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CrisisWatch Database

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Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Dec 2014

Unchanged

Month saw continued tensions and attacks on Israeli civilians in Jerusalem, increasingly referred to as “Jerusalem Intifada”: two killed in vehicular attack on pedestrians 5 Nov, Palestinian driver shot dead by police; four rabbis killed in W Jerusalem synagogue 18 Nov. Violence spread outside Jerusalem: several clashes reported across Israel between Palestinian protesters, Israeli civilians and police; Palestinian 10 Nov stabbed dead Israeli soldier in Tel Aviv. Right wing Israeli politicians, including PM Netanyahu, advanced legislation on automatic application of all new Israeli laws to settlers, discriminatory definition of Israel as nation-state of Jewish people; move deepened crisis of ruling coalition, sparked speculation about early election. PA security forces prevented large-scale organised protests in W Bank; Israeli woman killed outside Alon Shvut settlement 10 Nov, Israeli troops next day shot dead Palestinian during clash in refugee camp outside Hebron. Popular Fatah leader Marwan Baraghouti, jailed in Israel since 2002, 11 Nov criticised PA security coordination with Israel, called for third Intifada. Gaza reconstruction remained stalled, long-running salary crisis unresolved; Hamas signalled unwillingness to tolerate status quo. Israeli forces 23 Nov shot dead Palestinian near border in northern Gaza.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

Month saw several clashes between Israeli police, Palestinian protesters seeking to prevent entry of religious Jews to Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade following escalation during July-Aug fighting in Gaza; Jerusalem mayor late Oct said monthly incidents of public disorder rose from 200 before Gaza conflict to 5,000 during and after. Israeli authorities 30 Oct closed Holy Esplanade to all visitors following police killing of Palestinian; Palestinian President Abbas said move “tantamount to declaration of war”, authorities lifted closure later same day, retained tight security. Closure followed increase in tensions during early to mid-Oct Jewish holiday of Sukkoth; strict entry limitations for Muslims in reaction to violent protests, unprecedentedly strong call from Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshal to defend al-Aqsa mosque. Norwegian sponsors of 12 Oct donor conference on Gaza reconstruction announced pledge of $5.4bn over three years; roughly half for PA, apparently including regular PA aid. Israel took initial steps toward easing restrictions on Gaza including limited easing of movement by Gazans to Israel and W Bank, permitting entry of some reconstruction materials directed to Gaza warehouses pending implementation of monitoring mechanisms. Egyptian govt late Oct postponed indirect Israeli-Palestinian talks in Cairo following declaration of state of emergency in Sinai (see Egypt). Several deadly incidents reported in Jerusalem, W Bank including two Israeli citizens, Palestinian driver killed in vehicular attack on pedestrians in E Jerusalem 23 Oct; Palestinian boy shot dead by Israeli forces during clash with residents in W Bank village of Silwad next day.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

UN-mediated agreement to allow increased entry of commodities into Gaza, including dual-use construction materials, reached mid-Sept; concerns inflow of materials insufficient to address enormous reconstruction needs following July-Aug fighting. Both sides claimed Aug ceasefire not fully implemented: Hamas said Israel violated Gaza fishing rights, entered Gaza’s perimeter; Israel pointed to mortar fire on southern Israel. Indirect Israel-Hamas negotiations resumed in Cairo late Sept. Egypt convened Fatah-Hamas talks 23-24 Sept; agreement reached on salary payments for all civil servants and security force members of previous Hamas-led govt starting late Sept. Palestinian President Abbas announced intention to submit resolution to UNSC calling for end date to Israeli occupation; PA, Fatah officials vowed to join UN agencies and International Criminal Court in case of failure. E Jerusalem protests continued: over 700 youths arrested since early July, 1 died early Sept following clashes with police. Israeli troops 10 Sept killed Palestinian in W Bank refugee camp; 23 Sept killed 2 alleged perpetrators of June murders of 3 Israeli youths in Hebron.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Sep 2014

Deteriorated

Fighting between Israel and Hamas resumed 19 Aug after 3 consecutive ceasefires over previous 9 days: more than 2100 mostly civilian Palestinians, at least 66 Israeli soldiers and 6 civilians inside Israel killed since early July; Israel limited renewed campaign to air strikes, avoiding another ground operation. Egyptian-brokered ceasefire agreement reached 26 Aug; reportedly called for limited lifting of Gaza travel and trade restrictions; major issues including building of Gaza seaport, release of Palestinian prisoners deferred to later discussions. Hamas denied Israel’s claim Gaza militants broke ceasefire 19 Aug; 5 killed in Israeli air strike same day including wife and child of Mohammad Deif, leader of Hamas’s military wing; 3 senior Hamas commanders killed 21 Aug. Clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli army in W Bank continued, at least 20 Palestinians reported killed since early July.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Aug 2014

Deteriorated

Israel 8 July launched "Operation Protective Edge" in Gaza: more than 1400 Palestinians, 64 Israelis, including 61 soldiers, reported killed throughout month. Escalation followed June kidnapping and murder of 3 Israeli youths in W Bank and 2 July revenge torture and murder of Palestinian teen by vigilante Israelis in E Jerusalem. Israel held Hamas responsible for triple murder, launched air strikes 1 July following discovery of bodies previous day; several Hamas militants killed in air strikes in days leading up to announcement of army operation. Israel mid-month started ground operations; Hamas launched rockets, used tunnels in attempts to attack Israeli communities near Gaza. Attempts at reaching ceasefire agreement failed throughout July: proposals by Egypt rejected by Hamas, Qatar-led proposal rejected by Israel. Egypt proposed cessation of hostility as prerequisite for negotiation of long-term ceasefire; Hamas insisted on agreeing to ceasefire modalities before halting rocket fire, said aspects left undecided during fighting would never be addressed. 3-day humanitarian ceasefire announced 1 Aug reportedly collapsed same day. Several Palestinians reported killed by Israeli army during protests in W Bank including 8 killed in separate incidents 24-25 July; another killed by suspected settler 25 July. 4 reported killed in Israeli air strikes in S Syria 15 July following cross-border rocket fire. Rocket attacks, shelling across Lebanese border mid-month, no casualties (see Lebanon).

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Jul 2014

Unchanged Risk Alert

Killing of 3 Israeli youths in W Bank increased Israeli-Palestinian tensions: students found dead 30 June following mid-month kidnapping; Israeli PM Netanyahu claimed Hamas complicit, vowed retaliation, mid-month launched aggressive arrest campaign in W Bank, largest since 2003; 5 Palestinians killed, international response muted. PA “reconciliation” govt formed 2 June: Israel objected despite absence of Hamas ministers, senior positions being mostly filled by members of previous govt and all ministers having accepted Quartet principles, announced plans to build 1,500 new housing units in W Bank and E Jerusalem settlements; move met with international condemnations. Israel continued siege of Gaza; 5 reported killed in Israeli air strike mid- to late month. New PA govt stopped paying salaries to 43,000 govt employees in Gaza, causing unprecedented financial crisis. Likud’s Reuven Rivlin elected president of Israel 10 June despite PM Netanyahu’s objections; Rivlin supports annexing entire W Bank, naturalising Palestinian inhabitants. 1 Israeli killed in cross-border attack from Syria 22 June; Israel blamed Syrian regime, retaliated killing at least 4.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Jun 2014

Unchanged

Palestinian and Israeli leaders traded blame following April peace talks crisis and Fatah-Hamas announcement of formation of unity govt: Israel condemned Palestinian President Abbas for cooperating with Hamas; PLO criticised Israel for advancing settlement construction during talks, not presenting position on borders. Seeking to deter future prisoner releases that accompanied past negotiations, Israeli govt 11 May authorised law which, if passed by Knesset, would allow judges to sentence some prisoners to life imprisonment without parole. PM Netanyahu declared support for controversial law defining Israel as “Nation State of the Jewish People”; passage uncertain. Fatah, Hamas officials 27 May said most ministerial posts in new unity govt agreed on, Abbas 29 May asked PM Hamdallah to form govt. Israeli troops 15 May shot dead 2 Palestinians in W Bank as Palestinians commemorated 1948 war; NGO later released video of killings and claimed they were unprovoked, UN and U.S. urged investigation.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 May 2014

Unchanged

Crisis in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations deepened: after Israel late March reneged on pledge to release 30 Palestinian prisoners and 1 April republished tenders for more than 700 housing units in E Jerusalem settlement, Palestinian President Abbas same day signed applications to join 15 international treaties/conventions including Geneva Convention; Israel cancelled cabinet meeting on prisoner release planned for later same day, threatened sanctions. U.S. said disappointed by “unhelpful, unilateral actions” of both parties; spent following weeks trying to broker extension of talks past 29 April deadline, appeared intent on continuing to try. Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas 23 April announced reconciliation deal, promised formation of unity govt; U.S. warned move could complicate efforts to extend negotiations, Israel suspended, rather than ended, talks. PLO quickly shifted to promoting govt of technocrats whose ministers would accept Quartet conditions. Several clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters at E Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, including dozens wounded 16 April. Israeli killed in attack on car outside Hebron in W Bank 14 April. Gaza ceasefire, reactivated following breakdown in March, continued to hold despite several violations by both sides; exchanges of rocket fire across border left several Palestinians wounded, including 12 wounded in Israeli strikes 23 April.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

16-month ceasefire between Israel and Gaza, which eroded during past several months, temporarily broken 12 March when Palestinian group Islamic Jihad launched largest salvo of rockets towards Israel since last major escalation in Nov 2012; 3 members of group killed previous day in Israeli airstrike during border clashes. Israel struck back with airstrikes. Egypt negotiated reactivation of ceasefire between Islamic Jihad and Israel 13 March. Escalation followed cross-border attacks early March, including 2 Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrike 3 March. In W Bank, Israeli forces killed several Palestinians including: 10 March shot dead 18-year-old stone-thrower near Ramallah and Palestinian judge from Jordan on border crossing causing protests in Jordan, demands for expulsion of Israeli ambassador; 22 March killed 3 during raid against Palestinian militants in Jenin refugee camp. Several clashes along Israel’s northern borders: Israeli forces 5 March killed 2 suspected Hizbollah fighters on border between occupied Golan Heights and Syria; 4 Israeli soldiers wounded by roadside bomb 18 March on same border, Israel blamed Syrian regime, retaliated against Syrian army positions. Following 14 March bomb attack targeting patrol on Lebanese border Israeli forces shelled Hizbollah positions. Amid ongoing peace talks PM Netanyahu met U.S. President Obama in Washington 3 March; PM Abbas met Obama 17 March.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

U.S. Sec State Kerry continued to work toward framework for extended negotiations by end-April. Following 19-20 Feb talks with Palestinian President Abbas in Paris Palestinian official rejected Kerry’s ideas as unacceptable, not recognising “legitimate rights of the Palestinian people”. Abbas early Feb voiced support for 5-year phase-out of Israeli troops and settlements from future Palestinian state, proposed U.S.-led NATO forces could patrol it; Israel 9 Feb rejected proposal. Jerusalem municipality 5 Feb approved construction plans for 558 new homes in W Bank settlements. Thousands of Israelis, including ministers, lawmakers 13 Feb protested against peace efforts and for more settlement construction. 25 Feb Knesset Plenary session on Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif sovereignty saw PM Netanyahu intervening to ensure no operative steps are taken; session nevertheless triggered violent protest by young Muslims on holy esplanade, strong condemnations from Jordan and Arab League. UN reported Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in W Bank displaced nearly 600 in 2013, double 2012 figure. Army shot dead 1 Palestinian in Gaza near border 13 Feb, another in W Bank 27 Feb. In latest Israeli targeting of Hizbollah weapons shipment, airstrikes hit Hizbollah position near Lebanon-Syria border 24 Feb (see Lebanon).

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

U.S. Sec State Kerry continued parallel dialogues with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Abbas and Israeli PM Netanyahu on principles forming framework for negotiations; 23 Jan said final agreement would include complete removal of Israeli troops from Palestinian territory and Palestinian recognition of Israel as Jewish state. Both sides expressed reservations: Netanyahu said he would not accept any reference to Jerusalem, hardened demands regarding settlement blocks Israel wants to keep; Abbas said no deal without E Jerusalem as Palestinian capital but 28 Jan said could accept 3-year Israeli military presence in WB. Israel 10 Jan announced construction plans for 1,400 settlement homes in WB and E Jerusalem. Abbas 21 Jan said PA will not negotiate with Israel longer than agreed 9 months; PLO committee 25 Jan agreed on taking Palestinian plight to UN if talks fail. PM’s office 28 Jan said in event of agreement settlers should be able to stay under Palestinian sovereignty, provoking vitriolic debate in Israel, Palestinian rejection. Steps towards Hamas-Fatah reconciliation: Gaza PM Haniyeh 6 Jan announced hundreds of Fatah members exiled since 2007 could return to Gaza; Hamas 8 Jan freed 7 Fatah prisoners. Rockets fired at Israel from Gaza and Israeli reprisals spiked; Hamas 21 Jan deployed forces to prevent additional rocket fire on Israel. Israeli attacks killed at least 8 Palestinians in Gaza Strip, 29 Jan killed alleged Palestinian gunman north of Ramallah. Shin Bet 22 Jan arrested 3 Palestinians allegedly involved in planned al-Qaeda attack on U.S. embassy. Former PM Ariel Sharon died 11 Jan.

Israel/Palestine

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

U.S. Sec State Kerry intensified diplomatic efforts to resolve impasse in peace negotiations, 5 Dec presented security proposal purportedly entailing demilitarised Palestinian state, Jordanian border crossings under joint Israeli-Palestinian control, limited Israeli military presence in Jordan Valley. Palestinian Authority (PA) President Abbas 13 Dec rejected continued Israeli military presence in Jordan Valley. Israel 27 Dec issued instructions for construction of 1,400 West Bank units in advance of late Dec Palestinian prisoners’ release; met with strong criticism from U.S., EU, PA. Gaza humanitarian situation deteriorated due to fuel shortage, aggravated by extreme winter weather, floods; Qatar provided funds for fuel; over 5,000 evacuated from N Gaza, Gaza City 13 Dec. UNRWA called for end of Israeli blockade to allow recovery efforts, Israel opened Gaza crossing to allow entry of gas, water pumps. Bomb exploded in Tel Aviv bus 22 Dec shortly after vehicle evacuated; Palestinian militants suspected. Several killed in shootings, retaliatory attacks between Israeli forces and Palestinians. Lebanese soldier 15 Dec shot dead Israeli soldier at border near Rosh Hanikra; Israel retaliated shooting 2 Lebanese soldiers. Gunmen 2 Dec fired from Syria on Israeli soldiers in Quneitra, prompting retaliation. Roadside bomb attack on IDF jeep on Israel-Syrian Golan border 6 Dec; perpetrators unknown. French and Russian inquiries ruled out poisoning as cause of death of ex-PLO leader Yasser Arafat.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Secret peace negotiations stagnated amid mutual recriminations and continued Israeli settlement construction. Israeli govt 3 Nov approved construction of 1,700 new homes ahead of visit by U.S. Sec State Kerry; Kerry 6 Nov said settlements “illegitimate”, warned of “third Intifada” if peace talks fail. Palestinian negotiating team 13 Nov resigned in protest after 11 Nov details emerged of Israeli plan to construct 23,786 new settlement homes in occupied W Bank and E Jerusalem. PA president Abbas 17 Nov rejected resignation but will replace negotiator Mohammad Shtayyeh, said talks to continue. Israeli PM Netanyahu 13 Nov cancelled settlement plan, said it created “unnecessary clashes with international community” as govt tries to stall Iran P5+1 nuclear agreement. Netanyahu 24 Nov again called interim P5+1 and Iran agreement “historic mistake” to which “Israel is not bound”, said deal allowed Iranians to produce nuclear weapons. Israeli troops 7-8 Nov shot and killed 2 Palestinian men at checkpoints in W Bank, 26 Nov killed 3 suspected militants near Hebron. Palestinian youth 11 Nov stabbed Israeli soldier to death on bus in Afula, N Israel. Humanitarian and economic situation in Gaza deteriorated with severe fuel shortages caused by Israeli blockade and Egyptian crackdown on tunnel economy: only power plant closed 1 Nov; large waste water treatment plant closed 14 Nov, caused sewage to flood Gaza City. Demonstrations in Hura and Haifa 30 Nov against plan to forcibly relocate 40,000 Bedouins from southern Negev. Swiss forensic tests 6 Nov revealed ex-PLO leader Yasser Arafat likely poisoned with polonium; Israel denied involvement.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Secret peace talks continued between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators; unnamed senior Palestinian negotiators 7 Oct stated U.S. requested to “up the tempo” of negotiations but talks achieved “nothing”, and that Israel obstructing discussion of borders with its security demands concerning Jordan Valley. U.S. Sec State Kerry and Israeli PM Netanyahu discussed talks during 23 Oct meeting in Rome. Israel 30 Oct freed 26 Palestinian prisoners; announced plans for series of controversial construction plans in E Jerusalem and West Bank. In hardline speech, Netanyahu 7 Oct said Israeli military occupation not a cause of conflict, no peace possible unless Palestinians recognise Israel as “Jewish state” Hamas leaders Haniyeh and Meshal called on Palestinian Authority to cease peace negotiations immediately, said only armed struggle against Israel could achieve right of return and protect Jerusalem. Relations between Hamas and Egypt remained sour, Rafah border terminal mostly closed. Israeli forces 13 Oct discovered tunnel from Gaza into Israel: Hamas 21 Oct claimed responsibility, said tunnel part of plan to force Israel to free Palestinian prisoners; Israel retaliated stopping flow of building materials to Gaza. Hamas 31 Oct attacked Israeli forces destroying tunnel, injuring 5; Israeli forces reportedly killed 4 Hamas militants. Netanyahu 1 Oct criticised improved U.S.-Iranian relations, 14 Oct called U.S. diplomatic track with Iran ”historic mistake”, advocated tougher sanctions. U.S. official 31 Oct reported Israeli airstrike targeting shipment of Russian missiles bound for Hizbollah in Latakia, Syria; no confirmation from Israel.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

Secret Palestinian-Israeli talks held 3, 16 Sept: Palestinian officials 5 Sept stated “no progress” made, negotiator Saeb Erekat 19 Sept said talks undermined by hardline Israeli negotiating positions, settlement expansion and 7 Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces since talks began, criticised lack of U.S. participation. In Israel, deputy defence minister and senior Likud party official Danny Danon 3 Sept said PM Netanyahu has “no place in Likud” if peace deal signed. Israeli right-wing criticism of negotiations mounted after 2 Israeli soldiers killed by suspected Palestinian sniper in Hebron 23 Sept, and by Palestinian in Beit Amin village, West Bank 21 Sept. U.S. Sec State Kerry 8 Sept urged EU to postpone funding boycott it plans to impose on Israeli companies in WB, said ban would harm peace talks. Israel expressed scepticism over prospects of international diplomacy regarding Iranian nuclear program (see Iran): Netanyahu 2 Sept said despite Iran’s “charm offensive”, Iranian policy toward Israel “has not changed”, 30 Sept warned U.S. President Obama not to trust Tehran; govt 29 Sept announced arrest of Iranian spy. Netanyahu 15 Sept expressed support for “complete destruction” of Syria’s chemical arsenal under Russian-U.S. initiative (see Syria). Israeli army 3 Sept carried out joint missile test with U.S. in Mediterranean.Gaza facing worsening fuel shortages and financial crisis due to Egypt’s closure of tunnels in wake of its July military takeover. Hamas, fearing popular uprising and perceived prospect of Egyptian-Israeli military invasion due to Egyptian govt’s aggressive anti-Hamas rhetoric, taking some apparent steps to improve relations with Egyptian military.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met for resumed peace talks 14, 20 Aug. Israel 11 Aug released 26 Palestinian prisoners, first of 104 it pledged to release as talks progress; 11-13 Aug approved construction of over 2,000 new settlement homes in W Bank and E Jerusalem; PLO condemned decision as tool to “destroy the two-state solution”. 4th session of talks not postponed despite Israeli security forces shooting dead 3 Palestinians in 26 Aug W Bank clashes. Palestinian Authority (PA) President Abbas 14 Aug gave interim PM Rami Hamdallah 5 weeks to form new govt without Hamas as Hamas-Fatah deadline to form national unity govt passed. 4 militants killed 10 Aug by airstrike in Egypt’s North Sinai; militants said attack by Israeli drone, Egypt claimed strike by Egyptian army helicopter. 4 rockets fired into Israel from Lebanon 22 Aug, al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah al-Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility; Israeli Air Force 23 Aug attacked Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine-base south of Beirut in response.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations began in Washington 29 July; U.S. Sec State Kerry 30 July said negotiators will aim to reach final status agreement over next 9 months, all issues on table for discussion, “viable two-state solution” only way to end conflict. Martin Indyk appointed U.S. envoy to talks. Arab League 18 July expressed support for negotiations, Hamas 21 July called PA decision to resume talks “betrayal”. Israel 28 July passed law imposing referendum on any peace deal with Palestinians after pro-settler Finance Minister Naftali Bennett 22 July threatened to split coalition over issue; also agreed to release 104 Palestinian prisoners in stages as peace talks progress. Closing of smuggling tunnels into Gaza by Egyptian army following President Morsi’s fall prompted fears of extreme austerity in Gaza. Fatah 4 July called on Gazans to rise up against Hamas. Hamas 25 July shut down Gaza offices of Al-Arabiya TV and Maan news for “false” reports of Hamas interference in Egypt’s internal affairs. Israel 16 July condemned new EU guidelines excluding Israeli settlements from benefits under EU-Israel agreements and EU funds; 25 July limited cooperation with EU. Arab Israelis and Israeli rights activists 15 July protested in WB and Israel against Israeli ‘Prawer’ plan to demolish 35 Bedouin villages, move 40,000 Bedouins into new towns. Israeli Air Force 5 July reportedly bombed sites near Syrian city Latakia; U.S. said target was Russian-made Yakhont missiles.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

New Palestinian PM Rami Hamdallah resigned 20 June two weeks after his 6 June appointment due to disagreements with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Abbas over mandate, further undermining PA’s public credibility. U.S. Sec State Kerry visited 27-30 June to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace talks; ahead of visit Israel 26 June announced approval of dozens of new housing units in E Jerusalem. Internal Likud elections 25 June strengthened party’s hawkish camp, further constraining PM Netanyahu in making gestures necessary for renewal of negotiations. No progress in Fatah-Hamas unity talks. Israel 24 June conducted air strikes on Gaza Strip in response to 6 rockets fired into Israel in violation of Nov 2012 ceasefire; no injuries reported. Knesset 26 June passed law that moves Bedouin communities from villages unrecognised by Israeli law into newly built towns, significantly escalates Jewish-Arab conflict within Israel.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Jun 2013

Unchanged

Clashes erupted between Israelis and Palestinians over al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem after 40 Israelis 7 May ascended to holy esplanade; to avoid further escalation Israeli police 16 May denied tourists including Israeli Jews access to esplanade, but around 105 Israelis accessed site 27 May prompting further clashes; Arab League Sec Gen Nabil al-Araby 25 May urged UN take action to protect site. Israeli govt 9 May approved 296 additional housing units in West Bank settlement Beit El. Thousands protested against austerity measures in Israeli budget adopted by cabinet 14 May; budget not yet approved by Knesset. Plans to draft ultra-orthodox into army prompted mass protests in Jerusalem mid-May. At talks in Cairo Hamas and Fatah 14 May agreed to form unity govt in July 2013. Egypt 22 May reopened Rafah border crossing after Egyptian soldiers kidnapped in Sinai mid-May released. U.S. Sec State Kerry and UK FM Hague visited Israel, Palestinian territories, Jordan and Oman 20 May as part of efforts to revive peace process; speeches by Kerry, Presidents Peres and Abbas 27 May in support of negotiations and two-state solution prompted criticism from Hamas, elements in Israeli coalition.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 May 2013

Unchanged

Territories Political uncertainty in West Bank after Palestinian PM Fayyad 13 April resigned following months of tensions with PA President Abbas. Khaled Meshal re-elected as Hamas political bureau chief 2 April. Visiting U.S. Sec State Kerry 8 April pledged to come up with proposal to revive peace process. Jordan and Palestine 31 March signed agreement on Holy Sites in Jerusalem, reaffirming Jordan’s responsibility for administering them; followed Qatar’s announcement of $1bn fund for East Jerusalem. U.S. and Russia 23 April negotiated compromise between Israel and Palestinians in UNESCO, allowing cultural agency to renew involvement in Jerusalem’s Old City in exchange for postponement of 5 resolutions critical of Israel. Israeli airstrike in Gaza 30 April killed Haitham Mishal, militant allegedly involved in 17 April rocket attack on Eilat. Continued clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers over Israeli treatment of detainees; 2 Palestinian prisoners ended hunger strike after Israel agreed to release them early. Israeli Defence Minister 22 April confirmed Israel’s Jan airstrike in Syria targeted weapons convoy allegedly headed to Lebanon. Israeli army 25 April shot down drone off coast of Haifa, suspects Hizbollah; Hizbollah denied. Israel and Turkey 22 April discussed compensation deal for families of 2010 flotilla victims (see Turkey). PM Netanyahu denounced nuclear talks with Iran as delaying tactic on part of Tehran.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Apr 2013

Unchanged

New Israeli govt sworn in 18 March after 5-party coalition deal agreed 15 March; new coalition includes PM Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitenu right-wing alliance, new centrist Yesh Atid party, peace-process focused Hatnua party and national religious Jewish Home party; excludes ultra-Orthodox parties. U.S. President Obama 20-22 March visited Israel and WB, discussed nuclear Iran, Syria and Palestinian diplomatic process; WB youth activists protested visit, criticized “Zionist” keynote speech. Demonstrations in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners continued in WB into beginning March, leading to several clashes with Israeli forces; military raids, incursions, settler-related violence continued throughout month. Israel 25 March announced resumption of regular tax transfers suspended last year after Palestinians gained UN non-member observer status. Netanyahu 22 March apologized to Turkey for 2010 Gaza flotilla deaths (see Turkey).

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Mar 2013

Unchanged

Widespread demonstrations in OPT supporting hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails escalated significantly following 23 Feb death of prisoner in unclear circumstances; hundreds injured in clashes with security forces, 2 teenagers critically injured by live fire. PA minister 24 Feb said autopsy revealed prisoner’s death caused by torture; UN called for investigation into death. Rocket fired at southern Israel 26 Feb broke 3-month ceasefire, no injuries: Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility. Military raids, clashes, settler-related violence, demolitions in WB continued. Likud-Beiteinu faction 19 Feb made first official coalition agreement with centrist Hatnua party; Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni to be justice minister and negotiator in any future peace talks with Palestinians under PM Netanyahu’s supervision. Palestinian factions 9-10 Feb held reconciliation talks in Cairo, committed to consultations on formation of interim govt; Hamas 24 Feb asked to delay next reconciliation meeting. Central Elections Commission 11 Feb began long-delayed updating of voter rolls in Gaza Strip.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Feb 2013

Unchanged

22 Jan Knesset elections saw Netanyahu-Lieberman’s right-wing Likud-Beiteinu alliance win with 31 seats; new centrist party Yesh Atid, led by TV personality Yair Lapid, came second with 19; coalition talks to form new govt underway. Israel 29 Jan became first nation ever to skip UNHRC periodic review of its human rights record. UNHRC report 31 Jan urged Israel to halt settlement construction unconditionally, remove all Israeli settlers in OPT. Fatah-Hamas reconciliation continued: Fatah 4 Jan staged first permitted mass rally in Gaza Strip since 2007; Fatah and Hamas leaders 9 Jan held first face-to-face meeting in over a year, pledged to implement stalled May 2011 reconciliation accord. PA FM Malki 23 Jan said Palestine would appeal to ICC if Israel settlement plans in occupied WB proceed. Month saw continued settler-related violence and Israeli military raids, arrests, clashes and shootings in WB. EU, UN 30 Jan expressed concern about Israel’s use of lethal force against Palestinians following rise in fatal shootings with several killed in Jan in WB and Gaza Strip. Several incidents of Israeli naval forces firing at Palestinian fishing boats within new 6 nautical mile limit. Surge in Israeli demolitions, including over 100 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C, displacing around 180. PA budget crisis continued: partially paid, late WB public sector salaries prompted more strikes, sit-ins. Israeli airstrike 30 Jan in Syria (see Syria). Israel 2 Jan completed main segment of border fence with Egypt.

Israel/Palestine

  |  30 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Several countries including EU states protested Israel’s 30 Nov announcement of intention to increase settlements in occupied territories; UNGA resolution 18 Dec condemned settlement activity. Khaled Meshal, Hamas leader-in-exile, 6 Dec entered Gaza for first time for Hamas celebrations of anniversary of movement and first intifada. Thousands, including Fatah officials, 13 Dec participated in Hamas anniversary rally in Nablus, first such rally in WB since 2007; rallies also held in several WB cities. Raids, arrests, clashes in occupied territories continued: Israeli soldier 12 Dec shot dead Hebron teenager sparking clashes 12-13 Dec between residents and Israeli soldiers; Israeli soldiers 11 Dec raided offices of 3 civil society organisations in Ramallah; 2 Israelis 24 Nov assaulted Palestinian teenager in East Jerusalem. Several arrests of Palestinian fishermen in waters off Gaza by Israeli naval forces; Israel claimed men breached new 6-nautical-mile limit. Israel withheld PA tax revenues in reaction to Nov PA UN bid, said would use to offset PA debts; West Bank PA employee strikes over salary payments resumed. PA President Abbas 27 Dec threatened to disband PA if Israel doesn’t make moves to renew peace talks following its 22 Jan elections.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Israel-Hamas cross-border violence early month escalated to outright conflict; Israel 14 Nov launched Operation Pillar of Defence with assassination of Hamas militant leader in Gaza Ahmed al-Jaabari, and airstrikes on Gaza. Hamas retaliated with frequent rocket fire from Gaza toward Israel, reaching near Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. 5 Israeli civilians, 1 soldier killed; total number of Palestinians killed, including militants, exceeded 150; 219 Israelis and 1,200 Palestinians injured, vast majority civilians; Gaza infrastructure significantly damaged. Egypt-negotiated, U.S.-backed ceasefire agreed 21 Nov. Conflict provoked several protests and clashes with Israeli army across West Bank; 2 protestors killed, dozens injured. Bus bombing 21 Nov in Tel Aviv injured 21. Following ceasefire several incidents reported of Israeli forces shooting at Palestinians in Gaza border area including 1 killed, over a dozen injured 23 Nov. In majority vote UNGA 29 Nov granted Palestine non-member observer status. Israel 30 Nov announced 3,000 new settlements in occupied WB, E Jerusalem; move widely interpreted as retaliation to UNGA vote; U.S. condemned move. Gestures toward rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah: Hamas 25 Nov announced release of Fatah-affiliated political prisoners, Fatah reciprocated; Hamas 26 Nov announced support for PA UNGA bid.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Nov 2012

Unchanged

Emir of Qatar visited 23 Oct, breaking Hamas’s isolation; promised $400 mn aid, called for Hamas-Fatah unity. Long-delayed PA municipal elections held 20 Oct in WB in 93 of 353 municipalities; Hamas boycotted polls which saw low turnout. Fatah 21 Oct announced victory but failed to secure majorities in key cities including Ramallah. Several Palestinians killed in escalating exchanges between Israel and Gazan militants, including Hamas; Egypt 24 Oct mediated ceasefire, but violence resumed. Israeli PM Netanyahu 9 Oct called early elections following coalition’s failure to agree budget; elections set for Jan 2013. Govt 18 Oct approved expansion of Gilo settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, drawing international protests. Israel 20 Oct intercepted Gaza-bound ship carrying 30 activists, including 5 European MPs.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Oct 2012

Unchanged

First half of Sept saw widespread demonstrations, strikes, rioting in West Bank triggered by rising prices; protesters called for resignation of PM Fayyad, PA President Abbas, end to Oslo Accords. PA 11 Sept revoked recent tax increases. Thousands 14 Sept protested in Palestinian territories against anti-Islam film; hundreds protested, clashed with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem. Abbas 27 Sept announced he will seek UNGA vote on Palestine non-state membership. Jihadi group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for 21 Sept attack at Har Harif on Egyptian border that killed 3 militants and 1 Israeli soldier, said attack reaction to anti-Islam film, revenge for 26 Aug assassination of senior leader Ibrahim Aweida. Israeli PM Netanyahu 3 Sept asked U.S. President Obama to set “clear red line” for Tehran, 16 Sept claimed Iran only months away from nuclear bomb.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Sep 2012

Unchanged

Month saw increased rhetoric over Iranian nuclear program: PM Netanyahu 1 Aug said time running out for peaceful resolution; outgoing Israeli Home Front Defence Minister Vilnai 15 Aug said Israel “prepared as never before”. Militants 5 Aug attempted to cross into Israel from Sinai after attacking Egyptian border-post (see Egypt). Defence Minister Barak 1 Aug ordered army to prepare for ultra-orthodox conscription following expiration of Tal Law allowing deferral of military service. 3 Jewish attacks mid-month left 8 Palestinians wounded in WB, Jerusalem. Palestinian FM al-Malki 4 Aug announced plans to seek Palestinian recognition at Sept UNGA meeting. In formal letter to EU High Rep Ashton released 22 Aug, FM Lieberman called for new elections to oust PA President Abbas. UN special rapporteur Falk 30 Aug condemned Israeli court’s rejection of army responsibility for U.S. activist Rachel Corrie’s death.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Aug 2012

Unchanged

Suicide bomber 19 July targeted bus carrying Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, killing 6; PM Netanyahu accused Iran, Hizbollah of involvement. Kadima 17 July quit coalition govt over law on military conscription of ultra-orthodox Jews. Israel released from administrative detention Palestinian footballer al-Sarsak 10 July, Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Speaker Dweik 19 July. Israeli authorities mid-month ordered demolition of 8 Palestinian W-B villages in South Hebron Hills to create IDF training zone. Israeli officials 17 July upgraded college in W-B Ariel settlement to university. Egyptian President Mursi held talks 18 July with President Abbas, 19 July with Hamas leader Meshaal, 25 July with Hamas PM Haniyeh. Al Jazeera documentary aired early-month reported evidence of possible poisoning of former PA President Arafat; PA announced plans for post-mortem.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Jul 2012

Unchanged

Palestinian militant, Israeli soldier killed 1 June during gunfight on Gaza border. Militants 18 June launched cross-border attack from Egypt into southern Israel, Israeli civilian, 3 militants killed; Israel retaliated with airstrikes against Gaza killing at least 10 Palestinians; Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas, launched rockets into Israel, several Israelis injured; 2nd Egypt-brokered truce holding. Hamas operative assassinated 28 June in Damascus. Israeli PM Netanyahu 6 June ordered 851 new West Bank settlement homes built including 300 in Beit El settlement as part of deal with settlers to evacuate 5 buildings on private Palestinian land. Palestinian President Abbas 8 June expressed willingness to accept “non-member state” status at UN. Israeli State Comptroller 13 June criticised PM Netanyahu over 2010 Mavi Marmara raid. Former Palestinian footballer al-Sarsak 19 June ended 90-day hunger strike in exchange for early release from Israeli administrative detention; Palestinian prisoner Hassan Safadi 21 June restarted hunger strike after Israel renewed administrative detention; rights groups claim violation of May prisoner agreement. UK-govt backed report found Israeli treatment of detained Palestinian children in breach of Geneva Convention, UN convention on child rights. Russian President Putin 25 June began visit to Israel, West Bank. 

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Jun 2012

Unchanged

Israeli PM Netanyahu 8 May announced opposition Kadima party to join govt, pushing back elections to Nov 2013. Netanyahu 12 May replied to April letter from Abbas, called for return to negotiations without preconditions. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak 30 May said Israel may consider “unilateral move” if negotiations with Palestinians fail. Some 1,600 Palestinian prisoners in Israel 14 May ended hunger strike following reported agreement to improve conditions, review administrative detention of 322 prisoners. EU FMs 14 May published report denouncing Israeli settlements, settler violence, house demolitions in W-B. Israel 31 May returned bodies of 91 dead militants to Palestinian authorities. Roughly 1,000 protested 23 May against African migrants in Tel Aviv, attacked Africans. Hamas, Fatah 28 May resumed talks to form unity govt; announced Central Election Commission to register Gaza voters, prepare elections. Turkish court 28 May indicted 4 former Israeli commanders, including former Chief of Staff Ashkenazi, over alleged involvement in 2010 Mavi Marmara raid.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 May 2012

Unchanged

Israel 23 April decided to legalise 3 West Bank outposts, if implemented first new de-jure West Bank settlements in 15 years. Palestinian chief negotiator Erekat 17 April delivered letter from PA President Abbas to Israeli PM Netanyahu detailing Palestinian demands for return to negotiations. Former Shin Bet chief Diskin 27 April said current govt not interested in peace with Palestinians, misleading public on Iran. Mideast Quartet 11 April expressed concern over Israeli settler violence, pressed both sides for confidence-building measures. 1,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israel 17 April began hunger strike to protest conditions of imprisonment, ‘administrative detention’ policy. Gaza PM Ismail Haniyeh 24 April reportedly won secret April elections for leadership of Gaza Hamas political bureau. Fatah, Hamas 2 April reached deal allowing fuel transfers through Israel into Gaza Strip. Egypt 22 April cancelled gas delivery contract to Israel (see Egypt).

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Apr 2012

Unchanged

Violence escalated in Gaza following 9 March killing of Popular Resistance Committees leader Zuhair al-Qaissi by Israel; militants, primarily from Islamic Jihad, fired roughly 200 rockets into Israel in response, most intercepted by Iron Dome missile defense; IDF responded with airstrikes, killing 24. Egypt-brokered ceasefire agreed on 13 March, significantly reduced rocket fire. Israel 7 March cautiously welcomed planned resumption of P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran, PM Netanyahu 9 March warned possible strike on Iranian nuclear facilities within months (see Iran). Former Defense Minister Mofaz 28 March elected Kadima head. Supreme Court 25 March rejected deal between govt, settlers to relocate Migron settlement, postponed eviction to late August. Hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem football fans 19 March assaulted Palestinian workers in Jerusalem shopping centre, 16 arrests. Israel 26 March cut-ties with UN HRC in protest at UN probe into West Bank settlements. 1 Palestinian killed, dozens arrested 30 March in W-B, Gaza, E. Jerusalem clashes marking Land Day.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Mar 2012

Unchanged

Month saw rising tensions between Israel, Iran: U.S. presidential security adviser Donilon 18-20 Feb visited Israel reportedly to deter Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities (see Iran); Israel accused Iran of “terrorist campaign” following 13 Feb attempted attack on Israeli diplomat in Georgia and bombing of Israeli embassy in India leaving 4 wounded, 14 Feb blasts in Thailand; Iran rejected accusations. Hamas, Fatah 6 Feb announced agreement to form single Palestinian govt under Abbas, hold general elections in coming months; Hamas leaders in Gaza opposed deal. UNSG Ban 1 Feb urged Israel, Palestinians to return to negotiations, 3 Feb said only talks will lead to independent Palestinian state; Abbas 12 Feb insisted on settlement freeze as pre-condition. Israel 21 Feb agreed to release Islamic Jihad activist Khader Adnan following 2-month hunger strike. 1 Palestinian killed 24 Feb during West Bank protest following Temple Mount clashes; IDF 26 Feb bombed targets in Gaza in response to rocket fire.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Feb 2012

Unchanged

PA threatened strong diplomatic response if Israel failed to demonstrate serious commitment to talks by 26 Jan following lack of progress in Jan meetings; Palestinian president Abbas 28 Jan said Israel foiled talks, failed to present “clear vision” of borders, security; Israeli PM Netanyahu 29 Jan expressed hope for continuation of talks. EU-Israeli tension increased by 3 reports critical of Israeli policy on settlements, East Jerusalem; British Deputy PM Clegg 16 Jan called settlements “deliberate vandalism”. UNSG Ban 13 Jan said Israeli incursions into Lebanese airspace violate state sovereignty, discredit UNIFIL; 15 Jan said settlement building hinders two-state solution. PLC speaker Aziz Dweik arrested 19 Jan; PA 22 Jan demanded release of Palestinian legislators. Hamas 21 Jan announced leader Meshal to step down after 16 years. 2 Palestinians killed 18 Jan by IDF; 5 extremist settlers charged 7 Jan with organising 13 Dec attack on West Bank army base.



Israel/Palestine

  |  2 Jan 2012

Unchanged

During series of meetings 18-22 Dec in Cairo on Palestinian reconciliation, Hamas leader Meshal and PA President Abbas announced plans for Hamas and Islamic Jihad to join PLO; for formation of unity govt 26-31 Jan; and for Palestinian legislative, presidential, PLO elections in 2012. Israeli PM Netanyahu 25 Dec said Israel will not negotiate with PA if Hamas joins Palestinian govt. Israel 18 Dec completed second and final phase of mid-Oct Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal, releasing remaining 550 of 1,027 Palestinian security prisoners. 3 days of extremist Jewish violence 12-14 Dec including attack on army base in West Bank and torching of mosques. EU members of UNSC 22 Dec condemned Israeli settlement building and growing settler violence; Israel accused them of interfering in its domestic affairs. Sporadic violence across Gaza border including 4 Palestinians killed 8-9 Dec after barrage of rockets fired into Israel, chief of al-Qaeda-linked Army of Islam killed 30 Dec.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Dec 2011

Unchanged

PA President Abbas and Hamas politburo head Meshal met 24 Nov in Cairo for first time since 4 May reconciliation agreement, reportedly agreed to hold elections 4 May but failed to resolve differences over interim unity govt. In protest at Palestine’s 31 Oct admission to UNESCO Israel froze transfers of tax and customs revenues to PA for 4 weeks, pushing PA to brink of financial collapse according to PA PM Fayyad. Israeli govt 1 Nov announced it would accelerate construction of 2,000 housing units in contested areas of E Jerusalem and 2 West Bank settlements. UNSC Membership Committee 11 Nov report showed no majority on Palestinian full membership. Quartet representatives 14 Nov met separately with Israel and PLO counterparts; no progress. Israeli Defence Minister Barak 20 Nov warned Iran less than 1 year away from producing nuclear weapon (see Iran). Intermittent violence along Gaza border including 2 Palestinians killed 3 Nov by IDF following sniper attack; Israeli airstrike killed Islamic Jihad militant 5 Nov; Palestinian police officer killed 14 Nov in air strike following rocket attack. Rockets fired 28 Nov from southern Lebanon struck N Israel, first since 2009, IDF responded with artillery fire.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Nov 2011

Unchanged

Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, seized by Hamas in 2006, released 18 Oct in exchange for release of 1,207 Palestinians - 450 immediately, rest in 2 months. Flare-up in violence 27-31 Oct: barrage of rockets fired by Islamic Jihad group from Gaza killed 1 Israeli civilian in Ashkelon; dozen Palestinians killed in IDF airstrikes. 25 Egyptians in Israeli custody swapped 27 Oct for U.S.-Israeli citizen arrested in Egypt in June on suspicion of espionage. Quartet official 26 Oct said Israel, Palestinians agreed to offer peace proposals on issues of territory, security within 3 months. UNSG Ban 14 Oct criticised reported Israeli plans to build 2,600 housing units in E Jerusalem as “unacceptable”. Defence Minister Barak 12 Oct formally apologised to Egypt for Sept killing of 6 Egyptian soldiers by IDF. Turkish PM Erdoğan 5 Oct called Israel regional threat for assumed possession of nuclear weapons. Palestine 31 Oct granted full membership to UNESCO; U.S. immediately cut funding to organisation.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Oct 2011

Unchanged

PA President Abbas 23 Sept submitted Palestinian application for full UN membership to UNSG Ban; Hamas rejected UN move as “begging” for statehood. Israeli PM Netanyahu said peace can be achieved only through direct talks. Sporadic clashes 23 Sept between Palestinian protesters and Israeli military in E Jerusalem and West Bank. Quartet urged return to peace talks with aim of deal by end-2012; Abbas 26 Sept repeated refusal to talk without Israeli settlement freeze. UNSC president 28 Sept referred Palestine’s application to special committee that deals with admission of new members. EU, U.S. 28 Sept condemned Israeli plans for construction of 1,100 new housing units in occupied E Jerusalem as counterproductive to negotiations on peace talks. UN report into May 2010 deadly raid on Gaza-bound protest flotilla published 2 Sept, found Israel used excessive force but blockade of Gaza legal (see Turkey). Rioters 9 Sept ransacked Israeli embassy in Egypt, forced evacuation of staff (see Egypt).

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Sep 2011

Unchanged

Militants 18 Aug killed 8 Israelis including 6 civilians in S Israel close to Egyptian border; 5 Egyptian police killed in IDF operation responding to attack, as Israeli officials claimed gunmen infiltrated from Gaza Strip via Egypt; 3 attackers identified as Egyptian. Cairo threatened to recall envoy to Tel Aviv; IDF expressed regret. IDF 18 Aug began series of airstrikes on Gaza in retaliation: at least 19 Palestinians killed including Popular Resistance Committees, Islamic Jihad leaders. Strikes and rocket launchings continued despite 23 Aug ceasefire agreement between Hamas, Israel. Israel 17 Aug refused to endorse U.S.-supported “package of understanding” with Turkey for May 2010 deadly raid on Gaza-bound protest flotilla, opting instead for continuation of UN inquiry. Govt approved more than 2,700 new settler homes in East Jerusalem, West Bank. Knesset 16 Aug broke recess to debate 4-week protest by tens of thousands over living costs; PM Netanyahu formed panel to recommend possible reforms. PA President Abbas 16 Aug confirmed plans to apply for full UN membership at UNSC in Sept. Leaders from Fatah, Hamas same day held reconciliation talks in Cairo, agreed to meet again early Sept.



Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Aug 2011

Unchanged

Undeclared Gaza-Israel ceasefire since 18 April ended with sharp escalation in projectiles fired from Gaza late June-July, increased Israeli attacks on smuggling tunnels, Qassam Brigades targets. UN 6 July report on 15 May deadly Nakba day protests along Lebanese border criticised IDF excessive force and protesters’ provocative, violent behaviour. Vice PM Ya’alon 21 July said Turkish insistence on Israeli apology for last year’s commando raid on Gaza-bound flotilla makes reconciliation impossible (see Turkey); planned “Freedom Flotilla 2” failed to arrive in Gaza as several boats damaged, all but one prevented from sailing from Greece. PA President Abbas 27 July called for peaceful “popular resistance” throughout West Bank in support of bid for UN recognition of Palestinian state. PA 27 July reportedly decided Oct Palestinian municipal elections will be held only in West Bank; election commission reports Hamas hampering preparations in Gaza. PA paid West Bank state employees only half monthly salaries July, PM Fayyad said PA facing “worst financial crisis”. 2 weeks of protests in Israel over high living costs peaked 30 July with up to 150,000  demonstrating in 12 cities.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Jul 2011

Unchanged

At least 10 killed 5 June in clashes between IDF and Palestinian-Syrian protesters along border with Israeli-held Golan Heights; Israel, U.S. accused Syrian govt of using protests as provocation to draw attention from its violent crackdown on anti-regime demonstrators. Israeli parliament 16 June sent letter to Turkish PM Erdoğan congratulating him on election victory, offered to “bury grudges of recent past”. Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) 17 June announced Mavi Mamara – vessel upon which 9 Turks killed last year by Israeli forces – will not join Gaza flotilla expected to sail early July; Netanyahu 26 June warned Israel will not allow ships to breach naval blockade. Talks on formation of Palestinian unity govt postponed 19 June; talks reportedly stalled over issue of head of new transitional govt. PA 26 June formally voted to seek UN recognition of Palestinian state in Sept; Israeli FM Lieberman 17 June warned past agreements with Israel void if Palestinians press ahead with unilateral recognition plans. UN report 8 June said West Bank economy not flourishing, cited accelerating unemployment, lower real wages, deteriorating labour market conditions.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Jun 2011

Unchanged

Some 15 killed, over 400 wounded 15 May by IDF gunfire as tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters marked Nakba along Israeli borders with Gaza, Syria and Lebanon (See Syria and Lebanon). Fatah, Hamas 4 May signed Egypt-mediated reconciliation deal; agreed to form unity govt, hold presidential, legislative elections within 1 year. Israeli PM Netanyahu called unity pact “tremendous blow to peace”. PA President Abbas 17 May postponed municipal elections 3 months until Oct so vote can be held in both West Bank and Gaza. U.S. President Obama 19 May in major Middle East speech proposed Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders with mutually agreed land-swaps as peace talks guideline; Netanyahu immediately rejected withdrawal to “indefensible” borders. Abbas 25 May said without progress will seek UN recognition of Palestinian statehood in Sept; Arab League 28 May backed UN move. Egypt 28 May opened Rafah crossing permanently for certain groups for first time in 4 years.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 May 2011

Unchanged

Fatah, Hamas 27 Apr reached tentative reconciliation agreement; under Egypt-brokered deal interim unity govt to be formed, with presidential, legislative elections within 1 year. Israel rejected any govt including Hamas, said PA could not have peace with both Israel and Hamas. Flare-up in cross-border violence 7-10 Apr after Israeli school bus hit by rocket from Gaza; 1 teenager later died from wounds. 140 rockets fired by Gazan militants, 19 Palestinians killed in Israeli retaliation before UN- and Egypt-mediated informal ceasefire agreed 10 Apr. Italian activist killed 14 Apr in Gaza after being kidnapped by Salafi-Jihadist group demanding release of a Salafi leader; 2 suspects killed, 1 injured in 19 Apr raid by Hamas security forces. Ahead of 12 Apr donor’s conference UN, IMF and World Bank said PA is ready to run independent state. 2 Palestinian youths arrested early Apr for 11 March murder of Israeli settler family near Nablus.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Apr 2011

Unchanged

Surge in cross-border violence between Israel and Gaza. Israel killed 2 Hamas fighters 16 March in response to earlier attack by unidentified group; Hamas and others responded 19 March with barrage from Gaza, heaviest since 2009. Israeli response killed at least 11 in following days. Militant groups 26 March signalled readiness to stop rocket fire if Israel halted strikes: Israeli PM Netanyahu 27 March said Israel has no desire to escalate situation; exchange of fire continued. Bomb blast 23 March killed 1, wounded dozens in Jerusalem; first in city since 2008. Jewish family of 5 murdered 11 March in Itamar settlement near Nablus; Israeli govt reacted by authorising construction of 550 residential units in settlement. Israel 15 March intercepted ship reportedly carrying surface-to-sea missiles from Iran to be smuggled into Gaza from Egypt; Iran denied report. Hamas cracked down on pro-unity protests during month; in West Bank 15 March demonstrations attracted only a few thousand. Netanyahu 28 March criticised Palestinian efforts for national unity, said “can not have peace with both Israel and Hamas”.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Mar 2011

Unchanged

PA 1 Feb set local elections for 9 June, 12 Feb declared Sept parliamentary and presidential elections; Hamas rejected calls, said national reunification must precede elections. PA’s cabinet dissolved 14 Feb; Salam Fayyad retained as PM. U.S. 18 Feb vetoed UNSC resolution condemning Israel’s settlement policy, all 14 other members backed measure; Obama administration said veto not support for further settlement construction. Saeb Erekat, PLO’s chief negotiator, 12 Feb resigned taking responsibility for Palestinian Papers leaked from his office. Israeli PM Netanyahu 12 Feb welcomed declaration by Egypt’s new military rulers that they would honour peace treaty; but 16 Feb said Israel had to “prepare for the worst” (see Egypt). Increased clashes along Gaza border late month, including 23 Feb rocket attack on southern city of Beersheba, first attack on city since 2009 Gaza war; Israeli PM Netanyahu 24 Feb warned Hamas not to test Israel’s resolve. Netanyahu 19 Feb accused Iran of exploiting Mideast unrest to increase its influence by sending 2 naval ships to Syria through Suez Canal (see Iran). 

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Feb 2011

Unchanged

Al Jazeera 23 Jan published leaked internal Palestinian documents related to peace process. PM Netanyahu 31 Jan said he feared Egypt could end up with radical Islamic regime like Iran; agreed for Egyptian soldiers to move into Sinai peninsula for first time since 1979 peace treaty (see Egypt). In Gaza, war of attrition between Israel and Hamas heightened. Number of rockets fired into Israel increased slightly; many now aimed directly at military positions, densely populated areas. IDF increased military activity in Gaza, including 6 Jan shooting of 2 Palestinian men near border and 11 Jan missile strike that killed Islamic Jihad militant. Hamas 13 Jan ordered security forces to ensure other groups in Gaza observe truce on firing rockets at Israel; day earlier factions agreed to “national understanding” on not provoking strong reaction from Israel. Defence Minister Ehud Barak and 4 other Labor party MKs 17 Jan withdrew from party, established centrist faction “Independence”; new faction remains part of coalition, Barak retained defence portfolio.

Israel/Palestine

  |  3 Jan 2011

Unchanged
U.S. formally abandoned efforts to persuade Israeli PM Netanyahu to extend partial settlement freeze as basis for peace talks; Sec State Clinton 11 Dec announced Washington instead would pursue proximity talks dealing with core issues towards a Framework Agreement. Fatah-PFLP joint statement 22 Dec said they would not hold talks with Israel, in any format, without complete halt to settlement activity and defined terms of reference. Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and Bolivia recognised independent Palestinian state “on the 1967 lines”. Other Latin American countries expected to follow; Israel 7 Dec warned unilateral recognition only hurts peace process.  Israeli Security Cabinet 8 Dec decided to ease ban on exports from Gaza but not to Israel. Surge in cross-border violence during month; dozens of mortars fired from Gaza, in response IDF launched series of air raids including 18 Dec strike that killed 6 Palestinians in Central Gaza. Hamas senior leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar 24 Dec said group committed to ceasefire if Israel abided by it, though smaller groups continue to launch attacks.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Dec 2010

Unchanged

U.S. offered incentive package toIsrael in return for limited90-day construction moratorium in hope of reviving Mideast peace talks; details stillbeing discussed. Israeli govt 8 Nov announced plan to build nearly 1,300apartments in E Jerusalem; U.S.official said construction “counter-productive”. Israel17 Nov agreed to troop pullout from northern half of disputed border village inGolan Heightsfulfilling part of 2006 truce agreement. Israeli parliament 22 Nov approved lawrequiring two-thirds Knesset majority or national referendum for withdrawalfrom E Jerusalem or Golan Heights. Palestinian militant killed 3 Novin targeted Israeli airstrike in Gaza City.In response to rocket fire 19 Nov Israeli warplanes struck 4 targets in Gaza,injuring at least 4. Israel22 Nov began work on 140km border fence with Egypt to stop Islamic militants andAfrican migrants. UNRWA director in Gaza 11 Nov said “no materialchange” for people of Gazasince Israeleased blockade. Hamas and Fatah discussed reconciliation in Damascus 10 Nov but talks deadlocked onsecurity issues; sides agreed to meet again.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Nov 2010

Unchanged

PA President Abbas, supported by Arab League, 9 Oct announced U.S. had 1 month to persuade Israel to halt settlement building or recently restarted direct peace talks would collapse. Israeli PM Netanyahu 11 Oct made offer to revive deadlocked talks, freeze settlement building if Palestinians recognise Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people; Palestinians immediately rejected declaration. Settlers 27 Oct accused govt of imposing “silent freeze” by delaying approval of some 4,300 West Bank apartments. Israeli cabinet 10 Oct approved bill requiring new non-Jewish citizens to pledge loyalty oath to “Jewish” state; PM Netanyahu 19 Oct ordered bill to include all new citizens. 3 militants killed, 6 injured by airstrikes in West Bank responding to mortars fired toward Israel. 2 Hamas commanders, suspected of 31 Aug murder of 4 Israeli civilians, killed 8 Oct in IDF raid in West Bank town Hebron. Netanyahu 17 Oct announced renewal of negotiations through German mediator on release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit; Hamas leaders argued renewed contact insignificant and unlikely to yield deal. Clashes 27 Oct between police and Arab Israeli protestors in town of Umm el-Fahm following march by Jewish extremists against Islamic Movement. Prominent Arab Israeli activist Amir Makhoul who admitted to spying for Hizbollah sentenced 27 Oct to 10 years.

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