Chronology 16 August-15 November 2001

U.S. Pres. George W. Bush phones Israeli PM Ariel Sharon to offer his condolences for recent Israeli casualties, to stress the importance of avoiding further escalations. Sharon says he is trying to ease the economic blockade on the Palestinians (see 8/14, 8/15), but adds that Israel will continue to protect its citizens, including via assassinations, which he terms "preventive actions." Meanwhile, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) tightens the closures on Nablus, Qalqilya, Ramallah; bulldozes Palestinian agricultural land around Itamar settlement. Jewish settlers stone a Palestinian taxi passing Shilo settlement nr. Nablus, causing the car to crash, killing the driver, injuring 6 passengers. Elsewhere, settlers take over the small West Bank settlement of Sanur, abandoned by residents when the al-Aqsa intifada began, converts an old mosque into a synagogue; fire on Palestinian farmers nr. Itamar, injuring 5. In an apparent assassination attempt, Palestinian Ibrahim al-Habisha is critically injured when his cell phone explodes, 5 bystanders are lightly injured. Palestinians fire 2 mortars at Morag settlement in Gaza, causing no damage. The IDF directs shells, heavy machine gun fire at residential areas of Hebron. (HA 8/16; MA 8/16 in WNC 8/17; HP, NYT, WP, WT 8/17; PMC 8/18)
The IDF says it averted a major bombing in Haifa, arresting 2 Islamic Jihad mbrs. The IDF also enters Brazil camp to demolish at least 1 house and fires on residents with live ammunition, injuring 10; shells, briefly enters Khan Yunis, exchanges gunfire with Palestinians, leaving 1 Palestinian dead; tightens the closures on Bethlehem, Qalqilya (cutting phone lines to the town), Ramallah. Palestinians throw 2 hand grenades at an IDF post nr. Jinin, causing no damage. (HP 8/17; NYT, WT 8/18; AP, HP, WT 8/19; LAW 8/22)
    An Egyptian delegation led by Osama Baz, senior adviser to Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak, holds its 4th and last day of mtgs. with U.S. officials, including Secy. of State Colin Powell, National Security Adviser (NSA) Condoleeza Rice. Baz says the sides exchanged ideas on "certain arrangements" for enabling implementation of the Mitchell Comm. recommendations but would not discuss details until they had studied each other's proposals. (United Press International 8/17; MENA 8/7, MENA, al-Quds 8/18, MENA 8/19 in WNC 8/20; NYT, WP 8/18; WP 8/19; al-Quds 8/19, MENA 8/20 in WNC 8/21; HA 8/21; MM 8/22; al-Musawwar 8/24 in WNC 8/27) (see Peace Monitor in JPS 121)
The IDF attempts to assassinate Fatah tanzim mbr. Ahmad Bisharat in Jinin, phoning him to set up a bogus mtg., attempting to shoot him when he leaves his home. The IDF also shells residential areas of Beitunia, Khan Yunis; fires on a taxi parked at an IDF checkpoint, seriously wounding a Palestinian infant. Jewish settlers fire on a Palestinian bus nr. Pisgat Ze'ev, injuring 2 Palestinians; stone a car nr. Hebron, causing an accident that kills the Palestinian driver. (al-Quds 8/18 in WNC 8/21; HP 8/19; LAW 8/22)
Israeli-Palestinian clashes continue, leaving a total of 7 Palestinians dead. IDF forces in Rafah refuse to allow a Palestinian Authority (PA) delegation to cross the checkpoint into Egypt unless they consent to be strip searched, which they refuse. Palestinians throw grenades at, fire on IDF posts on the border with Egypt, causing no injuries. The IDF shells residential areas of Rafah in response, hitting a Palestinian home and killing senior tanzim mbr. Samir Abd al-Az (Abu Zayd), his 2 young children in what may be an assassination. Palestinians fire mortars at an Israeli settlement in Gaza, causing no damage; the IDF responds by shelling, destroying a PA Preventive Security Force (PSF) post, a Force 17 office nr. Khan Yunis, injuring 3 PSF officers. IDF troops fatally shoot a 13-yr.-old Palestinian boy in Rafah, 2 Palestinians nr. Nablus; direct shells, heavy machine gun fire at residential areas of Hebron, Jinin, Khan Yunis. (HP 8/19; MENA 8/19 in WNC 8/20; AFP, HP, LAW, NYT, WP, WT 8/20; JT 8/20 in WNC 8/21; NYT 8/21; LAW 8/22; AYM 8/24 in WNC 8/27)
    Israeli FM Shimon Peres says that Israel and the PA have had contacts "on different levels" regarding implementing a cease-fire, that he plans to meet with PA head Yasir Arafat soon. The PA says it supports holding an Arafat-Peres mtg. in principle. (MM, NYT 8/20; AYM 8/20 in WNC 8/21; al-Quds 8/21 in WNC 8/22; MA 8/23 in WNC 8/24)
The IDF demolishes a Palestinian apartment building under construction in Bayt Hanina, East Jerusalem, destroying 8 empty apartments, a kindergarten, and 6 stores; shells residential areas of Beitunia, Bethlehem, Rafah; bulldozes land along the Egyptian border nr. Rafah, in al-Arub; places a closure on al-Jalma village on the Green Line nr. Jinin; reinforces the closures on Jinin, Qalqilya; flies low-level F-16 sorties over Gaza. The Temporary International Presence in Hebron withdraws its forces fr. the Jewish enclave of the city because of ongoing attacks on their vehicles by Jewish settlers (see Doc. A2). Jewish settlers also place new caravans on Palestinian property nr. Yatta in the Hebron district. IDF soldiers occupy 2 Palestinian houses in the Hebron area, 3 nr. Netzarim Junction as observation points; bulldoze Palestinian land in al-Dura, west of Hebron. (HP 8/20; WT 8/21; LAW 8/22; HA 8/26)
    German FM Joschka Fischer, in the region on a 3-day visit aimed at securing a cease-fire, discusses with Peres the idea of a phased truce, which would "eventually" be followed by implementation of the Mitchell Comm. recommendations. (HP 8/20; MENA 8/20 in WNC 8/21; NYT, WT 8/21; NYT, WT 8/22; AYM 8/22 in WNC 8/24)
After talks with German FM Fischer, Arafat says he is prepared to hold cease-fire talks with Peres. Fischer also meets with Sharon, recommends that Peres and Arafat meet in Berlin. As Peres welcomes the idea, a small bomb explodes in West Jerusalem, causing no injuries; when Israeli police search the area, they find a much larger unexploded bomb. The Popular Army Front-Return Battalions claims responsibility. The IDF fires on residential areas of Hebron. (HA, MM 8/21; HA, LAW, MM, NYT, WP, WT 8/22; al-Quds 8/22, QA, SA 8/23 in WNC 8/24; MM 8/23; AYM 8/23 in WNC 8/27; JP 8/31)
    Late in the evening, Israeli-Palestinian violence escalates sharply, further dimming prospects for a German-led cease-fire initiative. IDF undercover units ambush, kill a Palestinian planting a roadside bomb outside a Jewish settlement nr. Nablus, then open fire on Palestinians attempting to retrieve the body, killing another 3, wounding 3. (MEI 8/21; LAW 8/22; NYT, WP, WT 8/23; AYM 8/23, AN 8/26 in WNC 8/27)
In Gaza, IDF helicopters fire rockets at a car driven by most-wanted Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades leader Muhammad Dayif, his aide Adnan Ghul; both escape unhurt but an accompanying vehicle is hit, killing Ghul's son and a bodyguard. Nr. Rafah, the IDF opens fire on Palestinians inspecting a building just bulldozed by Israeli soldiers; 1 PSF officer is killed. In response to Palestinian gunfire directed at Psagot settlement, which causes no injuries, the IDF enters PA-controlled Ramallah and bulldozes a PSF office. After Palestinians fire a mortar at a Jewish settlement in Gaza, damaging 1 home, the IDF fires 2 missiles at a PSF post, destroying it and wounding 7 PSF officers. Palestinians also fire on an Israeli truck leaving a Jewish settlement, wounding 2 Israelis. (LAW 8/22; NYT, WP, WT 8/23; MM, WT 8/24; MEI 8/31)
In Nablus, the IDF fires missiles at a car driven by senior Fatah mbr. Jihad Mussaimi in an apparent assassination attempt. Mussaimi and several bystanders are injured. Following a Palestinian sniper attack on the Jewish enclave of Hebron that wounds 2 Jewish settler boys, the IDF sends troops into the PA-controlled area of Hebron to blow up 2 Palestinian homes in the Abu Sunayna neighborhood. The 3-hr. raid, similar to that on Jinin on 8/13-14, sparks an intense gun battle that leaves 2 Palestinians dead and 10 Palestinians, 1 IDF soldier wounded; a Palestinian woman dies of a heart attack while waiting hrs. for an ambulance to reach her. In Gaza, the IDF fires on Palestinians throwing stones at a Jewish settlement, killing 1 Palestinian boy; sends 3 tanks into Dayr al-Balah refugee camp, sparking a gun battle that leaves 4 Palestinians injured. (AFP 8/23; NYT, WP, WT 8/24; NYT, WT 8/25; HA 8/26)
In Nablus, where the IDF attempted to assassinate a Fatah mbr. on 8/23, some 20,000 Palestinians attend a rally calling for increased attacks on Israel. The IDF shells residential areas of Bayt Sahur, setting fire to 1 Palestinian home. (WT 8/25)
    As Arafat, Peres continue to express interest in holding a meeting to discuss a cease-fire, Bush suggests that the PA is not serious about talks, saying, "If they are that interested in peaceful dialogue, they ought to do everything they can to stop the terrorist activity that has accelerated in recent months." (NYT 8/25; AFP, al-Quds 8/25 in WNC 8/27; NYT 8/26; al-Quds 8/29 in WNC 8/30; WJW 8/30)
Late in the evening, 2 mbrs. of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) infiltrate an IDF post nr. Gush Katif settlement in Gaza, attack the barracks with hand grenades and automatic weapons fire, killing 3 IDF soldiers and wounding 7 before they are killed. In response, the IDF sends 16 tanks, heavy equipment deep into Rafah to bulldoze the PSF headquarters, take over several small PSF posts, killing 1 PSF officer, wounding 2 Palestinians; troops pull out after a few hrs. Earlier, mbrs. of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AMB) open fire on a car outside Givat Ze'ev in the West Bank, killing 3 Jewish settlers, wounding 2 children. (BBC 8/25; HA, JP [Internet], NYT, WP, WT 8/26; HA 8/27; SA 8/27 in WNC 8/28; MEI 8/31; JP 9/7)
In response to the attack on a settler family on 8/25, the IDF dispatches F-15s and F-16s to bomb the PA Military Intelligence headquarters outside Gaza City and the PSF headquarters in Salfit, killing 1 PSF officer, wounding 18 Palestinians. Also in Gaza City, the IDF shells, destroys the PSF headquarters and bulldozes 2 PSF checkpoints; helicopters hover over Arafat's headquarters but do not fire. In the evening, after the AMB fatally shoots an Israeli civilian driving outside Tulkarm, the IDF shells PSF buildings and checkpoints in Tulkarm, al-Bireh, killing 1 PSF officer. Sharon meets with DM Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, Peres; reportedly decides to step up retaliatory attacks on PA targets, shorten the time btwn. incident and retaliation, even if it means striking occupied buildings. (AP, NYT, WT 8/26; NYT, WP, WT 8/27; MA 8/27 in WNC 8/28; al-Quds 8/29 in WNC 8/30; al-Quds, Star 8/30 in WNC 8/31)
The IDF assassinates Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Abu Ali Mustafa (Mustafa Zibri), the most prominent Palestinian leader targeted to date, firing missiles at his office in al-Bireh. (22 U.S. citizens also live in the building where Mustafa worked; 3 are lightly injured in the attack.) In response, 1,000s of Palestinians take to the streets in Bethlehem, Gaza City, Jinin, Nablus, Tulkarm to protest. The U.S. criticizes Israel for "inflaming an already volatile situation and making it much harder to restore calm"; says Israel must also take economic, security steps to alleviate pressure on the Palestinians. Also in response to the Mustafa killing, Palestinian gunmen fire on Gilo settlement; the IDF then sends tanks into neighboring Bayt Jala (area A). The IDF also sends tanks, bulldozers into Rafah in response to Palestinian gunfire; destroys 3 Palestinian houses, sparking a fierce gun battle. Palestinians ambush a settler vehicle nr. Nablus, kill 1 Jewish settler. (AP, CNN 8/27; AFP, Interfax, MENA 8/27 in WNC 8/28; BDL, LAW, MM, NYT, REU, WT 8/28; MA, XIN 8/28 in WNC 8/29; MM 8/29; AYM 8/28, ATL, IRNA, JT 8/29 in WNC 8/30; al-Ra'i 8/29, MENA, al-Quds, SA 8/30 in WNC 8/31; PMC 8/30; MEI, MM 8/31; AYM 8/31 in WNC 9/10; HA 9/1; JP 9/7; MEI 9/14)
Israeli-Palestinian clashes continue, leaving 4 Palestinians dead. The IDF declares a curfew, reinforces its positions in Bayt Jala, saying forces will remain in the town indefinitely--marking Israel's 1st reoccupation of West Bank area A. State Dept. spokesman Richard Boucher warns Israel that it is inflaming the conflict, urges Syria to keep a rein on Hizballah. Among the buildings taken over by the IDF are 5 Palestinian homes and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America's orphanage, where troops turn the upper floors into a firing base for heavy machine guns. Residents of the occupied homes, orphanage are confined to a single room of their homes; the Lutheran bishop accuses the IDF of using the 45 children in the home as human shields. Troops also level a number of Palestinian houses; skirmish with Palestinians at Aida refugee camp, nr. Bayt Jala. Fighting around Bayt Jala and Gilo intensifies throughout the day, leaving 1 Palestinian dead, at least 6 injured. Palestinians fire 6 mortars at Gilo, causing damage but no injuries, marking the 1st sustained mortar attack in the West Bank. The IDF also sends undercover units into Hebron to capture PSF Hebron cmdr. Abdallah Salim; sends forces into Rafah refugee camp to demolish another 14 homes, wounding 12 Palestinians; sends troops into Dayr al-Balah camp, touching off gun battles; bulldozes part of a school, 50 olive trees in Abu Najim; shells residential areas of Dayr Samit, Dura, Kharsa; conducts arrest raids in Jalbun; seals a main north-south Gaza road. (AP, BDL, HA, LAW, MM, REU 8/28; XIN 8/28 in WNC 8/29; BDL, NYT, WP, WT 8/29; PMC, WJW 8/30; MEI, WT 8/31; JP 9/7)
    In Ramallah, 10,000s of Palestinians attend the funeral of PFLP leader Mustafa. In refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, 1,000s of Palestinian refugees protest Mustafa's assassination. In Amman, 100s of demonstrators call for the Israeli amb. to be expelled. Outside the Israeli DMin. in Tel Aviv, 100s of Israelis demonstrate against the IDF incursion into Bayt Jala, Bethlehem. (AP, GS, JP 8/28)
Israeli-Palestinian clashes in the Bayt Jala-Gilo area continue to escalate, spread to neighboring Aida refugee camp, leaving 13 Palestinians wounded. European Union (EU) foreign policy dir. Javier Solana shuttles btwn. Arafat and Peres, discussing the idea of a limited cease-fire that would incorporate an IDF withdrawal fr. the area. (Arafat, Peres speak directly by phone; Powell phones Sharon, Arafat.) In the afternoon, the PSF sets up new roadblocks around Bayt Jala to deter Palestinian gunmen fr. entering. After 5 hrs. without gunfire, the IDF begins to leave Bayt Jala. Solana urges Arafat, Peres to discuss expanding the Bayt Jala-Gilo understandings into a full cease-fire. (BDL, HP, MM 8/29; MM, NYT, WP, WT 8/30; WJW 9/6)
    Meanwhile, settler group the Committee for Road Safety fatally shoots a Palestinian in the West Bank. Nr. Tulkarm, tanzim mbrs. fatally shoot an Israeli civilian; the IDF fires on Palestinians, killing 1, wounding 4. The IDF also sends tanks into Rafah; bulldozes 2 Palestinian homes, agricultural land in Dayr al-Balah; reinforces tanks, bulldozers outside Khan Yunis; demolishes a PSF post, erects a new IDF checkpoint on the Rafah-Khan Yunis road. 15 Jewish settlers (mostly women and children) attack Palestinian vendors in the Hebron market; IDF soldiers watch but do not intervene. (HP 8/29; HP, NYT, WP, WT 8/30)
The IDF apparently attempts to assassinate DFLP West Bank head Qays Samurai (Abu Layla) by planting an explosive device in his home in Ramallah; tanzim mbr. Anwar Aliya in an ambush by undercover units in Tulkarm. Samurai is not home at the time; Aliya is wounded. The IDF completes its withdrawal fr. Bayt Jala, taking up positions just outside the town and warning that it will reenter if shooting at Gilo resumes. Clashes in Hebron, Ramallah, Tulkarm leave a total of 1 Israeli civilian, 3 Palestinians dead, 40 Palestinians wounded. The IDF directs shells, heavy machine gun fire at Qarni crossing and residential areas of Bayt Wazan, al-Bireh, Brazil refugee camp, Yatta; demolishes 6 Palestinian homes in Rafah; blocks a marked UN convoy fr. entering Rafah to inspect the demolished Palestinian homes; sets up new roadblocks at the entrance to Tulkarm, on 3 roads to Jerusalem; reinforces troops around Khan Yunis; conducts arrest raids in Ni'lin, confiscating papers fr. the local Fatah office, arresting 3 Palestinians; opens the main Gaza road that was sealed on 8/28. (HP, JP [Internet], MM, PMC 8/30; MENA 8/30 in WNC 8/31; HA, JT, NYT, WP, WT 8/31)
The IDF sends tanks into the Palestinian section of Hebron after a day of intense clashes, which leave 5 Palestinians seriously wounded. An explosive device detonates at the Golani Junction in the Galilee; Israeli police arrest 4 Israeli Arabs for staging the attack in collusion with tanzim mbrs. fr. Jinin. (WT 9/1; JP [Internet] 9/5)
    The wk.-long UN World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) opens in Durban, South Africa. Of the 166 countries participating, only Canada, Israel, the U.S. do not send high-level delegations to protest efforts by Arab states to condemn Israel's treatment of the Palestinians as racist. (HA 8/31; WP, WT 9/1; MENA, al-Quds 9/1 in WNC 9/4; WP 9/3; JP 9/7) (see Peace Monitor)
Chronology Source Abbreviations
AFP (Agence France-Presse, Paris)

al-Akhbar , Cairo)

AN (Arab News, Riyadh)

AP (Associated Press, Internet)

ATL (Anatolia, Ankara)

al-Ayyam , Ramallah)

BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation World Service, Internet)

CNN (Cable News Network, Internet)

al-Dustur , Amman)

HA (
Ha'Aretz [Internet], Tel Aviv)

HJ (
al-Hayat al-Jadida , Ramallah)

HP (Hear Palestine [Internet], Washington)

IGPO (Israeli Government Press Office, Jerusalem)

IRNA (Islamic Republic News Agency, Tehran)

JP (
Jerusalem Post International Edition , Jerusalem)

JT (
Jordan Times , Amman)

LAW (Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment, Jerusalem)

MA (
Ma'ariv , Tel Aviv)

Middle East International , London)

MENA (Middle East News Agency, Cairo)

MEZ (al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Jabaliyya)

MM (
Mideast Mirror , London)

New York Times , New York)

PCHR (Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Gaza)

PMC (Palestine Media Center, Internet)

QA (
al-Quds al-Arabi , London)

REU (Reuters, Internet)

SA (
al-Sharq al-Awsat , London)

UPI (United Press International, Internet)

Washington Jewish Week , Rockville, MD)

WNC (World News Connection [Internet], Washington)

WP (
Washington Post , Washington)

WT (
Washington Times , Washington)

XIN (Xinhua-New China News Agency, Beijing)

YA (
Yedi'ot Aharonot , Tel Aviv)

Chronology compiled by Michele L. Kjorlien