Global Policy Forum

Timeline: Gaza Crisis

Al Jazeera
January 27, 2009

June 19: An Egyptian-brokered six-month ceasefire between Israel and Hamas comes into force.

November 5: Israel closes all of its crossings with Gaza.

December 14: Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal announces the six-month ceasefire with Israel will not be extended.

December 19: Six-month ceasefire between Hamas and Israel officially expires.

December 21: Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, says that her primary goal if she wins Israeli elections, will be to overthrow Hamas.

December 27: Israel begins assault on Gaza, codenamed "Operation Cast Lead", by launching air raids that kill more than 225 Palestinians.

One Israeli is killed and six others wounded in missile attacks by Palestinian fighters.

December 28: Israeli aircraft bomb the Islamic University in Gaza City and the length of the Gaza-Egypt border, taking out more than 40 tunnels used to smuggle vital goods to the strip.

Hundreds of Israeli infantry and armoured forces mass on the border of the territory, and the army is given approval to call up reservists to bolster its fighting strength.

December 29: Israeli air strikes hit the interior ministry in Gaza City as Israel declares a "closed military zone" around the Gaza strip.

December 30: Rockets fired from Palestinian positions kill three Israelis, taking the death toll from Palestinian rocket attacks to four since the beginning of the Israeli offensive.

The European Union calls for "an unconditional halt to rocket attacks by Hamas on Israel and an end to Israeli military action".

December 31: Members of the UN Security Council end an emergency meeting on the crisis after failing to agree on the wording of a draft resolution.

January 1: Hamas official Nizar Rayyan is killed along with 14 members of his family in an Israeli raid.

January 2: Egypt begins talks with Hamas over a way to end the conflict.

January 3: As Israel begins its ground offensive in Gaza, at least 11 Palestinians, including one child, are killed after Israeli forces strike a mosque in the town of Beit Lahiya.

January 4: Israeli forces cut Gaza in half and ring Gaza City itself as an Israeli soldier is killed in the ongoing offensive.

The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, pledges an additional $4.2 million of emergency aid for Gaza and calls on Israel to respect international law.

An Israeli air strike hits two ambulances in Gaza, killing four paramedics.

January 5: Air and naval bombardments kill 45 Palestinians.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, holds talks with Hosni Mubarak, his Egyptian counterpart, to push for a truce deal.

January 6: An Israeli strike on a UN school in the northern town of Jabaliya kills 43 Palestinians and injures at least 100 who had taken refuge inside the school.

Israeli strikes hit two other schools, killing two in the southern town of Khan Younis and three in the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City.

January 7: 11 Palestinians are killed by air strikes and shelling in Gaza City and in the north of the Strip.

Violence continues after Israel temporarily halts attacks in Gaza City for three hours to provide a "humanitarian respite."

The Israeli military drops leaflets warning thousands of people in the Rafah zone on the Egyptian border to leave their houses or face air strikes.

January 8: The UN's refugee organisation in Gaza suspends all aid deliveries after an Israeli tank attacks a UN convoy, killing one Palestinian driver and injuring two other people.

Israeli bulldozers cross into Gaza and destroy a number of houses.

At least three rockets fired from Lebanon hit the northern Israeli town of Nahariya.

The UN Security Council passes resolution, with 14 votes in favour and only the US abstaining, that "stresses the urgency of and calls for an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza".

January 9: Israeli attacks continue in Gaza soon after passing of UN resolution, with a series of explosions and gunfire heard.

Six Palestinians reportedly killed in an air strike in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, raising the Palestinian death toll in Gaza to around 770, including more than 200 children, since the Israeli offensive began.

January 10: Israel drops leaflets on Gaza City warning of a "new phase" in its two-week-old offensive.

Eight family members are killed by an Israeli tank shell in Jabaliya, raising the Palestinian death toll in Gaza to 831 people.

Khalid Meshaal, the exiled political leader of Hamas, says that Israel must halt the Gaza offensive and lift the blockade before Hamas agrees to a ceasefire deal.

January 11: Israel is accused of firing white phosphorous bombs on densely-populated Gaza in violation of international law.

Israel reports to the UN that troops in the occupied Golan Heights came under small arms fire from Syria, but there were no injuries.

Israel began sending reservists into the Gaza Strip as the military offensive continued unabated for the 16th consecutive day.

January 12: Israel continues its offensive and the UN Human Rights Council adopts a non-binding resolution condemning Israel's military offensive.

The resolution calls for an international mission to be immediately sent to Gaza to investigate Israel's actions.

The toll rises to 935 Palestinians killed and 4,300 wounded. At least 25,000 people in Gaza are internally displaced but are unable to flee because crossing points remain closed.

January 13: Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, the president of the UN General Assembly, condemns the offensive and says the killing of Palestinians in Gaza amounts to "genocide".

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, arrives in Egypt to try to secure a ceasefire and end the war in Gaza.

January 14: The number of Palestinians killed exceeds 1,000 as the UN's aid agency in Gaza urges an end to the fighting, calling the war "a test of our humanity".

Venezuela and Bolivia sever diplomatic ties with Israel, calling the onslaught on Gaza a "holocaust". Bolivia pledges to get Israeli officials charged in the International Criminal Court with committing "genocide".

January 15: Israeli shells hit a UN warehouse setting fire to tonnes of food and medical supplies, as well as three hospitals as troops advance into Gaza City.

Said Siam, the Palestinian interior minister and one of Hamas's senior leaders in Gaza, is killed along with his brother and son in an Israeli air raid in Jabaliya.

The UN General Assembly accuses Israel of violating international law and targeting civilians in Gaza, and rebukes member-states for the lack of action over the crisis.

Hamas tells Egyptian negotiators it will agree to a year-long truce on condition that Israeli forces withdraw within a week, and that all border crossings are opened with international guarantees that it will remain so.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, says he feels optimistic the Israelis will accept a ceasefire deal with Hamas but not for a few days.

January 16: The Strip experiences a relative lull in fighting as diplomatic efforts intensify.

An emergency Arab summit in Doha, Qatar, highlights the split within the Arab world. Egypt and Saudi Arabia send delegates to a separate meeting of foreign ministers in Kuwait.

Qatar and Mauritania suspend economic and political ties with Israel, following calls by Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, and Khaled Meshaal, the exiled leader of Hamas, for all Arab nations to do so.

Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister and her US counterpart, Condoleezza Rice, sign an agreement on stopping arms smuggling into Gaza.

The UN general assembly demands an immediate ceasefire with the full withdrawal of Israeli forces.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, says Israel should be barred from the UN while it ignores UN demands to end the fighting.

Talks continue in Cairo over an Egypt-sponsored truce. Amos Gilad, the Israeli chief negotiator, says Israel wants an open-ended ceasefire.

January 17: More than 50 air strikes are carried out in Gaza and heavy explosions are heard south of Gaza City.

Israeli warships and tanks enter the outskirts of Gaza City, keep lobbying shells into the densely populated urban area.

Fifteen Palestinians are killed in the Gaza Strip.

United Nations demands an investigation into an Israeli strike on a UN school in the northern town of Beit Lahiya. Two children, aged five and seven, are killed in the attack.

Chris Gunness, a UN spokesman, says an investigation ought to be held "to determine whether a war crime has been committed".

Egypt says it will host an international summit on the Gaza crisis that will be attended by several European leaders as well as Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general.

Ahmed Abul Gheit, the Egyptian foreign minister, says Cairo is "not bound" by a US-Israeli agreement to stop arms smuggling to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

The Israeli security cabinet votes in favour of a unilateral ceasefire in its 22-day-old war in the Gaza Strip that has killed 1,203 Palestinians and left much of the strip in ruins.

Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, announces a unilateral end to military operations in the Gaza Strip, beginning at 0000 GMT but says troops will remain in the strip for the time being.

January 18: Israeli attacks continue in the Gaza Strip, with one Palestinian civilian killed in Khan Younis and air raids continuing in the north.

The Israeli military says that they were responding to at least 16 rockets being fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel by morning.

Palestinian factions Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Nidal, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and al-Saeqa announce an immediate one-week ceasefire at 1300GMT, with the condition that Israel's troops leave the Gaza Strip within seven days.

The Israeli military says it will not draw up a timetable to leave until rocket fire ceases, and will not have a deadline dictated to them by Hamas. It says: "The operation is not over. This is only a holding of fire."

A summit of European and Middle East leaders convenes in Egypt stressing the need for humanitarian assistance.

January 19: Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip venture out to assess the damage caused by Israel's war on the territory, as separate ceasefires called by Israel and Hamas take hold.

Since the fighting ended, dozens of bodies have been pulled from the rubble of buildings flattened during the Israeli onslaught on Gaza.

Some Israeli soldiers and tanks begin to move from the centre of the Gaza Strip to the borders of the territory, but Israeli military sources say that most of the troops heading out of Gaza are reservists.

Hamas, for its part, says that its ability to fight Israel remains intact despite 23 days of Israeli bombardment and attacks by ground forces.

January 20: Amnesty International, the human rights group, accuses Israel of war crimes, saying its use of white phosphorus munitions in densely populated areas of the Gaza Strip was indiscriminate and illegal.

January 21: Israel says that it has completed the withdrawal of its troops from the Gaza Strip, with forces being redeployed on the territory's outskirts, ending Operation Cast Lead.

However, Israeli naval vessels are still seen in Gazan territorial waters and are heard firing throughout the morning.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, demands a "full investigation" into Israel's bombing of a UN compound in Gaza City, calling the attack "outrageous" and "totally unacceptable".

January 27: A bomb planted by Palestinian fighters kills an Israeli soldier and wounds three other troops near the Kissufim border crossing.

Palestinian medical workers say that a Palestinian farmer was killed when Israeli forces opened fire after the incident.

Two Palestinians are wounded in an Israeli air raid, according to Hamas and Palestinian medical officials.

More Information on the UN Security Council
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More Information on Israel, Palestine and the Occupied Territories


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