This day in the History of the 2nd Intifada

February 23 2001

1 Palestinian killed.

Israeli-Palestinian clashes intensify, leaving 1 Palestinian dead. After Palestinians fire 4 homemade mortars at Dugit, Aley Sinai settlements in Gaza overnight, the IDF seals the Strip, blocks roads across Gaza to divide the Strip in half, punitively destroys 2 PA Preventive Security Force (PSF) outposts. Later in Gaza, 2 large roadside bombs explode on roads used by IDF convoys, lightly injuring 1 soldier. The IDF shells Palestinian residential areas in Bayt Lahia (destroying 1 PSF outpost, severely damaging a 2d), al-Bireh, Jinin; bulldozes Palestinian land nr. Bayt Lahia, Nablus, Netzarim Junction; conducts arrest sweeps in Surif. Israel says it plans to ease the closure on the West Bank, Gaza further (see 2/20) by allowing food and medicine in, letting agricultural goods out, facilitating the transportation of patients for medical care in Israel. Israel, however, denies exit visas to several Palestinian Council (PC) mbrs. who are scheduled to attend an Arab parliamentary conference in the UAE. (HA, HP 2/23; WP, WT 2/24; LAW 3/1)

Palestinians fire 4 homemade mortars at Dugit, Aley Sinai settlements in Gaza overnight. Later in Gaza, 2 large roadside bombs explode on roads used by IDF convoys, lightly injuring 1 soldier.

February 23 2002

2 Palestinians killed.

IDF soldiers fatally shoot a Palestinian at a checkpoint nr. Halhul, claiming he was acting suspiciously. A 2d Palestinian dies of injuries received earlier. The IDF also clashes with Palestinians nr. the Rafah crossing, wounding 16; shells residential areas of Rafah, wounding 20, destroying 1 building. Elsewhere, an armed Jewish settler critically wounds a Palestinian. Nr. Balata r.c., 3 Palestinians are injured in a mysterious explosion. (HP 2/23; NYT, WT 2/24; PCHR 2/27)

Palestinian gunmen fire on a Jewish settler vehicle nr. Ramallah, wounding 2.

February 23 2003

11 Palestinians killed. 1 Israeli killed.

Overnight, the IDF launches a raid on Bayt Hanun that it expects to last for several days, demolishing 5 Palestinian homes, bulldozing 6 dunams of land, clashing with local Palestinians, killing 7 Palestinians (1 crushed in his home when it is demolished), wounding 28, detaining a Palestinian Reuters cameraman for involvement in terrorist activity; during the day, troops commandeer houses as outposts, fortify their positions, patrol streets, destroy bridges and roads, dig trenches, erect barricades. The IDF also fatally shoots 3 Palestinians elsewherean armed Palestinian attempting to infiltrate Netzarim settlement, a 15-yr.-old Palestinian on a playground in Khan Yunis, a Palestinian who fails to heed orders to halt; arrests DFLP Ramallah head Ibrahim Abu Hijla; bulldozes 24 dunams of land, 2 Palestinian homes in Rafah; shells residential areas of Khan Yunis; conducts arrest raids in Jenin, Khan Yunis. An 11th Palestinian dies of injuries received in Nablus on 2/22. (AP, HA, LAW 2/23; HA, NYT, WP, WT 2/24; NYT, PMC 2/25; PR 2/26; LAW, PCHR 2/27)

A PFLP sniper fatally shoots 1 IDF soldier in Khan Yunis. Palestinians fire 3 Qassam rockets at Sederot, causing no damage.

February 23 2004

The IDF fires live ammunition at Palestinian youths who throw stones at troops at the end of an otherwise peaceful demonstration in Hebron against the separation wall, wounding 8 Palestinians, including 1 medic; fires live ammunition, tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets to break up peaceful demonstrations against the wall in Bethlehem, Jenin, Qalqilya, Ramallah, Tulkarm; conducts arrest raids, blows up the home of the 2/22 Palestinian suicide bomber in Husan; demolishes a 2d Palestinian home in Salfit; conducts arrest raids in Balata r.c., Bayt Jala, Bethlehem, Dahaysha r.c., Tarqumiyya nr. Hebron, Wadi al-Silqa nr. Dayr al-Balah; fires on Palestinian fisherman off Dayr al-Balah, halts 1 boat, arrests 6 fishermen. Jewish settlers fr. Ofra attack Palestinians in Silwad nr. Ramallah. (PM 2/23; LAW, PCHR 2/26; Guardian 2/27)

February 23 2005

The IDF fires on Palestinians waiting to cross a checkpoint into Awarta nr. Nablus, seriously injuring 1 Palestinian; conducts arrest raids, house searches in al-Ras nr. Tulkarm. (VOP 2/23; PCHR 2/24; MM 2/25; PCHR 3/3)

PA security forces find, destroy 2 smugglers' tunnels on the Rafah border.

February 23 2006

5 Palestinians killed.

On the 5th day of IDF operations in the Nablus area, IDF fire on stone-throwing Palestinians in Balata r.c. escalates into heavy exchanges btwn. the IDF and local AMB mbrs., leaving 3 wanted AMB gunmen, 2 Palestinian bystanders dead and 2 IDF soldiers, 22 Palestinian wounded (including 3 medical workers treating the injured). The IDF also fires on stone-throwing Palestinians nr. Hebron; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Dura nr. Hebron, Yabad nr. Jenin. (PCHR 2/23; DS, HA, MM, NYT, REU, WP, WT 2/24; PCHR 3/2)

February 23 2007

In the West Bank, the IDF demolishes a communal water cistern nr. Hebron; conducts patrols in Dura nr. Hebron (randomly checking Palestinian IDs), Tulkarm town and r.c. (firing on stone-throwing Palestinians who confront the troops); conducts arrest raids, house searches in Nablus, Tulkarm town and r.c. and nr. Jenin. On the 2d anniversary of the 1st weekly nonviolent protests in Bil‘in against the separation wall, 10s of Palestinians and Israeli and international activists demonstrate; the IDF fires rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, percussion grenades to disperse them, beating some, injuring 13 (including a CNN cameraman). (WP 2/24; NYT 2/25; OCHA 2/28; PCHR 3/1)

Palestinians fire 2 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In ongoing raids in Egypt (see 2/21), Egyptian security forces discover 1 ton of explosives (mostly TNT recovered from land mines) hidden nr. the border with Gaza that they believe was intended to be smuggled into the Strip; say that they have now arrested 57 Egyptians and Palestinians believed to be part of a network planning bombings in the Sinai targeting Israeli tourists, but also including 3 Palestinians who allegedly confess to being mbrs. of Islamic Jihad and to plotting to carry out suicide attacks in Israel.

February 23 2008

3 Palestinians killed.

The IDF shells a suspected rocket-launching site nr. Bayt Hanun in n. Gaza, killing 3 Palestinian civilians sitting outside a house. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols, conducts random ID checks in Anabta nr. Tulkarm; conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus, and in Hebron, Qabatya nr. Jenin. (NYT, WP 2/24; OCHA 2/27; PCHR 2/28)

Palestinians fire 4 mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries.

February 23 2009

An Israeli Air Force helicopter attacked a group of Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip as they attempted to flee the border area where they had been reportedly planting explosives. The Israeli soldiers stationed near the Kissufim border opened fire on the militants. Shortly after the incident, a Qassam rocket fired from Gaza exploded in an open field in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council. In the afternoon, another rocket was fired from Gaza into the same area. There were no casualties or damages reported in the incidents. (AFP, BBC, Haaretz)

Israeli Prime Minister Olmert was reportedly suspending Amos Gilad, Israel’s special negotiator with Egypt, over recent comments made to an Israeli newspaper. A week earlier, Mr. Gilad had criticized Mr. Olmert for what he called an inconsistent approach to the talks over the ceasefire with Hamas, which he described as insulting to the Egyptians. (BBC, Ma’an News Agency)

Israel opened commercial crossings into the Gaza Strip to allow dozens of truckloads of humanitarian aid to enter, in addition to industrial fuel. Crossing official Nasser As-Sarraj said 100 truckloads would enter, including 60 for UNRWA and other international organizations, as well as 30 with supplies for the commercial sector, and 10 for the agricultural sector. Meanwhile, 85 tons of cooking gas and 400 litres of industrial diesel would be transported through the Nahal Oz crossing. (Ma’an News Agency)

The route of the separation wall, south of Qalqilya in the northern West Bank, had been adjusted to isolate the five Palestinian villages of Ras Tira, Wadi Ar-Rasha, Ad-Dab’a, Ar-Ramadin and Abu Farda Bedouin. According to Hadil Haneiti, an activist from the Popular Campaign Against the Wall, the adjustment which comes after a previous Israeli High Court of Justice decision in May 2006, “leaves Palestinian residents with two bitter choices; either to be isolated between four walls and be subjected to humiliation on a daily basis as they have to go through the wall’s gate everyday, or to be freed of this isolation, but the price will be losing all their agricultural land and pasture”. (Ma’an News Agency)

In Brussels, EU Foreign Ministers called on the incoming Israeli Government to re-launch the Middle East peace process with the Palestinians, though some voiced fears over having Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu at the helm. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said: “He is discussing putting conditions [for potential coalition partners] that are clearly incompatible with existing commitments of the peace process. It is important to send a strong signal that this is not going to be acceptable,” Mr. Bildt said. (AFP)

Amnesty International called for a freeze on arms sales to Israel and Palestinian groups such as Hamas following the recent Gaza conflict. The group said it had evidence that both Israel and Hamas had used weapons sourced from overseas to carry out attacks on civilians. It called for the UN Security Council to impose the embargo on all parties. In a report, Israel was accused of illegal use of white phosphorus and other armaments supplied by the US, while Hamas was condemned for launching unguided rockets into Israel. Israeli Government spokesperson Mark Regev said Israel had used white phosphorus but not as an anti-personnel weapon. (AP, BBC, www.amnesty.org)

The following statement was issued by the Spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:


    The Secretary-General is honoured to accept the generous sum of $40 million as a contribution from the Emir of Qatar to United Nations humanitarian agencies for programmes to meet the emergency needs of civilians in Gaza. The Secretary-General is particularly grateful to Qatar for allocating $10 million from the pledge to go to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). CERF provides fast, reliable, equitable and targeted humanitarian assistance to emergencies around the world. The contribution is especially welcome, as it comes at a time when global humanitarian needs are expected to grow in light of the interconnected challenges of the food crisis, the global financial crisis, climate change and intensifying armed conflicts.
(UN press release SG/SM/12110-PAL/2112)

In Prague, PA President Abbas said that Hamas should be part of a new Palestinian Government and honour international commitments in the peace process. He said a new cabinet including Hamas should continue the peace process on the basis of previous agreements such as the existence of two States and no more building of settlements. He spoke after a meeting with Czech President Vaclav Klaus. Earlier, Mr. Abbas told reporters that the Gaza Strip would not be reconstructed without the emergence of a united Palestinian Government. Mr. Klaus, holding the EU presidency, said Palestinian unity was key to any meaningful talks in the future. (AP, Czech News Agency, Haaretz)

The border between Morocco and Algeria, closed for almost 15 years, was temporarily reopened for an aid convoy heading towards the Gaza Strip. The convoy of 99 vehicles loaded with medicine, food, clothes and toys, was due to cross from Egypt to Gaza in early March. (BBC)

The PLO International Relations Department released a statement accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and a displacement policy against Palestinian residents in Jerusalem. It described the Israeli plans to demolish 88 homes in the Al-Bustan neighbourhood as an attempt to render Jerusalem “a pure Jewish city and demolish the Al-Aqsa Mosque, prior to any negotiations related to Jerusalem.” (Ma’an News Agency)

PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo said, “We call on President Barack Obama to intervene personally to have this project [demolition of homes in East Jerusalem] stopped.” The Palestinian owners of 88 homes in the Silwan (Al-Bustan) neighbourhood received eviction notices saying that the structures would be destroyed because they had been built without the necessary permits. The move would affect about 1,500 people. (AFP)

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