From Feb. 21 to March 14, as Israel's holy sites and Jerusalem were under attack, the whole world was shaken.
Feb. 21 – Israel added the two shrines to the list of national heritage sites (CNS News)
Israel added the two shrines to the list of national heritage sites, which are slated for millions of dollars of renovation work. Palestinians saw the move as an attempt by Israel to extend its control over areas they claim as part of a future state.
In announcing the expansion of an existing list of sites with religious and national significance to ancient and modern Israel, Netanyahu on Sunday mentioned that they would include the Cave of the Patriarchs and another site in territory claimed by the Palestinians — Rachel's Tomb between Jerusalem and nearby Bethlehem, the traditional burial site of Rachel, the wife of the biblical patriarch Jacob.
A decision by the Israeli government to include a location with an almost 4,000-year-old link to the origins of Judaism in a list of 150 national heritage sites has sparked an uproar among Muslims — and drawn the disapproval of the Obama administration.
Feb. 24 — US slams Israel's heritage sites list (The Jerusalem Post)
"Adding Cave of Patriarchs, Rachel's Tomb — provocative and unhelpful move."
The Obama administration sharply criticized Israel on Wednesday for designating the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb, both in West Bank cities, to the list of Jewish heritage sites marked for renovation and preservation.
U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the administration viewed the move as provocative and unhelpful to the goal of getting the two sides back to the table.
Toner said U.S. displeasure with the designations of the Cave of the Patriarchs in the flash-point town of Hebron and the traditional tomb of the biblical matriarch Rachel in Bethlehem had been conveyed to senior Israeli officials by American diplomats.
Feb. 24 – Abbas warms of religious war
Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas warned during a visit to Brussels that it could ignite a "religious war."
Feb. 25 – Palestinian group Islamic Jihad has called for a "day of anger" (CNS)
Palestinians clashed Thursday with Israeli soldiers in Hebron. The radical Palestinian group Islamic Jihad has called for a "day of anger" on Friday.
At a press conference in Ramallah Wednesday, veteran PLO activist Hanan Ashrawi called Netanyahu's decision a "direct attack on Palestinian heritage and a crime against Palestinian culture."
Feb. 25 - Netanyahu says they [Israel] honor both (CNS)
The Cave of the Patriarchs is divided into Jewish and Muslim sections; and for most of the year, Jews and Muslims have free access to their designated spaces. For two 10-day periods each year, each group has access to the entire site while the other is barred from entering.
"We know that it is also a holy place for Muslims," Netanyahu said Thursday. "We honor both."
"We are not changing the status quo at the site; and we will not, in any way, harm freedom of worship for Muslims, just as we will preserve freedom of worship for Jews."
Feb. 25 - Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) demands UN Actions (CNS)
On Thursday, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) weighed in, demanding that the United Nations act against "this Israeli unilateral aggression."
In a press report Thursday, the Palestinian Ma'an news agency described the Ibrahimi mosque as Islam's "fourth holiest" site.
The PA news agency WAFA cited a London-based organization called the Palestine Return Center as describing the Ibrahimi mosque as "a mosque that Abraham built and is buried in."
Feb. 26 – State Department says move was provocative (CNS News)
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the administration regarded the move as "provocative," and that U.S. diplomats had conveyed that message to Israeli officials.
Feb. 26 - UN slams deal
Earlier, a spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he raised his concerns about "the inclusion of holy sites in the occupied West Bank on an Israeli heritage list" with visiting Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
The U.N. body known as the Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People slammed the Israeli move.
"Laying official claims to religious and historical places throughout the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem and attempts by the Government of Israel purporting itself to be the sole custodian of those sites is yet another measure aimed at consolidating Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian lands," it said in a statement.
Feb. 27 - 1.5 million displaced after Chile quake – the morning before Purim
A destructive 8.8-magnitude earthquake left hundreds of people dead and a long swath of the country in smoky rubble. The quake tied for the fifth largest in the world since 1900.
The earthquake struck at 3:34 a.m. in central Chile, centered roughly 200 miles southwest of Santiago at a depth of 22 miles, the United States Geological Survey reported.
The death toll was expected to rise, particularly around Concepción, Chile's second-largest metropolitan area, which is roughly 70 miles from the quake's center. The aftershock was reported around 8:30 local time Sunday morning from the capital of Santiago, where it shook buildings, according to Reuters.
More than 1.5 million people have displaced by the quake, according to local news services that quoted the director of Chile's emergency management office. In Concepción, which appeared to be especially hard hit, the mayor said Sunday morning that 100 people were trapped under the rubble of a building that had collapsed, according to Reuters.
There are numerous Palestinian connections to Chile:
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Feb. 27 - U.N. condolences
Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary-general, also offered his condolences, as well as longer-term aid should Chilean officials signal the need for it.
Feb. 28 – Israel, Palestinians clash over heritage sites
Two confrontations between Israeli police and Palestinian demonstrators in Jerusalem underlined the spreading turmoil after Israel's decision to declare shrines in two West Bank cities as national heritage sites.
On Sunday, Israeli police entered the Temple Mount complex, which Muslims call "the noble sanctuary," after they said a group of Palestinian demonstrators attacked tourists and then took refuge in the Al Aqsa Mosque. After a four-hour standoff, police said the 15 to 20 demonstrators in the group left the mosque on their own.
March 1 - Hillary Clinton arrives for scheduled trip to Chile on the last day of Purim.
March 7 – Turkey's Erdogan: Heritage sites will never be Jewish
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan joined the Palestinians and various Arab states in criticizing Israel for its heritage plan, which includes sites located in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
"Al-Aqsa mosque, the Cave of Patriarchs, and Rachel's Tomb will never be Jewish sites, but rather Islamic ones," Erdogan told Palestinian reporters Sunday.
"Palestine is our problem, it has never been removed even for a day from our agenda," the Saudi al-Watan newspaper quoted Erdogan as saying.
March 8, 2010 - Dozens dead from earthquake in Turkey
A pre-dawn earthquake collapsed homes and killed at least 38 people in a mountainous region of southeastern Turkey on Monday, government officials said.
About 100 people were injured when the magnitude-5.8 earthquake struck at 4:32 a.m., according to officials.
About five hours later, a magnitude-5.5 aftershock shook the region, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That followed at least 40 other aftershocks up to 4.4 magnitude, the prime minister's press office said.
The U.S. Geological Survey listed the quake at 5.9 magnitude.
March 12: Hillary Clinton blasts Netanyahu
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton levied a blistering rebuke of Israel, telling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the two countries' historic alliance could be adversely affected if his government doesn't more aggressively embrace the Middle East peace process.
Mrs. Clinton delivered her démarche during a tense 45-minute call with Mr. Netanyahu Friday morning, according to U.S. officials briefed on the exchange.
March 12-14: Major record-setting Nor'easter strikes
A major record-setting storm struck the northeast United States; the massive storm created hurricane-force winds, record rain, and floods. New York City experienced the second-highest volume of 911 calls ever in a 24-hour period — 65,000 between 11 p.m. Friday and 11 p.m. Saturday.
Utility crews were making headway in restoring power. More than 500,000 customers were without power in the Northeast. The storm caused many flight delays and cancellations.