1 Palestinian killed. 1 Israeli killed.
In retaliation to Hebron attack, Jewish settlers fire guns, the IDF directs
shells, heavy machine gun fire on the residential area of Abu Sunayna, where the
sniper fire originated, injuring 7 Palestinians. The IDF tells
Palestinian residents to evacuate Abu Sunayna or risk a heavy attack. Shooting
fr. the Jewish settlement continues, and the IDF clashes with settlers who
attempt to occupy Abu Sunayna, but no major attack occurs, few Palestinians
leave. The IDF shoots dead 1 Palestinian in a separate incident;
directs shells, heavy machine gun fire at residential areas of Jericho, Gaza. (HP 3/26; MM,
NYT, WP 3/27; NYT 3/28; MEI 4/6; JP 4/13)
wks. of marathon negotiations, the Palestinians drop their call for a
UN observer force in the West Bank, Gaza--opposed by the U.S.--in
favor of a compromise proposal by the EU and nonaligned mbrs. calling for
a "mechanism" to protect Palestinians. (WP 3/27; XIN 3/27 in WNC 3/28)
intensify sharply after a Palestinian sniper fires on a group of
Jewish settlers in Hebron, killing a 10-mo.-old girl, wounding her father,
Israeli sappers disarm a bomb in Petah Tikva, inside Israel.
gunmen open fire on a car on a road typically used by Jewish settlers, killing
2 mbrs. of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) observer
force, wounding 1; the car is clearly marked as a TIPH vehicle. The wounded
TIPH mbr. says the gunman wore a PSF uniform and carried a Kalashnikov
rifle; the PA denies any connection. (AP, HA, MM 3/26; NYT, WP, WT 3/27; AFP,
ATL 3/27 in WNC 3/28; ATL 3/29 in WNC 4/1; JP 4/5)
Under strong pressure fr. the U.S., Sharon agrees to allow
Arafat to travel to Beirut for the Arab summit but says he must call
for a halt to the intifada and asks the U.S. to agree that Israel could bar him
fr. returning if violence continues while he is in Beirut. (In interviews with
the press, Sharon also says he regrets having promised Bush that
he not physically harm Arafat.) The U.S. refuses Sharon's demand.
Arafat says he will not go, fearing exile. In response, Pres. Husni
Mubarak of Egypt, King Abdallah of Jordan say the will not attend the
summit. (AP, MM 3/26; ITAR-TASS, MENA 3/26 in WNC 3/27; HA, NYT, WP, WT 3/27;
MENA 3/27 in WNC 3/28)
Zinni cancels a trilateral security comm. mtg. to discuss his 3/24
bridging proposals, saying the sides are too far apart to bother meeting. (HA
3/26; NYT 3/27; al-Quds 3/31 in WNC 4/2)
When 2 AMB mbrs. are halted by soldiers at an IDF checkpoint
into Jerusalem, they detonate a bomb, killing only themselves.
The IDF demolishes 4 Palestinian homes, bulldozes agricultural
land, fires on residential areas in Rafah, injuring 2 Palestinians; conducts
arrest raids in Jenin; closes a Hamas-run charity office in Bani Na`im.
(HA, PCHR 3/27; AYM 3/27 in WNC 3/28; LAW 3/28; PCHR 4/3)
2 Palestinians killed.
The IDF fires on stone-throwing youths in Dahaysha r.c., killing 1
Palestinian; fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis, Rafah (wounding a
Palestinian playing soccer), conducts arrest raids in Anabta nr. Tulkarm, Bayt
Sahur, Jenin, Salfit. In Nablus, an AMB mbr. dies when his car
mysteriously explodes in what may be an assassination. UN officials note
that nearly all food and other humanitarian aid to Gaza has ceased since Israel
closed the Erez crossing on 3/15, warn that a humanitarian crisis could ensue if
Israel does not ease restrictions. (VOP 3/26 in WNC 3/30; NYT, WT 3/27; AFP 3/30; PR 3/31; PCHR 4/1)
On the 1st Friday after Yasin’s
assassination, 10,000s of Palestinians protest across the West Bank and
An IDF patrol enters Sabastia nr. Nablus, chases a taxi, causing it to
crash; denies an ambulance permission to take the injured driver to the
hospital, arresting him instead. The IDF also conducts arrest raids,
house searches in Hebron, nr. Nablus and Ramallah. Jewish settlers fr.
Gush Katif bar Palestinians fr. traveling the coastal road btwn. Rafah and Khan
Yunis, beat 4 Palestinian youths (ages 9–15) on their way to school in
al-Mawasi. (VOI, VOP 3/27 in WNC 3/28;
PR 3/30; JP 3/30 in WNC 3/31; PCHR 3/31).
Some 20,000 Hamas supporters attend a rally in Nablus marking
the anniversary of Shaykh Ahmad Yasin's assassination, launching Hamas's
campaign for upcoming legislative council elections.
Israel allows Gaza’s Qarni crossing to open for export of goods to Israel,
Sufa crossing (closed since 2/14) for the import of construction materials;
shells the n. Gaza no-go zone, causing no damage or injuries; conducts arrest
raids, house searches nr. Hebron, also firing on residential areas, wounding a
Palestinian standing on his balcony; issues a military order confiscating 80
d. of Palestinian land for construction of the separation wall around Gilo
settlement nr. Bethlehem. The IDF says that its liaison offices in the West Bank
will continue to operate after a Hamas-led government is sworn in, but will no
longer deal with any PA officials; they will deal only with international
organizations, Palestinian hospitals, individual Palestinians. Israeli border
police report that in the previous wk. they arrested 550 Palestinians working in
Jerusalem without permits and another 130 elsewhere in Israel. (HA, IMEMC 3/26;
OCHA 3/29; PCHR 3/30)
2 Palestinians killed.
IDF troops on the Gaza border fire a tank shell at a Gaza municipality truck
nr. Juhur al-Dik, injuring 4 municipal workers; send tanks, bulldozers into Gaza
nr. Bureij r.c. to level land. The Israeli navy fires on Palestinian fishing
boats off the Rafah coast, forcing them to return to shore. In the West Bank,
the IDF temporarily occupies several buildings in Nablus, exchanging fire with
Palestinian gunmen, leaving 2 armed Palestinians dead; patrols in and around
Jenin town and r.c.; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Hebron, Kafr Dan
and Qabatya nr. Jenin, Tulkarm; issues military orders confiscating 10 d. of
Palestinian land e. of Tulkarm for military training purposes. In tandem with a
visit by U.S. Secy. of State Condoleezza Rice, 2,000 right-wing Jewish settlers
and activists march to and reoccupy the Homesh settlement site in the n. West
Bank, evacuated during disengagement in 2005, with plans to stay at the site for
2 days and eventually to rebuild the settlement; the main YESHA settlers group
does not endorse the action; the IDF mobilizes 4 brigades to monitor marchers
and take action should they or local Palestinians become violent, saying they
will forcibly remove the settlers if they do not leave on 3/27 as planned.
(WT 3/26; NYT, WT 3/27; OCHA 3/28; PCHR 3/29)
Fatah-Hamas clashes leave 5 Palestinians wounded in Rafah. Hamas mbrs. fire an
antitank missile at, then occupy the Fatah-affiliated Bayt Hanun Sports Club; no
injuries are reported.
In Gaza, IDF troops enter al-Qarara,
bulldoze 4 Palestinian homes, animal pens, 93 d. of agricultural land;
also bulldoze areas along the separation wall e. of al-Bureij, al-Maghazi. In the West Bank, the IDF
conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Ramallah, nr.
Bethlehem and Tulkarm, in Hebron, Jenin town and r.c., Nablus. (PCHR 3/27; OCHA 4/2;
fire at least 1 rocket fr. Gaza toward Israel that lands inside Gaza,
hitting a home, seriously injuring 1 Palestinian.
gunmen shoot, wound a Hamas-affiliated police officer in Dayr
al-Balah. In Gaza City, 5,000 NGO reps. and citizens rally to call on
the factions to implement a national unity government.
Israeli soldiers invaded the Askar and Balata refugee camps east of Nablus, broke into several homes and arrested seven youths. (IMEMC, Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli forces stormed and searched several houses and then herded at least 150 local youth, with their heads covered with sacks, into a local school in the Haris village, north of Salfit, where they were roughed up and questioned. Israeli troops detained a PA police officer and raided a house in Beit Sahur near Bethlehem. They confiscated mobile telephones and arrested four men in Aqaba village south of Jenin before dawn. (Ma’an News Agency)
Israeli troops closed the main eastern entrance of Madama village, south of Nablus, by piling a several foot high dirt mound on the road. (Ma’an News Agency)
An IDF infantryman serving in the Givati Brigades was demoted and placed on probation for firing at the legs and wounding an unarmed Palestinian woman, in contravention of orders issued by his superiors to fire warning shots at the ground. The shooting incident took place near the ruins of the former Israeli settlement of “Netzarim” in the Gaza Strip, in January 2009 during “Operation Cast Lead”. (Haaretz)
Incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated that as soon as he is sworn in, he planned to hold a series of consultations regarding his Government’s policy towards the Palestinians. His first act to this end would be the establishment of an administrative body with the task to promote economic peace with the Palestinians. The body’s mandate would include activities vis-ŕ-vis the Palestinian Authority and the international community, in particular the Quartet Special Envoy Tony Blair, with a view to advancing some 25 economic initiatives in the West Bank. The previous day, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Gabriela Shalev, had assured the Security Council that the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians would continue to move forward. (Haaretz)
Incoming Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu stated that he did not expect to come under pressure from the United States over the Middle East peace strategy of his Government. He said that any such pressure was “irrelevant, since our ties with the US are so strong”. Mr. Netanyahu played down any notion of friction with US President Obama, saying that the United States and Israel shared mutual interests and values and that the ties between the two allies were especially deep and strong. He sidestepped a question on whether he backed Palestinian statehood. (AP, Haaretz, Reuters, Ynetnews)
In an exchange of telephone calls between Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak and Israel’s President Shimon Peres on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, President Mubarak stated that Egypt was exerting maximum effort to advance talks for a cease-fire in Gaza as well as the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. It had been reported the previous day that negotiations regarding the prisoner swap had resumed. Palestinian sources reported that Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman had sent an envoy to Israel on 24 March for that purpose. (Haaretz, IMEMC, Ma’an News Agency, Ynetnews)
It was revealed that an unauthorized settlement outpost, considered illegal even under Israeli law, was benefiting from State funding. It was established that a road was being built in the settlement of “Eli” near Nablus, towards the east in order to connect it with the “Hayovel” outpost. (BBC)
An Israeli court sentenced to six months of administrative detention Hamas-affiliated former Deputy Primer Minister Nasser Ad-Din Ash-Sha’er and Adnan Asfour, both from Nablus, who had been arrested the previous week. (Ma’an News Agency)
The head of the Detainees Society in Tubas, in the West Bank, informed that prisoner Hassan Youssef Dabak from the Tayasir village in the northern West Bank had been so badly beaten by Israeli soldiers in Ofer prison that they broke his pelvis. The improperly healed fracture caused him great pain when he tries to walk. Mr. Dabak was arrested on 12 April 2008 and transferred from Jericho to Ofer prison during the winter. (Ma’an News Agency)
The Israeli army announced that an internal investigation had found that 1,166 people had been killed during the recent Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip, of whom 709 were Hamas gunmen and just fewer than 300 were civilians, including 89 children aged 16 and 49 women. According to the IDF, it was unclear whether an additional 162 men who died were militants or civilians. The army did not provide a list of the dead but indicated that its information was based on intelligence sources and that the names had been thoroughly cross-referenced and examined. Palestinians say that 1,417 people were killed, including more than 900 civilians. The figures were contained in a briefing paper issued by the public affairs department of the Israeli Embassy in London on 25 March. (Reuters, Ynetnews)
The Human Rights Council had adopted five resolutions on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories. (www.unhchr.ch)
Militants from the Saraya Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, clashed in Gaza with Israeli soldiers near the border fence at Al-Qarrara near the town of Khan Yunis. (IMEMC, Ma’an News Agency)