This day in the History of the 2nd Intifada

January 21 2001

1 Palestinian killed.

Israeli-Palestinian clashes continue at a low level, leaving 1 Palestinian dead. With Israeli industry in need of workers, Barak instructs the IDF to revive plans to allow some 16,000 Palestinian laborers into jobs in Israel. (JP [Internet] 1/22; MENA 1/22 in WNC 1/23; MEI 1/26; al-Ahram [Internet] 1/28) (see 12/18)

Israel suspends cooperation with the Mitchell Comm. over the technical experts visit to Jerusalem on 1/13, demands the comm. get a new mandate fr. the new Bush administration. (HA, NYT 1/22; al-Quds 1/22 in WNC 1/24; BDL 1/31; WJW 2/8) (see 1/17)

In Taba, Egypt, Israel, the PA open marathon negotiations on a comprehensive final status agmt., spend the day discussing ground rules for talks, which will be based on Clinton's parameters. There is no Egyptian or U.S. mediation. (IsRN 1/21; MM, NYT, WP 1/22; MENA 1/22 in WNC 1/23; al-Quds 1/23 in WNC 1/24; WP 1/23; MEI 1/26) (see Peace Monitor)

January 21 2002

2 Palestinians killed.

In its largest military operation in the West Bank and Gaza since 1967, Israel sends a large number of IDF infantry, tanks, APCs, armored bulldozers into Tulkarm in a predawn operation to totally reoccupy the city, taking control of the city center, occupying buildings (including a college, the mayor's home) and apartments as observer posts, hoisting Israeli flags, imposing a 24-hr. curfew, conducting house-to-house searches, detaining at least 30 Palestinians. The IDF reportedly responds to "scattered resistance," leaving 2 Palestinians dead, 15 wounded. IDF soldiers also fire on 2 ambulances coming to the aid of the wounded, seriously injuring 1 ambulance driver. Israel says the operation will last "only a few days." The IDF also sends tanks deep into PA-controlled Nablus; directs heavy machine gun fire at residential areas of Ramallah; conducts an arrest raid in Nahalin. Senior IDF officials suggest that Israel is preparing to make more deep incursions into PA areas "to destroy more infrastructure and to kill more terrorists." The IDF also bulldozes Palestinian land along bypass road 60 outside Hebron. Some 40 Palestinians attempt to block the bulldozers but are confronted by armed Jewish settlers who fire in the air and beat the Palestinians, seriously injuring 1 Palestinian. (MM, WP 1/21, 1/22; al-Quds 1/23 in WNC 1/30; MEI 1/25; PCHR 1/26; JP 2/1)

The Israeli-Arab legal center Adalah formally asks Israeli atty. gen. Elyakim Rubenstein to reconsider his recent decision not to compel the Custodian for Absentees' Property to comply with Israeli 1998 freedom of information act by releasing data on the moveable property of Palestinian refugees seized by Israel in 1948. Rubenstein rejected the request on the ground that it would damage Israel's foreign relations, require excessive time and resources to comply. Adalah 1st submitted its request in 1999. The atty. gen.'s office ignored 15 follow-up requests for a decision btwn. 1999+n2002. (Adalah press release 1/28)

The PA releases NISP head Salih (arrested 1/5).

January 21 2003

1 Palestinian killed.

The IDF bulldozes 63 shops, market stalls in Nazlat Issa, 1 of the only thriving Palestinian commercial centers, located very close to the West Bank border with Israel; maps of Israel’s planned security fence show the fence running e. of Nazlat Issa, which would cut off the village fr. the rest of the West Bank. The IDF also beats 2 Palestinian photographers for international agencies as they try to photograph an IDF jeep driving through Nablus with 2 Palestinian youths clinging to the hood, threaten to kill the journalists if they see the photo published; fires on residential areas of Bayt Lahia; conducts arrest raids (targeting Hamas, Islamic Jihad) in Hebron, Jenin r.c., Jericho, Nablus, Ramallah; demolishes a Palestinian home in Yatta, nr. Hebron. Israeli border police halt a suspicious van nr. Umm al-Fahm, just inside the Green Line; the 4 occupants of the car flee (2 into Israel, 2 into the West Bank); police find 300 kg. of explosives inside. Shin Bet arrests the wife of jailed PFLP leader Saadat at the Allenby border crossing, on her way to Jordan to fly to Brazil for a conference; gives no reason for her detention. A Palestinian dies of injuries received on 3/4/02. (BBC, HA 1/21; HA, LAW, NYT, PCHR, PM, PR, WT 1/22; PM 1/23)

Reversing an 8/18/02 decision, the Israeli High Court rules that the IDF’s "neighborhood procedure" (i.e., sending a Palestinian to warn a wanted individual to surrender to IDF troops waiting nearby) is legal, saying the IDF may not force Palestinians to act as human shields, but it may use them if they “volunteer.” (HA, WT 1/22)

Islamic Jihad says that 2 of its low-ranking mbrs. have escaped fr. the IDF’s Ofer detention center in the West Bank.

January 21 2004

1 Palestinian killed.

The IDF continues operations in Rafah, firing on stone-throwing youths, shelling residential areas of Rafah, killing 1 Palestinian woman in her garden, wounding her 13-yr.-old nephew; opens fire on farmers working their fields nr. Khan Yunis, wounding 2; seals a Palestinian home in East Jerusalem; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Nablus, Rafah, Tulkarm r.c.; begins construction of the separation wall around Kiryat Arba settlement in Hebron, bulldozing a grove of 100 trees. (PM 1/21; HA, LAW, PCHR 1/22; PR 1/28)

The WZO urges every Jewish family in the diaspora to buy $50 worth of Israeli products/mo. to help stimulate the Israeli economy, create 20,000 Israeli jobs. (JP 1/21)

January 21 2005

1 Palestinian killed.

Some 1,000 PA security forces begin to set up roadblocks, conduct patrols, halt and search Palestinian vehicles along the n. Gaza border; another 2,000 security forces plan to spread out across the entire Gaza border with Israel in the coming days. The IDF shoots, wounds a Palestinian who strays too close to the separation wall w. of Jenin. A Palestinian dies of injuries received nr. Jenin on 12/29. (BBC, MM, PM, WP, WT 1/21; JAZ 1/21 in WNC 1/22; NYT, WP, WT 1/22; OCHA 1/26; PCHR 1/27)

Palestinians throw 3 explosive devices at an IDF patrol in Nablus, causing no damage or injuries.

January 21 2006

1 Palestinian killed.

The IDF fires on 3 unarmed Palestinians approaching the n. Gaza border fence, killing 1 Palestinian, wounding 2; bars several Change and Reform candidates fr. crossing a Jenin checkpoint to attend campaign rallies in nearby villages; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron, Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarm. (HA 1/22; PCHR 1/26)

January 21 2007

The IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in Azariyya, Yatta. (OCHA 1/24; PCHR 1/25)

In Bayt Lahiya, ESF, Fatah mbrs. exchange fire, causing no injuries.

January 21 2008

1 Palestinian killed.

The World Food Program and UNRWA, which distribute food to 887,000 Gazans, say that because of Israel’s restrictions on food and fuel imports, they will have to cease operations by 1/24 and 1/25, respectively. Bakeries are expected to run out of flour within days, and meat prices have doubled in the past 10 days. The UN reports 40–50% of Gazans no longer have access to running water. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus, nr. Hebron; fires on 10s of Palestinians in al-Shayukh nr. Hebron holding a nonviolent protest against Israel’s siege of Gaza, wounding 1. A 2d AMB mbr. wounded in a 1/15 IDF missile strike dies (see 1/17). (NYT, WP, WT 1/22; OCHA, WP 1/23; PCHR 1/24)

In Gaza City, 1,500 Palestinians attend a PPCAS rally urging Israel to lift the siege. Reform and Change legislators lead a peaceful demonstration of 1,000 Palestinians at the Rafah border, appealing to Egypt to open the crossing. Palestinians fire 8 rockets and mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Egyptian security forces uncover a smuggling tunnel on the Rafah border, exchange gunfire with the tunnel’s Egyptian owners, leaving 1 dead, 1 injured.

January 21 2009

5 Palestinians killed.

Israel completed the pullout of its troops from the Gaza Strip. The withdrawal was completed before dawn and an army spokesperson stated that "as of this morning, the last of the Israel Defense Forces soldiers have left the Gaza Strip" and redeployed around it, adding that they were "prepared for any occurrences." Initially, it had been the aim of the IDF to have the last Israeli soldier leave Gaza before the inauguration of US President Barack Obama. Spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister Mark Regev indicated that "we've redeployed on our side of the frontier and we will follow events closely. If Hamas breaks the ceasefire, we of course reserve the right to act to protect our people." (AP, BBC, Haaretz, Ma'an News Agency, Reuters)

Palestinian medical sources in Gaza reported that the bodies of two women, Kamila Al-Attar, aged 90, and Halima Siyam, aged 62, were discovered in the northern part of the Gaza Strip and that three additional persons, who had been wounded earlier during the IDF offensive, had died. They indicated that these latest deaths brought the death toll in Gaza to 1,323. (IMEMC, Ma'an News Agency)

Israeli forces arrested seven young Palestinians, mostly teenagers, in the northern West Bank. They were seized from their homes in the village of Qayrout, south of Nablus. Several Israeli patrols raided the village overnight and ransacked a number of houses. (IMEMC, Ma'an News Agency)

Six Palestinians were arrested in a pre-dawn attack in the village of Sa'er in the southern West Bank. (IMEMC)

Undercover Israeli forces arrested Salih Kamil, a leader of the Islamic Jihad, at his home in Qabatiya, south of Jenin. (IMEMC, Ma'an News Agency)

A Palestinian woman was injured by a rubber-coated steel bullet fired by Israeli troops in the West Bank village of Shoykh Al Arob near Hebron. Troops had fired on youths throwing stones. (IMEMC)

Israeli Navy boats shelled areas in the Gaza Strip but did not cause any injuries or damage. (IMEMC)

Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit indicated that neither Egypt nor Israel knew whether captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was still alive. Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouq stated that Israel must think about the fate of Shalit after its massive bombing of the Gaza Strip. He noted that the issue of Shalit will receive more prominence in the future. (AFP, Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, Ynetnews)

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said after talks with EU officials in Brussels that crossings into Gaza were open for humanitarian purposes and Israel was ready to cooperate "as far as needed" to ensure vital aid got through. We are working with the international community and international organisations in order to help in answering the needs in the Gaza Strip," Ms. Livni told the news conference. Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, whose country holds the current EU Presidency, told a news briefing the EU had obtained permission for a mission to enter the Gaza Strip with aid, but added that it was not clear yet how much assistance could be brought in." (Reuters)

ICRC indicated that unexploded munitions were a threat to civilians and humanitarian work in the Gaza Strip. It said that it was assessing the extent of the damage caused by three weeks of fighting. The previous day, ICRC had indicated that the level of destruction was absolutely overwhelming and that the past three weeks of conflict had only further compounded the already critical situation in humanitarian terms that prevailed over the previous 18 months. (www.icrc.org)

It has been reported by Palestinian and Western officials that Israel had told the United Nations and other aid groups that they must apply for project-by -project Israeli approval and provide guarantees that none of the work would benefit Hamas. Mr. Olmert had stated that "the rehabilitation efforts must be coordinated by the international organizations in conjunction with Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, and Hamas, which is responsible for the destruction of Gaza, must not derive any legitimacy from the rehabilitation process." Mr. Olmert had asked Mr. Ban for assurance that any UN investigation of the damage resulting from the war in Gaza would include the damage that Palestinian-fired rockets had caused in the south of Israel and the Secretary-General had agreed to do so, according to an Israeli official. Mr. Ban told Mr. Olmert that the report would be aimed at prioritizing rehabilitation efforts, while Mr. Olmert insisted that Hamas play no role in the reconstruction. (Haaretz, Reuters)

Western and Palestinian officials reported that Israel was preventing the Palestinian Authority from transferring cash to the Gaza Strip to pay its workers and others hard-hit by the war. The restrictions threatened to undercut the ability of PA President Abbas' Government to reassert a presence in the Gaza Strip. PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad had asked Israel for permission to send more than $80 million to the Gaza Strip that would cover salary payments to some 77,000 PA workers in Gaza who report to him as well as pension and welfare payments for retirees and the poor. Much of the money comes from the European Union. So far, Israel had only allowed some $10 million into Gaza for UNRWA. (Reuters, Ynetnews)

According to a survey that the international aid agency, CARE, conducted among the inhabitants of Gaza, 89 per cent of Gaza's 1.5 million residents had not received any humanitarian aid since the beginning of Israel's offensive there in December 2008. The three-day telephone survey also showed that some 56 per cent of Gazans were hosting displaced persons in their homes. CARE said that the survey showed that more aid and humanitarian workers were needed in Gaza and that Israel should "fully open" Gaza's borders to allow "humanitarian supplies, building materials, and commercial goods into the region." (Ma'an News Agency)

EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana indicated that EU planned to put pressure on Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to re-open Gaza so that humanitarian aid can reach Palestinians in need. He said that "it is very important that Gaza is opened. And that means opening the crossings, so that the help which the international community is willing to give can arrive to those in need." Mr. Solana added that while the bloc was committed to help, both politically and economically, it was also important that Palestinians restore their unity. (Haaretz)

Israel announced plans to evacuate from the Gaza Strip some 400 persons holding dual citizenship from the following countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Norway, Philippines, Romania, Sri Lanka, Turkey and the United States. The Israeli authorities indicated that they would be taken from the Erez crossing through Israel over the Allenby (King Hussein) Bridge to Jordan for travel abroad. The evacuation is the result of requests from the Governments of the dual citizens in Gaza. (Ma'an News Agency)

The IDF announced that it would investigate charges by the United Nations and human rights groups of the use of phosphorus shells. The IDF said that it was investigating whether a reserve paratroops brigade had made improper use of phosphorus shells during the fighting in Gaza. The brigade had fired about 20 such shells in a built-up area, in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza. Some 200 such shells were said to have been fired during the fighting. In the army's view, the shells were used very sparingly aside from this one case, in compliance with international law. Earlier in the week, Amnesty International had accused Israel of committing war crimes by using phosphorus shells, one of its weapons experts indicating that "white phosphorus is a weapon intended to provide a smokescreen for troop movements on the battlefield. It is highly incendiary, air burst and its spread effect is such that it should never be used on civilian areas." (www.amnesty.org, AP, BBC, Haaretz, Ma'an News Agency, Reuters)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a statement read out on his behalf by the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, briefed the Security Council about his first-hand experience of the suffering and destruction resulting from Israel's three-week military offensive in the Gaza Strip. He urged a "massive" international effort to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. Mr. Ban said that the"violence, destruction and suffering before us have been a mark of collective political failure." The Secretary-General, whose diplomatic mission had included visits to Cairo, Amman, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Ankara, Beirut, Damascus and Sharm el-Sheikh, stated that "a true end to violence, and lasting security for both Palestinians and Israelis, will only come through a just and comprehensive settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict", adding that central to this effort is implementation of Security Council resolutions and the framework provided by the Arab Peace Initiative. "We do not need new plans and processes. We have the tools we need. We need only political will and action", Mr. Ban stated. (UN News Centre)

Palestinian officials indicated that US President Barack Obama had telephoned PA President Abbas and reiterated that his administration would work in full partnership with him to achieve peace in the Middle East. In a statement, the Office of Israeli Prime Minister Olmert indicated that he had briefed Mr. Obama on the situation in Gaza and said that "he was hoping that the measures being taken by Israel, Egypt, the United States and Europe to prevent arms smuggling into Gaza will succeed and that we would be able to consolidate the ceasefire and able to continue in the future the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority." Mr. Olmert added that Israel would invest an additional effort in supplying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip as well as in improving the financial situation of Palestinians residing in the West Bank. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that President Obama had used the opportunity on his first day in office to communicate his commitment to active engagement in pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace from the beginning of his term. During the telephone calls he had "emphasized his determination to work to help consolidate the ceasefire by establishing an effective anti-smuggling regime to prevent Hamas from rearming." Mr. Obama also intended to bolster the ceasefire by "facilitating in partnership with the Palestinian Authority a major reconstruction effort for Palestinians in Gaza." (AP, AFP, Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, Reuters, Timesonline, WAFA, Ynetnews)

PLO Executive Committee issued a statement in Ramallah, saying it was demanding that Israel commit to a comprehensive freezing of all settlement activity in and around East Jerusalem and in the occupied West Bank and a commitment to give up its hold on all occupied land captured in the 1967 Middle East war. "The Palestinian leadership are not ready to return to political negotiations with Israel unless there is a new basis for talks," the PLO said. (Reuters)

Hamas indicated that it would welcome help from the Palestinian Authority in the reconstruction of the war-ravaged Gaza Strip. Housing official Yousef Al -Mansi said that Hamas authorities would not mind coordinating with the Palestinian Authority, but that the de facto government would supervise the reconstruction effort. He said that more than $2.2 billion were needed to rebuild Gaza after the Israeli bombardment. (Ma'an News Agency)

Venezuela's Foreign Ministry said the country had sent to the Gaza Strip an air force plane loaded with 85 tons of aid supplies, a second batch of humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduros Moros, who supervised the aid shipment, said the Venezuelan Government was also considering sending doctors to assist the aid process coordinated by the United Nations. (Xinhua)

A group of Tel Aviv residents has been collecting food and clothing items over the past few days, as well as toys and hygiene products for the benefit of the residents of the Gaza Strip, many of whom have been left without the most basic supplies following Israel's three-week military offensive. "Our goal is to help the residents of Gaza who are living under unbearable conditions," Daphna Levy, one of the drive's organizers stated. "The situation we have left them in does not seem reasonable to us." The imminent transfer of the supplies to Gaza was made possible following negotiations between the "Candle for Peace" group and IDF officials. One volunteer stated that some Israelis felt as though it was their duty to "compensate" the Palestinians in Gaza. "It's very simple – there's a war, there are victims and people are volunteering to help." (Ynetnews)

Dozens of Palestinians rallied at the Red Cross headquarters in Bethlehem in solidarity with the Gaza Strip, demanding that war crimes tribunals be set up for Israeli leaders. The demonstration was organized by a committee of Palestinian political factions and the Palestinian Prisoner Society. (Ma'an News Agency)

Anonymous Israeli human rights activists set up an internet site detailing alleged war crimes committed by senior Israeli Government officials and IDF officers. The site, www.wanted.org.il includes "arrest orders" and explains how to inform the International Criminal Court of when the "suspects" are outside Israel, and hence vulnerable to arrest. (Haaretz)

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