Chronology: Palestinian Affairs

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See also Arab-Israeli Conflict, Libya, Regional Affairs

Jan. 18: The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, which represented hundreds of journalists, called for an emergency conference to address the growing number of attacks on Palestinian journalists and media organizations. Recently, cars belonging to journalists and media companies, including Al-Jazeera, had been set on fire, and numerous Palestinian journalists had received death threats. [JP, 1/18]

Jan. 22: The Gaza City offices of Arabic satellite TV station Al-Arabiya were severely damaged in a large explosion. According to Palestinian sources, Hamas had recently criticized the station for allegedly misquoting Palestinian Prime Minister Isma'il Haniyya; however, Hamas denied any involvement in the attacks. [BBC, 1/22]

Jan. 27: At least 13 Palestinians, among them two civilians, were killed in clashes between Fatah and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Attempts to form a Palestinian unity government were suspended in the wake of the renewed infighting. [BBC, 1/27]

Jan. 28: Fatah and Hamas agreed on a ceasefire to end recent clashes during emergency talks convened by Saudi King 'Abdullah in Mecca. Hours after the ceasefire went into effect, a Hamas commander was killed by gunmen in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis. [NYT, 1/28, BBC, 1/30]

Feb. 1: The Presidential Guard, which served Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmud 'Abbas, broke into an Islamic university in Gaza City founded by Hamas' late spiritual leader Shaykh Ahmad Yassin, in a search for weapons. Fatah stated that seven Iranians were arrested in the university, and an eighth blew himself up, while Hamas denied the presence of any foreigners on the campus. [BBC, 2/2]

Feb. 8: Hosted by King 'Abdullah in the holy city of Mecca, Palestinian President Mahmud 'Abbas and exiled Hamas leader Khalid Mesh 'al agreed to form a national unity government following deadly clashes between the rival factions in which more than 130 Palestinians had been killed since May 2006. Under the agreement's provisions, Isma'il Haniyya would remain Prime Minister, Hamas would take nine cabinet posts and Fatah six, while the rest would go to independent ministers. President 'Abbas urged the new government to "respect" previous negotiations with Israel; however, the agreement did not include a binding commitment on Hamas' side to recognize Israel. [BBC, 2/9]

Feb. 12: Palestinian Prime Minister Isma'il Haniyya called for the ending of the international aid boycott of the PA - which was launched after Hamas' electoral victory in the January 2006 elections - following an agreement between Hamas and Fatah to form a national unity government. The European Union (EU) stated that resuming aid payments was conditional upon the new government's recognition of Israel, renouncement of violence, and acceptance of previous agreements between the PA and Israel. [BBC, 2/12]

Mar. 8: The Hamas-run Palestinian Education Ministry banned the anthology of 45 folktales Speak, Bird, Speak Again, arguing that the language in the book was inappropriate. Approximately 1,500 copies of the book, which was written by anthropologist Sharif Kanaana and literature professor Ibrahim Muhawi, and had chapter headings such as "Children and Parents," and "Sexual Awakening and Courtship," were removed from the shelves of schools in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. …