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CrisisWatch Database

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Israel/Palestine

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged

Israeli soldier charged with manslaughter 18 April over 24 March killing of wounded Palestinian assailant in Hebron who no longer posed threat; case dividing Israeli public opinion. Attacks by Palestinians targeting Israelis continued, including Palestinian assailant who attacked soldiers with axe in W Bank 14 April and was subsequently shot dead. Tensions at Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade increased around Passover, but Israel and Jordan’s rigorous implementation of quiet commitments on access allowed calm to prevail at site; amid fears of renewed violence Israel 22-23 April closed entry points between W Bank, Gaza and Israel. Bomb exploded on bus in Jerusalem 18 April injuring 23; officials said Hamas responsible. PM Netanyahu 11 April announced Israel had conducted dozens of aerial attacks in Syria to prevent Hizbollah obtaining strategic weapons and will continue to do so, did not specify the timeframe or what kind of strikes; 17 April convened cabinet on occupied Golan Heights, announced Israel would hold Golan “forever”, prompting condemnation including from Germany, U.S. and Iran. Negotiations ongoing since March between heads of Israeli army and Palestinian security forces made progress over gradual transfer of full authority to PA in W Bank’s “Area A”: agreed in principle on short trial period for authority to be transferred to PA in all W Bank cities; implementation date remains unclear. France continued diplomatic effort to convene international conference 30 May without Israeli or Palestinian participation; Israel slammed initiative, announcing any diplomatic efforts other than bilateral negotiations would only distance Palestinians from direct negotiations. PA 7 April attempted to advance UNSC resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction. Israeli security officials 20 April said six alleged members of Jewish extremist cell operating in W Bank arrested. Israeli forces 18 April uncovered tunnel from Gaza into Israel.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged
Attacks by Palestinians targeting Israelis continued, increasingly perpetrated in pairs or trios using improvised live arms; attacks since Oct 2015 increasingly being referred to as third intifada, with death toll now standing at nearly 200 Palestinians and 30 Israelis in some 300 incidents. Amid rising domestic criticism of Israeli govt over failure to address attacks, cabinet 10 March decided to continue construction of separation barrier, despite objections from Jewish settlers who would fall on eastern side, and objections from defence establishment on barrier’s route. PM Netanyahu 2 March also asked attorney general to examine possibility of expelling Palestinian assailants’ families to Gaza. Senior UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov condemned Israeli soldier’s “apparent extra-judicial execution” of wounded Palestinian assailant accused of involvement in stabbing attack on Israeli soldier in W Bank 24 March. France led attempts to revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations: French envoy Pierre Vimont 13 March travelled to Ramallah and Jerusalem to hear parties’ views. International conference without parties planned for April, another with parties planned for June; Palestinian officials said they would attend. Germany and France 16 March criticised Israel’s decision to appropriate large tracts of land in W Bank; EU said decision raised questions over Israel’s commitment to two-state solution. Several rockets fired from Gaza toward Israel 11 March; two Palestinian children killed 12 march in retaliatory Israeli airstrikes. Israel 10 March announced Gazans wishing to leave territory would be permitted to leave via Jordan if they promised not to return for at least one year. Hamas delegation from Gaza permitted to travel to Cairo to meet Egyptian General Intelligence Service. Protests by Palestinian teachers seeking wage increase suspended after Palestinian Authority mid-March agreed to increase salaries with back pay.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Mar 2016

Unchanged

Tensions in Israel and West Bank increased with early-Feb cluster of Palestinian attacks on Israelis, following several months’ decline in attacks. Leading Israeli opposition Labour party 8 Feb endorsed “Separation Plan” calling for completion of separation barrier, avoiding construction outside settlement blocks, transfer of civil powers to Palestinian Authority (PA) over areas beyond barrier and excluding many Palestinian villages-turned neighbourhoods in E Jerusalem from city’s municipal boundaries. Following eight attacks in a single day 14 Feb, in which Israeli officials reported five Palestinians shot dead, opposition leader Isaac Herzog said Israel combatting “third Intifada”. Israeli forces 15 Feb raided Amari refugee camp in Ramallah leaving 28 Palestinians with gunshot injuries; same day raided Qalandiya refugee camp in W Bank, arrested local Fatah leader. International Quartet (EU, Russia, U.S. and UN) 12 Feb declared it will write report including recommendations on how to move toward two-state solution. PM Netanyahu 10 Feb announced intention to complete construction of separation barrier. Israeli court 4 Feb jailed two Israeli youths for July 2014 murder of Palestinian teenager. Egypt opened Rafah crossing 13-16 Feb, permitting some 2,000 Palestinians to leave. Hamas and Fatah early-Feb discussed possibility of reconciling by forming national unity govt, scheduling elections and implementing Cairo agreement, however talks appear stalled. W Bank teachers went on strike over wages starting 10 Feb; PA deployed police across Ramallah, set up roadblocks; at least twenty teachers arrested 16 Feb, thousands joined protests 23 Feb. UN and PA 11 Feb made joint appeal for $571m in humanitarian aid to Palestinians. UN special rapporteur on human rights 11 Feb urged Israel to investigate excessive use of force against Palestinians.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Feb 2016

Unchanged

Month saw continued Palestinian attacks on Israelis in Jerusalem, West Bank and Israel, increased use of live arms in attacks. Israeli PM Netanyahu 25 Jan ordered army to increase settlement security. Netanyahu 26 Jan accused UNSG Ban of giving “tailwind to terror” after Ban criticised Israeli settlement building. Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas 6 Jan announced PA would not be dissolved but replaced by Palestinian state; called for international conference for peace; France 29 Jan proposed international peace summit to renew diplomatic process. PA General Intelligence chief widely criticised by Palestinians after stating 18 Jan that PA security forces prevented over 200 terrorist attacks against Israel since Oct 2015. Amid worsening conditions in Gaza, Hamas and PA continued dispute over opening and control of Rafah border crossing, which remains almost entirely closed. Ongoing talks over rapprochement between Israel and Turkey.

Israel/Palestine

  |  4 Jan 2016

Unchanged

Month saw continued wave of almost daily stabbings, vehicle attacks and, increasingly, shootings by Palestinians targeting Israelis in West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza. Gaps emerging between PM Netanyahu, military and intelligence chiefs over tactics used to stop violence, which has seen over 130 Palestinians and some twenty Israelis killed since 1 Oct. Palestinian Authority (PA) President Abbas 14 Dec said attacks result of “despair” of Palestinian youths and Israeli visits to al-Aqsa Mosque. U.S. Sec State Kerry 5 Dec warned of collapse of PA and its impact on Israel. Israel held talks with Quartet delegation in Jerusalem mid-Dec; no concrete result. Turkish President Erdoğan and Hamas leader Khaled Meshal met in Istanbul 19 Dec, day after Israel and Turkey announced they are working to restore relations following five-year rift; several unresolved issues still outstanding. Greek parliament 22 Dec approved non-binding resolution calling on govt to recognise state of Palestine in vote attended by Abbas. Relations between Hamas and Egypt continued to deteriorate, following claims of cooperation between Hamas and Islamic State (IS) in Sinai. Three rockets fired into Israel from S Lebanon 20 Dec, hours after Hizbollah claimed Israeli airstrike inside Syria killed leading Lebanese militant Samir Kuntar 19 Dec. Israel 21 Dec announced it will deploy new medium-range missile interceptor by mid-2016.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Dec 2015

Unchanged

Month saw dramatic reduction of violence at Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade following late Oct understandings between Israel and Jordan, regarding preventing provocateurs from entering site and strengthening Jordan’s role there. PM Netanyahu and President Obama discussed Palestinian violence against Israeli citizens during 9 Nov meeting in Washington; Netanyahu said he remained committed to two-state solution. U.S. Sec State Kerry 24 Nov met Netanyahu and Palestinian leaders in bid to stop ongoing violence, which has seen around 100 Palestinians and around twenty Israelis killed since 1 Oct. Govt 2 Nov passed three-year minimum prison sentence for stone-throwers. Following 13 Nov Paris attacks claimed by Islamic State (IS), Israeli govt 17 Nov used emergency regulations to outlaw northern branch of Israel’s Islamic movement, approved construction of 436 residential units in E Jerusalem settlement Ramat Shlomo and unfreeze 1,000 additional residential units. Netanyahu 18 Nov hinted at possibility of Israeli annexation of parts of West Bank. Severe rainstorms brought flooding to Gaza. Israel late Nov suspended EU involvement in peace process following EU’s decision to label goods from Jewish settlements in West Bank.

Israel/Palestine

  |  2 Nov 2015

Deteriorated

Escalating tensions at Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade saw surge in violence, triggered by revived Israeli limitations on Muslim entry to al-Aqsa Mosque early Sept and Palestinian stone-throwing at Israel security forces to prevent entry of religious Jews. Over 60 Palestinians killed during month in attacks and during anti-Israel protests in Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza and elsewhere; over ten Israelis killed in series of random stabbing and shooting attacks against civilians and security forces. Govt 14 Oct introduced unprecedented security measures in attempt to curb violence, including checkpoints across city, police stationed on roof of al-Aqsa Mosque, limitations on entry to Old City for Palestinians. In West Bank, demonstrations against violence continued; Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces allowed protests near Israel checkpoints, seen by Israel as weakening of security coordination. Palestinians 16 Oct set fire to parts of Joseph’s Tomb complex in Nablus. Hamas allowed popular protests in Gaza near fence. Military 24 Sept changed its open-fire regulations, security forces continued to shoot and injure Palestinians: at least six shot dead 9 Oct; at least 92 Palestinians injured 23 Oct during clashes in W Bank and Gaza. Leader of Hamas in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh 9 Oct described violence as beginning of new intifada. PM Netanyahu 15 Oct said Israel was using legitimate force. International diplomatic efforts focused on restoring calm: Israeli govt and Palestinian religious leaders rejected 18 Oct French UNSC draft resolution on stationing international observers at the Holy Esplanade. U.S. Sec State Kerry 19 Oct said Israeli and Palestinian leaders need to “upgrade and clarify” Nov 2014 understandings regarding governing arrangements for Temple Mount; Jordanian King Abdullah II 22 Oct cautioned Israel govt against “any attempt to change the status quo”. Kerry separately met with Netanyahu 22 Oct and PA President Mahmoud Abbas 24 Oct in bid to quell violence.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Oct 2015

Unchanged

Clashes broke out between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters at Al-Aqsa Mosque starting 10 Sept after govt, fearing violent escalation at site during visits by religious Jews during Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana), revived limitations on Muslim access 9 Sept. According to Jordanian officials, access restrictions are violation of Nov 2014 commitment made by PM Netanyahu to Jordan. Following intervention by Western and Arab leaders, Netanyahu mid-Sept agreed to roll back limitations. Clashes resumed late month. Tensions also increased in Gaza, which saw protests over worsening electricity shortages 12-15 Sept in central and southern Gaza. Hamas 18 Sept called for protests in W Bank; Palestinian national security forces violently broke up peaceful protest outside Azza refugee camp. Rockets fired from Gaza same day, responsibility claimed by Salafi-jihadi group; Israeli air force responded by bombing three targets in Gaza. Egypt continued operations against Gaza-Sinai tunnels, flooding Gaza-Egypt border with seawater 18 Sept. Emergency session of Palestinian National Council cancelled 9 Sept, postponed for at least three months. PA President Mahmoud Abbas spoke at UNGA 30 Sept, said Palestine no longer bound by agreements which Israel “continually violated”, Israel must assume responsibilities as occupying power; Netanyahu called speech “deceitful”. Abbas also attended ceremony raising Palestinian flag outside UN. While fourteen Palestinians in Israeli prisons continued protesting their administrative detention, Israel 16 Sept rearrested Mohammed Allan, high-profile hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner, on his release from hospital. Palestinian reported killed by premature detonation of grenade in his attempted attack on Israeli soldiers near Hebron 21 Sept; Palestinian woman shot dead by Israeli soldier at Hebron checkpoint 22 Sept. Israel 27 Sept struck Syrian army targets in Golan Heights in response to “errant” rockets from Syria.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Sep 2015

Unchanged

Israel 20 Aug launched missiles into Syria’s Quneitra region after two rockets from Syrian Golan hit northern Israeli village near Lebanese border; five deaths reported from Israeli missiles, identity of casualties not confirmed. Israel blamed initial attack on Palestinian group Islamic Jihad with Iranian sponsorship, Islamic Jihad denied involvement. Amid rumoured turmoil within Palestinian leadership, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas 23 Aug announced he will resign from Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee, but will retain Palestinian presidency. In Gaza, 6 Aug explosion in Rafah killed four and injured 43; initial reports suggest explosion caused by undetonated ordnance left over from 50-day war in 2014. UNRWA early Aug reported infant mortality in Gaza increased by 70% between 2008 and 2013, highlighting eight-year Israeli blockade as contributing factor. Israeli Supreme Court temporarily suspended detention of Palestinian prisoner Mohammed Allan, after he reportedly suffered brain damage from 65-day hunger strike while under indefinite administrative detention.

Israel/Palestine

  |  3 Aug 2015

Unchanged

Tensions between Salafi-jihadi groups and Hamas in Gaza continued to rise following 19 July bombing of at least five vehicles belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad; Hamas security forces same day arrested two Salafi-jihadi suspects, said investigation ongoing. Hamas earlier denied involvement in 1 July attack by IS affiliate in Sinai on Egyptian forces (see Egypt). Hamas leaders made several statements alluding to indirect talks with Israel over possible lifting of Gaza’s blockade, and possible new prisoner exchange, with Israel seeking return of two of its citizens reportedly held in Gaza. Hamas leaders 17 July held rare meeting with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, sparking hopes of rapprochement. In W Bank, negotiations continued on forming new Palestinian unity govt following June announcement by Palestinian Authority (PA) that it would resign. PA arrested over 250 Hamas members in W Bank over several weeks beginning in June, citing security concerns; Hamas condemned arrests, threatened retaliation. Israeli forces shot dead several Palestinians including teenager in W Bank 3 July, 18 year old in Qalandiya refugee camp 27 July. Increased pressure from pro-settlement lobby over 29 July destruction of 24 residential units built unlawfully in Beit El settlement and amid divisions within Israel’s coalition govt: to allay pressures Netanyahu re-authorised 300 settlement units in Beit El and promised 504 additional settlement units in E Jerusalem. Palestinian child killed in arson attack in W Bank 30 July, Israeli police said settlers suspected of carrying out attack. Netanyahu condemned 14 July Iran-P5+1/EU3+3 nuclear deal (see Iran), said it paves way for Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

Palestinian Authority (PA) in West Bank 17 June announced it would resign; President Abbas ordered PM Rami Hamdallah to form new govt, replacing govt of national consensus formed in June 2014. Hamas refused to join unity govt under conditions set by PLO; Abbas spokesman 30 June said Abbas to reshuffle current govt. Tensions increased between Salafi-jihadis and Hamas in Gaza: Hamas security forces early June killed leading Salafi-jihadi militant Younis al-Hunnor in Sheikh Radwan, Gaza City. Salafi-jihadi groups 6 and 11 June fired rockets toward Israel. Amid ongoing rumours of possible Israel-Hamas truce in Gaza, Egypt opened Rafah crossing three times in June. With concern growing over Druze minority in Syria (see Syria), Israeli Druze called for govt to intervene in southern Golan to create safe zone for Druze. Druze protestors 22 June attacked military ambulance carrying two wounded Syrians in Golan Heights over suspicion they were militants, one Syrian beaten to death. Low-scale violence in Jerusalem and W Bank ongoing, including: Israeli forces 10 June shot dead Palestinian in Jenin refugee camp; Israeli forces 21 June shot dead Palestinian man who stabbed Israel border officer in Jerusalem; two Israeli civilians shot, one fatally, 19 June near Dolev, W Bank; Israeli soldier wounded in stabbing at checkpoint near Bethlehem and four wounded in W Bank settlement shooting, both 29 June. Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) 11 June announced military investigation cleared forces of any wrongdoing over controversial killing of four Palestinian boys in 2014 Gaza war. Several high profile boycott campaigns prompted concern in Israel over further “internationalisation” of conflict.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

PM Netanyahu 6 May secured deal to form new coalition with 61 of 120 parliamentary seats; FM Lieberman resigned 4 May, announced he will not join new coalition. Palestinian Authority (PA) warned that new govt will “bury” two-state solution, and in mid-May set out conditions for re-entering peace talks, including halt to settlement construction, release of certain prisoners and timeline for peace talks and end of occupation. U.S. President Obama mid-May stated he will not seek to resume peace talks with new govt, instead prioritising smaller goals such as reconstruction in Gaza. Violence in Jerusalem and W Bank continued; Palestinian shot dead by Israeli forces 4 May after being suspected of attempting to stab Israeli security officer in Jerusalem; Israeli border police 20 May shot dead Palestinian man believed to be driving into border patrol officers in E Jerusalem. Amid intense international and domestic pressure, Netanyahu 20 May suspended controversial new defence ministry plan to separate Palestinians and Jews on bus routes running from Israel to W Bank. In Gaza, Salafi jihadists, some claiming affiliation to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL), intensified campaign against Hamas; group known as Supporters of the Islamic State in Jerusalem claimed 8 May attack on Hamas base near Khan Younis. Major-General Sami Turgeman, outgoing commander of Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Southern Command, stated 12 May that Israel and Hamas have “common interests” and that there is no alternative to Hamas rule in Gaza. Militants believed to be members of Islamic Jihad 26 May fired rocket that landed in empty area near Israeli city Ashdod; Israel retaliated striking four targets in Gaza. Clashes erupted 3 May in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square as thousands protested police brutality toward Israeli Jews of Ethiopian descent.

Israel/Palestine

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

President Rivlin 20 April gave PM Netanyahu additional fourteen days to form new govt following 17 March elections; Netanyahu signed coalition deals with ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism and centre-right Kulanu late month. Israel and Palestinian Authority (PA) 18 April announced they had reached agreement on amount to be deducted from tax revenues which Israel had withheld. Amid tensions over tax revenue crisis, Israel took further measures to ease relations with W Bank; allowed Palestinian security forces to operate in three Jerusalem area towns and 14 April allowed Palestinian doctors’ vehicles to enter Jerusalem for first time in fifteen years. Army 15 April announced arrest of 29 Hamas activists in major sweep around Nablus city in northern occupied W Bank; several dozen Hamas activists arrested since 1 April. PA ministers from Gaza and Ramallah met 19 April in attempt to resolve ongoing salary crisis. Several explosive devices set off by unidentified assailants in Gaza during month, including explosions reported in Gaza City 17-18 April near Palestinian cabinet HQ, UNRWA offices and Islamic University. Palestinian shot dead 8 April after stabbing two Israeli soldiers in W Bank. Israeli troops 24 April shot dead Palestinian after attempted stabbing of border police officer at E Jerusalem checkpoint. Protestors clashed with Israeli troops in northern occupied W Bank 17 April. Israeli forces 23 April struck Hamas sites near Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza after rocket was fired toward Israel, Israel said by non-Hamas militants. Amid Israeli discontent over 2 April P5+1 (EU3+3) agreement on Iran nuclear framework (see Iran), Israel reportedly “happy” with U.S. President Obama’s 14 April agreement that U.S. Congress must review any nuclear deal with Iran.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Ruling Likud party declared winner of Israeli legislative elections 17 March with 30 of 120 parliamentary seats; PM Netanyahu 26 March began negotiations to form what is expected to be right-wing new govt, with Likud likely to retain defence ministry. Speaking on election day Netanyahu said Arabs going “in droves” to ballot box, sparking accusations of racism; observers anticipate increasing tensions between Arab Israelis and govt. Day before polls Netanyahu stated impossibility of Palestinian statehood under his rule, making prospect of renewal of peace process recede further. Amid continued salary crisis in Gaza and W Bank, Palestinian Authority forced to cut employee salaries, introduce emergency budget. Israeli govt March 27 announced it will resume payment of Palestinian tax revenues; PLO Central Council 5 March had voted to suspend all security cooperation with Israel. Despite focus on election campaign Israel took some measures to ease tensions in W Bank and Gaza, introducing increased numbers of work permits to W Bank residents, permitting limited exports of Gaza produce, meeting Qatari representatives to facilitate development projects in Gaza. France preparing draft resolution for UNSC for early April, calling for pre-1967 frontier as reference for border talks, while allowing for territory swaps; Jerusalem to be designated capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state; and fair solution for Palestinian refugees.

Israel/Palestine

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

Amid continued economic crises in Gaza and W Bank, Hamas test fired long-range rockets toward sea in Gaza, demanded international community ensure payments for Gaza’s civil servants and delivery of unpaid donor funds for Gaza reconstruction. Palestinian President Abbas late month threatened to halt security coordination with Israel unless Israel releases frozen Palestinian tax revenues, withheld since Abbas’s late Dec signing of Rome Statute, undermining PA’s ability to pay W Bank employees. Campaigning continued ahead 17 March Israeli elections; observers suggested release of Palestinian revenues unlikely before elections. Israeli troops 24 Feb shot dead Palestinian during clash in W Bank refugee camp.

Israel/Palestine

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

International Criminal Court (ICC) 16 Jan opened preliminary examination into possible war crimes committed in Palestinian territories since 13 June 2014; move followed UN announcement early month Palestine will join Rome Statute of ICC as full member 1 April. Israel responded by freezing transfer of Palestinian tax revenues. PA continued to refuse paying Gaza’s Hamas-hired civil servants, while insisting on return of Gaza employees hired prior to Hamas takeover in June 2007; observers warned renewed civil strife in Gaza could spark more intra-Palestinian or Gaza-Israel violence. Salafi-jihadis permitted to demonstrate in Gaza 19 Jan; unidentified assailants blew up cars belonging to members of Fatah and Hamas. Hamas mid-Jan declared Fatah-affiliated employees of pre-2007 govt would no longer be allowed to collect salaries; ATMs, surveillance cameras of bank used for salary payments sabotaged. Palestinian 21 Jan injured thirteen in knife-attack on bus passengers in Tel Aviv; Israeli forces 14 Jan shot dead Palestinian outside W Bank settlement, another killed near Nablus 31 Jan. Israeli political parties campaigned vigorously ahead of 17 March election; Arab parties 22 Jan united into unprecedented single joint list, likely to increase voting among Israeli Arab citizens. Two Israeli soldiers killed by Hizbollah along Lebanese border 28 Jan in retaliation for 18 Jan Israeli airstrike in Golan Heights killing six Hizbollah members, Iranian Revolutionary Guard General (see Lebanon).

Israel/Palestine

  |  5 Jan 2015

Unchanged

Palestinian President Abbas 31 Dec signed applications for membership of Rome Statute of International Criminal Court and several other international agreements, following failure of Jordanian-submitted Palestinian draft resolution to secure required three-fifths support during 30 Dec UNSC vote; Jordanian resolution called for negotiated resolution to conflict within twelve months, full withdrawal of Israeli forces from future Palestinian state by end of 2017. Tensions decreased in W Bank and Jerusalem, seemingly aided by Israel’s continued removal of restrictions on Palestinian access to al-Aqsa Mosque. PA minister Ziad Abu Ein died following altercation with Israeli soldiers during peaceful protest in W Bank 10 Dec. Israeli troops 16 Dec shot dead Palestinian in W Bank refugee camp Qalandiya; 29 Dec killed stone-throwing teenager near Tapuah settlement. EU General Court 17 Dec reversed EU designation of Hamas as terrorist organisation; several European states pledged to ensure Hamas remains on terror list. Gaza reconstruction proceeded slowly, PA official 22 Dec said over 90% of donor funds not delivered despite Oct pledges. Hamas continuously warned of return to violence if Gaza crisis remains unresolved. Israeli airstrikes 20 Dec targeted Gaza cement factory after Gaza militants fired rocket across border, no casualties; Hamas militant killed in clash with Israeli soldiers along border 24 Dec. Israeli PM Netanyahu 2 Dec requested early elections, confirmed by Knesset for 17 March.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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