Chronology 16 May-15 August 2002

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VOL. 32


No. 1
P. 171
Chronology 16 May-15 August 2002

16 MAY
Israeli-Palestinian violence
continues at a moderate level. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) continue to surround all major Palestinian population centers in the West Bank, barring travel btwn. towns and villages except through heavily guarded checkpoints. The IDF raids Beitunia, assassinating wanted Preventive Security Force (PSF) officer Ahmad Ghanem, arresting 3 others; makes arrest raids in al-Irsal nr. Ramallah; conducts house-to-house searches in Tallusa nr. Nablus; bulldozes 20 dunams (4 dunams = 1 acre) of Palestinian agricultural land in Gaza. 1 Palestinian dies of injuries received on 4/30. Late this evening, troops make incursions into al-Bireh, Tulkarm refugee camp (r.c.) and city. (LAW 5/16; AP, NYT, WP, WT 5/17; NYT, WP, WT 5/18; LAW 5/22)
Palestinian Authority (PA) head Yasir Arafat pledges to hold presidential, parliamentary elections within 6 mos., provided that Israel makes a substantial withdrawal fr. the West Bank and Gaza so that Palestinians can go freely to the polls. (HA, MM 5/16; XIN 5/16 in WNC 5/17; NYT, WP, WT 5/17; QA 5/18, MA 5/20 in WNC 5/21)

17 MAY
In a predawn incursion, the IDF sends 20 tanks and armored personnel carriers (APCs) into Jenin r.c., arrests at least 24 wanted Palestinians; when 1 wanted Hamas mbr. is not found, the IDF burns down his family home. Troops also enter Jenin city, arrest al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AMB) leader Kamal Abu al-Wafa. After troops withdraw to the outskirts of Jenin r.c. and town, a Palestinian is killed when he accidentally triggers an unexploded IDF shell in Jenin r.c. The IDF fatally shoots an AMB mbr. allegedly attempting to infiltrate Dugit settlement; makes a brief incursion into Nablus and Askar r.c., firing antitank missiles, heavy machine guns at stone-throwing Palestinians, wounding 5, killing a 7-yr.-old Palestinian boy in his yard. Nr. Baqa` al-Gharbiyya, soldiers shoot at a car driving "in a suspicious manner" nr. an IDF convoy, wounding an Israeli Arab woman; bar her transportation to a hospital, allowing her to bleed to death. (NYT, WP, WT 5/18; AYM 5/18 in WNC 5/20; LAW 5/22)

18 MAY
Nr. Hebron, the IDF fatally shoots a Palestinian doctor at a checkpoint; Jewish settlers destroy a Palestinian garden, vineyard, orchard. (LAW 5/22; MEI 5/31)

19 MAY
A Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) suicide bomber dressed as an IDF soldier detonates a device in a Netanya market, killing 2 Israelis, wounding 50. The PFLP says the attack is to protest the PA's continued detention of the group's leader, Ahmad Saadat, under U.S.-British supervision in connection with the 10/01 PFLP assassination of Tourism M Rehavam Ze'evi. The IDF sends tanks, APCs into Ramallah after shots are fired at a Jewish settler driving nearby; troops withdraw to the outskirts of the city a short time later. The IDF also makes incursions into several villages nr. Hebron, Tulkarm; partially demolishes 2 factories, bulldozes a strip of agricultural land, 7 greenhouses nr. Qarni crossing in Gaza; lifts a week-long 24-hr. curfew on the al-Mawasi area of Gaza. (AP, Palestine Media Center 5/19; AFP 5/19 in WNC 5/20; NYT, WP, WT 5/20; Interfax 5/20 in WNC 5/21; WT 5/21; LAW 5/22; JPI 5/31)
Israel releases tenders for the construction of 957 housing units in Jewish settlements. (HA 5/19; WT 5/21)
The European Union (EU) says that Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain have agreed to take the 13 Palestinians deported to Cyprus on 5/10 as part of the Israeli-PA deal to end the Church of the Nativity standoff. (AFP, CNA 5/19 in WNC 5/20; NYT 5/20) (see Quarterly Update in JPS 124)
Around 90 Peruvian converts to Judaism are airlifted to Israel to take up residence in Alon Shvut, Karmei Tzur settlements. The Ashkenazi chief rabbinate sent a delegation of rabbis on a 2-wk. mission to impoverished rural areas in Peru in early 5/02 to convert anyone "who said they were willing to immigrate to Israel immediately." (HA 7/19; WT 7/24)

20 MAY
A Palestinian suicide bomber detonates a device in an Afula bus station, injuring 1 patrolman, when he is stopped by Israeli police for a security check. The IDF conducts arrest raids into Tulkarm, Zabuna nr. Jenin; shells residential areas nr. Khan Yunis. (MM 5/20; NYT, WT 5/21; LAW 5/22)

21 MAY
The IDF shells residential areas of Yibna r.c., killing 1 Palestinian, wounding 4, damaging several houses; demolishes 3 Palestinian homes in Bayt Hanina in East Jerusalem; conducts arrest raids in Bayt Rima nr. Ramallah. (LAW 5/21; LAW, PCHR, WP 5/22)

22 MAY
The IDF openly assassinates wanted AMB Nablus cmdr. Mahmud Titi, firing rockets at him in Balata r.c., also killing 2 AMB mbrs, 1 Palestinian bystander, seriously damaging a nearby home. Hrs. later an AMB suicide bomber detonates a device in Rishon Letzion, killing 2 Israelis, injuring 25. Nr. Bethlehem, the IDF fires on a group of 20 Palestinian laborers attempting to circumvent a checkpoint, killing 1 Palestinian. In Jenin, Islamic Jihad mbr. Khalid Zakarni dies in a mysterious explosion; the IDF claims explosives he was carrying detonated prematurely, Palestinian sources say he was hit by an IDF tank shell. The IDF also bars a Palestinian woman needing kidney dialysis, a Palestinian man suffering a heart attack fr. crossing checkpoints to reach hospitals, allowing them to die; conducts house-to-house searches, directs heavy gunfire at residential areas in Salfit, detaining 100s of Palestinian men aged 15-50, arresting 13 PSF mbrs.; conducts arrest raids in Burkin (firing several shells at the home of a Hamas mbr.), Hebron, Husan, Nahalin, Tulkarm. In Gaza, the IDF shuts the main north-south road, claiming the action is in response to Palestinian mortar fire at Gaza settlements. The IDF also begins issuing magnetic cards to al-Mawasi residents; only residents with cards will be allowed to cross through the al-Mawasi checkpoint. (MM 5/23; Interfax 5/23 in WNC 24; AP, JP, LAW 5/22; LAW, NYT, UPMRC, WP, WT 5/23; PCHR 5/30)
Under an agmt. reached on 5/21, 12 of the 13 Palestinians deported to Cyprus are sent on to 3d countries (3 each to Italy, Spain; 2 each to Greece, Ireland; 1 each to Belgium, Portugal). They will be treated as refugees, given 1-yr. residency permits; if they leave their host country, they will not be allowed to return. The 13th, PA Bethlehem intelligence chief Abdallah Daoud, considered by Israel the "most dangerous" of the 13 men, will remain in Cyprus until a country can be found that will take him. (NYT, WP 5/22; CNA 5/22 in WNC 5/23; NYT, WP 5/23; MEI 5/31; CNA 8/6 in WNC 8/8) (see Quarterly Update in JPS 124)

23 MAY
A remote-controlled bomb blows up a diesel truck parked outside a major refinery nr. Tel Aviv. Israeli authorities call it a failed attempt by Palestinians to create a catastrophic explosion. No one claims responsibility. A mysterious explosion in a house in Nablus kills 2 Palestinian youths, injures 5. The IDF fatally shoots a Palestinian who allegedly threw a grenade at troops nr. the Rafah border; conducts arrest raids into villages n. of Hebron and in Jenin, Qalandiya r.c., Rafah, Silat al-Dahir, Rafah (destroying 22 shops, 5 Palestinian homes). The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) complains that the IDF has repeatedly stopped and searched 2 of its ambulances, including forcing patients out of the ambulance, opening oxygen containers, damaging medical supplies. A Palestinian woman delivers a stillborn baby in Nablus after being detained at IDF checkpoints for hrs. (MM 5/23; JP, MM, NYT, WP, WT 5/24; MA 5/26 in WNC 5/28; LAW 5/29; PCHR 5/30; JPI 6/7)

24 MAY
An AMB mbr. attempts to ram a car loaded with homemade pipe bombs into a Tel Aviv dance club but is fatally shot by a security guard. The car blows up, injuring 3 Israelis. The IDF makes an incursion into Gaza City, demolishes 3 alleged bomb-making factories. The IDF sends troops into Nur al-Shams r.c., Tulkarm r.c. and town. Palestinians ambush an IDF convoy in Tulkarm r.c., killing 1 IDF soldier, injuring 2. The IDF fires tank shells, machine guns at the r.c., wounding 8 Palestinians. (GS, MM, NYT, WP 5/24; NYT, WP 5/25; MA 5/26 in WNC 5/28; LAW 5/29; PCHR 5/30)

25 MAY
The IDF sends troops, APCs into Bethlehem, reoccupying most of the city, directing shells and heavy machine gun fire at residential areas, demolishing the home of senior Islamic Jihad mbr. Muhammad Shihada; troops still hold most of Bethlehem at nightfall. The IDF also fires tank shells, machine guns at a Palestinian mother, daughter working their farm nr. the Gaza border with Israel, killing them; the IDF says they were in a prohibited area. Denied passage by the IDF, a Palestinian woman gives birth at a checkpoint; the baby dies. The IDF withdraws to the outskirts of Tulkarm r.c.; at least 9 more IDF soldiers have been injured in the operation since the fatal ambush on 5/24. The IDF imposes curfews on Palestinian villages along the Green Line nr. Qalqilya, Tulkarm. (AFP, NYT, WP, WT 5/26; WP 5/27; LAW 5/29; PCHR 5/30; MEI 5/31)
An "intense debate" is reportedly underway among U.S. Pres. George W. Bush and his senior advisers over whether to press for Arafat's removal. Arafat adviser Muhammad Rashid, in Washington for several days for low-key meetings with U.S. officials at the CIA, Pentagon, State Dept. and with Jewish leaders, argues that Arafat is central to the peace process. (NYT 5/26)

26 MAY
The IDF conducts arrest raids in Bayt Umar, Hebron, Qalqilya; conducts house-to-house searches in Qalqilya and Tulkarm, killing 1 Palestinian; maintains curfews (begun 5/25) on villages along the Green Line in those areas; reinforces the closure of Nablus. In Gaza, 3 Palestinians (including a woman, child herding cattle) are killed by IDF tank fire; the IDF bulldozes 30 dunams of land, a PSF post nr. Qarni crossing in Gaza. Troops withdraw to the outskirts of Bethlehem early this morning, after arresting 1 Palestinian. In Kefar Saba, an IDF soldier shoots, wounds a deaf mute Israeli Jewish bus passenger whom he thought was a suicide bomber because of his suspicious silent behavior, refusal to obey orders to take off his shirt to prove he was not carrying a bomb. (HP, NYT, WP, WT 5/27; LAW 5/29; PCHR 5/30)

27 MAY
Before dawn, the IDF sends troops back into Aida r.c., Bayt Jala, Bethlehem, Dahaysha r.c. in the largest incursion since Israeli PM Ariel Sharon declared the end of the 1st stage of Operation Defensive Shield on 4/21, conducting house-to-house searches; occupying the UNRWA school in Dahaysha r.c.; arresting 10s of Palestinians, including wanted Fatah mbr. Ahmad Mughrabi, blowing up his home; declaring the area a closed military zone, barring entry to journalists; occupying Bethlehem Radio 2000 offices, seriously damaging, confiscating equipment; directing shells, heavy machine gun fire at residential areas, seriously damaging several homes. The IDF also conducts arrest raids in Hebron, Umm al-Sharayit; withdraws to the outskirts of Tulkarm, but maintains a curfew; tightens controls on Palestinian movement across the West Bank. In the evening, an AMB suicide bomber (a cousin of AMB Nablus cmdr. Titi, assassinated on 5/22) detonates a device in a cafe in Petah Tikva, killing 2 Israelis, injuring 37. A bomb is found, neutralized in French Hill settlement. (HP, LAW, NYT 5/27; MM, NYT, WP, WT 5/28; ITAR-TASS 5/28 in WNC 5/29; LAW 5/29; MEI 5/31)

28 MAY
Early in the morning, IDF tanks enter Jenin town, troops clash with residents, fatally shooting 1 Palestinian (who is allowed to bleed to death over 3 hrs.), detaining wanted Hamas mbr. Rami Awad and Islamic Jihad spokesman Khalid Hawaj, bulldozing 1 home; troops withdraw to the outskirts of Jenin by midday. IDF operations continue in the Bethlehem area, where troops resume sniper positions around Church of the Nativity, patrol Manger Square, search and vandalize the al-Rowwad Cultural Center. The IDF also detains Palestinian mayor of Jerusalem Jamil Nasir for several hrs. of questioning; conducts arrest raids in Alar, Bayt Anan, Beitunia (arresting senior Hamas mbr. Hassan Yusif), Hebron, Qalqilya, Ramallah, Saida. At least 1 Palestinian gunman infiltrates Itamar settlement, fatally shoots 3 Jewish settlers before being shot dead. Other Palestinian gunmen fatally shoot a Jewish settler driving nr. Ofra settlement. Jewish settlers set fire to 10s of dunams of Palestinian land nr. Nablus. The Israeli High Court approves the IDF's confiscation of 300 dunams of Palestinian land in Bayt Lahia nr. Aley Sinai settlement, effective retroactively to 5/1/02. (HP, MEZ, WP 5/28; GS, HA, HP, LAW, NYT, WP, WT 5/29; PCHR 5/30; MEI 5/31)
Arafat ratifies the Basic Law (the PA's constitution). (HA 5/28; WT 5/30; AFP, Interfax 5/30 in WNC 5/31; NYT 5/31; WT 6/1; AYM 6/1 in WNC 6/3) (see Quarterly Update)
The Knesset House Comm. votes (12-5) to restrict the movement of Israeli MK Ahmad Tibi for the remainder of his term, arguing that his works promote the interests of the PA and the residents of the occupied territories. Tibi was vocally critical of Operation Defensive Shield, participated in many peace marches. (Adalah press release 5/29)

29 MAY
The IDF continues operations in the Bethlehem area, conducting house-to-house searches; lifts curfews for several hrs. in Aida r.c., Artas, Azza r.c., Bayt Jala, Bayt Sahur, Bethlehem, Dahaysha r.c.; seals al-Bireh, Ramallah; shells residential areas of Rafah. (HP, LAW 5/29; PCHR 5/30)

30 MAY
In a predawn operation, the IDF sends tanks, troops, APCs into Hebron fr. 3 directions; surrounds several houses; arrests 4 Palestinians, including senior Islamic Jihad mbr. Muhammad Sidr. The IDF also reenters Jenin, imposes a curfew; conducts arrest raids in villages around Bethlehem, Tulkarm; raids, shells residential areas of Khan Yunis and Rafah, killing 1 Palestinian, wounding 15, arresting 23. (The IDF withdraws to the outskirts of Bethlehem, Hebron by nightfall.) At least 3 Palestinians are killed before dawn: 1 shot by the IDF emerging fr. a taxi in Salfit, 1 shot by the IDF while trying to circumvent a checkpoint nr. Nablus, 1 who dies of a heart attack at an IDF crossing in Khan Yunis. The IDF is reported setting up numerous new roadblocks, checkpoints n. of Jerusalem. Israeli police arrest a Palestinian man, his Israeli Christian wife on charges of driving 2 suicide bombers fr. the West Bank into Israel. (HP, NYT, WT 5/30; HP, NYT, WP 5/31; WT 6/1; WP 6/2, LAW 6/5; WJW 6/6; NYT 6/13)
U.S. Asst. Secy. of State William Burns arrives in Cairo on the first leg of a 4-day regional tour to confer with Egyptian, EU, Israeli, Jordanian, Palestinian leaders. (HA 5/30; MENA 5/30 in WNC 5/31; MM, NYT, WT 5/31; WP, WT 6/1; MENA 6/1 in WNC 6/3) (see Quarterly Update)

31 MAY
In a predawn operation, the IDF sends troops, tanks into Balata r.c. and Nablus, meeting heavy resistance. In Nablus, troops impose a curfew, shell residential areas (cutting some electricity), occupy homes as sniper posts, conduct house-to-house searches (sometimes going through walls), call on all men ages 15-45 to surrender, detain around 100 Palestinians (including local Fatah head Issam Abu Bakr), blow up the home of the 5/27 suicide bomber. In Balata r.c., troops conduct house-to-house searches, breaking through walls btwn. homes, and call on all men ages 13-60 to surrender (some 1,000 are reportedly taken to Hawara, outside Nablus, where some are released but told not to return to Balata r.c. for 3 days); tanks moving through narrow alleys damage several homes. Late in the evening, troops reenter Tulkarm, reimpose a curfew. The IDF also partially destroys a cement factory in Qalqilya; blows up a cave nr. Ramallah known as the Christian pilgrimage site of Saint Barbara. A Palestinian infiltrates a West Bank Jewish settlement, throws 2 grenades at a school, causing no injuries; settlers shoot him dead. Palestinians detonate 2 roadside bombs targeting Merkava tanks but do not damage them. (GS, HP, NYT 5/31; GS, HA, HP, NYT, REU, WP, WT 6/1; MENA 6/2 in WNC 6/3; LAW 6/5)
The Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) orders all IBA editorial departments to prohibit the use of the terms "settler," "settlements" on radio, TV broadcasts. (HA 5/31)

AFP (Agence France-Presse, Paris)
AN (Arab News, Riyadh)
AP (Associated Press [Internet])
ATL (Anatolia, Ankara)
AYM (al-Ayyam, Ramallah)
BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation World Service [Internet])
CNA (Cyprus News Agency, Nicosia)
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)
INN (Israel Network News [Internet])
JP (Jerusalem Post [Internet], Jerusalem)
JPI (Jerusalem Post International Edition, Jerusalem)
JT (Jordan Times, Amman)
JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency [Internet])
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)
MEZ (al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Jabaliya)
MM (Mideast Mirror, London)
NYT (New York Times, New York)
PCHR (Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Gaza)
PR (Palestine Report, Jerusalem)
QA (al-Quds al-Arabi, London)
REU (Reuters [Internet])
RMC (Radio Monte Carlo, Paris)
SA (al-Sharq al-Awsat, London)
UPI (United Press International [Internet])
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)
YA (Yedi'ot Aharonot, Tel Aviv)

Chronology compiled by Michele K. Esposito