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  • Author: Mouin Rabbani
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Azmi Bishara (b. 1956 in Nazareth), an Israeli Arab politician and academic, earned a doctorate in philosophy from Humboldt University in Berlin in 1986 and for the next ten years was professor of philosophy at Birzeit University; he was also associated with the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem as a senior researcher. Politics, however, occupied him from an early age. In 1974, while still in high school, he established the first National Committee of Arab High School Students; two years later he was instrumental in founding the first National Arab Student Union, which he represented in the Committee for the Defense of Arab Lands when it declared Land Day in 1976. Bishara has been a dominant force in Israeli Arab politics since 1995, when he was a principal founder of the National Democratic Assembly (Tajamu` in Arabic, Balad in Hebrew), a "democratic progressive national party for the Palestinian citizens of Israel." He was elected to the Israeli Knesset for the first time in 1996-and in all subsequent elections through 2006-under the banner of the National Democratic Assembly, which soon became the spearhead of the national movement for the Palestinian community in Israel with its demands for cultural autonomy, recognition as a national minority, and equal rights. Within a few years, the slogan Bishara coined, "Israel as a state for all its citizens," had become a mainstream demand and the rallying cry of Israel's Palestinian community. A self-described Arab nationalist, Bishara has long been a thorn in the side of the Israeli establishment. Attempts to rein him in began in earnest in November 2001, when, following a visit to Syria and speeches supporting the right of people under occupation to resist, the Knesset revoked his immunity as a member of the Knesset, opening the way for a criminal indictment against him. The Israeli High Court dismissed the indictment in April 2003 and Bishara's parliamentary immunity was restored, but other actions followed. The National Democratic Assembly, was twice banned (in 2003 and 2006) from participating in parliamentary elections by Israel's Central Elections Committee. (The ban was lifted both times by the High Court, and both times the party won three seats.) Following Israel's 2006 Lebanon war, Bishara became the subject of a high-level security probe. Although he vigorously rejected allegations of "passing information to the enemy at time of war" as politically motivated fabrications, he resigned his Knesset seat and went into exile in April 2007. In spring 2009, a bill was introduced in the Knesset that, if passed, will allow the state to strip him of his citizenship. Since leaving Israel, Bishara divides his time between Amman, Jordan, and Doha, Qatar. In addition to writing (he has published three books in recent years), he is a prominent commentator on regional and international affairs in the Arab media and satellite TV and holds the Gamal Abdel Nasser Chair for Arab Thought at the Center for Arab Unity Studies in Beirut. He was interviewed in English in Doha on 17 February 2009 by Mouin Rabbani, an Amman-based independent analyst and a senior fellow of the Institute for Palestine Studies.
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Peter Lagerquist
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Barred entry to Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, Western photojournalists and TV crews found themselves confined to the Israeli side of the border during the assault, peering along the barrels of IDF artillery. The following essay reflects on what was said and heard among them on a sunny day in January 2009, how they and local Israeli spectators related to the violence, and how these two perspectives were tacitly elided in photographs of the war.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Israel, Gaza
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 38, no. 3, p. 98
  • Political Geography: Palestine, Gaza
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 38, no. 3, p. 122
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: The gross disparity between the military resources available to Israel and the Palestinian factions during Operation Cast Lead (OCL) could make a comparison between their two “arsenals” seem absurd. Yet this and the following document devoted to Palestinian weaponry not only highlight the imbalance but help the reader better appreciate the dynamics at play in the broader conflict.
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Ghada Al-Madbouh
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Hamas in Politics: Democracy, Religion, Violence is a daring attempt to analyze the thinking of Hamas as a social movement and not simply as a terrorist organization. Using a combination of political theory and empirical research, Jeroen Gunning, a lecturer in international politics at the University of Wales (and deputy director of the university's Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Contemporary Political Violence), contextualizes issues of democracy, religion, and violence as they relate to Hamas. Methodologically, Gunning offers an extensive discussion of his interpretive ethnographic fieldwork in the Gaza Strip (conducted 1997–2004), taking his analysis beyond the straightforward causality or correlation of mainstream political science. The main merit of the book, however, rests in Gunning's attempt to wed the study of Hamas's discourse to the study of its actual practices regarding religion, democracy, and violence.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Religion
  • Political Geography: Gaza
  • Author: Geoffrey Aronson
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This section covers items-reprinted articles, statistics, and maps-pertaining to Israeli settlement activities in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East , and the Golan Heights. Unless otherwise stated, the items have been written by Geoffrey Aronson for this section or drawn from material written by him for Report on Israeli Settlement in the Occupied Territories (hereinafter Settlement Report), a Washington-based bimonthly newsletter published by the Foundation for Middle East Peace. JPS is grateful to the foundation for permission to draw on its material.
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Gaza
  • Author: Michele K. Esposito
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This quarter marked the rocky opening of a new chapter in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process as the freshly elected Israeli and U.S. administrations set to work, laying out approaches toward the peace process that were markedly different from their predecessors' and nearly diametrically opposed to each other. A major policy clash between U.S. pres. Barack Obama and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu over settlements overshadowed most of the quarter. The other striking feature of the quarter overall was the extremely low level of Israeli-Palestinian violence. Though Israel's siege of Gaza (in place since 6/07) continued, the Gaza cease-fire held without major violations. In the West Bank, Israel scaled back routine military operations and facilitated Palestinian movement between major population centers, particularly in the north, improving trade and quality of life. At the opening of the quarter, however, Israeli-Palestinian cross-border violence in Gaza was moderate and rising while in the West Bank violence remained low. Israel's siege of Gaza, intended to pressure the Hamas government there, entered its 24th month, hampering efforts to maintain basic services and repair infrastructure and other damages from Israel's Operation Cast Lead (OCL) offensive targeting the Strip, which ended on 1/18/09 (see JPS 151 for background). Israel allowed an average of 106 truckloads/day of humanitarian goods and commodities into Gaza through Kerem Shalom crossing 6 days/week (far less that the 500 truckloads/day the UN estimated were necessary to meet Gazans' basic needs); limited fodder and seed through Qarni crossing; enough fuel through the Nahal Oz crossing to maintain emergency services and run Gaza's electricity plant at 69% capacity, as well as some cooking gas. Only a very limited number of medical cases, employees of international organizations, and VIPs were allow to transit through the Rafah and Erez crossings. Restrictions on Palestinian movement and access in the West Bank remained tight, with more than 630 Israel Defense Forces (IDF) checkpoints and roadblocks dividing the territory into 3 cantons, and Palestinian access to Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley strictly limited. As of 5/15, at least 7,516 Palestinians (including 50 Israeli Arabs and 19 unidentified Arab cross-border infiltrators), 1,090 Israelis (including 348 IDF soldiers and security personnel, 214 settlers, 528 civilians), and 64 foreign nationals (including 2 British suicide bombers) had been killed since the start of the al-Aqsa intifada on 9/28/00. Netanyahu and Obama Face Fundamental Differences As the quarter opened, the newly elected Obama and Netanyahu administrations were fully staffed and briefed, and Obama was ready to move forward with campaign pledges to take early action to revive the peace process. His hope was to meet personally with the main players in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to discuss his developing policy initiatives, as well as regional and bilateral issues, before making a major address to the Muslim world on 6/4 in fulfillment of another campaign promise. Late last quarter, he had met with Jordan's King Abdallah, tapping him as his intermediary with the Arab states (see Quarterly Update in JPS 152). Scheduled next were White House meetings with PM Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority (PA) pres. Mahmud Abbas, and Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak (whose envoys were mediating Palestinian national unity talks, and cease-fire and prisoner release negotiations between Israel and Hamas). Netanyahu was scheduled to visit first, 5/18–19. Since its 3/31/09 inauguration, his government had been engaged in a comprehensive review of Israeli policy, with the intention of issuing its formal government platform timed with the Washington visit (see Quarterly Update in JPS 152). Even while the review was underway, however, Netanyahu had laid out a number of strong base-line positions including: (1) stating that containing the threat from Iran was more important than achieving peace with the Palestinians and Arab states; (2) demanding a halt to Iran's nuclear program and Palestinian recognition of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state as preconditions for resuming final status talks with the Palestinians; (3) refusing to express support for a 2-state solution, preferring an “economic peace” aimed at improving Palestinian quality of life and allowing a greater measure of self-rule, while maintaining ultimate Israeli security control; (4) vowing continued Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem; and (5) pledging that a united Jerusalem would remain under sole Israeli control. The Obama administration, meanwhile, had repeatedly expressed (1) “vigorous” support for a 2-state solution and implementation of the 2003 road map plan, including an immediate and complete halt to Israeli settlement construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank; and (2) the strong belief that progress toward Israeli-Palestinian peace would put added pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear program, meaning these 2 goals should be pursued in parallel. The U.S. had also strongly urged the Arab states (via King Abdallah) to make gestures to Israel, ideally dropping demands for the Palestinian refugees' right of return and taking preliminary steps toward normalization, to encourage Israel to come to quick final status agreements on all tracks (see Quarterly Update in JPS 152). The strong and conflicting positions of the 2 administrations raised concerns that the Obama-Netanyahu meeting would be tense and could mark the opening of a serious diplomatic dispute. As Netanyahu prepared to depart for Washington, Israeli DM Ehud Barak (5/16) and Pres. Shimon Peres (5/17) gave public assurances that Netanyahu would abide by Israel's previous agreements with the Palestinians, including the 2003 road map—which they each described as calling for “2 peoples living side by side in peace and security.” Peres also stated that progress toward this end would ultimately depend on the outcome of Palestinian national unity talks (i.e., the PA's ability to curb Hamas) and “greater Palestinian efforts to ensure Israel's security.” In fact, the 2003 agreement had not called for 2 peoples but 2 states living side by side. While the U.S. did not publicly challenge Israel's new formulation, the lack of official acknowledgement (much less welcoming) of Israel's “assurances” indicated the administration's awareness of Israel's attempt to reinterpret the road map's goal and its unwillingness to paper over core differences with an ambiguous formulation. Ultimately, Israel did not issue a formal government platform, which allowed Netanyahu a greater margin to avoid public clashes on sensitive issues. The 5/18 talks went forward as planned, with visible policy gaps but no outward tension. Statements issued afterward by Obama and Netanyahu were bland, stressing shared goals of preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons (see Iran section below) and pursing peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Netanyahu stated that he was ready to reopen talks with the Palestinians “immediately” regarding limited self-rule, provided the Palestinians first recognized Israel as a Jewish state and agreed to “allow Israel the means to defend itself” (i.e., to retain parts of the West Bank as buffer zones). Obama publicly restated support for the creation of a Palestinian state; reiterated outstanding Israeli responsibilities under existing treaties, including stopping settlement expansion and removing restrictions on Palestinian movement and access; called on Israel to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza; and said that Arab states had “to be more supportive and be bolder in seeking potential normalization with Israel.” The U.S. and Israel agreed to set up 3 working groups that would meet periodically to discuss progress toward: (1) peace with the Palestinians, (2) normalization with Arabs states, and (3) curbing Iran. Netanyahu went on to hold talks with Secy. of State Hilary Clinton (5/18), Defense Secy. Robert Gates (5/19), and leaders of Congress (5/19) that outwardly seemed unremarkable. Only after Netanyahu returned home did details emerge of the heated nature of the Washington talks (e.g., Washington Post [WP] 5/24, New York Times [NYT] 5/29, Ha'Aretz [HA] 6/11). In the 2-hour closed-door meeting, Obama reportedly pressed Netanyahu to support the creation of a Palestinian state. Netanyahu nuanced his position, stating that Palestinian statehood was still the ultimate goal but far in the future because Palestinian institutions and the Palestinian economy needed to develop, and Palestinian education and discourse needed time to evolve to the point of promoting coexistence. Obama pressed Netanyahu to fulfill 2003 road map obligations to halt settlement construction and remove all unauthorized settlement outposts. Netanyahu agreed to consult with his government on taking steps to remove outposts, but said he must allow expansion of authorized West Bank settlements to accommodate natural growth. He agreed to send DM Barak to Washington on 6/1 with a formal Israeli counterproposal on settlements. Netanyahu aides later revealed (HA 6/11) that the PM was “'stunned' . . . to hear what seemed like a well-coordinated attack against his stand on settlements . . . from congressional leaders, key lawmakers dealing with foreign relations, and even from a group of Jewish members” of Congress, describing their statements against settlement expansion as “harsh and unequivocal.” Historically strongly pro-Israel rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) confirmed (5/23) that he had told Netanyahu that the mood on settlements in Washington had changed, stating that for Obama to secure “a substantive down payment on the normalization of relations with Israel” from the Arab states, Israel would have to address settlements “in a serious manner.” Another congressional aide, speaking anonymously, said Jewish lawmakers had felt “it was their responsibility to make [Netanyahu] very, very aware of the concerns of the administration and Congress.” Adding to Israel's unease, Secy. of State Clinton stated in an interview with al-Jazeera on 5/19, immediately after Netanyahu's departure: “We want to see a stop to settlement construction, additions, natural growth—any kind of settlement activity. That is what the president has called for.” Her statements reportedly (NYT 5/29) surprised Israeli officials who thought Obama would keep the settlement dispute private until Netanyahu consulted with his government. By contrast, Abbas's first meeting with Obama in Washington on 5/28, just when U.S-Israel relations were particularly tense over the settlement issue (see below), was described by U.S. officials privy to the talks as much more amicable. Obama praised the PA's stand against forming a unity government with Hamas until it renounced violence and recognized Israel's right to exist; reiterated strong U.S. support for a 2-state solution as being in the interests of the Palestinians, Israel, and the U.S.; and applauded the PA's “great progress” improving security in coordination with U.S. security envoy Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, though he stressed that Palestinians still had much more to do to meet their requirements of improving security as laid out under the 2003 road map. Afterward, Obama publicly reiterated that Israel must build momentum for peace by halting all settlement activity and alleviating restrictions on Palestinian travel and commerce. Abbas also met with Secy. Clinton and Obama's national security adviser (NSA) Gen. James Jones. Meanwhile, Mubarak cancelled (5/20) his scheduled to visit Washington on 5/26 after the sudden death of his 12-year-old grandson. Since Obama had already announced that he would give his major address to the Muslim world in Cairo (see below), where the two could consult on the sidelines, the cancellation was not seen as a problem.
  • Political Geography: Washington, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Geoffrey Aronson
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This section covers items—reprinted articles, statistics, and maps—pertaining to Israeli settlement activities in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. Unless otherwise stated, the items have been written by Geoffrey Aronson for this section or drawn from material written by him for Report on Israeli Settlement in the Occupied Territories (hereinafter Settlement Report), a Washington-based bimonthly newsletter published by the Foundation for Middle East Peace. JPS is grateful to the foundation for permission to draw on its material.
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Gaza
  • Author: Michele K. Esposito
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: 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 As the quarter opens, Israeli-Palestinian cross-border violence in Gaza is moderate and rising, while, in the West Bank, violence remains low. Israel's siege of Gaza, intended to pressure the Hamas government there, enters its 24th month, hampering efforts to maintain basic services and repair infrastructure and other damages fr. Israel's Operation Cast Lead (OCL, 12/27/08–1/18/09; see JPS 151). Israel allows an average of 106 truckloads/day of humanitarian goods and commodities into Gaza through Kerem Shalom crossing 6 days/week (far less than the 500 truckloads/day the UN estimates are necessary to meet Gazans' basic needs); limited fodder and seed through the Qarni crossing; and enough fuel through the Nahal Oz crossing to maintain emergency services and run Gaza's electricity plant at 69% capacity, as well as some cooking gas. Only very limited numbers of medical cases, employees of international organizations, and VIPs are allowed to transit through the Rafah and Erez crossings. Restrictions on Palestinian movement and access in the West Bank remain tight, with some 630 Israel Defense Forces (IDF) checkpoints and roadblocks dividing the territory into 3 cantons, and strictly limiting Palestinian access to Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley. Today, the IDF demolishes a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Hebron. (OCHA 5/20; PCHR 5/21) 17 MAY IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire on the al-Bura area e. of Bayt Hanun, causing no injuries. (OCHA 5/20; PCHR 5/21) 18 MAY Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu begins a 2-day visit to Washington to discuss the peace process, Iran, bilateral relations, and Middle East regional affairs, holding his 1st mtg. with U.S. pres. Barack Obama at the White House. Obama privately presses for a total Israeli settlement freeze and endorsement of a 2-state solution, with Netanyahu demurring. The leaders emerge showing no signs of tensions, instead stressing shared goals of preventing Iran fr. developing nuclear weapons and achieving peace btwn. Israel and the Palestinians. (HA, IFM, WP, WT 5/18; NYT, WP, WT 5/19; NYT, WJW 5/21; WP 5/24; NYT 5/29; JPI 6/4; HA 6/11; see also NYT, WP 5/17) (see Quarterly Update for details) In the West Bank, the IDF makes a rare daytime incursion into al-Khadir nr. Bethlehem, raiding 2 secondary schools while classes are in session, holding the students for several hours while searching for a wanted person; no arrests are made. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in al-'Arub refugee camp (r.c.) and 3 villages nr. Hebron. (OCHA 5/20; PCHR 5/21) A 5th round of Palestinian national unity talks (5/16–18) ends in Cairo without any progress. (Xinhua–New China News Agency 5/18; NYT 5/20) (see Quarterly Update for details) 19 MAY Palestinians fire a rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, damaging a house in Sederot but causing no injuries. Late in the evening, IDF warplanes make at least 7 air strikes on Gaza, hitting at least 4 smuggling 196 Journal of Palestine Studies tunnels on the Rafah border (3 Palestinians working in tunnels are reported missing); a workshop in al-Daraj neighborhood in Gaza City, destroying it and heavily damaging a nearby marble factory, causing no casualties; a Hamas outpost nr. the border fence with Israel, causing no reported injuries; and a group of armed Palestinians in al-Zaytun neighborhood in Gaza City, wounding 1. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Dahaysha r.c. nr. Bethlehem. (OCHA, WT 5/20; PCHR, WT 5/21) Palestinian Authority (PA) pres. Mahmud Abbas dissolves PA PM Salam Fayyad's government and reappoints it, replacing 8 independent technocrats with Fatah members, none of whom are elected members of the Palestinian Council. (MNA 5/19; NYT, WT 5/20; NYT 5/21) (see Quarterly Update for details) 20 MAY Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the Rafah coast, detaining 2 fishermen. IDF troops on the n. Gaza border fire on Palestinian farmers working their fields nr. Bayt Hanun, wounding 1. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus and neighboring Balata r.c., nr. Bethlehem and Jenin. Palestinians report that over the previous wk., the IDF has bulldozed Palestinian land in Abu Dis, Azariyya, and al-Sawahara to expand the Container checkpoint southeast of Jerusalem, which obstructs travel btwn. the n. and s. West Bank; has confiscated 300 dunams (d.; 4 d. = 1 acre) of land southwest of Jenin, giving residents 45 days to evacuate. (PCHR 5/21; OCHA, PCHR 5/28) 21 MAY Israel removes the tiny unauthorized settlement outpost (4 families) of Maoz Ester nr. Ramallah in what is seen by some Israelis (Israel Radio 5/21) as Netanyahu “throwing a bone” to Obama, who urged Netanyahu in their 5/18 mtg. to halt settlement construction. Hrs. later settlers begin to rebuild on the site, which has been evacuated and rebuilt twice before. (Israel Radio News 5/21; NYT, WT 5/22; OCHA, PCHR 5/28) 22 MAY Overnight, the IDF sends troops into Gaza to engage a group of armed Palestinians laying a roadside bomb nr. the border fence, fatally shooting 2 Islamic Jihad mbrs.; the deaths bring to 22 the number of Gazans killed by the IDF since the 1/18/09 cease-fire. Later in the day, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine detonates a roadside bomb on the Gaza border fence as an IDF patrol passes, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin (firing live ammunition and stun grenades at homes, injuring a Palestinian woman); fires tear gas at stone-throwing Palestinians demonstrating against the separation wall construction in Bil'in; fires live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas at Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists taking part in weekly nonviolent protests against the separation wall in Ni'lin (injuring 10 Palestinians, 2 with live ammunition). Jewish settlers burn 10s of d. of Palestinian crops nr. Yitzhar settlement nr. Nablus, block firefighters fr. reaching the scene. A Jewish settler is found dead nr. Eli settlement btwn. Ramallah and Nablus; the circumstances of his death are unclear. (NYT, WP 5/23; OCHA, PCHR 5/28) 23 MAY Israeli warplanes drop boxes of leaflets across Gaza announcing that the IDF is expanding its self-declared “buffer zone” fr. 150 to 300 meters along most of the Gaza border, making more agricultural land inaccessible; 1 box hits a house, injuring a child. In the West Bank, the IDF shoots, seriously wounds an unarmed Palestinian teenager who strays nr. Shavei Shomron settlement nr. Nablus; patrols in Nur Shams r.c. nr. Tulkarm, firing on stone-throwing youths who confront them, wounding 3; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Jenin. Jewish settlers fr. Elkana settlement nr. Salfit vandalize a Palestinian home and intimidate the residents. (OCHA, PCHR 5/28; OCHA 6/1) 24 MAY In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes a Palestinian home in Issawiyya outside East Jerusalem; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Balata r.c., Nablus. (OCHA, PCHR 5/28) 25 MAY In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron, neighboring al-'Arub r.c., and Tubas. In Jerusalem, several Jewish settlers attempt to access the al-Aqsa Mosque compound but are blocked by Palestinians; the IDF intervenes, violently beating several Palestinians, arresting 2 Palestinian teenagers, and extracting the settlers. Nr. Hebron, at least 20 Jewish settlers fr. Bet Yatir and Ma'on attack Palestinian shepherds nearby, moderately injuring 4. Jewish settlers fr. Yitzhar stone Palestinian cars traveling nearby. (OCHA, PCHR 5/28) 26 MAY Israeli naval vessels approach within 500 m of Rafah beach, arrest 2 fishermen on 1 of 12 small boats in the area. The UN reports that in the previous wk. an 8-yr.-old Palestinian boy in Gaza was injured by unexploded IDF ordnance (UXO); 7 Palestinians were killed in tunnel-related incidents (6 in collapses, 1 electrocuted); and unidentified Palestinians fired “several” rockets and mortars into Israel causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night patrols in 4 villages nr. Jenin; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Jenin town and r.c., Balata r.c., in Nablus, and nr. Bethlehem and Hebron. A Jewish settler violently beats a Palestinian woman waiting for a taxi nr. Zatara checkpoint outside Nablus; IDF soldiers manning the checkpoint observe the beating for 15 min. before intervening and ordering the settler to leave the area. (OCHA, PCHR 5/28) 27 MAY Israeli naval vessels fire on Palestinian fishermen off the Bayt Lahiya coast, detaining 2 boats and arresting 4 fishermen. Overnight, in the West Bank, the IDF removes 2 settler tent outposts nr. Hebron; settlers vow to reoccupy and expand the sites. The IDF also conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Aqabat Jabir r.c. nr. Jericho, Balata r.c., and Nablus, and nr. Hebron, Jenin, and Tubas. (NYT, PCHR, WP 5/28; OCHA, PCHR 6/4) U.S. special envoy George Mitchell meets with Netanyahu's senior advisers in Britain to follow up on the issues discussed in the 5/18 Obama-Netanyahu mtg. The Israelis offer a partial settlement freeze that would allow continued construction to accommodate natural growth, but the U.S. continues to demand a stop to all settlement activity. (NYT 5/28; WP 6/2) (see Quarterly Update for details)
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Gaza