2006 is one of the most dramatic years that greatly affected the
Palestinian arena and left its permanent marks and effects in the minds
of the Palestinian people since it witnessed significant political and
economical shifts that left their direct impacts on the people.

One of the main events in 2006 was the “rise and fall”, the rise of Hamas to power and the fall of Fateh that dominated the power in Palestine since 1996.

Yet, after Hamas was elected and brought to power, the international community, headed by Israel and the United States imposed strict economic and political siege on the Palestinians and their elected leadership.

In 2006, and after the abducted of the Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit, by resistance factions in the Gaza Strip, and the abduction of two soldiers by Hezbollah fighters, Israeli launched its two sided war, against the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon, yet it was unable to retrieve any of its captured soldiers.

The abduction brought back the issue of Palestinian and Arab detainees imprisoned by Israel. 

The following main events are the main events that took place in Palestine, the report is a translation of a report published by Palestine News Network;

–    January:

This month witnessed the rise and fall, the rise of Hamas to power after it achieved an overwhelming majority in the Palestinian legislate elections. The rise of Hamas was a great fall to Fateh movement that dominated power for ten years after winning the first elections in 1996. Although elections should take place every four yeas, in 2000 the second Intifada erupted and the elections were postponed until further notice.

And in January 2006, the elections were finally held and brought Hamas to power.

January also witnesses an increase of chaos and insecurity in the Palestinian territories.

–    February:

After the victory of Hamas, Ismail Haniyya was officially asked by president Mahmoud Abbas to form the new government.

The movement started talks with other factions but insisted in maintaining its political agenda.

Hamas said that it wants to create a national unity government, but still it appointed its ministers and declared that it will open all corruption files in order to expose the figures behind corruption in the previous Palestinian governments. Several officials were arrested in the course of investigation.

–    March:

In this month Hamas presented its agenda to the Palestinian factions, while president Mahmoud Abbas and the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization were hesitant to approve the agenda of the new government.

The first legislative council session was described as “stormy” as Hamas and Fateh legislators quarreled after Hamas insisted on cancelling decisions and laws approved by the previous legislative council during its most recent sessions before the new council took office.

The internal conflicts were accompanied by an Israeli attack against the Jericho central prison when Israeli troops raided the compound and abducted the jailed secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmad Sa’adat.

Sa’adat and his fellow comrades were imprisoned at the Palestinian central prison in Jericho; the compound was guarded by American and British troops who left the compound just before the army invaded the area and surrounded the prison.   

–    April

April was a month that was filled with Israeli military escalations as the army intensified its attacks against the Palestinian people and stepped-up its extrajudicial assassinations.

One of the main assassinations carried by the army in April was the assassination of Yousef Al Qouqa, the general leaders of the Salah Ed Deen Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad.

During this month, the Islamic Jihad managed to carry a suicide bombing attack in Tel Aviv killing nine Israelis.

Also in April, the United States stepped-up its threats to isolate the Palestinian government and people after the newly elected government was approved by the new legislative council. 

–    May

This month witnesses violent and unfortunate clashes between Fateh and Hamas members, dozens of innocent civilians were killed and injured during their clashes, and several facilities were attacked and sabotaged by gunmen from both factions.

After these clashes took place, the Ministry of Interior decided to form a new security forces, called the “executive force”.

But the creation of this force by the Hamas-dominated ministry of interior created further clashes between Fateh and Hamas.

– June

The internal conflicts and clashes increased in June, and Fateh movement started its protestz against the government and demanded a national poll to replace the government.

Also in June, three Palestinian armed grouped carried a cross border raid against an Israeli military camp adjacent to the Gaza Strip and abducted one soldier, identified as Gilad Shalit.

Two soldiers and two fighters were killed in the attack, and Shalit remained in the hands of his captures who demand the release of Palestinian detainees imprisoned by Israel, especially children, women, elderly and sick detainees.  

After the abduction of the soldiers, Israel carried it war against Hamas, and carried its “Summer Rains” military offensive which started by abducting dozens of newly elected Hamas minister and legislators.

– July

This month witnessed the major military escalation that Israeli carried in the Gaza Strip and shelled dozens of civilian houses.

In one of the attacks, the whole family of Abu Salmiyya, one of the leaders of Hamas, was killed after the army shelled their house.  

Also in July, Hezbollah fighters managed to abduct two Israeli soldiers, and Israel declared its war against Lebanon.

This war was parallel with the Israeli war against the Gaza Strip.

–    August

The war against Lebanon ended, and approximately 1400 Lebanese, the vast majority of them civilians, were killed by Israeli shells and cluster bombs.

During this month, Israeli troops killed nineteen Palestinians in the Gaza Strip after the army carried its “Summer Rains” military offensive.

Yet, as Israel continued its attacks more incidents of insecurity and chaos started to emerge and take place in the Gaza Strip.

This month also witnessed the abduction of reported in the Gaza Strip, but all abductees were later on release unharmed. 

– September

Three Palestinian armed groups managed to infiltrate into an Israeli fortified military camp, killed a senior military officer and took his gun.

While in the Gaza Strip, more dangerous signed of civil war started to emerge as more violent internal armed clashes took place, and started to spread to the West Bank.

– October

This month witnessed several Arab and International initiatives to resolve the conflict and end the crises.

One of the initiatives was the Qatar Initiative the ended with failure in spite of the tour carried out by Hamad Bin Jassim Al Thani, the foreign minister of Qatar.

On the ground, the Israeli army intensified its attacks in the Gaza Strip and carried the “Beit Hanoun massacre” that claimed the lives of seventy residents in “Operation Autumn clouds” that came after “Operation summer Rains”.

More civilian houses were shelled by the Israeli force, and more civilians were killed and injured, but later on the residents started forming human shields to protect the houses the army intends to shell and managed to stop several Israeli air strikes.

The army used to shell the houses several minutes after phoning the residents requesting them to leave their homes immediately since their air force is on its way to shell them, several residents were killed and injured after they were unable to leave their homes in time.

This month also brought a sort of hope to the Palestinians after a new truce among the clashing factions was reached and the Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyya, carried an Arab tour that succeeded in bringing some financial support for the government.

Haniyya also visited Iran and collected more financial support from the Iranian leadership.

– December

The main incidents in December are the rising of chaos and insecurity in the Gaza Strip, more political assassinations were carried out by armed groups, and more institutions were attacked and sabotaged by gunmen and vandals.
 
On December 11, unknown gunmen shot at the car of Major Baha' Balousha, a senior Palestinian security officer and instead of him, his three children were killed as they were on their way to school.

The three children are Osama, 10, Ahmad, 6, and Salam, 3 years old.

Also in December, president Mahmoud Abbas declared the end of internal talks after the repeated failures of internal negotiations on the formation of a national unity government.

Abbas announced early legislative and presidential elections but kept the chance open for a national unity government if the factions manage to wrap their differences and declare the new government.

The call for early elections created further violent armed clashes between armed members of Fateh and Hamas. And once again, dozens of residents were killed and injured during these clashes.

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