DevMode
5.4.06 The Israeli Information Center for Human Right (B'Tselem) urges IDF Chief-of-Staff Dan Halutz and judge advocate general Avihai Mandelblit to make public the open fire regulations that have been given to soldiers in the Palestinian occupied territories. The request follows publication of an IDF report that verifies human-rights organizations' repeated claims that the regulations are unclear and can be understood in different ways. B'Tselem contends that the secrecy enables the senior IDF staff to avoid responsibility for the killing of innocent persons and to divert criticism of the soldiers in the field. Since the beginning of the intifada, the IDF has related to the open-fire regulations applying in the occupied territories as "confidential information," which are provided to soldiers verbally, and not in writing, as was previously the case.

9.4.06 Israel announces its decision to close the joint installation used as a security liaison office between Israel and the Palestinians in Jericho. Israeli officers informed Palestinian security liaison officers that they must evacuate their joint offices, located adjacent to the Vered Yericho settlement.

9.4.06 At a special security cabinet session convened in the wake of the swearing-in of the Hamas government, led by Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyyeh, it was decided that Israel would not hold any contacts with the PNA, and would act to undermine Hamas' authority as the reigning force in the PNA.

9.4.06 Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahhar urges European Union foreign ministers to continue to provide aid to the Palestinian people. Foreign ministers of the 25-nation EU are to meet in Luxembourg tomorrow to discuss aid to the PNA following Hamas' election victory in January.

10.4.06 Ambassadors to the United Nations from the Arab states convene at the UN's New York headquarters to discuss strategy concerning the escalation of Israeli military strikes against Palestinian targets. They decided to urge the UN Security Council to take unspecified action against Israel. "The international community cannot continue to stand idly by while defenseless women, children and men continue to be killed, wounded and maimed," Palestinian UN Observer Riyad Mansour said.

10.4.06 A U.K. coroner says that he would recommend that the British attorney general seek legal action over the deaths of two pro-Palestinian activists killed by Israeli forces fire in 2003. The statements came after a British inquest jury ruled that Tom Hurndall was unlawfully killed by an IDF soldier in the Gaza Strip. It was the second time in two weeks that a British coroner's court had ruled that a U.K. citizen shot by Israeli soldiers in 2003 was unlawfully killed. The Guardian reported that coroner Andrew Reid would write to the attorney general suggesting he seek war crimes charges against five IDF officers through Geneva Conventions Act regulations on when soldiers can and cannot shoot.

10.4.06 A 12-year-old Palestinian girl is killed by Israeli shelling in the Gaza Strip. Thirteen other members of her family, including children and teenagers were injured. The IDF claimed the area in which the house is located had served a Qassam launching cell.

12.4.06 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas flies to Casablanca on his first official trip to Morocco to hold talks with King Mohammad and then meet Prime Minister Driss Jettou and other top government leaders in Rabat during his three-day official visit to the North African Arab country to ease pressures on the cash-strapped PA. The trip followed Moroccan newspapers' reports that Casablanca will host secret talks between senior Israeli and Palestinian officials in May in a bid to revive the peace process, which stalled after the intifada broke out in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 2000.

17.4.06 A suicide bomber kills nine and wounds 60 in Tel Aviv. Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

19.4.06 Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy tells French radio that France opposed cutting off humanitarian aid to the Palestinian Territories but urged the Hamas-led Palestinian government to reject violence, recognize Israel and embrace peace. "If we don't help the Palestinian Territories, others like Iran will do so. And, on the other hand, we risk pushing the Palestinian people towards radicalism and that's not what we want and that's why we should continue to help them."

25.4.06 President Mahmoud Abbas arrives in Oslo to meet with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere and other leaders for talks expected to focus on an aid for his people after Hamas took power.

26.4.06 During a visit to the Norwegian capital, President Mahmoud Abbas proposes an international conference to open long-stalled peace talks with Israel and said the election of a Hamas government, sworn to Israel's destruction, was no obstacle. He added that an international group should serve as a broker, possibly the Quartet of Middle East Peace Makers, comprised of the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations.

27.4.06 President Mahmoud Abbas meets officials in Finland, the country which takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union in July. Abbas held talks with President Tarja Halonen and other officials including Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja.

1.5.06 During an arrest operation in Tulkarem in the West Bank, Israeli soldiers fire into the second story of a residential building, killing 'Itaf Zalat, 43, and wounding her three daughters. The Zalat family was sitting in its living room during the operation. According to B'Tselem, from the beginning of 2004 to 28 May 2006, 168 persons have been killed during arrest operations in the West Bank.

1.5.06 In an interview with Haaretz, Israeli Chief-of-Staff Dan Halutz says that he is opposed to a ground force operation in the Gaza Strip, since it would not end the firing of Qassam rockets at targets within Israel.

2.5.06 James D. Wolfensohn, ending more than a year's service as the Quartet envoy to Israel and the Palestinians, refers to the rise of the Hamas government as a stumbling block to further movement in Middle East diplomacy. "With the government of Hamas having taken over the Palestinians, it's a very difficult moment to be able to try to negotiate any independent type of arrangements," Wolfensohn said.

3.5.06 An International Women's Commission meet with UN officials urging that women play a stronger role in talks between Israelis and Palestinians and use the newly elected Hamas government as a vehicle for peace negotiations. The IWC, established in July 2005, works toward a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. It is comprised of 20 Palestinian women, 20 Israeli women and 20 women from various countries around the world.

5.5.06 Israel Air Force bombs a building of the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza, killing five of the organization's operatives.

7.5.06 An association for Jewish settlement of Jerusalem continues with archeological excavations in East Jerusalem near a kindergarten in Silwan threatened by collapse, in defiance of a warrant issued by the Jerusalem municipality ordering halt to the excavation works. Kindergarten management said if disaster struck they will hold the municipality and those running the excavations responsible.

7.5.06 The World Bank warns donors that the financial crisis gripping the PNA since Hamas won the elections is deeper than it was first thought and could render the West Bank and Gaza ungovernable. The World Bank projected that by the end of 2006 Palestinian poverty and unemployment levels would rise to 67 and 40 percent, and personal incomes would drop by 30 percent. Western powers led by the U.S. and the EU have frozen direct aid to the PNA to put pressure on Hamas to renounce violence, recognize Israel and abide by interim peace deals. As a result, the Hamas-led government has been unable to pay salaries to 165,000 public employees since March, prompting concerns of a humanitarian crisis that could trigger an upsurge in Middle East violence.

9.5.06 Internal fighting wounds 12 people in the Gaza Strip. After meeting Fateh officials, PM Ismail Haniyyeh said that the two groups had agreed to work together to end the spate of violence in the Strip. The violence has been fuelled by a power struggle between Haniyyeh and President Abbas over control of Palestinian security forces.

9.5.06 According to Haaretz, the southeast region of the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) in the UK recommends that its 67,000 members boycott Israeli lecturers and academic institutions that do not publicly declare their opposition to Israeli policy in the territories. The boycott motion comes about a year after the last boycott by British lecturers.

9.5.06 A letter signed by more than 30 Israeli artists and intellectuals is sent to PM Ehud Olmert urging him to order Israeli soldiers to defend Palestinian children in the southern Hebron Hills from residents of the Maon settlement.

10.5.06 Senior members of Hamas and Fateh who are imprisoned by Israel, have forged a joint platform, including acceptance of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. The document was presented to President Mahmoud Abbas. Prisoners from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine were also party to the agreement. The document calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state "in all the lands occupied in 1967," a reference to the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. The draft says that Palestinians would "focus their resistance on the lands occupied in 1967." The document would authorize Abbas to lead negotiations with Israel, based on what is referred to as "Arab legitimacy," an apparent reference to an Arab peace initiative which calls for a two-state solution. Any agreement will either be put before the Palestinian parliament or submitted as a referendum to be voted on by Palestinians everywhere.

14.5.06 According to Haaretz, some 2,500 new immigrants from North America and France will come to Israel on eight special El Al flights this summer. Immigration from North America is expected to reach 3,500 people this year, with an equal number arriving from France.

14.5.06 The Israeli High Court of Justice upholds a controversial law that bars West Bank Palestinians from living with spouses and children in Israel.

17.5.06 According to the Israeli Defense Ministry, construction of the West Bank separation wall started nearly four years ago, but only 42 percent of the planned structure has been completed and military officials say it will take at least one more year to finish. The estimated cost of the fence currently stands at NIS10 billion, twice as much as originally planned.

17.5.06 Israeli soldiers kill two members of Islamic Jihad in a gun battle that broke out during an arrest raid in the Rafidiyah neighborhood of Nablus.

21.5.06 In an interview with CNN, Israeli PM Ehud Olmert dismisses President Mahmoud Abbas as a potential partner for peace negotiations, saying that the PNA leader was "powerless" to speak on behalf of his people. "He is powerless. He is helpless. He's unable to even stop the minimal terror activities amongst the Palestinians," Olmert said.

21.5.06 Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni rejects an Egyptian proposal to make changes to the internationally brokered road map to Middle East peace, and move to immediate discussions on some aspects of a final-status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The road map states that negotiations on a final-status agreement should have begun in 2005.

21.5.06 Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz approves expansion of four West Bank settlements. The expansion orders enlarged the settlements' "jurisdictional area," a designation which in many cases serves as a prelude to construction of new settlement neighborhoods. Most of the settlements involved are located close to the pre-1967 war Green Line Border.

21.5.06 "The road map peace initiative is still relevant," Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni says after her meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas at the World Economic Forum in Sharm el-Sheikh. This was the first high level meeting between the two sides since Hamas' surprise victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections.

22.5.06 According to a European Union official, proposals will be discussed by the European Union and other donor countries and international financial institutions to provide tens of millions of dollars to run Palestinian ministries and pay staff in a bid to prevent the collapse of essential services. The proposals were dependent on the endorsement of the United States to ensure that lending institutions could participate without facing the threat of U.S. sanctions. The PNA is now $1.3 billion in debt and has no income to pay long-overdue salaries to state employees.

22.5.06 "If Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, peace will prevail and we will implement a cease-fire for many years," Palestinian PM Ismail Haniyyeh says during an interview with Haaretz. "Our government is prepared to maintain a long-term cease-fire with Israel."

23.5.06 At least two settler families move into apartments in a neighborhood of the West Bank settlement of Upper Modi'in that was built illegally on land belonging to the neighboring Palestinian village of Bil'in. The move came in flagrant disregard of a Supreme Court injunction forbidding the occupation, transfer of ownership, or use of structures in the Matityahu East neighborhood.

24.5.06 Masked gunmen shoot three Hamas militants outside a mosque in Khan Yunis, Gaza. Hamas blamed a Fateh group for the shooting. Clashes between Hamas and Fateh intensified after the Hamas government deployed its own 3,000-strong force of militants.

24.5.06 Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon tells Israel Radio, if Hamas does not recognize Israel and renounce violence within six months, Israel will move ahead with plans to unilaterally draw its final borders by 2010.

29.5.06 Four Hamas members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) from Jerusalem have been summoned to the Jerusalem police headquarters and presented with an ultimatum to resign from their parliamentary positions. Failure to do would result in deprivation of their Jerusalem residency status and enable the government to deport them from their homes.

29.5.06 President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian faction leaders have agreed to 10 days of intensive talks aimed at resolving critical differences and avoiding a national referendum on recognizing Israel's right to exist. The Palestinian government has been internationally isolated and is suffering a crippling economic boycott since Hamas won the January 25 parliamentary elections. To force Hamas to soften its position, Abbas urged the group to accept a proposal drafted by militants in Israeli prisons that implicitly accepts Israel's right to exist. If no agreement is reached after 10 days of talks, Abbas will call a referendum on the proposal.

30.5.06 President Mahmoud Abbas discusses his referendum plan with his Tunisian counterpart in talks at the start of a three-day visit. Abbas and President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali are expected to discuss the cut-off of Western aid and Israeli tax transfers to the Palestinians since the Hamas movement took over the Palestinian government.

31.5.06 The Director-General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry Ron Prossor, has talks in Wellington with New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters and other officials marking the end of a diplomatic freeze in 2004 after two Mossad agents were convicted of trying to fraudulently obtain New Zealand passports.

31.5.06 Former Knesset member Uri Avnery, a leading member of Gush Shalom (the Israeli Peace Bloc), meets with Mohammad Abu Tir, Hamas member of the PLC from Jerusalem in Abu Tir's home at Sur Baher neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Avnery expressed opposition to the intention of the Olmert government to expel Abu Tir and three other elected parliamentarians from their Jerusalem homes. Avnery said that Gush Shalom calls for the immediate opening of negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian governments, with no preconditions and on the basis of stopping all violent acts on both sides.

1.6.06 Arab League Secretary General Amr Mousa criticizes conditions set by Western governments and Israel that say the Hamas-led Palestinian government must renounce violence and recognize Israel before official contacts are possible. "The Palestinian question is one of military occupation. It is not a terrorist issue. And it is one that should be solved through negotiations," Mousa said.

3.6.06 Ahead of PM Ehud Olmert's meeting with Egyptian President Husni Mubarak in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu El-Gheith says that his country would welcome any Israeli withdrawal from "occupied Arab land," but added that such a withdrawal should take place only after negotiations with the Palestinians.

5.6.06 After his first summit with PM Ehud Olmert, at a press conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egyptian President Husni Mubarak calls on Israel to do its part to advance the peace process with the Palestinians, and said he believed it would be possible to reach a lasting peace through negotiations. "If we don't succeed in negotiations, we'll discuss and find other solutions," said Mubarak.

6.6.06 President Mahmoud Abbas gives Hamas an ultimatum of 10 days, saying that if it did not accept the "Prisoners' Document" - (the National Conciliation Document) a blueprint for a national unity government that was compiled by Fateh and Hamas prisoners at an Israeli prison - he would submit the document to a referendum.

7.6.06 Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahhar arrives in Pakistan for talks on cooperation between his Hamas-led government and Pakistan.

7.6.06 Hamas and Fateh representatives are meeting at the home of the Egyptian ambassador in Gaza City, in an effort to end violence between the two sides.

9.6.06 Israeli forces shell a beach on the Gaza Strip killing seven members of the Ghalia family as they were picnicking leaving one survivor, a 10-year old girl.

10.6.06 Five Israeli human-rights organizations demand in an urgent appeal to the PM and the Minister of Defense that they take immediate action to end the killing of Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Territories, and to eradicate the factors contributing to these killings. According to the organizations, since the onset of the second Intifada through 15 June 2006, 3,448 Palestinians in the Occupied Territories have been killed by Israeli forces.

11.6.06 The PA security forces hand over an Israeli- American citizen to the Israeli forces after being kidnapped by members of an armed Fateh militia in Nablus.

12.6.06 Senior Kadima lawmaker Tzachi Hanegbi, declares that "confrontation between Israel and Hamas is inevitable," and warns that if the ruling Palestinian party returns to terrorism, PM Ismail Haniyyeh and other Hamas leaders may be targeted for assassination.

13.6.06 The Israeli air force fires missiles into a residential neighborhood in northern Gaza city killing eleven Palestinians, including ten civilian passers-by, two of them children.

14.6.06 World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz says the bank wants to help deliver aid to Palestinians and is in discussions with the Quartet of Middle East negotiators on how it can be done. "We are in active discussion with members of the Quartet and our board of executive directors to find both immediate and longer-term solutions."

14.6.06 Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahhar returns to Gaza from the Egypt crossing after traveling to Asia and the Middle East, ferrying $20 million in cash, as the government's financial crunch boiled over into violence.

18.6.06 The Quartet - United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia - say in a statement they endorsed an EU proposal for a temporary mechanism that includes aid for the health sector and utilities to meet the basic needs of the poorest Palestinians. The Palestinian government relies on international aid for more than half its annual budget, including the salaries of more than 160,000 civil servants who have not been paid in months.

20.6.06 Three Palestinian children are killed during a failed assassination attempt by the Israel air force in Gaza. Two of the children were brother and sister. Two Fateh men who were the target of the strike escaped with light injuries; another 14 Palestinian citizens were injured in the incident.

21.6.06 In an interview with Haaretz from prison, Sheikh Hasan Yusuf, a member of the Palestinian parliament and the most senior Hamas member in an Israeli prison, says: "If Hamas participates in elections for PA president and wins, undoubtedly we'll conduct diplomatic negotiations with Israel."

25.6.06 Two Israeli soldiers are killed, five are wounded and one is kidnapped when Hamas, the People's Resistance Committees (PRC), and the Islamic Army attacked an IDF post within the Israeli territory near the Gaza Strip border. At least two Palestinian gunmen are killed. Seven gunmen reached the post through a tunnel dug under the border. The operation was in response to the Israeli assassination of PRC leader Jamal Abu Samhadana and Israeli air strikes.

28.6.06 IDF tanks and troops rolled into southern Gaza, in a bid to pressure Palestinian militants into releasing the Israeli soldier. Speaking after the launch of the operation, PM Ehud Olmert warned that Israel would not balk at "extreme action" to retrieve Corporal Gilad Shalit.

29.6.06 Israel forces troops launch a major arrest operation against Hamas officials, detaining 64 including 8 ministers and 20 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. The arrests took place in Ramallah, Qalqilya, Hebron, Jenin and East Jerusalem. Israeli National Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer hinted that Palestinian PM Ismail Haniyeh is not exempt from arrest or harm.
forces. Seven Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinians. Two members of the Israeli security forces were killed by Palestinians.

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