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QUARTERLY UPDATE ON CONFLICT AND DIPLOMACY

16 NOVEMBER 2005–15 FEBRUARY 2006


COMPILED BY MICHELE K. ESPOSITO

The Quarterly Update is a summary of bilateral, multilateral, regional, and international


events affecting the Palestinians and the future of the peace process.

THE PALESTINIAN-ISRAELI CONFLICT to create a separate West Bank road net-


work for Palestinians only, reinforcing the
This quarter was marked by dramatic sense of apartheid. Hopes had been mod-
shifts in the Palestinian and Israeli political estly raised on 11/15, when Israel and the
landscapes. On the Israeli side there was PA agreed—under heavy U.S. pressure and
Israeli PM Ariel Sharon’s dissolution of the with the personal intervention of U.S. Secy.
Israeli parliament, call for new elections, of State Condoleezza Rice—on a set of secu-
and break away from Likud to form his own rity and border crossing arrangements (the
Kadima (Forward) party in 11/05, followed Rafah arrangements; see Doc. A4 in JPS 138)
by his incapacitating stroke on 1/4/06 that to be implemented through the end of 2006.
left him in a deep coma, permanently re- These were to guarantee movement and ac-
moved from the political scene, and left cess of people and goods to the Gaza Strip in
Kadima’s Ehud Olmert as acting Israeli PM. the aim of promoting Palestinian economic
And in the Palestinian arena, the first Pales- development and Israeli security.
tinian legislative elections in ten years on Meanwhile, the cycle of Israeli-Palestinian
1/25/06 brought Hamas’s upset victory over violence continued (see Chronology for de-
Fatah. tails). The Palestinian factions largely contin-
As the quarter opened, Israel and the ued to adhere to a unilateral truce declared
Palestinian Authority (PA) generally were in 2/05 and set to run through the end of
trying to adjust to Israel’s unilateral disen- the year. The Palestinian attacks that were
gagement from Gaza in 9/05 (see Quarterly launched were mainly by Islamic Jihad, the
Update in JPS 138). In the weeks follow- al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AMB), and the Pop-
ing the Israeli pullout, heralded by the U.S. ular Resistance Committees (PRCs), while
as a “courageous” act of peace requiring Hamas remained mostly quiet. Incidents of
a similarly bold Palestinian response, the violence were usually met with a dispropor-
Palestinians saw confirmation of their worst tionate Israel Defense Forces (IDF) response
fears that Israel intended disengagement and frequently were directed at Hamas so as
as a way to freeze the peace process and to weaken the movement prior to elections.
deepen control over the West Bank. Not Jewish settlers in the West Bank continued
only had Sharon flatly stated (9/14) that near daily attacks on Palestinian civilians.
“there is no chance now” of resuming peace- As of 11/16, at least 4,215 Palestinians (in-
making and likely would not be for years, but cluding 46 Israeli Arabs and 17 unidentified
Israel had launched two major military op- Arab cross-border infiltrators), 992 Israelis
erations in Gaza and virtually sealed Gaza’s (including 307 IDF soldiers and security per-
borders, demonstrating its ability to control sonnel, 200 settlers, 485 civilians), and 56
the Strip from outside; stepped up assas- foreign nationals (including 2 British suicide
sination and arrest campaigns; announced bombers) had been killed since the start of
plans to expand West Bank settlements, es- the al-Aqsa intifada.
pecially around East Jerusalem; put in place
road closures and started work on a mas- Implementation of the Rafah
sive new checkpoint at Tapuach Junction Arrangements
south of Nablus, severing the northern from The first weeks of the quarter were
the southern West Bank; and initiated a plan dominated by diplomatic efforts aimed at

Journal of Palestine Studies Vol. XXXV, No. 3 (Spring 2006), pp. 149–178, ISSN 0377-919X, electronic ISSN 1533-8614.
C 2006 by the Institute for Palestine Studies. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission

to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press’s


Rights and Permissions website, at http://www.ucpress.edu/journals/rights.htm.
150 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

implementing the Rafah arrangements to ber Fadl Zahar, cofounder of the Izzeddin
give Palestinian a sense that disengagement al-Qassam Brigades and brother of Hamas
had been a positive step and otherwise to political leader Mahmud Zahar, who had not
bolster PA Pres. Mahmud Abbas’s popular- returned to the territories since Israel de-
ity. Initially, all parties took steps toward ported him to Lebanon in 1992, along with
Rafah implementation: Israel and the PA re- 416 other Hamas members. Israel said (12/2)
vived (11/20) their security working group that it would not agree to implement the next
to coordinate efforts, with U.S. participa- step under the 11/15 protocol—a bus link
tion. The U.S. also held (11/20) bilateral for Palestinians between Gaza and the West
talks with Israel regarding upgrading the Bank—until the problem was solved. Quar-
X-ray machines at Gaza border crossings (at tet special envoy for economic affairs James
U.S. cost) and demanded that Israel com- Wolfensohn affirmed (11/30), however, that
mit to closing crossings only in response the PA had established clear operating pro-
to specific security threats and give reasons cedures at Rafah and had met its obligations
for every closure. After the European Union and that the delay was caused by computer
(EU) ratified (11/21) plans to provide moni- software glitch that would soon be resolved,
tors at the Rafah crossing, Israel and the EU making suspension of further Rafah imple-
formally declared (11/23) the provisions for mentation unwarranted.
the EU Border Assistance Mission for Rafah Adding to the mix, on 11/17, Sharon
(EU BAM Rafah) outlined in the 11/15 proto- agreed to the demands of his coalition part-
col. EU BAM Rafah (50–70 observers) would ner, the newly elected Labor leader Amir
monitor, verify, and evaluate PA compliance Peretz, to call early elections in 2/06 or 3/06
with the agreed principles on border se- after Peretz made it clear that he would force
curity; contribute to PA capacity building; new elections by leaving the coalition if the
and liaise between the PA, Israel, and Egypt. Likud refused. (Elections originally were to
Meanwhile, Egypt and the PA signed (11/23) be held in 11/06.) Labor formally voted to
a memorandum of understanding for the withdraw from the governing coalition on
operation of the Rafah crossing and mon- 11/20, and Sharon asked Israeli pres. Moshe
itoring of the common border, including Katsav to dissolve parliament on 11/21. In
setting up joint civil and security coordi- a surprise move, however, Sharon simulta-
nation offices to combat smuggling. Israel neously announced (11/21) his departure
allowed the PA to begin operating the Rafah from the Likud and the formation of a more
crossing on 11/25 (the date set in the Rafah “moderate centrist” party called Kadima
arrangements) for 4 hours/day until the full (Forward), stating that even though he was
EU contingent was in place (scheduled for favored to win a third term as PM at the
the following month). An Israeli-PA liaison head of Likud, his agenda would have been
office at Kerem Shalom (the new Israeli bor- mired in petty internal party politics. Kadima
der crossing being built at the intersection would run on the platform of laying “the
of the Israeli, Egyptian, and Gaza borders) foundations for a peace agreement wherein
had also been formed. On 12/1, Israel signed the country’s primary borders will be deter-
a $25 m. agreement with the UN Devel- mined, while insisting on the dismantling
opment Program (UNDP), contracting the of terrorist organizations.” Likud’s chair-
latter to remove debris from the Gaza set- man Tshai Hanegbi, Vice PM Ehud Olmert,
tlements demolished in the disengagement; DM Shaul Mofaz, and Justice M Tzipi Livni,
the UNDP received the funds on 11/22 and among at least 15 of 40 Likud MKs, followed
expected to complete work by 6/06. Sharon. Veteran politician Shimon Peres left
Soon, however, Israel slowed the process the Labor party to join Kadima on 11/30. On
in its drive to maintain effective control over 11/22, Israeli officials set 3/28/06 as the date
Gaza. Six days after the PA assumed oper- for early elections.
ation of Rafah, the IDF threatened (11/30, Meanwhile, Israel imposed (ca. 11/17)
12/2) to close all Gaza crossings if the PA did new, more stringent travel arrangements
not improve its Rafah operations, complain- around Bethlehem, requiring tourists enter-
ing that it was not receiving real-time infor- ing and leaving the city to undergo baggage
mation on Palestinians crossing at Rafah, as and passport checks and customs processing
promised under the arrangements, and argu- as if at an international crossing; randomly
ing that the 15-minute delay in information shut the Erez (11/18–19) and Sufa (11/22–
transfer had allowed “terrorists” to enter 27) crossings into Gaza, citing nonspecific
Gaza undetected: Israel specifically cited threats (despite U.S. demands; see above);
the entry on 11/29 of senior Hamas mem- issued tenders for the construction of new
QUARTERLY UPDATE ON CONFLICT AND DIPLOMACY 151

housing units and infrastructure projects in “adopt a harsher response” to rocket fire
West Bank Jewish settlements; continued from Gaza, beginning a wide-scale retalia-
land confiscations for the construction of tion operation targeting northern Gaza that
the separation wall; and continued arrest could last for up to a month, targeting launch
raids (including major operations in Jenin on sites in both built up and uninhabited areas,
11/18 and Nablus on 11/30), house searches, and stepping up assassinations and arrest
and home demolitions across the West Bank campaigns in the West Bank. Israel also de-
(see Chronology for details). The IDF also clared (12/6) that, even when the Rafah
assassinated two AMB members in Jenin technical problems were solved, it would
on 11/17 and for no apparent reason fired not resume talks on West Bank–Gaza bus
at least 20 artillery shells at the open area convoys and safe passage until Abbas acted
along the northern Gaza border on 11/27. against Palestinian militant groups. Quartet
Settler violence also continued. Until 12/2, envoy Wolfensohn reprimanded Israel, say-
Palestinian response to these acts was largely ing it should not target Gaza in response
restricted to stone throwing, with one re- to attacks not emanating from Gaza. Mean-
ported incident of mortar fire from Gaza while, the PA security forces moved to de-
into Israel (11/30), one of rocket fire from tain some Islamic Jihad figures in Jenin but
Gaza into Israel (12/2), and one of a road- backed down when confronted by more
side bomb in the West Bank (12/1), none of heavily armed Islamic Jihad and AMB mem-
which caused damage or injuries. bers. In Balata refugee camp (r.c.), however,
On 12/3, however, violence escalated the PA detained 13 Islamic Jihad suspects on
sharply. After Palestinians fired two rockets 12/6 and 10 on 12/8, despite coming under
from Gaza into Israel, again causing no dam- fire.
age or injuries, the IDF fired a missile at an Amid the upsurge in violence, U.S. Asst.
Islamic Jihad charity in Gaza City, heavily Secy. of State for Near East Affairs David
damaging the building and wounding a by- Welch arrived (12/9) in the region to press
stander. Palestinians fired three more rockets for further Rafah implementation. In a 12/9
in apparent retaliation, causing no damage meeting with Welch and EU, Quartet, and
or injuries. The IDF responded with mas- donor officials, Israel noted that the techni-
sive artillery fire and F-16 air strikes along cal problems at the Rafah border crossing
the northern Gaza border. On 12/4, after still had not been entirely eliminated, reiter-
the AMB fired three rockets from Gaza into ated that the PA’s handling of crossing was
Israel causing light damage, the IDF esca- “very unsatisfactory,” and announced that
lated by resuming mock air raids over Gaza, Israel would restrict Palestinian trade and
creating sonic booms to intimidate the pop- travel in and out of Gaza if the PA did not im-
ulation (see Quarterly Update in JPS 138); prove security procedures within 48 hours
shelling northern Gaza; and conducting air (although West Bank and Gaza borders were
strikes on a second Islamic Jihad charity. sealed at the time). At a separate meeting the
The next day (12/5), an Islamic Jihad same day (12/9), Israeli DM Mofaz officially
suicide bomber from Kefar Rai near Jenin informed Welch that the Israeli cabinet had
detonated a device outside a shopping mall endorsed plans to freeze implementation of
in Netanya, killing 5 Israelis and wounding the Rafah arrangements immediately and to
31 (4 seriously), claiming retaliation for resume talks on the matter “only after the
the IDF’s 10/24/05 assassination of 2 of PA fulfilled its [road map] obligation to act
the group’s leaders. The IDF immediately against terrorists.” Mofaz reiterated that the
imposed closures on the West Bank and PA’s failure to provide instant information
Gaza (keeping only the Qarni crossing open on who was crossing the border left Gaza
for the import of basic goods), shelled the “wide open to terrorists and weapons, and
northern Gaza border area and southern jeopardizes Israel’s security,” but Welch said
Gaza near Khan Yunis, and appealed to the U.S. believed that the PA was keeping to
the Israeli attorney general to allow the its end of the Rafah deal and that the secu-
IDF to resume bulldozing the homes of rity problems were technical and were being
families of Palestinian suicide bombers. (The fixed as quickly as possible. Under U.S. pres-
practice had been suspended in 2/05 in light sure, Israel lifted the closure on the West
of the Palestinian truce and with the IDF Bank and Gaza on 12/12 but did not begin
finding that the practice was not an effective the bus convoys linking the West Bank and
deterrent.) Gaza on 12/15 as scheduled.
After security cabinet meetings that Meanwhile, the IDF ramped up assassi-
evening, Israel announced that it would nations and attacks on northern Gaza, and
152 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

Palestinian mortar and rocket fire from Gaza at the end of the year. Hamas, however, said
into Israel increased. By 12/18, the IDF had (12/9, 12/12) it would keep the truce until
carried out at least 96 air strikes on Gaza (in- the 1/25 elections and reconsider its options
cluding 45 missiles from F-16s and 5 from then.
unmanned aerial vehicles), mostly targeting
roads and bridges; fired more than 95 tank Election Fears Set In
shells, mostly on the northern Gaza bor- Hamas’s unexpectedly strong showing in
der area; and opened fire across the border 12/15 municipal elections suddenly shifted
with live ammunition at least 25 times. The attention away from Rafah implementation
IDF assassinated a PRC member in Rafah to the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary
on 12/7, an AMB member in Gaza’s Jabaliya elections scheduled for 1/25/06. Hamas had
r.c. on 12/8 (also killing 2 AMB members done well in the first five rounds of municipal
who were not deliberately targeted), and elections (see Quarterly Updates in JPS 135,
4 AMB members in Gaza City on 12/14. An- 136, 138), but its gains in the mid-December
other wanted AMB member was fatally shot round, where it won an overwhelming ma-
(12/11) in a major IDF raid on Balata r.c. jority in traditionally pro-Fatah Nablus and
near Nablus in what may have been an as- nearly won in heavily secular Ramallah, the
sassination. In addition, a senior Abu Rish seat of the PA and with a large Christian
Brigades (ARB) commander was killed when minority, took everyone by surprise. These
his car mysteriously exploded near Khan results, combined with the disarray within
Yunis on 12/17; the ARB believed it was an Fatah displayed by violent infighting dur-
Israeli assassination, but IDF denied involve- ing the Fatah primaries and the submission
ment. An air strike on the Bayt Lahiya home (12/14) of two rival Fatah party lists—both
of a PRC member on 12/14 may have been headed by jailed tanzim leader, reformer,
a failed assassination attempt. The IDF also and Abbas critic Marwan Barghouti—raised
stepped up arrest raids in the West Bank, the possibility of Hamas’s winning a signifi-
with Islamic Jihad reporting more than 120 cant bloc of seats in the 1/06 elections. (For
members arrested between 12/5 and 12/9 details on the municipal elections and the
alone. Palestinians meanwhile fired at least Fatah crisis, see the Intra-Palestinian Dynam-
16 rockets and 22 mortars from Gaza into ics section below.) International estimates
Israel, damaging a water network in one in- that Hamas might pull 20–30% in the January
cident but causing no injuries. (Mofaz noted balloting were raised to the 30–40% range.
on 12/18 that most of the rocket and mor- After Hamas’s municipal election win,
tar fire was by Islamic Jihad and that Hamas Israel quickly declared (12/21) that it would
was refraining from hostile actions in keep- ban East Jerusalem Palestinians from taking
ing with the truce.) Noting that the rocket part in the 1/06 elections if Hamas partici-
fire included 5 larger-than-usual rockets (4 pated, prompting Abbas to threaten (12/21,
on 12/15, 1 on 12/18) aimed at Ashkelon, 1/2) to delay elections if Israel followed
the site of Israel’s electricity grid, Israel reim- through. (On 12/22, 10 Palestinian factions,
posed (12/15) the closure (lifted 3 days ear- including Hamas, issued a statement calling
lier) on the West Bank and Gaza (except the on Abbas to hold elections no matter what.)
Rafah crossing), threatened to cut electricity Under pressure from the U.S., Israel backed
to Gaza if attacks continued, and imposed down, agreeing (1/15) to abide by the com-
an unannounced closure on Tulkarm and promises reached for the 1/05 PA presiden-
Jenin by setting up flying checkpoints bar- tial election: East Jerusalemites would be
ring most travel into and out of the areas. allowed to vote at 5 East Jerusalem post of-
In the only fatal Palestinian attacks, an AMB fices (effectively casting absentee ballots) or
member stabbed (12/8) an IDF soldier out- to travel to West Bank polling stations. Israel
side Ramallah, and the AMB and Islamic Jihad did, however, bar (1/9) Hamas candidates
took joint responsibility for a drive-by shoot- from campaigning in the Jerusalem munic-
ing (12/16) near Hebron that left 1 Jewish ipality and required (1/9) all those wishing
settler dead and 2 injured. As of the close to campaign there to submit requests to the
of 12/18, the death toll had reached 4,241 Israeli police in advance.
Palestinians and 999 Israelis. The intense focus on the election was
Citing the Israeli escalation, the AMB temporarily interrupted by the sudden catas-
(12/8), Islamic Jihad (12/9), the Popular trophic turn in Sharon’s health: On 12/18,
Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP; he was hospitalized following a mild stroke
12/9), and PRCs (12/8) said that they would and was released on 12/20 in apparently
not renew their unilateral truce with Israel satisfactory health. On 1/4, however, he
QUARTERLY UPDATE ON CONFLICT AND DIPLOMACY 153

suffered a massive stroke, falling into a coma tournament) to take place before the 1/25
from which he was not expected to emerge. elections and for which full credit was to go
Vice PM Olmert seamlessly moved into the to the Fatah-dominated PA (through advertis-
position of acting PM until Israel’s 3/28 elec- ing taken out in the Palestinian press) with
tions, laying out Israel’s conditions for the the aim of raising the popularity of Fatah
Palestinian elections and more generally on the eve of elections. Under the PA elec-
continuing to implement Sharon’s agenda. tions law and the code of conduct signed by
On 1/12, Olmert personally informed U.S. all parties with regard to the 1/25 election,
Pres. George W. Bush that the peace pro- parties could not spend more than $1 m.
cess (already on hold) could not con- to promote their national lists, and no party
tinue if “terrorist organizations” like Hamas was allowed to take money from foreign
joined the Palestinian government after sources. The U.S. also reportedly pressured
elections. Israel to allow Arab satellite channels to con-
The mildly panicked reaction of the in- duct and widely air (1/22) an interview with
ternational community seemed calculated jailed Fatah candidate Barghouti on the eve
to threaten and cajole the Palestinian pub- of elections. (The same day, the PA shut
lic into voting for Fatah. The EU declared Hamas’s new TV station, opened on 1/7, for
(12/18) that it might cut off aid to the PA not having the proper license.)
if Hamas won in the legislative elections, Hamas, meanwhile, took steps to reassure
stating that European taxpayers would not the international community and appeal to
be likely to support the PA if it included a the broadest sector of Palestinian voters, re-
party that advocates violence and Israel’s leasing (early 1/06) its campaign platform
destruction. (The EU declared Hamas’s po- that was notably mild in tone, pointedly
litical wing a terrorist organization in 9/03; omitting among its aims the destruction of
see Quarterly Update in JPS 130.) The Quar- Israel, de-emphasizing the movement’s re-
tet followed with a 12/28 statement that the ligious character, and focusing on “what
next PA cabinet “should include no member it is actually capable of offering the Pales-
who has not committed to the principles tinian people in the way of achieving their
of Israel’s right to exist in peace and se- rights.” Hamas also indicated that it was still
curity and an unequivocal end to violence undecided as to whether it would agree to
and terrorism,” indicating that it could, how- join the Palestinian cabinet after elections.
ever, accept a Hamas opposition bloc in the Hamas Gaza leader and Palestinian Council
legislature. The U.S. initially limited itself (PC) candidate Mahmud Zahar also declared
largely to reiterating the Quartet statement, (1/23) that Hamas would be willing to par-
but on 1/11 Secy. of State Rice turned up ticipate in “indirect” talks with Israel after
the heat, stating that the U.S. believed “that elections, saying that it did not consider ne-
there should be no place in the political gotiations taboo, so long as Israel truly had
system for groups or individuals who refuse something to offer.
to renounce terror and violence, recognize For his part, Abbas vowed (1/18) to re-
Israel’s right to exist, and disarm.” The U.S. sign as president if his agenda for reform
then also began hinting (1/13) that it, too, and renewal of negotiations with Israel was
would review and possibly cut its aid to blocked after elections, and he declared
the Palestinians if Hamas had a role in the (1/16) that he would not run for president
new PA government. As the date of elections again when his term ends in 2009.
moved closer, Bush stated (in an interview
published the day of elections) that the U.S. Operation Blue Skies and Israel’s
would not deal with elected Hamas officials North Gaza No-Go Zone
until Hamas amended its charter to remove Meanwhile, on the ground, Israeli-
all references to destroying Israel. Palestinian violence, particularly across the
Behind the scenes, the U.S. took steps to Gaza border, continued to escalate (see
sway Palestinian public opinion in favor of Chronology). The IDF assassinated a Hamas
Abbas and his Fatah slate. On 1/21, the U.S. member in Jenin (12/21) and a PFLP mem-
acknowledged rumors that it had run some ber and 2 AMB members in Nablus (12/22).
$2 m. through the U.S. Agency for Interna- Islamic Jihad injured 5 IDF soldiers in a
tional Development (USAID) to fund small, rocket attack on an IDF base near Ashkelon
popular projects and events (e.g., street on 12/22.
cleaning, tree planting, distribution of free On 12/22, two days after Sharon got out
food and water, donating computers to com- of the hospital following his first stroke, the
munity centers, sponsoring a youth soccer Israeli security cabinet approved Operation
154 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

Blue Skies, an open-ended operation aimed Israel Declared Northern Gaza No-Go
at curbing Palestinian rocket and mor- Zone, December 2005
tar fire from Gaza by enforcing a no-go
zone along the northern Gaza border from
the coast to the Erez crossing and about
1.5 miles deep using artillery, helicopters,
and gunboats; possibly creating a similar
no-go zone in southern Gaza; and employ-
ing more stringent monitoring of the Gaza
Strip by air. On Sharon’s first day back at
work on 12/25, he ordered the IDF to
launch the operation, saying it was necessary
“in the context of [the PA’s] failure to address
the security situation.” The IDF also ex-
tended (12/25) the sealing of the West Bank
and Gaza (except for the Rafah crossing)
until 1/3 for Hanukkah, later extending it
through 1/7 for Id al-Adha. The AMB, Islamic
Jihad, and the PRCs warned (12/26) that
they would initiate joint attacks on Israeli
targets if the IDF imposed the no-go zone.
Although Abbas held talks (12/27) in Gaza
with the Palestinian factions regarding ex-
tending the 2/05 truce, the factions made no
attempt formally to extend it, allowing the
truce to expire on 1/1. al-Til detonated (12/29) a device at a check-
While the IDF ramped up air strikes on point outside neighboring Tulkarm, killing
Gaza immediately after Operation Blue Skies 1 IDF soldier and 2 Palestinians and wound-
was authorized on 12/26, enforcement of the ing 3 IDF soldiers and 7 Palestinians. Two
n. Gaza no-go zone did not begin until 12/28, other Islamic Jihad suicide bombings fol-
when the IDF dropped leaflets on Gaza con- lowed: 24 Israelis were wounded in a Tel
taining maps delineating an area roughly cor- Aviv attack on 1/19, and an explosive deto-
responding to the n. Gaza settlement areas nated during an arrest raid in Jenin on 1/12
evacuated under disengagement plus bor- killed only the bomber with no injuries.
der areas housing some 100,000 Palestinians Islamic Jihad, the AMB, the ARB, and the
for whom the IDF recommended evacuation PRCs also escalated their rocket and mor-
for “a limited period of time” (reportedly tar fire from Gaza into Israel, causing no
no Palestinians left). The leaflet warned resi- damage or injuries. (At least 5 of the rock-
dents to stay clear of the zone as of 6:00 P.M. ets fired toward Israel landed inside Gaza,
local time on 12/28 or risk being targeted. causing damage and an injury in one inci-
Shortly before the deadline, the AMB fired dent on 1/19.) In addition, the AMB and
4 rockets at Sederot, causing no damage ARB wounded an IDF soldier in a joint road-
or injuries. The IDF launched artillery and side bombing in Jenin on 1/3, and an AMB
helicopter missile fire for several hours in gunman firing across the Gaza border near
response (wounding 1 militant and 1 by- Bayt Hanun fatally shot an IDF soldier inside
stander) and resumed mock air raids over Israel on 1/18. In response to the 12/29 Is-
the rest of the Strip, repeatedly breaking the lamic Jihad bombing, the IDF reinforced the
sound barrier. Through 1/25, Operation Blue ongoing closure on Tulkarm (see above) and
Skies targeted roads and access points into sealed Qalqilya. On 1/2, an unannounced
the no-go zone, fired on rocket launch sites, closure was imposed on Nablus using flying
and conducted mock air raids on a near daily checkpoints. Combined with the de facto
basis, killing 3 Palestinians, and occasionally closure still in place around Jenin, an esti-
shelled areas of s. Gaza (see Chronology for mated 800,000 Palestinians in the northern
details). The IDF also assassinated (1/2) 3 West Bank were prohibited from traveling
Islamic Jihad members in Gaza’s Jabaliya r.c. outside their immediate districts as of 1/2.
and a PRC member in Gaza City on 1/22, as Meanwhile, Asst. Secy. of State Welch
well as a Hamas member in Tulkarm on 1/17. and National Security Council adviser Elliott
The day after Operation Blue Skies be- Abrams traveled (1/10) to the region to
gan, an Islamic Jihad suicide bomber from press Israel to resume talks on Rafah
QUARTERLY UPDATE ON CONFLICT AND DIPLOMACY 155

implementation and to touch base with Thus, on the eve of elections, tensions
Israeli, PA, and Quartet officials on the and violence were high, not only between
Palestinian elections. Israel was still refus- Israel and the Palestinians but internally
ing to hold Rafah implementation talks with among Palestinians themselves. Conditions
the Palestinians, and benchmarks for al- in Gaza were rapidly deteriorating and the
lowing 150 export trucks/day through the situation in the West Bank was precarious.
Qarni crossing (12/31) and reducing barri- On 1/23, the IDF announced that it was
ers to Palestinian travel inside the West Bank suspending all military operations in the
(12/31) had been missed. Israel had allowed Palestinian areas until after the 1/25 elec-
the Palestinians to increase the hours of op- tions and would act only in response to im-
eration of the Rafah crossing to 8 hours/day mediate threats. Restrictions on Palestinian
on 12/19 and had opened (1/3) its Kerem movement in the West Bank would also be
Shalom commercial crossing on the Egypt- eased to facilitate the elections. PA security
Gaza-Israel border for the passage of goods forces would be allowed to carry arms and
from Egypt into Gaza, but the entry of goods patrol Palestinian cities during the voting.
and individuals from Gaza into Israel was a (Israel normally does not permit the PA se-
sore point. Since the Islamic Jihad bomb- curity forces to carry arms on patrol.) As of
ing on 12/5, Gaza and West Bank crossings the morning of 1/25, the death toll stood at
had been almost continuously closed, and 4,265 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis.
little was allowed through the Gaza cross- Hamas Wins a Majority
ings when they were open—a condition The Palestinian legislative elections were
that persisted through the end of the quar- held on 1/25 as scheduled, without serious
ter. In talks on 1/12, Mofaz again informed incident (see below for details). Exit polling
Welch and Abrams that Israel “does not in- that evening indicated that Fatah held a slight
tend to allow Gaza–West Bank convoys” and majority, but preliminary results the next
would not take further steps until Abbas dis- morning showed Hamas taking a decisive
mantled “terrorist” groups, leaving the Rafah overall majority of 74 of 132 seats, with
arrangements effectively dead. Fatah winning 43 seats. Final results issued
During the same period, two serious on 1/29 adjusted this slightly, giving Hamas
incidents at the Rafah crossing generated 72 seats to Fatah’s 45.
international concern: On 12/30, 100 PA
policemen occupied the border terminal Initial Reactions
to protest the death of a policeman fatally Virtually everyone, including Hamas, was
shot during a drug raid on 12/29 and the stunned by the outright Hamas majority.
PA’s failure adequately to provision the secu- The outcome was not contested, but reac-
rity forces against heavily armed Palestinian tions differed as to how to move forward.
gangs. EU monitors were forced to shut EU policy chief Javier Solana stated simply
the crossing and leave the area for several (1/26) that the results “confront us with
hours, until the demonstration broke up. an entirely new situation which will need
On 1/4, AMB members angry over the PA’s to be analyzed.” The Quartet issued (1/26)
arrest of one of their leaders blocked the a preliminary statement, saying that Pales-
road to the Rafah crossing, detonated explo- tinians had “voted for change” but had not
sives near the Rafah border wall (causing given up “their aspirations for peace and
minor damage), and then stole 2 munici- statehood” and reiterated that they found
pal bulldozers and tore down a 15-ft section “a fundamental contradiction between an
of the wall. As many as 1,000 Palestinians, armed group and militia activities and the
some armed, flooded through the opening, building of a democratic state.” Rice, attend-
overrunning Egyptian border guards. The ing the World Economic Forum in Davos,
Egyptians called in reinforcements and Switzerland, made (1/26) virtually the same
declared the area a closed military zone. statement on behalf of the U.S.
Though they were able to arrest around The Israeli cabinet declared (1/26) that
100 Palestinians, the situation quickly de- “should a government be established . . . with
teriorated, with some Palestinians (likely Hamas leading or participating, the Pales-
AMB members) setting fire to an Egyptian tinian Authority will become a sponsor of
armored personnel carrier, throwing hand terror. . . . The world and Israel will ignore
grenades, and firing on the Egyptian contin- it and it will become irrelevant.” On 1/27,
gent, killing 2 border guards and wounding acting Israeli FM Tzipi Livni launched a cam-
30. Egypt closed its side of the border until paign urging an international boycott of a
1/8. Hamas-led PA, stating that “Hamas cannot be
156 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

a partner for Israel” and that the PA, if led by form a government, the tone of the inter-
Hamas, “also cannot be a partner for peace.” national community hardened, converging
At the same time, Israel said (1/27) it would with the Israeli position. A Quartet state-
suspend transfers of the VAT taxes it col- ment on 1/30 said that financial assistance
lects on the PA’s behalf, amounting to some to the new Hamas-led government should
$50 m. in crucial PA revenue per month. On be contingent upon the new government’s
1/29, the Israeli cabinet stated that it would recognition of Israel, renunciation of vio-
not have contact with Abbas or the PA until lence, and “acceptance of previous agree-
all Palestinian militant groups are disarmed ments and obligations, including the road
and until Hamas recognizes Israel’s right to map.” Privately, Quartet members nuanced
exist, annuls its charter, and agrees to uphold their positions: the U.S. stressed that Hamas
all agreements and understandings entered must be required to change its declared po-
into between Israel and the PA/PLO. sitions to fulfill the Quartet requirements,
On the Palestinian side, Abbas reiter- while the EU, UN, and Russia viewed this
ated (1/26) his commitment to the road as unnecessarily provocative, doubted that
map and his threat to resign if he could Hamas would (or could politically) comply,
not continue his political program, includ- and recommended that Hamas be judged
ing negotiations with Israel. Fatah quickly on its performance. Separately, Bush stated
rejected (1/26) the possibility of joining (1/30, 1/31) that the U.S. “will not support a
a Hamas-led government, with key mem- Palestinian government made up of Hamas,”
bers suggesting that Hamas should lead the that “this new democracy that’s emerging in
government alone to “get a sense of the the Palestinian territories must understand
difficulties involved in governing an angry that you can’t have a political party that also
electorate living under occupation.” As for has got an armed wing to it,” and that the U.S.
Hamas, it immediately said that it would ex- message to Hamas was “get rid of your arms,
tend its cease-fire (1/26), stated (1/27) its disavow terrorism.” Rice also stated (1/29)
desire to form a national unity government that the U.S. would not provide financial
including all parties (1/27), and vowed (ca. aid to a Hamas-led Palestinian government;
1/28) not to purge the PA security forces of while humanitarian aid to the Palestinians
Fatah or AMB members, but to work with would continue, it would be reviewed on a
Abbas to improve security performance. case-by-case basis.
From Damascus, Hamas head Khalid Mishal This conflation of Hamas with the PA,
vowed (1/28) that Hamas would adopt “a pressed by Israel and the U.S. and encour-
very realistic approach” toward governance aged by Fatah elements loath to lose power,
and would work with Abbas to draft a broadly was seen by some observers as dangerous
acceptable political program but that the or- and short-sighted. Instead of reinforcing the
ganization would not disarm or amend its principles of democracy and defending the
charter. PA as a democratic institution by demanding
Meanwhile, on the street, thousands of that Hamas’s Change and Reform party, as
Hamas supporters held (1/27) peaceful ral- one party in a multiparty system, adhere to
lies celebrating the election victory, while the Basic Law (the interim Palestinian consti-
angry Fatah members demonstrated (1/27, tution) and uphold laws of the PA (unless it
1/28) across Gaza, including outside Abbas’s could change them legitimately through the
Gaza residence, burning cars, firing in the legislature), Israel and the U.S. undermined
air, demanding that the party’s leadership re- those democratic principles and threatened
sign over the election failure, tearing down to destroy the PA as an institution by de-
Hamas campaign posters, and occasionally manding that Hamas as a movement change
clashing with Hamas members; smaller Fa- its fundamental positions and threatening
tah demonstrations were also held (1/28) that the PA would be isolated by the interna-
in the West Bank (see Chronology for de- tional community and destabilized if it did
tails). Hamas quickly ordered (by 1/29) its not comply.
members to refrain from celebrating so as Meanwhile, Abbas, with the encourage-
to reduce Palestinian tensions. Fatah also ment of the U.S. and the Fatah leadership,
reined in its people, and incidents tapered took steps before the swearing in of the new
off by 2/4. legislature on 2/18 to concentrate power in
the office of the president and to dilute the
Conflating Hamas and the PA authority of the cabinet and legislature. He
As the reality set in that Hamas could first ordered (1/29) all branches of the PA
not legitimately be denied the chance to security forces to report to him directly to
QUARTERLY UPDATE ON CONFLICT AND DIPLOMACY 157

preempt any Hamas move to exert author- and judiciary in the interests of accountabil-
ity through the Interior Min. The move also ity and transparency. (Ironically, Abbas first
pacified the PA security forces, largely made entered the government as PM, a position
up of Fatah members, who feared losing Arafat was forced to create by the U.S. in
their jobs and influence under a Hamas-led 2003 to weaken his control, and resigned
government. (Fatah reportedly urged Abbas four months later when Arafat refused to re-
to go so far as to declare the security services linquish control of the security forces.) The
under PLO control, in keeping with Oslo, suggestion of separating the PLO and the PA
and therefore not answerable to a Hamas-led (the PLO officially represents all Palestinians,
PA so long as Hamas was not part of the both inside and in the diaspora, whereas the
PLO.) PA, a subordinate body of the PLO, repre-
Abbas also pushed several measures sents only the Palestinians in the territories)
through the outgoing PC at its last session was seen in similar light. In addition to cre-
on 2/13 (attended by only 45 of 88 mem- ating a divided Palestinian authority and
bers, most of them Fatah). These included raising questions of legitimacy, such a sepa-
a resolution authorizing the creation of a ration would also reverse a trend encouraged
9-judge constitutional court to be appointed both by the U.S. and Israel, which since Oslo
by the president and not requiring PC ap- had promoted diplomacy with the PA over
proval. The constitutional court could veto the PLO in order to weaken the PLO and di-
any legislation it deems in violation of the vide the Palestinians in the territories from
Basic Law and would serve as the ultimate the refugees abroad.
arbiter in disputes between the president As for Hamas’s reactions to Abbas’s presi-
and the government and in civilian peti- dential decrees, it declared (1/29, 2/13) the
tions against the PA. The court also could moves illegal under PA law, since they did
conceivably dissolve the PC if it ruled that not have the required two-thirds majority
an impasse between the president and the support of all PC members. It added, how-
government prevented the PA from function- ever, that “we don’t want to make a big deal
ing; indeed, many suspected that Abbas’s about it yet,” saying the new cabinet and leg-
purpose in forcing through the bill was to islature would address the issues after they
create a mechanism by which he could dis- were formed.
solve the legislature and call new elections
if need be. Three decrees created positions The Aid Issue
of secretary general of the Employees Bu- After the initial battle lines were drawn,
reau (responsible for hiring civil servants), the rhetoric cooled as everyone waited to
the PC (for hiring PC staff, a function for- see how Hamas would approach the for-
merly filled by the PC secretary, a position mation of the government. Officially this
held by an elected PC member), and the could not begin until the new PC members
comptroller’s office, answering directly to were sworn in on 2/18 and until Abbas offi-
the president; Fatah members were installed cially invited Hamas to form a government.
in each position. This gave Abbas effective Nonetheless, Hamas opened consultations
control over hiring and firing PA and PC with Abbas within days of the election. Talks
staff, now predominantly Fatah members. on forming the government planned for
Another measure reportedly appointed a Fa- 1/29 by Hamas’s Ismail Haniyeh (first on
tah loyalist to head a government watchdog the Hamas list and the anticipated PM) and
group in charge of weeding out corruption. Mahmud Zahar (Hamas’s Gaza chief who also
Abbas also hinted (1/26) that future negoti- won a PC seat) with Abbas were postponed
ations with Israel could be held through the by Abbas, who was afraid to travel to Gaza
PLO as opposed to the PA, since the PLO did while violent Fatah demonstrations were
not include Hamas (more below). Around going on. The talks finally opened on 2/4,
2/13, he issued a presidential decree plac- with various options reportedly discussed
ing the official Palestinian media under the over the following days, including the pos-
office of the president. sibility of the PM position being filled by
These steps raised a number of con- a respected technocrat and/or rep. of an-
cerns in constitutionally minded circles, es- other minor party (such as former finance
pecially as they were seen as undoing years minister Salam al-Fayyad, who headed the
of PA reform efforts, encouraged and even Third Way list) or by an independent affil-
forced by the U.S. while Yasir Arafat was iated with Hamas (such as Ziad Abu Amr).
in power, to reduce the prerogatives of the Hanniyya and Zahar also met with Hamas
presidency and strengthen the legislature leader Mishal in Cairo on 2/5, after which
158 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

Mishal stated that Hamas “will view the Behind the scenes, the Arab League was
signed treaties as established facts,” saying reportedly recommending that Hamas en-
that the Oslo accord “does not serve to ad- dorse the March 2002 Arab League summit
vance Palestinian rights. The accords have statement agreeing to “consider the Arab-
failed, as we predicted. But nevertheless we Israeli conflict ended and enter into a peace
will approach them as facts.” Mishal also agreement with Israel and provide security
reiterated (2/13) that if Israel recognized for all the states of the region” (see Doc. B1 in
Palestinian rights and pledged to withdraw JPS 124) if Israel returns to the 1967 borders,
from all occupied territories, Hamas would accepts a sovereign Palestinian state in the
halt armed resistance. West Bank and Gaza (with East Jerusalem as
Meanwhile, Israel, the U.S., and the EU its capital), and finds a “just solution” to the
kept the threat of suspension of aid to the PA refugee issue. Israel, however, said (1/31) it
at the forefront, believing that the very real would not accept such Hamas endorsement
threat of PA insolvency would force Hamas as sufficient.
to recognize Israel, renounce violence, and Separately, the U.S. began serious be-
affirm existing agreements with Israel. Israel hind the scenes contacts to explore possible
initially withheld (2/1) $55 m. in monthly “work arounds” to dealing with a Hamas-led
VAT transfer owed the PA, but transferred it PA. Two days of talks among senior Israeli,
on 2/5 under U.S. pressure to continue pay- PA, and U.S. figures were held (2/7–8) at the
ments at least until the new government was James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy
installed, so as not to weaken Abbas further in Houston, Texas, to explore ways of sidelin-
during the government formation process. ing Hamas. The meetings were chaired by
In Washington, Congress put forward a num- former U.S. amb. to Israel and Syria Edward
ber of resolutions (see below) calling for the Djerejian (who was briefed by senior State
suspension of aid to the Palestinians and of Dept. officials on 2/7 and updated them by
diplomatic relations with the PLO and PA phone as the meetings progressed). Israel
should Hamas not fulfill the three Quartet and the PA each had four-person teams, the
demands. PA team led by Abbas’s national security ad-
Russia firmly opposed the calls for with- viser Jibril Rajub and the Israeli team by for-
holding aid and effectively broke with the mer head of Israeli military intelligence Gen.
Quartet on this issue. Thus on 1/31, one Uri Saguy. Among the ideas discussed were
day after the 1/30 Quartet declaration, Pres. funneling aid to the Palestinians through the
Vladimir Putin stated that while Russia does Palestinian governors who are members of
not “totally approve and support everything Fatah, since governors report directly to the
that Hamas has done,” it “has never regarded president. Parallel with the Houston meet-
Hamas as a terrorist organization,” and it ings, Israeli FM Livni was in Washington
would not support efforts to cut off financial 2/7–8 to coordinate positions regarding
aid to the Palestinians. Putin also announced the Hamas elections with VP Dick Cheney,
(2/9) his intention officially to invite a Hamas Secy. of State Rice, National Security Adviser
delegation to Moscow for consultations. Stephen Hadley, and leading members of
Faced with the prospect of U.S.-EU aid Congress; no details were released.
suspension, Hamas dispatched (2/3) a dele- Soon after these meetings, the New York
gation to South America (Argentina, Brazil, Times cited (2/14) unnamed Israeli and
Bolivia, Venezuela) to explore alternative Western diplomats as saying that the U.S.
possibilities for PA funding. Mishal person- and Israel were discussing “ways to destabi-
ally went to the UAE (2/12) and Khartoum lize the Palestinian government so that the
(2/13), host of the upcoming 3/06 Arab newly elected Hamas officials will fail and
League summit, to begin lobbying the Arab elections will be called again.” According to
League states to increase support of a Hamas- the New York Times, “The intention is to
led PA government if the EU and U.S. sus- starve the Palestinian Authority of money
pended aid. Meanwhile, Quartet envoy and international connections to the point
Wolfensohn, whose mission was extended where, some months from now, its presi-
through 3/06, began (2/11) a tour of Jordan, dent, Mahmoud Abbas, is compelled to call
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Morocco, and a new election. The hope is that Palestinians
Kuwait to secure $200 m.–$300 m. to cover will be so unhappy with life under Hamas
the PA budget gap for the period of transi- that they will return to office a reformed
tion to the new government; no details were and chastened Fatah movement.” The diplo-
available on the success of his mission at the mats argued that if a Hamas-led government
close of the quarter. was unable to pay workers, import goods,
QUARTERLY UPDATE ON CONFLICT AND DIPLOMACY 159

or generally function, Abbas would have the 12/27, 9,200 Palestinians were in Israeli jails
right to dissolve the PC, even though that or under administrative detention.
right is not spelled out in the Basic Law (see This quarter, Israel carried out 29 clear as-
above). Israel and the U.S. denied (2/14) sassinations (up from 20 last quarter), killing
they planned to destabilize the government 3 bystanders and wounding 30. The follow-
but repeated intentions to suspend aid and ing individuals were assassinated: the AMB’s
tax transfers if the Hamas-led government Ahmad Abahra (11/17), Muhammad Zayid
did not meet demands to recognize Israel, re- (11/17), Iyad Qaddas (12/8), Hussam Abu
nounce violence, and accept previous peace Nada (12/14), Hamdan Muhanna (12/14),
agreements. Muhammad Juha (12/14), Rashad al-Son
Meanwhile, Israeli-Palestinian violence, (12/14), Ahmad Jayyusi (12/22), Anas Hamad
which had slacked off in the days before (12/22), Yasir Barghouti (2/4), Nasr Marshud
the election, continued at a low rate un- (2/4), Hani al-Qabid (2/4), Hassan Asfur
til 2/3, with the exception of the IDF as- (2/6), Rami Hanun (2/6), ‘Atiya Abu Shari‘a
sassination of 2 Islamic Jihad members in (2/7), and Suhail Bakir (2/7); Hamas’s
Jenin on 1/3. On 2/3, a Palestinian rocket Zayid Musa (12/21) and Thabit Ayadi (1/17);
launched from Gaza into Israel injured 3 Islamic Jihad’s Said Abu Jidayn (1/2), Omar
Israelis. The IDF responded by resuming Obayid (1/2), Akram Qaddas (1/2), Nidal
Operation Blue Skies and escalating assassi- al-Sadi (1/31), Ahmad Tubasi (1/31), Adnan
nations, killing 3 AMB members in Gaza City Bustan (2/5), Jihad al-Sawafiri (2/5), and
on 2/4, 2 Islamic Jihad members in Gaza City Ahmad Raddad (2/7); the PFLP’s Bashar
on 2/5, 2 AMB members in n. Gaza on 2/6, Hanini (12/22); and the PRCs’ Mahmud
2 AMB members in Gaza City on 2/7, and Arqan (12/7) and Mahmud ‘Abd al-A‘al
1 Islamic Jihad member in Nablus on 2/7. (1/22). The IDF also attempted to assas-
The IDF also attempted to assassinate an Is- sinate an Islamic Jihad member (2/5) and
lamic Jihad member in Balata on 2/5 and 3 3 unnamed individuals on 2/11. Incidents on
unidentified Palestinians in Dayr al-Balah on 12/11 and 12/17 may have been assassina-
2/11. tions targeting an AMB and an ARB member.
Israel also kept closures on Gaza cross- An incident on 12/14 may have been a failed
ings in place for long stretches, violating assassination attempt on a PRC member (see
Rafah pledges to guarantee the export of Chronology for details).
Palestinian agricultural goods during the During the quarter, 4 Palestinian suicide
harvest, which peaked during this time. The bombings (up from 2 last quarter) were
main Qarni crossing for exports was closed recorded, killing 8 and injuring 55 (com-
from 1/14–2/5, costing the Palestinians an pared to 5 killed and about 20 injured last
estimated $500,000/day in lost revenue and quarter); all were carried out by Islamic
sparking serious riots there on 1/28. IDF ar- Jihad (12/5, 12/29, 1/12, 1/19). An incident
rest raids, home demolitions, bulldozing of on 2/9 in which an AMB and a PRC member
agricultural land, and expansion of settle- jointly attacked the IDF post at Gaza’s Erez
ment infrastructure, as well as settler vio- crossing, causing no injuries, was a suicide
lence also continued (see Chronology for attack insofar as the men clearly knew they
details). The 2/3 attack not withstanding, would not survive the attack.
Palestinian rocket and mortar fire remained Palestinian use of mortars, rockets, and
low, though incidents of damage and injuries roadside bombs was up significantly this
were unusually high: in addition to the in- quarter, particularly after the IDF launched
juries on 2/3, light damage was reported in Operation Blue Skies (see above). On 1/1,
3 incidents on 2/3, 1 on 2/7, and 1 on 2/14. the IDF reported that in early 12/05, the AMB
had fired a crude rocket from the n. West
Intifada Data and Trends Bank toward, but not into, Israel, causing
During the quarter, at least 70 Palestini- no damage or injuries; if corroborated this
ans and 10 Israelis were killed (compared would mark the first confirmed rocket fire
to 83 Palestinians and 13 Israelis last quar- from the West Bank. (A previous IDF report
ter), bringing the toll at 2/15 to at least that 2 rockets had been fired near Jenin
4,285 Palestinians (including 46 Israeli Arabs ca. 1/1/05 has never been independently
and 17 unidentified Arab cross-border in- verified.) The IDF reportedly also found
filtrators), 1,002 Israelis (including 310 IDF (12/14) a Qassam rocket when it searched a
soldiers and security personnel, 201 settlers, Hamas building in Nablus.
491 civilians), and 56 foreign nationals (in- The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem
cluding 2 British suicide bombers). As of reported (2/13) that since the return of
160 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

Jericho to PA control on 3/16/05, the IDF mained a near daily occurrence. Incidents
gradually imposed restrictions on Palestinian included settlers rampaging through Pales-
movement that by the end of 2005 effectively tinian areas (11/26, 1/13, 2 on 1/14), occu-
cut off the Jordan Valley from the rest of pying Palestinian homes and stores (1/13,
the West Bank, barring nonresidents from 1/14), fencing off land for expansion of set-
entering the Jordan Valley, the area of the tlements or creation of new outposts (13 on
Dead Sea shoreline, and the eastern slopes of 12/27, 1/14), beating or otherwise attack-
the West Bank hills. The IDF claimed (2/13) ing Palestinians (11/17, 11/26, 11/28, 11/29,
that the moves are “security measures” only 1/15, 1/26, 2/3, 2/4, 2/11), barring Palestini-
with no political intent; it should be noted, ans from using roads or accessing property
however, that Israel has long said that it (1/1, 1/4, 1/31, 2/3, 2 on 2/13), vandaliz-
would never cede control of the Jordan ing property (12/29, 1/4, 1/14, 1/15, 1/26,
Valley under a permanent agreement. 1/27, 2/11, 2/12, 2/14), setting fire to prop-
Israeli house demolitions, after nearly erty (1/14, 1/12, 1/15), destroying crops and
ceasing last quarter, were on the rise: 13 uprooting trees (11/16, 11/25, 2 on 11/26,
Palestinian homes and a three-story apart- 11/29, 12/17, 12/18, 12/20 12/24, 12/25,
ment building in and near East Jerusalem 1/6), and stealing or killing livestock (12/29,
were demolished, along with 10 homes near 2/3). There were also 2 incidents of delib-
Jenin, 9 near Bethlehem, 5 in Ramallah, erate hit-and-runs by Jewish settlers that
and 1 in Nablus. The Israeli Committee injured 2 Palestinians (12/3, 1/20). Armed
Against House Demolitions reported (2/8) settlers wounded 2 Palestinians in a drive-by
that Israel’s Jerusalem municipality had bud- shooting on 1/5 and attacked a Palestinian
geted $600,000 to demolish 152 Palestinian school bus on 2/2, beating 5 students. Of 56
homes in Jerusalem in 2005 (up from 90 in reported incidents (down from 70 last quar-
2004). All were ostensibly demolished for ter), most occurred in Hebron (20), Nablus
being built without permits (no permits for (10), and Qalqilya (7). The Israeli Interior
Palestinian construction in Jerusalem have Min. reported (1/4) that more than 6,000
been issued since 1967), but most were on new Jewish settlers moved into the West
the route of the separation wall. Bank in the second half of 2005.
Israel continued work on its separation The IDF also stepped up targeting of
wall in the West Bank, with monitors re- journalists. In the most significant case, the
porting that most construction this quarter IDF arrested a Palestinian News Network
was outside Bethlehem, southwest of He- (PNN) correspondent in his home on 1/23.
bron, north of Jerusalem, and northwest of Then on 1/24, the Shin Bet summoned a
Nablus. As of 12/7, the IDF reported that second PNN correspondent for questioning,
35% of the wall (171 mi of 472 mi) had been releasing her with an “offer” to “consider
completed. The Israeli High Court rejected cooperating with them to inform them on
(1/9) a petition against the separation wall her future work with PNN.” The IDF also
route around Mod’in settlement and lifted arrested (12/1) al-Jazeera’s bureau chief in his
temporary injunctions stopping construc- home for unspecified “security violations”
tion of the wall in that area. On 11/17, Israel and detained (12/16) 3 reporters covering
began work on a new segment of the wall clashes near Hebron. On 11/27, following
northwest of Ramallah that will be built on disengagement, the IDF requested that all
at least 5,330 dunams (d.; 4 d. = 1 acre) international and Israeli journalists leave
of land seized from Abud village (including Gaza and not return until further notice.
3,887 d. that will be cut off from Palestinian The Temporary International Presence
access behind the wall). In addition, at least in Hebron (TIPH) halted (2/8) its activi-
328 d. of land around Bethlehem and 841 d. ties until further notice and withdrew from
near Hebron was confiscated this quarter for Hebron to Tel Aviv. The organization, headed
the wall. by Norway and including around 100 officers
Aside from the ongoing bulldozing con- from Denmark, Italy, Norway, Switzerland,
nected with construction of the separation and Turkey, cited the unstable security envi-
wall, IDF bulldozing of Palestinian lands in ronment in Hebron after Palestinian youths,
the West Bank declined to a handful of re- angry over the publication of Danish car-
ported incidents totaling 150 d. in Hebron, toons degrading the Prophet Muhammad,
113 d. in Bethlehem, 5 d. in East Jerusalem, surrounded the TIPH headquarters, pelted
and 5 d. in Nablus. it with stones, broke into and vandalized
Jewish settler violence against Palestini- the building, and set fire to a vehicle. PA po-
ans was slightly lower this quarter but re- lice and IDF soldiers intervened to remove
QUARTERLY UPDATE ON CONFLICT AND DIPLOMACY 161

the youths. TIPH began operating in Hebron ditional Fatah stronghold of Nablus (73% to
in 1/97, when they were mandated to ob- Fatah’s 13%). Fatah narrowly won in heavily
serve and record violations of the human Christian Ramallah (34% to Hamas’s 31%).
rights situation in Hebron in keeping with
the 1/17/97 Hebron Protocol on Israeli re- Fatah Primaries
deployment from the city. Fatah had planned to hold primaries
Also of note: The private Israeli secu- 11/18–25 in the West Bank and Gaza to
rity firm Mikud began (1/16) operating the determine its party list for the 1/25 parlia-
Ephraim crossing into Israel near Tulkarm, mentary elections. The primaries were a
becoming the first private firm to assume concession to Fatah reformers, angry over
such IDF duties. The IDF awarded 4 private the leadership’s decision to postpone until
contracts for operation of the Beitunia, Erez, after 1/25 Fatah’s 6th General Conference,
Ephraim, and Gilboa crossings as a test to to be held for the first time in 20 years
see if reducing contact between the mili- (see Quarterly Update in JPS 137), which
tary and Palestinians would reduce violence. they had hoped would elect a new Fatah
The Israeli security firm Sheleg Lavan began Revolutionary Council (FRC) and Central
operating the Erez crossing on 1/19. Committee (FCC) to bring new people into
the leadership. As of 11/18, 485 candidates
Independent Initiatives
for the primaries had registered for the 80
A two-day Palestinian diaspora con-
possible slots in the West Bank alone. The
ference, gathering 90 Palestinians from
primaries did not begin as scheduled, how-
Australia, Canada, Europe, North Africa,
ever, and were officially delayed on 11/19,
North and South America, and the occupied
with the leadership citing internal dissent
territories was held (12/3–4) in Geneva.
and threats by local armed Fatah groups to
Participants issued a statement of general
disrupt the voting unless they were paid off
principles aimed at unifying Palestinian
with civil service jobs.
efforts across the diaspora and drawing up a
The first round of primaries was held
post-disengagement strategy to prevent the
on 11/25 in Bethlehem, Jenin, Nablus,
marginalization of diaspora Palestinian com-
and Ramallah and was won overwhelm-
munities and safeguard the right of return.
ingly by Fatah reformists, including jailed
Fatah tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti. The
INTRA-PALESTINIAN DYNAMICS
second day of primaries in Gaza (11/28)
was marred both by Israel’s statement
Elections
that it would block primary voting in East
When the quarter opened, the PA
Jerusalem and by Fatah groups in various
had held 4 rounds of municipal elections
locales raiding police stations, firing in the
(12/23/04, 1/27/05, 5/5/05, 9/29/05), with
air, stealing and setting fire to ballot boxes,
another round set for 12/15. A final round
and claiming that the voting was not fair.
of voting in 65 West Bank municipalities and
The Fatah leadership nullified (11/29) the
several in Gaza was planned, but no date had
voting in Gaza and postponed further pri-
been set by 2/15 (see Quarterly Update in
maries indefinitely, citing broader incidents
JPS 138). Legislative elections were planned
of violence, voter intimidation, and pro-
for 1/25/06.
cedural irregularities (including numerous
Municipal Elections reports of Fatah members, possibly number-
The sixth round of municipal elections ing into the thousands, arriving at the polls
was held on 12/15 as planned in 44 con- to find that their names were not on the
stituencies including al-Bireh, Jenin, Nablus, rolls or that they were registered in other
and Ramallah in the West Bank and in areas). Despite the decision, angry Fatah of-
3 villages in Gaza (Um Nasr, Fakhari, and ficials opposed to the delay went ahead with
al-Qarara). A total of 1,321 candidates (in- planned polling in Jerusalem on 11/29, cre-
cluding 266 women) competed for 414 ating further confusion. Meanwhile, some
seats. Overall, Fatah took 35% of the seats Fatah officials discussed the possibility of re-
at stake, compared to 56% won by Hamas, running the primaries using new voter rolls
with the rest divided among smaller parties with significantly fewer members eligible to
and independents, the strongest of which participate, selecting a “representative sam-
was the PFLP. Most of Fatah’s wins were in ple of the general party membership” to
smaller villages, whereas Hamas won by an vote; while proponents argued this would
overwhelming margin in al-Bireh (58% to speed the process and be easier to regu-
Fatah’s 23%), Jenin (over 50%), and the tra- late properly, it also raised concerns of vote
162 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

rigging and was ultimately rejected. On form a new movement called Future. The list
11/30, the FCC named a 24-member review they submitted was also headed by Barghouti
board, chaired by Abbas, to appoint Fatah’s and included Fatah renegades Muhammad
party list “in consultation with” local Fatah Dahlan (former Gaza security chief and civil
leaders. Nonetheless, scattered primaries affairs minister, a favorite of the U.S. and
were held on 12/2 and 12/6, with reformers Israel), Jibril Rajub (Abbas’s national secu-
carrying most of the votes, a notable ex- rity adviser), Qaddura Faris (a prominent PC
ception being Hebron, where Fatah stalwart member), and West Bank AMB leader Nasser
Jibril Rajub won on 12/2, sparking violent Juma. Although Future pledged (12/15) to
protests (12/3) by the AMB, which alleged support Fatah in a coalition government, the
vote rigging. On 12/7—a week before the move threatened to split Fatah’s votes and
deadline for party lists to be submitted to strengthen Hamas’s hand.
the Central Election Commission (CEC)— Abbas immediately opened talks (12/15)
Abbas began work with the Fatah Executive with Future rep. Faris to reunite the lists, of-
Committee and FRC to compile a party list. fering to make concessions in the makeup
Outraged AMB members occupied Fatah and order of the official list and threatening
election offices across Gaza (12/12, 12/13) to resign as president if Future members did
and in Nablus (12/13) in protest. not pull their list and rejoin Fatah. Reaching
Separately, starting from mid-11/05, the an impasse with Future on 12/20, Abbas con-
Fatah leadership, aware of the movement’s sulted with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar
internal disorder, was pressuring Abbas to Sulayman, who as Egypt’s security envoy to
postpone the 1/06 elections for several the PA had close contacts with Fatah op-
weeks to allow more time to prepare and position members, seeking his influence to
to try to amend the election law again (see pressure Future. Meanwhile, the CEC deter-
Quarterly Update in JPS 137). The idea was mined (12/17) that, legally, the registration
to change the elections from a 50% party deadline could not be violated, meaning that
list–50% constituency system to an all-party Fatah and Future could not merge their lists
list system, apparently thought to give Fatah and submit a single, revised slate. Abbas
the upper hand. (Under the 50-50 system ap- appealed to the judiciary, and on 12/26 a
proved in 6/05, half of the 132 PC members Ramallah court approved a motion to allow
would be elected from nationwide party Fatah to submit a new list.
lists, with each party taking a percentage of Future agreed to return to Fatah in ex-
the 66 seats equal to the percentage of total change for concessions on the party list, and
party list votes won. The other 66 PC mem- a new official Fatah slate was submitted to
bers would be elected from district lists by the CEC on 12/28, headed by Barghouti.
simple majority, with a guaranteed minimum Some members of the Fatah and Future lists
of seats for women and Christians.) A formal who were strongly opposed by the other
proposal to amend the election law again, camp but had strong local machines (Dahlan
delaying elections, was rejected by the PC in Khan Yunis and Rajub in Jenin being pri-
on 11/23. mary examples) were bumped from the
On 12/14, Abbas submitted the official party list and allowed to run on the district
Fatah list led not by PM Ahmad Qurai‘, as level. Some senior Fatah members, includ-
many expected, but by jailed tanzim leader ing PM Qurai‘ and PC speaker Rawhi Fattuh,
Marwan Barghouti in a bid to draw the sup- apparently unhappy with their placement
port of reformers and AMB members who or believing they could not win if relegated
predominantly sought the removal of veteran to the district races, decided not to run at
leaders deemed corrupt and ineffectual. (In all. Not all cadres were pleased by the final
the party list voting, each party, once it result. AMB members angry over the final
knows the number of seats it has won, fills make-up seized (12/28) 5 election offices in
its seats from the top of the party list down, Gaza and waged shoot-outs with the PA po-
the assumption being that the first member lice, leaving 1 policeman wounded. Similarly,
on the list of the party that takes the major- the AMB Nablus faction threatened (1/17) to
ity of all 132 seats would be named PM.) In disrupt the voting and called on Nablus and
a surprise move, however, Fatah opposition Balata r.c. residents to boycott the elections.
members, outraged by the decision to cancel The FCC was so worried about the state of af-
primaries that had favored them and to allow fairs that most members signed (1/1) a letter
the existing leadership to appoint the list, to Abbas urging him to postpone elections
announced an hour before the submission and calling on Fatah candidates to withdraw
deadline that they were breaking away to their names to force a postponement.
QUARTERLY UPDATE ON CONFLICT AND DIPLOMACY 163

Legislative Elections code of conduct, becoming the last of the


The registration period for candidates in 12 parties to do so (see Quarterly Update in
the 1/25 elections on district and party lists JPS 138). Fatah, by contrast, ran multiple
ran from 12/3 to 12/14. PA cabinet ministers official candidates for each open seat. In ad-
had until 11/25 to resign their positions if dition, a large number of Fatah members,
they planned to run. Respected Finance M either not chosen for the party list or un-
Salam al-Fayyad was the first to step down happy with their placement on it, ran as
(11/19), citing not only the desire to run independents in district races; as many as
but his frustration with the PA’s inability 120 of the nearly 250 “independents” were
to confront its financial problems; Fayyad Fatah members.
also announced the formation of his own As noted above, Israel on 12/22 had
party, Third Way. Civil Affairs M Muhammad threatened to bar East Jerusalem Palestinians
Dahlan, Higher Education M Na‘im Abu from taking part in the elections and on 1/9
Humus, Prison Affairs M Sufiyan Abu Zayda, had officially banned candidates linked to
and ministers without portfolio Sakr Bseiso Hamas from campaigning in the Jerusalem
and Ahmad Majdalani also stepped down to municipality. In practice, throughout the
run for Fatah. entire official campaign period (1/3–23),
After ensuring that applications were Israel came down hard on candidates of
complete and valid, the CEC announced on all parties but especially those connected
12/18 that 12 party slates had been regis- to “terrorist organizations,” including not
tered: Alternative (al-Badil, a coalition of only Hamas’s Change and Reform but the
the Democratic Front for the Liberation of PFLP’s Abu Ali Mustafa list and Alternative,
Palestine [DFLP], Fida, and the Palestinian which included members of the DFLP (see
People’s Party, independents headed by Chronology for details). Israeli authorities
DFLP Secretary-General Qays ‘Abd al-Karim), routinely barred candidates from entering
Change and Reform (Hamas), Fatah, the city even if they had the proper permits
Freedom and Social Justice (Palestinian (e.g., 1/10, 1/11, 1/19, 1/22), broke up cam-
Popular Struggle Front), Freedom and paign rallies and arrested candidates (e.g.,
Independence (Palestinian Arab Front), 3 incidents on 1/3, 1/4, 1/15, 2 incidents
Future (the last-minute Fatah breakaway), on 1/18, 1/20, 1/22, 1/23), raided campaign
Independent Palestine (National Initia- offices and confiscated election material
tive headed by Mustafa Barghouthi), Martyr (e.g., 1/16, 1/19, 1/22), and prevented cam-
Abu al-Abbas (Palestinian Liberation Front), paign workers from distributing materials
Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa (PFLP), National (e.g., 1/9, 1/11, 1/14). In the West Bank,
Coalition for Justice and Democracy the IDF also barred CEC officials from con-
(Wa’ad, comprising independents), Pales- ducting official business (e.g., 2 incidents
tinian Justice (independent), and Third on 1/3, 1/24), barred candidates from cross-
Way (headed by Fayyad, with Hanan Ashrawi ing checkpoints to attend rallies (e.g., 1/11,
and the Geneva Accord architect Yasir ‘Abid 1/15, 1/20, 1/21), and broke up a campaign
Rabbuh). At the district level, 444 candidates rally (1/20) and tore down campaign posters
had registered. (1/7) in Hebron. On 1/24, the Jerusalem mu-
Analysts noted that on the district level, nicipality fined Fatah, Hamas, and the PFLP
“Hamas’ approach to the legislative elections $100,000 each for hanging campaign posters
has been a model of party discipline and co- in East Jerusalem.
herence. Hamas higher-uppers have chosen Abbas crossed swords with his own cab-
to field a list comprising well-respected, inet and the Interior Min. over voting pro-
educated, moderate candidates, many of cedures for the PA security forces. On 1/3,
whom have a reputation for probity and he issued a presidential decree, approved
high-minded political service” (Miftah 12/17; by the judiciary, codifying an agreement
see also Ha’Aretz 1/3). In a decision to de- reached among the CEC, PA, and all Pales-
emphasize Hamas’s rigid line, hard-line Gaza tinian factions to allow officers to vote
leader Mahmud Zahar was placed ninth on in their home polling stations during the
the Change and Reform party list and Gaza 3 days before the elections so that they
moderate Ismail Haniyeh was placed first. could be on duty the day of the vote. The
Hamas also took care to run no more than cabinet and Interior Min., reportedly insti-
one candidate per open seat on the district gated by PM Qurai‘, overruled the decree
level and brokered alliances with Christian on 1/4, citing concerns about the potential
independents in districts with guaranteed hindrances to movement that Israel could
Christian seats. Hamas also overcame its in- impose, instead ordering special polling cen-
ternal disputes and signed (1/8) the elections ters to be opened in the barracks and at the
164 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

headquarters of the security forces. That and Third Way: 2 seats each; and indepen-
same day, the CEC, fearing ballot stuffing dent candidates (all allied with Hamas):
by the predominantly Fatah security forces 4 seats. Significantly, Hamas won almost
and citing the rule of law, the need for trans- three times more seats than Fatah in the dis-
parency and the importance of preserving trict races, but just one more in the party list
the CEC’s own integrity, immediately sent race. The breakdown of the 66 party list seats
(1/4) a letter to Abbas requesting to be re- was as follows: Change and Reform (Hamas)
lieved of its duties. Abbas reaffirmed his pres- 29, Fatah 28, Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa (PFLP)
idential decree on 1/9. The CEC reported 3, Alternative 2, Independent Palestine 2,
(1/23) that 90% of registered officers (53,227 and Third Way 2. The breakdown for the
of 58,705) participated in the early voting 66 district list seats was as follows: 45 Hamas,
1/21–23, 70% of them voting for Fatah. 17 Fatah, and 4 independent. Hamas swept
The elections were held as planned on races in Bethlehem, Hebron, Jerusalem, and
1/25, with 77% of the 1.3 million regis- Ramallah (except for Christian seats). Signif-
tered voters (82% in Gaza, 74% in the West icantly, Change and Reform overall took only
Bank, and 46% in East Jerusalem) casting 44% of the total votes cast but captured 56%
2 ballots—a district ballot (for individuals of the seats, while Fatah took 41% of the
according to the number of seats allocated vote (down from 70% in 1996 elections, in
to the voter’s district) and a national ballot which Hamas did not run) and won 34% of
(for a party list). The breakdown of seats the seats. The disparity emphasized Hamas’s
allocations for the 16 districts was as fol- superior strategy on the district level, where
lows: Bethlehem (4 seats, 2 reserved for it captured 68% of the seats with 36% of the
Christians; 32 candidates); Dayr al-Balah vote, with the remaining 64% split among
(3 seats; 18 candidates); Gaza City (8 seats, the many Fatah and other party candidates.
1 reserved for Christians; 49 candidates); Fatah reportedly fared better in rural areas
Hebron (9 seats; 46 candidates); Jenin than in cities, where corruption was more
(4 seats; 32 candidates); Jericho (1 seat; widespread. Also of note: 17 women were
5 candidates); Jerusalem (6 seats, 2 re- elected (taking 13% of seats), all as mem-
served for Christians; 39 candidates); Khan bers of party lists. Of these, the 6 for Change
Yunis (5 seats; 43 candidates); Nablus and Reform won outright, without having
(6 seats; 30 candidates); Northern Gaza to rely on the legislated quota. In addition,
(5 seats; 27 candidates); Qalqilya (2 seats; 15 seats were won by candidates serving
10 candidates); Rafah (3 seats; 12 candi- prison sentences. Of these, 14 (11 Hamas;
dates); Ramallah (5 seats, 1 reserved for 3 Fatah, including Barghouti) were jailed by
Christians; 34 candidates); Salfit (1 seat; Israel and 1 (PFLP leader Ahmad Saadat) by
11 candidates); and Tubas (1 seat; 9 can- the PA. Israel released 1 Change and Reform
didates); and Tulkarm (3 seats; 17 candi- member on 2/15 but extended (2/13) the
dates). Some 30 candidates withdrew their detention order of a second.
names after the registration period closed. Nearly 2,000 Palestinian election ob-
Of note: Islamic Jihad, the only significant servers and 100s of international monitors
faction not to field a candidate, called (1/16) were in place to witness the elections from
on its supporters to boycott the elections. the opening of the campaign period on
The CEC released preliminary results 1/3. Official monitoring teams were sent by
on 1/26, showing Hamas’s Change and Re- China, Egypt, the EU, India, Jordan, Russia,
form party winning a majority of 76 of the and South Africa. A private American obser-
132 seats, followed by Fatah with 43. The fi- vation team led by former pres. Jimmy Carter
nal results released on 1/29 shifted 2 seats and organized by the National Democratic
from Hamas to Fatah—1 at the district level, Institute also participated. The U.S. team
in Khan Yunis; 1 from the party lists. The summed up the opinion of the delegations,
correction was considered suspicious by deeming the election “a generally smooth
many, as the additional two seats brought Fa- process with only sporadic violence and a
tah’s representation from 32.5% to 34% of robust turnout.” Few serious election viola-
the seats, more than the one-third required tions were reported overall, the largest being
to block amendments to the Basic Law or the U.S. disbursement of $2 m. to influence
motions to overrule presidential decrees. the election outcome (see above). In the
The final results for the party lists and days before the election, observers did note
district races combined were as follows: that some PA security vehicles were used for
Change and Reform (Hamas): 74 seats; Fatah campaign activities, some PA security
Fatah: 45 seats; Abu Ali Mustafa (PFLP): officers were seen putting up Fatah cam-
3 seats; Alternative, Independent Palestine, paign posters (1/20), and Fatah members
QUARTERLY UPDATE ON CONFLICT AND DIPLOMACY 165

fired weapons in the air at a campaign rally protest over the PC’s changes, which they
in Gaza (1/23) in violation of the elections believed undermined both the judiciary’s
code of conduct. Hamas was cited for airing transparency and freedom of action. Soon
a campaign commercial from a recording after the law was published in the Palestinian
studio in a building attached to a mosque, Gazette, putting it into force, the PA High
a technical violation of the code of con- Court suspended (12/5) the law, ruling it
duct’s prohibition on campaigning at places contradictory to the Basic Law and sending
of worship. All parties reportedly continued it back to the PC. At the close of the quarter,
modest campaign efforts after the close of the law was under revision.
the official campaign period on 1/23. On 1/1, the new Palestinian ambassado-
rial appointments ordered by FM Nasser
Reform Efforts and Governance al-Kidwa last quarter (see Quarterly Up-
The PA security forces stepped up their date in JPS 138) officially went into effect,
efforts to restore order to the territories this though several ambassadors were in their
quarter, launching (11/27) a large-scale cam- new posts weeks in advance. Under the new
paign to crack down on criminal activity requirements of the diplomatic corps law
across the West Bank and Gaza, focusing on of 6/05, Kidwa retired 22 ambassadors and
searching for stolen property (primarily ve- appointed 33 new ambassadors (most of
hicles), unlicensed weapons, and drugs. In them prominent academics). Of the roughly
at least two incidents, PA police units track- 90 ambassadors who were held over in the
ing stolen vehicles accidentally intervened corps, only 12 retained their old positions.
in IDF covert operations in Palestinian Ambassadors will only be able to stay in a
cities in which plain-clothes IDF units were post for four years before being rotated. The
driving stolen cars; serious clashes were nar- changes were viewed in part as an effort by
rowly averted. The crackdown also sparked Abbas to strengthen his hold on power by
several incidents of clashes with Palestinian shifting control of diplomacy from the PLO
militants (e.g., 12/4, 12/24, 1/2, 1/7) and (where he faces opposition to his leader-
criminal gangs (e.g., 11/27, 12/29, 12/30, 2 ship) to the PA.
on 1/7). Despite the effort, intra-Palestinian PA Economics M Mazin Sunukrut an-
violence increased significantly during the nounced (11/23) PA plans to build 10 in-
quarter (see below). The AMB, Hamas, and dustrial zones in the West Bank and Gaza.
Islamic Jihad issued a statement on 1/7 say- One zone near Bayt Hanun was to be built
ing that they would set up a special security with a $3 m. U.S. grant, but the future of the
force to restore order in Gaza if the PA se- grant was in jeopardy following the Hamas
curity forces continued to prove unable to election victory.
do so.
PA Atty. Gen. Ahmad al-Maghani an- National Unity and Power Struggles
nounced (2/5) that a corruption investiga- Palestinian violence and political infight-
tion found that at least $700 m. of PA public ing surrounding the elections continued to
funds had been stolen in recent years, citing raise serious questions about Palestinian po-
52 cases of squandered or stolen funds. (He litical stability and the potential for outright
later claimed that the $700 m. was “largely civil war. Fatah, as noted above, was fissured
generated by journalists” and that he could to the point that it arguably no longer ex-
not give a “meaningful figure.”) He said that isted as a coherent movement. Rival factions
25 officials had been arrested thus far, and fought among themselves and with factions
at least 6 had fled abroad (4 to Jordan, 2 to of the Fatah offshoot AMB, which in turn
Arab states); the PA was seeking extradition. also fought among themselves (see Chronol-
On 2/9, Maghani froze the bank accounts ogy for details). Other ominous events that
and seized the assets of tens of senior PA of- indicated that the prospects of further Pales-
ficials suspected of corruption and issued tinian infighting were high included Abbas’s
orders barring them from leaving the occu- moves to centralize power after the elections
pied territories. The names of those charged (see above), angry Fatah and AMB demon-
were not released. strations after elections calling for the Fatah
Under pressure from the PC, Abbas leadership to resign (1/26–28; some mem-
signed (ca. mid-11/05) the PA Judicial Law, bers in Hebron and Rafah resigned on 1/29),
significantly amended by the PC without the serious spate of Fatah-Hamas fighting
consulting the task force on the judiciary after the elections (2 on 1/27, 1/28, 2/1,
that had drafted the original text. Some le- 2/2, 2/3, 2/4), demonstrations (1/30) by PA
gal experts resigned from the task force in security force members who said they would
166 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

not work for a Hamas-led government, and level by early 1/06 that PA security forces
threats (2/14) by the AMB-Nablus faction were routinely wearing masks during op-
to foil the success of the Hamas-led govern- erations for fear of retaliation against their
ment by “opening fire until they [Hamas] fail families.
in their cabinet as they foiled Fatah.” Most clan-related incidents involved fam-
In addition, some 120 Islamic Jihad mem- ily members attacking the PA to secure the
bers in Bethlehem, angry over the move- release of relatives who had been arrested
ment’s decision to boycott the elections, an- (e.g., 12/29, 12/30, 12/31) or PA officers
nounced their resignations—an indication who attempted to break up clashes be-
of problems in the small, militant faction, tween clans (e.g., 11/18, 12/3, 12/12). PA
which has been devastated by IDF attacks crackdowns on guns and drugs and arrest
and arrests over the past 6 months. raids to capture felons occasionally erupted
The elections strengthened Hamas’s hand in clashes (e.g., 12/4, 12/5, 12/6, 12/24, 3
in negotiations for joining the PLO (see Quar- on 1/7).
terly Update in JPS 136). Hamas has in re- Once again this quarter, most demonstra-
cent years expressed willingness to join if tions were led by AMB members seeking jobs
a national unity platform could be agreed (11/17, 12/14, 12/20, 2 on 12/27, 12/31),
upon and a formula devised for its repre- protesting the PA ban on carrying weapons
sentation in the Palestinian National Council in public (2 on 11/17), or demanding the
(PNC). Before the recent municipal and release of jailed members (2 on 1/4). Is-
legislative elections, Fatah had lobbied to lamic Jihad also held a demonstration (1/24)
give Hamas only a token representation on demanding the PA release its members.
the PNC, while Hamas had argued that it PA police officers even held demonstra-
should receive a percentage of PNC seats tions (12/20, 1/2, 1/14), some of them
based roughly on its popularity as measured violent, protesting the PA’s failure to ade-
by opinion polls (ca. 20%). The 1/25 win quately supply them, leaving them heavily
gave Hamas a basis to demand a percentage outgunned by gangs and factions.
of seats equal to the percentage of votes it In two other serious incidents, Hamas
took overall (44%), if not the percentage of members detonated (12/25) an explosive
seats it actually captured (56%)—something outside the home of a PA police official,
Fatah is not likely to accept. In a strange causing damage but no injuries, and AMB
move, Abbas pushed through (2/13) a mea- members fired (1/12) on Interior M Nasr
sure in the outgoing PC that automatically Yusuf’s home. Fatah members angry over
makes all members of the PC members of elections issues also fired on (12/29) and
the PNC. The move may have been meant protested outside (1/27) Abbas’s residence
to preclude debate on the number of seats in Gaza.
Hamas should have in the PNC (restricting Kidnappings by Palestinians in Gaza, a
them to 72 seats of more than 400), but it new trend over the past 6 months (see
undermined other moves by Abbas to cen- Quarterly Updates in JPS 137 and 138), con-
tralize his power by differentiating between tinued this quarter, with the capture and
a PA led by Hamas and a PLO of which Hamas release of 8 foreigners: 1 Dutchman and
is not a part (see above). It was uncertain 1 Australian were kidnapped (12/21) by
what the resolution would mean in practi- PFLP members seeking the PA’s release of
cal terms because Hamas does not accept their jailed leader Ahmad Saadat; 3 Britons
the PLO political platform as it stands, and were kidnapped (12/28) by a previously un-
negotiations on a national unity platform are known Fatah offshoot, calling for Britain
far from complete. to take a harder line with Israel; an Ital-
Overall, intra-Palestinian violence in Gaza ian diplomat was kidnapped (1/1) by AMB
escalated dramatically this quarter, becom- members who did not state their demands;
ing a near daily occurrence and leaving at unidentified Palestinians angry over a Danish
least 15 Palestinians dead and more wounded magazine’s publication of cartoons defam-
(see Chronology for details). The rise was ing the prophet kidnapped (2/2) a German
clearly due primarily to two factors: political teacher thinking he was a Dane; and a pre-
infighting related to the Palestinian elections, viously unknown group kidnapped (2/9)
as mentioned; and resistance by factions and the Egyptian military attaché; most were re-
gangs to the PA’s campaign (launched 11/27) leased within hours of their capture and
to crack down on criminal activity and en- all were released unharmed. Two Japanese
force order (see above). Reprisals, particu- aid workers evaded kidnapping on 1/2.
larly in clan disputes, had reached such a Palestinians prevented (1/4) the kidnapping
QUARTERLY UPDATE ON CONFLICT AND DIPLOMACY 167

of the parents of American peace activist 4. How concerned are you about Hamas
Rachel Corrie, killed by the IDF in Gaza on enforcing social restrictions on the
3/16/03. Palestinians?

PALESTINIAN OPINION West Bank Gaza Total


a. Very worried 10.0% 5.2% 8.3%
The following data are excerpted b. Somewhat
from a poll conducted by the Jerusalem worried 20.3% 23.0% 21.3%
Media and Communication Center c. Somewhat not
(JMCC) between 8 and 12 February worried [sic] 29.7% 28.6% 29.3%
2006. Results are based on a survey of d. Not worried at all 39.5% 42.0% 40.4%
1,200 men and women from the West e. No answer 0.5% 1.2% 0.7%
Bank and Gaza. The poll, the 57th in a
series, was taken from JMCC’s Web site
at www.jmcc.org.
5. If the elections happened another
time today, which list would you vote
1. What is the government structure for?
that you hope to see after the legislative West Bank Gaza Total
council elections? a. Change and
Reform 37.1% 48.9% 41.4%
West Bank Gaza Total
b. Fatah 30.3% 32.3% 31.0%
a. National c. Martyr Abu Ali
coalition 59.6% 55.5% 58.1% Mustafa 4.1% 3.9% 4.0%
b. Hamas d. Independent
government 24.5% 23.4% 24.1% Palestine 2.9% 2.0% 2.6%
c. Technocrat e. Alternative 2.9% 0.7% 2.1%
government 12.4% 16.1% 13.8% f. Third Way 1.8% 1.8% 1.8%
d. No answer 3.4% 5.0% 4.0% g. Palestinian
Justice 0.4% 0.9% 0.6%
2. The PA is committed to the option h. Martyr Abu
of political negotiations with Israel. al-Abbas 0.7% 0.0% 0.4%
Do you believe that the new govern- i. Freedom and
ment headed by Hamas has to con- Social Justice 0.5% 0.0% 0.3%
tinue with the political negotiations [or j. Freedom and
should] stop the political negotiations Independence 0.3% 0.0% 0.2%
and should adopt other options? k. National
Coalition for
West Bank Gaza Total Justice and
a. Continue with Democracy 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
political l. Don’t know 5.3% 2.7% 4.3%
negotiations 68.0% 63.2% 66.3% m. Would not vote 11.4% 5.2% 9.2%
b. Stop the n. No answer 2.3% 1.6% 2.1%
political FRONTLINE STATES
negotiations 27.1% 33.9% 29.6%
c. No answer 4.9% 2.9% 4.1% JORDAN
Jordan maintained close contacts with
3. Do you see a contradiction between Israel and the PA but did not play a major
Hamas responsibility over the Pales- role this quarter. King Abdallah occasionally
tinian government and its role in resist- voiced support for the Palestinians, issuing
ing Israel? (1/4) a public statement calling on Israel to
allow Palestinians to vote in East Jerusalem
West Bank Gaza Total and urging (2/7, 2/14) Israel, the EU, and the
a. I see a U.S. to engage with a Hamas-led government
contradiction 45.1% 43.6% 44.6% and to continue providing Palestinians with
b. I don’t see a tax transfers and aid. In a surprise move on
contradiction 51.4% 53.6% 52.3% 2/14, Jordan invited Hamas to send a delega-
c. No answer 3.5% 2.8% 3.1% tion to the kingdom for the first time since
168 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

the kingdom expelled Hamas leaders in 1999 out. Hizballah blamed Israel, which denied
following Israel’s attempted assassination of involvement.
Mishal; no date was set. Violence on the Israel-Lebanon border in-
Jordan also drew closer to the U.S. this creased this quarter. Hizballah members si-
quarter in the wake of the 11/9/05 Amman multaneously raided (11/21) three IDF posts
bombings (see Quarterly Update in JPS in Shaba‘ Farms, clashing with Israeli troops
138). King Abdallah appointed (11/24) his and shelling the area, leaving 4 Hizballah
top aide Maruf Bakhit as PM, urged him to members and 1 IDF soldier dead and 11 IDF
launch a war on Islamic militancy, and called soldiers wounded. Israel confiscated three of
for a tougher antiterrorism law that specifies the Hizballah bodies but vowed not to retali-
punishment for specific “terrorist” acts. ate if Hizballah stopped its shelling, which it
did. Hizballah had initially claimed that the
LEBANON
attack was provoked by two IDF vehicles
The most significant event for Lebanese- straying into Lebanon, but Hassan Nasrallah
Palestinian relations this quarter was admitted on 11/25 that his group had initi-
Lebanon’s agreement (1/5), after months ated the attack to kidnap IDF soldiers to hold
of talks (see Quarterly Update in JPS 138), in exchange for Hizballah prisoners detained
to allow the PLO to open a “mission” (i.e., in Israel. Israel and the UN Interim Force in
not an embassy) in Beirut. PLO offices in Lebanon (UNIFIL) denounced (11/21) the
Lebanon were closed in 1982. attack. Despite its 11/21 pledges, the IDF
This quarter witnessed yet another po- shelled and conducted air strikes on a
litically motivated bombing in a string of Hizballah base in s. Lebanon on 11/22, killing
bombings stemming from the 2/14/05 assas- at least one Hizballah member. The next day,
sination of former PM Rafiq Hariri. Lebanese the UNSC issued an unprecedentedly strong
journalist and MP Gebran Tueni, his driver, statement expressing “deep concern” over
and a bodyguard were killed (12/12) when Hizballah’s “acts of hatred,” referring to the
a car bomb next to Tueni’s car exploded in a 11/21 incident. Keeping tensions high, an
Beirut suburb, also wounding 32 bystanders. Israeli hang glider accidentally landed just in-
Tueni’s was the 10th bombing since Hariri’s side Lebanon on 11/23. The IDF opened the
death targeting journalists and others criti- border gate and ushered the Israeli through,
cal of Syria (the others were on 3/19, 3/23, exchanging fire with Hizballah members
3/27, 5/7, 6/2, 6/21, 7/12, 9/17, 9/25). A who attempted to catch the man, causing
previously unknown group called Strugglers no injuries. The IDF also dropped leaflets
for Unity and Freedom in the Levant claimed over Beirut denouncing Hizballah. On 11/25,
responsibility for Tueni’s death, threatening Israel returned the bodies of the 3 Hizballah
other “opponents of Arabism” in Lebanon. members in a gesture to restore calm. On
Syria denied accusations of involvement, 2/2, the IDF fatally shot a Lebanese shep-
saying the timing of the bombing, which co- herd near Shaba‘ Farms, mistaking him for an
incided with the presentation of the latest armed militant. The next day (2/3), Hizballah
report by the UN commission investigat- fired a mortar at IDF troops in Shaba‘ Farms,
ing the Hariri assassination (see below), lightly wounding 1. The IDF responded with
was clearly meant to undermine Damascus. artillery fire and air strikes on Hizballah po-
The Lebanese cabinet voted (12/12) to sitions in s. Lebanon, causing no reported
convene a tribunal to investigate the bomb- damage or injuries. Also of note: Lebanese
ings, prompting 5 pro-Syrian ministers, in- PM Fuad Siniora declared (2/2) that Hizballah
cluding Hizballah’s Energy M Muhammad was a national resistance movement against
Fneish, to walk out in protest. Britain, Israel, not a militia. (Under UN Res. 1559,
France, and the U.S. quickly introduced Lebanon was required to disarm all
(12/13) a UN res. calling for the probe into militias.
Hariri’s assassination to be extended through Overnight on 12/26–27, unidentified as-
6/15/06 and expanded to include investiga- sailants fired 9 rockets from s. Lebanon
tion of bombings stretching as far back as into n. Israel, causing damage but no in-
10/1/04, before Hariri’s killing. The mea- juries. In response, the IDF publicly blamed
sure passed unanimously in the UN Security (12/27) Hizballah but carried out (12/27)
Council (UNSC) on 2/15. air strikes on a Popular Front for the Libera-
In addition, a senior Hizballah official tion of Palestine–General Command (PFLP-
(unnamed) narrowly escaped (12/9) assassi- GC) base s. of Beirut, wounding 2 PFLP-GC
nation in Chtoura, Lebanon, when a bomb members. The PFLP-GC, Fatah, and Hizbal-
in his car exploded moments after he got lah all denied responsibility, and no group
QUARTERLY UPDATE ON CONFLICT AND DIPLOMACY 169

initially claimed it. Then on 12/29, al-Qa‘ida doing business with him, accusing him of
commander Abu Musab al-Zarqawi issued fomenting terrorism against Israel and back-
a statement claiming that al-Qa‘ida carried ing Syria’s domination of Lebanon. Shawkat,
out the attack, raising concerns that some Pres. Bashar al-Asad’s brother-in-law, had
Palestinian elements might be working with been identified by the UN investigation into
al-Qa‘ida. Hizballah reportedly was angry the Hariri assassination as one of the possible
that al-Qa‘ida was challenging its control of conspirators.
s. Lebanon. Further questions were raised Bush amended (11/22) the Iran Nonpro-
days later, when the Lebanese navy arrested liferation Act of 2000 specifically to include
(ca. 1/7) 4 Palestinians from a r.c. near Syria. The new act, now called the Iran Non-
Tripoli on a “weapons-laden boat” head- proliferation Amendment Act of 2005, au-
ing south, and Lebanon accused the men thorizes the president to take punitive action
of being members of a Lebanese faction of against individuals or organizations known
al-Qa‘ida and of plotting to smuggle arms to be providing material aid to weapons of
to Gaza for an attack on Israel. In addi- mass destruction (WMD) programs in the
tion, on 12/30, Lebanese authorities found two countries. The president can suspend
and disarmed two Katyusha rockets in s. export of arms and dual-use technology to
Lebanon pointed at Israel; no group claimed any entity violating the act.
responsibility. Also of note: Former Syrian VP ‘Abd al-
Tensions between Lebanese authorities Halim Khaddam—who resigned on 12/30,
and the PFLP-GC also continued this quarter accused Asad of involvement in the Hariri
(see Quarterly Update in JPS 138). On 1/9, assassination on 12/31, and has been liv-
PFLP-GC members shot and wounded 2 ing in exile in France since—announced
Lebanese police officers patrolling near their (1/15) that he was forming a government in
base outside Beirut. exile, believing that Asad would be forced
from power in 2006. Khaddam criticized
SYRIA
Syrian foreign policy before Syria’s forced
Syria continued to face unrelenting U.S. withdrawal from Lebanon and was close to
pressure over suspicions that the Syrian gov- Hariri.
ernment was involved in the 2/14/05 assas- A delegation of senior Israeli officials,
sination of former Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri. led by Likud chairman and MK Hanegbi,
On 12/12, Detlev Mehlis, the head of the held (late 11/05) a strategic dialogue with
UN investigation into the assassination, gave their counterparts in Washington in which
his updated report to UN Secy.-Gen. Kofi An- they reportedly stated Israel’s preference
nan, stating that new evidence reinforced for the current level of stability under Asad
his initial judgment (see Quarterly Update in over the likely outcomes of regime change,
JPS 138) that Syrian intelligence forces were which it sees as internal chaos, an Islamist
to blame for Hariri’s death (despite grow- regime, or another Alawite strongman. The
ing questions regarding the investigation). U.S. team, led by Undersecy. of State for
The 12/12 report alleges that one witness Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, reportedly
who recanted his testimony to the commis- dismissed their concerns, saying that remov-
sion, Hussam Tahir Hussam, did so because ing Asad could be “transformative” (Jewish
Syrian officials had arrested and threatened Telegraphic Agency 12/4).
some of his relatives. The report also says
that the investigation uncovered evidence REGIONAL AFFAIRS
that a high-level Syrian official had supplied
arms and ammunition to persons in Lebanon Israel continued to explore expanding
to stage at least some of the recent bomb- ties with Arab states this quarter. Israeli
ings in Lebanon “in order to create public FM Silvan Shalom participated (11/16–18)
disorder in response to any accusations of in the UN’s World Summit of Information
Syrian involvement in the Hariri assassina- Technology in Tunisia, holding talks on the
tion.” Although the probe was extended for sidelines with Tunisian officials on increasing
another 6 months on 12/15 at Lebanon’s re- bilateral trade and tourism. Shalom also
quest, Mehlis stepped down when the initial held two meetings with Abbas: the first
mandate expired on 12/15. He was replaced was an informal meeting in which they
by Belgian Serge Brammertz. discussed Hamas participation in elections
The U.S. Treasury Dept. froze (1/18) the and the Rafah crossing arrangements; no
assets of Syrian military intelligence head details of the second, formal meeting were
Assif Shawkat and banned U.S. citizens from released. Shalom also attended a dinner
170 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

during the visit with the heads of state of “members or associates of Hamas” in the
Algeria, Lebanon, and Tunisia and the PMs PA, PC, municipalities, or other government
of Bahrain and Qatar. At a transportation branches; withholding U.S. contributions to
conference in Morocco (ca. 12/15), Israel the UN proportional to the amount the UN
and Morocco agreed to explore beginning provides the PA or UN agencies that support
air service between the two countries. the Palestinians; designating the Palestinian
Arab states, meanwhile, watched from territories a “terrorist sanctuary”; and clos-
the sidelines as Palestinian elections un- ing the PLO offices in Washington. If passed,
folded. In response to Israel’s announcement the measure would create tighter restrictions
(2/1) that it was suspending VAT transfers to than were imposed on the PLO in the 1980s.
the PA (see above), Saudi Arabia promised Separately, Sens. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Bill
$20 m. and Qatar $13 m. in immediate aid to Nelson (D-FL), and John Kyl (R-AZ) submit-
help the PA cover civil servants’ salaries for ted (2/1) a companion bill (S. 2237) that
2/06. Egypt also agreed (2/5) to sell gasoline was similar in content but milder in tone.
to the PA at the same subsidized prices that The Senate also passed (2/1) by consensus a
Egyptians receive—one-fifth the cost the PA concurrent res. (S. Con. Res. 79) stating in
was currently paying Israel for fuel. full “that no United States assistance should
be provided directly to the Palestinian Au-
thority if any representative political party
INTERNATIONAL holding a majority of parliamentary seats
within the Palestinian Authority maintains a
UNITED STATES
position calling for the destruction of Israel.”
Hamas’s election win was an unexpected The House endorsed the measure on 2/15.
setback for the Bush administration. Crit- In addition, Rep. Vito Fossella (R-NY) sub-
ics commented (see New York Times 1/27, mitted (1/31) a resolution (H. R. 4668) that
1/29; Washington Post 1/27) that Hamas’s would ban any aid to the PA, arguing that
victory marked a “huge blow to Bush’s ad- “the Palestinian people have every right to
vocacy of democracy in the Middle East,” elect a terrorist organization to control their
noting that it marked the fifth recent case government—and the United States has ev-
of regional hardliners winning significant ery right to eliminate any financial assistance
gains through elections, the others being for it.”
the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hizballah Congress had also taken steps before the
in Lebanon, Shi‘i parties backed by militias elections to target Hamas. On 12/16, the
in Iraq, and Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in House passed (397–17) a measure (H. R.
Iran. The U.S., out of touch with the mood 575) drafted by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
on the Palestinian street (due in no small part (R-FL), Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Eric Cantor
to the State Dept. ban on travel to the terri- (R-VA), and Michael McCaul (R-TX), with 82
tories without special permission for even cosponsors, which stated that Hamas and
its most senior envoys), was unprepared for “other terrorist groups” should be banned
the Hamas win, placing it in a bind: honor- from participating in 1/06 PA legislative elec-
ing the democratic process and dealing with tions and from any future government unless
the elected PA government meant dealing they recognize Israel’s right to exist, halt all
directly with members of an organization incitement and violence, condemn “terror-
deemed to be a terrorist organization under ism,” and dismantle their infrastructures. The
U.S. law. measure also recommended that U.S. aid to
Congress, meanwhile, introduced and the Palestinians be suspended if Abbas did
passed a number of measures against pro- not crack down on these groups. (No com-
viding aid to and having contact with a PA panion res. was entered in the Senate, so
government that included Hamas, which the measure did not progress.) On 12/21, 73
were at times stronger in language than the U.S. senators signed a letter urging Bush to
Israeli position. The most drastic legislation pressure Abbas to disarm Hamas before the
passed in the wake of elections was intro- 1/25/06 elections, suggesting that if groups
duced (2/1) by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen such as Hamas were to be brought into the
(R-FL) and Tom Lantos (D-CA). H. R. 4681, PA, “the United States—and no doubt other
titled the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of countries as well—would have little choice
2006, would “prevent U.S. funds from be- but to reevaluate all aspects of our relations
ing manipulated for the benefit of Hamas with the Palestinian Authority.” Sens. Bill
and other terrorist entities” by strengthen- Nelson (D-FL) and Jim Talent (R-MO) began
ing travel restrictions to the U.S. on any circulating the letter on 11/22.
QUARTERLY UPDATE ON CONFLICT AND DIPLOMACY 171

On a different note, 108 members of approved (12/23) the transfer of $600 m. to


Congress signed (12/16) a letter to Rice Israel to fund joint security projects, includ-
praising her brokering of the 11/15 Rafah ing $133 m. for the Arrow missile program.
arrangements and calling on the U.S. to The $600 m. was in addition to regular
maintain active involvement in the peace annual military assistance. Of note: Israeli
process. The letter was lobbied by Ameri- accountant gen. Yaron Zalika announced
cans for Peace Now and sponsored by Rep. (11/26) that Israel is on track to achieve full
Henry Hyde (R-IL). foreign currency financing independence in
Also of note: At the weekly cabinet ses- early 2007, which means that Israel would
sion on 1/8, Shalom reported that during no longer need U.S. loan guarantees. U.S.
the first session of the 109th Congress in fall loan guarantees are set to run out at the end
2005, 23 senators and 80 representatives vis- of 2007.
ited Israel and that the average congressional The U.S. and Israel renewed their strate-
support (both houses) for the 15 resolutions gic dialogue, suspended over Israel’s recent
passed relating directly to Israel was 400 sale of proprietary technology to China (see
votes. Quarterly Update in JPS 138), with a meet-
Of importance to U.S. policy in the re- ing (11/27) in Washington between an Israeli
gion, Secy. of State Rice announced (1/18) delegation led by Israeli cabinet minister
a broad restructuring of the State Dept. Hanegbi and a U.S. delegation led by Under-
under which embassies in Europe would secy. of State for Political Affairs Nicholas
be reduced and embassies in the Middle Burns, and including the directors general
East, Asia, and other areas expanded to re- of the State and Defense Depts. In addition,
flect changes in the global power structure a 25-member U.S. National Guard delegation
since the collapse of the cold war. Career held (11/17–22) a six-day visit to Israel to
advancement into the senior ranks of the for- observe the Israeli Home Front Command’s
eign service henceforth will require diplo- disaster rescue, civil defense, counterterror-
mats to accept assignments in dangerous ism, and urban warfare training programs.
posts, to gain expertise in at least two re- The sides signed two letters proposing to
gions, and to become fluent in at least two exchange ideas and conduct joint training
foreign languages (preferably including Ara- missions.
bic, Chinese, Urdu, and similar languages The Israeli daily Yedi’ot Aharonot re-
which current foreign service officers typi- ported (12/2) that 10s of former Israeli elite
cally lack). In the process, new one-person and undercover forces were working with
diplomatic posts will be created in some 200 U.S. forces in Iraq to train Kurdish fighters
influential cities with populations of over 1 in “anti-terrorism techniques,” while other
m. Rice also announced changes that will Israeli companies were involved in telecom-
bring USAID under greater control of the munications and infrastructure projects,
State Dept. so as to centralize foreign aid ac- such as rebuilding the Irbil airport. In ad-
counts and “ensure more effective and focus dition, in a major policy speech on Iraq
spending overseas.” Critics worried that the on 12/11, Bush urged support for the U.S.
change could further politicize foreign aid campaign in Iraq in part because “Israel’s
objectives and undermine long-term devel- long-term survival depends upon the spread
opment projects. The two announcements of democracy in the Middle East.” The
were cornerstones of Rice’s new strategy high-profile linkage of Israel with Iraq con-
of “transformational diplomacy,” which she cerned Tel Aviv, which downplayed the
hopes to make a hallmark of her term as statement.
secy. of state, that aims to “shift from merely In a precedent-setting case on the use of
reporting on events to influencing them the Patriot Act, a federal jury acquitted (12/6)
to foster the growth of democratic states former Florida professor Sami al-Arian on 8
worldwide.” of 17 counts of aiding terrorists and dead-
While the U.S. and Israel did not move locked on the other 9. Of his codefendants,
forward with talks on a major aid package two were acquitted of all charges; one was
for Israel in light of the disengagement (see found not guilty on 24 counts, with the jury
Quarterly Update in JPS 138), the U.S. did deadlocked on the remaining 8. (Afterward,
sign (12/8) an agreement to provide Israel jurors said that on most of the charges on
with a $50 m. first installment to purchase, which they deadlocked, the overwhelming
deliver, and install high-tech scanners and majority favored acquittal.) After years of
other inspection equipment at crossings pre-9/11 FBI investigations were unable to
through the separation wall. Congress also substantiate suspicions that the men’s ties to
172 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

and support of Islamic Jihad qualified them in planning and ordering the one-ton bomb
as a domestic terrorist cell with significant to be dropped on the residential neighbor-
decision-making authority in the group as a hood. Dichter is currently a fellow at the
whole, then–atty. gen. John Ashcroft used Brookings Institution in Washington.
the new Patriot Act provisions to indict the CCR also filed (12/15) a class action
men in 2003. Prosecutors brought 80 wit- lawsuit in District of Columbia district
nesses as well as evidence from foreign in- court against Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Ya’alon,
telligence probes before the court. Defense charging him with war crimes; extrajudicial
lawyers argued that while the men were vo- killings; crimes against humanity; and cruel,
cal supporters of the Palestinian cause, knew inhuman, or degrading treatment or pun-
Islamic Jihad head Ramadan Abdallah Shallah ishment in connection with the 4/18/96
(who had also been a professor at University shelling of the UN compound in Qana,
of South Florida), and may have celebrated Lebanon, killing over 100 civilians and
Islamic Jihad attacks, they were protected wounding 100s more. The suit seeks mil-
by the First Amendment and all their dona- lions of dollars in damages for the families
tions were to legitimate Palestinian charities. of those killed and wounded. Ya’alon was
Arian and one codefendant will remain jailed served with papers in Washington, where
until the federal court decides whether to he is currently a distinguished fellow at the
retry them on the deadlocked counts. Even if Washington Institute for Near East Policy,
the charges are dropped, Arian will probably which is linked to AIPAC.
remain jailed until he is deported; U.S. Im-
RUSSIA
migration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
has said it will “most likely” move to de- Russia, which normally restricts involve-
port Arian, though it has not said on what ment in the peace process to participation
grounds. in the Quartet, took significant stands this
A federal court sentenced (1/20) former quarter against Israeli- and U.S.-led efforts
Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin to more to isolate the newly elected Hamas-led gov-
than 12 years in prison for passing classified ernment. As noted above, Russian pres.
information to an Israeli embassy official and Putin said (1/31) that Russia would not sup-
to American Israel Public Affairs Committee port efforts to cut off financial aid to the
(AIPAC) officials as well as for unlawful Palestinians.
possession of classified documents. The In addition, he stated (2/9) intentions to
judge gave Franklin a minimum sentence, invite a Hamas delegation to Moscow to dis-
saying that he believed Franklin did not cuss the peace process, restating that Russia
intend to do harm and was a loyal American, would not declare Hamas a terrorist orga-
but still must be punished. He pleaded guilty nization. Hamas welcomed the statement,
in 10/05 (see Quarterly Update in JPS 138). but Israel accused (2/9) Russia of violating
The U.S. Supreme Court refused (11/28) the “ground rules for negotiations” agreed
to hear an appeal to overturn a $116 m. by the Quartet on 1/30 and warned that
judgment against the PLO for the drive-by any official contact with Hamas was a “slip-
shooting deaths of a Jewish couple returning pery slope” to international legitimization
to Israel from a Jewish settlement in the West of terror. Days later (ca. 2/13), in a bid to
Bank. Prosecutors argued that the PLO was pressure Putin to withhold the invitation,
to blame for giving a safe haven to Hamas. Israel began circulating a document claim-
The PLO did not defend against the charges ing that Hamas had supported Chechen sep-
and lost in a default judgment. aratists and their “terrorist tactics” (alluding
Employing, for the first time, the same to the 9/04 Belsan school attack). The docu-
technique, the Center for Constitutional ment cites as examples (without evidence)
Rights (CCR) and the Palestinian Center for that Hamas allowed Chechens to use their
Human Rights brought (12/8) a class action Web sites and distributed anti-Russian lit-
lawsuit in New York district court against Is- erature in 2003–4. An Israeli government
rael’s fmr. Shin Bet head Avi Dichter, seeking official speaking anonymously said (2/13),
millions of dollars in damages on behalf of “we think that it would be a good thing if
the Palestinians who were killed or injured in Russian citizens became aware of that.”
a 7/22/02 air strike in Gaza City, which killed
EUROPEAN UNION
15 Palestinians (including Hamas’s Shaykh
Salah Shihada, the target of the assassina- The major incident of the quarter was
tion) and wounded 150. The suit charged the leaking (11/24) to the press of the draft
Dichter with war crimes for his participation of an internal report to EU FMs by officials
QUARTERLY UPDATE ON CONFLICT AND DIPLOMACY 173

at the British consulate in East Jerusalem Also of note: German chancellor Gerhardt
(Britain was the current rotating head of Schroeder’s outgoing government agreed
the EU) in which the diplomats strongly (11/19) to sell Israel two Dolphin class
criticized Israel’s policies in East Jerusalem submarines at a deeply discounted price.
(including increasing settlement expansion, Germany gave Israel two Dolphins in the
construction of the separation wall, house early 1990s, and Israel bought a third at dis-
demolitions), saying they “are reducing the count. The submarines can be equipped to
possibility of reaching a final-status agree- carry nuclear weapons
ment on Jerusalem that any Palestinian could In 12/05, the Norwegian provincial gov-
accept” and “risk radicalizing the hitherto ernment of Sor-Trondelag passed a res. to
relatively quiescent Palestinian population boycott Israeli products to protest the occu-
of East Jerusalem.” The draft report (see Doc. pation. On 1/4, Norway’s Socialist Left party,
A5 in JPS 138) recommended a stronger EU part of the governing coalition, endorsed
stance in opposition to these policies, in- the plan, sparking a diplomatic crisis be-
cluding possibly convening meetings with tween Norway and Israel. Although Norway
PA officials in East Jerusalem rather than in emphasized that this was not a government
Ramallah to underscore EU displeasure. At a decision, the Socialist Left reaffirmed its en-
meeting on 11/21, the FMs decided not to dorsement on 1/9, prompting U.S. Secy. of
publicize or acknowledge the report, given State Rice to warn (1/11) Norway that it
the “delicate time” in EU-Israeli relations, but would face “serious political consequences”
to defer the matter until their 12/05 session. and a “tougher political climate” with the
Instead, the EU released (11/21) an official U.S. if the boycott were not rescinded.
statement expressing “grave concern” over The party backed down and apologized
Israeli acts in East Jerusalem. While the Inde- (ca. 1/14) and Israel said it was satisfied,
pendent called (11/25) the draft “the most though the Sor-Trondelag res. was not
detailed and remorselessly critical account rescinded.
yet produced by a Western international
UNITED NATIONS
body of Israel’s policy in East Jerusalem,”
EU special envoy Marc Otte downplayed The U.S. continued efforts this quarter
(11/24) it, calling the assessment “nothing to eliminate or shrink, ostensibly to “cut
exceptional or extraordinary.” Even after costs,” UN programs and missions relating
news of the report broke, the EU FMs reaf- to Palestinians (see Quarterly Update in JPS
firmed (12/12) the decision to forgo publi- 138), with U.S. Amb. to the UN John Bolton
cation, arguing that the EU’s influence with warning (12/4) that the U.S. would oppose
Israel would be severely curtailed by publi- the adoption of the UN’s two-year budget
cation and that it would be inappropriate to (2006–7), currently under discussion, un-
release the document before the 3/06 Israeli til wide-ranging management changes are
elections. implemented, including “the elimination of
At the close of a two-day Euro- outdated missions.” (In an address to the
Mediterranean (Euro-Med) summit in annual Zionist Organization of America na-
Barcelona (11/27–28), participants agreed tional dinner on 12/11, Bolton also vowed
on a code of conduct to counter terrorism, to confront “UN-sponsored anti-Israel cam-
including that all states will “prevent terror- paigns.”) Senior U.S. adviser Robert O’Brien
ists accessing money and weapons, to dis- urged (11/30) the UN General Assembly
rupt their plans and disrupt their networks, (UNGA) to eliminate rather than renew the
and to bring them to justice by strengthening mandate of the Comm. on the Exercise of
international cooperation”; they did not Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
agree, however, on definitions of “terror- (CEIRPP) and the UN Division of Palestinian
ism” or “terrorist.” Israel and most EU states Rights (DPR) within the Secretariat, set to
wanted a statement that would expressly be extended on 12/1, saying that they “per-
say that the right to self-determination does petuate a skewed and biased approach to
not justify acts of violence, whereas Arab the Middle East conflict” and “undermine
states demanded upholding international the ability of the United Nations to play
law’s guarantee of the legitimate right to re- a constructive role in furthering peace.”
sist occupation. The participants also could The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli
not agree on a joint statement on the Middle Practices in the Occupied Territories was
East peace process, largely because Israel re- also targeted. Nonetheless, the mandates of
fused to include mention of the road map or CEIRPP and the DPR were extended indefi-
the 2002 Arab League declaration. nitely on 2/10; the CEIRPP measure passed
174 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

by a vote of 106–8 (Australia, Canada, Israel, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau,
Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, U.S.), with 7 abstentions; a res. reaffirming
and the U.S.), with 59 abstentions, while the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Con-
the DRP measure passed 105–8 (the same as vention to the West Bank, Gaza, and East
above), with 59 abstentions. Under pressure Jerusalem passed 158–6 (Grenada, Israel,
from Bolton, a limited six-month UN budget Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, U.S.),
was passed in 12/05, with pressure placed with 7 abstentions; a res. supporting the
on Secy.-Gen. Annan to draft a reform plan. work of the Special Committee to Investi-
The UNGA passed (12/2) two resolu- gate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human
tions affecting the Palestinians: the first, Rights of the Palestinian People and Other
denouncing unilateral economic measures Arabs of the Occupied Territories passed
as a means of political and economic co- 86–10 (Australia, Canada, Grenada, Israel,
ercion against developing countries passed Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Republic of
by a vote of 117 to 1 (the U.S.), with 48 Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu, U.S.), with 74 absten-
abstentions; the second, expressing con- tions; a res. affirming the right of refugees
cern over the destruction of Palestinian agri- to compensation passed 160–6 (Grenada,
cultural lands and calling on Israel not to Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau,
exploit, damage, deplete or endanger Pales- U.S.), with 3 abstentions; a res. support-
tinian national resources, passed by a vote ing UNRWA operations passed 159–6 (same
of 151–7 (Australia, Israel, Marshall Islands, as previous), with 3 abstentions; a res. on
Micronesia, New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu, refugees and displaced persons passed 161–
Vanuatu), with 9 abstentions. 6 (same as previous), with 5 abstentions; and
The UNGA reaffirmed (12/1) six reso- a res. on assistance to Palestinian refugees
lutions in support of the Palestinians that passed 161–1 (Israel), with 11 abstentions.
come up annually: a res. calling for Israel’s A new res. calling upon the international
withdrawal to 1967 borders passed 156–6 community to increase assistance to the
(Australia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palestinian people was adopted without a
Micronesia, Palau, U.S.), with 9 abstentions; vote on 12/15. And a res. affirming Pales-
a res. affirming East Jerusalem as occupied tinian sovereignty over natural resources
territory passed 153–7 (Costa Rica, Israel, in the territories passed (12/22) by a vote
Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, of 156–6 (Australia, Israel, Marshall Islands,
U.S.), with 12 abstentions; a res. reaffirming Micronesia, Palau, U.S.), with 8 abstentions.
the Golan Heights status as occupied passed The Palestinian Red Crescent Society
106–6 (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, (PRCS) and Israel’s Magen David Adom
Micronesia, Palau, U.S.), with 62 absten- (MDA) signed (11/28) an agreement of mu-
tions; a res. supporting the Comm. on the tual recognition and on operational arrange-
Exercise of Inalienable Rights of the Palestini- ments, which in principle should facilitate
ans passed 106–8 (Australia, Canada, Israel, the movement of PRCS ambulances through
Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, checkpoints (though Israel continued to
U.S.), with 59 abstentions; a res. support- state that its security needs will be the ul-
ing the Division for Palestinian Rights of the timate factor in allowing movement). The
Secretariat passed 105–8 (Australia, Canada, agreement, which marked the first time
Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, that Israel recognized the sovereignty of the
Palau, U.S.), with 59 abstentions; and a res. PRCS and its right to work with freedom in
extending the UN Secretariat’s Dept. of Pub- the territories, paved the way toward MDA
lic Information’s special information pro- being admitted to the International Com-
gram on Palestine through 2006–7 passed mittee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on 12/8 (by
106–7 (Australia, Israel, Marshall Islands, a vote of 98–27, with 10 abstentions). The
Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, U.S.), with 6 12/8 protocol allows Israel to participate in
abstentions. global relief efforts under international pro-
Another 9 resolutions were renewed on tection by recognizing a new symbol, a red
12/8: a second res. reaffirming the Golan diamond on a white field into which the Star
Heights as occupied territory passed 156–1 of David (the MDA’s symbol) can be placed.
(Israel), with 15 abstentions; a res. on Israeli The red diamond compromise had been
practices in the territories and human rights discussed since at least 2000. During the ne-
passed 148–7 (Australia, Grenada, Israel, gotiating process, Syria reportedly pressed
Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, U.S.), for Israel to allow the Syrian Red Crescent
with 17 abstentions; a res. on settlements recognition and access to the Golan Heights
in the territories passed 158–6 (Grenada, similar to the PRCS, but Israel refused. On
QUARTERLY UPDATE ON CONFLICT AND DIPLOMACY 175

12/12, the IDF barred a PRCS ambulance zone (QIZ) agreement similar to those Israel
from transporting a critically ill ten-year-old has with Egypt and Jordan.
Palestinian boy through a checkpoint to a
IRAN
hospital, beating a female paramedic and
driver, and arresting the paramedic, raising This quarter the new Iranian pres.
questions as to how much the PRCS’s situa- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shocked Israel, the
tion would change as a result of the signing U.S., and many other countries by mak-
of the operational arrangements. ing statements (e.g., 12/8, 1/1) in which
On 12/5, 20 countries pledged $74 m. he expressed doubt that the Holocaust
for the UNRWA’s $1.3 b. 2006–7 operating occurred, calling Zionism “de facto neo-
budget. Among the pledges were $28 m. fascism” and an imperialistic idea created by
from Sweden, $14 m. from the Netherlands, Britain that “is currently killing Muslims with
$10 m. from Denmark, $6.5 m. from France, the help and direct lead of the United States
and $5 m. from Belgium. The U.S. did not and parts of Europe,” and suggesting that
make a pledge. Germany and Austria should give up land so
The UN Latin and Caribbean Meeting on that Israel may be reestablished in Europe
the Question of Palestine was held (12/14– and Palestinians returned their land. At
15) in Caracas, Venezuela. At the close, par- Israel’s urging, the UNSC condemned (12/9)
ticipants issued a declaration condemning Ahmadinejad’s 12/8 comments questioning
the separation wall, expansion of settle- the Holocaust.
ments, and renewed Israeli assassinations Sharon once again warned (12/1) that
and urging Israel to allow East Jerusalem Israel could not accept Iran as a nuclear
Palestinians to vote freely in the 1/06 state and that the international community
elections. had only months to act before diplomatic
A UN legal comm. declared (12/1) that it efforts to halt Tehran’s nuclear program
would be unable to complete the drafting of become futile, stating that if talks failed,
a comprehensive treaty against terrorism by Israel would not be “helpless” and “we are
the end of the year, agreeing to resume work making the necessary preparations to be
on 2/27/06. As in the case of the Euro-Med ready for such an eventuality.” When asked,
statement (see above), progress has been Sharon stated that preparations “definitely”
stalled since 1996 in a dispute over how to included a military response. Similar warn-
define “terrorism,” with the many arguments ings were made by IDF intelligence chief
focusing on how to classify Palestinian sui- Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze’evi Farkash (11/30),
cide bombings and Israeli military actions Israeli DMin. chief of strategic and secu-
inside the West Bank and Gaza. All 192 rity planning Amos Gilad (12/13), IDF Chief
UN mbrs. have a seat on the legal working of Staff Gen. Dan Halutz (12/13), and DM
group. Mofaz (1/21). In an interview with Reuters,
Pres. Bush vowed (2/2) that the U.S. would
come to Israel’s defense against Iran mili-
TURKEY
tarily if necessary and denounced Iranian
In a bid to foster Palestinian economic pres. Ahmadinejad for “menacing Israel” by
development after disengagement, Turkish pursuing the nuclear option. A report by the
FM Abdullah Gul met (1/5) with Israeli FM U.S. army on strategies to deal with Iran’s nu-
Silvan Shalom in Jerusalem to sign a joint dec- clear program concluded (12/5), however,
laration on rehabilitating the Erez industrial that Israeli air strikes on Iran’s facilities were
zone, aimed at enhancing Gaza’s economic unlikely to dissuade Iran from pursuing its
opportunities. Shalom said, however, that nuclear program in the long term.
operations in the zone would be contingent The U.S. led efforts to press the UN In-
upon a cessation of Palestinian rocket fire. ternational Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Turkey will pay the estimated $5 m. cost of to refer Iran to the UNSC for violating its
the project. nuclear treaty obligations, saying that more
Turkey also kept bilateral lines with vari- than 2 years of negotiations had made no
ous parties open. Turkish PM Recep Tayyip progress in light of Iran’s resumption of ura-
Erdogan held (11/28) separate meetings with nium enrichment on 1/10. Britain, France,
Abbas, Olmert, and Lebanese PM Siniora on and Germany agreed to support the move
the sidelines of the Euro-Med Barcelona on 1/12, and China, the EU, and Russia en-
meeting. In Hong Kong, the Israeli and dorsed the plan on 1/30. UN Secy.-Gen.
Turkish FMs held (12/14) talks on expanding Annan, however, said (1/12) that Iran’s chief
trade ties and entering a qualified industrial negotiator Ali Larijani had assured him on
176 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

1/11 that Iran was interested in “serious establishing the legal and financial rights
and constructive negotiations,” with a dead- of the Church institutions in Israel, includ-
line, and that he would work toward that. ing the tax issue; the sides agreed that no
On 2/4, the IAEA voted (27–3—Cuba, Syria, taxes would be levied until the understand-
and Venezuela—with 5 abstentions) to re- ings were finalized. The Vatican recognized
port Iran to the UNSC over concerns that Israel on the basis of the 1993 agreement
it is trying to develop nuclear weapons but and the pledge to finalize details and has be-
requesting that no action be taken until come increasingly unhappy about the pace
the head of the IAEA submits his next re- of talks. In mid-12/05, Israel announced that
port on Iran in 3/06. Meanwhile, AIPAC the Church was liable for $65 m. in property
launched (12/1) a campaign on Capitol Hill taxes, a move seen as hard-line posturing be-
criticizing the Bush admin.’s decision not to fore the resumption of talks. As of the close
push for immediate UN sanctions on Iran of the quarter there was no indication the
over its nuclear program, saying recent pol- negotiations had resumed.
icy decisions to try diplomacy first and to On the last day of a 3-day trip to Italy,
consider allowing Iran to maintain a civil Abbas met (12/3) with Pope Benedict at the
nuclear energy program not only are “dan- Vatican. No details were released.
gerous,” “disturbing,” and “inappropriate”
CANADA
but are actually helping Iran achieve nuclear
capability. This quarter saw a significant shift in
In his State of the Union address, Bush Canadian policy toward the Palestinians.
denounced (1/31) Iran’s nuclear ambitions After tough lobbying by prominent members
and pledged to support the Iranian peo- of Canada’s Jewish community, Canada’s rep.
ple when they “win their own freedom.” to the UN indicated (11/30) that Canada
Testifying before the Senate Foreign Rela- would begin taking a more pro-Israel line in
tions Comm., Rice stated (2/15) that the the UN, including changing its vote on some
State Dept. planned “to reprogram funds in of the recurring resolutions in support of
2007 to support the democratic aspirations the Palestinians that Canada traditionally
of the Iranian people.” The German daily has supported. On 11/13, Canadian PM
Der Spiegel cited (12/31) unnamed intelli- Paul Martin told a conference of Jewish
gence officials as saying that on a recent trip leaders in Toronto that “Israel’s values are
to Turkey, CIA head Porter Goss asked PM Canada’s values” and pledged to “eliminate
Erdogan for permission for the U.S. to use the . . . annual ritual of politicized anti-Israel
Turkish military bases for an air strike on Iran resolutions.” Canada indeed switched its
planned for 2006. The report also claimed votes (12/1) on some of the UN resolutions
that the U.S. informed NATO member states up for renewal, voting with the U.S. and
to prepare for an attack. Israel against motions reaffirming the Golan
Heights as occupied territory and supporting
PAKISTAN
the continued work of CEIRPP, the DPR, and
In a sign of continued warming (see the special committee on human rights.
Quarterly Update in JPS 138), a 174-mbr. Canada also voted (2/10) against extending
delegation of Pakistani businessmen made the mandates of the DPR and CEIRPP (see
(ca. 11/19) a “non-official” visit to Israel above).
“with the knowledge of the Pakistani gov- On 2/15, Canada declared that it would
ernment” in a bid to improve bilateral rela- halt aid to the PA unless the new govern-
tions. Currently the two countries do not ment renounced all forms of violence, rec-
have diplomatic relations. ognized Israel, and accepted all previous
agreements and obligations. In discussing
VATICAN
the decision, however, newly elected Cana-
Israeli pres. Moshe Katsav held talks (ca. dian PM Stephen Harper said that Hamas
11/17) at the Vatican with Pope Benedict and itself must meet these conditions.
agreed to resume bilateral talks (ongoing for
more than a decade) regarding whether DONORS
all Church properties in Israel should be
exempt from property tax (as the Vatican The main donor event of the quarter
requests) or only those used solely for reli- was the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC)
gious services (as Israel would like). Israel meeting in London on 12/14 to discuss the
and the Vatican have been in negotiations post-disengagement rehabilitation of Gaza.
to finalize the terms of a 1993 agreement At the meeting, donors expressed deep
QUARTERLY UPDATE ON CONFLICT AND DIPLOMACY 177

frustration over the PA’s failure to meet laws prohibiting giving money to Hamas as
benchmarks to cut back the civil service a designated terrorist organization. Instead
and to reduce salary expenses, citing the of donors giving some money directly to
devastating effect on budget and deficit the PA, all money would be run through
projections caused by Abbas’s strategy of the World Bank trust funds (and also the
coopting AMB militants into the security UN). Such a change would effectively make
forces with enticements of generous salary the World Bank the trustee for the Pales-
and benefits packages. In the donors’ view, tinian territories, a position the bank is not
the potential destabilization of Palestinian comfortable with holding.
government and society caused by the un- The Local Aid Coordination Committee
tenable deficit (projected at some $900 m.– (LACC) held a formal meeting (12/5) to
$950 m./year) far outweighed any political receive a briefing by Wolfensohn on the
benefits. (The PA wage bill as of 11/19 stood economic needs of the Palestinians following
at nearly $1 b./year, roughly equal to its to- disengagement and a PA report on progress
tal annual income.) Donors similarly noted on the Medium Term Development Plan and
Abbas’s failure to adopt a medium-term fis- to prepare for the upcoming AHLC meeting.
cal stabilization plan or to appoint a new An informal LACC meeting was held on
external auditing firm. With the PA’s reform 12/20 to discuss the AHLC meeting and
benchmarks not met and indeed violated in to discuss donor restructuring issues (see
principle, the World Bank announced that Quarterly Update in JPS 138).
it could not make a scheduled release of The donor’s Task Force for Project Im-
$60 m. from the donors’ Public Financial plementation (TFPI) met (12/9, 2/10) with
Management Reform Trust Fund. (The U.S. Israel’s donor rep. to press Israel to lift re-
urged against freezing the money, fearing strictions on the movement of PA employees
it would harm Abbas in the elections, but working on reform and judicial issues. The
the bank firmly opposed setting the prece- TFPI handed (12/9) Israel a list of PA em-
dent of ignoring its own requirements that ployees (prepared by the PA) requiring valid
agreed benchmarks be achieved in order to “long-term” (three-month) travel visas in or-
trigger additional aid, saying it would pre- der to facilitate reform efforts, but there
fer to return money to donor states and was no indication that Israel acted on the
have them give to the PA directly—an op- request.
tion that was under consideration at the end On the sidelines of the AHLC, a group
of the quarter.) Donors announced tentative of Palestinian and Israeli private sector reps.
plans to hold a major pledging conference in held (12/13) a conference on promoting eco-
5/06 but warned that increased aid (in line nomic growth in the West Bank and Gaza
with the G-8 call for $9 b. over 3 years and through the private sector and issued a joint
EU intentions to double its aid in 2006; see declaration identifying priority areas (secu-
Quarterly Update in JPS 138) would depend rity, movement of goods, protection of in-
upon successful steps to reassure foreign vestors, legal and regulatory reform) and key
investors, including implementation of the priorities (reducing barriers to movement
Rafah arrangements (especially creation of within the territories and abroad, reduc-
safe-passage links between the West Bank ing legal obstacles to investment, building
and Gaza); continued PA fiscal and political the Gaza sea port and airports, creating in-
reforms; and steps by Abbas to crack down centives for small- and medium-sized firms)
on internal chaos in Gaza. Meanwhile, the to support business. The conference was
U.S. pressed (12/17) the EU to make up the co-hosted by the United Kingdom Treasury
$60 m. frozen by the World Bank so that the and the World Bank and was attended by
PA could pay salaries of 12/05. On the con- PA Economic M Mazin Sunukrut and Israel’s
trary, the EU suspended (1/17) $42 m. of Finance Min. dir. gen. Joseph Bachar, who
its own aid to the Palestinians, citing “lack endorsed the declaration. The group agreed
of budgetary discipline.” As of 2/10, plan- to create a steering comm. to meet regularly
ning for the 5/06 mtg. was on hold “pending with donors, the PA, and Israel.
more information on the outcome of the At the close of the quarter, long-discussed
election.” changes to the donor coordination mecha-
As of 12/18, an unnamed EU official said nisms were underway, creating a more in-
that the World Bank was preparing to be- teractive relationship between donors and
come the stand-in for donors in case Hamas the PA (see Quarterly Update in JPS 138).
won the 1/25 elections and donor states The LACC was to be dissolved soon, to be
were forced to cut off aid under domestic replaced by the Local Development Forum
178 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES

(LDF). The LDF is not expected to meet which will also deal with social issues, such
until after the new Palestinian government as education, health, youth, and women. An
is formed because of “the new integrative economic strategy group and an infrastruc-
(joint) approach of the new aid management ture strategy group, not yet formally named,
system.” The Humanitarian Emergency Pol- were also in the process of being formed.
icy Group (HEPG) and the Task Force for Existing sector working groups (e.g., health,
Palestinian Reform (TFPR) had both been education, municipal affairs, agriculture)
dissolved and four new “strategy groups” will not be eliminated but rather clustered
created. The TFPR was replaced by the Gov- under the new strategy groups.
ernance Strategy Group, which will focus Also of note: Veteran World Bank official
on reform and state building within the Nigel Roberts, who has years of experi-
“framework of the road map”; it will oversee ence working on Israel and Palestine, ended
smaller committees that will deal with spe- (12/31) his tenure as director of the bank’s
cific aspects of reform. The jobs of HEPG will West Bank and Gaza mission. He was re-
fall under the new Social Development and placed by David Craig, who has extensive
Humanitarian Assistance Strategy Group, bank experience in Africa.

Hamas lawmakers attend a meeting in Gaza City to prepare for the first session of the new
Palestinian parliament, 14 February 2006. (Mohammed Salem/Reuters)