5.10.08 Israeli Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert meets with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner in
Jerusalem. Olmert expressed his frustration that Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) had not accepted his proposal
for an agreement on a declaration of principles. Olmert's plan
proposes a comprehensive solution on borders and refugees and
postpones a decision on Jerusalem.
5.10.08 Five Palestinian farmers sue
the state of Israel for not evacuating the illegal West Bank
outpost of Migron, which is built on land they own. The plaintiffs
sought compensation for damage caused to their livelihoods by the
outpost, which the Israeli government committed to evacuating over
a year ago. The Israeli human rights group Yesh Din filed the
lawsuit at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on behalf of the
7.10.08 Settler leaders urge Israeli
Defense Minister Ehud Barak not to transfer the security control
over the West Bank city of Hebron to the Palestinian Authority
(PA). The leaders, from Hebron and the nearby settlements of Kiryat
Arba and Gush Etzion, made the plea in a letter in the wake of
recent reports about the potential transfer of security
8.10.08 Members of the organization
Physicians for Human Rights are prevented from entering the Gaza
Strip, although their entry had been approved by the Israeli
authorities days before. The members were supposed to offer,
medical services that are unavailable in the besieged territory.
$50,000 worth of medical equipment was also turned away.
9.10.08 Violence breaks out in Acre
after an Arab man is attacked by Jewish residents when he drove his
car into a Jewish neighborhood a few hours into Yom Kippur, the
holiest day of the Jewish calendar, when Jews in Israel generally
refrain from driving. The incident escalated into clashes that
continued for days between Jewish and Arab residents, who threw
stones and torched houses.
16.10.08 The Saudi newspaper Okaz
quotes a Palestinian source as saying that Israel has relayed to
Hamas its readiness to release all the Palestinian prisoners the
militant group demands in return for abducted Israeli soldier Gilad
Shalit. According to the source, top Israeli negotiator and senior
Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad has informed Egypt of Israel's
intention to hand over the prisoners. Israel Radio reported that
Gilad denied the report, calling it completely untrue.
17.10.08 The Kuwaiti newspaper
Al-Jarida reports that U.S. President George W. Bush made an offer
to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the effect that Israel would
pull out of the Golan Heights if Syria severs its ties with Iran.
The offer was made in a secret letter delivered by President Abbas
during his recent visit to Damascus. Israeli sources denied any
knowledge of a U.S. proposal to Syria.
19.10.08 Israeli DM Barak says that
Israeli leaders have been discussing pursuing the Arab Peace
Initiative, a comprehensive initiative promoted by Arab countries
across the Middle East. The Arab Peace Initiative was first
proposed in 2002 and was reaffirmed in 2007. It offers pan-Arab
recognition of Israel in exchange for Israel's withdrawal from Arab
lands occupied in 1967.
19.10.08 Turki al-Faisal, the former
Saudi intelligence director and a member of the royal family,
presents a proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peace at a conference
organized by the Oxford Research Group. The conference, attended by
Arab, Palestinian and Israeli political figures, sought to promote
the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002. Al-Faisal expressed his
kingdom's support for a comprehensive peace and the rights of the
Palestinian people. He also called on Israel to stop targeted
assassinations and arrests, the construction of the separation wall
and the expansion of Jewish settlements and separate settlers-only
roads. The Palestinians, he said, must stop all suicide bombings
and rocket fire aimed at Israel.
26.10.08 Settlers riot near the West
Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, desecrating a Muslim graveyard,
after Israeli security forces evacuated a nearby illegal outpost.
The settlers desecrated some of the graves and poured paint over
28.10.08 A Jewish senior adviser to
Moroccan King Mohammed VI, André Azoulay, calls on Israel to
adopt the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative and to advance the peace
process with the Palestinians. He was speaking at the 10th
anniversary conference of the Peres Center for Peace in Tel
30.10.08 Israel closes its border
crossings with Gaza after Palestinian militants fired a Qassam
rocket into the western Negev.
4.11.08 Israeli soldiers kill a
Hamas gunman and wound two others in the first armed clash in the
Gaza Strip since a ceasefire was declared in the territory in June.
Hamas considered the attack a severe violation of the
5.11.08 Palestinians in the Gaza
Strip fire 35 Qassam rockets at the western Negev a day after an
Israel Air Force strike in southern Gaza killed at least six
Palestinians and wounded others. None of the rockets caused any
damage or injuries.
5.11.08 The Palestinian economy has
"incredible potential" that could be unleashed if Israel eases
restrictions on Palestinians' freedom of movement, says David
Craig, head of the World Bank in the West Bank and Gaza a day after
a high-level World Bank delegation inaugurated a sewage storage
facility. Craig said the Palestinian economy had contracted 30%
8.11.08 Ismail Haniyyeh, the Hamas
leader in Gaza, says his government is willing to accept a
Palestinian state within the 1967 borders but that Israel rejected
his initiative. Haniyyeh spoke at a meeting with 11 European
parliamentarians who sailed from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip to
protest Israel's naval blockade of Gaza. The protest boat Dignity
anchored at Gaza port, carrying nine MPs from Britain and Ireland,
one from Switzerland and one from Italy.
9.11.08 Israel and the PA present
the Quartet on the Middle East, at Sharm el-Sheikh, with several
agreements on the way negotiations on the conflict's core issues
will proceed next year. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said
she was convinced that she had not repeated the mistakes of Camp
David in 2000. Livni and Palestinian President Abbas stressed "the
need for continuous, uninterrupted, direct bilateral
11.11.08 Hizbullah Secretary-General
Hassan Nasrallah accuses Israel of operating multiple spy networks
in Lebanon, vowing that "the Israeli hand that attacks Lebanon will
be cut off."
11.11.08 Israel renews fuel
deliveries to the Gaza Strip, ending a week-long suspension of
supplies that led to blackouts in the Strip. Israel had blocked
shipments of European Union-funded fuel for a week. About half of
Gaza's 1.5 million residents lost power when their sole power plant
shut down due to lack of fuel.
11.11.08 United Nations
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hosts a dinner for leaders attending
a two-day UN conference to promote a global dialogue about
religions, cultures and common values. Arab leaders, including King
Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, attended the same dinner, along with
12.11.08 Israeli soldiers shoot and
kill four members of Hamas on the Israel-Gaza border near Khan
Younis. In retaliation, five shells and one rocket were fired at
15.11.08 Palestinian President Abbas
says Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip is a "war crime," as the
UN closed its food aid distribution centers in Gaza after the
blockade depleted its food reserves.
16.11.08 According to Haaretz,
Israeli DM Barak had authorized the construction of at least 400
new housing units and lots in the West Bank, including 32 lots and
a commercial center in the settlements of Beitar Illit, 48 housing
units and 19 lots in Ariel, and 40 housing units and a commercial
center in Efrat. Palestinian President Abbas' spokesman Nabil Abu
Rudeineh said, "Ehud Barak's decision effectively destroys the
16.11.08 An Israel Air Force strike
kills four Palestinians in northern Gaza, and two Qassam rockets
slam into the western Negev as a five-month-old ceasefire continued
16.11.08 Israel's policies in the
Gaza Strip are strengthening the stance of extremists there, the
director of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) John Ging tells
Haaretz. By not easing restrictions at crossings into the Strip
during the ceasefire, Israel bolstered extremists' claims that the
closures represent a political, rather than security-related,
16.11.08 Israeli FM Livni tells her
visiting British counterpart, David Miliband, that the United
Kingdom was taking an "exaggerated" stance in its initiative to
distinctly label produce imported from the West Bank. Miliband
arrived for a two-day visit aimed at advancing Israeli-Palestinian
17.11.08 In an interview with
Haaretz, Palestinian PM and Finance Minister Salam Fayyad warns
that Israel's refusal to cease construction in the settlements
immediately would spell the end of the Palestinian Liberation
Organization's negotiations with Israeli PM Olmert and FM Livni. He
said he was amazed that instead of working toward halting the
construction, Livni protested to British FM Miliband about London's
decision to tighten restrictions on importing goods produced in the
18.11.08 The UN High Commissioner
for Human Rights in Geneva, Navi Pillay, calls for an immediate end
to Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, which breaches
international and humanitarian law. Pillay urged Israel to allow
the flow of aid, including food, medicines and fuel, to resume, and
to restore electricity and water services in Gaza. She also called
on Israel to end its air strikes and incursions into Gaza, and on
the Palestinians to stop firing rockets into Israel.
19.11.08 Israeli FM Livni announces
that Israel has made a final decision to boycott the UN "Durban II"
conference on human rights in spring 2009, fearing it would be used
once again as a forum for anti-Israeli sentiment. The World
Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and
Related Intolerance, to be held in Geneva in April, is a follow-up
to a 2001 summit in Durban, South Africa, on the same issues.
19.11.08 Violent clashes erupt
between settler activists and Israeli forces at a disputed house in
Hebron slated for evacuation. The Israeli High Court had ordered
the settlers to vacate the house after they were found to have
forged ownership documents. The deadline the settlers had been
given had passed unheeded.
19.11.08 Israeli President Shimon
Peres tells members of the British Parliament that Israel would
have difficulty dismantling West Bank settlements without causing a
civil war in Israel. On the second day of his visit to Britain,
Peres became the first Israeli leader to address members of both
houses of Parliament in the House of Lords' Robing room.
24.11.08 U.S. President Bush and
Israeli PM Olmert bid each other farewell at the White House,
expressing confidence in an eventual Middle East peace deal that
would not materialize on either of their watches.
24.11.08 UN General Assembly
President Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann, of Nicaragua, likens Israeli
policies toward the Palestinians to "the apartheid of an earlier
era." "We must not be afraid to call something what it is," said
Brockmann, speaking at the annual debate marking the International
Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
26.11.08 According to Israel Radio,
some 40 teenage settlers go on a rampage in a Palestinian
neighborhood in Hebron. The teens punctured the tires of
Palestinian cars and Israeli police patrol jeeps near the so-called
"House of Contention," a building the High Court had ordered
settlers to vacate. They also hurled rocks at Palestinian houses
and sprayed stars of David on the walls.
3.12.08 At a meeting of the UN
Security Council, Libya accuses Israel of piracy for preventing a
Libyan ship from delivering humanitarian supplies to the Gaza
Strip. The Libyan boat was turned back by an Israeli naval blockade
on December 1. The boat was carrying 3,000 tons of food, medicine
and other aid to the Gaza Strip.
4.12.08 The daily Al-Hayat reports
that Syria refuses to renew indirect negotiations with Israel until
the latter responds to queries regarding plans for the disputed
Golan Heights. According to the report, Syria has given Turkish
mediators its responses to Israel's security questions but has
asked that the document not be transferred until Jerusalem delivers
its responses to Damascus' own queries.
14.12.08 Khaled Mash'al, the
Damascus-based head of Hamas' political bureau, says that Hamas
does not plan to extend its ceasefire with Israel beyond December
19, which is when it is due to expire.
14.12.08 Israel warns Hamas that any
rocket fire from the Gaza Strip will be met with a military
response, as both sides ratchet up the rhetoric ahead of the
expiration of a ceasefire along the Gaza frontier.
15.12.08 The population growth among
West Bank settlers during the past 12 years is three times higher
than that of the rest of Israel, according to a report by the Ariel
University Center of Samaria, located in the settlement of Ariel in
the northern West Bank. The report shows that the Jewish population
in the West Bank more than doubled during that time and that the
settler population surged from 130,000 in 2005 to 270,000 by the
end of 2007.
18.12.08 The British government is
steps up measures against settlements in the West Bank in an effort
to stop their further expansion. Prime Minister Gordon Brown
instructed the Foreign Office to issue warnings to British citizens
against the purchase of houses and real estate in the settlements.
Other measures recently imposed by London include tying the upgrade
of relations between the European Union and Israel to the cessation
of construction in the West Bank settlements and labeling goods
produced in West Bank settlements.
20.12.08 Hamas officially announces
that it would not be extending the ceasefire, which had expired on
December 19, and resumes its shelling of the western Negev. Hamas
cited Israel's continued blockade of the Gaza Strip as the primary
reason, saying that Israel had not respected the terms of the
20.12.08 In an interview with the
Associated Press, Palestinian PM Fayyad says, "The world needs to
do more to hold Israel accountable, particularly on settlement
construction, if peace efforts are to have a chance."
22.12.08 The Israeli human rights
organization B'Tselem says that it found records showing that 58%
of a major Israeli settlement sits on private Palestinian land.
B'Tselem said that the Ofra settlement, located northeast of
Jerusalem, must be treated by the government as an unauthorized
settlement outpost and dismantled. Ofra was established in 1975 and
has about 3,000 residents.
24.12.08 Senior U.S. State
Department officials send concerned messages to their Israeli
counterparts asking Israel to remain committed to Lebanese
sovereignty at all costs, stating, "Israel must not sacrifice
Lebanon for the sake of peace with Syria." A senior Foreign
Ministry official said the United States even asked Israel for
"guarantees" on the matter.
24.12.08 The Israeli security
cabinet approves military action in response to the continued
rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, which would be "significant and
painful," according to a government source in Jerusalem. The
cabinet ministers authorized PM Olmert, DM Barak and FM Livni to
approve the timing of the attack.
25.12.08 Israeli FM Livni meets
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo. Livni told Mubarak that
Israel had decided to end its restraint, to strike at Hamas and not
to agree to a ceasefire except on its own terms.
27.12.08 Israel starts its military
attacks in the Gaza Strip with an aerial bombardment. It destroyed
most of the Gaza security offices, including police stations which
are located in civilian population centers, resulting in the deaths
of hundred of children and civilians. Over 200 Palestinians died
and more than 350 were injured. The ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip
has left facilities incapable of meeting the needs of the hundreds
who have been injured.
28.12.08 Israel's cabinet approves
the call-up of thousands of reservists as the military deployed
tanks close to the border with Gaza while pressing on with air
strikes, suggesting a major ground invasion was being
29.12.08 Israel continues its
attacks on Gaza and bombs the Islamic University and a government
compound in Gaza City. Other targets included a guest palace used
by the Hamas government and the house next to Hamas leader Ismail
Haniyyeh's home in a refugee camp adjacent to Gaza City. Israeli
forces also bombed the Interior Ministry.
29.12.08 Two Israelis are killed as
rockets and mortar shells are fired from Gaza into Ashdod, as
Israel concluded its third day of attacks on Gaza.
30.12.08 Israeli missiles flatten
five ministerial buildings, killing 10 Palestinians. Another attack
targeted a house in the Jabaliya refugee camp, killing seven
30.12.08 An Israel Navy ship shoots
at a small boat carrying 16 international activists and medical
aid. Members of the "Free Gaza Movement," who sailed from Cyprus,
told Reuters that their boat was rammed and shot at by an Israeli
naval vessel in international waters 70-80 miles off Gaza. Israel
has declared the coastal territory a closed military zone.
30.12.08 Medical facilities in Gaza
has been forced to deal with an unprecedented number of wounded,
many of them in serious condition, and a growing lack of medical
equipment and medicine, insufficient doctors and the inability to
carry out certain procedures. According to Physicians for Human
Rights, operations are being performed without anesthesia, and
surgical gloves, gauze, sterile equipment and oxygen have run out.
Needles, stretchers and hospital beds are in short supply;
therefore, patients who have been hospitalized long-term, including
cancer and heart disease patients, are being sent home. Nearly half
of the ambulances in Gaza are inoperable, either due to the aerial
bombardment or due to mechanical problems that cannot be repaired
given the lack of spare parts.
31.12.08 The UN Security Council,
meeting for emergency consultations, rejects an Arab request for a
legally binding resolution that would condemn Israel and force it
to halt its attacks. Arab countries pushed for a resolution to
demand an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
31.12.08 Israel rejects a French
proposal for a 48-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip in order to
allow the flow of humanitarian aid. The decision was reached by the
members of the "kitchen cabinet," which includes PM Olmert, DM
Barak and FM Livni. Israel described the French proposal as
1.1.09 At least 30 Palestinians,
including two sisters aged five and 12, are killed in Israeli
attacks on Gaza. Palestinians fire 40 rockets into southern
6.1.09 The Israeli forces bomb
Fakhura, a United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)
elementary school for girls near the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza.
At least 45 people were killed and 55 wounded. Fakhura, like other
UNRWA schools, was serving as a refuge for 700 people who had been
forced to flee their homes.
6.1.09 Speaking to the UN Security
Council, Palestinian President Abbas expresses his "appreciation,
indeed support" for the ceasefire plan between Israel and Hamas in
Gaza, set out by Egyptian President Mubarak and French President
Nicolas Sarkozy. Egypt proposed an immediate truce to be followed
by talks on long-term border arrangements and an end to the
blockade of Gaza.
6.1.09 Three Israeli soldiers from
the Golani Brigade are killed and 20 others wounded when an errant
IDF tank shell hit a building in which they were operating in
6.1.09 Venezuela expels Israel's
ambassador in Caracas to protest the operation in Gaza. The move
came after President Hugo Chavez called the attacks a
7.1.09 Red Cross relief workers find
four small children sitting next to their dead mother and other
corpses in a house in Gaza City that had been bombed by Israeli
forces. "They were too weak to stand up on their own. One man was
also found alive, too weak to stand up. In all, there were at least
12 corpses lying on mattresses," a Red Cross statement read. The
Red Cross team that found the survivors and bodies had been denied
access to evacuate them. But even after ambulances made it past the
Israeli post, they could not enter the neighborhood because of
"large earth walls erected by the Israeli army." The children and
the wounded had to be taken to the ambulances on a donkey cart. The
Red Cross accused Israel of delaying ambulance access to the Gaza
Strip and demanded it grant safe access for their ambulances to
return to evacuate more wounded without being fired on by Israeli
8.1.09 UNRWA announces it will cease
activities in the Gaza Strip due to the death of an UNRWA staffer
in an Israeli shelling during a humanitarian hiatus to allow Gaza
residents to acquire supplies. A Palestinian working for UNRWA was
killed by an Israeli tank shell while driving a well-marked aid
truck at the Erez border crossing.
9.1.09 Eight Israeli human rights
groups present a petition to the High Court of Justice to order the
Israeli forces to vouch for the safety of medical teams in Gaza and
allow injured people to be evacuated to medical facilities.
According to Physicians for Human Rights, one of the eight
petitioners, since the military operation was launched in Gaza on
December 27, Israeli forces have killed six members of medical
teams operating there. The organization said that medical teams
called to evacuate wounded Palestinians from collapsed buildings
are prevented from tending to the injured because Israeli soldiers
fire directly at them, even in cases in which Israeli forces are
notified in advance of the medical teams' arrival.
9.1.09 The UN Security Council votes
on a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, but the
U.S. unexpectedly abstained, saying talks on a truce were still
underway through Egyptian mediation.
11.1.09 Israeli soldiers advance
into Gaza City, killing at least 10 Palestinians. On the 16th day
of the military operation in Gaza, Israeli air strikes targeted a
car, killing two Palestinians. The aircraft attacked over 60
targets throughout the Gaza Strip, including a mosque in Rafah.
More than 15 houses were set on fire.
11.1.09 Israeli forces begin
deploying reservist troops to the Gaza Strip for the first time
since Israel began its military operation in Gaza. Palestinian
medical officials said 60 Palestinians died, including 17 who had
succumbed to their wounds from previous days.
11.1.09 U.S. President-elect Barack
Obama says in remarks broadcast on an ABC news show that he would
begin the search for Middle East peace immediately after being
sworn in as president, adding that the Gaza conflict only
reinforced his determination to become involved early in his
12.1.09 Seven hundred protesters
against the Israeli military operation in Gaza, mostly Israeli
Arabs or Palestinians of East Jerusalem, have been arrested since
the operation began, and dozens have been indicted.
12.1.09 Hamas rejects the Egyptian
proposal for a long-term truce between the Gaza Strip and Israel,
the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat reports. A senior Hamas
source said, "There are still many details that need to be
discussed before we can say that we have reached an agreement of
13.1.09 Israeli forces bomb more
than 50 targets across the Gaza Strip. Palestinian officials said
at least 21 Palestinians were killed.
13.1.09 Human rights group Human
Rights Watch (HRW) charges Israel with illegal use of white
phosphorous bombs in urban areas, after HRW military analyst Mark
Garlasco determined, based on his observations, that Israel is
using the material. International law allows such weapons to be
used in battlefields as a smokescreen, but the material is
considered dangerous in residential areas due to the severe burns
it inflicts as well as its incendiary quality.
14.1.09 UN Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon arrives in Cairo at the start of a Middle East trip that
aims to bring an end to the fighting in Gaza. His trip also took
him to Jordan, Israel and Syria.
14.1.09 Since the beginning of the
operation in Gaza, 900 Palestinians have been killed. Ten Israeli
soldiers and three Israeli civilians have also been killed.
14.1.09 The Palestinian Center for
Human Rights in the Gaza Strip says that more than 670 civilians
were among the dead. The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said
that 1,010 Palestinians had been killed and 4,700 wounded by
Israeli forces in 18 days of fighting. The head of the UN
children's agency UNICEF said that more than 300 children had been
15.1.09 Thousands of Gaza City
residents flee their homes in pajamas, some wheeling elderly
parents in wheelchairs, as Israeli ground troops made their deepest
foray into a crowded residential area. Israeli troops, backed by
helicopter gunships, tanks and heavy guns, thrust farther into the
city than ever before.
18.1.09 The Palestinian news agency
Ma'an reports that 95 bodies have been found amid the rubble of the
battle-torn northern Gaza Strip, including 20 believed to be those
of gunmen killed in combat. Palestinian medical crews reported that
most of the bodies were found in pieces and had been dead for
several days, many of them women and children who had stayed in
their homes during the clashes.
18.1.09 Israeli soldiers kill a
Palestinian in the Gaza Strip, the first fatality on either side
since Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire.
18.1.09 European and Arab leaders
hold a summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, jointly chaired by French
President Sarkozy and Egyptian President Mubarak, to consolidate a
ceasefire between Hamas and Israel for an end to weapons smuggling
into Gaza and for the opening of the territory to desperately
needed humanitarian aid.
19.1.09 The Palestinian death toll
reaches 1,300, with more than 5,450 wounded. Thirteen Israelis have
been killed, three civilians and ten soldiers.
20.1.09 In statements provided to
the B'Tselem human rights organization and Haaretz by telephone,
Gaza residents claim that some Palestinians killed were waving
white flags at the time they were shot. Four of them were members
of the Al-Najjar family of Khuza'a village, east of Khan
21.1.09 Anonymous Israeli human
rights activists set up an internet site detailing alleged war
crimes committed by senior government officials and Israeli
officers. The site, www.wanted.org.il, includes "arrest orders,"
complete with pictures and personal details for DM Barak, PM
Olmert, FM Livni, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, Public
Security Minister Avi Dichter, National Infrastructure Minister
Benjamin Ben-Eliezer and others.
21.1.09 Israel says it has withdrawn
all of its soldiers from Gaza, three and a half weeks after
launching its operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The timing
of the pullout reflected Israeli hopes to defuse the crises in Gaza
before U.S. President Obama entered the White House.
21.1.09 UN organizations will
investigate complaints that Israel used depleted uranium
projectiles in the fighting in Gaza, causing health and
25.1.09 Turkish PM RecepTayyip
Erdogan says that Ankara will only resume mediating Israel-Syria
negotiations when Israel shows a real desire for peace, Al-Hayat
26.1.09 In his first interview with
Arab television since becoming president, U.S. President Obama
tells al-Arabiya that Israel and the Palestinians should resume
peace negotiations and praises Saudi King Abdullah for putting
forward an Arab plan for peace in the Middle East.
26.1.09 Former U.S. President Jimmy
Carter says that Israel will face a "catastrophe" unless it revives
the Middle East peace process and establishes an independent
Palestinian state. In an interview with the Associated Press, he
said Arabs will outnumber Jews in the Holy Land in the foreseeable
27.1.09 Israel's Foreign Ministry
orders the Venezuelan ambassador to leave the country, responding
to Venezuela's January 6 declaration that it was expelling Israeli
diplomats in protest of Israel's military operation in the Gaza
28.1.09 A Peace Now report states
that settlements and outposts in the West Bank expanded more
quickly in 2008 than in the previous year. According to the group,
1,257 new structures were built in settlements during 2008,
compared with 800 in 2007, an increase of 57%.
29.1.09 Belgium agrees to ban the
export to Israel of weapons that "strengthen it militarily," a
Belgian minister said. The Belgian daily De Morgen quoted Minister
Patricia Ceysens from the Flemish regional government as saying:
"There's a consensus [among ministers] not to approve exports that
would strengthen Israel's military capacity."
29.1.09 Turkish PM Erdogan stalks
off the stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland,
after sparring with Israeli President Shimon Peres over the
fighting in Gaza. The incident occurred hours after a Spanish
investigative judge decided to open a criminal investigation into
seven Israeli officers and government officials who were involved
in the assassination of Hamas leader Salah Shehadeh in July 2002.
In addition to Shehadeh, the operation killed 14 civilians. In
Davos, Peres and Erdogan engaged in a debate about the Gaza
operation, during which both men raised their voices. "You are
killing people," Erdogan told Peres.
1.2.09 Following lengthy legal
discussions, Israel pays approximately £1.5 million in damages
to the family of British cameraman James Miller, who was killed in
Rafah in May 2003.
1.2.09 At least 17 Palestinian UNRWA
schoolgirls are wounded when their classroom collapsed because of
Israeli excavations beneath Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem. One
of the classrooms inside UNRWA's Silwan Elementary School for Girls
had collapsed because of a tunnel dig under the school.
4.2.09 Israeli DM Barak agrees to
approve the establishment of a new settlement in the Binyamin
region in return for settlers' agreement to evacuate the illegal
outpost of Migron. The Migron settlers will move into the new
250-house settlement after leaving the illegal one they built on
private Palestinian land. There are 45 families living in Migron,
with only two living in permanent housing and the rest in
3.2.09 Israel must lift its ban on
materials to rebuild Gaza after its offensive in a territory
resembling "hell" where children have to sleep outside shattered
homes, the European Union's Middle East envoy says in Jerusalem.
"What encouragement to terrorism would it be to rebuild the sewage
system, have clean water, have kids going to school, have clinics
that work, have mothers delivering their babies in safe
conditions?" Marc Otte asked following Operation Cast Lead -
Israel's devastating 22-day assault on the Gaza Strip.
4.2.09 According to Army Radio,
Israeli Housing and Construction Minister Ze'ev Boim says that
Israel must assassinate Hamas PM Ismail Haniyyeh in order to stop
the continuation of rocket fire.
4.2.09 An Israeli gunboat intercepts
a Lebanese ship carrying medical aid and other supplies bound for
Gaza, the organizer of the Lebanese delivery, Maan Bashour, says.
"The Brotherhood Ship was fired on by an Israeli military boat 32
kilometers off the coast of Gaza and they were asked to divert
course," said Bashour, and added that the ship remains in the water
near the coast of Gaza. The aid ship was loaded with 50 tons of
medical supplies, food, clothing and toys.
5.2.09 According to figures
appearing in B'Tselem's annual report, of the 548 Palestinians
Israel is detaining without charge or trial, 42 have been held for
over two years. Twenty-three have been administratively detained
for over two and a half years, including three who have been
detained between three and four and a half years, and two over four
and a half consecutive years. Of these administrative detainees,
372 have been held for at least two consecutive six-month
9.2.09 A deal for the release of
abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit hinges on a dispute between
Israel and Hamas over four Palestinian prisoners whom Israel
refuses to free Al-Quds al-Arabi and Al-Sharq Al-Awsat report. The
papers named the four as Abdullah Barghouthi, Ibrahim Hamas and
Abbas el-Said, all Hamas men; and Ahmad Sa'adat, the leader of the
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
9.2.09 Children in the Gaza Strip
continue to suffer and feel insecure despite a ceasefire that has
mostly ended three weeks of intense fighting between Israel and
Hamas, the UN special envoy for children and armed conflict
Radihika Coomaraswamy said. She said grave violations of child
rights had been committed during the fighting that began on
December 27; violations included killing and maiming and denial of
humanitarian access. Fifty-six percent of Gazans are children under
11.2.09 An inconclusive election
sends Israel into political limbo. With 99% of the votes counted,
Livni's centrist Kadima was in first place with 28 of the Knesset's
120 seats, with Netanyahu's right-wing Likud following closely
behind with 27 seats. It was not certain that Livni would be able
to muster the 61-seat coalition needed to form a government. The
elections were called when she failed to achieve this goal
following the resignation of PM Olmert late last year.
11.2.09 Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad
signs an agreement with the European Commission's representative in
Jerusalem, Christian Berger, in which the latter would provide
€168 million in direct support to the PA budget. The signing
ceremony was held in Ramallah.
15.2.09 South Korea's military
decides to buy Israel's Oren Yarok (Green Pine) radar warning
system, in a deal worth $215 million, according to a report in the
Korea Times. Oren Yarok is used as Israel's main warning
16.2.09 Palestinian President Abbas
strongly criticizes an Israeli decision to seize more Palestinian
land in the West Bank for settlement expansion. He said that
"unless settlements are brought to a halt, then talks [with Israel]
will be meaningless and useless." As reported in Haaretz, Israel
plans to seize 1.7 km2 of Palestinian land near Bethlehem to expand
the settlement of Efrat.
16.2.09 In a statement, the European
Commission in Jerusalem says that a total of 78,046 Palestinian
public service providers and pensioners will receive an overall
contribution of over €25.5 million towards the payment of
their monthly salaries and pensions, through PEGASE, the European
mechanism to provide support to the Palestinians.
17.2.09 Daniel C. Kurtzer, the
former U.S. ambassador to Israel and Egypt, says that a government
led by Netanyahu that also included the Yisrael Beiteinu chairman,
Avigdor Lieberman, would be a "bad combination for American
17.2.09 British MP Richard Burden
says that Israel committed war crimes against Palestinians in the
Gaza Strip during the 22-day war. "If Israel wants stop tunnels
smuggling, it has to open all Gaza crossings and to adopt all peace
accords concerning Gaza crossings," he said. Burden, who came with
a British parliamentarian delegation to Gaza, appealed to Israel to
halt its ongoing settlement activities across the West Bank in
order to push the peace process forward.
18.2.09 Israel warplanes bomb a
Hamas post in Khan Yunis in Gaza and hit seven smuggling tunnels on
the border with Egypt.
19.2.09 U.S. Senator John Kerry of
Massachusetts and Congressmen Brian Baird of Washington and Keith
Ellison of Minnesota, all Democrats, travel to the Gaza Strip, the
first congressional delegation to enter the area since Hamas took
power two years ago. They came to view first-hand the destruction
from recent Israeli air and ground attacks and to meet with
international and local relief agencies.
23.2.09 In the report "Fueling
Conflict: Foreign Arms supplies to Israel/Gaza," Amnesty
International urges a freeze on arms sales to Israel. According to
the report, more than 20 countries sold Israel weapons and
munitions whose use during the military operation in the Gaza Strip
could constitute war crimes and might serious infractions of
international law. The group's representative in Gaza also found
extensive evidence of the use of U.S.-made phosphorus bombs against
civilian targets and densely populated areas. Since 2001, the U.S.
has been Israel's main supplier of conventional weapons, the report
23.2.09 Israeli PM Olmert suspends
senior defense official Amos Gilad from his role as negotiations
emissary to Egypt, following an interview Gilad gave to the Israeli
daily Maariv in which he criticized the prime minister. Gilad was
quoted as saying that Olmert's behavior and decision to make Gilad
Shalit's release a precondition to a ceasefire is an insult to
Egypt, and therefore undermines national security.
24.2.09 In his first address to
Congress, U.S. President Obama says, "To seek progress towards a
secure and lasting peace between Israel and her neighbors, we have
appointed an envoy to sustain our effort," referring to Special
Envoy George Mitchell.
25.2.09 U.S. Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton relays messages to Israel expressing anger at
obstacles Israel is placing to the delivery of humanitarian aid to
the Gaza Strip.
26.2.09 A group of former
international peace negotiators urge the world and Israel to
abandon the policy of isolating Hamas and engage with the Islamic
group. "The policy of isolating Hamas cannot bring about stability.
As former negotiators, we believe it is of vital importance to
abandon the failed policy of isolation and to involve Hamas in the
political process," the group said in a letter published in the
British newspaper The Times. Among the letter's signatories were
Gareth Evans, former Australian foreign minister; Alvaro de Soto,
former UN special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process;
John Hume, former leader of the Social Democratic Liberal Party of
Northern Ireland; and Shlomo Ben-Ami, former Israeli foreign
28.2.09 A committee of jurists hired
by the Arab League complete a six-day tour of the Gaza Strip. The
fact-finding mission was meant to investigate war crimes as well as
crimes against humanity perpetrated by Israel against Hamas in the