Chronology 16 November 2003 - 15 February 2004

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VOL. 33


No. 3
P. 188
Chronology 16 November 2003 - 15 February 2004

Chronology16 November 2003–15 February 2004
Compiled by Michele K. Esposito
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) raids Rafah refugee camp (r.c.), surrounds the home of Bassam Abu Libdeh (whom the IDF believes is responsible for digging and renting out smugglers’ tunnels to Egypt), opens fire on Abu Libdeh and 2 unarmed men who attempt to flee, killing 1, arresting Abu Libdeh, 4 others; 4 IDF soldiers are wounded by a roadside bomb, 5 Palestinian homes are demolished during the raid. (VOP 11/16 in WNC 11/18; NYT 11/17; PR 11/19; PCHR 11/20)17 NOVEMBER The IDF makes a predawn raid on Tulkarm, sparking an exchange of gunfire that leaves 1 Hamas mbr. dead, arresting 3 Palestinians, including local Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Nayif Jaradat; pulls bulldozers out of Bureij r.c., ending a 4-day operation that leveled 55 dunams (4 dunams = 1 acre) of Palestinian land. (HA, XIN 11/17; VOP 11/17 in WNC 11/19; NYT 11/18; PCHR 11/20) Israeli PM Ariel Sharon meets secretly in Rome with U.S. National Security Council Middle East adviser Elliott Abrams, reportedly briefs Abrams on his plans for unilateral actions in the occupied territories. (HA, VOI 11/22 in WNC 11/25; HA, MM 11/24; WP 11/26) (see Quarterly Update)
18 NOVEMBER An al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AMB) gunman opens fire on an IDF checkpoint outside Jerusalem, killing 2 IDF soldiers; the gunman escapes toward al-Khadir village; the IDF seals al-Khadir, conducts house-to-house searches, arresting 3 Palestinians. The IDF raids Rafah, sparking an exchange of gunfire that leaves 1 Palestinian dead and 11 wounded, demolishing 7 Palestinian homes, damaging 2 others; fires on Palestinians at Qarni and Surda crossings for no apparent reason, wounding 3; shoots, wounds a 16-yr.-old Palestinian who breaks curfew in Asira nr. Nablus; fires on stone-throwing youths in Burqa nr. Nablus, wounding 3; fires on Palestinian farms nr. Netzarim settlement, killing 1 horse, wounding another; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Nablus. The IDF also arrests a Palestinian farmer harvesting his olive grove nr. Salfit, threatens to bulldoze the grove and family home if the family returns to the site; 50 mbrs. of Rabbis for Human Rights, B’Tselem intervene, harvest the olives for the family, vow to stay on the site, block bulldozing until the issue is resolved. In Gaza, Palestinians fire an antitank missile at a Jewish settler convoy, causing no damage or injuries. (BBC, HA, ISM press release, MM 11/18; NYT, WP 11/19; VOP 11/19 in WNC 11/21; PCHR 11/20)19 NOVEMBER The IDF continues operations in Rafah, bulldozing 2 shops, 2 greenhouses; fires on residential areas of Gaza City; conducts house searches, arrest raids in villages around Ramallah, in Salfit. An IDF soldier dies of injuries received in the 9/9 Rishon Letzion suicide bombing, bringing that toll to 9. The Palestinian Authority (PA) Preventive Security Forces (PSF) arrests 1 of its own officers in connection with the fatal shooting of 2 IDF soldiers on 11/18. Palestinians fire 3 mortars at a Jewish settlement in Gaza, causing light damage, no injuries. (JP, MM 11/19; VOI, YA 11/19 in WNC 11/21; PCHR, WP 11/20; PCHR 12/4) A joint task force comprising the Jewish Agency, Israeli government, IDF announces plans to invest tens of millions of dollars in a project to bring Jewish Diaspora youths (ages 18–26) to Israel for yr.-long visits aimed at “reinforcing Jewish identity and Zionist feelings in the Diaspora.” The goal is to bring 20% of Jewish Diaspora youths to Israel by 2010, in hopes that 30% of those would eventually immigrate. (HA 11/19)
The IDF fatally shoots a Palestinian who strays too close to Netzarim settlement; bulldozes 3 dunams of land in al-Mughraqa; demolishes a Palestinian home nr. Hebron. Palestinians detonate a roadside bomb nr. an IDF vehicle, damaging it but causing no injuries; fire on an IDF position outside the Gush Katif bloc in Gaza, causing no damage or injuries; fire on a Jewish settler vehicle nr. Hebron, damaging it but causing no injuries.(VOI, YA 11/20 in WNC 11/22; PCHR 12/4)21 NOVEMBER The IDF fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis, Nablus; conducts arrest raids nr. Nablus.On the last Friday of Ramadan, Muslims across the Middle East hold Jerusalem Day rallies in support of the Palestinian claim to Jerusalem. In Tehran, 10,000s of Iranians demonstrate; some 10,000 rally in Bahrain; 1,000s rally in Beirut; Iraqis in Baghdad, Najaf hold rallies for the 1st time in yrs., chanting “Sharon is God’s enemy! America is God’s enemy!” and “No to America!”; in the West Bank, Gaza 1,000s of Palestinians protest against the Geneva Accord. (HA 11/21; IRNA, VIRI 11/21 in WNC 11/25; NYT 11/22; PCHR 12/4)22 NOVEMBER The IDF sends armored vehicles, a bulldozer into Jenin, opens fire on stone-throwing youths, killing an 11-yr.-old Palestinian boy; fatally shoots a Palestinian who strays into a closed military zone by the n. border fence in Gaza; conducts searches, arrest raids in Jenin, Ramallah. AMB gunmen fr. Jenin fire on an Israeli security vehicle at a separation wall construction site nr. Abu Dis, killing 2 Israeli security guards. (AFP, HA 11/22; VOP 11/22 in WNC 11/25; HA, NYT, WP, WT 11/23; LAW, PCHR 12/4) 23 NOVEMBER
The IDF transfers 3 West Bank Palestinian administrative detainees to Gaza for 2 yrs. for their involvement in Palestinian violence (see Quarterly Update); fires on residential areas of Brazil r.c. , Khan Yunis; conducts arrest raids in Tubas nr. Jenin. (BBC 11/24; VOP 11/24 in WNC 11/26; PCHR 12/4) Sharon tells his cabinet that he is considering submitting a plan to cabinet vote for “unilateral steps” in the West Bank and Gaza. Sharon does not confirm leaks to the press that the steps would include dismantling some isolated Jewish settlements, especially in Gaza, as part of a final status deal. (HA 11/23; Los Angeles Times 11/24)
24 NOVEMBER The IDF conducts arrest raids in Tubas; fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis; bulldozes 39 dunams of land in al-Bureij r.c. The PSF raids a mosque in Aida r.c. nr. Bethlehem, arresting Hamas mbrs. thought to be plotting a suicide bombing. Shin Bet arrests Palestinian hospital worker and chemist Rashid al-Nimr, cousin of PLO Exec. Comm. mbr. Faruq al-Qaddumi, on charges of selling Hamas 6 containers of hydrogen peroxide for use in building bombs, transporting the chemicals by ambulance, evading the IDF by hiding in hospitals. (JP 11/25 in WNC 11/27; LAW, PCHR 12/4; JP 12/11 in WNC 12/13)
25 NOVEMBER The IDF conducts house searches, arrest raids in Hebron, Jenin; bulldozes 14 dunams of land in al-Qarara nr. Khan Yunis; conducts arrest raids in villages around Hebron, Qalqilya. Unidentified gunmen believed to be Palestinian fire on the car of Nablus mayor and PC mbr. Ghassan al-Shak`a (Fatah) in an apparent attempt to assassinate him, leaving him unharmed but killing his brother. (al-Jazeera 11/25; PR 12/3; PCHR 12/4; PR 12/10; MEI 1/9)
In a mtg. in Washington with U.S. National Security Adviser (NSA) Condoleezza Rice, Sharon’s chief of staff Dov Weisglass reportedly lays out a 2-stage plan drafted by Sharon for U.S. Pres. George W. Bush’s approval that ultimately forsees the fall of PA PM Ahmad Qurai`’s government, the end of the road map, and Israel’s unilateral declaration of borders, taking 60% of the West Bank. (MM 11/28, 12/1, 12/5) (see Quarterly Update)
26 NOVEMBER The IDF fatally shoots a 9-yr.-old Palestinian boy nr. Rafah; fatally shoots 3 Palestinians, all fr. the same family, who stray too close to a Jewish settlement nr. Rafah, en route to an Id al-Fitr celebration (the IDF admits on 11/27 that the men were innocent passersby); fatally shoots a 5th Palestinian in Hebron; conducts arrest raids in Jalazun r.c., Jenin. (HA 11/26; MM, PCHR, WP 11/27; VOP 11/26, IDF Radio, VOP 11/27 in WNC 11/29; NYT 11/28; LAW, PCHR 12/4)
The IDF fires on residential areas of Jenin, Rafah; blows up a Palestinian home in Hebron. (LAW, PCHR 12/4)
28 NOVEMBER The IDF fatally shoots an unarmed PSF officer who enters a closed military zone to bring out a mentally handicapped Palestinian who had mistakenly entered the area; the IDF acknowledges the officer was shot in error. The IDF also fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis. (VOP 11/28 in WNC 12/2; WP 11/29; LAW, PCHR 12/4)29 NOVEMBER The IDF demolishes 3 Palestinian homes in Rafah; bulldozes 200 Palestinian olive trees in East Jerusalem, clearing the land for Jewish settlement expansion; conducts arrest raids in Ramallah. (PR 12/3; LAW, PCHR 12/4)
Chronology Source AbbreviationsAFP (Agence France-Presse, Paris)AP (Associated Press [Internet])AYM (al-Ayyam, Ramallah)BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation World Service [Internet])CSM (Christian Science Monitor, Boston)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])LAW (Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment, Jerusalem)LBC (Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation, Beirut)
MA (Ma’ariv, Tel Aviv)MEI (Middle East International, London)MENA (Middle East News Agency, Cairo)MM (Mideast Mirror, London)MNR (al-Manar TV, 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])QA (al-Quds al-Arabi, London)REU (Reuters [Internet])SA (al-Sharq al-Awsat, London)SANA (Syrian Arab News Agency, Damascus)THWR (al-Thawra, 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, M.D.)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)