Chronology: Palestinian Affairs

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See also Arab-Israeli Conflict, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon

Jan. 18: Hamas claimed Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmud 'Abbas was responsible for the death of Sa'id Siam, Hamas' Interior Minister and leader of Hamas militias in Gaza, who was killed by Israeli forces during the December 2008-January 2009 invasion of the Gaza Strip. [JP, 1/18]

Jan. 22: Hamas admitted that it had executed Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel during the course of Israel's December 2008-January 2009 military operations in the Gaza Strip. Fatah claimed that 19 of its members were killed by Hamas, with many more tortured, and exhorted Hamas to cease pursuing Fatah members in Gaza. Hamas claimed that it had proof that Fatah aided Israeli warplanes in their bombing raids of the Gaza Strip, accusations that Fatah denied. [SFC, 1/22]

Jan. 30: A wave of reprisal killings erupted in Gaza following the Israeli invasion, resulting in 25-50 deaths. Most victims were Fatah members, escaped convicts, or suspected collaborators. Human rights groups believed that many of the killings were conducted by Hamas, but there was not enough evidence to indicate a coordinated Hamas campaign. [The Guardian, 1/30]

Feb 5: The Israeli Navy seized The Brotherhood Ship, a Lebanese boat carrying pro- Palestinian activists and humanitarian aid supplies to the Gaza Strip. Claiming that the ship was smuggling weapons to the Hamas run Palestinian enclave, Israeli patrol boats searched the vessel for weapons and diverted it to an Israeli port to take in the Lebanese activists for questioning. [NYT, 2/5]

Feb 6: The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) announced a cessation of its relief activity in Gaza following Hamas' seizure of supplies from the agency on February 4 after Hamas had charged that the UN agency had been handing over the supplies to political opposition groups. [JP, 2/6, AP, 2/4]

After a day of questioning, Israel released the crew of The Brotherhood Ship. Among the activists was Archbishop Hilarion Capucci, a former Melkite Greek Catholic cleric in Jerusalem who had been deported in 1975 for alleged arms smuggling. [Al-Arabiya, 2/6]

Feb 9: Hamas issued an apology to the UNRWA for the seizure of aid supplies on February 4 and promised to return 3,500 blankets and 400 food parcels to the intended recipients. The UN agency reciprocated with an announcement that it would resume deliveries of humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees, shut down since February 6. However, a UNRWA spokesman stated that Israeli restrictions in the lead-up to the February 10 Israeli elections would make delivery efforts difficult. [BBC 2/9]

Feb. 13: Thirteen prisoners escaped from a PA prison in the West Bank city of Jericho. According to the PA, most of the prisoners were members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and several were wanted by Israel. The PA set up a committee to investigate the veracity of the guards' story that the fugitives escaped via underground tunnels amid suspicions that guards were involved in the escape. [MNA, 2/13, Ynet, 2/14]

Feb. 14: Six of the 13 prisoners who escaped from Jericho prison on February 13 were apprehended by PA police. …