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Chronology 2011

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In the wake of the Arab uprisings, the Palestinian Territories saw mass protests by people who were fed up with the years-long strife between the secular Fatah movement and its Islamist rival, Hamas. But instead of trying to push the two groups out of power or calling for the downfall of the ruling system, demonstrators called for national unity.

On March 15, 2011 tens of thousands of Palestinians, mainly youth, took to the streets of cities across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The so-called March 15 Movement, a loose grouping of political groups and nongovernmental organizations, then sought to build on the success of the first demonstrations by setting up protest camps in Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin and Tulkarem in the West Bank and Gaza City in Gaza.

Fatah and Hamas responded to the public pressure and met on March 26 for the first time in a year to discuss reconciliation. On May 4, representatives from 13 political factions signed a unity deal in Cairo and announced plans to hold elections within a year and establish a joint security service. But the March 15 Movement began to disintegrate afterward.

Jan. 7: Chile recognized Palestine as a “full, free and sovereign” state.

Jan. 23: Al Jazeera published leaked documents appearing to show Palestinian negotiators offering many concessions to Israel, prompting an outpouring of anger among the public.

Feb. 14: The Palestinian Authority cabinet collectively resigned. President Abbas immediately reappointed Salam Fayyad as prime minister and directed him to form a new cabinet.

Feb. 18: The U.S. vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have declared continued Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal.

March 15: The Israeli navy intercepted a ship allegedly carrying Iranian weapons meant for Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank took to the streets to call for unity among political factions. Hamas police used violence to disperse protests in Gaza.

March 26: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with Hamas officials for the first time in a year to take the first steps toward reconciliation.

April 7: An antitank missile fired from Gaza hit a school bus in southern Israel, critically wounding a teenage boy. Israel launched helicopter and artillery strikes that reportedly killed four Palestinians and injure dozens.

Militants in Gaza launched a Grad rocket at the Israeli city of Ashkelon, but it was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile system.

April 15: The extremist Tawhid and Jihad group kidnapped an Italian peace activist and threatened to kill him unless Hamas freed its leader and two other radicals. Hours later, Hamas officials found the body of the activist.  

April 17: Israeli officials announced the arrest of two Palestinian teenagers in the West Bank allegedly responsible for killing five members of the Fogel family in the Jewish settlement of Itamar in March.

April 27: Rivals Fatah and Hamas announced their intention to end a four-year rift by forming a unity government and planning to hold elections within a year. 

May 1: Israel froze some $88 million in Palestinian customs revenue just days after Hamas and Fatah announced their reconciliation agreement.   

May 4: Representatives from 13 Palestinian political factions, including Hamas and Fatah, signed a reconciliation deal in Cairo. They agreed to hold elections within the next year and to establish a joint security service.

May 15: Thousands of Palestinians marched from Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank toward Israel’s borders. Israeli soldiers opened fire, killing at least 12 people and injuring many more, after some demonstrators threw rocks and attempted to cross into the country.

May 16: Israel announced that it had unblocked some $88 million in customs revenues collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

May 19: Obama became the first U.S. president to officially endorse a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.

May 28: Egypt reopened the Rafah crossing with Gaza, which had been closed intermittently for the previous 4 years.

June 5: Israeli soldiers opened fire on hundreds of Palestinians from Syria attempting to cross the border in the Golan Heights. Syrian state media reported that 23 were killed and more than 350 were injured.

June 6: The Obama administration held its first high-level meetings with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in months to restart stalled peace talks.

June 26: President Mahmoud Abbas announced that in the absence of peace talks, Palestinians will pursue their unilateral bid for statehood in September.

July 14: The Arab League holds a meeting of the Arab Peace Initiative Committee in Doha and announced plans to submit a request for recognition of Palestinian statehood to the United Nations.

Aug. 1: Israeli soldiers shot and killed two Palestinians in street clashes in the Qalandiya refugee camp in the West Bank.

Aug. 4: Israel released 770 prisoners due to overcrowding, including 200 whose terms were almost complete and a senior leader of Hamas.

Aug. 18: Palestinian militants killed eight Israelis in a chain of attacks on civilian buses and cars on a highway next to the Egyptian border. Israel retaliated with air strikes against Palestinian targets in Gaza. 

Aug. 29: A Palestinian man in his twenties from the West Bank city of Nablus plowed into a police checkpoint in Tel Aviv and then stabbed several Israelis.

Sept. 21: Thousands of people rallied across the West Bank to support the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations. More than 20 were injured in clashes between youths and Israeli soldiers in Ramallah.

Sept. 26: President Abbas formally applied to the U.N. Security Council for Palestinian statehood despite U.S. pressure to resume peace talks with Israel.

Sept. 29: Palestinian leaders cautiously welcomed a proposal by the Quartet of Middle East mediators — the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States — to resume peace talks within a month to arrive at a final agreement by the end of 2012. But the Palestinians also demanded that Israel stop building settlements before talks begin. 

Oct. 3: The U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs put some $200 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority on hold until it received further details on how the funds have been spent in the past and how they would be used in the future.

Oct. 11: Some 2,000 Palestinian prisoners joined an ongoing hunger strike launched in September to protest conditions in Israeli prisons. Some Palestinian factions criticized Hamas and Islamic Jihad for hesitating to join the strike.

Oct. 18: Hamas released Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held captive for more than five years, in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners to be released in phases.

Oct. 26-Oct. 30: Militants in Gaza launched a rocket toward the Israeli port city of Ashdod, prompting Israeli air strikes that killed at least 10 Palestinian gunmen and rocket attacks that left one Israeli dead. An Egyptian brokered ceasefire went into effect on October 30.

Oct. 31: The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) admitted Palestine as its 195th full member after 107 voted in favor of membership, 14 opposed and 52 abstained. The United States halted funding to UNESCO in accordance with U.S. laws passed in the 1990s.

Nov. 3: Israel suspended its transfer of some $100 million in customs, border and income tax revenue to the Palestinians following UNESCO’s admission of Palestine as a full member.

Nov. 7: U.S. lawmakers lifted a hold on nearly $200 million in aid to the Palestinians after receiving assurances about the use of the funds.  

Nov. 15: The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) endorsed a decision by President Mahmoud Abbas to request a U.N. Security Council vote on a resolution recognizing Palestinian statehood.


Qatar played a major role in the Palestinian territories during 2012, especially to Hamas. In January, Hamas moved its headquarters from Syria to Qatar after relations with the Assad regime deteriorated due to its violent crackdown on anti-government protestors. Qatar then brokered a deal in which President Mahmoud Abbas would head an interim unity government and prepare for general elections in the West Bank and Gaza. Qatar’s emir visited Gaza in October and became the first head of state to visit the blockaded territory since 2006. The same month, the West Bank held municipal elections, but Hamas boycotted the poll.

In November, Israel launched an eight-day campaign, known as Operation Pillar of Defense, after militant groups in Gaza launched some 100 rockets within a 24-hour period. Dozens of militants, including the chief of Hamas’ military wing were killed.

Jan. 20: Hamas urged President Abbas to suspend peace discussions and security cooperation with Israel after Israeli authorities arrested two Hamas lawmakers.

Jan. 23: Israel arrested two Hamas-affiliated legislators who had been hiding in a Red Cross compound in Jerusalem for more than a year.

Feb. 13: An Israeli military court rejected an appeal by a Palestinian prisoner regarding his administrative detention. Khader Adnan had been on hunger strike for more than eight weeks.

Feb. 6: Qatar brokered a deal between Hamas and Fatah in which Abbas was set to head an interim unity government that would prepare for general elections.

Feb. 24: Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, declared support for the Syrian rebels fighting against the Assad regime, a long-time ally of the Islamist movement.

March 3: Mahmoud Zahar, a senior Hamas official in Gaza, said that Hamas was not taking sides in the Syrian conflict. His statement seemed to contrast with what Ismail Haniyeh said the previous week.

March 9-12: Israel killed Zohair al Qaisi, secretary general of the Popular Resistance Committee, in an airstrike on Gaza. Militants retaliated by firing more than 90 rockets at Israel, wounding one civilian. Israel responded with more air strikes, killing at least 18 Palestinians and wounding at least 65.  

March 30: Thousands in the Palestinian territories, Israel and neighboring countries protested Israeli land policies at annual rallies. Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian protestor in Gaza.

April 27: The Palestinian Authority’s communication minister resigned, claiming senior officials had ordered the blocking of several opposition websites.

April 27: President Obama signed a waiver to unfreeze a $192 million aid package for the Palestinian Authority, citing the preservation of U.S. national security interests. 

May 14: Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners agreed to cease a weeks-long hunger strike in exchange for better living conditions.

July 3: Finance Minister Nabil Kassis said that the Palestinian Authority cannot pay its workers their salaries for July due to the worst financial crisis in three years.

July 19: Khaled Meshaal visited Egypt to meet with Muslim Brotherhood affiliated President Mohamed Morsi.

Aug. 12: The Palestinian Authority condemned the network of smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Egypt as a “threat” to security and declared its support for Cairo’s efforts to seal them.

Aug. 25: Egypt opened the Rafah crossing with Gaza, which had been closed most days since an August 5 attack on Egyptian guards by militants.

Sept. 5: An Israeli airstrike killed at least three Palestinian militants as they were reportedly preparing to launch a homemade rocket into Israel from Gaza.

Sept. 26: At least 500 protesters in Gaza called for the overthrow of Hamas after a three-year-old boy died in a fire during a power outage.

Oct. 7-8: Israel wounded at least 10 Palestinians in air strikes targeting a small militant group in Gaza. Armed Palestinian groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, responded with rocket attacks, prompting another round of strikes by Israel. 

Oct. 13: An Israeli air strike killed the Palestinian leader of an al Qaeda-affiliated group in Gaza along with another militant.

Oct. 20: Municipal elections were held in the West Bank with a turnout of 55 percent. Hamas boycotted the poll. Fatah won two-fifths of the contested seats and control of four out of 11 key towns and cities.

Oct. 23: Palestinian Authority employees in ministry offices, schools and clinics went on strike to protest cutbacks in services. Employees of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees also went on strike to protest cuts and the layoff of 130 workers.  

Qatar’s emir arrived in Gaza with a $250 million aid package and became the first head of state to visit the blockaded territory since 2006.

Israel reportedly killed three Hamas members in a strike.

Oct. 24: Gaza militants fired dozens of rockets and mortars at Israel, prompting Israeli air strikes that kill two Palestinians.

Oct. 25: Egypt brokered an informal truce between Palestinians and Israel.

Nov. 2: President Abbas appeared to make a symbolic concession to Israel, saying that he has no right to live in Safed, the town from which he was driven as a child during the 1948 war. His comments in a television interview seemed to negate the Palestinian refugees’ claim to “right of return.”

Nov. 14-21: After Palestinian militants fired more than 100 rockets at Israel and attack an Israeli army patrol jeep, Israel began Operation “Pillar of Defense,” a major offensive against Palestinian militants in Gaza. The first strike killed Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari. During the eight days of fighting, four Israeli civilians and two soldiers were killed. More than 160 Palestinians reportedly were killed, including dozens of militants. A bomb reportedly planted by a Hamas and Islamic Jihad cell exploded on a Tel Aviv bus, injuring at least 28 people. Egypt and the United States brokered a ceasefire on November 21. But clashes continued.

Nov. 27: The Palestinian Authority exhumed the body of later leader Yasser Arafat amid new suspicions that he was poisoned.

Dec. 7: Khaled Meshaal, the head of the Hamas political bureau, visited Gaza for the first time. It was his first visit to Palestinian territory in decades.

Dec. 8: Meshaal pledged that Hamas would never recognize Israel at a huge rally in Gaza. He also called for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the territory of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

Dec. 14: Hamas held rallies across West Bank cities with the permission of the Palestinian Authority for the first time in five years.

Dec. 16: Prime Minister Salam Fayyad called for a boycott on all Israeli products.

Dec. 19: Some 50,000 Palestinian government employees began a two-day strike to protest delayed payments of their wages due to Israeli economic sanctions.


Hamas was further isolated in 2013 after the ousting of its Egyptian ally Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July and the subsequent closure of the Gaza-Egypt border.

In August, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed peace talks after a hiatus of more than three years. Palestinian negotiators, however, resigned from their positions to protest the lack of progress in November.

Feb. 21: Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrating support with prisoners on hunger strike clashed with Israeli security forces outside an Israeli prison near Ramallah.

Late February: A 30-year-old Palestinian prisoner died in Israeli custody on February 23, less than a week after his arrest. Some 3,000 Palestinian prisoners refused meals the following day to call attention to his death. Rallies, some of which turned violent, were held across the West Bank and Gaza the following week. On February 27, two Palestinians ended their hunger strike after Israel agreed to release them in May.
Feb. 26: A rocket fired from Gaza exploded in Israel, marking the first such attack since a ceasefire was brokered in November 2012.

March 5: The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees canceled Gaza’s annual marathon after Hamas bans women from running alongside men.

March 21: President Obama met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Jerusalem and Ramallah. He urged President Abbas to abandon preconditions for restarting negotiations. 

March 25: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized resumption of monthly transfers of taxes and customs revenues collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

March 31: The minister of education in the Hamas-ruled Gaza strip announced a new law enforcing more rigid gender separation in schools and prohibiting educational institutions from cooperating with Israel.

April 2: Hamas re-elected Khaled Meshaal as the group’s leader.

April 2-4: Clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians erupted across the West Bank following the death of a Palestinian prisoner in Israeli custody. Palestinian prisoners declared a three-day hunger strike. Militants in Gaza launched rockets and mortars at Israel and Israeli jets bombard the targets in the Hamas-ruled territory.

April 4: The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees suspended operations in Gaza after violent protests broke out over cutbacks in aid and demonstrators storm its headquarters.  

Hamas announced new exit permit requirements in Gaza. Within two weeks, some two dozen international aid agencies suspended travel from Gaza to Israel and the West Bank to protest the new rules.

April 13: Prime Minister Salam Fayyad resigned, reportedly due to power struggles within Palestinian Authority.

April 22: A Palestinian prisoner held by Israel agreed to end an eight-month on-off hunger strike in exchange for early release. Samer al Issawi’s fasting had sparked weeks of street demonstrations by Palestinians.

April 29: The Palestinian Authority agreed to halt its campaign for further recognition by U.N. agencies pending peace efforts by the Obama administration.

May 9: Sheikh Yusuf al Qaradawi, a prominent Qatar-based cleric and televangelist, visited Gaza and called for the liberation of Palestine.

May 23: Secretary Kerry met with Israeli and Palestinian officials separately in an effort to bring the two sides back to the negotiation table.

May 26: Secretary Kerry unveiled a plan to invest some $4 billion in the Palestinian economy in a bid to revive talks with Israel.

June 3: President Abbas appointed Rami Hamdallah, a British-educated academic and political independent, as his next prime minister.

June 20: President Abbas accepted the resignation of Rami Hamdallah just two weeks after appointing him prime minister.

June 22: Hamas reportedly hanged two men in Gaza for spying for Israel.

July 10: Egypt opened its crossing with Gaza for several hours, which it had closed the previous week following the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

July 19: Secretary Kerry reported that Israel and the Palestinians had tentatively agreed to resume peace talks after four days of shuttle diplomacy.

July 22: Militants killed six Egyptians and wounded 11 others in several attacks near Egypt’s border with Gaza and Israel.

July 28: The Israeli cabinet approved the release of 104 Palestinian prisoners, most of who have been in prison for more than 20 years, in a move to support efforts to resume peace talks.

July 29: Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met face-to-face in Washington to prepare for a resumption of talks.

Aug. 14: Israeli-Palestinian peace talks resumed for the first time in more than three years.

Aug. 20: Israeli and Palestinian officials held another round of peace talks.

Aug. 24: Egypt reopened the Rafah crossing with Gaza just days after a deadly attack on a policeman.

Early September: Egypt’s military bulldozed and blew up houses near the border with Gaza in an effort to uncover and destroy smuggling tunnels, which are an economic lifeline for Hamas.

Sept. 11: The deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, Mousa Abu Marzouk, suggested that Hamas could negotiate directly with Israel since Palestinian public sentiment has shifted in that direction. Hamas published a statement clarifying that the movement does not officially endorse direct talks with Israel.

Sept. 18: Egypt partially reopened its crossing with Gaza after a week-long closure, the third closure since the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

Sept. 20: A Palestinian man lured an Israeli soldier he worked with at a sandwich shop near Tel Aviv to the West Bank and killed him, reportedly intending to use the body as leverage to push for the release of his brother from an Israeli jail. 

Sept. 22: An Israeli soldier was shot and fatally wounded near the West Bank city of Hebron by a Palestinian.

Sept. 25: Secretary Kerry reported that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators had agreed to step-up peace talks and increase the U.S. role.

Oct. 2: The Palestinian Authority dispatched hundreds of special forces to the West Bank city of Jenin to crackdown on lawlessness.

Oct. 17: A Palestinian man was shot and killed after using a tractor to ram the gate of an Israeli army base north of Jerusalem.

Nov. 1: Militants from Gaza detonated an explosive device targeting Israeli soldiers who were working on demolishing a smuggling tunnel, injuring five. The Israeli army fired a shell into Gaza, killing one Palestinian gunman and wounding another. An Israeli airstrike killed three members of Hamas’ military wing.

Nov. 8: A senior Palestinian official reported that the late leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned with the radioactive substance polonium. 

Nov. 13: Palestinian negotiators resigned to protest the lack of progress in peace talks with Israel.

Dec. 9: Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian representatives signed a milestone water sharing agreement.

Dec. 25: Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Meshaal visited Turkey to attend the annual assembly of the Islamist Justice and Development Party.

Dec. 31: Israel released 26 Palestinian prisoners as part of the framework that led to the latest peace negotiations in July.


In April, Fatah and Hamas leaders announced another plan to form a unity government. Israel suspended peace talks in response. But by late 2014, Fatah and Hamas were scarcely closer to reconciliation. In November, Hamas declared the interim unity government’s six-month term expired. But Fatah denied that the two sides had ever agreed on an expiration date in the absence of elections.

Tensions between Hamas and Israel reached a new high. In June, three Israeli teens were abducted and killed in the West Bank. Israel claimed Hamas was guilty for the killings and cracked down on the group. Tensions escalated after Israeli Jews killed a Palestinian teenager on July 2 in a revenge attack. On July 7, Hamas claimed responsibility for firing rockets into Israel for the first time in nearly two years after Israeli air strikes killed several of its fighters.

Israel then launched Operation Protect Edge to stop rocket attacks coming from Gaza. More than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians according to the United Nations, died during the more than 50 days of fighting. Six Israeli civilians and 66 soldiers were killed. But Hamas declared victory after agreeing to an open-ended ceasefire with Israel brokered by Egypt on August 26.

March 4: An Egyptian court banned all Hamas activities in Egypt.

March 11: Israel launched an airstrike on Gaza killing three militants who reportedly fired a mortar at soldiers patrolling the border.

April 1: President Abbas joined 15 international agencies and claimed Israel had failed to fulfill its obligations regarding peace talks.

April 3: Israel canceled the fourth release of Palestinian prisoners in reaction to President Abbas joining international agencies.

April 23: Fatah and Hamas leaders in Gaza announced a plan to form a unity government under the umbrella of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

April 24: Israel suspended U.S.-brokered peace talks with the Palestinians, citing the unity agreement between Fatah and Hamas.

May 15: Two Palestinian teenagers were killed in clashes with Israeli forces near Ramallah amid rallies marking Nakba (Catastrophe) Day, the anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel. The following week, video evidence seemed to indicate that the boys posed no threat to Israeli soldiers.

June 12: Three Israeli teens were abducted from a junction near a settlement block south of Jerusalem. Israeli forces detained more than 100 Hamas members across the West Bank in the following days. In Gaza, Hamas responded with rocket attacks.

June 27: Some 40,000 public servants hired by Hamas in Gaza went on strike and urged the unity government to put them on the PA payroll.

June 30: The bodies of the three abducted Israeli teens were found in the West Bank.

July 2: Mohamed Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian from Jerusalem, is abducted near his home and burned to death by Israeli extremists seeking revenge for the deaths of three Israeli teens. Violent protests ensue. Militant groups in Gaza fire rockets in the following days. 

July 8 – Aug. 26: Israel launched Operation Protective Edge, a major military campaign against Hamas in Gaza. After 50 days of fighting, more than 2,100 Palestinians were dead, mostly civilians, according to the United Nations, along with six Israeli civilians and 66 soldiers. An open-ended ceasefire brokered by Egypt between Israel and Palestinian groups ended the fighting, which Hamas hailed as a victory.

October – Early November: Amid calls for increased Jewish access to the Temple Mount, also revered by Muslims as Haram al Sharif, clashes broke out intermittently between Israeli security forces and Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Oct. 9: The Palestinian unity government held its first cabinet meeting in Gaza.  

Oct. 22: A Palestinian man rammed his car into a Jerusalem train station, killing an Israeli-American infant and a woman from Ecuador.

Oct. 29: Rabbi Yehuda Glick, a right-wing activist, was shot by a Palestinian as he left a conference on increased Jewish access to the Temple Mount, also known as the Haram al Sharif. The following day, Israel closed al Aqsa Mosque and only allowed men over age 50 and women to enter, the first such closure in 14 years. The Palestinian Authority called the closure a “declaration of war.” A Palestinian suspected of involvement in the shooting was killed by Israeli forces

Oct. 30: Sweden became the first E.U. member to recognize Palestinian statehood.

Nov. 5: A commercial van driver ran over pedestrians at a train stop in Jerusalem, killing an Israeli border police officer and injuring 14 others. Israeli authorities identified the attacker as a member of Hamas. In a separate incident, a Palestinian driver ran over three soldiers.  

Nov. 6: For the first time since 2007, Israel allowed Palestinians to ship produce from Gaza to the West Bank via Israeli territory.

Nov. 7: A series of explosions targeted the homes of cars of Fatah movement leaders in Gaza, causing minor damage but no casualties.

Nov. 11: Marwan Barghouti, a prominent leader of Fatah jailed in Israel, called for a third intifada and urged the Palestinian Authority to cease security cooperation with Israel. A Palestinian man was killed in clashes with Israeli forces in Hebron. On the 10th anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat, Abbas accused Israel of fomenting a “religious war.” He also accused Hamas of carrying out bombings against Fatah officials in Gaza the previous week.

Nov. 17: A Palestinian bus driver was found hanged in a Jerusalem bus. Israelis and Palestinians disputed the cause of death and small riots broke out.

Nov. 18: Two Palestinians wielding a gun, meat cleavers and an ax killed four rabbis and a police officer in an attack on a Jerusalem synagogue.

Nov. 20: Israeli authorities uncovered thousands of knives, swords and small devices capable of delivering an electric shock in two shipping containers supposedly full of Christmas decorations bound for East Jerusalem.

Nov. 21: Israel arrested four Palestinians suspected of planning to assassinate Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman with an anti-tank riot. Israeli authorities reported that three of the detainees are Hamas members.

Nov. 24: Three Palestinian men were arrested on suspicion of stabbing two Jews in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Nov. 30: Hamas declared that the unity government’s six-month term had expired. Hours later, a Fatah official denied that the two sides had ever agreed on such an expiration date.

Dec. 2: France’s lower house of parliament voted 339 to 151 in a largely symbolic motion to recognize Palestinian statehood.

Dec. 10: Ziad Abu Ein, a Palestinian minister without portfolio, died during a clash with Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint. Israeli and Palestinian pathologists disagreed on the cause of his death.

Dec. 31: The U.N. Security Council rejected a resolution calling for Israel’s withdrawal from the Palestinian territories by the end of 2017. Of the 15 members of the council, eight voted in favor, two voted against and five abstained.


Palestine attained formal membership to the International Criminal Court and its flag was raised at the United Nations in September, but clashes with Israeli forces continued throughout the year. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud Party won legislative elections, obtaining 30 seats in the Knesset.

March 17: Netanyahu’s Likud Party won the legislative elections with 30 seats in the Knesset. 

April 1: Palestine formally attained membership of the International Criminal Court.

April 9:  A Palestinian man attacked two Israeli soldiers in the West Bank and was shot by security forces.

April 25: Israeli police shot and killed two Palestinian men who attacked officers with knives.

June 26: Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al Maliki presented documents to the International Criminal Court pressing for an investigation for Israel’s war crimes and continued settlements construction.

Aug. 1 - Aug. 3: Protests and clashes erupted after an arson attack killed a Palestinian toddler.

Aug. 9: Israeli forces arrested nine Jewish settlers suspected of extremist activities against Palestinians. 

Sept. 13: Clashes erupted between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces. Palestinians barricaded themselves inside the Al Aqsa mosque on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

Sept. 30: The Palestinian flag was raised at United Nations headquarters in New York.

Oct. 1: Abbas declared that the Palestinian Authority was no longer bound by the Oslo Peace Accords at the U.N. General Assembly.

Oct. 3 – Oct. 14: Violent attacks spread across Jerusalem and the West Bank. 


Israel approved funding for expanding settlements in the West Bank, the first settlements that would be built in more than a decade. Palestinian elections were postponed due to disputes over party lists and other irregularities, but PA President Mahmoud Abbas was re-elected as Fatah leader a conference in November.

Feb. 1: A Palestinian officer was killed after attacking three Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.

June 20: Israel approved additional $18 million for West Bank settlements.

July 1: Israel imposed new security restrictions in Hebron after a Palestinian killed an Israeli girl in a settlement.

Sept. 8: The Palestinian high court ruled to postpone the Palestinian elections slated for October 8 citing disputes over party lists and other election irregularities.

Oct. 9: Israeli police enforcement shot and killed a Palestinian after he killed two Israelis in a shooting spree in Jerusalem.

Nov. 29: Abbas re-elected as Fatah leader at a conference of party members.


Hamas and Fatah reached a unity deal, brokered by Egypt, in October. But in December, Hamas missed a deadline to hand over the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority, threatening the reconciliation agreement. President Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem sparked outrage in the territories, triggering clashes between Israel and Hamas.

Jan. 1: Israel said it would withhold Palestinian militant bodies that were from attacks against its citizens, in an effort to pressure Hamas to return the remains of soldiers and missing Israeli civilians.

Jan. 4: An Israeli court sentenced a Palestinian U.N. worker to seven months in jail for aiding Hamas in the Gaza strip.

Jan. 8: A Palestinian rammed his truck into a group of Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem, killing four and wounding 17. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was likely inspired by the Islamic State.

An obscure Palestinian group, Groups of Martyr Baha Eleya, claimed responsibility for the attack. The group said it had no outside links and had acted on political motives.

Jan. 10: Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man wielding a knife during a raid on a refugee camp in the West Bank to detain suspected militants.

Jan. 11: Hamas used photos of young women and Hebrew slang to chat with Israeli soldiers online, gaining access to their phone cameras and microphones.

Jan. 17: Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian who was trying to stab a soldier at a checkpoint in the West Bank.

Jan. 25: Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian motorist who drove his car into a bus stop near a settlement in the West Bank.

Feb.: Egypt began moving closer to Hamas in Gaza by offering concessions on trade and free movement in return for moves to secure the border against ISIS fighters in northern Sinai.

Feb. 1: Israel announced it would build a new settlement in the occupied West Bank. This was the first settlement since the late 1990s.

Feb. 6: A Palestinian rocket launched from Gaza struck Israel. No casualties or damage were reported. Israel struck back in retaliation against Palestinian militant targets, wounding one.

Feb. 6-7: Israel legalized settler homes on private Palestinian land in the West Bank. The United Nations and the European Union condemned the move.

Feb. 9: An Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility for firing rockets towards Israel’s Red Sea resort of Eilat from Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. No damage or casualties were reported.

Feb. 23: An Israeli fighter jet shot down a drone belonging to Hamas that had taken off from the Gaza strip.

Feb 24: The U.N. human rights office said the 18-month sentence given to an Israeli soldier who killed a wounded Palestinian in March 2016 was “unacceptable” and “excessively lenient”.

Feb. 27: An Israeli aircraft carried out a series of strikes against Hamas in Gaza,  wounding at least four. The attack was in response to a rocket fired from the Palestinian territory.

Egyptian airport security denied entry to a senior Palestinian official of the Fatah movement and deported him.

Feb. 28: Israeli police removed settlers and supporters from nine houses built illegally on privately owned Palestinian land in the West Bank. Israel’s Supreme Court had ordered the demolition of the buildings after finding out that those homes were constructed on land where Palestinians proved ownership.

March 1: An Israeli settler in the occupied West Bank shot and killed a knife-wielding Palestinian assailant who broke into his home and stabbed him.

March 10: President Donald Trump invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House in the first phone call between the two leaders.

March 13-14: President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. On the following day, the envoy met with met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for the first time.

April 17: 1,500 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel launched a mass hunger strike, pushing for improved conditions in Israeli prisons.

April 28: Israeli forces clashed with Palestinian protests on “day of rage” held in solidarity with the prisoners on the hunger strike.

May 1: Hamas issued a new charter that provisionally accepted a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines.

May 6: Ismail Haniyeh was elected as leader of Hamas by party leadership. He replaced Meshaal.

May 23: Israeli forces killed a Palestinian teenager after allegedly attempting to stab a border officer near Bethlehem. The incident coincided with Trump’s visit to the West Bank and his meeting with Abbas to discuss a deal.

May 27: Palestinian prisoners ended a hunger strike after reaching a deal with Israel.

July 14: Two Israeli police officers were killed in a shooting in Jerusalem’s Old City. The three attackers were also shot and killed. As a result, Israel placed metal detectors and cameras at the entrance of al Aqsa Mosque, triggering mass protests.

Oct. 12: Hamas and Fatah reached an agreement in an Egypt-brokered deal that would unite Gaza and the West Bank for the first time in 10 years.

Oct. 17: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused any diplomatic talks with the Palestinian unity government if Hamas was involved. Israel issued preconditions for any negotiations, which included Hamas recognizing Israel and “desist[ing] from terrorism,” the groups disarmament, Gaza being placed under the full security control of the PA, and the return of bodies of Israeli soldiers and citizens held by Hamas. Two days later, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar said the group “will not disarm, recognize Israel or cut off ties with Iran.”

Oct. 19: “Hamas will not disarm, recognize Israel or cut off ties with Iran,” said Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s leader in the Gaza Strip.

Oct. 22: Saleh Arouri, the deputy head of Hamas, pledged to keep close ties with Iran and to maintain its weapons. The vow rejected Israel’s preconditions for peace talks and echoed Yahya Sinwar’s statement from days before.

Oct. 27: Hamas security official Tawfiq Abu Naim was wounded in a car explosion in a Gaza City refugee camp. Hamas referred to the explosion as an assassination attempt.

Oct. 30: The IDF struck an attack tunnel that extended from the Gaza Strip to Israeli territory, killing at least eight people and injuring 13. Islamic Jihad members were among those killed. 

Nov. 1: Hamas handed full control of the Rafah crossing on the Gaza-Egypt border to the Palestinian Authority. The crossing returned to full operation for the first time in more than a decade.

Nov. 12: In a video message, Israel warned Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza that any retaliation for the tunnel destroyed on October 30 would be met with force.

Nov. 17: A Hamas spokesman said that the group would never recognize Israel’s right to exist.

Nov. 22: Hamas and Fatah agreed to hold general elections by the end of 2018, according to a statement made after closed door talks in Cairo.

Nov. 27: Hamas disarmament is not a condition for Palestinian reconciliation talks, Fatah said.

Dec. 6: President Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a reversal of previous U.S. policy. He also announced that the U.S. Embassy would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In the following weeks, Hamas fired more than a dozen rockets into Israel, triggering Israeli strikes on targets in Gaza.

Dec. 21: Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, said the reconciliation effort with Fatah was “falling apart.” Hamas missed a deadline to complete the handover of Gaza to Fatah in the West Bank earlier in the month.

Dec. 29: Two of three rockets fired from Gaza were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense System. The third fell in Israeli territory on the Gaza border. Israel responded with a series of strikes against Hamas sites in the northern Gaza strip.


Jan. 4: ISIS in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula declared war on Hamas in a 22-minute video that showed the execution of a man it said was a collaborator.

Jan. 5: Hamas said it would be willing to place its military wing under Palestinian Liberation Organization authority if it joined the organization and became part of the official government framework.

Jan. 14: Israel said it destroyed a mile-long Hamas tunnel which went from Gaza under Israel into Egypt.

Jan. 31: The United States designated Ismail Haniyeh, the senior political leader of Hamas, as a global terrorist.  

Feb. 16-18: A bomb attached to a Palestinian flag and placed along the Gaza border during Friday protests injured four Israeli soldiers. Israel responded with tank fire on a Palestinian observation post and then launched airstrikes on six targets. Hamas responded with rockets from Gaza. Israel retaliated once again with more tank fire and a second wave of airstrikes on 18 Hamas targets.

Feb. 16: President Abbas said sanctions on Gaza would not be lifted until Hamas completely cedes control over the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority.

March 13-19: A roadside bomb damaged several vehicles in the convoy of the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. The Palestinian Authority called it a failed assassination attempt and blamed Hamas.

March 15: Palestinians set off bombs along the Gaza border fence, the IDF said. Israel responded by shelling Hamas posts in the Gaza Strip.

March 30-May: Tens of thousands of Gazans began six weeks of Friday protests called the “Great March of Return” at the border fence with Israel. Initially led by independent activists, the demonstrations were co-opted by Hamas. Demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails, launched stones with slings, burned tires, or sought to breach the fence. Israel responded with live fire, killing more than 100 Palestinians and wounding thousands. For the rest of 2018, protests at the fence persisted with fluctuating intensity. They flared up in May, during the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, and subsequently persisted with varying levels of intensity.

April 15: The IDF destroyed a Hamas tunnel that entered Israeli territory. The tunnel was several kilometers long and was connected to other tunnels in Gaza.

April 17: The IDF attacked Hamas outposts in Gaza after shots were fired at Israeli soldiers along the border. The Israeli army said no soldiers were wounded in the incident.

May 7: Hamas said it was willing to negotiate a long term cease-fire deal if the siege on Gaza is eased and they can embark on infrastructure projects in the Gaza Strip.

May 24: Egypt and Qatar proposed separate cease-fire deals to resolve the on-going violence between Hamas and Israel at the border.

June 20: Some 45 rockets and mortar shells were fired toward Israeli communities from Gaza. Israeli jets struck approximately 25 Hamas targets in response to the projectile attacks and previous launches of explosive kites and balloons.

July 13-15: Protests along Gaza’s border with Israel turned violent. Palestinians threw grenades and other explosive objects at the fence and Israeli troops responded with tear gas and live fire. On the following day, Hamas fired more than 200 projectiles, including rockets and mortars, into Israel. Israeli jets targeted dozens of Hamas military targets in what Prime Minister Netanyahu described as Israel’s biggest attack on the group since 2014.  

Oct. 8: In an interview, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar told Israeli news outlet YNet, “There's a true opportunity for change. War is not in our interest, but in the current situation, an explosion is inevitable.”

Nov. 8: Israel allowed $15 million in cash from Qatar to enter Gaza to pay salaries for Palestinian public employees. It was the first of several cash infusions to ease tensions inside Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Nov. 11-14: An Israeli special forces raid went awry, sparking days of rocket fire and bombing between Israel and Gaza. Israel negotiated a cease-fire with Hamas. Opposing the cease-fire, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman resigned and pulled his party out of Netanyahu's coalition. 


March 10-April 13: Fatah loyalist Mohammed Shtayyeh was appointed the new prime minister of the Palestinian Authority. Shtayyeh, sworn in on April 13, replaced the more politically independent Rami Hamdallah; whose government formation enjoyed the backing of Hamas and other factions at a time of greater optimism for Palestinian reconciliation talks. The new Fatah-dominated government was construed as a further blow to unity efforts.

May 3-5: Clashes between Israel and militant groups in Gaza led to the deaths of at least 22 Palestinians and four Israelis in the worst violence between the two sides since 2014. The outbreak of violence began when a sniper wounded two Israeli soldiers on the border. Israeli targeted several commanders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and the Gaza groups fired about 600 rockets into Israel.

May 6: Hamas and Islamic Jihad said that they had reached a cease-fire with Israel after discussions brokered by the Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations. The Israeli military indirectly confirmed the news by lifting restrictions on citizens living near the Gaza border. The agreement included measures to improve economic conditions in the Gaza Strip, according to Arab news reports.

May 29: Human Right Watch accused both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas of arbitrarily arresting peaceful critics and opponents. The Palestinian Authority arrested more than 1,600 for peaceful expression, while Hamas detained 1,000 people during March 2019 protests alone, according to the watchdog.

June 13: Israel bombed a target in the Gaza Strip after two rockets were launched toward it. The Israeli military said that it struck “underground infrastructure” in a Hamas compound. It was the first flare-up between the two sides since a cease-fire on May 6.

June 20: Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said that Israel had failed to ease restrictions at border crossings—one of the key agreements of a May 6 cease-fire. During a press conference, Haniyeh also accused Israel of committing “naval piracy” by firing at and arresting Palestinian fisherman in the Mediterranean Sea.

June 25: The Palestinian Authority boycotted a conference in Bahrain to launch the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan. Palestinian officials said that the plan focused on economic issues rather than political disputes at the heart of the conflict. “We will inform Bahrain that we will not take part in such a conference,” said Palestinian Authority advisor Nabil Shaath. “We will not sell our country based on an economic project.”

July 11: Israeli soldiers accidently killed a Hamas man attempting to stop Palestinians from approaching the Israeli border. The IDF said soldiers had misidentified the man as an armed terrorist. Hamas vowed to respond to the “criminal act.”

Aug. 4: Israeli security forces killed four Palestinian militants who attempted to cross the border with assault rifles, anti-tank missiles and other grenades. A Hamas spokesman said the militants were not linked to the organization and had engaged in “an individual act.”

Aug. 26: The IDF bombed Hamas targets in the Gaza strip after three rockets were fired into Israel, according to the Israeli military. Hamas denied that the group had carried out the attacks.

Israeli authorities also announced a 50 percent cut in fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip’s main power station.

Aug. 27: Two suicide bombers killed three police officers at Hamas police checkpoints in Gaza City. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but officials believed the two attackers were linked to the Islamic State or Israel. On August 29, Hamas said that it had arrested ten suspects, who were current and former members of rival militant group Islamic Jihad.

Sept. 7: Israeli planes attacked Hamas targets in Gaza after five rocket attacks on Israeli the night before. Hamas reportedly fired the rockets after two Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces during clashes on the border. 

Oct. 7: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas directed the Central Elections Commission to begin preparations for parliamentary elections. He asked the head of the Central Elections Commission, Hanna Naser, to “immediately” start alerting Palestinian factions and said presidential elections would be held six months later.

Oct. 23: Islamic Jihad said that it would never partake in parliamentary and presidential elections. Nafeth Azzam, a member of the group’s political bureau, held that elections would not help end the Palestinian’s plight. “They [elections] will deepen the tragedy and division,” he said.

Nov. 12: Israel killed senior Islamic Jihad commander, Baha Abu al Ata, and his wife in a strike on their house in the Gaza Strip. Four other members of Islamic Jihad's armed wing, the Quds Brigade, were also killed in the attack. “The response to this crime will have no limits ... the occupation will be the one responsible for this aggression,” Islamic Jihad said in a statement. The group responded by firing hundreds of rockets into Israel, some reaching as far as Tel Aviv.


Jan. 6: Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh traveled to Tehran to attend the funeral of Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike. Haniyeh reportedly met with Soleimani’s successor, Esmail Ghaani, to discuss future relations.  

Jan. 13: Hamas said that Palestinian Authority (P.A.) arrested more than 200 of its members with the last month after P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas called for elections to be held later in 2020. “Hamas activists and cadres have been targeted in the arrest campaign to give information of the movement’s electoral activity and candidates,” Hamas said in a statement. 

Feb. 16: The Israeli military announced that it had foiled an attempt by Hamas to hack into the phones of Israeli soldiers by posing as young Israeli women seeking romance. The hackers used fake social media profiles and messaged the soldiers in Hebrew slang, according to Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus. “We see that they’re of course learning and upping their game,” he said. Conricus added that there was no “significant breach of information.” 

Feb. 24: Israel and the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad agreed to a cease-fire after two days of violence. During the clashes, Israel had attacked targets in the Gaza Strip, and Islamic Jihad fired rockets into southern Israel. The violence had threatened to disrupt Israeli elections scheduled for the following week. 

Apr. 8: Hamas said that it was ready to negotiate a prisoner swap with Israel in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are ready to make a deal tomorrow,” said Musa Dudin, the head of Hamas’s political office. “The window of opportunity will not always be there, and Israel will later have to negotiate under more difficult terms.” Two Israeli civilians and the bodies of two Israeli soldiers were held by Hamas in Gaza. 

Apr. 9: Hamas arrested peace activists in Gaza for holding a video conference call with Israeli activists. The Hamas Interior Ministry announced that the activists were charged with “establishing normalization activities with the Israeli occupation via the internet.” The event was advertised publicly on Facebook and chaired by prominent Palestinian activist Rami Aman. Participants on the conference call reportedly discussed their daily lives and difficulties of how their daily lives were negatively impacted by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

May 6: Israel carried out airstrikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, including three posts belonging to the al Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, in response to a rocket attack from Gaza.