This day in the History of the 2nd Intifada

February 20 2001

1 Palestinian killed.

Israeli-Palestinian clashes continue, leaving 1 Palestinian dead--a youth killed in his sleep when an IDF shell strikes his home in Bayt Jala. The IDF says the shelling was a "preventive" measure to discourage Palestinian sniping at neighboring Gilo settlement. The IDF also demolishes 2 Palestinian homes in Bayt Umar; shells residential areas of Bayt Sahur, Bethlehem, al-Bireh (extensively damaging a school for the blind). Jewish settlers place caravans on a new site nr. Kafr Dik, which has been the target of repeated confiscation attempts since the 1980s, and begin bulldozing the area. Israel allows fuel, newspapers into the West Bank, Gaza for the 1st time since it completely sealed the territories on 2/14. (REU 2/21; NYT 2/21; HP, NYT 2/22)

Outgoing PM Barak pulls out of a coalition deal with PM-elect Sharon, officially resigns as Labor party head. Barak blames Sharon for "political intrigue and maneuvering" for allegedly discussing giving Labor MK Shimon Peres the DM position behind his back, but nonetheless advises Labor to join a unity government. (MM, NYT, WP, WT 2/21; MM, NYT, WJW 2/22; MA 2/22 in WNC 2/23; MM 2/23; WJW 3/2; MEI 3/9) (see 2/16)

February 20 2002

25 Palestinians killed.

Sharon meets with his cabinet, which agrees to intensify attacks on Palestinians in response to escalating violence. The IDF stages massive aerial, naval assaults on PA targets in the West Bank and Gaza, leaving a total of 16 Palestinians dead, including 2 Hamas mbrs. allegedly preparing to fire mortars in Gaza. The IDF also makes incursions into Nablus, killing 9 Palestinians, occupying an apartment building, confining 130 residents to a single floor, allegedly ordering some Palestinian men to stand at the windows as human shields. The IDF again shells Arafat's Ramallah compound, hitting a room adjacent to where he is taking shelter, injuring 1 bodyguard; also shells 2 PSF buildings in Gaza City, 1 in Jenin; further tightens restrictions on Palestinian movement, even barring young children who had passed through checkpoints in the morning fr. walking home fr. school. (AP, MM, WT 2/20; AFP 2/20 in WNC 2/21; NYT, Physicians for Human Rights press release, WP, WT 2/21; NYT 2/22)

In Tel Aviv, Israel DM Benjamin Ben-Eliezer holds a secret mtg. with PSF Gaza head Muhammad Dahlan, Arafat financial adviser Muhammad Rashid to discuss the escalating violence. The sides agree to a CIA request to hold a secret trilateral security comm. mtg. on 2/23. (NYT 2/22)

February 20 2003

2 Palestinians killed.

The IDF tightens restrictions on Palestinian movement in Gaza, shuts main roads, dividing the Strip into 3 sections; fatally shoots a wanted tanzim mbr. in Tulkarm in what may be an assassination; demolishes 1 Palestinian home in Hebron, 1 in Jamayn, 1 in Rafah; conducts arrest raids in Ramallah, Tamun; fires on residential areas of Rafah. Israel issues tenders for construction of 126 new housing units in Efrat settlement. (HA, REU 2/20; HA 2/21; al-Quds 2/21 in WNC 2/24; LAW 2/23; LAW, PCHR 2/27)

After 10 yrs. of federal investigations trying to link him to terrorism, U.S. authorities arrest Palestinian-born U.S. permanent resident Sami al-Arian, a fmr. University of South Florida professor, on charges of fundraising for Islamic Jihad, and “conspiracy to commit murder via suicide attacks.” Another 7 individuals are also charged, several of whom are abroad, including Damascus-based Islamic Jihad head Ramadan Shallah. Arian has been an active fundraiser for 2 Muslim organization that do social work in the territories; the U.S. alleges that he in fact has laundered and funneled money to Islamic Jihad military activities as the organization’s chief financial officer since 1984. (The State Dept. listed Islamic Jihad as a terrorist organization in 1995.) U.S. Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft says that provisions of new antiterrorism legislation made the arrest possible. (HA, NYT, WP 2/21; WT 2/22; MM 2/26; MEI 3/7)

As IDF operations in Nablus continue, a Palestinian sniper shoots, wounds an IDF soldier. Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket at Netzarim settlement, 2 across the Gaza border into Sederot, causing no damage or injuries.

February 20 2004

The IDF conducts arrest raids in Bayt Sahur, Bethlehem, Qalqilya, and nr. Dayr al-Balah; bulldozes 8 dunams of olive groves, 4 greenhouses in Dayr al-Balah; fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis, Nablus. In Hebron, 3 IDF soldiers are wounded in a friendly fire incident. Nr. Qalqilya, 100s of Jewish settlers block the IDF fr. removing a caravan fr. an unauthorized settlement outpost. (VOP 2/20 in WNC 2/24; HA 2/21; LAW, PCHR 2/26)

Palestinians fire an antitank missile at an IDF patrol in Gaza, lightly injuring 2 soldiers. Palestinians also fire a mortar at an IDF patrol outside a Jewish settlement in Gaza, causing no damage or injuries.

February 20 2005

3 Palestinians killed.

The IDF fatally shoots 2 Palestinians in Rafah whom it suspected of smuggling arms; opens the Rafah crossing to Palestinians aged 16–35; fires, shells on residential areas of Khan Yunis; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Askar refugee camp (r.c.), Balata r.c., al-Mawasi, Nablus; begins construction of a new separation wall segment e. of Jerusalem nr. al-Ram. 5 armed Jewish settlers fr. Mitzpe Lakhish nr. Hebron severely beat a 17-yr.-old Palestinian grazing animals on his family property nearby. 10s of Jewish settlers fr. Kiryat Arba rampage through Palestinian areas of Hebron, throwing stones at houses, beating 8 Palestinians. In Rafah, 1 PA security officer is killed, 1 is wounded trying to demolish a smugglers' tunnel. A Palestinian dies of injuries received in Nablus on 10/27/04. (IMEMC, JP, MENA, VOP 2/20; HA, NYT 2/21; PR 2/23; PCHR 2/24; MM 2/25)

February 20 2006

2 Palestinians killed.

The IDF expands its Balata arrest operation to the wider Nablus area, fatally shooting Islamic Jihad’s al-Quds Brigades leader Ahmad Abu Sharikh, AMB Nablus cmdr. Muhammad Shatawi in apparent assassinations; firing on stone-throwing youths, wounding 12. The IDF also shells the n. Gaza no-go zone, damaging several homes in Um al-Nasser n. of Bayt Lahiya but causing no injuries; severely beats a Palestinian teenager in Hebron; demolishes a Palestinian home nr. Tulkarm; fires on residential areas of al-Fawwar r.c. nr. Hebron, wounding 2 Palestinians; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Azariyya nr. Jerusalem, Tulkarm, and nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin. (AP, IMEMC, MM, NYT, WT 2/20; VOI 2/20 in WNC 2/21; IMEMC, NYT 2/21; PCHR 2/23; YA 3/1)

Palestinians fire a rocket fr. n. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries.

February 20 2007

The IDF sends bulldozers into Gaza e. of Dayr al-Balah to level 150 m of Palestinian land along the border. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Qalqilya and in Jenin r.c., Qabatya. (NYT, OCHA, WP 2/21; PCHR, WT 2/22)

Unidentified assailants kidnap, quickly release unharmed 3 American women taking photographs outside Balata r.c. nr. Nablus. Egyptian border guards in Rafah arrest a Palestinian attempting to cross fr. Gaza into Egypt through a smugglers’ tunnel carrying an explosive belt; steps up border patrols in response.

February 20 2008

In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units in a car with Palestinian license plates into Tulkarm to raid a café, detaining 13 Palestinians, releasing most (including a 14-yr.-old boy) later in the day; conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron, nr. Nablus. Unidentified gunmen fire on the home of a senior Hamas mbr. in Gaza City, causing no injuries. (PCHR 2/21; OCHA 2/27; PCHR 2/28)

February 20 2009

Israeli border guards used tear gas and other means to disperse a group of some 500 Palestinian and international protesters gathered in the village of Bil’in to mark the fourth anniversary of the popular struggle against the separation wall. In addition, some 100 Palestinians demonstrated against the separation wall near Ramallah and threw stones at the Israeli forces there. No injuries were reported. (Ma’an News Agency, Ynetnews)

An Israeli police dog attacked an elderly paralyzed man during an arrest raid in the northern West Bank village of Tammun. Two men had been arrested during the raid. (Ma’an News Agency)

A young Palestinian man was injured and another was arrested during clashes with Israeli soldiers in a village north of Hebron in the West Bank. Israeli soldiers said that they had shot a young man near the town of Beit Omer after he threw stones near the Israeli settlement of “Karni Tzur”. (Ma’an News Agency)

Israeli undercover special forces arrested Hosni Muhammad Zakarneh, a leader of Islamic Jihad in the town of Qabatiya, south of Jenin. (Ma’an News Agency)

The Jerusalem Municipality indicated that it may offer to voluntarily relocate some 1,500 Palestinian residents of the Silwan neighbourhood who were currently living on top of an archaeological site to alternative lots in East Jerusalem. The 88 houses at issue had been constructed without permits in Silwan’s Al Bustan area and had been slated for demolition. They were located in an area known as the King’s Garden which the Israel Antiquities Authority had defined as being of great archaeological importance. The proposition was unanimously rejected by the residents who described it as a forced eviction. (Haaretz)

The European Union condemned Israel’s planned settlement construction in the vicinity of the “Adam” settlement in the West Bank. If built, this would constitute a new settlement block. The EU called on Israel to reconsider the plan, which would be in violation of international law, run counter to the Road Map and was against commitments made by Israel to the Palestinians and the international community in Annapolis in 2008. (www.eu2009.cz)

Israel prepared a new list of Palestinian prisoners it was willing to release in exchange for captured soldier Gilad Shalit and indicated that it was ready to relay it to Hamas as quickly as possible in order to further a swap arrangement by entering into intensive talks with Hamas in Cairo through Egyptian mediation. Earlier in the week, Israel had decided to make Cpl. Shalit’s release a precondition for any new ceasefire agreement in the Gaza Strip. Most of the prisoners on the list were not jailed for their role in the killing of Israelis. The list includes approximately 200 prisoners whose release had been requested by Hamas and who had been approved in the past by a committee headed by Vice Premier Haim Ramon. The list also includes names of hundreds of prisoners that Israel was willing to release and among whom Hamas could make a selection. Past agreements had called for an initial release of 450 prisoners in return for Gilad Shalit, to be followed by the release of another 550 prisoners as a goodwill gesture to Egypt and PA President Abbas. Women, minors and Hamas parliamentarians would also be released in the end. (Haaretz)

PA President Abbas’ spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, stated that they “will not deal with the Israeli Government unless it accepts a two-State solution and accepts to halt settlements and to respect past accords,” after Israel’s President Peres designated Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud to form the next Government. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoom stated that Israel had picked the “most extremist and most dangerous” person to lead the country whose choice “did not herald a period of peace or stability in the region”. The United States pledged to cooperate with the incoming Israeli Government and hoped that there would be a breakthrough with regard to the peace process. US Middle East special envoy George Mitchell stated earlier in the week that striking economic peace between Israel and the Palestinians, without diplomatic efforts, would not succeed. He also expressed support for Egypt’s efforts to forge a Palestinian national unity Government, adding that Hamas would still need to adhere to the Quartet’s demands that it halt violence, recognize Israel and accept previous Palestinian-Israeli agreements. (AFP, Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, Ynetnews)

France’s Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said that France supported an Egyptian proposal for a truce between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip and did not believe it was necessary to condition the cease-fire on the release of Gilad Shalit. Egypt had suspended commercial cooperation talks with Israel in protest against Israel’s decision the previous day not to open the Gaza border crossings until Gilad Shalit had been released. Qatar Prime Minister Hamad bin

Jassim bin Habir al-Thani told French President Nicolas Sarkozy that he would engage Hamas intensively to help release the Israeli soldier. Mr. Sarkozy had told Mr. al-Thani that this was a humanitarian issue and that Mr. Shalit was also a French citizen. (Haaretz, Ma’an News Agency)

Palestinian fighters fired 10 mortar shells at IDF troops operating near the Kissufim border crossing into the Gaza Strip which landed in open areas causing no casualties or damage. The shells were reportedly fired after IDF troops opened fire at a Palestinian gunman who approached the Gaza fence. (Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, Ynetnews)

A Qassam rocket was fired into southern Israel early in the morning and landed in an open area near Netivot. There were no casualties or damage. (Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post)

The head of the Union of Gas Station Owners in Gaza, Mahmoud Al-Khazendar, said that for five months no more than 700 tons of cooking gas had been allowed each month into the Gaza Strip while the needs amounted to 350 tons per day. (Ma’an News Agency)

NEWS

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