Chronology 16 November 2010 - 15 February 2011

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VOL. 40

2010/11

No. 3
P. 220
Chronology
Chronology 16 November 2010 - 15 February 2011
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16 NOVEMBER

As the quarter opens, Israel maintains a tight siege of Gaza aimed at unseating the governing Hamas authority, in control since 6/2007. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) enforce a 300-meter-deep no-go zone inside the full length of the Gaza border and limits the Palestinian fishing zone off Gaza to 500–1,000 m off the immediate Bayt Lahiya (northern) and Rafah (southern) coasts, and 3 nautical miles elsewhere—restrictions that placed 17% of Gaza’s total landmass, including 35% of its viable agricultural areas, and 85% of the maritime areas allocated under the Oslo accords off limits to Palestinians. In the West Bank, governed by the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA), Israel’s easing of restrictions on Palestinian movement between major population centers (which began in summer 2009) continues, and IDF operations are relatively low. Overnight, unidentified Palestinians fire a homemade Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing damage but no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-nightpatrols without incident in Imatim village nr. Qalqilya. Jewish settlers fr.Gil’ad settlement burn 42 Palestinian olive trees nr. Qalqilya. Jewish settlers fr. Bet Ayn nr. Hebron set fire to 20 dunams (d.; 4 d. = 1 acre) of Palestinian olive and almond groves. (JP 11/16; PCHR 11/25; OCHA 11/26)

17 NOVEMBER

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu briefs his security cabinet on the latest incentives package offered by the U.S. in exchange for a 90-day settlement construction freeze aimed at jumpstarting the peace process, which has been stalled since 9/2010. (WP, NYT, WT 11/18) (see Quarterly Update for details)

The IDF makes an air strike on a car driving in Gaza City, assassinating Army of Islam (AOI) cmdr. Islam Yasin and killing his brother Muhammad Yasin (also a mbr. of AOI—a radical Islamist group at odds with Hamas). In the West Bank, the IDF patrols without incident in 2 villages nr. Qalqilya in the morning and in Tulkarm late at night; conducts synchronized incursions into 2 villages nr. Nablus, searching homes but making no arrests. (NYT 11/18; PCHR 11/25; OCHA 11/26)

18 NOVEMBER

IDF troops on the n. Gaza border nr. Bayt Lahiya fire on a group of Islamic Jihad mbrs. operating 700 m fr. the border (well beyond Israel’s self-declared 300-m deep no-go zone), wounding 1. Palestinians (possibly AOI mbrs.) fire 3 mortars and 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols without incident in Jinsafut village nr. Qalqilya in the afternoon. (JP, MNA, YA 11/18; PCHR 11/25; OCHA 11/26)

19 NOVEMBER

Overnight, unidentified Palestinians fire 3 Qassam rockets and 1 manufactured Grad rocket fr. Gaza into Israel; the Qassams land harmlessly (1 inside Gaza, 2 in Israel), while the Grad strikes nr. a cattle farm, causing damage and injuring some livestock. In the afternoon, unidentified Palestinians fire 3 mortars into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Later in the afternoon, the Popular Resistance Comms. (PRCs; an umbrella group comprising all Gaza factions) fire another 4 mortars into Israel containing white phosphorous scavenged fr. unexploded IDF ordnance (UXO), causing no damage or injuries. Israel filesan official complaint with the UN over the serious escalation and retaliates in the evening with 4 air strikes in and aroundBani Suhayla village s. of Khan Yunis, targeting and destroying an Islamic Jihad training site, 1 Palestinian home, and an agricultural storehouse, causing heavy collateral damage to another 2d home, and injuring 6 Palestinian civilians (including children ages 2 and 14). Late at night, 2 more air strikes destroy a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border. Meanwhile, in the morning, IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials in the abandoned settlement sites nr. the border, wounding 1. Late at night, IDF troopsmake an incursion 1,500 m into al-Shuka in s. Gaza, firing on residential areas to keep Palestinians in their homes, monitoring the area, and withdrawing after 3 hrs.; IDF troops on the s. Gaza border open heavy fire on the demolished Dahaniyya airport site, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Nablus. Palestinians (sometimes accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, Nabi Salih/Dayr Nizam nr. Ramallah. IDF soldiers fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, leaving 5 Palestinians lightly injured (3 by tear gas canisters, 1 by a rubber-coated steel bullet) and 10s suffering tear gas inhalation. (JP, REU, YA 11/19; WP, YA 11/20; PCHR 11/25; OCHA 11/26)

20 NOVEMBER

In the West Bank, the IDF fires tear gas and stun grenades to disperse Palestinians and international activists demonstrating against Israeli land seizures nr. Bayt Umar nr. Hebron, injuring 2 Palestinians moderately (including an 8-yr.-old) and 6 lightly, and arresting 5 international activists and a 14-yr.-old Palestinian boy; conducts late-night patrols in Bayt Liqya nr. Ramallah (firing on stone-throwing youths who confront them, causing no injuries) and Jit nr. Qalqilya (without incident); conducts late-night house searches nr. Hebron, summoning 3 Palestinians for interrogation. (PCHR 11/25; OCHA 11/26)

21 NOVEMBER

Israel approves $23 m. for a 5-yr. project to renovate and develop the Western Wall Plaza in the Old City. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts synchronized morning patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin, setting up checkpoints and checking Palestinian IDs and vehicles but making no arrests; patrols late at night in Qiffin village nr. Tulkarm without incident; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron and nr. Jericho. An Israeli military court that convicted 2 IDF soldiers of using a Palestinian boy as a human shield during Operation Cast Lead (OCL) in 2008–9 gives them a 3-mo. suspended sentence and demotion, saying that the soldiers’ misconduct had to be balanced against the difficult circumstances they faced during the war. (NYT 11/22; PCHR 11/25; OCHA 11/26)

22 NOVEMBER

The Knesset passes (65-33, with 22 absent) a law that would require the government to hold a national referendum before ceding Israeli territory, potentially hindering the government’s ability to reach peace deals with Syria and the Palestinians; West Bank lands, which were never annexed by Israel, would not fall under the new requirement. (NYT 11/23)

The IDF troops make a brief incursion into c. Gaza to level lands along the border fence east of Bureij refugee camp (r.c.), firing on residential areas to keep Palestinians indoors, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Tulkarm in the morning without incident; conducts afternoon arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron, in Jenin, and nr. Bethlehem and Ramallah. Jewish settlers fr. Shilo settlement nr. Ramallah, escorted by IDF soldiers, expel Palestinian farmers fr. a plot of land adjacent to the settlement. (PCHR 11/25; OCHA 11/26)

23 NOVEMBER

The Knesset passes (65-33) the 2d and 3d readings of a bill that would require a public majority referendum vote and the votes of 60 MKs before any Israeli territory could be ceded in a peace agreement. (JAZ 11/23)

   
In the West Bank, the IDF conducts synchronized late-night patrols in 3 villages nr. Hebron, searching 1 home but making no arrests. Jewish settlers fr. Karnei Shomron settlement burn 3 d. of Palestinian olive trees nr. Qalqilya. In Jerusalem, Israeli authorities evict the Palestinian Qara’in family (14 mbrs., including 7 children) fr. their home in Jabal Mukabir and allow Jewish settlers to move in and fence off the surrounding property (see Quarterly Update for background). The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that 2 Palestinian boys (ages 11 and 12) were killed since 11/19 in a tunnel collapse on the border e. of Jabaliya. (NYT 11/24; PCHR 11/25; OCHA 11/26)

24 NOVEMBER

IDF troops on the Israeli side of the Erez crossing fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials inside the demolished industrial zone, wounding 1 Palestinian. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes 2 tin houses and 4 sheep pens (killing 15 sheep) in Jiftlik village nr. Jericho; conducts late-night patrols in Jenin town and r.c.; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Bayt Umar and Safa nr. Hebron targeting organizers of weekly demonstrations against settlement expansion and land confiscation nr. Karme Tzur; conducts other late-night searches in Za‘tar village nr. Hebron, summoning 1 Palestinian for questioning. Jewish settlers move into a vacant building in al-Tur in East Jerusalem that they claimed to have purchased in 2005; the Palestinian family was evicted and building sealed in 2009 until the case could be decided by a court (ruling still pending). (PCHR 11/25; NYT 11/26; PCHR 12/2; OCHA 12/3)

25 NOVEMBER

Israeli municipal authoritiesin Jerusalem demolish 9 Palestinian shops in Hizma village in the East Jerusalem suburbs. The IDF makes a brief incursion into n. Gaza to level land along the border fence to clear lines of sight. In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes a mosque, 1 Palestinian home, and 10 storehouses in Khirbat Yazra village nr. Tubas, displacing 15 Palestinians (see Quarterly Update for details); demolishes another Palestinian home in Yatta village nr. Hebron, displacing 25 Palestinians; conducts rare daytime arrest raids, searches nr. Jenin, Tulkarm; patrols in Tulkarm and Kharbatha al-Misbah village nr. Ramallah in the afternoon, firing rubber-coated steel bullets and beating several stone-throwing Palestinian youths who confront them; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron. (PCHR 12/2; OCHA 12/3)

26 NOVEMBER

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in 2 villages southwest of Jenin in the morning. Palestinians (sometimes accompanied by Israeli and international activists) hold weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the separation wall, land confiscations, and settlement expansion in Bil‘in, Ni‘lin, Nabi Salih/Dayr Nizam, and al-Ma‘sara (nr. Bethlehem). IDF soldiers fire rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, causing no serious injuries. (PCHR 12/2; OCHA 12/3)

27 NOVEMBER

IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials in the fmr. Jewish settlement sites and in the demolished Erez industrial zone, wounding 2. IDF troops on the Bayt Lahiya coast fire on Palestinian fishing boats off shore, wounding 1 fisherman. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night patrols in 2 villages nr. Ramallah and 1 nr. Tulkarm, firing on stone-throwing Palestinians who confront them in 1 incident, causing no reported casualties; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Qalqilya. (PCHR 12/2; OCHA 12/3)

28 NOVEMBER

Israel allows Gazans to export 2.4 tons of strawberries and 25,000 cut flowers, marking Gaza’s first exports since 4/2010; exports of these commodities are permitted through the end of the quarter (see Quarterly Update for details). In 3 separate incidents, IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials in fmr. settlement sites and the demolished Erez industrial zone, wounding 3. Unidentified Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in and around Salfit and in 4 villages nr. Jenin, 3 nr. Qalqilya, and 2 nr. Tulkarm during the day; conducts late-night patrols in Qalqilya; and conducts late-night arrest raids and house searches nr. Bethlehem and Salfit. (AFP, JP 11/28; WP 11/29; PCHR 12/2; OCHA 12/3; NYT 12/17)

29 NOVEMBER

Israel’s Jerusalem municipal authorities approve zoning of land in East Jerusalem to accommodate construction of 130 new housing units in Gilo settlement. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians and international activists staging a nonviolent march to the Erez crossing to protest Israel’s imposition of a no-go zone inside the Gaza border; no injuries are reported. In the West Bank, the IDF releases Palestinians arrested on 11/24 for organizing weekly demonstrations outside Karme Tzur, forcing them to sign pledges that they will stay away fr. the settlement; conducts morning patrols in 2 villages nr. Jenin and 2 nr. Tulkarm. (WP 11/30; PCHR, WJW 12/2; OCHA 12/3)

30 NOVEMBER

In 4 separate instances, IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire warning shots at Palestinians scavenging for construction materials in the fmr. Jewish settlement sites, wounding 5. In the West Bank, IDF troops and intelligence units raid the homes of 3 local Islamic Jihad leaders in Jenin to “discuss the current political situation” and to question them on their recent detention by PA security forces (PASF); also raid and search the Dura home of elected Palestinian Council (PC) mbr. Shaykh Nayif Mahmud al-Rajub (see Quarterly Update for details); conducts late-night house searches nr. Bethlehem. The IDF also demolishes a printing press in Issawiyya nr. Jerusalem, firing rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas and beating stone-throwing Palestinians who confront them, seriously injuring 1, lightly injuring 8. (PCHR 12/2; OCHA 12/3)

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