This day in the History of the 2nd Intifada

April 23 2001

2 Palestinians killed.

In the West Bank and Gaza, Israeli-Palestinian clashes continue, leaving 1 Palestinian dead; a 2d Palestinian dies of injuries received earlier. At a funeral for a PSF officer in Gaza, a 12-yr.-old Palestinian boy is shot dead, 14 Palestinians are wounded when settlers, IDF soldiers at a nearby settlement open fire thinking the PA's 21-gun salute is gunfire aimed at them. The IDF also directs heavy machine gun fire at Gaza airport. (AP 4/23; Interfax 4/23, MENA, al-Quds 4/24 in WNC 4/25; MM, NYT, WP, WT 4/24)

PA and Israeli security officials hold a round of "constructive" talks at the U.S. amb.'s residence in Israel, with CIA participation (see 4/4). Arafat makes a public statement in Arabic that he does not "agree to any form of attack on Israeli or Palestinian civilians." (AP 4/23; MM, NYT, WP, WT 4/24; AP, NYT 4/25; SA 4/25 in WNC 4/26; DUS 4/27 in WNC 4/30; WJW 5/3)

Iran sponsors an NGO conference in support of Palestinians' human rights in Tehran. Attendees call on states to take actions in support of the Palestinians (such as providing aid, boycotting Israel) instead of making statements of support. (IRNA 4/23 in WNC 4/25) (see Peace Monitor)

A car bomb explodes in Or Yehuda, outside Tel Aviv, lightly injuring 4 Israelis. The PFLP claims responsibility (see 4/2). The PSF claims to fire antitank weapons at 7 IDF tanks, 2 bulldozers, foiling their attempt to reenter Rafah to demolish more homes (see 4/14). A roadside bomb explodes outside Ariel settlement, causing no damage.

April 23 2002

The IDF raids several West Bank villages, arresting 26 Palestinians. This evening, the IDF sets off controlled explosions in the jail that walls on Arafat's offices in the Ramallah compound. The IDF, Palestinian officials open talks on ending the Church of the Nativity siege; 3 Armenian Orthodox monks surrender, leave their dormitory in the church complex. The IDF lifts the curfew on Bethlehem for 2 hrs. (AFP, AP 4/23; MM, NYT, WP, WT 4/24; XIN 4/24 in WNC 4/25; MM 4/25; JP, MEI 5/3)

In Hebron, Palestinian gunmen fatally shoot 3 collaborators.

April 23 2003

1 Palestinian killed.

The IDF fires on, seriously wounds Islamic Jihad mbr. Anas Sharita in an attempt to arrest him in Nablus; conducts arrest raids in Jenin (targeting Islamic Jihad, including 2 mbrs. arrested in a hospital, where 1 was receiving treatment for gunshot wounds), Qalqilya (targeting the PFLP); fires on Palestinians at Surda checkpoint nr. Ramallah for no apparent reason, wounding 5; demolishes 5 Palestinian homes in al-Mughraqa, 1 in Bayt Hanun (also bulldozing 37 dunams of land). Late in the evening, Hamas mbr. Shibli Tamasi is killed, 3 Palestinians are wounded in a mysterious explosion in Idna. (HA 4/23; HA, LAW, PCHR 4/24; PR 4/30; LAW, PCHR 5/1)

Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket at Sederot, causing no damage or injuries.

April 23 2004

4 Palestinians killed.

The IDF fatally shoots 3 wanted AMB mbrs. in Qalqilya in an apparent assassination, injuring a 4th; arrests a Palestinian woman in Hebron who allegedly attempted to stab a soldier; conducts arrest raids in Jenin and Qalqilya, nr. Tulkarm; fires on residential areas of Rafah. In an apparent botched assassination, the IDF raids a village outside Nablus, fatally shoots 1 Palestinian whom it claims was an armed Hamas mbr. who had fired on the troops while attempting to avoid arrest; local Palestinians say the man killed, `Amr Abu Laymun, was an unarmed college professor with no affiliation to Hamas. (AFP 4/23; NYT, WP, WT 4/24; PR 4/28; PCHR 4/29)

April 23 2005

The IDF arrests 7 unarmed Palestinians attempting to sneak into Israel fr. Gaza (5 nr. Kissufim crossing, 2 in central Gaza) to seek work; raids a photo exhibit sponsored by Hamas in Yassid nr. Nablus. Jewish settlers fr. Beit Hadassah in Hebron attack Palestinian students outside a girls' elementary school, injuring 10 (including 3 requiring hospitalization). (IMEMC 4/23; VOI 4/23 in WNC 4/26; HA 4/24; OCHA 4/27; PCHR 4/28)

A Palestinian stabs, lightly injures an IDF soldier outside Ganim settlement, steals his gun. Palestinians fire a Qassam rocket toward Sederot, causing no damage or injuries; the IDF arrests 4 suspects. Senior Islamic Jihad mbr. Shaykh Khadir says that Islamic Jihad should reconsider its truce in light of the IDF's alleged assassination of an AMB mbr. in Balata r.c. on 4/14, the upswing in arrest raids targeting Islamic Jihad mbrs. since the 2/25 Tel Aviv bombing.

April 23 2006

2 Palestinians killed.

IDF undercover units raid Bethlehem, open fire on a car, assassinating wanted AMB mbrs. Daniel Abu Hammami and Ahmad Muslih, wounding a 3d. The IDF also closes Kerem Shalom crossing for the day; raids al-Amal Hospital in Nablus, searching wards for wanted Palestinians; raids a PA police station in Azariyya in East Jerusalem, detaining 2 officers; conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron and nr. Bethlehem, Tulkarm. (IMEMC, PNN, YA 4/23; MM, WP, WT 4/24; OCHA 4/26; PCHR 4/27)

In Gaza City, armed Fatah mbrs. protest outside the PA Health Min. offices in Gaza City, demanding assistance for relatives in need of medical treatment abroad, and begin to riot when they are told that budget constraints have forced the government to slash funding for medical transports abroad; when PA police are unable to quell the demonstration, the Health M calls in Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades mbrs. to support the police, sparking an exchange of gunfire with the Fatah mbrs., leaving 3 Fatah mbrs. wounded. In Nablus, AMB gunmen (mbrs. of the PA security forces) fire on the historic Nablus municipal building, forcing employees to evacuate, demanding that the Hamas mayor close his offices, that the PA pay their salaries. To calm tensions, Abbas orders the PA security forces to cancel plans for a massive pro-Fatah rally in Ramallah against Mishal’s 4/21 statements.

April 23 2007

In the West Bank, the IDF patrols, fires on residential areas of Nablus; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Hebron and in Qabatya, al-Til. (NYT, WP 4/24; OCHA 4/25; PCHR 4/26)

Palestinians fire a rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In Shati’ r.c., 2 Hamas mbrs. are injured when explosives they are handling detonate prematurely. The PRCs release 4 Palestinians abducted in Jabaliya r.c. on 4/22, saying the incident, especially the death of a 5th abductee on 4/22, was a “regrettable mistake.”

April 23 2008

1 Palestinian killed.

In Gaza, the IDF makes a late-night air strike on a group of Hamas mbrs. in Khan Yunis, missing them, hitting an apartment building, causing no injuries; makes a late-night incursion into Bayt Hanun, under cover of aircraft that fire on several groups of Palestinians and buildings, killing a 55-yr.-old Palestinian in his home, seriously wounding another Palestinian, demolishing several greenhouses, damaging 5 homes. A Palestinian shepherd is injured when he accidentally triggers a landmine e. of Jabaliya r.c. In the West Bank, the IDF shoots, wounds an unarmed Palestinian who strays nr. the separation wall northwest of Jerusalem; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches in and around Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, in Anata e. of Jerusalem and Qabatya, and nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, Qalqilya. Jewish settlers fr. Karnei Shomron nr. Tulkarm stone Palestinian cars passing by the settlement, damaging 1. (PCHR 4/24; OCHA, PCHR 4/30)

April 23 2009

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek met with Israeli Foreign Minister Liberman and Prime Minister Netanyahu in Jerusalem and with PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and President Abbas in Ramallah. The discussions focused on the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and on other perspectives of the Middle East peace settlement. “If an independent Palestinian State is the ultimate goal, three conditions must be met on the road to that goal: maintain permanent peace, strengthen security and improve the social and economic standards of the people. … Without these preconditions, the achievement of the ultimate goal will be jeopardized,” Mr. Topolánek said. Prime Minister Netanyahu appreciated the approach to the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict adopted by the Czech Presidency thus far, and reiterated that discussions of the potential establishment of an independent Palestinian State included the question: “Whether it merely entails a two-State concept, or a concept of two States for two nations.” (www.eu2009.cz)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu told visiting Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek after the latter brought up the issue of settlement construction in the West Bank and the EU’s concern that it could prevent the establishment of a Palestinian State: “If Israel can’t build homes in the West Bank, then Palestinians shouldn’t be allowed to either. … I have no plans to build new settlements, but if someone wants to build a new home [in an existing one], I don’t think there’s a problem.” Mr. Netanyahu characterized the West Bank as a “disputed territory” over which negotiations must be held. (Haaretz)

Human Rights Watch said the Israeli military’s findings about the conduct of its forces in Gaza announced the previous day lacked credibility and confirmed the need for an impartial international inquiry into alleged violations by both Israel and Hamas. “The investigative results make clear that the Israeli military will not objectively monitor itself. … The conclusions are an apparent attempt to mask violations of the laws of war by Israeli forces in Gaza. Only an impartial inquiry will provide a measure of redress for the civilians who were killed unlawfully,” said Joe Stork, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Human Rights Watch. (www.hrw.org)

Amnesty International said that the Israeli army should make public the full details of the findings of its probe into some of its attacks during the 22-day Gaza military offensive, in reaction to the army’s conclusion that its forces had committed no violations and only rare mistakes, some of which might have resulted in the killing of Palestinian civilians. (www.amnesty.org)

French Ambassador to Israel, Jean-Michel Casa, said that his country was holding indirect talks with Hamas and that it had received a letter from captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit addressed to the French President. Mr. Shalit holds both Israeli and French citizenship. Mr. Casa stated that several European countries supported the holding of talks with Hamas in an effort to reach a solution of the Middle East conflict. (IMEMC)

Diplomatic sources said Russia had called for a ministerial-level UN Security Council meeting on 11 May to discuss peace in the Middle East. Russia will hold the rotating Security Council presidency for the month. Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, told his 14 Council colleagues that the meeting would be headed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the source said. Mr. Churkin, however, did not say whether the Council member nations agreed to the meeting, or if they would be sending their top diplomats to the event, according to the sources. (AFP)

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi urged Israel to resume peace negotiations with the Palestinians, Syria and Lebanon. “China supports the Road Map and the principles of land for peace. … I know that the new Government in Israel needs time to crystallize its policies and I hope that you will reach wise decisions which will lead to peace and stability in the region,” he told President Shimon Peres, according to a statement by the Presidency. Mr. Yang had held talks with PA President Abbas in Ramallah the previous day, where he stressed China’s support for the creation of a Palestinian State. (AFP)

In an address at Birzeit University in the West Bank, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry spoke of the urgent need for Palestinian reconciliation to achieve statehood. “The UN stands ready to work with any Palestinian Government under President Abbas that emerges from the reconciliation process,” Mr. Serry said. He emphasized the strong international consensus today for a two-State solution, the commitment of the new US Administration to this goal and the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative. “We can no longer accept process without peace. There can be no more talks without results. The UN, the Quartet and the international community are focused on achievements in parallel with progress on the negotiation track,” he said. (Ma’an News Agency, www.birzeit.edu)

European Commissioner for External Relations and the European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner praised the PA for its efforts to reform its finances and security sector in 2008 despite the challenges. The release of the European Commission’s annual report on relations with the PA was “an opportunity to praise progress made by the PA Government,” Ms. Ferrero-Waldner said in a statement. “This progress has been achieved under very difficult circumstances: continued Israeli occupation and increasing political and institutional split between the West Bank and Gaza,” she noted. In particular, the PA achieved “notable progress” in reforming the management of its public finances, consolidating its budget and deploying security forces under its control to Nablus, Jenin, Hebron and Bethlehem, the report said. (DPA)

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