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Saturday, 23 March, 2002, 21:44 GMT
Key events from 2002
Palestinians pass an Israeli roadblock
Palestinians pass an Israeli roadblock
BBC News Online examines the key events in the Middle East during the year so far.


MARCH 2002
Palestinians killed in Gaza
23 March

Israeli soldiers examine the body of one of two men killed near an army outpost
The violence flared after Israeli tanks entered the Gaza strip overnight
Israeli troops shoot dead two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip after claims they launched a grenade attack on a military post. A third Palestinian also dies after his house in Gaza is hit by an Israeli tank shell. The violence comes despite a flurry of diplomatic activity aimed at securing a ceasefire.

 The BBC's Caroline Hawley reports


Suicide bomber kills three
21 March

A suicide bomb victim
The attack happened on a busy shopping street
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat promises immediate action to stop attacks on Israel after a suicide bomber kills three people in Jerusalem. Israel is reported to have responded by calling off a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian security officials.

 The BBC's Orla Guerin reports


Blast hits Arab-Israelis
20 March

Rescue teams remove a body from the bus
Emergency services deal with the rush-hour attack
The Palestinian Authority condemns this morning's suicide bombing in northern Israel. Eight people were killed including the bomber. It comes as the Americans continue to try to secure a halt to nearly 18 months of violence in the region.

 The BBC's Orla Guerin reports


Cheney visits Israel
18 March

Dick Cheney and Ariel Sharon
The Israeli leader agreed to withdraw troops from Palestinian areas.
US Vice President Dick Cheney visits Israel at the end of a tour of the Middle East. After talks with the Israeli Prime Minister, he calls on Yasser Arafat to make a "100% effort to stamp out terrorism". And he asks the Israelis to act to alleviate the economic hardship suffered by ordinary Palestinians.

 The BBC's Barbara Plett reports


Israel leaves its mark on Ramallah
15 March

Palestinian funeral
Palestinian civilians carry bodies of three of the Palestinians killed in Ramallah
US envoy Anthony Zinni claims to be encouraged about the possibility of brokering a ceasefire following talks with representatives of both sides. Meanwhile, Israel withdraws its forces from Ramallah as a goodwill gesture, after a three-day occupation which leaves many Palestinians dead.

 The BBC's Ben Brown reports


US envoy arrives amid continuing violence
14 March

Israeli PM Ariel Sharon (left) and US Middle East envoy General Anthony Zinni
The US calls for a "full withdrawal" of Israeli troops
The American peace envoy, Anthony Zinni, arrives in the Middle East as many Israelis remain fearful of venturing out onto the streets. At least seven Palestinians are killed during the day in separate incidents and three Israeli soldiers die when their tank is blown-up in Gaza.

 The BBC's Ben Brown reports


Israel in massive new offensive
12 March

An Israeli tank in Ramallah
More than 100 tanks rolled into Ramallah
Israel launches its biggest military offensive for 20 years, sending 20,000 troops and more than 150 tanks into the West Bank and Gaza Strip. At least 30 Palestinians are reported to have been killed. Elsewhere six Israelis died in an ambush as the cycle of violence reaches a new, and bloody, peak.

 The BBC's Ben Brown reports


Israel hits back after suicide attack
10 March

Chaos in the cafe
Chaos in the cafe
Israel helicopters and gunboats have totally destroyed the headquarters of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Gaza. The operation came early on Sunday morning, hours after a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 11 and injured more than 50 at a busy cafe in West Jerusalem.

 The BBC's Caroline Thomsett reports


Israeli troops storm into Gaza
6 March

Israeli victim of rocket attack
Levels of violence have recently soared
At least seven Palestinians and two Israeli soldiers have been killed amid an intensified Israeli military offensive in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The upsurge in violence came after Israel's security cabinet decided to "increased security operations" following a wave of Palestinians attacks.

 The BBC's Orla Guerin reports


Six Palestinians die in Israeli tank attack
4 March

Hussein Abu Kweik with his wife and three daughters
Hussein Abu Kweik with his wife and three daughters
Suspected Hamas militant Hussein Abu Kweik escapes an apparent Israeli assassination attempt which kills his wife and two of his daughters along with three other people. Within a few hours Israeli warplanes attack Bethlehem.

 The BBC's Orla Guerin reports


Israel to step up military pressure
3 March

A mourner wearing a skull cap cries as he lays on the ground
Grief as some of the victims are buried
Israel says it will step up military operations against the Palestinians, following a series of militant attacks that have left more than 20 Israelis dead. Meanwhile the Israeli security cabinet holds an emergency meeting to discuss its strategy.

 The BBC's Orla Guerin and Damian Grammaticas report


Suicide bomber strikes Orthodox district
2 March

A man flees the explosion
The attack happened just as Jews were leaving their synagogues
At least nine people are killed - including several children - in a suicide bomb attack in Jerusalem. Dozens of others were injured in the blast which happened on the edge of Me'a She'arim, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish district which borders on Arab East Jerusalem.

 The BBC's Orla Guerin reports


FEBRUARY 2002
Israel strikes inside refugee camps
28 February

Two Palestinian gunmen point M16s near the Balata refugee camp in the West Bank town of Nablus
Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank
The Israeli army launched a massive operation against suspected Palestinian militants inside the Jenin and Balata refugee camps in the West Bank, resulting in the deaths of at least 10 people.

 The BBC's Barbara Plett reports


Saudi Arabia brings forward peace plan
27 February

Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
Crown Prince Abdullah
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah gained praise and considerable support for his plan to restart the peace process, based on Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories in return for the recognition of Israel's right to exist.

 The BBC's Frank Gardner reports


Two killed after Israel eases blockade
25 February

An Israeli tank in the West Bank
Removing the tanks is a symbolic gesture
Two Palestinians were shot dead in separate incidents on the West Bank, hours after Israel relaxed its blockade of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Tanks withdrew from the area around the Palestinian leader's headquarters in Ramallah but Mr Arafat remained barred from travelling beyond the city.

 The BBC's Caroline Hawley reports


Sharon vows to defeat 'terrorism'
21 February

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Sharon: Two-stage plan for peace
In a televised national address the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, said buffer zones would be set up between Israel and the Palestinian territories to protect the Israelis from Palestinian attackers. Mr Sharon also said he would continue to work to prevent "total war".

 The BBC's Orla Guerin reports


Support from Israel reservists for an end to Israeli occupation
18 February

Israeli soldiers
Some reservists take exception to occupation duties

A group representing top-level Israeli reserve officers and intelligence officials called for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from almost all of the Gaza Strip and much of the West Bank. The group, the Council for Peace and Security, also wants a resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians.

 The BBC's Caroline Hawley reports.

 Ruven Mahav, Council of Security and Peace "The complaint is in order to overcome the terrible impasse"


Arafat defiant amid fresh Israeli raids
11 February

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat has been under virtual house arrest more than two months

At least 37 Palestinians are wounded during an attack on the main Palestinian Authority security complex in Gaza. The Israeli army said the strike was in retaliation for the shooting of two women soldiers on Sunday. In a BBC interview, Yasser Arafat said Israel must deal with him because he was elected as the Palestinian leader.

 The BBC's Jane Bennett-Powell reports

 Yasser Arafat says the Israeli government cannot defeat the Palestinian people


Militants killed in 'Israeli missile attack'
4 February

Palestinians inspect the wreckage of the car
The DFLP has promised to avenge the deaths
Four gunmen die when their car explodes in the southern Gaza Strip, in what Palestinian officials describe as an assassination. The four killed were members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or DFLP, a statement from the group said, promising revenge. The Israelis deny any involvement.

 The BBC's Kylie Morris reports


Split widens over Israeli reservists
1 February

Unidentified women grieve for Palestinian Ibrahim Jarboo who was killed in the attack
Unidentified women grieve for Palestinian Ibrahim Jarboo who was killed in the attack
A decision by more than 100 Israeli reserve officers to refuse to serve in the Palestinian territories sparks a furious row inside the military, and a widening public debate. In the biggest challenge to the army's authority since the Palestinian uprising began 16 months ago, the reservists say they are not willing to fight for the purpose of "dominating, expelling, starving and humiliating an entire people".

 The BBC's Caroline Hawley reports


JANUARY 2002

Sharon regrets sparing Arafat
31 January

Israeli troops
The Israeli military has staged frequent incursions into the West Bank and Gaza in recent months
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says he regrets not having killed Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat when he had the chance in Lebanon 20 years ago. Mr Sharon was Israeli defence minister when the Israeli army invaded Lebanon in 1982 in an attempt to drive out Mr Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organisation.

 The BBC's Caroline Hawley reports


Israeli agents hit by suicide bomber
30 January

Ariel Sharon
Mr Sharon blames Yasser Arafat for the attacks
Palestinian militants say a suicide bomber who injured two Israeli secret agents had been an informer who reverted to the Palestinian cause. The Israeli prime minister's office says the bomber pressed himself against a parked vehicle carrying two members of Shin Bet and detonated explosives.

 The BBC's Caroline Hawley reports


Sharon backs Jerusalem security plan
30 January

Israeli border police
Israeli border policemen patrol a street near the scene of many Palestinian suicide attacks
The Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, approves a controversial plan to tighten security around Jerusalem, following a string of attacks by Palestinian militants. The plan, known as Enveloping Jerusalem, calls for large numbers of extra police and roadblocks to control access to the city from the West Bank.

 The BBC's Barbara Plett reports


Female suicide bomber kills two
27 January

Grief at the scene in west Jerusalem
Grief at the scene in west Jerusalem
Police are working on the basis that the bomber was a Palestinian woman. If so, this would be the first time a woman has carried out such an attack. The bomb went off in one of Jerusalem's busiest shopping streets.

 The BBC's Orla Guerin reports


Gunman wounds 20 in Jerusalem attack
22 January

Some of the injured are seriously ill in hospital
Some of the injured are seriously ill in hospital
A gunman opens fire with an automatic weapon in west Jerusalem, injuring more than 20 people, some of them seriously. Police say the gunman fired on people at a bus stop and other passers-by for about 10 minutes before being shot dead.

 The BBC's Jeremy Cooke reports


UN envoy condemns Israeli raid
21 January

Israeli tank in Tulkarm
Israeli tank in Tulkarm
A massive Israeli incursion into Palestinian territory is a "dangerous escalation" which will lead to more deaths, the United Nations Middle East envoy says.

 The BBC's Jeremy Cooke reports


Israel blows up Palestinian radio station
19 January

Flames engulfed the Voice of Palestine building
Flames engulfed the Voice of Palestine building
Israeli troops entered the Voice of Palestine TV and radio headquarters before dawn to set explosive charges and evacuate the building. The explosions sparked a fire that gutted the upper floors of the building.

 The BBC's Barbara Plett reports


Party attack kills seven
17 January

The hall was full of guests at a Bat Mitzvah
The hall was full of guests at a Bat Mitzvah
Israeli police say seven Israelis have been killed and at least twenty wounded in a Palestinian suicide attack in northern Israel. Eyewitnesses say the man entered a crowded wedding hall in the town of Hadera and tried to detonate explosives strapped to his body.

 The BBC's James Reynolds reports


Leading Palestinian killed in blast
14 January

Leading Palestinian militant Raed Karmi
Leading Palestinian militant Raed Karmi
A Palestinian militant group has called off its ceasefire with Israel after its leader was killed in an explosion in the West Bank. Palestinian security blames Israel for the death of Raed Karmi, head of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.

 The BBC's Jeremy Cooke reports


Bush warns Iran on terror
10 January

President Bush is concerned about Iran's loyalty
President Bush is concerned about Iran's loyalty
US President George W Bush has warned Iran not to destabilise Afghanistan. He also said Washington expected Tehran to hand over any members of Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network who might have fled across the border from Afghanistan.

 The BBC's Jim Muir reports


Zinni offers new hope of peace
3 January

United States special envoy Anthony Zinni
United States special envoy Anthony Zinni
US Special envoy and retired general Anthony Zinni arrives in the region, hoping to break the cycle of violence. Israel withdraws some troops from their occupation of Palestinian towns on the West Bank as a gesture of good will. The Palestinians call for implementation of the US-sponsored Mitchell peace plan.

 The BBC's Caroline Hawley reports

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