Chronology 16 August–15 November 2006
Abstract: 

16 August–15 November 2006

Compiled by Michele K. Esposito

16 AUGUST

 

            As the quarter opens, Israel’s blockade of Gaza enters its 6th mo., allowing no goods or people out (except for very limited medical emergencies) and letting only limited food and fuel supplies and a handful of diplomats and international aid workers in; Palestinians are receiving on average 6–8 hrs./day of electricity and 2–3 hrs./day of water after Israel’s bombing of Gaza’s sole generator on 6/28. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) continues Operation Summer Rains (see Quarterly Update in JPS 141), which began on 6/28 after the capture of an IDF soldier in a Palestinian cross-border raid fr. Gaza on 6/25, making occasional ground incursions into Gaza, maintaining troops at the Dahaniyya airport site outside of Rafah. In Gaza, the IDF launches air strikes, destroying a empty Palestinian home in Gaza City, causing no injuries; sends at least 50 armored vehicles into the outskirts of Bayt Hanun, firing on residential areas, bulldozing large areas of agricultural land, ordering residents of 15 houses to surrender for ID checks, arresting 2 before withdrawing across the border. Also in Gaza, 1 Palestinian is killed, 3 are injured when they apparently prematurely detonate explosives they are handling. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in Azun nr. Qalqilya (firing on stone-throwing youths who confront them, wounding 2), Fahma nr. Jenin (firing on residential areas, damaging homes), Jenin town and refugee camp (r.c.; wounding 1 Palestinian), al-Khadir nr. Bethlehem (firing on residential areas); conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Salfit. In Khan Yunis, a 14-yr.-old Palestinian boy is killed in crossfire btwn. Hamas Executive Support Force (ESF) mbrs., Fatah gunmen. (PCHR 8/17; OCHA 8/23; PCHR 8/24)

            Two days after an Israel-Hizballah cease-fire went into effect ending 34 days of war (Israel dubbed its offensive Operation Change of Direction; see Chronology in JPS 141), the Lebanese government reaches a compromise agreement with Hizballah under which only the army will be allow to “carry weapons” s. of the Litani (allowing Hizballah to store weapons nr. the border with Israel) and the Lebanese cabinet votes to order the army to prepare to deploy across s. Lebanon (a precondition for an Israeli withdrawal). The UN estimates that since 8/14, more than 200,000 Lebanese have returned to their homes and 60,000 have returned fr. Syria, leaving more than 700,000 still internally displaced. The Lebanese government now puts the comprehensive toll at 1,152 Lebanese killed and some 3,700 wounded, with numbers expected to rise as more bodies are recovered. (UN Information Service, WP 8/16; NYT, WP, WT 8/17)

 

17 AUGUST

 

            In Gaza, the IDF fatally shoots a deaf Palestinian working a field nr. the Gaza border e. of al-Bureij r.c.; shells residential areas of Bayt Hanun; conducts air strikes on a workshop in Gaza City, destroying it, damaging 2 nearby homes, wounding 2 bystanders. In the West Bank, the IDF issues military orders confiscating 10s of dunams (d.; 4 d. = 1 acre) of Palestinian land s. of Tulkarm. Late in the evening in the West Bank, the IDF closes all crossings to Jerusalem; raids al-Ubidiyya nr. Bethlehem, fatally shoots wanted Islamic Jihad mbrs. Uqla Shanayta, Khalid Shanayta in an apparent assassination; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Askar r.c., neighboring Nablus, Yatta nr. Hebron. (PCHR 8/24)

            Early in the morning, the IDF begins withdrawing fr. areas of s. Lebanon, giving UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) control. (The IDF does not confirm how many troops are in Lebanon, though at the peak, observers estimated there were as many as 30,000.) Soon after, the Lebanese army begins deploying troops s. of the Litani. In Naqura, 2 Lebanese children are killed when they accidentally detonate unexploded bomblets fr. an Israeli cluster bomb; UN deminers say they have identified 10 locations in s. Lebanon where the IDF used cluster bombs and may pose similar hazards for civilians, saying the 10 sites could be the “tip of the iceberg.” Beirut airport received its 1st commercial flight since it was bombed on 7/13; hopes to be able to resume normal service within a wk. (NYT, WP, WT 8/17; NYT, WP, WT 8/18)

 

18 AUGUST

 

            The IDF fires on several Palestinians grazing sheep nr. the Gaza-Israel border nr. Bayt Lahiya (killing 1 Palestinian), on residential areas of al-Shuka nr. Rafah (wounding 2). In the West Bank, the IDF continues to close all crossings to Jerusalem; patrols in Tamun nr. Jenin; raids, searches an Islamist charity nr. Hebron, confiscating files, computers. In Askar r.c., 2 Palestinians are injured when they accidentally detonate unexploded IDF ordnance. Nr. Jenin, 3 Palestinians are killed when explosives they are handling detonate prematurely. (OCHA 8/23; PCHR 8/24)

 

19 AUGUST

 

            In Gaza, the IDF allows EU monitors to open the Rafah crossing in both directions for a day for the 1st time since 8/11. Some 30 Palestinian journalists protest in Gaza City against the 8/14 kidnapping of 2 Fox News journalists, demanding their immediate release; Islamic Jihad also denounces the unknown kidnappers for having “silenced the voice of freedom and justice.” In the West Bank, the IDF makes a predawn raid on the Ramallah home of Palestinian Authority (PA) Dep. PM and Education M Nasir al-Sha`ir (Hamas affiliated), arresting him without charge; patrols in al-Til nr. Nablus, firing on stone-throwing youths who confront them, wounding 4; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Jericho and nr. Bethlehem, Qalqilya, Ramallah; raids an Islamist charity nr. Hebron, confiscating a computer and some files, vandalizing the offices. At a checkpoint outside Nablus, an armed Palestinian fatally shoots an IDF soldier, is shot dead; the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) claims responsibility. In Gaza, 100s of PA security officers storm banks, burn tires, demanding that banks return fees deducted fr. cash advances received on their unpaid wages. (NYT, WP, WT 8/20; WP 8/21; OCHA 8/23; PCHR 8/24)

            In an action the UN deems the 1st violation of the 8/14 truce, the IDF stages an overnight helicopter raid on Budai nr. Baalbek, sending 2 helicopters to drop 2 Humvees and more than 100 IDF Sayaret Matkal commandos dressed in Lebanese army uniforms to raid the village, under the cover of sonic booms fr. Israeli warplanes, in an apparent attempt to assassinate or capture senior Hizballah leader Shaykh Muhammad Yazbek, a Budai resident, or to free 2 captured IDF soldiers; the unit attempts to run a Hizballah checkpoint outside the village but Hizballah mbrs. engage them, forcing a retreat, killing 1 IDF soldier, wounding 2. (Lebanese security reports 3 Hizballah mbrs. are killed; Hizballah does not confirm.) Israel claims that the attack was a defensive action to prevent arms smuggling fr. Syria to Hizballah, that it will continue to conduct such raids until “proper monitoring bodies are established on the Lebanese borders.” Lebanon calls the action a “flagrant violation” of the truce, threatens to halt deployment of the army to the south. (AP, al-Manar TV, Voice of Lebanon 8/19; NYT, WP, WT 8/20; NYT 8/21; WT 8/23)

 

20 AUGUST

 

            IDF troops and Shin Bet agents abduct Change and Reform Palestinian Council (PC) mbr. and PC secy. Mahmud Ramahi nr. Ramallah. Also in the West Bank, the IDF fires on a taxi attempting to bypass Hawara checkpoint nr. Nablus, killing 1 Palestinian, wounding 2; raids, searches an Islamist charity nr. Hebron, confiscating computers, a fax, some files; conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Tulkarm r.c., nr. Nablus. In Gaza, the IDF shells residential areas nr. Dayr al-Balah, damaging a house and car, wounding 2 Palestinians; fires on Palestinians collecting scrap metal nr. Erez industrial zone, wounding 1; fires on Palestinian farmers working a field nr. al-Bureij r.c., wounding 2; bulldozes 20 d. of Palestinian olive groves in Rafah. A Palestinian is injured in an exchange of gunfire btwn. rival Fatah factions in Gaza’s al-Maghazi r.c. A Palestinian woman dies of injures received fr. IDF fire in al-Shuka on 8/5. (NYT, WP, WT 8/21; OCHA 8/23; PCHR 8/24)

            The UN reports that Lebanon has deployed only about 3,000 troops to s. Lebanon (2,000 along the border with Syria, 1,000 along the coast). Israel continues daily overflights of Lebanon in violation of the 8/14 truce, IDF troops are still in s. Lebanon, and the Israeli air and naval blockade are still in place, but no new clashes btwn. IDF and Hizballah forces in Lebanon are reported. (AP, NYT, WP, WT 8/21)

 

21 AUGUST

 

            The IDF sends troops into Gaza City to arrest a wanted Palestinian, bulldozing 13 d. of agricultural land belonging to his family, exchanging fire with armed Palestinians, wounding 2; conducts an air strike destroying the home of an Islamic Jihad mbr. in Gaza City, allegedly used as a weapons depot, damaging 2 nearby homes, causing no casualties. (The IDF sends the owners a cell phone text message in advance to warn them to evacuate.) The IDF conducts an air strike destroying the home of a senior Hamas mbr. in Rafah, damaging 5 nearby homes and an Islamist charity (the IDF phones the residents to warn them to evacuate); fires shells at, kills 3 Islamic Jihad mbrs. attempting to cross the Gaza border fence nr. al-Qarara. In Khan Yunis, 4 Palestinians, including 2 children, are injured when they accidentally trigger unexploded IDF ordnance. In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units into Azun to arrest several wanted al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AMB) mbrs.; conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus, in Jericho, and nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin. A Jewish settler fr. Haggai injures 2 Palestinian children in a deliberate hit-and-run nr. Hebron. Also in Gaza, 3 Palestinians are wounded in clashes btwn. rival groups of PA security force officers. (WP 8/22; OCHA 8/23; PCHR 8/24; PMG 9/1)

            Israel declares that all reservists have been pulled out of Lebanon, leaving 8,000–10,000 regular troops in place, waiting for the deployment of an expanded UN force. During the day, the IDF shoots, wounds 3 Hizballah mbrs. who approach them in a “threatening manner” (within their rights under the UN-brokered cease-fire; there is no return fire); continues overflights of Lebanon. (AP 8/21; NYT, WP, WT 8/22; NYT 8/23)

 

22 AUGUST

 

            In Gaza, the IDF sends troops, tanks into Khuza`a nr. Khan Yunis allegedly to look for smugglers tunnels, ordering farmers to leave the area, bulldozing 20 d. of agricultural land, opening fire on residential areas and on a camera crew covering the incident, injuring 1 Palestinian; sends troops into Gaza nr. the Qarni crossing, conducting house searches and arrest raids, wounding 5 Hamas mbrs. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron (raiding, temporarily occupying a PA police office as an observation post), nr. Tulkarm. (AP, REU, WP 8/22; OCHA 8/23; PCHR 8/24)

 

23 AUGUST

 

            In Gaza, the IDF begins allowing limited humanitarian and food supplies through the Kerem Shalom, Sufa crossings (closed since 6/25); sends an undercover unit into Abasan in s. Gaza to capture senior Hamas mbr. Yunis Abu Daka, firing on his home, killing his brother Yusuf Abu Daka, then conducts air strikes on the house causing severe damage (Yunis Abu Daka is not captured). In the West Bank, the IDF sends an undercover unit into Jenin, driving a car with Palestinian license plates, that shoots, seriously wounds Islamic Jihad’s West Bank military cmdr. Hussam Jaradat in an assassination attempt; conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron and Qalqilya, in Bethlehem and Nablus, nr. Jenin. A previously unknown group called the Holy Jihad Brigade releases a video tape of 2 Fox News journalists kidnapped in Gaza City on 8/14, demanding that the U.S. release all Muslims fr. its jails within 72 hrs., marking the 1st time that a Palestinian militant group has made demands of a foreign country other than Israel, which is not mentioned in the statement; all major Palestinian groups denounce the kidnapping and deny involvement. PA civil servants launch a series of strikes to press PA PM Ismail Haniyeh’s government to take action to pay back salaries. (Miftah 8/23; NYT, PCHR, WP, WT 8/24; OCHA 8/25; PCHR 8/31; NYT 9/1)

            Without explanation, the IDF shells Shaba` village, inside Lebanon, fr. the disputed Shaba` Farms region, causing no damage or injuries. In s. Lebanon, 3 Lebanese troops are killed when they accidentally detonate an unexploded IDF missile that they are trying to disarm; an IDF soldier is killed, 3 are wounded when they accidentally trigger one of the 1,000s of Israeli landmines left over fr. Israel’s previous occupation. (NYT, WP 8/24)

 

24 AUGUST

 

            Before dawn, the IDF sends troops, tanks, helicopters into s. Gaza, leaving at least 2 Palestinians wounded. Later in the day, the IDF fires on Palestinian farmers working their land nr. the central Gaza border, wounding an 11-yr.-old child. Late in the evening, the IDF conducts air strikes, destroying the home of an AMB mbr. in Jabaliya r.c. (the IDF phones residents in advance to warn them to evacuate), damaging 3 nearby houses. Also in Gaza, Palestinian militants blow a hole in the border wall separating Rafah fr. Egypt to try to allow Palestinians stranded on the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing to leave for Egypt; the crossing has been open for only a few hrs. since Israel forced its closure on 6/25, barring EU monitors access. Islamic Jihad fires a rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus and in Hebron, Jenin (firing on residential areas). (PCHR, WP 8/24; NYT 8/25; PCHR 8/31)

 

25 AUGUST

 

            In Gaza, the IDF opens the Rafah crossing (closed almost continually since 6/25) in both directions; conducts air strikes destroying the home of a Hamas mbr. in Jabaliya r.c. (residents are warned in advance to leave); opens fire on a Palestinian fishing boat nr. the Gaza shore, destroying it but not harming the owner. In the West Bank, the IDF temporarily occupies a Palestinian home in Hebron as an observation post. Jewish settlers fr. Suissa nr. Hebron attack local Palestinians, beating and injuring 2. PA Interior M Said Siyam says initial contacts with the Holy Jihad Brigade have been established to secure the release of 2 Fox News journalists. (NYT 8/26; PCHR 8/31)

 

26 AUGUST

 

            In Gaza, the IDF sends troops fr. Dahaniyya airport, escorted by helicopters and drones, into al-Shuka to conduct arrest raids; fires on Palestinian fishermen on the Gaza beach, injuring 1. In the West Bank, the IDF makes a major raid on Nablus, firing on stone-throwing youths who confront the troops, killing a 16-yr.-old Palestinian, wounding at least 11, demolishing 4 Palestinian homes before leaving without making any arrests. The IDF also patrols in Ras ‘Atiya nr. Qalqilya, conducting random ID checks, firing on residential areas; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Hebron. Jewish settlers fr. Itamar nr. Nablus area fire on Palestinian children in Bayt Furik, seriously wounding a 12-yr.-old boy. Unidentified gunmen shoot, wound a local Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader in Jabaliya r.c. (AP, IMEMC, NYT 8/27; WP 8/28; OCHA 8/30; PCHR 8/31; PMG 9/1)

 

27 AUGUST

 

            Overnight, the IDF launches a major raid into eastern neighborhoods of Gaza City to look for “terrorist infrastructure,” sending in troops, tanks, bulldozers, accompanied by helicopters; making an air strike on a clearly marked Reuters TV truck covering the incursion, saying it was “acting suspiciously,” seriously wounding 2 Reuters journalists; during the day, the IDF fires on residential areas, warns residents to leave, exchanges fire with and conducts air strikes on Palestinian gunmen (killing 3 Palestinian gunmen, 1 Palestinian civilian; wounding 2 Palestinian militants, 10 civilians), occupies houses as observation posts. Also in Gaza, the IDF closes the Rafah crossing, Nahal Oz pipeline. In the West Bank, the IDF fatally shoots a Palestinian guard outside a school in Jenin, claiming he was acting suspiciously; raids, searches the Ramallah home of Hamas-affiliated PC mbr. Mahmud Muslih, arresting him; patrols in Jenin town and r.c., Nablus (firing on residential areas in both cases, causing no injuries); conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron and nr. Bethlehem, Jenin, Qalqilya. Jewish settlers in Hebron break into the Ibrahimi Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs, violating agreements that this day is reserved for Muslims to pray there. After 13 days, the Holy Jihad Brigade releases unharmed 2 Fox News Journalists; the PA says that none of the group’s 8/23 demands were met, the group is not linked to al-Qa`ida but is a group of “young men who carried out the action out of private beliefs.” (AFP, HA 8/27; NYT, WP, WT 8/28; PCHR 8/31; PMG 9/1)

 

28 AUGUST

 

            The IDF continues operations in Gaza City, launching missile strikes killing 4 Palestinian gunmen, wounding 3 civilians. Also in Gaza, the IDF fires on residential areas of al-Shuka fr. Dahaniyya airport, killing 1 Palestinian; later conducts arrest raids, house searches in al-Shuka, also bulldozing agricultural land. In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units into Ramallah in a car with Palestinian license plates, fatally shooting an AMB mbr. wanted for killing an Israeli truck driver nr. Ramallah in 2004 in an apparent assassination; conducts arrest raids nr. Jericho (targeting the AMB, firing on stone throwing Palestinians who confront them, wounding 1). A Palestinian woman dies of injuries received during an IDF attack on Jabaliya r.c. on 7/9. PA civil servants in Ramallah hold a strike and march, hospital workers in Nablus strike to protest the government’s failure to pay salaries. In s. Gaza, Hamas mbrs. manning a checkpoint fatally shoot a Palestinian who refuses to stop. Haniyeh announces that the PA will soon make 1-time payments of $100 to some 50,000 unemployed Palestinians. Nr. Bayt Hanun, 2 Palestinian boys are injured when they accidentally detonate unexploded IDF ordnance. (NYT 8/29; WT 8/30; PCHR 8/31)

 

29 AUGUST

 

            The IDF continues operations in Gaza City, shelling, firing on, and using drones to fire missiles at any group of Palestinians in the eastern part of the city, killing at least 4 Palestinian civilians, wounding at least 12. Also in Gaza, the IDF fatally shoots a Palestinian who approaches the n. Gaza border fence. In the West Bank, the IDF raids Balata r.c. nr. Nablus, fatally shoots 2 AMB mbrs. in what may be an assassination; conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus, and nr. Bethlehem, Jenin, Qalqilya. Of note: The Israeli prison authority transfers jailed Fatah tanzim leader and elected PC mbr. Marwan Barghouti fr. Haradim penitentiary nr. Tel Aviv to Nafha prison in the Negev; Palestinians alleged he was moved to isolate him fr. other Palestinian prisoners. The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem reports a “substantial increase” in the past 2 mos. of IDF soldiers beating, mistreating, humiliating Palestinians during encounters in the West Bank. Some 300 unemployed Palestinians demonstrate, scuffle with police in Gaza City, demanding welfare payments fr. the PA (see 8/28). (NYT, WP, WT 8/30; PCHR 8/31)

 

Chronology Source Abbreviations

AFP                 (Agence France-Presse, Paris)

AP                   (Associated Press [Internet])

BBC                (British Broadcasting Corporation World Service [Internet])

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

IFM                 (Israeli Foreign Ministry, Jerusalem)

IMEMC           (International Middle East Media Center, Bayt Sahur)

NYT                (New York Times, New York)

PCHR              (Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Gaza)

PMG                (Palestinian Monitoring Group [PLO], Ramallah)

REU                 (Reuters [Internet])

OCHA             (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Weekly Briefing Notes, Jerusalem)

WNC               (World News Connection [Internet], Washington)

WP                  (Washington Post, Washington)

WT                  (Washington Times, Washington)

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