Chronology 16 November 2008 -15 February 2009

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VOL. 38

2009

No. 3
P. 359
Chronology
Chronology 16 November 2008 -15 February 2009
ABSTRACT

 

 

This section is part101 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 NOVEMBER

 

As the quarter opens, Israel maintains its strict siege of Gaza, imposed following Hamas’s 6/07 takeover of Gaza and tightened dramatically in 1/08 to allow no exports and only the bare minimum of humanitarian imports. A 6-mo. Gaza cease-fire, in place since 6/19, technically remains in effect, although significant cross-border exchanges resumed on 11/4. Israel has sealed Gaza borders completely since 11/5, allowing in an average of 5 containers/day of humanitarian aid, whereas the UN estimates that 500/day are needed to sustain the basic human needs of the 1.5 m. population. Today, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) makes an air strike on Gaza City targeting a group of Popular Resistance Comm. (PRC) mbrs. preparing to fire a rocket into Israel, killing 4 PRC mbrs. (The IDF reports that in the past 48 hrs., Palestinians have fired 20 rockets and mortars, including 2 Grad-type rockets, into Israel, causing no damage or injuries.) In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron and Nablus, and nr. Bethlehem, Jenin. Israel’s High Court orders Jewish settlers to evacuate the illegal outpost of Beit Shalom, in the al-Rajabi building in the Wadi al-Nassara area of Hebron, or face eviction, also declaring the State of Israel the temporary custodian of the building until ownership disputes are resolved; settlers ignored a 10/29 High Court order demanding they vacate the building within 24 hrs. (NYT 11/17; OCHA 11/19; PCHR 11/20; OCHA 11/27)

 

17 NOVEMBER

 

Israel allows into Gaza 30 trucks carrying food and medicine for UNRWA, a limited amount of diesel fuel for Gaza’s electricity plant. The IDF fires on a group of armed Palestinians nr. Bayt Lahiya, wounding 2. Palestinians fire 11 rockets, 1 mortar fr. Gaza into Israel, causing some damage but no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus, in Bayt Umar and al-Fawar refugee camp (r.c.) nr. Hebron. (JP, WP 11/18; OCHA 11/19; PCHR 11/20; JP 1/22; HA 11/23)

 

18 NOVEMBER

 

Israel reseals crossings into Gaza, citing continued Palestinian mortar and rocket fire. Palestinian rocket fire immediately falls to near zero. The IDF sends tanks into s. Gaza to disable roadside bombs planted along the border, trading fire with Palestinian gunmen, causing no reported injuries. The Israeli navy intercepts and confiscates 3 Palestinian fishing boats carrying fishermen and international peace activists, detaining passengers and crew (all are released on 11/19). Egyptian security forces demolish 20 smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes a Palestinian home in Issawiyya nr. East Jerusalem;conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus, in Ramallah, and nr. Bethlehem and Salfit. Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar bar Palestinian access to a nearby road, stone Palestinian vehicles. (WP, WT 11/19; OCHA 11/19; PCHR 11/20)

 

19 NOVEMBER

 

In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Tulkarm, nr. Tubas. Jewish settlers fr. Beit Shalom vandalize a nearby Palestinian home. Jewish settlers close a road nr. Ramallah to Palestinian traffic, stone Palestinian vehicles. (PCHR 11/20; OCHA 11/26; PCHR 11/27)

 

20 NOVEMBER

 

In Gaza, UNRWA suspends its program of cash distributions to the 100,000 poorest refugees (intended to enable them to supplement their basic food ration with fresh vegetables and other vital household supplies) because there were no Israeli shekels circulating in Gaza due to Israel’s 8/08 ban on exporting currency to Gaza’s banks and hoarding by Gazans. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night house searches in and around Balata r.c. and Nablus, nr. Qalqilya; occupies 4 Palestinian homes in the Wadi al-Nassara area of Hebron, restricts Palestinian movement in the neighborhood while Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba hold a celebration. (OCHA, PCHR 11/20; PCHR 11/27)

 

21 NOVEMBER

 

In the West Bank, the IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, percussion grenades at Palestinians holding a nonviolent protest against settlements at the evacuated settlement site of Homesh nr. Jenin (wounding 5); conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus, and nr. Bethlehem, Hebron; fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, percussion grenades at Palestinian, Israeli, international peace activists taking part in nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall in Bil`in (10s suffer tear gas inhalation), Jayyus nr. Qalqilya (10s suffer tear gas inhalation; a Palestinian Council mbr. and PLO Exec. Comm. mbr. are detained for questioning), and Ni`lin (injuring 1). In East Jerusalem, Israeli police raid and halt a cultural event at a theater in the city organized by the Jerusalemite Youth Parliament and several local NGOs and schools, stating that it was a political event connected to the Palestinian Authority (PA), which the organizers deny. (PCHR 11/27)

 

22 NOVEMBER

 

The IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem, Jenin. Jewish settlers dress in Magen David Adom (Israeli Red Cross) uniforms and, guarded by Israeli security forces, raid, seize a Palestinian home in the Aqabat al-Saraya quarter of the Old Town of East Jerusalem; the Palestinian family has lived in the home since 1931. A Palestinian who suffered a severe heart attack during an 11/9 IDF raid on his East Jerusalem home dies. (PCHR 11/27)

 

23 NOVEMBER

 

The IDF conducts a late-night arrest raid in Bethlehem. An Israeli court orders settlers to evacuate the East Jerusalem home seized on 11/22; Israeli police remove the settlers but seal the second floor of the home pending a 12/2 court date to hear the settlers’ case. Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba vandalize Palestinian homes nr. the al-Ibrahimi Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs. (PCHR 11/27)

 

24 NOVEMBER

 

Israel allows 32 truckloads of humanitarian aid, limited fuel imports, and some currency imports into Gaza but maintains a ban on foreign journalists (ban now in place for more than 2 wks.). The Foreign Press Association appeals to Israel’s High Court to overturn the ban. Despite receiving fuel, Gaza’s power plant cannot resume operation, because its turbine batteries have died from prolonged lack of use and Israel continues to bar the import of maintenance equipment. Palestinians fire 1 rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishesa Palestinian home in Azariyya; patrols in, fires on residential areas of Jenin town and r.c., causing no injuries; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches, ID checks in Qalandia r.c. nr. Ramallah. Jewish settlers fr. Beit Shalom vandalize, heavily damage at least 5 Palestinian cars. The Israeli government reaches a deal with the 45 Jewish settler families in the unauthorized outpost of Migron (among the largest unauthorized outposts) near Hebron to relocate closer to the existing authorized Jewish settlement of Adam; the families will be permitted to stay in Migron until new housing is constructed, a process expected to take years. (WP 11/25; OCHA 11/26; PCHR 11/27)

 

25 NOVEMBER

 

Israel reseals Gaza’s borders a day after reopening them, citing 1 Palestinian rocket fired into Israel today, causing no damage or injuries. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that Palestinians have fired 20 rockets, mortars toward Israel since 11/19, with 5 exploding at the launch site, most landing in Sederot, none causing injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron and Qalandia r.c., nr. Bethlehem. (WP 11/26; OCHA 11/26; PCHR 11/27)

 

26 NOVEMBER

 

In Gaza, Palestinian workers replace the Gaza power plant’s damaged batteries with modified car batteries, allowing the plant to resume operation (see 11/24). In the West Bank, the IDF fires on Palestinians protesting outside Qalandia r.c. against recent IDF arrests there, seriously wounding 1 teenager; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Nablus and Balata r.c., in and around Tulkarm r.c., and in villages around Hebron, Nablus, and Ramallah (raids within each area are synchronized). Jewish settlers vandalize a Palestinian ambulance nr. Salfit. Jewish settlers fr. Beit Shalom and Kiryat Arba attack a 61-yr.-old Palestinian woman, vandalize several homes; the IDF observes but does not intervene. (OCHA 11/26; PCHR, WT 11/27; PCHR 12/4)

 

27 NOVEMBER

 

Israel allows entry to Gaza of 18 tons of chlorine to disinfect drinking water, an amount sufficient to purify Gaza’s water supply for 8 days; Gaza’s water authority had requested 220 tons. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts synchronized, late-night house searches on several villages nr. Jenin (no arrests are reported). As rumors spread that the IDF is preparing to evict settlers fr. Beit Shalom, Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba and Beit Shalom carry out a series of attacks on nearby Palestinian neighborhoods, vandalizing homes, attacking 2 funeral processions, moderately injuring 2 Palestinians; the IDF observes but does not intervene. (OCHA 11/27; OCHA 12/3; PCHR 12/4)

 

28 NOVEMBER

 

IDF troops along the s. Gaza border e. of Khan Yunis fire on a group of armed Palestinians inside Gaza, causing no injuries; troops then cross into Gaza, exchange fire with armed Palestinians, wounding 4. PRC mbrs. then fire 11 mortars fr. Gaza toward the IDF military post at Nahal Oz crossing; 3 mortars hit the base, wounding 6 IDF soldiers, 1 critically. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts an evening raid on an Internet café nr. Jenin, checking IDs and searching the premises but making no arrests; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Jerusalem, Qalqilya, Tulkarm; conducts synchronized, late-night house searches in Tubas and neighboring al-Fara` r.c., and in 8 villages s. of Jenin, making no arrests; fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, percussion grenades at Palestinian, Israeli, international peace activists taking part in nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall in Bil`in (injuring 1 Japanese activist), Jayyus nr. Qalqilya (injuring 2 Palestinians), and Ni`lin (injuring 2 Danish activists, 1 Palestinian teenager). Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba and Beit Shalom attack Palestinians, vandalize property in nearby Palestinian areas, seriously injuring 4 Palestinians, including a 6-yr.-old boy. Later, IDF troops close the area, take up positions on surrounding rooftops, escort 5 busloads of settlers from other parts of the West Bank into the area to “defend” the illegal Beit Shalom outpost. In the evening, the settlers rampage through Palestinian areas, burning cars, slashing tires, breaking windows of cars and homes, destroying water tanks; the IDF does not intervene. (NYT 11/29; OCHA 12/3; PCHR 12/4)