Chronology 16 August-15 November 2003

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

Please visit our new websiteClick Here


VOL. 33


No. 2
P. 191
Chronology 16 August-15 November 2003

16 August - 15 November 2003
Compiled by Michele K. Esposito

    The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) conducts arrest raids in Qalqilya targeting the Islamic Jihad; maintains closure on Nablus, which has been in place since the 8/12 suicide bombings. (AN 8/18; PCHR 8/21)
    The IDF begins construction of 2 permanent, fortified military posts in the PA-controlled section of Hebron, on 10 dunams (4 dunams = 1 acre) of confiscated land in Abu Sunayna, 40 dunams of confiscated land on Junaydi Hill. The IDF also begins easing the closure on Nablus; shoots, wounds a mentally handicapped Palestinian when he strays too near the Dugit settlement fence; bulldozes a Palestinian home in Balata refugee camp (r.c.); conducts arrest raids in Hebron, Jaba’, Nablus; fires on Palestinians in Bayt Furik (wounding 6), Khan Yunis; arrests 5 Israeli Arabs in Silwan for allegedly attempting to set up an East Jerusalem branch of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Preventive Security Force (PSF). Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AMB) gunmen fire on a Jewish settler vehicle nr. Yitzhar settlement, lightly wounding 1 woman. (HA, MM 8/18; PCHR 8/21)
    PA-Israeli security talks regarding expanding PA security control fr. Bethlehem and parts of Gaza to Jericho and Qalqilya fall apart over Israel’s refusal to remove checkpoints around the cities or give the PA control over the sole entry point to Qalqilya. Plans for further talks on 8/18 are canceled. (MM, NYT, WP, WT 8/18; MA, al-Quds 8/18 in WNC 8/20; MM 8/19; al-Quds 8/19 in WNC 8/21) (see Quarterly Update)
    The IDF arrests 3 Palestinians fr. Hebron on charges of selling weapons, IDF maps, IDF uniforms to militant groups; demolishes 3 Palestinian homes in Jabal Mukabir in East Jerusalem; fires on curfew breakers in Badraw, nr. Ramallah, injuring several; fires on residential areas of Jenin. Palestinians fire a mortar at Gush Katif settlement, open fire on IDF post nr. Nablus and Tulkarm, causing no damage or injuries. (HA 8/19; PCHR 8/21)
    A Palestinian suicide bomber fr. Hebron detonates a device on a bus in West Jerusalem, killing 15 Israelis, 5 Americans, wounding more than 100 (13 seriously, 13 moderately), and violating a unilateral 3-mo. Palestinian cease-fire declared on 6/29. (Initially, Islamic Jihad claims responsibility, and Hamas denies it. After the bomber is identified as a known Hamas mbr., Hamas accepts responsibility but says it still adheres to the cease-fire, this was a 1-time action to retaliate for the 8/14 IDF assassination of Islamic Jihad Hebron cmdr. Muhammad Sidr. Analysts suggest the bombing may be a joint operation or the work of a Hamas offshoot.) PA PM Mahmud Abbas, who is meeting with Islamic Jihad leaders at the time to urge them to extend the cease-fire to 6 mos., breaks off the mtg., denounces the attack, cancels cease-fire talks with Hamas scheduled for 8/20. Israel suspends further talks on a transfer of territory to PA control. The IDF sends tanks, troops into Hebron, surrounding villages to conduct searches, arrest raids; demolishes 4 Palestinian homes in Jabal Mukabir in East Jerusalem; fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis. Israeli authorities demolish an Israeli Arab home in Lod, the 40th to be demolished in 2003; the Prime Minister’s Office reports that Israel has also demolished 117 bedouin homes in the Negev this yr. In Nablus, a shootout btwn. rival AMB factions fr. Nablus, Balata r.c. leaves 1 AMB mbr. dead. (HA, JP, MM 8/19; MENA 8/19 in WNC 8/21; HA, MM, NYT, WP, WT 8/20; IDF Radio, Interfax, ITAR-TASS, JP, MA, MENA, VOI, YA 8/20 in WNC 8/22; MM, PCHR, WJW 8/21; QA, al-Quds 8/21 in WNC 8/23; al-Ra’i 8/21, AYM, al-Ra’i 8/22 in WNC 8/26; JPI 8/22; JPI, MM 8/29)
    The IDF seals the West Bank and Gaza; surrounds, tightens closures on all Palestinian cities; sends additional tanks to the outskirts of Ramallah; conducts arrest raids in Hebron, detaining 17 Palestinians, including relatives of the 8/19 bomber; fires on residential areas of Rafah. Late in the evening, the IDF imposes curfews on, sends tanks and troops into Hebron (raiding, searching 3 mosques), Jenin, Nablus (where residents report hearing helicopters, machine gun fire through most of the night), Tulkarm (where the IDF fatally shoots 1 Palestinian, wounds 7). Israel also opens the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif to non-Muslims without agreement of the Waqf; some 150 Jews under police protection visit the site. (HA, REU 8/20; YA 8/20 in WNC 8/22; MM, NYT, PCHR, PM, WP, WT 8/21)
    Abbas convenes the PA Executive Authority (EA, or cabinet) to discuss how to respond to the 8/19 suicide bombing; puts 4 recommendations to PA head Yasir Arafat for approval, threatening to resign if he does not accept them all, which he does. (HA 8/20; HA, NYT, WP 8/21; AYM 8/24 in WNC 8/26)
    Israeli PM Ariel Sharon convenes his security cabinet, which approves “a series of military steps” against Hamas, Islamic Jihad, which Israel would launch only if the PA fails to take action itself. (HA 8/20; JP, YA 8/20 in WNC 8/22; NYT, WP 8/21; IDF Radio, QA, VOI, YA 8/21 in WNC 8/23)
    U.S. Pres. George W. Bush phones Sharon to tell him that Israel has a right to defend itself following the “vicious” 8/19 bombing, reportedly does not urge restraint. U.S. Secy. of State Colin Powell phones Abbas to urge him to take action against Palestinian militant groups immediately. (HA 8/20; WP 8/21; HA 8/24; AYM 8/24 in WNC 8/26)
    The IDF assassinates senior Hamas political leader and spokesman Ismail Abu Shanab, firing 5 missiles at his car as he drives through Gaza City, also killing 2 bodyguards, wounding at least 19 bystanders. Hamas, Islamic Jihad declare the cease-fire officially over. The IDF also imposes curfews on all Palestinian cities; continues operations in Nablus, where tanks and troops have entered the heart of the city, demolishing 1 Palestinian apartment, raiding and evacuating the staff of a medical clinic for 6 hrs.; sends 5 bulldozers, 100 special forces units into Nazlat Issa, nr. the Green Line, to demolish at least 7 Palestinian homes, 115 shops, 2 factories, several warehouses; demolishes 3 Palestinian homes in Jenin, 2 in Hebron (including the home of the 8/19 bomber); shells residential areas of Khan Yunis; conducts arrest raids in Qabatiyya. Palestinians fire 12 mortars at Gush Katif, 5 Qassam rockets at s. Israel, damaging 2 buildings but causing no injuries. The IDF arrests a Hebron settler for alleged membership in a Jewish militant group. (BBC, HA, MM, PCHR, PM 8/21; MA, MENA, al-Quds, VOI, XIN, YA 8/21 in WNC 8/23; XIN 8/21, AYM, JP, QA, al-Quds, al-Ra’i, SA 8/22, JT, al-Quds 8/24 in WNC 8/26; HA, MM, NYT, WP, WT 8/22; WT 8/23; PR 8/27; PCHR 8/28; MEI 9/12)
    In Gaza City, 10,000s of Palestinians march in the funeral procession for Hamas’s Abu Shanab. IDF snipers fire on 3 wanted AMB mbrs. in a “semi-open room” atop a Nablus hospital, assassinating 1 AMB mbr., wounding 2. The IDF retakes control of Gaza’s main north–south road, setting up checkpoints that divide the Strip into thirds; makes brief incursions into Bayt Jala, Bayt Sahur; reestablishes checkpoints it abandoned in recent wks. as part of the process of road map implementation; bulldozes 8 dunams of land in Rafah; demolishes 1 Palestinian home in Nablus, 1 in Tulkarm; fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis. The IDF also arrests an IDF soldier, resident of a West Bank Jewish settlement, for participation in a militant settler cell, bringing to 9 the number of Jewish settlers recently arrested on terrorism charges. Israel breaks ground on a new section of the separation wall n. of Abu Dis. (BBC, MM 8/22; HA, NYT, WP, WT 8/23; HA, MA 8/25 in WNC 8/27; WP 8/26; PCHR 8/28; HA 9/29)
    Overnight, Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket at Sederot, causing no damage or injuries. In a 1st step to cracking down on Palestinian militants in Gaza, the PSF finds and seals 3 smugglers’ tunnels in Rafah leading to Egypt, also seizing some arms and makes some arrests; deploys 10s of officers near the n. Gaza border to halt the firing of Qassam rockets at Sederot, reportedly exchanging gunfire with Hamas mbrs. The PA calls on Palestinian factions to reaffirm the cease-fire; Hamas, Islamic Jihad say they would agree to another truce if Israel were a party too; Israel says it would not participate. The IDF continues to impose a 24-hr. curfew on Nablus, cuts off all access to Bethlehem; searching house-to-house for arms, digging up floors and breaking down walls to search for hidden weapons, clashing with protesters, leaving 16 Palestinians injured; fires tank shells at Khan Yunis, seriously wounding 1 Palestinian; opens fire on stone-throwing Palestinians protesting IDF operations in Nablus, wounding 16. An Israeli wounded in the 8/19 bombing dies of her injuries, bringing that toll to 21. (HA 8/23; HA, WP, WT 8/24; IDF Radio, MA, VOI, YA 8/24 in WNC 8/26; QA 8/27 in WNC 8/29; PCHR 8/28)
    The IDF continues operations in Nablus for the 4th day, blowing up a building in the Old City suspected of being a Qassam missile factory, the 1st found in the West Bank, and clashing with Palestinian protesters, leaving 12 injured; confiscates 360 dunams of land in Nazlat Issa, 300 dunams of land in Baqa` al-Sharqiyya; fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis; shells areas of Rafah. The PSF seals 5 more tunnels on the Rafah border; Israel says the PA’s actions are not serious. Palestinians fire a Qassam-2 rocket fr. Gaza toward Ashkelon, causing no damage or injuries. In response, the IDF assassinates senior Hamas mbr. Ahmad Aishtawi, firing rockets at his car in Gaza City, also killing senior Hamas mbr. Wahid Hamad, 2 aides, wounding more than 12 bystanders (HA, PM 8/24; NYT, WP, WT 8/25; WT 8/26; PCHR 8/28)
    The IDF withdraws forces to the outskirts of Jenin, Nablus but maintains closures on the cities; fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis, wounding an 11-yr.old Palestinian girl; conducts arrest raids in Balata r.c.; bulldozes 2 dunams of land in n. Gaza. Palestinians fire 3 Qassam rockets into Israel, fire on a Jewish settler convoy nr. Netzarim, causing no damage or injuries in either incident. (AP, PM 8/25; HA, MA, VOI, YA 8/25 in WNC 8/27; PCHR 8/28)
    The IDF makes a failed assassination attempt on Hamas mbr. Khalid Massud, firing missiles at his car as he drives btwn. Gaza City and Jabaliya r.c.; 1 Palestinian bystander is killed, Massud and 25 bystanders are wounded. The IDF also sends troops back into Nablus to raid a hospital, arrest and take away 2 AMB mbrs. wounded on 8/22, including 1 who was in intensive care; fires on, shells Palestinians in Hebron (wounding 5), Khan Yunis (wounding 2). Some 50 Palestinians, including Waqf official Mustafa Abu Zahara, stage a sit-down prayer vigil blocking Israeli police fr. leading a group of Jewish tourists fr. entering the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif; Abu Zahara, several others are arrested. (HA, JP 8/26; HA, MM, NYT, WP, WT 8/27; PCHR 8/28)
    The IDF eases the closures on Bethlehem and Jericho, allowing goods in and out; continues operations in Nablus; continues curfews on Hebron, Jenin, Nablus; fatally shoots a Palestinian who allegedly attempts to stab a soldier in Bethlehem; conducts arrest raids in Hebron, Jenin, Nablus, Qalqilya, Ramallah (searching Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [PFLP] offices); demolishes 1 Palestinian home nr. Jenin. Israeli police arrest 4 bedouin, 1 Palestinian laborer fr. Hebron in a village in the Negev on charges of setting up a Hamas cell. In Ramallah, 100s of Palestinians protest against PA PM Mahmud Abbas’s government. Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket into the Negev, causing no damage or injuries. Late in the evening, Palestinians fire 13 mortars, 2 anti-tank rockets at Jewish settlements, IDF posts in Gaza, causing no damage or injuries. (HA, MM 8/27; HA, PCHR 8/28)
    The IDF assassinates wanted Hamas mbr. Hamdi Kalakh, firing a missile at his donkey cart as he rides through Gaza City, injuring 3 bystanders. Palestinians fire 4 Qassam rockets at Israel, none of which cause damage or injuries but 1 of which lands 8 mi. n. of Gaza in the industrial zone of Ashkelon, marking the farthest a Palestinian rocket has traveled. The PSF rushes to the scene, fires on a vehicle leaving the area, possibly wounding 1, but fails to capture the assailants. The PA also freezes the bank accounts of 12 Muslim charities, prompting protests by 1,000s of Palestinians in s. Gaza. Retaliating for the rocket fire, the IDF bulldozes 98 dunams of land in Bayt Hanun. The IDF also fires on Palestinians in Jenin (wounding 1 seriously), Khan Yunis, Nablus (injuring 7), Qalqilya (wounding 1). A Palestinian dies of injuries received in the 8/21 IDF assassination of Abu Shanab. (AFP, AP, HA, MM 8/28; NYT, WP, WT 8/29; MM 9/1; PCHR 9/4)
    An AMB gunman fatally shoots 1 Jewish settler driving nr. Ramallah, wounds another. In response, the IDF conducts house-to-house searches in Balata r.c., breaking through walls to move btwn. homes; fires on Palestinians protesting the incursion, wounding 1. The PSF also searches for the gunmen. The IDF increases house-to-house searches in Jenin and Nablus, exchanging gunfire with Palestinians in Jenin, causing no injuries; fires on residential areas of Rafah, seriously injuring a farmer working in his field; shells, fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis; bulldozes another 145 dunams of land, 3 Palestinian homes, 80 beehives in Bayt Hanun. A Palestinian dies of injuries received in the IDF’s 8/24 assassination of Aishtawi. (AFP, HA, MM 8/29; NYT, WP, WT 8/30; PCHR 9/4)
Chronology Source Abbreviations
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])
DS       (Daily Star, Beirut)
DUS    (al-Dustur, Amman)
GS       (Gush Shalom, Tel Aviv)
HA       (Ha’Aretz [Internet], Tel Aviv)
IRNA   (Islamic Republic News Agency, Tehran)
JP        (Jerusalem Post [Internet], Jerusalem)
JPI       (Jerusalem Post International Edition, Jerusalem)
JT        (Jordan Times, Amman)
JTA      (Jewish Telegraphic Agency [Internet])
MA      (Ma’ariv, Tel Aviv)
MEI     (Middle East International, London)
MENA (Middle East News Agency, Cairo)
MM     (Mideast Mirror, London)
NHR    (al-Nahar, Beirut)
NYT    (New York Times, New York)
PCHR  (Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Gaza)
PM      (Palestine Monitor [Internet])
PR       (Palestine Report, Jerusalem)
PRCS  (Palestine Red Crescent Society [Internet])
PSCT   (Palestine Satellite Channel Television, Gaza)
QA      (al-Quds al-Arabi, London)
REU     (Reuters [Internet])
SA       (al-Sharq al-Awsat, London)
SANA (Syrian Arab News Agency, Damascus)
SARR (Syrian Arab Republic Radio, Damascus)
SATN  (Syrian Arab Television Network, Damascus)
SFR     (al-Safir, Beirut)
THWR (al-Thawra, Damascus)
TSHR  (Tishrin, Damascus)
VIRI    (Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Tehran)
VOI     (Voice of Israel, Jerusalem)
VOP    (Voice of Palestine, Jericho)
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)