Chronology 16 May - 15 August 2008

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VOL. 38


No. 1
P. 190
Chronology 16 May - 15 August 2008


This section is part 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 MAY

Israel’s siege of Gaza, imposed after Hamas’s takeover of the Strip in 6/07, remains tight. In Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) conduct late-night arrest raids, house searches in Shuka nr. Rafah, arresting 3 Palestinians, wounding 1 with live ammunition, bulldozing 8 dunams (d.; 4 d. = 1 acre) of greenhouses and a poultry farm (killing 50,000 chickens). In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Qaryut nr. Nablus, detaining 4 Palestinians (including 3 teenagers) for questioning; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin and Hebron (partially bulldozing a Palestinian home in Bayt Umar); fires rubber-coated steel bullets, percussion grenades, tear gas at Palestinian, Israeli, international activists taking part in the weekly nonviolent demonstration against the separation wall in Bil`in n. of Jerusalem nr. Ramallah (10s suffer tear gas inhalation); and beats demonstrators at a similar protest al-Ma`sara nr. Bethlehem (lightly injuring 3). Nr. Nablus, 10s of armed Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar vandalize Palestinian homes in nearby Asira al-Qibliyya. In Gaza City, unknown assailants detonate a bomb outside a Catholic school in Gaza City, causing damage but no injuries. (OCHA 5/21; PCHR 5/22)

U.S. pres. George W. Bush ends a 4-day visit to Israel to mark Israel’s 60th anniversary (see Quarterly Update in JPS 148). (NYT, WP, WT 5/17; NYT 5/19)


17 MAY

IDF troops on the c. Gaza border fire on Palestinian farmers working a plot of land nr. al-Maghazi refugee camp (r.c.), causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Dura nr. Hebron, firing on stone-throwing youths who confront them, causing no reported injuries; conducts daytime arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem and late-night raids, searches in and around Jenin. Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba nr. Hebron vandalize nearby Palestinian property; the IDF observes but does not intervene. For a 2d day, 10s of armed Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar vandalize Palestinian homes in nearby Asira al-Qibliyya. In Gaza’s Jabaliya r.c., Hamas mbrs. raid a mosque controlled by the Salafist group al-Kitab wa al-Sunna, where the imam had denounced (5/16) Hamas in his Friday sermon, and evict at least 5 Palestinian worshippers. (OCHA 5/21; PCHR 5/22)

Bush arrives in Egypt to attend the World Economic Forum meetings, which open on 5/18. Today he meets in Cairo with PA pres. Mahmud Abbas to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. (WP 5/18; NYT, WT 5/19)

In Doha, Qatar, 14 of Lebanon’s leading politicians open national unity talks aimed at resolving the ongoing government crisis (see Quarterly Update for details). (WP, WT 5/18)


18 MAY

Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishermen off the Rafah coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Jenin town and r.c., nr. Nablus. (OCHA 5/21; PCHR 5/22)


19 MAY

The IDF sends tanks, armored vehicles, bulldozers into 2 areas e. of al-Maghazi in c. Gaza and around the Qarni industrial zone to level land. On the Rafah border, Egyptian border police find, demolish 7 smuggling tunnels. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin, Ramallah. Armed Jewish settlers fr. Dov Nesher nr. Hebron attack Palestinian farmers and shepherds on nearby land, forcing them to flee the area. A Jewish settler wounds a Palestinian in a drive-by shooting in Hebron; the IDF transports the Palestinian to an Israeli hospital. A dispute erupts btwn. Hamas, Islamic Jihad mbrs. over control of a Gaza City mosque; Hamas-affiliated police intervene, dispersing the groups and closing the mosque. (OCHA 5/21; PCHR 5/22)

20 MAY

The IDF makes air strikes on a rocket-launching site in n. Gaza (decapitating a 12-yr.-old Palestinian boy, wounding another child), a group of unidentified armed Palestinians in Gaza City (wounding 4), and a group of Hamas mbrs. in Gaza City (killing 2 Hamas mbrs., wounding 3); sends armored vehicles, bulldozers into Gaza to level land around the Qarni industrial zone. IDF troops on the central Gaza border nr. Juhur al-Dik exchange fire with armed Palestinians inside Gaza, causing no reported injuries; troops later shell farmers working a field in the same area, killing 1 Palestinian farmer, wounding 2. Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the Rafah coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron and Nablus, nr. Tulkarm. The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that since 5/16, Jewish settlers have seized and leveled 200 d. of Palestinian land around Revava Settlement nr. Salfit for construction of settler-only bypass roads. (OCHA, WP 5/21; PCHR 5/22)


21 MAY

In Gaza, the IDF makes an air strike on an empty car in Jabaliya r.c. owned by a member of Hamas’s Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades (IQB) in an apparent assassination attempt, destroying the car, damaging surrounding homes, causing no reported injuries; sends tanks, troops into areas southeast of Gaza City to bulldozes 200 d. of olive groves. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border shell an alleged rocket-launching site w. of Bayt Lahiya in n. Gaza, injuring 2 Palestinian children (ages 4, 17) and damaging a house. IDF troops on the s. Gaza border direct heavy machine gun fire towards residential areas of Abasan, wounding 1 Palestinian inside his home. The Israeli navy fires on Palestinian fishing boats off the n. Gaza coast, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF raids, searches a store in Yatta nr. Hebron, arresting the owner and confiscating a computer; chases and detains 17 Palestinian children who throw stones at an IDF post outside al-Arub r.c. nr. Hebron, questioning and releasing 12, arresting 5; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin. The IDF also demolishes a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem, displacing a family of 7. Jewish settlers fr. Itamar nr. Nablus seize an area of Palestinian land and begin leveling work for construction of a new settler-only bypass road. Jewish settlers angry over the removal of an IDF roadblock nr. Hebron demonstrate, block Palestinian traffic. Israel’s Housing min. issues tenders for construction of 286 new settlement housing units in Beitar Ilit nr. Bethlehem. A Palestinian teenager injured during the IDF’s 4/11/08 raid on al-Bureij r.c. dies (see Chronology in JPS 148). (PCHR 5/22; OCHA 5/28; PCHR 5/29)

Israeli police hold a press conference to announce serious new corruption and financial impropriety allegations against Israeli PM Ehud Olmert (see Quarterly Update for details). (NYT, WP, WT 5/22; NYT 5/23; MM 6/12; NYT, OCHA, WP, WT 5/28)

Israel, Syria, Turkey announce that Israel and Syria have been holding “serious and continuous” indirect peace talks through Turkish mediators since 2/07; high-level Israeli and Syrian negotiating teams are in Istanbul taking part in a preliminary round of indirect negotiations (see Quarterly Update for details). (IFM 5/21; NYT, WP, WT 5/22; NYT 5/23; MM 6/12)

Lebanese political figures holding national unity talks in Doha formally announce that they have reached a comprehensive agmt. ending their 18-mo. political standoff and paving the way for Gen. Michel Suleiman’s election as pres, including agmts. on redistricting Beirut, an electoral law, and allotment of cabinet seats that will give Hizballah veto power over major decisions (see Quarterly Update for details). (MM, NYT, WP 5/21; MM, NYT, WP, WT 5/22)