Timeline of recent events in Israel/Palestine

Taken from the blog of Adam Waterhouse.

29th July 2013 – Start of the so-called Kerry Peace Talks

14th November 2013 – Palestinian team quit negotiations citing the fact that Israel was continuing settlement construction on land in the West Bank that was supposed to be designated for a Palestinian state.

30 December 2013 – Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erehat said that Israel had shown through its actions that it wanted to destroy the possibility of a Palestinian state, and that the Palestinians would be seeking recognition through international bodies (this was on the basis of Palestine being up-graded to non-member observer status by the General Assembly a year previously on 29th November 2012). Israel insisted that the Palestinians should continue the peace talks, why? Purely as a cynical public relations exercise – because Israel needs ‘peace talks’ in the same way that a bank robber needs a balaclava – to try to prevent the world from recognising what they are doing – an analogy given by American Professor of history Juan Cole in this articles about this matter.

23rd April – Fatah and Hamas agreed to form a unity government and to hold fresh elections. Netanyahu said that Abbas would have to chose between peace with Hamas and Peace with Israel – clearly a threat of violence. The EU and the US offered their support to the unity government. Netanyahu was furious and immediately withdrew Israel from the so-called peace negotiations.

15th May – During Nakba day celebrations Israeli soldiers opened fire on Palestinian youths in the West Bank city of Beitunia near to Ofer prison (a prison for political prisoners in the West Bank). Some of the boys were throwing stones but they were falling on the ground short of where the soldiers were. Two boys, one 16 and one 17, were killed, another was shot in the chest but survived, and eight others were shot in the arms or legs. The incident was caught by security camera, put on-line, and viewed by many Palestinians who were very angry and upset about it.

2nd June – The technocratic unity government of Fatah and Hamas was sworn in. Many of the key positions within it were given to academics who were part of neither party. Hamas were subordinate to Fatah and had agreed to accept the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah.

12th June – Three Israeli students were kidnapped. Benjamin Netanyahu announced “Hamas is responsible, Hamas will pay.” This was very much the same as the Bush administration’s attempt to try to lay blame on Saddam Hussein for 9/11 without the slightest shred of evidence – clearly a cynical attempt to find a pretext for launching an attack on Hamas. Hamas’s senior leadership in Gaza said that they were not behind the kidnapping, calling Netanyahu’s allegations that Hamas masterminded the kidnappings “stupid.” This was later confirmed by the Israeli police themselves when on 25th July Israeli police spokesperson Chief Inspector Mickey Rosenfeld informed BBC journalist Jon Donnison that the two men detained for killing the three Israeli teens were acting on their own initiative. Jon Donnison reported this via Twitter but BBC didn’t run a story on it.

13th June – The very next morning the Israeli police knew that the three had been killed because one of them placed an emergency call, and there was an open recorded line as they were shot. The police soon found a burned-out Hyundai which contained a pair of tefillin (leather-bound texts that religious Jews strap on for prayer), DNA evidence that was quickly matched to the boys’ parents, and eight bullet holes. The same day Israel launched Operation Brother’s Keeper in the West Bank and over the next ten days arrested approximately 800 Palestinians without charge or trial, killed nine civilians, and raided nearly 1,300 residential, commercial and public buildings. Its military operation targeted Hamas members previously released as part of a[during the Gilad Shalit] prisoner exchange in 2011 – rearresting without any ground at all the people it had agreed to release. This was clearly an attack on Hamas and not an attempt to locate the missing teens.

29th June – The Israeli air force carries out strikes on 12 targets in Gaza killing a member of Hamas.

30th June – Further Israeli air strikes take place in Gaza killing one person and injuring three. In response Hamas fired sixteen rockets into Israel which hit open areas in the Eshkol region harming no one. This was the first Hamas rocket fire into Israel since Operation Pillar of Defence in November 2012. [Although there were some rockets being fired into Israel over 2013 [about 5 per month] these were fired by other groups and the Israeli security establishment had themselves testified to the aggressive anti-rocket efforts made by the new police force that Hamas established specifically for that purpose.] The bodies of the three teens are found under rocks close to the West Bank city of Hebron. 1st July – At the funeral for the three killed Israeli teens Benjamin Netanyahu’s statements included vengeful language, speaking of the “horrific darkness of those who seek our destruction – despicable kidnappers of children, heinous murderers whose brothers rejoice at the spilling of innocent blood.” Even the Jewish Forward, an American pro-Israeli newspaper expressed sharp objections to Netanyahu’s comments calling them incitement to violence. During the day of the funeral there are violent protests in East Jerusalem in which Israelis were chanting ‘Death to Arabs.’ Palestinians were pulled from cars and beaten and a 17 year old Palestinian was abducted and murdered in what appeared to be a revenge attack.

8th July – Israel launches ‘Operation Protective Edge’ against Gaza claiming that they were doing so in response to Hamas rocket fire, which they had obviously provoked.

11th July – During a Press Conference at the Defence Ministry at Tel Aviv speaking only in Hebrew announced that he would never, ever, allow a Palestinian state in the West Bank and that Israel would maintain full military control of all of historic Palestine indefinitely and should never have withdrawn from Gaza in 2005.

On 17th July amid escalating, overwhelmingly one-sided violence Israel launched a ground invasion, claiming that it needed to destroy tunnels – tunnels that it had known about for years and which were used to Palestinians to bring food and other goods into the besieged Gaza strip. But for people following what is happening between Israel and Palestine, it was already quite clear that Benjamin Netanyahu’s real objective was to totally crush any possibility at all of Palestinian self-rule and self-determination. This is entirely consistent with the policy position of the political party to which he belongs, the Likud Party which has always emphasised Israel’s supposed right to occupy and control the whole of historic Palestine. In exactly the same way that he sought to scupper the peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority by continuing to build Israeli-only settlement housing on stolen Palestinian land during the so-called ‘peace negotiations’ and presenting the Palestinians with increasingly unreasonable demands; he has now deliberately scuppered and destroyed the cease-fire agreement that was in place with Hamas since the end of Operation Pillar of Defence in November 2012 and launched a massacre in Gaza which has already costs the lives of over 1,600 Palestinians and counting, as well as over 50 Israeli soldiers who are also, in a sense, victims of Benjamin Netanyahu’s crimes of mass-deception.

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