This day in the History of the 2nd Intifada

December 3 2000

Israeli-Palestinian clashes continue, leaving 1 Palestinian dead. The worst fighting is nr. Bethlehem, where armed Jewish settlers fire on Palestinians outside a mosque in Husan, trapping other worshipers inside; IDF soldiers intervene, firing guns and tear gas; the situation devolves into a riot that spreads to al-Khadir. In total, 25+n30 Palestinians are injured.

The IDF shells neighboring Aida, Bayt Jala in retaliation for palestinian Gilo attack, destroying 1 home, damaging 10s. The IDF also shells Khan Yunis, bulldozes 14 dunams of agricultural land in the Rafah area; sends more tanks into Gaza. (LAW 12/3; WP, WT 12/4; HJ 12/4 in WNC 12/8; BDL, NYT, WP, WT 12/5; PR 12/6; MEI 12/8; PCHR 12/18)

Israel says it will cooperate fully with the Mitchell Comm. but expects PA-Israeli differences over the comm.'s mandate to be resolved before investigators arrive in mid-12/00. (WP, WT 12/4; MA 12/4 in WNC 12/8; MM 12/6; JP 12/7) (see 12/2)

After dark, Palestinian snipers for the 1st time in a wk. open fire on Gilo settlement, causing no injuries.

December 3 2001

3 Palestinians killed.

Upon his return fr. the U.S. Sharon meets with his security cabinet, then his full cabinet to discuss how to respond to the 12/1+n2 attacks. The full cabinet votes to declare the PA "an entity that supports terrorism," adds Force 17 (Arafat's "presidential guard") to its list of terrorist groups, authorizes Sharon to escalate military action. FM Shimon Peres, other Labor MKs walk out of the cabinet mtg. in protest but do not formally withdraw fr. the governing coalition. (AP, CNN, HA, MM 12/3; MM, NYT, WP, WT 12/4; MM, WJW 12/6; MEI 12/7; MA 12/7 in WNC 12/12; WP 12/9)

Soon after the cabinet mtg., the IDF launches air raids against Arafat's headquarters and other PA sites around Gaza City, destroying the PSF barracks, Arafat's 2 personal helicopters, injuring 12 Palestinians; sends tanks into Gaza airport to bulldoze runways; sends troops into Ramallah to surround the PA's West Bank headquarters, where Arafat is staying. In Jinin, U.S.-supplied F-16s destroy the Palestinian governate building, jail, PSF headquarters. The IDF also fatally shoots 1 Palestinian nr. Jinin; raids Beitunia, attacking several homes and arresting an Arafat adviser, several Islamic Jihad mbrs. In Bethlehem, Fatah mbrs. Rafat al-Bajali and Nidal al-Dirbani, both on Israel's wanted list, are killed in a mysterious explosion thought to be an IDF assassination. The White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says Israel "obviously has the right to defend itself. The president understands that very clearly." (AFP, AP, CNN, HA 12/3; XIN 12/3 in WNC 12/4; MENA 12/3, AN, MA 12/4 in WNC 12/5; HA, HP, NYT, WP, WT 12/4; HP, LAW 12/5; AYM 12/5 in WNC 12/7; AYM 12/6, al-Safir 12/7 in WNC 12/11; MEI 12/7; WJW 12/14; MEI 12/21)

While the Sharon cabinet meets in Israel, the PSF continues to arrest mbrs. of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, risking confrontations with hostile Palestinian crowds. Arafat also orders the arrest of Hamas spiritual leader Shaykh Ahmad Yasin, but when PSF officers arrive around midnight, crowds of Palestinians force them to retreat. The PSF says it has arrested more than 100 Palestinians since 12/2. Arafat asks Peres for a 4-day grace period, during which he vows he would crack down on opposition groups. Israel refuses, dismissing the arrests as a "show for international consumption." The U.S. says the PA must "root out the infrastructure of the groups that support terrorists." (HA 12/3; NYT, WP, WT 12/4; AKH 12/4 in WNC 12/5; MEI 12/7; MA 12/7 in WNC 12/11; WT 12/10)

December 3 2002

1 Palestinian killed.

IDF soldiers halt a taxi-van in Ramallah, smash its windows, spray it with gunfire, killing a 95-yr.-old Palestinian woman, wounding a 2d passenger; claim the taxi was moving in a closed military zone. The IDF also closes two District Coordination Offices (DCOs), liaisons btwn. the IDF and PSF, in Jenin and Ramallah; demolishes a PSF outpost in al-Qarara; fires on residential areas of Khan Yunis. In Hebron, 4 IDF soldiers detain 5 Palestinians at a barbershop, forcibly shave the heads of 2 of them, use 3 as human shields, standing behind them and firing over their shoulders at stone throwers (LAW, PCHR 12/3; NYT, WP, WT 12/4; WT 12/31; WP 1/1; SA 1/13 in WNC 1/14)

December 3 2003

The IDF removes 3 roadblocks outside Ramallah; shoots, wounds 2 Palestinians in Balata r.c.; blows up a Palestinian home nr. Hebron. (MM 12/3; LAW, MM, PCHR 12/4; PCHR 12/11)

December 3 2004

1 Palestinian killed.

An IDF naval commando unit raids Raba village nr. Jenin; shoots, wounds, disarms, then executes wanted Islamic Jihad mbr. Mahmud Kamil (also reported as Mahmud Hammad). The IDF also fires on residential areas of Gaza City, Rafah (wounding a 60-yr.-old Palestinian woman inside her home). (AP 12/3; AFP 12/3 in WNC 12/7; BBC, NYT 12/7; PCHR 12/9)

December 3 2005

2 Palestinians killed.

The IDF fires on, sinks a Palestinian fishing boat off in Palestinian waters off Gaza, killing 1 Palestinian, leaving 1 missing; the IDF says that it attempted to halt the boat after the Palestinian sailor headed towards Egyptian waters alone and returned with a passenger, but the boat ignored warning shots and fired back at the naval vessel, causing no damage or injuries. (The IDF says that videotape that routinely records the naval unit's activity ran out about three minutes before the incident.) The IDF also begins work on a new segment of the separation wall northwest of Jerusalem in al-Jib, Dahiyat al-Barid; conducts arrest raids, house searches in al-Khadir, Qabatya nr. Jenin. A Jewish settler injures a Palestinian child in a deliberate hit-and-run nr. Qalqilya. (AP, HA, IMEMC 12/3; AFP, HA 12/4; PCHR, WT 12/5; PCHR 12/8; IMEMC 12/10)

After Palestinians fire 2 rockets into Israel, causing no damage or injuries, an IDF helicopter fires missiles at an Islamic Jihad charity in Gaza City, damaging the building, lightly wounding 1 bystander. In response, Palestinians fire 3 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In retaliation, the IDF carries out artillery and F-16 air strikes on open areas in Gaza, firing at least 30 shells and 3 missiles, causing no damage or injuries. A PA policeman, 4 Palestinians are shot dead in Bayt Hanun during a clash btwn. rival Palestinian clans that erupts at the funeral for the mbr. of 1 family who was killed on 12/1.

December 3 2006

1 Palestinian killed.

Israel says it will not expand the Gaza cease-fire to the West Bank, noting that Palestinians have fired 15 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel since the unilateral truce went into effect on 11/26. IDF troops on the Gaza border e. of Gaza City fire on Palestinian farmers who stray too close to the border fence, causing no injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF fires on stone-throwing youths in ‘Askar r.c. nr. Nablus, killing a 15-yr.-old Palestinian; patrols in Hebron’s al-Rajabi neighborhood, firing percussion grenades, severely beating a 16-yr.-old Palestinian boy who throws stones at troops; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Ramallah and in Hebron, Nur al-Shams r.c. nr. Tulkarm, al-Sammu‘. A Jewish settler injures 3 Palestinians in a deliberate hit-and-run at Hawara checkpoint outside Nablus. Jewish settlers fr. Haggai nr. Hebron fire on a Palestinian home in nearby Khirbat Qalqas, seriously wounding a 6-yr.-old Palestinian boy. Under IDF protection, Jewish settler women fr. Kiryat Arba hold a gathering on a plot of Palestinian land, which they have planned to confiscate for some time, adjacent to the settlement. (MM, NYT, WP 12/4; OCHA 12/6; PCHR 12/7; AIC 1/17)

December 3 2007

Israel releases 429 Palestinian prisoners (overwhelmingly Fatah, but including some mbrs. of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the PFLP; around 20 are fr. Gaza) as a gesture to Abbas. Israel also allows 150 Palestinian pilgrims to leave Gaza through the Rafah crossing for the Hajj. The IDF conducts arrest raids in Wadi al-Silqa nr. Dayr al-Balah, shooting and wounding 1 Palestinian. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in Tubas and nr. Hebron, Nablus, Ramallah. (NYT, WP 12/4; OCHA 12/5; PCHR 12/6)

The PA orders 92 Hamas-affiliated charities in the West Bank to close.

December 3 2008

The Security Council held a meeting at the request of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to discuss what was described as Israel's refusal to allow a Libyan vessel carrying humanitarian supplies to reach the port of Gaza. A letter addressed to the Security Council from Libya's Permanent Mission to the UN stated that the Israeli navy had intercepted the vessel, the Al-Marwa, which was headed to Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid for children and the sick, who were suffering due to the blockade of Gaza. Libya's representative said that the ship should be allowed to deliver its cargo, and that the UN and humanitarian organizations like the International Red Cross and Red Crescent could inspect the ship to verify that it only carried food and medicine. (www.un.org)

Hebron settlers accused Israeli security forces of throwing stun grenades at them during clashes which had erupted earlier in the day. Hebron settler leader Noam Arnon said that border police and Israeli police were to blame for the recent escalation of violence. Public Security Minister Avi Dichter called for a mutual understanding to be reached ahead of the evacuation of the house in Hebron the settlers had barricaded themselves in, adding, "However, if need be, the security system will use force" . Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak was scheduled to meet with settler leaders the following day. (Haaretz)

Quartet Representative Tony Blair, in a meeting at the Council on Foreign Relations said that "slender and real grounds for hope" existed to advance negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians but urged swift and concerted actions by international and local actors to restore credibility to the peace talks. He also said that "The political process and changing the reality on the ground have to march in lockstep." (www.cfr.org)

Newsweek reported that US President-elect Barack Obama was considering a deployment of NATO forces to the West Bank as part of a plan for resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Former US-National Security Advisors Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski have reportedly endorsed the strategy in recent days. (Ma'an News Agency)

Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Giampaolo di Paola, told Haaretz that diplomatic, not military, consideration would determine whether or not NATO would decide to deploy forces along the Israeli-Syrian border or in the Israeli-Palestinian sector. When asked whether NATO was preparing contingency plans, in the event that member states expressed willingness to deploy a peace force to the region, as well as whether NATO had sufficient forces for such a mission, Admiral Di Paola noted that three conditions laid down by NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer were needed to deploy NATO forces: a diplomatic agreement, an invitation from the parties and the agreement of the Security Council. A senior NATO official added that it would be easy to allocate units for such a mission out of NATO's approximately three million uniformed troops. (Haaretz)

Gaza Strip militants fired three rockets into the western Negev which struck open areas near a kibbutz. Earlier in the day they fired mortar shells into Israel, one of which damaged a power cable transferring electricity to the Gaza Strip, according to Israeli Army Radio. In a statement, the armed wing of Hamas said it had fired several mortar shells, targeting Israeli border communities near the Gaza Strip and army posts. (Haaretz, Xinhua)

A 31-year-old Palestinian from East Jerusalem was seriously wounded in Jerusalem in a stabbing that he said had been perpetrated by religious Jews near the ultra-Orthodox area of Mea She'arim. (Haaretz)

Security forces affiliated with Hamas in the Gaza Strip freed three journalists close to Fatah who had been arrested more than two months ago. (AFP)

The European Union anounced a 14.8 million contribution through PEGASE to pay salaries and pensions of 78,000 Palestinian beneficiaries. (www.delwbg.ec.europa.eu)

Leaders of Israel's Arab community said they would head to Gaza on a boat laden with humanitarian aid in defiance of their Government's blockade of the territory. Zahi Nujeidat, a spokesman for Israel's Islamic Movement, said dozens of Arab Israelis would set sail on 7 December from the port of Jaffa. At the same time, the Qatari Charity group said it would send a ship with humanitarian aid to Gaza from Cyprus, despite the Israeli blockade. (Haaretz)

Under the auspices of the Catholic Relief Services and the Federation of Youth Foundations, a conference entitled "Hand in hand towards unified Palestine" was held in Gaza City. Director of UNRWA Operations in the Gaza Strip John Ging, who attended the conference, said that "the world should be embarrassed" of the deteriorated living conditions in Gaza and called on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards Gaza. (Ma'an News Agency)

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