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  • ChronologyApril 16, 2018 –July 15, 2018

Arab-Israeli Conflict

See also Egypt, Israel, Palestinian Territories, Turkey

Apr. 27: Israeli airstrikes hit six naval outposts belonging to the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in the Gaza Strip after protesters crossed the barrier from Gaza into Israel for the first time during the fifth consecutive week of protests against United States president Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. At least 42 Palestinians had been killed and over 5,000 wounded in the previous five weeks as Israel came under increasing international scrutiny for its use of live fire in response to Palestinians throwing rocks and improvised explosives and launching burning kites, which had caused no reported Israeli casualties. [LA Times, Haaretz, 4/27]

May 1: The state-owned Israel Electric Corporation reached a $775 million deal with the Palestinian Authority (PA) that would allow the PA to provide electrical power to the West Bank. The deal accounted for the $280 million the PA owed the company in past debts by including repayment in the new payment structure and by establishing collateral and loan repayment guarantees in the new deal. Previously, electricity in the West Bank had been controlled by Israel. [Reuters, 5/1; Haaretz, 5/2]

May 5: An explosion near the Dayr al-Balah refugee camp in central Gaza killed six and wounded three others. Although the cause of the explosion was unclear, the military wing of the Hamas, the Palestinian political party that controlled Gaza, blamed Israeli forces. Similar explosions had been caused by Israeli airstrikes, infighting among Palestinian groups, and mishandling of explosive material. [AJ, BBC, 5/5]

May 14: The US opened its new embassy in Jerusalem as President Trump broke with decades of US policy to move the embassy from Tel Aviv, solidifying US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The PA stated that the move marked the end of a US-led Israeli-Palestinian peace process, while Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza responded with mass protests. Jerusalem had been a contentious issue in past peace negotiations between Israel and Palestinian representatives, with Israel claiming the city as its indivisible capital and Palestinians viewing East Jerusalem with its Arab-majority neighborhoods as the capital of any future Palestinian state. [Reuters, 5/7; CNN, 5/14]

At least 58 Palestinian protesters were killed and over 1,350 wounded by Israeli soldiers in Gaza, as protesters attempted to [End Page 655] cross the de facto border into Israel. International organizations, such as the United Nations and the European Union, as well as several individual states, like Iran, Germany, and others, expressed concern over what they considered a harsh Israeli reaction to the Gaza protesters. The protests had begun seven weeks earlier in response to Israel’s continued blockade of Gaza and as part of a campaign demanding Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their families’ homes in Israel, but they had intensified in response to the US embassy move. [NYT, AJ, 5/14; Reuters, 5/15]

May 15: Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador a day after recalling its own ambassador from Israel, and Israel responded by expelling the Turkish consul in Jerusalem who was responsible for overseeing Turkish-Palestinian relations. The fallout had resulted from an escalating series of diplomatic disputes related to the moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem and Israel’s use of violence along the Gaza de facto border. This marked the worst diplomatic crisis between Israel and Turkey since Israeli marines killed 10 Turkish activists on an aid ship seeking to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza in 2010. [Reuters, 5/15; Haaretz, 5/16]

May 19: The UN Human Rights Council voted to launch an investigation into the killing of 58 Palestinians by Israeli soldiers in Gaza. Receiving support from 29 of 47 member-states, the resolution to send a team of international war crimes investigators was opposed by the US and Australia, while 14 member-states abstained. Israel heavily criticized the resolution as an attack on its right to self-defense, arguing that Israeli soldiers had minimized casualties when possible. [Reuters, AJ, 5/18]

May 22: The...


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