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  Chronology 2003

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Palestine Chronology
2003
 
Chronology:

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January


Jan. 1: Israeli forces destroy four houses in Khan Younis, in Madama near Nablus, and in Battir near Bethlehem.
- In Gaza, Israeli forces kill three Palestinian boys armed with knives – Tarek Dawas, 15, Mohammad Dawas 14, and Jihad Abed, 15, from Jabalia RC - near Elei Sinai, saying they tried to infiltrate the settlement.
Jan. 2: During an overnight raid in Gaza’s Nusseirat, Bureij and Maghazi RCs, Israeli troops kill four Palestinians. In Rafah RC, they demolish 25 homes with furniture and belongings inside, rendering over 300 people are rendered homeless.
- A Tel Aviv District Court remands Marwan Barghouti into custody until the end of judicial proceedings.
Jan. 3: US State Dept. spokesman Richard Boucher denounces Israel's collective punishment policy of home demolitions, saying "We recognize Israel's need to take legitimate anti-terrorist action. However, steps such as displacement of people through the demolition of homes and property exacerbate the humanitarian situation, and undermine trust and confidence."
Jan. 5: At Tel Aviv’s old bus station a double suicide bombing kills at least 23 people and wounds 100 others. Al-Aqsa Mar­tyrs Brigades claim responsibility. Pres. Arafat condemns the attack.
- The PA Health Min. issues a report, stating that 1,202 Palestinians were killed (497 in Gaza, 705 in the West Bank) and 9,939 hurt in 2002 by Israeli forces. Among the killed were 237 under the age of 18 and 125 women.
Jan. 7: An Israeli army report states that 447 Israelis were killed in Palestinian attacks in 2002, 265 inside Israel and 182 in the WBGS.
Jan. 12: In a failed assassination attempt near Khan Younis on Hamas leaders Mohammed Abu Shmala and Raed Alatar, who escape unharmed, two boys standing nearby, Mohammed Qawara and Abed An-Najar, are killed.
- Israeli forces raid Khan Younis, destroying two houses, as well as telephone poles and much of the electricity supply and killing one Palestinian.
Jan. 14: In London, members of the Quartet and officials from Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia meet to discuss PA reforms.
Jan. 19: After Tel Aviv District Court rules it has the authority to try Marwan Barghouthi, he tells the court that he will not attend his trial nor allow defense lawyers to represent him.
Jan. 21: The Israeli army destroys 62 shops and stalls in Nazlat Issa, near Baka Ash-Sharkiyya.
Jan. 26: During the largest Israeli military operation in Gaza City since the start of the Intifada – named ‘Operation Hot Iron’ - 13 Palestinians are killed, over 100 workshops destroyed, dozens of warehouses in a clothes market burnt, and two houses demolished.
Jan. 27: Work on a 45-km section of the ‘separation fence’ begins between Salem checkpoint near Jenin in the west and the Gilboa settlements in the east.
- Palestinian factions end their talks – held under the auspices of Egypt’s Intelligence Min. Omar Suleiman in Cairo - without agreeing to a cease-fire as Hamas and Jihad oppose.
Jan. 28: As expected, the Likud wins the Israeli elections to the 120-seat Knesset. The voter turnout are with 68.5% of the 3.2 million eligible voters the lowest in the history of Israeli state.
Jan. 30: Israeli forces conduct ‘Operation Hot Winter’ in Hebron, in Tulkarem, they kill three Palestinians.
Jan. 31: The Palestinian leadership releases an announcement, calling on the Israeli govt. to negotiate a cease-fire, saying, the Palestinians “are devoted to the concept of a just and viable peace” and “consent to reach a comprehensive cease-fire agreement throughout the territories and to renew negotiations under the supervision of the Quartet."

 

February


Feb. 1: The US space shuttle Columbia explodes, killing all seven astronauts, incl. the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon.
Feb. 2: In the Hebron area, Israeli forces demolish 22 houses and farms under the pretext of being built without permit.
Feb. 3: Tel Aviv District Court orders Arafat to pay NIS 52 million to Egged Bus Co. for loss of earnings due to bombings.
Feb. 4: During their meeting at Camp David to discuss the war on Iraq, PM Blair encourages Pres. Bush to publish the ‘road map;’ Bush rejects this.
Feb. 5: PM Sharon tells PLC speaker Ahmed Qrei’a that he wants to advance the diplomatic process in order to reach an agreement, if the current Palestinian leadership is replaced, PA reforms take place, and terrorism ends.
Feb. 6: Ha’aretz reports that the Yesha Settler Council condemns the ‘road map’ as "worse than the Oslo Accords."
Feb. 11: The Belgian Supreme Court rules that Israeli DM Dir.-Gen. Amos Yaron could be prosecuted for his involvement as IDF commander in Beirut during the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre and that PM Sharon can be put on trial on the same matter once he leaves office and thus loses diplomatic immunity.
Feb. 13: US Congress cuts foreign aid. Israel’s $2.7 billion aid package is cut by $17 million. Aid to Palestinians is frozen till ‘terror ends’.
Feb. 14: Chairman Arafat announces his acceptance to appoint a PM at the urging of international peace brokers.
Feb. 15: Near Dugit settlement, four Israeli soldiers are killed when their tank drives over a bomb detonating the device.
Feb. 18: During an Israeli raid on Gaza City, at least 11 Palestinians are killed and 25 wounded. In the Tuffah Quarter a house and three shops belonging to the Al-Qata family are destroyed.
- Israel’s High Court of Justice rejects a petition to order the state to distribute gas-mask kits to Palestinian WBGS residents.
Feb. 19: Ha’aretz reports that Israel has made over 100 corrections to the latest version of the ‘road map,’ on security, limitations to Palestinian sovereignty and a demand that the PA acts first.
- At a donors meeting in London, World Bank representative Nigel Roberts says some $1.1 billion are needed in aid this year to keep the devastated Palestinian economy afloat and cover the most urgent day-to-day needs of the people in the WBGS.
Feb. 20: Israeli soldiers divide the Gaza Strip in three parts, restricting the movement of over 1 million Palestinians.
Feb. 23: Israeli forces launch an operation in Beit Hanoun, Gaza, aimed at stopping Qassam rocket firing, killing six Pales­tinians and wounding 28; six houses are blown up.

- The Israeli cabinet gives Sderot, Negev, the status of a "confrontation-line" town, making it eligible to special benefits, because it is repeatedly being attacked by Qassam rockets.
Feb. 25: DM Shaul Mofaz says that Israel’s will step up its military activity in Gaza, with Hamas being the main target.
Feb. 26: A snowstorm – the worst since 1950 - shuts down Jerusalem and the West Bank for the second consecutive day.
Feb. 27: Yasser Arafat addresses the Arab League summit from Ramallah.
Feb. 28: Finance Min. Fayyad discloses that the PA had over $600 million in liquid assets but denies that it had secret funds.

 

 

March


March 1: Anthony Zinni announces his resignation as US special envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, complaining about the US Admin.’s priorities in the region. (Zinni had spoken out against the war in Iraq.)
March 2: In Gaza, Israeli forces kill three Palestinians, incl. a boy, 9, and injure over 20 during a military operation in Khan Younis, in which also six houses and a wall of Nasser Hospital are destroyed.
March 3: During an Israeli incursion into the Bureij and Nusseirat RC in Gaza, aimed at the arrest of Hamas leader Mo­hammed Taha, 65, Israeli forces kill eight Palestinians, incl. a boy, 13 and a pregnant woman, injure over 30 others, and destroy a mosque, the Taha family home in Bureij RC, and two other houses.
March 4: A new World Bank report states that some 50% of Palestinian private sector employees lost their jobs and the per capita GNP fell 30% between 1999 and 2002.
- The Israeli FM demands an international convention banning incitement to suicide bombings which should be classified as an ‘international crime’.
March 5: Hamas member Mahmoud Awad Qawasmeh, 21, from Hebron blows himself up in a bus in Haifa, killing at least 15 people and wounding 40 others. The PA condemns the bombing.
March 6: An Israeli raid on Jabalia leaves 11 Palestinians killed, incl. four children, and over 80 wounded.
- During a Fateh Central Committee meeting, Pres. Arafat officially asks Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) to be the PA’s PM.
March 8: Israeli forces fire missiles at a car in Gaza City, assassinating Hamas co-founder and head of the Izz Eddin Al-Qassam wing, Ibrahim Al-Makadmeh, 53, and three of his bodyguards.
- The PLO Central Council accepts the nomination of Mahmoud Abbas as first PA PM. The US State Dept. says it looks forward to working with "an empowered and credible prime minister" toward the creation of a "viable and independent Palestine."
March 10: The PLC approves by a vote of 64-3, and four abstaining, the creation of the post of PM.
March 11: Israeli Border Police says that in 2002, its units have assassinated 79 Palestinians and sent 270,000 Palestinians illegally in Israel back to the WBGS.
March 13: Pres. Bush says that the US would unveil the delayed ‘road map’ peace plan with the goal of creating a Pales­tinian state once a new PM with 'real authority' was in place.
March 14: During an attack on Jenin RC, Israeli forces kill six Islamic Jihad members.
March 15: ‘The People's Voice’, a movement launched by Al-Quds University Pres. Sari Nusseibeh and former Shin Bet chief Ami Ayalon, organizes a rally in Ramallah, to raise support for a two-state settlement based on the 1967 borders.
March 16: In Rafah RC, Gaza, an Israeli bulldozer runs over and kills US peace activist Rachel Corrie, 23, trying to prevent the demolition of a house.
March 17: During an Israeli raid on Nusseirat RC, seven Palestinians are killed, incl. a girl, 4, two teenagers, and Islamic Jihad member Mohammed Sa'afin. In Beit Lahia, four Palestinians are killed.
- Israeli troops raid Balata RC and arrest PLC member Hussam Khader, after destroying much of his house’s interior, and confiscating computers, pictures and files.
- With a vote of 49-22 the PLC rejects Arafat’s demand that a cabinet formed by a future PM be "presented" to him (needed is a two-thirds majority).
March 18: The PLC votes 69-0 with one abstention on a new version of the Basic Law establishing the PM post. The PM’s approved powers exceed those Arafat envisioned.
March 19: Mahmoud Abbas formally accepts the post of PM.
- US bombs hit Baghdad in a first attack on the city trying to eliminate Saddam Hussein.
March 23: Sa’eb Erekat says Israel’s ‘separation fence’ destroys the ‘road map’ to a Palestinian state.
March 25: In Bethlehem, Israeli troops assassinate two wanted men in their car, and with them two bypassing children.
March 28: Throughout the WBGS, tens of thousands Palestinians march to protest the US-led war in Iraq and Israeli policy.
March 31: The US State Dept. annual report on human rights criticizes Israel for " serious human rights abuses" in the OPT, incl. 37 targeted killings that left 25 bystanders dead, among them 13 children.

 

 

April


April 1: Israeli forces demolish four homes of the Naji family in Al-Amari RC, and one in Deir Rasoun near Tulkarem.
April 2: Israeli troops impose a curfew on Tulkarem RC, search homes, round up over 1,000 Palestinian males aged 14-40 and transfer them to nearby Nur Shams RC, prohibiting many of them from returning to their homes for three days.
April 3: MP Economic Sec. John Haeley, Britain, referring to the EU-Israel Association Agreements, excludes goods from Israeli settlements from the free trade and begins issuing duty demands.
April 6: At Tel Aviv court, the trial of Marwan Barghouthi opens.
April 8: In an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, Hamas leader Sa'id Arbid is killed along with seven others; over 50 are injured.
- At a Ramallah conference on human rights, PA Interior Min. Hani Al-Hassan announces that "the Palestinian State Security Court no longer exists," adding that "from the outset, the establishment of this court was not legal."
April 9: An Israeli air strike on Gaza kills seven Palestinians and injures at least 15 others.
April 10: In Gaza City, Israeli helicopters fire four missiles at a car carrying suspected Islamic activists, killing Mahmoud Zatmeh, 30, a leader of Islamic Jihad’s military wing, and wounding at least 12 bystanders.
April 11: In Rafah RC, British ISM member Tom Hurndall, 21, is shot by Israeli troops while helping Palestinian children cross a street under gunfire, and declared brain-dead upon arrival at the hospital.
April 13: PA Chairman Arafat rejects the cabinet proposed by PM-designate Abbas, especially opposing Mohammed Dahlan to be in charge of the Preventive Security forces and Interior Min. Hani Al-Hassan’s dismissal.
April 14: Sharon’s bureau chief Dov Weisglass presents Israel's final comments on the ‘road map’ to White House officials.
April 15: In Baghdad, US troops detain PLF leader Mohammed Abbas (Abul Abbas), who was behind the 1985 Achille Lauro affair, as well as several of his aides.
- At the annual session of the UNCHR 4 resolutions relating to Israel are passed: 1) 50:1 (2 abstentions) vote to criticize settlements, movement restrictions and the ‘security wall’; 2) 33:5 vote (15 abst.) to criticize ‘mass killings by Israel of Palestinians’ and human rights abuses; 3) 51:1 (1 abst.) vote to affirm Palestinian right to self-determination; 4) 31:1 (21 abst.) vote to oppose changing the physical character and legal status of the Syrian Golan Heights.
April 20: Israeli troops launch a large operation on Rafah RC, Gaza, during which five Palestinians, incl. a boy, 14, are killed and 40 wounded. Troops also demolish three houses.
April 21: Discussions on the formation of the new PA govt. continue with the dispute centering around Abu Mazen’s plans to dismantle Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and to crack down on other armed factions.
April 23: The PA leadership struggle ends after Egyptian intervention: Mahmoud Abbas will become Interior Min., Moham­med Dahlan Min. in charge of Preventive Security, while Arafat retains General Intelligence and National Security, with Hani Al-Hassan as his national security advisor.
April 27: Peace Now reports that there are 108 outposts, 72 of which were built after PM Sharon took office. Eleven have been dismantled.
April 28: The Yesha Settler Council presents its first own diplomatic plan – the “canton map” drawn up by Dr. Haim Gvirtz­man - as alternative to the ‘road map,’ suggesting Israeli and Palestinian “cantons" with territorial contiguity each, no set­tlement evacuation and no establishment of a Palestinian state.
April 30: In Ramallah, Mahmoud Abbas is sworn in as first Palestinian PM together with his new cabinet, in which he serves as Interior Min.: Nabil Sha’ath (External Affairs Min.), Yasser Abed Rabbo (Cabinet Affairs), Salam Fayyad (Finance), Nabil Qassis (Planning), Rafiq An-Natsheh (Agriculture), Hamdan Ashour (Housing & Public Works), Abdul Karim Abu Salah (Justice), Ghas­san Al-Khatib (Labor), Na’im Abu Al-Hummus (Education & Higher Education), Jamal Shobaki (Local Govt.), Ziad Abu Amr (Cul­ture), Nabil Amr (Information), Azzam Shawwa (Energy), Kamal Ash-Shirafi (Health), Sa’eb Erekat (Negotiation Affairs), Mitri Abu Ittah (Tourism), Maher Masri (Economy & Trade), Hisham Abdul Razzeq (Prisoner Affairs), Intisar Al-Wazir (Social Affairs), Sa’adi Al-Krunz (Transportation), Azzam Ahmad (Telecommunication & Information Technology), Mohammed Dahlan (Min. of State for Security Affairs), Abdul Fattah Hamayel (Min. of State without portfolio), and Hakam Balawi (Cabinet Sec.).
- Pres. Bush releases the 'road map,' aimed at a “final and comprehensive settlement of the Israel-Palestinian conflict by 2005,” based on a two-state solution, starting with an end to Palestinian terrorism and a freeze on Israeli settlements.
- Arafat issues a presidential order in preparation for the establishment of a National Security Council to oversee all the PA's security mechanisms.

 

 

May


May 1: An Israeli raid on Gaza City’s Sajayia neighborhood aimed at arresting Hamas activists from the Abu Hin family, leaves 13 Palestinians killed, incl. three boys, 2 and 13, and over 65 wounded.
May 4: Ha’aretz reports that EU tax authorities threaten to end preferable tariff treatment of Israeli companies exporting from settlements. Removing free trade considerations will cost exporters $8 million.
May 5: The Israeli CBS states that in 2002, Israel's population grew by 2% to 6.7 million people, of which 5.4 million (81%) are Jews, which is 38% the Jews worldwide (totaling 13.3 million).
May 6: At a Fateh Central Committee meeting in Ramallah, Pres. Arafat and PM Abbas clash after the latter announces that he is transferring full responsibility for the Min. of Interior to Mohammed Dahlan.
- PM Sharon says for the ‘road map’ to proceed, the Palestinians must drop the ‘right of return’ demand.
May 13: In a raid in Umm Al-Fahm, Israeli forces arrest 13 leaders of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, incl. its head Sheikh Ra’ed Salah, accusing them of transferring funds to Hamas and involvement in ‘terrorism.’
May 14: A World Bank report warns that the separation fence will devastate Palestinian communities, destroying farmland and hampering access to water, schools and businesses; 95,000 people will be affected.
May 15: During an operation in Beit Hanoun aimed at stopping the firing of Qassam rockets, Israeli forces kill five Palestini­ans, incl. three boys, and blow up four houses belonging to Hamas and Fateh activists.
May 16: Senior negotiator Sa’eb Erekat hands in his resignation to PM Abbas after being excluded from a delegation to meet with Israeli PM Sharon. Abbas accepts the resignation.
May 17: PM Abbas holds his first cabinet meeting in Gaza. Later he meets, accompanied by Mohammed Dahlan and Ahmed Qrei’a, Israeli PM Sharon in Jerusalem, marking the first top-level talks since the Intifada began in Sept. 2000. The meeting ends with no result as Sharon rejects Palestinian demands for ending construction on the ‘security wall’ and on settlements.
May 18: Following suicide bombings in Jerusalem Israel imposes total closure in WBGS and vows to step up assassinations.
May 19: A female suicide bomber - Hiba Daraghmeh, 19, from Tubas – blows herself up at a mall in Afula, killing three people and wounding 70 others. Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claim responsibility.
- UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen warns that "If the closure regime continues, and living conditions continue to deteriorate, there is very little chance that this [PM Abbas'] government will survive over time."
May 20: On day six of the operation in Beit Hanoun, Gaza, aimed at stopping Palestinians from firing rockets into Israel, Israeli forces partially withdraw, leaving behind much destruction, incl. 15 demolished homes, thousands of uprooted trees and damaged roads, sewage and water networks.
- Quoting Israeli security officials, Israel Radio reports that Israel has employed most options in fighting terrorism, and that the only remaining alternatives are assassinating or deporting Yasser Arafat, other PA officials, and such figures as Hamas leaders Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Abdul Aziz Ar-Rantisi, and undertaking a massive, prolonged Israeli incursion into Gaza.
May 21: In Washington, US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice meets separately with PM Sharon's chief of staff, Dov Weisglass, and with PA Finance Min. Salam Fayyad for talks regarding the ‘road map.’
May 22: In Gaza City, PM Mahmoud Abbas meets for the first time with Hamas representatives, incl. Hamas leader Abdul Aziz Rantisi, but fails to convince them to halt attacks on Israel.
May 23: After the White House issues a statement promising to "fully and seriously" address Israel's "real concerns" about the ‘road map,’ PM Sharon tells the US that he accepts the plan.
May 25: The Israeli cabinet accepts the ‘road map’ (12-7, 4 abstentions) after PM Sharon claims that the “Palestinian state is not my dream … but we need to find a solution for future generations”.
May 26: PM Sharon tells a Likud Party meeting the ‘road map,’ "I think the idea that it is possible to continue keeping 3.5 million Palestinians under occupation - yes it is occupation, you might not like the word, but what is happening is occupation - is bad for Israel, and bad for the Palestinians, and bad for the Israeli economy. Controlling 3.5 million Palestinians cannot go on forever."

June


June 1: DM Shaul Mofaz lifts the closure on the WBGS as part of the confidence-building measures PM Sharon promised. A list of 100 Palestinian prisoners slated for release is also issued, most of which are due to be released soon anyway.
- PM Sharon refuses to meet Spanish FM Ana Palacio because she met with Pres. Arafat in Ramallah on 28 May.
June 3: Israel releases dozens of Palestinian prisoners in a goodwill gesture a day ahead of the Aqaba summit. Among the released are DFLP politbureau member Taysir Khaled and Fateh member Ahmed Jabara (Abu Sukar), the oldest (67) and longest-serving (27 years) Palestinian prisoner, who was placed a booby-trapped fridge on Zion Square in 1976.
- Pres. Bush, Pres. Mubarak, Crown Prince Abdullah, King Abdullah II, Bahrain's King Hamad and PM Abbas meet at Sharm Esh-Sheikh, to discuss the 'road map.' Bush says " Israel must deal with the settlements. Israel must make sure there's a continuous territory that the Palestinians can call home."
- US Asst. Sec. of State for Nonproliferation John Wolf is appointed special envoy to oversee implementation of the ‘road map.’
June 4: In a meeting in Aqaba to discuss the 'road map' PM Abbas promises an end to terrorism, PM Sharon the immediate dismantlement of settlement outposts and commitment to a two-state solution, and Pres. Bush stresses his commitment both Israel's security and Palestinian statehood.
- Palestinians are cautious about the Aqaba summit. The PA criticizes the lack of detail on a future state; Hamas claims it may end attacks on civilians but not soldiers, settlers; Islamic Jihad says that nothing in summit prompts them to end attacks.
- The Israeli left responds with reservations to the summit. MK Yossi Sarid claims there is no mention of a settlement freeze, whilst MK Ahmed Tibi condemns Sharon’s refusal to use the word ‘Palestine’ or mention explicitly the occupation.
June 9: In Gaza, Israel attempts to assassinate Hamas leader Abdul Aziz Rantisi, who escapes injured, killing his body­guard, an elderly women and a girl, 8. PM Abbas condemns attempt to “sabotage political process”.
June 11: In response to the Jerusalem suicide bombing, Israel kills 6, wounds 25 in attack in Gaza and vows further attacks.
-  A UNRWA press release states that between Sept. 2000 and May 2003, Israeli forces have destroyed or damaged beyond repair 1,134 shelters in Gaza, making over 10,000 Palestinians homeless.
June 12: An Israeli air strike in Gaza City leaves seven Palestinians, incl. Hamas activist Yasser Taha, his wife and two little children, killed and some 30 people wounded.
June 15: Egyptian dep. intelligence chief Mustafa Al-Buheiri arrives in Gaza for meetings with Palestinian factions on a ceasefire.
June 17: In Gaza City, PM Abbas meets with the main Palestinian factions to discuss a possible ceasefire with Israel, incl. ending Israel’s policy of assassination and military strikes, prisoners’ release and withdrawal to pre-Sept. 2000 positions. June 18: The Knesset approves the first reading of a bill that rescinds the right to family reunification of Israeli residents and citizens who have married residents of the WBGS.
June 20: Sec. Powell meets with Israeli FM Shalom, PM Sharon, DM Mofaz in Jerusalem and later the day with PM Abbas in Jericho, urging them all to make the ‘road map’ work.
- At their summit in Greece, EU leaders call on Hamas to halt terror activity, on PM Abbas to do more to stop attacks against Israel and on PM Sharon to stop extra-judicial killings and construction of settlements and the ‘separation fence’.
June 25: The Nusseibeh-Ayalon ‘People’s Voice’ initiative is launched with newspaper ads aimed at gathering support for a two-state solution. Plan includes a demilitarized Palestinian state and Jerusalem as open capital of both states.
June 27: Israeli Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad and PA security chief Mohammed Dahlan agree to transfer security responsibility in Gaza to the Palestinians.
June 28: US National Security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, arrives in Jerusalem where she meets with Israeli PM Sharon and other officials. Later the day, she meets with PM Abbas in Jericho, calling for the total outlawing of Hamas.
- The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades announce that it will not abide by the ceasefire to be signed today, stating that they were not part of the hudna talks; PFLP and DFLP also reject the hudna.
- In Ramallah, some 300 Israelis and Palestinian meet at a founding conference of the Joint Israeli-Palestinian Action Group for Peace, based on the notion of two states for two peoples.
June 29: Hamas and Islamic Jihad issue a statement announcing suspension of military activities against Israel for three months, avoiding the word "ceasefire" (hudna). Fateh and DFLP separately issue similar declarations, with the former com­mitting to a six-month truce, while demanding Israeli withdrawal to the pre-Sept. 2000 positions and the eventual estab­lishment of a Palestinian state in the WBGS.
June 30: The Israeli-Palestinian security deal comes into effect; the Israeli army opens Salah Eddin Street to unobstructed Palestinian traffic and removes all major checkpoints in the Gaza Strip.

 

July


July 2: Israel transfers security control over Bethlehem to the PA, with the exception of the area around Rachel's Tomb and of Route 60 (Hebron-Bethlehem-Nablus), which remains closed.
July 6: The Israeli cabinet approves the release of 350 out of some 6,000 Palestinian prisoners; Palestinians call the num­ber insufficient and complain that almost a third of them are criminals not political prisoners.
July 7: In Jerusalem, Israeli and Palestinian officials, incl. Israeli Justice Min. Tommy Lapid, PA Justice Min. Abdul Karim Abu Salah and Prisoners' Affairs Min. Hisham Abdul Razzeq, continue their meetings despite Palestinian disappointment at the low number of prisoners Israel intends to release.
- The Knesset is in turmoil after Transport Min. Avigdor Lieberman reportedly proposed to provide buses to take released Palestinian prisoners to a place "whence they will not return," also suggesting they should be drowned in the Dead Sea.
July 8: Mahmoud Abbas resigns from the Fateh Central Committee after being criticized for talking with Israelis without achieving anything. He also threatens to resign as PM if his way of handling the negotiations is not accepted.
July 10: In Gaza, an Egyptian delegation, headed by Mustafa Al-Buheiri and Mohammed Ibrahim, meets with Sheikh Yassin and other Hamas leaders urging them to extend the three-month hudna to six months.
July 13: In Ramallah, some 200 Palestinian refugee activists storm the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research and smash furniture, throw eggs and assault the director, Khalil Shikaki, and staff members because of a survey, which claims that only a minority of refugees would seek to return to what is now Israel if allowed.
- PA Social Affairs Min. Intisar Al-Wazir says that due to Israel’s closure policies over 70% of the Palestinians live below the poverty line, and unemployment stood at 65% (in Gaza) and 55% (West Bank).
July 14: During court proceedings in Tel Aviv, Marwan Barghouthi accuses Israel of conducting a mock trial as the outcome was preordained, saying “the attorney general has decided, the security services have decided. You can't decide anything."
- The EU appoints Belgian diplomat and former Amb. to Israel Marc Otte as new Middle East envoy, replacing Miguel Moratinos.
July 15: Israeli forces free kidnapped taxi driver Eliyahu Gurel, who had gone missing four days ago, from a building in Beitunia, saying three men from Beit Rima and a woman from Gaza we behind the kidnapping.
July 17: UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen tells the UNSC that Israel must dismantle the ‘separation fence’ because it “is a unilateral act not in keeping with the road map because it makes more difficult the creation of a viable contiguous Palestinian state."
July 19: Haidar Irsheid, acting Governor of Jenin, is beaten and abducted by Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades members, led by Zakaria Zubeidi, who call for his being put on trial for collaborating and misusing funds. He is released after five hours.
July 20: PM Abbas, Mohammed Dahlan, Hisham Abdul Razzeq and Nabil Amr meet with PM Sharon, chief-of-staff Dov Weisglass, military sec. Yoav Gallant and foreign policy adviser Shalom Turgeman in Jerusalem but fail to agree on a prison­ers release and the removal of checkoints as Sharon says the PA must first dismantle the ‘terror groups.’
July 24: At a Fateh meeting at the Muqata’a to discuss Israel's decision to allow Jews to visit Al-Haram Ash-Sharif, Pres. Arafat denounces the move and urges Arab leaders to intervene to "prevent a repetition of dangerous developments.”
- Talking to Congress members in Washington, PM Abbas says that Israel was undermining Pres. Bush's vision of Middle East peace by continuing to build settlements as well as the ‘separation fence.’
July 27: As part of the ‘road map’ confidence-building measures, Israeli forces remove Surda and Ein Arik checkpoints near Ramallah, but the internal closure remains in effect, with villages and towns cut off from one another.
July 28: The Knesset Finance Committee approves the transfer of NIS 745 million from the state budget to build the ‘separation fence’ between Israel and the Palestinian territories.
July 30: At a meeting in Jerusalem, Israeli DM Shaul Mofaz offers the PA security control over Qalqilya and Jericho, leaving a third city pending on success. PA Security Min. Dahlan rejects the offer, insisting on Ramallah.
July 31: The Israeli Knesset approves by a vote of 53:25 the second and third reading of a bill to prevent Palestinians who marry Israeli citizens from receiving Israeli citizenship or permanent residency status, which is to become an amendment to a clause in the Citizenship Law relating to family unification (Citizenship and Entry Into Israel Law - Temporary Order 2003).

 

August


Aug. 1: Over 4,000 Palestinian prisoners in various Israeli jails begin a hunger strike to protest their inhuman living condi­tions as well as the violent break up by Israeli guards of a prisoner revolt at Ashkelon jail a day earlier.
Aug. 2: Israeli troops end a three-day raid and arrest campaign on villages around Bethlehem.
Aug. 3: Israel approves the release of 433 Palestinian detainees (189 security, 161 admin., and 97 criminal prisoners). Pres. Arafat dismisses the decision, saying “They say they are going to release 400, and then they turn around and arrest 800.”
Aug. 6: Israel releases 334 (out of 6,000) prisoners. PA says number insufficient, and most were due for release anyway.
- Pres. Bush calls Israel’s ‘separation fence’ a problem, urging the Israeli govt. to stop construction on it.
Aug. 8: A UNCHR report calls on Israel to revoke the new citizenship law and halt construction of the ‘separation fence’.
Aug. 9: Arriving in Saudi Arabia, PM Abbas begins a tour of the region aimed at rallying support for the ‘road map’.
Aug. 12: Israel halts the planned prisoner release after one suicide bomber blows himself up at a shopping center in Rosh Ha'ayin, killing one person, and another one at Ariel settlement, killing one settler. PM Abbas condemns the attacks.
Aug. 14: The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination unanimously passes a resolution calling on Israel to revoke the new legislation, denying citizenship or permanent residency to Palestinians who marry Israelis.
Aug. 15: In Beirut, Nabil Sha’ath tells reporters that the ‘road map’ guarantees the right of return, incl. to cities inside Israel.
Aug. 16: Hebron University and the Polytechnic University open after having been closed by Israeli forces for seven months.
Aug. 17: Palestinian journalist and Reuters cameraman Mazen Dana from Hebron, is shot and killed by US troops while videotaping near the US-run Abu Gharib prison in Baghdad.
Aug. 18: PM Sharon vetoes a multimillion-pound deal for British Gas to supply Israel with natural gas from a field in Gaza, because the PA would receive 40% of the profits and Sharon prefers to buy gas from Egypt.
Aug. 19: PM Abbas holds meetings with representatives of Fateh, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. Learning of the suicide attack in Jerusalem, he condemns “this horrible act”, saying that it “does not serve the interest of the Palestinian people at all,” and that an investigation will be launched. Israel suspends all talks with the PA on handing over four more West Bank cities.
Aug. 20: After an emergency meeting of Palestinian factions in Gaza in the wake of the suicide bombing in Jerusalem a day earlier, PM Abbas decides to break all contact with the Islamic Jihad and Hamas.
Aug. 21: Israel assassinates Hamas leader Ismail Abu Shanab and two of his bodyguards in a missile strike at his car in Gaza City. Hamas declares the hudna over and vows "rivers of blood" in Israeli cities. PM Abbas calls the killing an “ugly crime.” Hamas official Ismail Abu Haniyya calls on PM Abbas to resign and leave the Palestinian territories.
Aug. 22: Over 100,000 Palestinians march in the funeral procession for Ismail Abu Shanab in Gaza.
- In Gaza, the Israeli army rebuilds the roadblocks that had recently been removed, effectively dividing the Strip into three parts.
- During a PLO Exec. meeting in Ramallah, Pres. Arafat announces the appointment of Gen. Nasser Yousef as Interior Min.
- The US freezes the assets of six Hamas leaders (Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Abdel Aziz Rantisi, Usama Hamdan, Imad Khalil Al-Alami, Khaled Masha’al, Musa Abu Marzuq) and of five allegedly Hamas-affiliated organizations abroad (Committee for Charity and Aid for the Palestinians in France; Association for Palestinian Aid in Switzerland; Palestinian Relief and Development Fund, or Interpal, in the UK; the Palestinian Association in Austria; and Sanabel Association for Relief and Development in Lebanon).
Aug. 23: In Rafah, Gaza, Palestinian security forces begin shutting down smuggling tunnels and arrest several men, in what seems to be a first attempt at cracking down on Islamic activists.
Aug. 25: Pres. Arafat promotes Jibril Rajoub to the rank of Brig.-Gen. and puts him in charge of the National Security Council.
- Ha’aretz reports that talks are underway with Hizbullah on returning kidnapped and killed Israelis.
Aug. 28: The PA's Atty. Gen. notifies nine Islamic charities in the WBSG that some 36 of their bank accounts have been frozen. The move also stops monthly support checks for thousands of Palestinians relying on welfare.

Aug. 30: In the fifth missile attack in 10 days Israeli forces kill Hamas activists Abdullah Akel and Farid Mayet killed.
- In Gaza, supporters of Pres. Arafat demonstrate outside the PA General Personnel Council, opposing the replacement of Council head Mohammed Abu Sharia, accused of corruption, with Abbas-appointee Sakher Bseisso.
Aug. 31: PLC Speaker Ahmed Qrei’a says that the infighting between Arafat and Abbas supporters is harming Palestinian interests, with the US-Israeli support for Abbas “complicating the crisis."

 

September


Sept. 1: The Or Commision of Inquiry issues its 781-page report condemning police for the killing of 13 Israeli-Arabs in the Oct. 2000 riots. Sanctions are recommended against senior police officers and then Public Security Min. Shlomo Ben-Ami.
Sept. 4: In a speech marking his first 100 days in office, PM Abbas calls on the PLC to back him in his bid for more author­ity or fire him.
Sept. 6: PM Abbas submits his resignation, naming Israel's unwillingness to implement its road map commitments and undertake constructive measures as the main problem, but also blaming the US and the international community for not pressuring Israel and the Palestinian side for its lack of support, incitement and accusations.
- In response to PM Abbas’ resignation, Israel says it will not deal with a PA ruled by Arafat or anyone of his choosing. Ten cabinet ministers and several MKs urge for expelling Arafat immediately.
Sept. 7: Fateh Central Committee convenes at the Muqata’a to discuss a replacement for PM Abbas, nominating PLC Speaker Ahmed Qrei’a as PM-designate.
Sept. 8: Ahmed Qrei’a accepts the nomination as PM but says he wants US and European guarantees to allow him to work towards improving the lives of the Palestinians and to ensure that Israel will not obstruct him by taking action against Arafat.
Sept. 9: A suicide attacks at a bus-stop outside Tzrifin military base near Rishon Letzion, leaves eight soldiers dead and dozens more wounded. Hamas’ Izz Eddin Al-Qassam claims responsibility. PM designate Qrei’a condemns the attack, saying both leaderships have to work to end the killing, adding that he would not take the PM job if he faced the same 'Israeli dictate' of military crackdowns that undermined former PM Abbas.
Sept. 10: An Israeli missile strike on the Gaza home of Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahhar fails to assassinate him but kills his eldest son Khaled and a bodyguard.
- PM-designate Ahmed Qrei’a says he will accept the PM post and present an "emergency government" soon.
Sept. 11: Israel’s security cabinet approves a decision in principle to "remove" Arafat.
- The Israeli army has set up an observation post in a building overlooking the Muqata’a in Ramallah.
- Pres. Arafat announces the formation of a 14-member National Security Council, headed by him, which will supervise all eight security forces, and is comprised of the Pres. of the PA, the PM, the Foreign Affairs Min., the Interior Min., a PLO Exec. Committee member, a PLC member, the Chief of the Civil Police, the two Commanders of the West Bank and Gaza National Security Forces, the General Intelligence Service Chief, Military Intelligence Service Chief and the Security advisors.
- The US State Dept. stresses America's opposition to expelling Arafat, saying this would make the situation worse.
- The EU adds the entire Hamas movement to its terrorist list (to date only Izz Eddin Al-Qassam was listed).
Sept. 13: For the third day in a row, thousands of Palestinians stage protest marches throughout the WBGS against Israel's intention to expel Pres. Arafat. Arafat appeals for international intervention.
Sept. 14: Referring to Israel’s decision to 'remove' Arafat, Dep. PM Ehud Olmert tells Israel Radio that “Killing [Arafat] is definitely one of the options.”
Sept. 15: Jordan's Central Bank has issued a circular to all banks and financial institutions in Jordan on 4 Sept. ordering a halt to all financial dealings with six leading Hamas figures and five Hamas-affiliated charities.
- Addressing the UNSC, UN special envoy to the Middle East Terje Roed-Larsen says that Arafat was the "legitimate leader" of the Palestinians. Israeli Amb. to the UN Dan Gillerman calls the removal of Arafat essential to restarting the ‘road map.’
Sept. 16: The US vetoes a UN resolution demanding that Israel not harm or deport Pres. Arafat.
Sept. 17: The Jerusalem District Court convicts three members of the Bat Ayin Jewish terror cell - Yarden Morag, Shlomo Zeli-ger Dvir and Ofer Gamliel - of attempted murder for trying to set off a bomb near a girls school on the Mt. of Olives last year and for illegal weapons possession. On 30 Sept. they are sentenced to 12 and 15 years imprisonment.
Sept. 18: Pres. Arafat says he would be willing to die a 'martyr' and would use his machinegun to defend himself if Israeli troops try to exile or assassinate him.
Sept. 19: The UNGA holds an emergency debate on Israel's decision to "remove" Pres. Arafat, and passes a resolution by 133 to 4 with 15 abstentions deploring the threat.
Sept. 21: In Gaza, PM-designate Qrei’a discusses with Fateh, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and PFLP representatives possibilities of halting attacks on Israel and reaching a consensus on the guidelines of his govt. in the making.
Sept. 23: The Lebanese Central Bank has ordered banks operating in Lebanon to reveal the existence of accounts of six Hamas officials and five charities whose assets the US froze a few weeks ago. Later the week the decision is rescinded.
Sept. 24: Following diplomatic pressure, a Belgian High Court ruling puts an end to attempts to prosecute foreign leaders in Belgium for war crimes based on complaints filed by private citizens from foreign countries, incl. complaints filed against PM Sharon for the 1982 Sabra and Shatilla massacres and former US Pres. Bush Sr. for war crimes during the first Gulf War.
Sept. 25: Some 27 Israeli air force pilots state their refusal to carry out air strikes in Palestinian areas, triggering a debate on the ethics of Israel’s targeted killings.
Sept. 27: The PLO Exec. Committee meets in Ramallah to discuss the proposed 24-member Cabinet of PM-designate Qrei’a.
Sept. 28: Throughout the WBGS Palestinians attend marches and demonstrations to mark the third anniversary of the Intifada.
Sept. 29: The Fateh Central Committee approves the new 24-member cabinet of PM-designate Qrei’a.
- In his closing argument at Tel Aviv District Court, Marwan Barghouti slams Israel’s occupation and tells the court: "Israel must decide: either it allows for a [Palestinian] state alongside it, or it becomes a binational state," adding "We are a people like all other people. We want freedom and a state just like the Israelis … I am against killing innocents. But ... I am proud of the resistance to Israeli occupation. To die is better than living under occupation."

 

October


Oct. 1: The Israeli cabinet approves with a vote of 18:4 and one abstention the next stage of the separation fence, despite international criticism.
- In Rafah RC, the Israeli army destroys 13 structures, incl. two homes in use.
Oct. 2: The Israeli army signs a new military order (no. 378), effective as of today, declaring all land located between the separation fence and the Green Line as “closed” and stating that “No person will enter the [closed zone] and no one will remain there.” Free access will only be granted to Israelis while Palestinian residents of the area or those whose agricultural land is there are required to obtain permits to live in their houses, farm their land, and travel. The area in question makes up 2% of the West Bank and is home to some 14,000 Palestinians; several thousand others own land there.
Oct. 4: A female suicide bomber - Hanadi Taysir Jaradat, 29, lawyer from Jenin - blows herself up at the Maxim beach restaurant in Haifa, killing at least 19 people and wounding over 60. In response, right-wing MKs call for the removal Arafat from the WBGS.
Oct. 5: Pres. Arafat declares a state of emergency in the Palestinian territories and installs an eight-member emergency cabinet, led by new PM Ahmed Qrei’a and including Salam Fayyad (Finance), Nabil Sha’ath (Foreign Affairs), Nasser Yousef (Interior), Naim Abu Al-Humus (Education), Sa’eb Erekat (without portfolio), Jamal Shobaki (without portfolio), Abdul Rah­man Hamad (without portfolio), and Jawal Tibi (without portfolio).  
Oct. 7: Pres. Arafat swears in his Emergency Cabinet: Ahmed Qrei’a, Jamal Shobaki, Nabil Sha’ath, Salam Fayyad, Abdel Rahim Hamad, Sa’eb Erekat, and Naim Abu Al-Hummus, while Brig.-Gen. Nasser Yousef  and Jawad Tibi do not show up, the former saying he prefers to wait until the new cabinet wins PLC approval and the latter he does not want to be part of an emergency govt.; both reportedly also had quarrels with Arafat regarding the scope of their authority.
Oct. 9: After it becomes obvious in a PLC meeting that there is insufficient support for the new govt. as PLC members consider the emergency govt. as unconstitutional, PM-designate Qrei’a hands in his resignation.
Oct. 10: During an operation in Rafah RC, Israeli forces fire a missile at a group of people, killing eight Palestinians, incl. two children, Ibrahim Al-Ghenawi, 8, and Sami Salah, 12, and wounding over 60.
Oct. 11: In Jordan, a group of MKs, incl. Avraham Burg and Amram Mitzna, and Palestinian politicians conclude three days of talks on a draft peace agreement prepared by Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo over the past year.
Oct. 12: Israeli troops have destroyed some 100 houses in Rafah RC, leaving about 2,000 people homeless.
- At a ceremony in Amman, former Israeli and Pales­tinian politicians unveil their alternative peace plan - “Geneva Accord” - with the goal to formulate a complete final status agreement. Main points include: Palestinians will concede the right of return; Palestinians will recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people; Israel will withdraw to the 1967 borders, except for certain territorial exchanges; Jerusalem will be divided: Arab parts of East Jerusalem become part of the Palestinian state, Jewish settlements, as well as the West Bank suburbs of Givat Ze'ev, Ma'ale Adumim and the part of Gush Etzion become part of Israel; Haram Ash-Sharif will be Palestinian, but an international force will ensure freedom of access for visitors of all faiths. Neither Jewish prayer nor archaeological digs will be permitted. The Western Wall will remain under Jewish sovereignty and the "Holy Basin" will be under international supervision; Ariel, Efrat and Har Homa settlements will be part of the Palestinian state, to which Israel will also transfer parts of the Negev next to Gaza in exchange for the parts of the West Bank it will receive; Palestinians will pledge to prevent terror and incitement and disarm all militias and their state will be demilitarized, while border crossings will be supervised by an international force. The Israeli govt. condemns the plan as an attempt to undermine its policies, while the PA okay it.
Oct. 14: Israeli forces transfer 18 Palestinian administrative detainees from the West Bank to a detention facility at Erez checkpoint in preparation for their expulsion to Gaza.
- The US vetoes a UNSC resolution condemning Israel for building the separation fence.
Oct. 15: A roadside bomb goes off at a US convoy driving on Salah Eddin St., near Beit Hanoun, Gaza, killing three US security men. The "Popular Resistance Committees" claim responsibility.
Oct. 16: The Palestinian National Security Council meets in Ramallah and orders all security organizations in Gaza to be united under the command of General Abdel Razzeq Majaida. Hakam Balawi is appointed as acting Interior Min., and Ghazi Jabali is reinstated as chief of the Palestinian police (he had been fired last year due to US/Israeli pressure and allegations of corruption).
Oct. 19: In Ein Yabroud near Ramallah, Palestinian gunmen ambush a group of Israeli soldiers, killing three of them and wounding a fourth before escaping from the scene. Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claim responsibility.
Oct. 20: Israeli forces launch five separate air strikes in Gaza killing at least 14 Palestinians and wounding dozens more. Due to supply shortages in Gaza hospitals following the series of strikes, the PA declares a state of emergency.
Oct. 21: In an Israeli air strike on Nusseirat RC, Gaza, seven people are killed, ranging in age from 11 to 49, all of whom were bystanders crowding around a car after it was targeted by a first missile.
- At its tenth emergency special session on Israeli measures in the Palestinian territories, UNGA votes 144:4 with 12 absten­tions to condemn Israeli illegal actions, incl. construction of the separation fence.
Oct. 23: Israel’s Min. of Housing issues a tender for the construction of 333 new apartments in settlements, bringing the number of tenders issued for settlements since the beginning of the year to 1,727 housing units, 1,326 of which in the ‘Greater Jerusalem’ area.
Oct. 24: In an attack on an army base at Netzarim settlement in Gaza, three Israeli soldiers, incl. two women, are killed as well as the attacker. In response, Israeli forces destroy a nearby police station as well as three 13-story apartment buildings in the next days.
Oct. 30: PM Sharon seeks to persuade Russian Pres. Putin to drop his plan to turn the Quartet's road map into a UNSC Res. for peace in the Middle East, thus also granting the Quartet an official status.

 

November


Nov. 1: Fateh nominates Rafiq An-Natsheh to become the new PLC speaker.
Nov. 2: The US Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) has recommended that the Bush Admin. apply “clear and intentional pressure” on Israel regarding the settlements, as part of making headway with the Palestinians, as well as helping to calm the situation heating up in Iraq.
Nov. 4: According to new army rules of engagement for the area near Netzarim settlement, Gaza, soldiers positioned there may shoot to kill if they spot a Palestinian observing Israeli forces activity via binoculars.
Nov. 5: Militant Jewish settlers destroy some 1,000 trees in three West Bank villages near Einabus, prompting even an outcry in Israel, with settler rabbis calling it a sin.
Nov. 6: An Israeli military court sentences for life Amneh Muna, who had lured her Israeli internet contact to Ramallah in Jan. 2001, where he was killed by accomplices.
- Some 15,000 Gazan workers and merchants are allowed to enter Israel.
Nov. 8: PM Qrei’a and Pres. Arafat reach a deal on how to divide PA security authority between the govt. and the National Security Council, with the latter (headed by Arafat) being responsible for security affairs while the Interior Min. would be in charge of administrative and civilian affairs.
- US Sec. Powell has sent a letter of support to the initators of the Geneva Accord, Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo, saying "The US remains committed to the Pres.'s two-state vision and to the road map, but we also believe that projects such as yours are important in helping to sustain an atmosphere of hope in which Israelis and Palestinians can discuss mutually acceptable resolutions to the difficult issues that confront them."
Nov. 9: The Israeli cabinet approves the planned prisoner exchange with Hizbullah. Under the deal, Israel is to release all of its Lebanese prisoners except Samir Kuntar (who killed three members of a Nahariya family in 1979), 400 Palestinians, and a number of other Arab prisoners, and will get businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum and the bodies of three soldiers kidnapped in Oct. 2000.
Nov. 10: The US steps back from its long-standing position that a Palestinian PM must control all security forces, saying the only criterion was whether the new Cabinet would crack down on Palestinian militants.
Nov. 12: PM Qrei’a's cabinet wins a vote of confidence from the PLC by 47-13 vote, with five abstentions. The Min.s were subsequently sworn in by Pres. Arafat as follows: Qrei’a (PM, Information and Waqf Min.), Nabil Sha’ath (Foreign Min.), Hakam Bala’wi (Interior), Salam Fayyad (Finance), Nabil Qassis (Planning), Rawhi Fatouh (Agriculture), Abdel Rahman Hamad (Housing & Public Works), Nahed Ar-Rayes (Justice), Ghassan Al-Khatib (Labor), Na’im Abu Al-Hummus (Education), Jamal Shobaki (Local Government), Yahya Khalaf (Culture), Azzam Shawwa (Energy), Jawad Tibi (Health), Sa’eb Erekat (Negotiations), Mitri Abu Ittah (Tourism), Maher Masri (Economy & Trade), Hisham Abdul Razzeq (Prisoner Affairs), Intisar Al-Wazir (Social Affairs), Jamil Tarifi (Civil Affairs), Hikmat Zeid (Transportation), Azzam Ahmad (Communication & Information Technology), Salah Ta’mari (Sports & Youth), Zahira Kamal (Women’s Affairs), Suleiman Abu Sneineh (Min. of State for Law), and Kadura Fares (Without Portfolio). In his inaugural address, Qrei’a says he would work for an international conference chaired by US Pres. Bush with the aim to strike a final status peace deal, as "interim agreements will only worsen the situation." He further pledges to continue economic and security reforms, to seek a cease-fire with Israel and all armed factions, and prepare for general PA elections by June 2004.
Nov. 14: Yedioth Ahronot displays a photo of former Shin Bet heads Ya’akov Perry, Avraham Shalom, Ami Ayalon and Carmi Gilon under a headline that reads in Hebrew “We are on the way to catastrophe” referring to a statement they gave in an interview with the paper for the case that Israel is not attempting to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians quickly enough.
Nov. 16: Ha’aretz reports that US officials have in recent days sent sharp messages to Israel, criticizing its activities on settlements in the territories and on the separation fence.
- Some 1.5 million copies of the Geneva Accord are sent out to addresses countrywide, with another 1.5 million copies to follow in the coming days. The Israel Broadcasting Authority's meanwhile has refused to allow commercials promoting the agreement to be aired on IBA-controlled networks.
Nov. 18: Russia has brought the ‘road map’ to the UNSC, asking it to adopt the plan as UN policy, despite PM Sharon's explicit request to Pres. Putin not to do so.
Nov. 19: In a keynote address during his visit to London, US Pres. Bush slams Israel's settlement policy and the daily humiliation of the Palestinians and calls for an end to construction of the separation fence.
- The UNSC votes unanimously to endorse the road map as the means to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, calling “on the parties to fulfill their obligations under the road map in cooperation with the Quartet and to achieve the vision of two states."
Nov. 19: PM Qrei’a asks leaders from Palestinian factions to agree to a "unilateral cease-fire" as a provisional truce to apply to all types of attacks against Israel and remain in effect until formal cease-fire terms are finalized, with the help of Egyptian mediators.
- One woman is killed and four other people from an Ecuadorean tourist group are wounded when a gunman opens fire at the Arava border terminal near Eilat.
Nov. 23: The Palestinian National Security Council, under US pressure, ordered security forces to take firm measures to ensure law and order.

 

 

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