Chronology 16 May–15 August 2005

16 MAY–15 AUGUST 2005


16 MAY
With implementation of Israeli PM Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan to evacuate troops and settlers fr. Gaza and 4 West Bank settlements slated to begin in mid-8/05, some 1,500 right-wing Israeli disengagement protesters, mostly young Jewish settlers, try to block around 100 intersections across Israel in one of the largest demonstrations to date. Israeli police deploy 1,000s of officers to keep roads open, demonstrations peaceful; arrest around 400 protesters. In the occupied territories, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) fatally shoots a Palestinian who allegedly attempts to stab a solider at a checkpoint outside Tulkarm (Palestinian observers dispute this, saying the man was angry, but merely approached the soldiers to question delays at the checkpoint); conducts arrest raids, house searches in Askar refugee camp (r.c.; targeting wanted al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade [AMB] mbrs), al-Mughayyir n. of Ramallah, Sawahara e. of Jerusalem. Jewish settlers fr. Keddumim bulldoze 30 dunams (d.; 4 d. = 1 acre) of olive trees nr. Qalqilya. A Palestinian dies of injuries received earlier. (IMEMC, MM, PRCS 5/16; JTA, MM 5/17; OCHA, PR, WP 5/18; PCHR 5/19)
17 MAY
Overnight, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in Dura and Sammu`; in the morning, stone-throwing youths confront the troops, the IDF responds with live ammunition and teargas, causing no serious injuries. IDF undercover units conduct arrest raids in Bethlehem. Palestinians fire a mortar at an IDF post in Gaza, causing no damage or injuries. (HA, IMEMC 5/17; PCHR 5/19)
18 MAY
In the sharpest escalation of violence since the 2/8 truce, the IDF fatally shoots a Hamas mbr. nr. the Rafah border after he fires on an IDF position. In response, Hamas fires some 20 mortars at Jewish settlements in s. Gaza, causing light damage. Palestinian Authority (PA) police dispatched to halt the fire are shot at by Palestinian gunmen (Hamas says it is not involved), stoned by bystanders. The IDF, blaming the PA for failing to take adequate steps, then launches an air strike against the Hamas mbrs. targeting the settlement, killing 1 Hamas mbr., wounding 1. Hamas mortar fire continues during the day, lightly wounding 1 settler. The IDF also patrols in Nablus, fires on residential areas; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Bethlehem. Jewish settlers fr. Efrat uproot olive and almond trees, bulldoze Palestinian land nr. al-Khadir nr. Bethlehem to widen a settler bypass road. In Fara' r.c., 3 armed, masked Palestinians raid an UNRWA clinic, order a doctor to leave permanently, harass the staff, then raid an UNRWA girls' school, threaten the principal, demand that a teacher be fired; no group claims responsibility; UNRWA protests to the PA, criticizing the PA's failure to protect UN institutions. (JAZ 5/18; NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 5/19; IMEMC, JAZ 5/20; OCHA 5/25; PCHR 5/26)
19 MAY
The IDF sends troops into `Ayn Bani Salim nr. Hebron to search 35 Palestinian homes, take a census of and photograph the families; conducts arrest raids in Askar r.c., Balata r.c. (also firing on residential areas), Hebron, Tulkarm. Palestinians fire 10s of mortars, 3 rockets at IDF, Jewish settler targets in Gaza for a 2d day and also toward Sederot, causing light damage to an IDF base just outside Gaza and to the Qarni crossing, but no injuries; Israel threatens sharp retaliation. Jewish settlers fr. Ramat Yishai severely beat a 75-yr.-old Palestinian woman in Hebron. Jewish settlers fr. Efrat nr. Bethlehem continue to bulldoze Palestinian land in nearby al-Khadir (see 5/18). (IMEMC, NYT, WP 5/20; PCHR 5/26)
20 MAY
In Gaza, 3 Palestinians representing the AMB, Hamas, Islamic Jihad stage a joint attack on Kefar Darom settlement, firing rifles, 1 mortar, 6 grenades, causing damage but no injuries; the IDF fires back, killing 1 Hamas mbr., wounding a 2d, who escapes with the 3d assailant; the IDF says that PA security forces spotted the attackers but did not stop them, waiting until after the clash to retrieve the body of the dead man, turn his weapons over to the IDF. Israel pledges to respond to such attacks as it did today, “without escalating the fighting.” The IDF also conducts arrest raids in Mughraqa in central Gaza, nr. Bethlehem; patrols in Nablus, firing on residential areas; occupies a Palestinian home in Hebron as an observation post. Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba severely beat 3 Palestinian girls. (IMEMC 5/20; NYT 5/21; OCHA 5/25; PCHR 5/26)
21 MAY
The IDF fires on a Palestinian working in a field nr. Tulkarm, wounding him; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Ramallah. In Hebron, 10s of Jewish settlers attack Palestinian homes to protest a solidarity visit to the Palestinians by several Israeli peace activists; Jewish settlers fr. Beit Hadasah settlement, chase and throw stones, eggs, tomatoes at Palestinian girls at a nearby elementary school. (PCHR 5/26)
22 MAY
The IDF bulldozes 5 Palestinian homes in Yatta nr. Hebron; fires on a Palestinian car nr. Bayt Furik checkpoint nr. Nablus, hitting the driver 7 times, wounding him; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Qalqilya; conducts patrols in Jinata nr. Bethlehem. Israeli border police raid a Central Elections Commission (CEC) registration center in Nabi Samuel outside Jerusalem, check IDs of the staff; raid another center in Harmala nr. Bethlehem, holding staff for 3 hrs. In Bayt Lahiya, 2 Palestinian boys are injured when they accidentally trigger a roadside bomb; 2 Palestinian boys are injured in a similar incident nr. the Rafah border fence. (IMEMC 5/23; OCHA 5/25; PCHR 5/26)
23 MAY
The IDF, accompanied by Israeli Interior Min. officials, enters Bayt `Ouna nr. Bethlehem, imposes a curfew, makes a census of residents. The IDF also cordons off part of Dura nr. Hebron, occupies a home as an observation post, searches several homes, stops Palestinians randomly for ID checks, stops children fr. leaving for school, fires on youths who throw stones at troops, wounding 1 teenager with live ammunition; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Hebron. Nr. Hebron, 3 armed Jewish settlers fr. Ma'on severely beat a Palestinian shepherd, steal 7 sheep; IDF troops intervene, arrest the Palestinian. Other Jewish settlers fr. Ma'on bar Palestinian farmers fr. reaching their land in Yatta, beat 3 Palestinians. Several 1,000 Hamas supporters demonstrate in Gaza City against court decisions calling for recounts in the latest round of municipal elections, a possible delay in the 7/17 legislative elections. (NYT 5/24; OCHA 5/25; PCHR 5/26)
24 MAY
The IDF demolishes a Palestinian home and 2 animal farms nr. Hebron for construction of the separation wall. (PCHR 5/26)
25 MAY
The IDF fires on Palestinian residential areas of Khan Yunis, wounding a 13-yr.-old Palestinian boy; fires on stone-throwing youths in Hebron, wounding 1 in the buttocks with live ammunition; shells a newly completed, uninhabited Palestinian home nr. Hebron, causing serious damage; conducts house searches in and around Hebron, interrogates residents aged 13–25 in Hebron's Bab al-Zawiyya neighborhood. (IMEMC 5/25; PCHR 5/26; OCHA 6/1; PCHR 6/2)
26 MAY
IDF soldiers break into, occupy a Palestinian home in Hebron to watch a soccer championship on the family's satellite TV; the IDF confirms the incident took place, says the cmdr. of the squad has been suspended. The IDF also completes a segment of the separation wall n. of Bethlehem; fires on residential areas of Rafah, wounding 1 Palestinian; conducts arrest raids, apartment searches in Abu Dis, targeting al-Quds University students. An Israeli navy gunboat fires on 2 Palestinian fishing vessels off the coast of Gaza, seriously damaging them. Mbrs. of rival PA security forces exchange gunfire for several hrs. in Ramallah, causing no injuries; a similar incident occurs in Rafah, leaving 1 officer wounded. Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba set fire to Palestinian olive groves, vandalize 2 Palestinian homes in Hebron; the IDF observes but does not intervene. Jewish settlers fr. Tal Rumayda stone Palestinian homes in Hebron; the IDF observes but does not intervene. Late in the evening, Jewish settlers fr. Avraham Avino in Hebron throw Molotov cocktails at a market storage area where Palestinian keep their carts and goods, causing moderate damage. (HA 5/27; OCHA, PR 6/1; PCHR 6/2)
27 MAY
The IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in Bayt Laqia; bars an ailing Palestinian fr. crossing a checkpoint nr. Nablus to reach a waiting ambulance for 40 mins., allowing him to die. For the 2d day, an Israeli navy gunboat fires on several Palestinian fishing boats, orders fishermen to leave their catch and return to shore. In Yanun, 2 Jewish settlers burn 20 d. of Palestinian crops. (IMEMC 5/27; VOP 5/28 in WNC 5/29; XIN 5/29; PR 6/1; PCHR 6/2)
28 MAY
The IDF fires missiles at Tal al-Za`atar in n. Gaza, allegedly targeting Islamic Jihad mbrs. attempting to fire a rocket, but no injuries are reported; shells Jabaliya r.c., hitting a home, wounding 2 Palestinians; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Jenin, Ramallah; patrols in Nablus; captures 4 unarmed Palestinians attempting to sneak across the Israeli border fence in central Gaza to find work; detains a Palestinian in Ariel settlement who apparently was living there secretly with his Jewish settler girlfriend (a fmr. IDF intelligence officer). Palestinian gunmen fire on an IDF outpost nr. Mevo Dotan settlement nr. Jenin; the IDF returns fire, killing 1 Palestinian, wounding and arresting 2. Palestinians also fire an antitank missile at an IDF patrol nr. Rafah, causing no damage or injuries. In Hebron, 10s of Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba (some reports say Avraham Avino) attack and threaten 10s of Palestinians, vandalize and attempt to break into Palestinian homes, seriously injuring a 12-yr.-old Palestinian girl. Some 50 Jewish settlers fr. Ramat Yishai attack a Palestinian home where a number of international peace activists are visiting; the IDF observes but does not intervene. (IMEMC, PRCS 5/28; YA 5/29; OCHA 6/1; PCHR 6/2)
29 MAY
The IDF fatally shoots a Palestinian with a hearing problem who fails orders to halt nr. Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs; fires on a Palestinian vehicle that passes an IDF post nr. Jenin, killing 1 Palestinian; tightens restrictions on Palestinian movement around Bayt Jala nr. Bethlehem; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Nablus. A Palestinian is killed in Khan Yunis when the rocket-propelled grenade he launches toward a Jewish settlement misfires. Nr. Gaza City, 2 AMB mbrs. are killed, 3 (including at least 1 Hamas mbr.) are injured allegedly when a roadside bomb they are planting explodes prematurely. In Ramallah, an unidentified masked gunman fatally shoots Palestinian journalist Samir Rantisi, an aide to fmr. PA Information M Yasir `Abid Rabbuh; the PA suspects a criminal motive, while the Rantisi family believes he was killed because he was involved in an investigation into certain corrupt PA officials. A Palestinian wounded during an attack on an IDF post nr. Mevo Dotan on 5/28 dies. (IMEMC, PRCS 5/29; XIN, YA 5/29 in WNC 5/30; IMEMC, JAZ, JP, NYT 5/30; OCHA 6/1; PCHR 6/2)
AFP (Agence France-Presse, Paris)
AP (Associated Press [Internet])
AYM (al-Ayyam, Ramallah)
BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation World Service [Internet])
CSM (Christian Science Monitor, Boston)
FT (Financial Times, London)
HA (Ha’Aretz [Internet], Tel Aviv)
IMEMC (International Middle East Media Center, Bayt Sahur)
ISM (International Solidarity Movement [Internet])
JAZ (al-Jazeera Satellite Channel Television, Doha)
JP (Jerusalem Post [Internet], Jerusalem)
JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency [Internet])
MA (Ma’ariv, Tel Aviv)
MENA (Middle East News Agency, Cairo)
MM (Mideast Mirror, London)
NYT (New York Times, New York)
PCHR (Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Gaza)
PR (Palestine Report, Jerusalem)
PRCS (Palestine Red Crescent Society [Internet])
QA (al-Quds al-Arabi, London)
REU (Reuters [Internet])
UNIS (United Nations Information Service, Geneva)
UNOCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Weekly Briefing Notes, Jerusalem)
UPI (United Press International [Internet])
VOI (Voice of Israel, Jerusalem)
VOP (Voice of Palestine, Jericho)
WAFA (Palestine News Agency, Ramallah)
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)

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