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  • ChronologyJanuary 16, 2015 – April 15, 2015

Arab-Israeli Conflict

See also Palestinian Territories, Israel, Syria, Yemen

Jan. 16: The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that it would launch a preliminary inquiry into possible war crimes committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip during the 2014 campaign against Hamas. The announcement triggered harsh criticism from the United States State Department and from Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The probe was launched as a result of the successful Palestinian application to join the ICC and entailed a further escalation of the diplomatic war between the conflicting parties in the aftermath of the failed Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations in December. [AJE, 1/16, Reuters, 1/17]

Jan. 21: Twenty-three year old Palestinian Hamza Matruk stabbed 13 people in an attack on a bus in central Tel Aviv, seriously injuring four. Matruk claimed he carried out the attack in response to Israeli security restrictions and the war on Gaza during the summer of 2014. The incident was one in a series of attacks in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv and reflected rising tensions in the aftermath of the 2014 Gaza war and the Palestinians’ bid for statehood. [Guardian, 1/21, NYT, 1/22,]

Jan. 28: Hizbullah killed two Israel Defense Force (IDF) soldiers in an antitank missile attack on an Israeli border patrol in the disputed Sheb‘a Farms region. An hour later, the IDF responded by firing shells at three Lebanese border villages, killing a Spanish UN peacekeeper. Hizbullah’s attack was reportedly in retaliation for an Israeli strike in Syria on January 19 that killed six Hizbullah fighters and an Iranian general. After the exchange both sides signaled that they would not further escalate the situation. [NYT, 1/28, DS, 1/28]

Feb. 23: On the basis of the 1992 Anti-Terrorism Act, which allows US citizens to seek damages for acts of terrorism committed abroad, a Manhattan federal court ordered the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to pay $218.5 million to American families whose relatives had been killed during the Second Intifada. The court found the PLO and PA guilty of sponsoring six terrorist attacks between 2002–2004 in the Jerusalem area. [AJE, 2/23, Reuters, 2/23]

Mar. 24: Israeli authorities released three months of tax revenues collected on behalf of the PA that it had kept frozen in protest over the PA’s application to the ICC. Part of the money was retained to pay for services rendered by the Israeli state to the Palestinian population, such as electricity, water, and hospitals. [NYT, 3/27, Guardian, 3/27]

Mar. 25: The human rights group Amnesty International issued a report stating that Palestinian militant organizations including Hamas had been responsible for war crimes during the 2014 Hamas-Israel conflict. Amnesty pointed to the use of unguided rockets and mortars as a breach of international law for their indiscriminate nature. Reports by organizations such as Amnesty, Human [End Page 435] Rights Watch, and B’Tselem also accused Israel of war crimes during the conflict. [NYT, 3/25, Guardian, 3/26]

Mar. 27: The annual report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated that 2014 was the deadliest year for Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Territories since 1967. According to the report, the summer 2014 Gaza conflict contributed to the high death toll, with 2,300 Palestinians killed, and more than 17,000 injured. Additionally, the number of Palestinians held in administrative detention increased by 24% compared to 2013, although the number of children in detention decreased. [Guardian, 3/27]

Apr. 1: The PA formally became a member of the ICC after a ceremony in The Hague. The Palestinians backed away from immediately calling for a formal investigation of alleged Israeli war crimes, opting instead to wait for the results of a preliminary investigation launched by Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. The accession to the ICC marked the most recent move on behalf of the PA in the diplomatic war with Israel that erupted in the aftermath of failed peace talks and the ensuing Gaza conflict during summer 2014. [Guardian, 4/1, Reuters, 4/1]

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