Chronology 16 February - 15 May 2010

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VOL. 39

2009/10

No. 4
P. 185
Chronology
Chronology 16 February - 15 May 2010
ABSTRACT

16 February–15 May 2010

This section is part 106 of a chronology begun in JPS 13, no. 3 (Spring 1984). Chronology dates reflect Eastern Standard Time (EST).

For a more comprehensive overview of events related to the al-Aqsa intifada and of regional and international developments related to the peace process, see the Quarterly Update on Conflict and Diplomacy in this issue.

16 FEBRUARY

As the quarter opens, Israel’s siege of Gaza continues, with Israel barring all exports, all but limited humanitarian imports, and most cross-border transit by individuals (with very limited exceptions for extreme medical cases, VIPs, and international NGO workers). The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) enforces a 300-meter-deep no-go zone along the full length of the Gaza border and limits the Palestinian fishing zone off Gaza to 500–1,000 m off the immediate Bayt Lahiya and Rafah coasts, and 3 nautical miles elsewhere. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron, nr. Tubas. (PCHR 2/18)

17 FEBRUARY

IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire on Palestinians scavenging building materials fr. destroyed buildings n. of Bayt Lahiya, forcing them to flee but causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes a livestock pen nr. Kiryat Arba settlement after the settlers filed a petition with the IDF asking for it to be removed; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in al-Am`ari refugee camp (r.c.) nr. al-Bireh and nr. Hebron, Jenin, Nablus. (PCHR 2/18, 2/24; OCHA 2/25)

18 FEBRUARY


The IDF makes a day-long incursion into c. Gaza to level land inside the no-go zone e. of al-Maghazi and al-Musaddar, demolishing 3 Palestinian homes (displacing 13 residents), leveling 17 dunams (d.; 4 d. = 1 acre) of agricultural land, exchanging gunfire with armed Palestinians throughout the day (no injuries reported). In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Bayt Sira village w. of Ramallah in the evening, firing rubber-coated steel bullets at stone-throwing youths who confront them, causing no injuries; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin, Ramallah. (OCHA 2/18; PCHR 2/24; OCHA 2/25)

19 FEBRUARY

Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas at Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists (including Palestinian Authority [PA] PM Salam Fayyad, PA communications advisor Sabri Saydam, Fatah Central Comm. mbr. Nabil Shaath, PLO Exec. Comm. mbr. Taysir Khalid, Palestinian National Initiative party head Mustafa Barghouti, and the mayor of Geneva), some of whom throw stones at IDF troops, taking part in a nonviolent march to the separation wall in Bil`in (10s suffer tear gas inhalation); fires rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, tear gas at Palestinian and international activists, some of whom throw stones at IDF troops, taking part in protests against the separation wall in Ni`lin (10s suffer tear gas inhalation); fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, stun grenades at Palestinians staging a nonviolent march to land located between Dayr Nizam and al-Nabi Salih recently confiscated for the expansion of Halamish settlement (10s suffer tear gas inhalation); conducts late-night patrols in Rumana village w. of Jenin. Hamas accuses Fatah of links to the 1/20/10 assassination of Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades founder Mahmud al-Mabhuh, saying that 2 Palestinian suspects in custody in Dubai in connection with the assassination, Anwar Shhaybar and Ahmad Hassanayn, were former Fatah security officers and current employees of a senior Fatah official. Fatah denies the accusation. (NYT 2/20; PCHR 2/24; OCHA 2/25)

20 FEBRUARY

In Gaza, IDF troops on the s. Gaza border e. of al-Qarara exchange cross-border fire with armed Palestinians, causing no reported injuries; Israeli naval vessels then shell the area, injuring 3 armed Palestinians, damaging a mosque. IDF troops in observation towers on the Gaza border e. of Jabaliya fire on Palestinian farmers working land 400 m fr. the border (outside Israel’s no-go zone), forcing them to leave. Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, forcing them to return to shore. Late in the evening, IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire at Palestinian homes in Bayt Hanun for 40 mins., causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF opens fire on a Palestinian vehicle driving nr. Husan village w. of Bethlehem, wounding 3 Palestinians (ages 17–21), claiming they fired on an IDF patrol; fires tear gas, stun grenades at Palestinians attempting to reach their agricultural land inside a closed military zone nr. Hebron, injuring an 8-yr.-old Palestinian boy; raids and seals (until 2/28) 2 Palestinian organizations in Sur Bahir nr. Jerusalem; imposes a late-night curfew on, conducts house searches in al-Zubaydat village nr. Jericho. Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba settlement in Hebron throw stones and bottles at Palestinian houses in nearby Wadi Husayn, injuring a 7-yr.-old Palestinian boy. Jewish settlers fr. Shilo settlement n. of Ramallah seize 10 d. of Palestinian agricultural land to expand their settlement. (PCHR 2/24; OCHA 2/25)

21 FEBRUARY

IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire on Palestinians scavenging construction material from destroyed buildings 400 m fr. the border, forcing them to flee; no injuries are reported. Shortly after, the same IDF unit shells the area where the Palestinians had been scavenging as well as a Palestinian home in Bayt Lahiya, causing damage but no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Bayt Rima nr. Ramallah during the day; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron. Some 50 Jewish settlers break into the ancient Na’aran synagogue in Palestinian-controlled area A in Jericho to hold religious services, declaring their hopes of “renewing Jewish settlement in Jericho” (see Quarterly Update for details); the IDF removes the settlers, arresting at least 35. Jewish settlers escorted by IDF troops enter Kafr Haris village n. of Salfit to perform Jewish prayers at monuments in the village. (HA 2/22; PCHR 2/24; OCHA 2/25) Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu adds 2 key West Bank Jewish shrines, the Tomb of the Patriarchs (known as al-Ibrahimi Mosque to Palestinians) in the center of Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb just inside Bethlehem, to Israel’s national heritage sites, allocating $1 m. for their maintenance and repair as part of a $100 m. project to refurbish and link 150 national heritage sites, creating a “historical biblical trail [to] educate the next generation about Jewish and Zionist history.” The PA condemns the action. (IFM 2/21; PCHR, WT 2/22; NYT 2/23; JPI 3/4) (see Quarterly Update for details)

22 FEBRUARY


Palestinians protesting Netanyahu’s 2/21 decision to add sites in Bethlehem and Hebron to Israel’s national heritage roster clash with IDF troop in Hebron; no serious injuries are reported. IDF troops conduct late-night arrest raids, house searches in al-Fara`a r.c. s. of Tubas and nr. Hebron, Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah. In Gaza, the IDF makes a day-long incursion to level land along the n. Gaza border nr. Bayt Lahiya to clear lines of sight. Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar settlement nr. Nablus uproot 45 Palestinian olive trees in nearby Burin village; the IDF imposes a curfew on the village while the settlers work. Palestinians report (PCHR 2/24) that in the previous wk. Israel’s Jerusalem planning comm. convened to discuss a plan to build 549 settlement housing units on 153 d. of Bayt Safafa land s. of Jerusalem as part of a 4-stage settlement expansion plan, though no decisions were taken; the plan (several parts of which were approved before Netanyahu declared a temporary settlement freeze in 11/09; see Quarterly Update for background) is aimed at reinforcing the separation of Jerusalem from the s. West Bank. (NYT, WT 2/23; PCHR 2/24; OCHA 2/25)

23 FEBRUARY


In the West Bank, low-level clashes between Palestinian protesters and the IDF continue in Hebron for a 2d day, with no serious injuries reported. The IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Tulkarm. The UN reports that in the previous wk., the IDF demolished 1 Palestinian home nr. Hebron; 1 Palestinian died of electrocution in a smuggling tunnel nr. the Rafah border. (PCHR 2/24; OCHA 2/25; NYT 2/26; PCHR 3/4)

24 FEBRUARY

The IDF makes a brief incursion 700 m into the al-Fukhari area of s. Gaza to level 60 d. of agricultural land. In the West Bank, low-level clashes between Palestinian protesters and the IDF continue in Hebron for a 3d day, with no serious injuries reported. The IDF demolishes 6 wells w. of Jenin that provide water to 47 greenhouses and 456 d. of agricultural land; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Ramallah. (NYT 2/26; OCHA, PCHR 3/4)