Chronology 16 February-15 May 2002

You are visiting the old website of The Institute for Palestine Studies

Please visit our new websiteClick Here


VOL. 31


No. 4
P. 199
Chronology 16 February-15 May 2002

In Jenin, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) assassinate local Hamas leader Nazih al-Siba' using a remote-controlled bomb; 1,000s of Palestinians take to the streets to protest against Israel. A Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) suicide bomber infiltrates a Karnei Shomron settlement in the West Bank, detonating a device in a food court, killing 3 Jewish settlers, injuring more than 20. The IDF responds with missile strikes against targets in Nablus. Palestinians fire 1-2 Qassam-2 rockets, 2 mortars at IDF positions in Gaza and across the border inside Israel, causing no damage. The IDF conducts raids into areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) around Bureij, killing 2 Palestinians and injuring 12, destroying a PA Preventive Security Force (PSF) training base, several PSF posts. (AP, LAW 2/16; XIN 2/16 in WNC 2/19; NYT, WP, WT 2/17)
For the 1st time, the IDF erects portable housing for soldiers in PA-controlled areas of the West Bank nr. Jenin. Israeli police halt a vehicle outside an IDF training base nr. Hadera, Israel. 1 Palestinian flees, is fatally shot by police; the 2d Palestinian detonates an explosive device, killing himself, injuring 3 policemen, 3 bystanders; al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AMB) takes responsibility. Israeli PM Ariel Sharon meets with his cabinet to discuss how to respond; no decision is announced. IDF F-16s bomb PA targets in Nablus (hitting a government building, PSF office, apartment building), Ramallah (hitting a PSF office); repeatedly break the sound barrier over Jenin. The IDF also conducts arrest raids in Umm al-Sharayit; demolishes a water network, digs a trench along a main road in Nablus; sets up observation towers with heavy machine gun emplacements, reinforces positions on the western border of Khan Yunis refugee camp (r.c.); tightens closures on Jenin, Nablus, Qalqilya, Ramallah. Jewish settlers attack Palestinian farmers in al-Tuwani, burn at least 200 dunams of wheat. A 3d Palestinian dies of injuries received on 2/16. (HA, HP, JP [Internet], al-Quds [Internet] 2/17; MA 2/18 in WNC 2/19; NYT, WP, WT 2/18)
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdallah announces that he has drafted an initiative to be presented to the Arab League offering full Arab normalization with Israel in exchange for Israel's full withdrawal fr. all the occupied territories captured in 1967. (HA, NYT 2/17; MM 2/18; MENA, QA 2/18 in WNC 2/19; MM, WP, WT 2/19; MM 5/20; AYM 2/20 in WNC 2/25; MM 5/22, 5/25; WP 3/2; MEI 3/8) (see Quarterly Update)
Israeli-Palestinian violence leaves a total of 6 Palestinians, 3 Jewish settlers, 1 IDF soldier dead. In Gaza, the IDF fires on 2 Palestinians allegedly attempting to infiltrate a Jewish settlement, killing 1; shells residential areas of Khan Yunis, killing 3 Palestinians, barring ambulances fr. reaching the scene, firing on at least 1 ambulance. AMB gunmen fire on a settler vehicle nr. Kissufim crossing in Gaza; then 1 AMB mbr. detonates a bomb, killing himself, 3 settlers, wounding 4. In the Jordan Valley, the IDF stops a Palestinian car nr. Ma'ale Adumim; the driver fires on soldiers, detonates a remote-controlled car bomb, killing himself and 1 soldier, injuring a 2d soldier. The IDF responds by sending F-16s to destroy 3 PSF buildings nr. Rafah, injuring 4 PSF officers; blocks 3 main roads in Gaza, banning all Palestinian traffic; shells residential areas of Dayr al-Balah. The IDF confiscates 80 dunams of Palestinian land nr. Karnei Shomron settlement. (NYT, WP 2/19; NYT 2/20)
An AMB gunman attacks an IDF outpost n. of Jerusalem, killing 6 IDF soldiers, critically wounding 1, and escaping. IDF F-16s shell 2 PSF buildings in Rafah, Ramallah; naval vessels fire a missile at PA head Yasir Arafat's compound in Gaza, killing 4 Force 17 mbrs. The IDF also rockets a Hamas office in Jabaliya, killing 2 Hamas mbrs. in an apparent assassination; among the 11 injured are 9 children. 2 Palestinians are killed in IDF strikes on Nablus. A Palestinian suicide bomber detonates a device in the West Bank, killing only himself, causing no injuries. The IDF bulldozes a Palestinian home in Dayr al-Balah, 2 Palestinian homes in Umm Tuba nr. Jabal Abu Ghunaym settlement, 1 dunam of agricultural land nr. Yatta; bans all Palestinian vehicular traffic except ambulances in the n. West Bank. Late evening, the IDF fires 18 shells at Arafat's compound in Gaza, killing 5 PSF officers; 1 missile into his compound in Ramallah, where he has been held under virtual house arrest since 12/01. In Hebron, Jewish settlers fire on Palestinian areas, causing no injuries. (AP, Mezan, MM, NYT, WT 2/19; AP, HA, MM, NYT, WP, WT 2/20; AFP, MA 2/20 in WNC 2/21; MM, PCHR, WP 2/21)
Sharon meets with his cabinet, which agrees to intensify attacks on Palestinians in response to escalating violence. The IDF stages massive aerial, naval assaults on PA targets in the West Bank and Gaza, leaving a total of 16 Palestinians dead, including 2 Hamas mbrs. allegedly preparing to fire mortars in Gaza. The IDF also makes incursions into Nablus, killing 9 Palestinians, occupying an apartment building, confining 130 residents to a single floor, allegedly ordering some Palestinian men to stand at the windows as human shields. The IDF again shells Arafat's Ramallah compound, injuring 1 bodyguard; also shells 2 PSF buildings in Gaza City, 1 in Jenin; further tightens restrictions on Palestinian movement, even barring young children who had passed through checkpoints in the morning fr. walking home fr. school. (AP, MM, WT 2/20; AFP 2/20 in WNC 2/21; NYT, Physicians for Human Rights press release, WP, WT 2/21; NYT 2/22)
In Tel Aviv, Israel DM Benjamin Ben-Eliezer holds a secret mtg. with PSF Gaza head Muhammad Dahlan, Arafat financial adviser Muhammad Rashid to discuss the escalating violence. The sides agree to a CIA request to hold a secret trilateral security comm. mtg. on 2/23. (NYT 2/22)
In a massive predawn operation, the IDF sends tanks, troops into Gaza City fr. 3 directions, firing heavy machine guns, demolishing the Palestine Broadcasting Center, taking Palestinian TV and radio off the air. IDF helicopters strike the PA military intelligence, military police, Force 17 buildings in the city. The IDF also sends bulldozers into Brazil r.c., killing 6 Palestinians; dispatches F-16s to bomb a PA security building in Khan Yunis, helicopters shell a Force 17 building in al-Bireh, naval vessels shell a PA naval police station in Bayt Lahia. Nr. Jerusalem, a Palestinian fires on an IDF post, injuring 2 IDF soldiers before being shot dead. An 8th Palestinian is fatally shot at an IDF checkpoint for "acting suspiciously"; an Israeli Arab is killed in an incident elsewhere. The PSF arrests 3 senior PFLP mbrs. suspected of involvement in the 10/01 assassination of Israel's Tourism M Rehavam Ze'evi. Israel, which had made the arrests a condition of easing Arafat's confinement, says the PA must also arrest anyone behind the Karine A arms shipment (see Quarterly Update in JPS 123), Arafat must achieve complete quiet before Israel will allow him to leave his Ramallah compound. (AP, MM, NYT, PCHR, REU, WP, WT 2/21; AFP 2/21 in WNC 2/22; AFP, NYT, WP, WT 2/22; PCHR 2/27; WP 4/19)
The CIA convenes a trilateral security comm. mtg. at Erez crossing to discuss security issues. Israel agrees not to initiate military operations for 1 wk., except to prevent imminent terrorist attacks. (NYT 2/22, 2/23; NYT, WT 2/24; WP 2/25)
In a TV address, Sharon urges Israelis to stiffen their resolve but does not offer a vision of how to achieve a cease-fire or durable peace; announces plans to create buffer zones to impose "security separation" between Israeli and Palestinian territory; demands the "complete demilitarization" of the PA areas as a "prelude" to a final settlement; denounces "expressions of disobedience" such as the IDF conscientious objection petition (see Quarterly Update in JPS 123), which he says "encourage terrorist organizations." (MM 5/21; AFP, HP, MM, NYT, WP, WT 2/22; QA 2/22 in WNC 2/25; Guardian 2/23, WP, WT 2/23; Le Monde 2/24 in WNC 2/26; HA 3/1; MEI 3/8)
At a UN Security Council (UNSC) emergency session in New York, UN Secy-Gen. Kofi Annan warns that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is "sliding toward a full-fledged war"; says that the Mitchell and Tenet plans have clearly not succeeded, that an active international effort and "new thinking" are necessary. The Israeli, U.S. reps. strongly reject anything other than U.S. mediation. (NYT 2/22)
A Palestinian worker in the West Bank settlement of Efrat attempts to detonate a suicide bomb in a supermarket, but is shot dead by armed customers. IDF soldiers mistakenly fire on a Jewish settler vehicle nr. Ramallah, wounding 1 settler they believed was shooting at them; the settler was shooting at nearby Palestinians. Palestinian gunmen fatally shoot a Jewish settler driving nr. Pisgat Ze'ev. The IDF conducts arrests raids in Tamun; directs heavy machine gun fire at residential areas nr. Qarni crossing. (HP 2/22; NYT, WP, WT 2/23; WT 2/25)
IDF soldiers fatally shoot a Palestinian at a checkpoint nr. Halhul, claiming he was acting suspiciously. A 2d Palestinian dies of injuries received earlier. The IDF also clashes with Palestinians nr. the Rafah crossing, wounding 16; shells residential areas of Rafah, wounding 20, destroying 1 building. Palestinian gunmen fire on a Jewish settler vehicle nr. Ramallah, wounding 2. Elsewhere, an armed Jewish settler critically wounds a Palestinian. Nr. Balata r.c., 3 Palestinians are injured in a mysterious explosion. (HP 2/23; NYT, WT 2/24; PCHR 2/27)
IDF soldiers fire at the car of Palestinian Council (PC) speaker and senior PA negotiator Ahmad Qurai` as it approaches a West Bank checkpoint. Qurai` is unharmed; Israel apologizes for the error. IDF soldiers at a checkpoint in Nablus shoot, wound a pregnant Palestinian woman, not knowing that she, her husband had been given IDF approval to pass through the checkpoint to reach a hospital where she could give birth. The IDF directs heavy machine gun fire at residential areas of Balata, Rafah. (AFP 2/24; AFP, NYT, WP 2/25; PCHR 2/27; WJW 2/28)
The Israeli inner cabinet votes (12-0, with 3 abstaining) to loosen the tank cordon around Arafat's Ramallah headquarters, allow him to leave the compound, but require him to seek Sharon's permission if he wishes to leave the city. In protest, the PA cancels today's the trilateral security comm. mtg.; refuses Sharon's request to meet with Arafat senior adviser Mahmud Abbas, Qurai`, Rashid. (HA 2/24; RMC 2/24 in WNC 2/25; JP [Internet], MM, NYT, WP, WT 2/25; AYM, DUS, SA 2/25 in WNC 2/26; AKH, JT, MENA, al-Quds 2/26 in WNC 2/27; WT 3/2)
For the 2d time in 2 days at the same location, IDF soldiers open fire on a Palestinian car that had been given IDF approval to cross a Nablus checkpoint to deliver a pregnant Palestinian woman in labor to a hospital. The woman's husband is killed instantly, her father-in-law left paralyzed, while she is ordered to strip, is left bleeding on a cold stretcher for 45 mins. before the IDF transports her to a hospital, where she delivers a healthy baby. The soldiers' brigade cmdr. issues a statement saying the soldiers acted "according to procedures." Nr. Bethlehem, AMB gunmen fire on a Jewish settler vehicle, seriously wounding a pregnant Jewish settler en route to a Jerusalem hospital, killing her father, another passenger; the woman delivers a healthy baby. An AMB mbr. opens fire on a bus stop in Neve Ya'aqov settlement, wounding 5 settlers, 3 policemen before being shot, wounded, arrested. Nr. Tulkarm, a 15-yr.-old Palestinian girl runs toward an IDF checkpoint wielding a knife, is shot dead by troops; she leaves a suicide note denouncing the Israeli occupation. The IDF directs shells, heavy machine gun fire at residential areas of al-Khadir, Rafah, Tal Sultan. Jewish settlers erect new caravans in Itamar settlement. (BBC, HP 2/25; MM, NYT, WP, WT 2/26; PCHR 2/27; JP 3/8)
The IDF fatally shoots 1 Palestinian nr. Balata. A Palestinian woman in labor loses her baby when IDF troops bar her transportation to a hospital. The IDF also fires on Palestinians outside al-Nur mosque in Brazil r.c., wounding 6; demolish 3 Palestinian homes in Bayt Hanina; raid Khan Yunis, temporarily occupy a Palestinian home. (PCHR, WT 2/27; LAW 3/6)
Late in the evening, the CIA convenes a trilateral security comm. mtg. with Israeli, PA security officials in Herziliya. The PA, which cancelled security contacts on 2/24, agreed to resume mtgs. at the European Union's (EU) request. (HA, MM, WT 2/27; al-Quds 2/27 in WNC 2/28)
The IDF fatally shoots 3 armed infiltrators fr. Egypt in the s. Negev. A female suicide bomber detonates a device at an IDF roadblock in the West Bank, wounding 3 soldiers; 2 Israeli Arabs traveling with her are arrested, 1 is shot and wounded. The woman, an al-Najah University student originally affiliated with Hamas (see 1/27), 1st approached Hamas, Islamic Jihad about staging a suicide bombing but was refused; the AMB ultimately provided her with explosives. In E. Jerusalem, a Palestinian fatally shoots his Jewish settler employer in a politically motivated attack. IDF soldiers fire on Palestinians outside al-Nur mosque in Brazil r.c. for the 2d day, wounding 4. Late in the evening, the IDF launches air strikes on Balata. Jewish settlers bulldoze Palestinian land nr. Bracha settlement, set up a caravan. The IDF bulldozes Palestinian land nr. Jenin; reportedly sprays range land with poison nr. Tubas, killing may goats, sheep. (JP [Internet], al-Quds [Internet] 2/27; AP, NYT, WP, WT 2/28; MM, NYT 3/1; AYM 3/2 in WNC 3/4; WP 3/7)
In the morning, the IDF sends troops, tanks into Balata (an AMB stronghold); surrounds and attacks Jenin r.c. without entering it. The massive two-pronged operation, called Colorful Journey, meets strong resistance, touching off fierce gun battles that continue into the night, leaving 1 IDF soldier and at least 11 Palestinians dead (4 in Balata, including Balata AMB leader Kayid Abu Mustafa; 7 in Jenin, including 6 PSF officers), wounding more than 150 Palestinians (more than 100 in Balata, 40 in Jenin). Troops bar ambulances fr. entering the camps to aide the wounded. In the afternoon, the IDF declares a brief cease-fire, ordering unarmed residents to leave Balata, but few do--most fearing permanent exile. The IDF cuts electricity and water to the camp; evicts, demolishes several Palestinian homes at the edge of the camp; conducts house-to-house searches, breaking through walls to move fr. building to building, demolishing at least 5 homes, damaging 100; occupies a UN-operated boys school. Israel says the operation is designed to arrest Palestinians wanted for "terrorist attacks," but none are arrested during the day. As the day progresses, violence spreads to other West Bank towns, especially in the Bayt Jala-Gilo area. The IDF also sends tanks to surround Tulkarm; tightens closures on Dayr al-Balah, Gaza City, Qalqilya, Ramallah, as well as access to Jerusalem; shells residential areas of Khan Yunis; occupies a PSF post in Tamun; directs heavy machine gun fire at Aida r.c., Bayt Jala, Bethlehem; bulldozes Palestinian land in Azariyya for construction of a settler bypass road. The PA suspends trilateral security comm. talks. (AP, HP, JP [Internet], MM, NYT, WP 2/28; BDL, MM, NYT, WP, WT 3/1; AFP 3/1, AYM 3/2, XIN 3/3 in WNC 3/4; WP, WT 3/2; LAW 3/6; MEI 3/8)
Chronology Source Abbreviations

AFP (Agence France-Presse, Paris)
AKH (al-Akhbar, Cairo)
AN (Arab News, Riyadh)
ANSA (Associated National Press Agency, Rome)
AP (Associated Press [Internet])
ATL (Anatolia, Ankara)
AYM (al-Ayyam, Ramallah)
BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation World Service [Internet])
BDL (BADIL Resource Center, Bethlehem)
CNN (Cable News Network [Internet])
DUS (al-Dustur, Amman)
GS (Gush Shalom, Tel Aviv)
HA (Ha'Aretz [Internet], Tel Aviv)
HP (Hear Palestine [Internet], Washington)
HUR (Hurriyet, Istanbul)
IRNA (Islamic Republic News Agency, Tehran)
JP (Jerusalem Post International Edition, Jerusalem)
JT (Jordan Times, Amman)
LAW (Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment, Jerusalem)
MA (Ma'ariv, Tel Aviv)
MEI (Middle East International, London)
MENA (Middle East News Agency, Cairo)
MM (Mideast Mirror, London)
NYT (New York Times, New York)
PCHR (Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Gaza)
PMC (Palestine Media Center [Internet])
QA (al-Quds al-Arabi, London)
REU (Reuters [Internet])
RMC (Radio Monte Carlo, Paris)
RNE (RNE Radio 1, Madrid)
SA (al-Sharq al-Awsat, London)
UPMRC (Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees, Jerusalem)
WJW (Washington Jewish Week, Rockville, MD)
WNC (World News Connection [Internet], Washington)
WP (Washington Post, Washington)
WT (Washington Times, Washington)
XIN (Xinhua-New China News Agency, Beijing)

Chronology compiled by Michele K. Esposito