This day in the History of the 2nd Intifada

May 13 2001

Israeli-Palestinian clashes continue. Late this evening, the IDF helicopter gunships, naval boats shells PSF posts across the Gaza Strip specifically targeting, destroying at least 8 PSF armored personnel carriers, not aiming at adjacent PSF buildings; 3 PSF officers are wounded. The IDF says the attacks were in response to the "unprecedented number of mortar attacks" (they report 17) on Jewish settlements in Gaza in the past wk. The IDF also sends tanks, bulldozers into Rafah to demolish 2 Palestinian homes; 2 other homes are damaged by shelling. (MA 5/13 in WNC 5/14; WP, WT 5/14; PCHR 5/17)

May 13 2002

2 Palestinians killed.

The IDF sends troops into Halhul, where they clash with residents, killing 2 Palestinians; searches homes in Bayt Umar. Arafat leaves Ramallah for the 1st time since 12/01 to tour damage in Bethlehem, Jenin town, Nablus; the turnout to greet him relatively poor. In Ramallah, 5 masked men attack, beat PA M for NGO affairs Hassan Asfour, injuring him, his bodyguard. (AFP 5/13; NYT, WP, WT 5/14; MA 5/14 in WNC 5/17; QA 5/15 in WNC 5/16; MEI 5/17)

May 13 2003

IDF undercover units arrest 2 senior Hamas mbrs. in a raid on Ramallah. The IDF also demolishes a Palestinian home in Qalqilya; occupies a Palestinian home in Dayr al-Balah; blows up a carpentry shop in Nablus; conducts arrest raids in Qalqilya. The body of the missing 4/29 British bomber washes up on shore nr. Tel Aviv; he apparently drowned. (AFP, BBC, HA, JP, MM 5/13; AFP, HA, MM, NYT, WP, WT 5/14; NYT, PCHR 5/15; MM 5/16; HA 5/18, 5/19)

In a predawn raid on Umm al-Fahm, Israeli police arrest 15 Israeli Arabs, all leading mbrs. of the Islamic Movement (which has 2 seats in the Knesset) on charges of laundering millions of dollars for Hamas in the guise of raising money for charitable orgs.; police say they do not have proof that the Islamic Movement funded acts of terrorism. (HA, JP, MM 5/13; HA, MM, NYT, WP, WT 5/14)

Palestinians fire 3 Qassam rockets at Sederot; 1 falls on a factory outside the city, lightly injuring 3 Israelis. Palestinians also fire 2 mortars at an IDF base nr. Gush Katif settlement, lightly injuring 9 soldiers, moderately injuring 1; in retaliation, the IDF sends more than 100 tanks and armored vehicles, supported by helicopters, into Khan Yunis, shelling residential areas, wounding at least 20 Palestinians, demolishing 26 Palestinian homes (leaving 247 Palestinians homeless), damaging another 30.

May 13 2004

16 Palestinians killed.

The IDF sends reinforcements into Rafah to search for the remains of the 5 soldiers killed on 5/12, firing missiles at 2 groups of Palestinians laying roadside bombs (killing 11 Palestinians, seriously injuring 1), fatally shooting 1 Palestinian, wounding 10s, occupying and demolishing a number of Palestinian homes. The IDF also sends troops back into Gaza City, demolishing 6 apartment buildings completely, severely damaging several others plus a mosque, firing missiles at a group of Palestinians allegedly planting explosives, killing 4 Palestinians, wounding 13. In addition, the IDF fires live ammunition, tear gas at 100s of Palestinians who have been waiting to cross the Abu Huli checkpoint in s. Gaza for 2 days, seriously injuring 1; conducts major arrest raids in Bayt Awa nr. Hebron, in and around Tulkarm r.c. and town; demolishes a Palestinian home in Ramallah; occupies 2 Palestinian homes in al-Qarara as observation posts. (AFP, AP, BBC, HA, NYT, WP 5/13; MA, MENA, PSCT, VOI, VOP, YA 5/13 in WNC 5/15; NYT, WP, WT 5/14; VOI, YA 5/14 in WNC 5/18; PCHR 5/20)

Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket at a Jewish settlement in Gaza, lightly damaging 2 houses, lightly injuring 1 settler.

May 13 2005

The IDF sets fire to a grove of 60 olive, almond trees in Bayt Laqia; sends troops into Tubas to patrol streets, search Palestinian vehicles; conducts patrols in Nablus; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron. Jewish settlers fr. Avraham Avino rampage through Palestinian areas of Hebron, vandalizing buildings. Jewish settlers fr. Einav set fire to Palestinian agricultural land nr Tulkarm, destroying 2 d. of crops. (PM 5/13; OCHA 5/13; PCHR 5/19)

May 13 2006

1 Israeli killed.

The IDF closes the Qarni crossing for the day; intercepts a Palestinian fishing boat off the s. Gaza coast, arresting 2 fishermen on suspicion of smuggling; conducts arrest raids, house searches in Nablus, nr. Hebron. An Israeli wounded in the 4/17 Tel Aviv suicide bombing dies of his injuries, bring that toll to 10. (MM, NYT 5/15; PCHR 5/18; IMEMC 5/23)

In n. Gaza, an explosive device detonates outside the home of a senior Fatah mbr., causing no injuries; no group claims responsibility. Hamas, Fatah/AMB leaders in n. Gaza hold another urgent mtg. to reduce tensions and prevent violence. The sides agree to end the public display of weapons, remove roadblocks installed by mbrs. of both factions on roads in various areas, form an investigative comm. to look into the causes of local tensions and to peacefully resolve them.

May 13 2007

The Israeli navy fires on Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Rafah, forcing them to return to shore. The IDF makes a helicopter rocket strike on a suspected rocket-launching site nr. Bayt Hanun, causing no injuries. Olmert’s security cabinet discusses military options for dealing with continued rocket fire fr. Gaza; no decisions are reached; talks are expected to continue over the next several days. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron, nr. Jenin, and in Balata r.c., Nablus. Israel’s Jerusalem authorities issue an eviction order to the Palestinian al-Ansari Library in Jerusalem (one of the largest collections in Jerusalem with 45,000 books), slating the building for demolition to make way for a train station. A Jewish settler guard at Burkan settlement nr. Salfit shoots, wounds a Palestinian driver who routinely transports Palestinian workers to and fr. the settlement; no reason is given. (Ma’an News Agency 5/13; NYT 5/14; OCHA 5/16; PCHR 5/17)

Heavy Fatah-Hamas fighting in Gaza escalates, leaving 5 Palestinians dead (including AMB cmdr. Bahaa Abu Jarad and his bodyguard), around 20 wounded. Egyptian mediators broker a truce late in the day, but fighting continues.

May 13 2008

1 Palestinian killed.

Overnight, the IDF makes an incursion into Khuza, bulldozing 225 d. of agricultural land, 41 greenhouses, at least 150 beehives. During the day, the IDF makes an air strike on a group of Hamas mbr. in al-Qarara, killing 1 Hamas mbr., seriously wounding 1. In the West Bank, the IDF bulldozes 2 d. of Palestinian land nr. a settlers-only bypass road s. of Hebron to erect a military post; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in Abu Dis and Nablus, and nr. Hebron (targeting the home of a journalist, arresting him). (PCHR 5/15)

May 13 2009

Israel opened the Kerem Shalom, Karni and Nahal Oz crossing points with the Gaza Strip to allow the passage of 115 trucks of commercial and humanitarian goods, as well as limited amounts of fuel and cooking oil. (Ma’an News Agency)

Haaretz reported that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was expected to promise, during his meeting with US President Obama at the White House on 18 May that Israel would remove all restrictions on the movement of foodstuffs into the Gaza Strip. (Haaretz)

The office of Hatim Abdul Qader, the Jerusalem affairs adviser to PA President Abbas, said that the Jerusalem municipality had decided the previous day to demolish nine more Palestinian homes that provided shelter to more than 70 residents in the Al-Thoury neighbourhood near Silwan in East Jerusalem. Furthermore, the Jerusalem municipality had handed the owner of an apartment building an order to demolish the building housing 250 residents. (IMEMC)

At the request of Libya, the Security Council held a closed meeting to discuss the findings of the Board of Inquiry into the Gaza attacks on UN property. Libya had circulated a draft resolution calling on Israel "to publicly retract and regret untrue allegations" and pay reparations. It would also authorize the Security Council "to consider any actions or measures" to avoid a repetition of attacks on UN premises. Council President, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation Vitaly Churkin indicated in a brief press statement after the meeting that "the members of the Council expressed their concern about the findings of the report ... [and] expressed general interest to be kept abreast of the progress of the matter as the Secretary-General deems appropriate." When asked about the status of the Libyan draft, Mr. Churkin said he believed the Libyan delegation "sensed the tenor of the discussion of this matter by the members of the Council and does not currently intend to move on its proposed draft resolution.” (AP)

Four former US Ambassadors of Jewish origin sent a letter to US President Obama asserting that there was a broad consensus within the American Jewish community in support of an active US role in reaching a two-State solution. The former diplomats were: Samuel W. Lewis, former ambassador to Israel; Robert H. Pelletreau, Jr., former ambassador to Egypt; Thomas R. Pickering, Jr., former ambassador to Israel and Jordan; and Edward S. Walker, Jr., former ambassador to Israel and Egypt. They also called for an immediate renewal of US-mediated Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, a freeze on West Bank settlement construction, the immediate reconstruction of Gaza and the cessation of Palestinian terror attacks on Israelis. (Haaretz)

Pope Benedict XVI witnessed the watchtowers and high walls sealing Bethlehem off from Jerusalem as he entered the West Bank, and pressed his call for a Palestinian State. The papal convoy drove slowly through three big steel gates in the fortified barrier of towering concrete slabs. A warm welcome greeted him along the steep, ancient streets of Bethlehem. “Mr President, the Holy See supports the right of your people to a sovereign Palestinian homeland in the land of your forefathers, secure and at peace with its neighbours, within internationally recognized borders. Even if at present that goal seems far from being realized, I urge you and all your people to keep alive the flame of hope, hope that a way can be found of meeting the legitimate aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians for peace and stability,” Pope Benedict told PA President Abbas at a ceremony shortly afterwards. (Reuters, www.vatican.va)

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad decided to postpone the forming of a new Government until 17 May, citing Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Bethlehem as the reason for the delay. (Ma’an News Agency)

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