspaper offices in Gaza City; tunnels on the Rafah border; suspected rocket-launching sites and weapons depots. By evening, the Palestinian toll reaches at least 460 dead and more than 2,000 wounded.
At dusk, the IDF drops leaflets on n. Gaza warning residents that troops will soon operate in this area and that they should evacuate for their safety. Around 8:00 P.M. local time, the IDF cuts power to the Strip and begins sending ground forces into n. Gaza, taking up positions on the outskirts of Bayt Hanun and Bayt Lahiya (occupying homes as operational bases); securing areas e. of Gaza City nr. the Qarni crossing, but notably keeping a distance from Jabaliya (considered a Hamas stronghold), and just inside the s. Gaza border e. of Rafah (with tanks firing flechette shells at houses and agricultural areas, killing 1 Palestinian and wounding 7 inside their homes). Heavy gun battles are reported, with Hamas issuing a statement that it is firing mortars at IDF ground forces. After ground operations begin, the IDF announces a naval blockade of Gaza out to 20 nautical miles.
Palestinian actions: During the day, Palestinians fire 28 rockets and 7 mortars into Israel, hitting as far as Ashdod and Ashqelon to the n., and Netivot to the e., lightly damaging 3 homes and an apartment building, lightly injuring 2 Israelis.
Of note: Embedded with some IDF ground units are the first Israeli journalists and 2 foreign reporters (BBC and Reuters) allowed into Gaza since late 10/08. These journalists have been given “trusted” status by the government for their “long history of relations with the IDF” and are under the strict rules of the IDF censor; the general ban on foreign journalists is still in place, despite a 12/31 High Court ruling ordering the government to allow journalists access. (AFP, AP, BBC, IDF, IFM, ITV, Organization of the Islamic Conference [OIC] press release, REU, YA 1/3; HA, IFM, JAZ, JP, NYT, OCHA, WP, WT 1/4; NYT, UNOSAT, WP, WT 1/5; IFM, PCHR 1/8; HA 1/11; JP 1/22; JPI 2/6; Harpers 3/09)
Israel resumes shipments (suspended 4/9) of industrial gasoline for Gaza’s power plant but continues to suspend gasoline and diesel for cars and generators. The UNOCHA calls the fuel supplies for the power plant “insufficient” and urges Israel to resume shipment of all forms of fuel, saying that schools and clinics are unable to function normally without regular transportation. Overnight, the IDF sends troops into areas e. of Gaza City, sparking clashes that leave 4 armed Palestinians dead and 1 IDF soldier, 4 armed Palestinians wounded. In the morning, Hamas and Islamic Jihad mbrs. stage a diversion nr. the Nahal Oz crossing to lure IDF soldiers into Gaza, ambushing the unit once it enters the Strip, killing 3 IDF soldiers; the IDF responds with tank fire and air strikes, killing 4 Hamas and Islamic Jihad mbrs. The IDF increases tank fire, air strikes on Palestinian targets throughout the day, killing 14 Palestinian civilians, including 11 in a helicopter air strike on a mosque in Juhur al-Dik in c. Gaza, and Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana’a (his clearly marked Reuters press vehicle is hit directly by a flechette tank shell), wounding 34 (including 17 children, 1 woman); 2 IDF soldiers are also wounded. The IDF also bulldozes 6 Palestinian homes, 200 d. of agricultural land in Juhur al-Dik. An IDF infantry unit crosses into Gaza nr. Bayt Lahiya to engage armed Palestinians in the area, fires on a car of Palestinian farmers trying to fleeing the area, killing 1 Palestinian farmer, wounding 2. Palestinians fire 10 rockets, 2 mortars fr. Gaza into Israel during the day, causing no damage or injuries; 1 rocket fired toward Israel lands nr. Jabaliya r.c., injuring 2 Palestinians. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in Jenin r.c. (firing on residential areas, arresting an AMB mbr. granted amnesty by Israel in 7/07) during the day, and late at night in and around Jenin and Tulkarm, in Nablus, and nr. Hebron. In the evening (8:30 P.M. EST; 2:30 A.M. on 4/17 local time), IDF undercover units ambush a car in Qabatya, assassinating local Islamic Jihad cmdr. Bilal Zaalah (also reported as Bilal Kmayel) and a 2d Islamic Jihad mbr. (BBC, IFM, OCHA, REU 4/16; HA, NYT, PCHR, WP 4/17; OCHA 4/23; PCHR 4/24)
The IDF enters the Erez industrial zone on the n. Gaza border and levels the remaining buildings and factories, builds sand berms to block the road from the zone into Gaza, shells Palestinian residential areas near the zone (reportedly using flechette shells), killing 2 Palestinians. Troops are still operating in the zone at the end of the day. In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, percussion grenades, tear gas at Palestinian, Israeli, international activists taking part in nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall in Bil‘in (injuring 2) and al-Ma‘sara s. of Ramallah (injuring 4). In Khan Yunis, some 15,000 Hamas supporters participate in a nonviolent march to protest the upcoming Annapolis summit. (OCHA 11/28; PCHR 11/29)
The IDF assassinates Hamas spiritual leader and founder Shaykh Ahmad Yasin, firing 3 internationally banned flechette missiles at him as he leaves a Gaza City mosque after morning prayers, also killing 3 bodyguards, 4 bystanders, wounding at least 17 Palestinians, including Yasin’s 2 sons. Immediately, 100,000s of Palestinians take to the streets throughout the territories to protest the assassination. The IDF seals Gaza; clashes with Palestinian demonstrators in Balata r.c. (killing an al-Najah Radio correspondent in Balata r.c., apparently thinking his mobile phone was a weapon), Bethlehem, Dayr al-Balah, Hebron (fatally shooting 1 Palestinian watching fr. his balcony), Jenin, Khan Yunis (killing 3 Palestinians), Nablus; fires on residential areas of Rafah, Qalqilya, Tal Zu’rub; imposes a curfew on areas around Jenin, fires on residential areas; temporarily occupies a Palestinian home as an IDF post nr. Dayr al-Balah. 100s of Palestinian youths in East Jerusalem gather at checkpoints to throw stones at IDF soldiers; Palestinian prisoners in 2 Israeli jails riot. Palestinians fire Qassam rockets, mortars, antitank rockets at Gush Katif and Netzarim settlements, nearby IDF posts, the western Negev, damaging 2 apartments in Netzarim but causing no injuries. An ax-wielding Palestinian fr. the West Bank village of Bidiyya wounds 3 Israelis outside an army base in Tel Aviv before being arrested. An unidentified assailant said to be Arab stabs, lightly wounds 3 Israelis on a Jaffa bus. 4 Palestinians are arrested for beating up a Jewish settler in East Jerusalem. Jewish settlers detain, beat a Palestinian man in the Jordan Valley. An estimated 200,000 Palestinians, including reps. of all Palestinian factions, take part in Yasin’s funeral services later in the day, with 21 PSF officers forming an honor guard for Yasin’s coffin, Gaza churches ringing their bells, mosques broadcasting Qur’anic verses. Meanwhile, Israeli defense chiefs meet, agree to target the entire remaining Hamas leadership immediately, without waiting for another Hamas attack. Israel also announces that it will close the only mental health clinic serving East Jerusalem Palestinians (1,200 patients) because of “security concerns.” (AP, BBC, CSM, HA, MA, MM, NYT, REU, WP, WT 3/22; AP, ATL, ITARTASS, MNR, MENA, IDF Radio, IRNA, ITARTASS, JP, VIRI, VOI, VOP, XIN 3/22 in WNC 3/24; al-Arabiyya TV [Dubai], Syrian Arab News Agency 3/22 in WNC 4/27; AFP, BBC, CSM, HA, JT, MM, NYT, WP, WT 3/23; AFP, AYM, DUS, HA, al-Hayat al-Jadida, JT, MA, MENA, al-Ra’i, THWR, TSHR, VIRI, YA 3/23 in WNC 3/25; MM, NYT, PR, WP 3/24; ATL, ITAR-TASS, Izvestiya, JT, al-Ra’i, SA, VOP, XIN 3/24 in WNC 3/26; AYM 3/24 in WNC 4/3; JT, MM, PCHR, WJW 3/25; ITAR-TASS, MENA, NHR, VIRI 3/25 in WNC 3/27; MM 3/26; MNR 3/27 in WNC 3/30; AYM 3/30, VOP 3/31 in WNC 4/2; MEI 4/2; PCHR 4/15)
In Washington, Shalom holds further talks on Sharon’s disengagement plan with VP Dick Cheney, Powell, Rice. (WP 3/23)
The IDF fires on residential areas of Nablus, killing a Palestinian woman inside her home; fires on a taxi circumventing a roadblock, killing 1 Palestinian passenger; fires flechette shells, live ammunition at Palestinians who approach the Israeli border nr. Khan Yunis, killing 2 Palestinians, wounding 6 (2 dead, 4 wounded are apparently fr. the same family); demolishes 3 Palestinian homes nr. Jenin; conducts arrest raids in the Hebron area, Nablus, Qalqilya; shells residential areas of Khan Yunis, nr. Tulkarm. The PSF reports that it has in custody 2 Palestinians who have confessed to obtaining the explosives used in the 10/15 bombing of a U.S. convoy in Gaza. (HA, JTA 11/6; WP 11/8; PCHR 11/13)
The IDF assassinates wanted AMB mbr. ‘Abd al-Hadi Natsha in Hebron, local PFLP military cmdr. Ahmad ‘Atiya in Qalqilya; bulldozes 20 dunams of land, fires a flechette shell at Palestinian houses nr. Qarni crossing, leaving 1 Palestinian brain dead; conducts arrest raids, blows up a Palestinian home nr. Hebron; beats up a Palestinian AP cameraman filming soldiers vandalizing Palestinian cars at the Salim roadblock. A car explodes in Balata r.c., killing 1 Hamas mbr., injuring 2; the IDF says the men suffered a “work accident”; Hamas claims it was an IDF assassination. A Palestinian gunman infiltrates Tal Rumayda settlement, shoots and wounds 2 Jewish settlers before being shot dead; the IDF places curfews on nearby Palestinian villages. Palestinians also fire a Qassam rocket at Sederot, causing no damage or injuries. Late in the evening, the IDF sends troops into al-Qarara, Satar al-Gharbiyya, conducting arrest raids, razing 49 dunams of land. A Palestinian dies of injuries received in the IDF attack on Nussayrat r.c. on 10/20, bringing that toll to at least 8; a 2d Palestinian dies of injuries received in Ramallah on 10/21. (HA, PR 10/22; HA, MM, PCHR 10/23)
Ward Boston, a fmr. Navy lawyer who helped lead the military investigation into Israel’s 1967 attack on the USS Liberty that killed 34 U.S. soldiers, files a signed affidavit that Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson and Defense Secy. Robert McNamara ordered those heading the naval inquiry to “conclude that the attack was a case of ‘mistaken identity’ despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.” (AP 10/22; NYT 10/23)
IDF undercover units raid a fire station in Jenin, assassinate wanted Hamas mbr. Iyad Musa, also killing a Palestinian firefighter. IDF tanks fire 3 flechette shells at a group of Palestinian children playing soccer in a field btwn. Jabaliya and Bayt Hanun, seriously injuring 3, lightly injuring 5 children, 4 adults in nearby homes; the IDF says the children setting up goal posts were mistaken for militants preparing to launch Qassam missiles. The IDF also demolishes 2 Palestinian homes in Hebron, 2 in Rafah; conducts arrest raids in Dayr al-Balah, Hebron, Tulkarm. (HA, PM, REU 1/31; HA, NYT, WT 2/1; HA 2/2, 2/3; REU 2/4; LAW, PCHR 2/5; MEI 2/7)
The IDF fatally shoots a 8-yr.-old Palestinian girl in Khan Yunis; fires flechette shells at 2 unarmed Palestinians who stray too near the Israeli border nr. Bayt Hanun, seriously injuring them; fires rubber bullets, stun grenades at Palestinian students protesting in Bethlehem; demolishes 2 Palestinian homes in Dura; bulldozes 10 dunams of land nr. Dayr al-Balah. A car bomb explodes prematurely in East Jerusalem, lightly injuring the East Jerusalem Palestinian driver, who is arrested. Hamas mbrs. for the 1st time fire a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at an IDF patrol in Gaza, destroying an armored car, seriously injuring 2 IDF soldiers. (HA 12/28; BBC, WP, WT 12/29; WP 12/30; LAW, PCHR 1/1; HA 1/14)
The IDF fires flechette shells, live ammunition at 5 unarmed Palestinian laborers attempting to sneak into Israel nr. the Qarni border crossing, killing them; the IDF says it thought they were attempting to infiltrate Israel to stage an attack. The IDF also fires on 2 PFLP mbrs. attempting to infiltrate a Gush Katif settlement, killing 1, allowing the other to escape; fatally shoots an armed Palestinian attempting to infiltrate a kibbutz in Israel; bulldozes 2 Palestinian homes in Rafah r.c.; bulldozes 3 unoccupied Palestinian homes, 4 dunams of land in al-Mughraqa; conducts an arrest raid in Qalqilya. Palestinian gunmen fatally shoot 2 IDF soldiers in Hebron, nr. the cite of the 11/15 Islamic Jihad ambush. (REU 12/12; MM, NYT, WP 12/13; NYT 12/14; MM, PM 12/16; LAW, NYT, PCHR, PR 12/18; MEI 12/20)
The IDF withdraws fr. Palestinian areas of Hebron, vandalizing several homes, cars before leaving. The National Union and Yisrael Beitunia bloc (led by Tourism M Rehavam Ze'evi, Infrastructure M Avigdor Lieberman) quits the governing coalition in protest, leaving Sharon with control of 76 of the Knesset's 120 seats. As troops withdraw, Jewish settlers attempt to storm the vacated Palestinian neighborhoods, also vandalize several homes and shops, but are halted by soldiers, who arrest 21 (all released later in the day). The IDF also eases passage through roadblocks in a handful of areas, including Ramallah, and expands fishing areas off Gaza, in keeping with cease-fire steps. (HA, MM, WP, WT 10/15; AFP, MM, NYT, WP,WT 10/16; MA 10/16 in WNC 10/17; LAW 10/17)
Meanwhile, however, Hamas mbr. Hamad Marshud is killed when a flechette device, apparently planted by the IDF, explodes in a car outside his Nablus office. The State Dept. reiterates the U.S.'s strong opposition to Israel's assassination policy. The IDF also maintains closures on most West Bank, Gaza areas; surrounds, seals Bayt Umar; conducts arrest raids in Dayr Istya; begins building a bridge to link the Gaza settlements of Gush Katif, Kissufim, confiscating 150 dunams of Palestinian land; hands eviction orders to 250 tradesmen at a market area nr. Tulkarm; conducts arrest raids in Bayt Surik, Dayr Istya. Nr. Ramallah, armed Jewish settlers bar Palestinians farmers fr. reaching their olive groves, firing on them, beating them, burning cars. In Jerusalem, Israeli authorities raid the offices of several Palestinian lawyers, architects; search, photograph, destroy company files. (HP 10/15; MENA 10/15 in WNC 10/16; HP, NYT, WP, WT 10/16; LAW, WT 10/17)
In London, Arafat meets with British PM Tony Blair, who calls for the creation of a "viable Palestinian state, as part of a negotiated and agreed settlement, which provides peace and security for Israel." (AP, NYT 10/15; London Press Association, MENA, SA 10/15 in WNC 10/16; MM, NYT, WP, WT 10/16; AN, MENA 10/16 in WNC 10/17)
Palestinian snipers kill a Greek monk driving nr. Ma'ale Adumim settlement, wound an IDF soldier nr. Shavei Shomron settlement. Palestinians also fire mortars at Jewish settlements in Gaza, causing no damage. The IDF shells residential areas of Khan Yunis, bulldozes Palestinian land nr. Rafah. Jewish settlers seize 800 dunams of Palestinian land btwn. Hebron, Israel. (MM, HP, WP, WT 6/13)
IDF officials confirm that flechette shells fired fr. IDF tanks killed the 3 bedouin women on 6/9. Flechette weapons are banned under international law. (WP 6/14)
After another round of security talks this morning, Sharon accepts the U.S. cease-fire plan with reservations. Tenet continues bilateral mtgs. with the PA team, while outside the Ramallah venue, 100s of Palestinians demonstrate against a cease-fire. Late this evening (EST; early morning 6/13 Jerusalem time), after hrs. of talks during which Egyptian pres. Mubarak reportedly phoned 3 times to press the PA, Arafat also accepts Tenet's proposal with reservations. (AFP [Internet], AP, MM, PMC, UPI 6/12; NYT, PMC, WP, WT 6/13; QA 6/13 in WNC 6/15; WP, WT 6/14; SA 6/14 in WNC 6/18; MEI 6/15; AKH 6/15 in WNC 6/20; NYT 6/16; MEI 6/29)
Expressing concerns of possible mass expulsions of West Bank Palestinians by Israel, Jordan toughens its immigration rules, making it harder for Palestinians to enter. (al-Quds 6/11 in WNC 6/12; HA 6/12; JT, al-Quds 6/12 in WNC 6/13; NYT 6/13; JT 6/15 in WNC 6/18; HJ 6/18 in WNC 6/21; Economist [Internet] 6/21)
PA, EU sign a free trade agmt., called the "provisional association agmt.," which will go into effect in 1/97. The EU parliament will review the document for "final ratification" in 3/97. (PR 12/13)
EU special envoy Moratinos meets with Israeli FM Levy. Moratinos and Arab, Israeli leaders have agreed to set up a "red phone" to Moratinos to be used in case of any misunderstandings, emergencies among the parties. (ITV, QY 12/12 in WNC 12/16; MEI 1/24)
Arab League issues statement strongly condemning Israel's settlement activities, plans to build 132 units in East Jerusalem. (RE 12/12 in WNC 12/16) (see 12/11)
At the funeral for 2 settlers killed 12/11, Netanyahu vows to "deepen" Jewish settlements on the West Bank. PA says it has arrested 10 PFLP mbrs. in Ramallah. (MM 12/12; CSM, MM, NYT, WP, WT 12/13; PR 12/20; JP 12/28; MEI 1/10)
In Kiryat Gat in s. Israel, an Israeli shoots, kills a Palestinian worker fr. Gaza, whom he claims was trying to break into his home. Palestinians say the man, Samir Abu Shaqfa, was killed to avenge the death of 2 settlers 12/11. IDF detains the settler for questioning. (MM 12/12; NYT, WP 12/13; MM, PR 12/20; JP 12/21)
The World Bank approves a $120-m. loan to Jordan to support economic reforms. The variable-rate loan is for 17 yrs., incl. a 4-yr. grace period. (World Bank press release 12/12)
ILMG says that the IDF is responsible for the 12/7 attack on 2 s. Lebanon villages that left 6 Lebanese civilians wounded,; for using internationally banned flechette shells, which spray steel darts. Israel rejects the decision. (RL 12/12 in WNC 12/13; IDF Radio 12/12 in WNC 12/16; MM, WP 12/13) (see 12/9)
Hot line btwn. U.S., Israeli defense chiefs begins operation. The new direct link is aimed at providing a "private and dedicated means for the defense chiefs of the two countries to discuss matters of mutual interest." (JP 12/28)
In Baghdad, unidentified assailants use machine guns, grenades to attack car carrying Saddam Hussein's eldest son and heir apparent, Uday. The extent of Uday's injuries is not known, though he is alive. (al-Quds al-Arabi 1/6 in WNC 1/8; WP 1/29)