Chronology: Palestinian Affairs

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See also Arab-Israeli Conflict, Egypt, Information Technology, Israel, Turkey

Jan. 17: Palestinian President Mahmud 'Abbas confirmed he would not enter a bid for reelection in 2009. [BBC, 1/16]

The European Union (EU) suspended $42 million in aid to the PA. According to EU officials, the pending replacement of the PA's previous Finance Minister, Salam Fayyad, in addition to the absence of an approved budget were the major factors blocking the flow of aid to the PA. [Ha'aretz, 1/17]

Jan. 18: Fatah and Hamas agreed to prohibit weapons at polling stations during voting for the January 25 parliamentary elections. [Al-Jazeera, 1/18]

Jan. 21: Palestinian security forces began voting ahead of the January 25 Palestinian parliamentary elections, in order to insure their presence during official voting. Sixty thousand members of the Palestinian security forces were expected to cast their ballots from January 21 to January 23. [BBC, 1/21]

Jan. 22: The US Agency for International Development (USAID) donated $2 million in aid money to the PA. US officials said the funds were designed to promote democracy and dismissed accusations that the money was an attempt to bolster Fatah's position in the elections. [WP, 1/22]

Jan. 25: Palestinians voted in the first parliamentary election in ten years. Peace was maintained throughout the Occupied Territories and voter turnout reached approximately 73%. In East Jerusalem, only 6,300 of 100,000 Palestinians voters were allowed to cast their ballot; the remainder had to travel outside Jerusalem's boundaries. [BBC 1/25]

Jan. 26: Hamas won a majority of 76 seats in the 132-member Parliament. Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei' announced his resignation, as the ruling Fatah Party admitted defeat. Hamas and Fatah supporters clashed in the West Bank town of Ramallah. US secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the US policy on Hamas was unchanged, and that the group must renounce violence. European leaders echoed Rice's sentiment. [BBC, 1/26]

Jan. 31: Following the victory of Hamas in Palestinian parliamentary elections on January 25, the Quartet (UN, US, UK, and Russia) confirmed that aid to Palestinians, totaling more than $1 billion, could be jeopardized if Hamas refused to renounce violence and recognize Israel. [BBC, 1/31]

Feb. 4: Palestinian President Mahmud 'Abbas met with Hamas leaders in Gaza City for the first time since Hamas' electoral victory. Both sides agreed to convene Parliament on February 16 to begin the formation of a new government. Hamas said it wanted to form a national unity government that would include Fatah. [BBC, 2/4]

Feb. 8: At least 300 Palestinians attacked the headquarters of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron, forcing 160 international monitors from Denmark, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey to flee the city. The violence was in response to the publication of cartoons by Danish, Norwegian, and French newspapers depicting the Prophet Muhammad. [Reuters, 2/8]

Feb. 13: The outgoing Palestinian Parliament voted to give new presidential powers to Mahmud 'Abbas. 'Abbas' new powers included the ablily to appoint a constitutional court that could cancel future legislation. [BBC, 2/13]

Feb. 21: President 'Abbas officially asked Hamas to form a government and gave them 35 days to do so. [BBC, 2/21]

Feb. 27: The EU approved a $140 million aid package to the Palestinians, in an effort to save the current caretaker government from collapse. The aid was designed to meet the "basic needs" of Palestinians and was to be distributed by the UN. [BBC, 2/27]

Mar. 4: A delegation of Palestinian leaders, including Hamas members, met with religious and political leaders in Moscow. One delegate, Muhammad Nazzal, said the delegation was trying to build good relations with Russia, the only member of the socalled Quartet of Middle East peace mediators to talk to Hamas since its election victory. …