Chronology: Arab-Israeli Conflict

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July 16, 2007 - October 15, 2007

Jul. 20: As part of a US-backed deal to support Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmud 'Abbas' government, Israel released 255 Palestinian prisoners from the Kitsiyot prison in southern Israel to Ramallah. Most of the prisoners were low-security Fatah loyalists who had served most of their sentences and had not been charged with involvement in attacks that had wounded or killed Israelis. However, a handful of the prisoners were Hamas supporters. Ten thousand Palestinians remained in Israeli prisons. [BBC, FT, 7/20]

Jul. 26: The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) suspended a company from duty after its members shot an unarmed Palestinian man near Hebron, allegedly mistaking a spade in his hand for a gun. IDF Central Command Major General Gadi Shamni stated that the shooting, as well as the company's failure to administer first aid or report the incident, was "normatively wrong." The Israeli military later evacuated the Palestinian man and treated his wounds in Israel. [BBC, 7/27]

Aug. 10: After seizing the pistol of an Israeli security guard and shooting the guard in the shoulder, a Palestinian man was chased and killed by another Israeli guard near the Al-Khalil Gate in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City. Ten civilians were injured in their crossfire. The first guard had been standing near a religious school of Ateret Cohanim, an ultra-nationalist Jewish organization that bought land from Palestinians in the traditionally Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. [BBC, 8/10]

Aug. 13: Israeli and PA officials signed an agreement redefining the mandate of international observers in Hebron. It was the first agreement between Israel and the PA regarding the status of observers in Hebron since the start of the second Intifada in September 2000. For 10 years, the Temporary International Presence in Hebron, composed of members from Turkey and European countries, had focused on relations between Israeli settlers and Palestinian residents. [Haaretz, 8/13]

Aug. 22: Israeli police threw stun grenades onto an East Jerusalem rooftop to break up a meeting of Hamas and Israeli-Arab Islamists. The police were enforcing the Israeli prohibition against the PA and Hamas engaging in political activity in East Jerusalem. [Reuters, 8/22]

Aug. 25: Israeli forces disguised as Palestinians killed 'Ala Abu Srour, the local leader of Islamic Jihad (IJ) in Jenin in the West Bank. Israel targeted Srour for IJ's refusal to halt attacks against Israelis and the group's opposition to President 'Abbas' efforts to restart the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. [Reuters, 8/25]

Sept. 4: The Israeli Supreme Court ruled that a section of Israel's West Bank barrier in the village of Bil'in was to be rerouted to avoid damaging local farmland. The court's decision stated that the barrier's location threatened Palestinian villagers' livelihoods. Bil'in had been the scene of frequent confrontations between Israeli forces and left wing Israeli and pro-Palestinian protesters. [Reuters, 9/4]

Sept. 14: IDF soldiers held back thousands of Palestinians who tried to enter Jerusalem to pray at the al-Aqsa mosque on the first Friday of the holy month of Ramadan. …