The Palestine-Israel Journal is a quarterly of MIDDLE EAST PUBLICATIONS, a registered non-profit organization (No. 58-023862-4).
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Editorial Board

Hisham Awartani

Danny Rubinstein

Sam'an Khoury

Boaz Evron

Walid Salem

Ari Rath

Zahra Khalidi

Daniel Bar-Tal

Ammar AbuZayyad

Galit Hasan-Rokem

Khaled Abu Aker

Galia Golan

Nazmi Ju'beh

Gershon Baskin

Edy Kaufman

Ata Qaymari

Benjamin Pogrund

Nafez Nazzal

Simcha Bahiri

Nadia Naser-Najjab

Dan Jacobson

Jumana Jaouni

Dan Leon

Anat Cygielman

Khuloud Khayyat Dajani

Izhak Schnell



Vol 15 No. 1 & 2, 2008 / 1948: Sixty Years After

Chronology of Events

January 1, 2008 to July 1, 2008

Compiled by Najat Hirbawi


2.1.08 Israeli forces kill 7 Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

3.1.08 In an interview with Lebanese television, Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah says that the Israeli government was conducting talks to release abducted Israeli soldiers held in Lebanon, and didn’t seem interested in his offer to exchange remains of Israeli troops killed in Lebanon. The Israeli soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, were abducted by Hizbullah militants in a cross-border raid into Israel that sparked the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

3.1.08 Israeli forces backed by the Israel Air Force kill at least 5 Palestinians, 3 of them militants, and wound 21 in the southern Gaza Strip.

5.1.08 Seven Qassam rockets are fired from the Gaza Strip at the Israeli town of Sderot.

6.1.08 According to Haaretz, the Israeli housing ministry is pushing forward with the construction of more than 1,000 residential units in East Jerusalem’s Har Homa neighborhood, on land held by “absentee” Palestinians from the Bethlehem area. The move is in violation of both an instruction from the attorney-general to stop applying the absentee law in East Jerusalem and explicit promises to the U.S. not to apply that law in the capital’s eastern quarters.

7.1.08 The negotiating teams, headed by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and her counterpart in the talks former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei’, meet to finalize the agreements on the framewok of the negotiations.

8.1.08 Israeli PM Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meet in Jerusalem to confirm the agreement to create negotiating committees and teams that will tackle the conflict’s core issues.

9.1.08 U.S. President George W. Bush starts an eight-day visit aimed at bolstering American allies in the Middle East. Bush will visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) and will then leave for Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

13.1.08 Israeli security forces killed 810 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in 2006 and 2007, Shin Bet security service chief Yuval Diskin reports at the weekly cabinet briefing in Jerusalem. He estimated that some 200 of those killed were not clearly linked to terrorist organizations. Research by Haaretz reveals that the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces during those two years stands at 816; out of these 360 were civilians not affiliated with any armed organizations.

13.1.08 Three Palestinians are killed and three are injured in an Israeli air strike near Gaza City.

14.1.08 As part of efforts backed by U.S. president to iron out a final peace agreement by the end of the year, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators begin discussing the most contentious issues in their 100-year conflict.

15.1.08 Nineteen Palestinians are killed in fighting between an elite unit of the Golani Brigade that infiltrated the environs of neighborhoods in the Gaza Strip and a group of Palestinian gunmen. The Israeli unit, supported by the air force, attacked a group of Hamas gunmen, killing Hussam al-Zahhar, son of the former PA foreign minister in the Hamas-controlled government, Mahmoud al-Zahhar.

16.1.08 An Israeli air force strike kills 2 Palestinians in the central Gaza Strip, as militants launched more than 40 Qassam rockets at the western Negev.

16.1.08 Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fire at least 25 Qassam rockets at southern Israel, causing damage to local kibbutzim but no injuries.

16.1.08 Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman announces his party’s departure from the coalition, saying the rightist party would not tolerate negotiations with the PA on the core issues of the conflict. “We said clearly that if there would be negotiations on the core issues, we wouldn’t be in [the government],” Lieberman told a press conference in Jerusalem. Lieberman, who served as strategic affairs minister in PM Olmert’s government, said peace talks must address the issue of transferring the Israeli Arab population to Palestinian control.

20.1.08 A number of Israeli cabinet ministers calls for the assassination of Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, a day after the Lebanon-based Islamist group announced it was holding the remains of Israeli soldiers killed in the Second Lebanon War.

21.1.08 Some 60 people are injured at a demonstration at the Rafah crossing with Egypt, as the crowd tried to break through the border gate and Egyptian border guards used water cannons against them.

23.1.08 Senior foreign ministry officials issue a protest to Turkey’s ambassador to Israel and request clarifications of Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks. Erdogan claimed that no Israelis have been killed by Qassam missiles, while every Israeli attack in the Gaza Strip kills dozens of Palestinians.

23.1.08 Tens of thousands of Palestinians pour out of Gaza into Egypt after masked gunmen blow dozens of holes in the wall marking the border, rushing to buy food, fuel and other supplies that have become scarce in Gaza due to the Israeli blockade on the Strip. “It is the responsibility of Egypt to ensure that the border operates properly, according to signed agreements,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Aryeh Mekel.

27.1.08 President Abbas arrives at the Jerusalem residence of PM Olmert for their latest effort to promote the nascent peace talks. Abbas is expected to ask Olmert to consider transferring control of the Gaza Strip border crossings to the PA.

27.1.08 Egyptian forces move to close their breached border with the Gaza Strip by stopping vehicle traffic and further tightening their security cordon around the small frontier town of Rafah, in an effort to contain Palestinians crossing freely into Egypt for the fifth day in a row.

28.1.08 U.S. President Bush, presenting the final State of the Union message of his presidency to the Congress, says, “The time has come for a Holy Land where a democratic Israel and a democratic Palestine live side-by-side in peace.”

1.2.08 The United Methodist Church in the U.S. opens discussions on a resolution calling for divestment from Caterpillar, the tractor manufacturer, because the company supplies Israel with bulldozers used in building the separation wall and in demolishing Palestinian homes. According to Susan Hoder, a member of the church’s Interfaith Peace Initiative, “The United Methodist Church holds $141 million of pension funds in companies that sustain the occupation […] This has to stop. We have to cut our ties to the occupation.”

2.2.08 In an interview with the British daily The Times, Tony Blair, the Quartet’s envoy to the Middle East, says he believes an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is possible by the end of the year. Blair said that a key issue was the creating of circumstances whereby Israelis “get confidence that their security concerns are being met and the Palestinians get confidence that the occupation will eventually be lifted.”

3.2.08 Israeli troops shoot dead a man and wound another across the border in southern Lebanon. Israelis said the man was armed and was trying to smuggle drugs into Israel.

3.2.08 The border crossing between Gaza and Egypt is closed by mutual agreement between Egypt and Hamas 12 days after the wall was blown up by some militant Palestinian groups and protesting crowds.

4.2.08 Israelis and Palestinians involved in interfaith contacts draft a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas. The document, whose implementation includes the release of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, was submitted to the Israeli cabinet and to the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.

4.2.08 A suicide bomber blows himself up in the southern town of Dimona, killing 1 woman and wounding 11. According to the Negev police, only one bomber managed to detonate his explosives belt; a second one was shot dead by Israeli security forces before he could blow himself up.

4.2.08 Israeli forces kill two Islamic Jihad members and seriously wound a third during a raid on Qabatiya, south of Jenin.

5.2.08 Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fire two Qassam rockets at western Israel, hitting two factories in the industrial area of Sderot.

5.2.08 Two Palestinian Hamas members are killed by Israeli troops in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip.

5.2.08 At least seven Hamas militants are killed in an Israeli air strike on the Gaza Strip.

5.2.08 Jordanian Foreign Minister Salah Bashir confers with U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Security General James Jones, urging Washington to pressure Israel to put an immediate stop to its attacks on the Gaza Strip.

7.2.08 Seven Palestinians are killed, including six militants, in an Israeli ground and air operation in the northern Gaza Strip. As a response, Gaza militants fired two Qassam rockets at southern Israel.

7.2.08 In an interview with Haaretz, European Union Special Envoy to the Middle East Marc Otte says the Israeli policies in the Gaza Strip are likely to turn the territory into Somalia.

10.2.08 The Al-Quds al-Arabi daily reports that Hamas Prime Minister (PM) Ismail Haniyeh has gone underground amid reports that Israel is preparing to step up its assassination of key Hamas figures in the Gaza Strip in response to the continued Qassam rocket attacks against Sderot.

11.2.08 German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets Israeli PM Olmert in Berlin to discuss Israel’s conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip as well as Iran’s controversial nuclear program.

11.2.08 Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad accuses Israel of failing to keep its commitments to freeze Jewish settlement activity and to ease checkpoints that limit Palestinian mobility on the West Bank.

12.2.08 Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak begins a two-day visit to Ankara, Turkey. He will urge his hosts to buy state-run Israel Aerospace Industries’ Ofek satellite for an estimated $300 million. Turkey confirmed interest in intelligence-sharing projects, including satellites.

12.2.08 Hizbullah says Deputy Secretary-General Imad Mughniyah was killed in a bomb blast in a residential neighborhood of Damascus, accusing Israel of being behind the explosion. Mughniyah headed Hizbullah’s operations branch and had been wanted by Israel and the United States for years due to his role in numerous bombings, hijackings and abductions in which hundreds of people were killed.

14.2.08 Israel is offering to forgive NIS350 million in personal debts of 3,500 settlers in 140 communities in the West Bank, the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights, who owe a combined NIS700 million. The debts originate in 30-year loans the state provided between 1978 and 2007.

14.2.08 The Israel Defense Forces Engineering Corps bomb a number of abandoned buildings in the Gaza Strip that the army said were being used to launch rockets and mortar shells at Israel.

16.2.08 After meeting with Palestinian President Abbas in Ramallah, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner says that France welcomes Israel’s U.S.-backed peace talks with the Palestinians. “We are totally against the settlement policy. There can’t be trust between the two sides while settlement activity is going on.”

17.2.08 According to a report by the Israeli Civil Administration, more than one-third of West Bank settlements were built on private Palestinian land that was temporarily seized by military order for “security purposes.” International law allows the seizure of occupied territory, but only for military needs. Instead, Israel built many of the settlements via such seizures, in defiance of a 1979 cabinet decision that forbade using private Palestinian land for settlements.

18.2.08 In an interview with Haaretz after his visit to Sderot, the United Nations' Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Sir John Holmes says that the response to the Qassam rocket attacks must he proportional from a humanitarian point of view. He warned Israel against an invasion of the Gaza Strip and said that the crisis in the south can be solved only by diplomacy.

18.2.08 A new neighborhood comprising 27 trailers is under construction at the settlement of Eli, north of Ramallah, even though PM Olmert vowed publicly after the Annapolis conference that any such building would cease.

21.2.08 According to Peace Now, Israel denied 94 percent of the building permit requests submitted by Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank over the past seven years. 70,000 Palestinians live in Area C, which according to the Oslo Accord gives Israel full civilian and military control of the area.

21.2.08 Envoys of the Middle East Quartet convene in Berlin to discuss the situation in the Gaza Strip and the peace process between Israel and the PA.

22.2.08 Gasoline runs out in Gaza in the aftermath of limitations imposed by Israel on imports into the Strip, excluding fuel for emergency vehicles. Diesel fuel is also in short supply.

22.2.08 A delegation of Hamas and Islamic Jihad members meet with representatives of Egyptian intelligence in El-Arish to discuss opening the Rafah border crossing. This was their third meeting in the past 10 days.

23.2.08 Three Palestinian civilians are killed in an Israeli air strike on Beit Hanoun, in the north of the Gaza Strip.

24.2.08 Qatar is willing to broker a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, the Qatari PM Sheikh Hamed Bin Jassem al-Thani tells MK Yossi Beilin (Meretz) in Doha. Beilin, a former deputy foreign minister, met the Qatari PM at a conference for retired foreign ministers.

24.2.08 Israeli Foreign Minister Livni announces in Jerusalem at the annual meeting of the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism that Israel will boycott the United Nations Durban II conference on human rights. The decision followed an assessment by the foreign ministry and other Western governments that it will be impossible to prevent the conference from turning into “a festival of anti-Israeli attacks.”

25.2.08 Three Hamas militants are killed and 4 others wounded in Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip.

26.2.08 Israeli PM Olmert tells a business conference in Tokyo that he is not certain Israel and the PA would be able to reach a peace agreement by the end of 2008, as per their commitment in the November U.S.-sponsored Annapolis conference.

26.2.08 In a Haaretz-Dialogue poll conducted under the supervision of Tel Aviv University, 64% of Israelis say the government should hold direct talks with the Hamas government in Gaza for a ceasefire and the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit. Less than one-third (28%) opposes such talks.

27.2.08 Israeli air strikes kill at least 6 Palestinians in Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip. Five of them were Hamas militants. Four others were wounded.

1.3.08 Two Israeli soldiers and 63 Palestinians, many of them civilians, are killed in an Israeli operation in northern Gaza City. The operation is expected to continue for several days.

1.3.08 Egyptian authorities open the Rafah crossing into Sinai for the transfer of the Gaza injured to hospitals in Egypt. Egypt sent 27 ambulances to the crossing and carried some 150 Palestinians to hospital in El-Arish.

2.3.08 Israeli aircraft fires three missiles at the Gaza headquarters of deposed Palestinian PM Ismail Haniyeh, destroying the building and wounding 5 people.

2.3.08 A Katyusha rocket strikes the western Negev town of Netivot as 6 Palestinians die as a result of fighting with Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip.

2.3.08 The European Union joins the United Nations in condemning what it calls the “disproportionate” use of force by the Israeli forces in Gaza after more than 60 Palestinians are killed in the highest single-day toll since fighting erupted in 2000. In a statement, the EU urged Israel to halt activities that endanger civilians, saying they were contrary to international law. It also called for an immediate end to Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli territory and insisted that the peace process should not be interrupted.

2.3.08 Some 40 rockets are fired against Israel, including two Grad-type missiles, which struck the city of Ashkelon. Three Israeli civilians were lightly injured.

3.3.08 The Israeli forces pull its ground troops out of the Gaza Strip and Hamas seizes on the pullout to declare “victory” in the intensive fighting that has killed more than 100 people in recent days. The pullback followed days of sequential fighting that drew an appeal from Washington to end the violence and rescue the peace talks with the Palestinians.

4.3.08 Two Palestinian militants are killed in Israeli air force strikes on the Gaza Strip after a Qassam rocket hit an empty house in the western Negev town of Sderot.

6.3.08 A coalition of 8 British-based human rights organizations release a scathing report claiming that the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is at its worst since Israel captured the territory in 1967. The report said that more than 1.1 million people, about 80% of Gaza’s residents, are now dependent on food aid, unemployment is close to 40%, and close to 70% of the 110,000 private-sector employees have lost their jobs. It added that hospitals are suffering from power cuts of up to 12 hours a day, and the water and sewage systems were close to collapse.

6.3.08 Jordan’s lower house of parliament votes to reject an article in a temporary electricity law that allows the government to engage in a regional power grid in which Israel is a part. Jordan is linked to Syria, Egypt and Turkey in a power grid and has recently started supplying with electricity the West Bank city of Jericho.

6.3.08 A gunman, 25, from East Jerusalem kills 8 students and injures 9 others in an attack at the Jerusalem’s Mercaz Harav seminary. The gunman was killed at the scene by an off-duty Israeli officer who lives near the seminary. No Palestinian or Arab organization has claimed responsibility.

11.3.08 In a letter to Israeli Foreign Minister Livni, Ahmad Qurei, who heads the Palestinian team in the negotiations between Israeli and the PA, expresses “shock and dismay” at Israel’s planned expansion of West Bank settlements. The letter comes after Israel announced that PM Olmert had authorized the construction of 750 housing units in a Givat Ze’ev neighborhood, beyond the Green Line in Jerusalem, and after reported plans for the building of more housing in East Jerusalem areas.

13.3.08 Islamic Jihad claims it fired at least 15 rockets into the western Negev, ending a week-long Egyptian-brokered moratorium, in what it called an “initial” response to deadly Israeli raids in the West Bank.

15.3.08 Three Palestinian militants are killed in an Israeli air force strike east of Gaza City. According to the Israel Defense Forces spokesman’s office, the men were Islamic Jihad members on their way to launch Qassam rockets at Israel.

17.3.08 Israel and Germany upgrade their ties, approving a host of joint projects and agreeing to hold annual government consultations, in one of the highlights of German Chancellor Merkel’s three-day visit marking the 60th anniversary of Israel’s creation.

18.3.08 Amos Gilad, head of the defense ministry’s political security bureau, visits Cairo for the second time in a week to meet with senior Egyptian officials, who are mediating between Israel and Hamas, in an effort to reach a long-term ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

19.3.08 Israeli and Egyptian representatives agree in principle on a deal that would have Egypt replace Israel as the Gaza Strip’s sole electricity provider. Egypt would set up a new power line from El-Arish to the Gaza Strip. The 150-megawatt line would cost $35 million and would be operational within two years.

19.3.08 The chairman of the Yesha rabbinical council and chief rabbi of Kiryat Arba, Rabbi Dov Lior, issues a Halachic ruling stating that it is forbidden by Jewish law to employ Arabs or rent homes to them.

23.3.08 Rival Palestinian factions Fateh and Hamas sign a Yemeni-sponsored reconciliation deal, promising to revive direct talks after months of hostilities.

24.3.08 U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney says that Hamas, with support from Syria and Iran, is trying to torpedo peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel.

25.3.08 Israeli officials say Israel will allow the deployment of hundreds of Palestinian security forces in Jenin after they complete a U.S.-funded training program in Jordan.

26.3.08 Defense Minister Barak approves the transfer of five mobile homes to the settlement of Teneh Omarim in the southern Hebron Hills for evacuees from the Gush Katif settlement of Morag. The Civil Administration spokesman confirmed that the mobile homes had been set up with the full approval of the authorities.

29.3.08 U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrives in Israel to hold two trilateral meetings. One American-Israeli-Palestinian conclave will deal with final status negotiations; the other will address the situation on the ground in the West Bank and the degree to which both sides are fulfilling their obligations under the Road Map peace plan.

1.4.08 Two Palestinians are killed by Israeli forces during a pre-dawn raid in the central Gaza Strip. Israel claimed they were armed militants.

2.4.08 “Hamas supports the united Palestinian position calling for the establishment of a fully sovereign Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, including Jerusalem, and the right of return for refugees,” Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mash’al tells the Palestinian daily Al-Ayam.

3.4.08 Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the PLO’s Executive Committee and member of the Palestinian negotiating team, tells the Voice of Palestine radio that the PA should halt talks with Israel as long as it continues to expand settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

8.4.08 The Israeli Foreign Ministry says that it will not allow the United Nations official Richard Falk, appointed to investigate Israeli human rights abuses in the occupied territories to enter the country after he stood by comments comparing Israeli behavior to those of Nazis.

9.4.08 An Israeli soldier is killed and two others are lightly wounded in clashes with Hamas fighters in the northern Gaza Strip.

9.4.08 Two Israeli civilians are shot dead and two others are wounded when four Palestinian fighters infiltrate southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. The attack took place at the Nahal Oz fuel transfer terminal near the Karni border crossing.

13.4.08 The Public Committee against Torture in Israel accuses the Shin Bet security service of using relatives of individuals under interrogation to extract confessions. The organization says the Shin Bet makes unjustified arrests of family members, or creates the pretense of such arrests to pressure suspects. Such methods are used against individuals who are already subjected to severe physical torture.

13.4.08 Israel has paid the United Kingdom $145,000 for damaging a British war cemetery in the Gaza Strip during an Israeli operation in the summer of 2006. Some 3,500 soldiers from the U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India are buried in the cemetery. They were killed in World War I fighting the Ottoman army for the control of the area. Some 200 World War II victims are also buried there.

13.4.08 Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter rejects the criticism that he has been subjected to U.S. State Department pressure over his planned meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Mash’al. According to Carter, peace cannot be achieved without talking to all the relevant people and he will use the meeting to promote efforts to release the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, kidnapped by Hamas and held in Gaza, and to discover the fates of soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, in the hands of Hizbullah in Lebanon.

14.4.08 FM Livni meets her Omani counterpart Yousef bin Alawi bin Abdullah in Qatar. The meeting was the first of its kind between Israel and Oman since the two states cut off relations in 2000 with the start of the second intifada. Livni arrived in Qatar for a two-day visit to attend the Doha Forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade.

14.4.08 Israel and the U.S. sign an agreement to set up cooperation in the field of nuclear safety. The new agreement will enable the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission to access most of the latest nuclear safety data, procedures and technology available in the U.S.

16.4.08 The Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv quotes Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu telling an audience at Bar Ilan University that 9/11 proved beneficial for Israel. “We are benefiting from one thing and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq,” he reportedly said, adding that these events “swung American public opinion in our favor.”

16.4.08 Two Israeli soldiers are killed in an exchange of gunfire with Palestinian militants next to the Gaza Strip security fence. Palestinians reported that Israeli soldiers killed four Hamas gunmen in other clashes in Gaza near a terminal used to supply fuel to the coastal territory.

16.4.08 “The plight of Gazans is a concern, but secondary to the security of Israeli civilians nearby who are suffering as a result of attacks launched by Palestinian militants,” Defense Minister and Labor Chairman Ehud Barak tells party members at a rally.

16.4.08 Twenty Palestinians are killed including a Reuters cameraman in an Israeli forces operations in the Gaza Strip.

16.4.08 Five human rights organizations file a petition with the Israeli High Court of Justice against the Shin Bet security service, the Israel police and the attorney general demanding that the use of family members as means of exerting pressure on suspects during interrogations by state authorities be absolutely prohibited.

17.4.08 Israeli troops kill a Palestinian militant and a 16-year-old boy during a raid in Qabatiya refugee camp near Jenin.

19.4.08 Two explosives-laden vehicles disguised as military jeeps explode at the Kerem Shalom crossing on the Israel-Gaza Strip border, leaving 13 Israeli soldiers hurt. Hamas claimed responsibility.

21.4.08 Israeli forces kill three Palestinian gunmen a few hundred meters away from the security fence between Gaza and Israel, close to Jabaliya.

22.4.08 Five years after British film maker James Miller was fatally shot by Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip, Israel decided to pay the family some NIS12 million in compensation. In return, the British government will close the case and rescind its intention to ask that the soldiers involved in the incident be extradited.

23.4.08 Syrian news agency Sham Press reports that PM Olmert has relayed a message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad affirming that he agrees to a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights in return for peace with his nation. According to the report, the message was passed on by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

23.4.08 The head of the UN relief operations in Gaza says that if Israel does not supply gasoline to Gaza immediately the UN would not be able to distribute desperately needed aid packages to Gaza residents. Some 860,000 of Gaza’s 1.4 million people receive aid from UNRWA, and an additional 270,000 are serviced by the UN’s World Food Program.

27.4.08 Three Qassam rockets are fired from Gaza into southern Israel. Two of them exploded in Sderot and a third south of Ashkelon. No injuries or damages were reported.

28.4.08 Israeli troops shell a house in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, killing five Palestinians, including four siblings under six years old.

29.4.08 Nine Qassam rockets and six mortar shells fired from Gaza slam into the western Negev, causing damage at three different locations but no injuries.

29.4.08 Thirty members of various Palestinian factions gather in Cairo to hold talks with Egyptian mediators over reaching a comprehensive truce with Israel and a measure of unity among the divided factions.

30.4.08 Ten roadblocks that Israel set up in the West Bank have little security value and are needlessly disrupting trade in the Palestinian territories, according to a joint Israeli-Palestinian report submitted to the Israeli security authorities. The report was drawn up by a team that included three Israeli retired army generals who served as heads of the Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank and three Palestinian experts.

3.5.08 Nearly 500 Palestinian police officers are deployed in Jenin and its environs, where they will begin a major security operation named “Smile and Hope.” The officers from Hebron, Jericho and Ramallah will join the 150 officers routinely stationed in the Jenin area. The deployment took place with full coordination with the Israeli forces, and as a result of an agreement reached between Israeli DM Barak and Palestinian PM Fayyad.

4.5.08 U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meets with Israeli DM Barak to discuss removing West Bank roadblocks, as she begins a day of meetings aimed at speeding up Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

9.5.08 In two separate Israeli air strikes on police stations in southern Gaza, five members of Hamas are killed and four others are wounded.

10.5.08 At least 21 Qassam rockets fired from the Gaza Strip struck the western Negev, lightly injuring five people.

11.5.08 Several dozen Palestinian refugees, public figures and Israeli left-wing activists conducted a tour of the West Jerusalem neighborhoods of Talbiyeh and Baka’ to mark the 60th anniversary of the Nakba (the catastrophe), as the Palestinians refer to the events surrounding Israel’s independence in 1948.

13.5.08 Thirteen heads of state, including U.S. President Bush are among the 3,500 guests to attend the Israeli presidential conference “Facing Tomorrow” headed by President Shimon Peres, in honor of Israel’s 60th anniversary.

13.5.08
Dennis Ross, the special Middle East coordinator in the Clinton administration, and Daniel Kurtzer, former U.S. ambassador to Israel, criticize the policies of President Bush and the conduct of the Annapolis Middle East peace process. They were speaking in the framework of the presidential conference in Jerusalem.

14.5.08
The Israel air force kills two Palestinian fighters and wounds another two in air strikes on the southern Gaza Strip.

15.5.08
Palestinians mark the 60th anniversary of their displacement — an annual ritual of mourning that turned even darker this year because of crippling internal divisions and diminishing hopes for independence.

18.5.08
Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden lashes out at Arab leaders for sacrificing the Palestinians in a new message and calls on Muslim militants in Egypt to help break the blockade of Gaza. Israel and Egypt have closed their borders with Gaza since Hamas seized control of the Palestinian territory in June 2007.

19.5.08
According to the Disengagement Administration, known as Sela, Israel has spent over NIS6 million on settlers evacuated from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank in August 2005.

22.5.08
A Palestinian explosives-laden truck exploded on the Gaza Strip side of the Erez crossing on the border with Israel. The Islamic Jihad carried out the attempted attack in cooperation with Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

25.5.08
The American mathematician David Mumford, co-winner of the 2008 Wolf Foundation Prize in Mathematics, announces upon receiving the award at Tel Aviv University that he will donate the money to Birzeit University near Ramallah and to Gisha, an Israeli organization that advocates for Palestinian freedom of movement.

25.5.08
Former U.S. President Carter condemns Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip as “one of the greatest human-rights crimes now existing on Earth,” according to the Agence France-Presse news agency.

27.5.08
Syrian President al-Assad tells visiting British members of parliament that progress on the Syrian-Israeli peace track would encourage Lebanon and Israel to initiate their own talks.

28.5.08
A decisive majority of 70 Knesset members agree to grant an extra NIS1.5 billion to the Jewish settlers evacuated from Gush Katif and the northern Gaza Strip.

1.6.08
Hizbullah hands the remains of Israeli soldiers killed in the 2006 Second Lebanon War to the International Committee of the Red Cross for delivery to Israel. The soldiers’ remains were transferred upon the arrival of Nassim Nasser, a Lebanese man released after six years in Israeli detention.

3.6.08
PM Olmert begins a two-day visit to Washington which will include an address at the annual gathering of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the pro-Israel lobby, and a meeting with President Bush that will focus on upgrading the bilateral defense ties between the U.S. and Israel.

4.6.08
A letter to Israeli President Peres from Peace Now says the president’s attendance at a celebration marking 30 years since the government approved the establishment of the West Bank settlement of Ariel “gives dangerous legitimacy to the continued policy of construction in the settlements and aids the enemies of peace from within to hinder the vision of two states.”

6.6.08
Chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmad Qurei announces that Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to start drafting sections of a proposed peace accord that will lay out each side’s positions on the core issues of borders, Jerusalem and the refugees.

6.6.08
The vice president of the European Parliament, an Italian judge and a Northern Irish Nobel Peace laureate are among the five people injured at the weekly demonstration against the separation wall in Bil’in, near Ramallah. The three dignitaries, Giulio Toscano, Luisa Morgantini and Mairead Corrigan Maguire, were visiting the village as part of a three-day international conference on non-violent resistance.

8.6.08
Six masked settlers attack a group of Palestinian shepherds with clubs and rods near the West Bank settlement of Susya. Four of the Palestinians were wounded, including a woman who was taken unconscious to a medical center.

8.6.08
Eight Israeli left-wing activists protesting against the separation wall are wounded in clashes with Israeli police near the West Bank village of Na’alin.

10.6.08
An Israeli air strike kills three members of a Palestinian mortar crew in the Gaza Strip.

10.6.08
Israel transfers VAT taxes collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority on goods imported via Israel to the PA, after holding up the money for a week. The transfer was delayed after PM Fayyad called on the European Union and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development not to upgrade their relations with Israel, in view of its actions in the territories. Fayyad accused Israel of violating international law by continuing to build settlements, ignoring the International Court of Justice’s ruling on the separation wall and infringing on the human rights of tens of thousands of Palestinian laborers. According to the Palestinian Finance Ministry, $54 million arrived but $20 million is missing. Israel said it would deduct some NIS70 million from the PA’s money to cover debts.

12.6.08
Israeli troops kill two Palestinians trying to infiltrate Israeli territory near the security fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

15.6.08
U.S. Secretary of State Rice says Israel’s continued settlement-building could hurt Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Rice, in Israel on her sixth trip to the Middle East this year to try to advance Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, made her comments before meeting FM Livni.

15.6.08
U.S. Secretary of State Rice tells the Arabic-language daily Al-Hayyat that the U.S. is pressing for an Israeli withdrawal from a disputed Golan Heights area located on the border with Lebanon. According to the report, Rice told Lebanese leaders during her unexpected visit to Beirut that the U.S. would bolster its efforts in the coming weeks toward pushing Israel to pull out from the Shaba’ Farms.

16.6.08
Israeli troops kill three Palestinian gunmen near the Gaza-Israel border, close to the southern Gaza town of Khan Yunis.

17.6.08
Peace between Israel and Syria will usher in a new era of prosperity and allow people to travel freely throughout the Middle East, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Mekdad tells the Chicago Tribune.

17.6.08
An Egyptian-brokered truce commits Israel to ending its crippling blockade of the Gaza Strip, but any Israeli violation of the deal would not go unanswered, Hamas leader Mash’al said.

19.6.08
The agreement for an Egyptian-proposed ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip goes into effect at 6 a.m.

19.6.08
Four Israeli police officers are wounded in clashes with settlers, which erupted when security forces came to two illegal outposts near the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar in order to post evacuation orders and to demolish one caravan.

22.6.08
A report by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel claims that Israeli soldiers routinely abuse Palestinian detainees and the army and law enforcement ignores the abuse. The report contains 90 testimonies by Palestinians who were abused by soldiers after being arrested during and after sweeps for wanted men between June 2006 and October 2007.

22.6.08
French President Sarkozy says at the start of a three-day visit to Israel that Middle East peace cannot be achieved unless Damascus is brought to the negotiating table.

24.6.08
PM Olmert travels to Sharm el-Sheikh for talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the fate of kidnapped Israeli soldier Shalit.

29.6.08
Israel reopens its border crossings with the Gaza Strip more than a week into a tentative ceasefire strained by continued militant rocket fire on the western Negev.

29.6.08
UN hostage negotiator Gerhard Konrad has reportedly delivered a message to Israel from Hizbullah indicating that missing Israel air force navigator Ron Arad is dead. Arad has been missing in action since his plane went down over Lebanon in 1986. Hizbullah will hand over a report to detail the organization’s efforts to obtain information on Arad, as part of the second stage of the prisoner swap agreement which was approved by the Israeli cabinet. In exchange, Israel will give Hizbullah a report on the fate of four Iranian diplomats kidnapped and murdered during the Lebanon war in the 1980s.


During this period, in the occupied Palestinian territories, 470 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces, 82 under the age of 18. Four Palestinians were killed by Israeli civilians. Two Israeli civilians and 42 Israeli security forces personnel were killed by Palestinians. Within the Green Line, 1 Palestinian was killed by Israeli security forces. Fifteen Israeli civilians and 3 Israeli security forces personnel were killed by Palestinians.

Above figures from B’Tselem








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