Tag Archives: Flotillas

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (September 6 – 13, 2016)

 The boats Zaytouna-Oliva (left) and Amal-Hope (right), expected to participate in the women's flotilla to the Gaza Strip, anchored in the port of Barcelona, Spain  (Website of the Women's Boat to Gaza, September 13, 2016).

The boats Zaytouna-Oliva (left) and Amal-Hope (right), expected to participate in the women's flotilla to the Gaza Strip, anchored in the port of Barcelona, Spain (Website of the Women's Boat to Gaza, September 13, 2016).

The Palestinian police return the IDF vehicle to Israel driven by two female soldiers who mistakenly entered Tulkarm (Ya Eini website, September 12, 2016)

The Palestinian police return the IDF vehicle to Israel driven by two female soldiers who mistakenly entered Tulkarm (Ya Eini website, September 12, 2016)

Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces in the village of Qadoum during the weekly riot protesting the Jewish settlements (Wafa, September 9, 2016).

Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces in the village of Qadoum during the weekly riot protesting the Jewish settlements (Wafa, September 9, 2016).

An improvised gun (left) and a pipe bomb (right) found in an Israeli security force action in the Nur al-Shams refugee camp in Tulkarm (Facebook page of the Israel Police Force, September 11, 2016).

An improvised gun (left) and a pipe bomb (right) found in an Israeli security force action in the Nur al-Shams refugee camp in Tulkarm (Facebook page of the Israel Police Force, September 11, 2016).

Khalil al-Haya, of Hamas' political bureau, delivers a sermon calling on Palestinians to intensify the intifada (Alresala.net, September 12, 2016).

Khalil al-Haya, of Hamas' political bureau, delivers a sermon calling on Palestinians to intensify the intifada (Alresala.net, September 12, 2016).

The Hamas police in the Gaza Strip inaugurate new headquarters in the western part of Khan Yunis. The ceremony was attended by the commander of the internal security forces in the Gaza Strip and the commander of the Gazan police force (Facebook page of the ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip, September 8, 2016).

The Hamas police in the Gaza Strip inaugurate new headquarters in the western part of Khan Yunis. The ceremony was attended by the commander of the internal security forces in the Gaza Strip and the commander of the Gazan police force (Facebook page of the ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip, September 8, 2016).

The Hamas police in the Gaza Strip inaugurate new headquarters in the western part of Khan Yunis. The ceremony was attended by the commander of the internal security forces in the Gaza Strip and the commander of the Gazan police force (Facebook page of the ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip, September 8, 2016).

The Hamas police in the Gaza Strip inaugurate new headquarters in the western part of Khan Yunis. The ceremony was attended by the commander of the internal security forces in the Gaza Strip and the commander of the Gazan police force (Facebook page of the ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip, September 8, 2016).

Trucks carrying humanitarian aid from Turkey enter the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing (Paltimes, September 8, 2016).

Trucks carrying humanitarian aid from Turkey enter the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing (Paltimes, September 8, 2016).

  • This past week Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip were relatively quiet. However, Palestinians continued throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at IDF security forces and Israelis, and at Israeli vehicles on the roads in Judea and Samaria.
  • The Women's Boat to Gaza flotilla, composed of anti-Israeli women from various countries, some of them "famous," is about to set sail. According to statements issued by the women organizing the flotilla, the boats are now anchored in Barcelona and are expected to set sail on September 14, 2016. The flotilla's objective is to challenge the so-called Israeli "siege" of the Gaza Strip, despite the fact that in reality Israel enables the import of hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid into to Gaza Strip through the crossings.
Terrorist Attacks and Attempted Attacks
Monthly Distribution of Terrorist Attacks in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem

Monthly Distribution of Terrorist Attacks in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem

Riots and Clashes
  • During the past week there were no significant terrorist attacks. In the meantime, riots, the throwing of stones, Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs and light-arms fire continue in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.
  • The more prominent events were the following:
  • September 12, 2016 – Two female IDF soldiers in an IDF vehicle mistakenly entered Tulkarm in the evening. Palestinians attacked the vehicle with stones. The Palestinian police intervened and extracted the soldiers unharmed (Facebook page of Red Alert, September 12, 2016).
  • September 12, 2016 – Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli vehicle near the Tunnel roadblock in Gush Etzion, panicking the driver. Palestinians also threw stones at an Israeli bus near Hizma (northeast of Jerusalem). No casualties were reported (Facebook page of Red Alert, September 12, 2016).
  • September 12, 2016 – Palestinians threw stones near Tekoa (Gush Etzion), wounding a female IDF soldier (Judea and Samaria Rescue Services, September 12, 2016).
  • September 11, 2016 – Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli vehicle near Ariel (Samaria). No casualties were reported (Facebook page of Red Alert, September 11, 2016).
  • September 10, 2016 – Palestinians threw stones at Israeli vehicles in Gush Etzion. No casualties were reported (Facebook page of Red Alert, September 10, 2016).
  • September 9, 2016 – Palestinians threw an improvised IED at the compound of the Tomb of Rachel in Bethlehem. No casualties were reported (Facebook page of Red Alert, September 9, 2016).
Weapons Seized near Tulkarm
  • Before dawn on September 11, 2016, the Israeli security forces entered a house in the Nur al-Shams refugee camp where a Palestinian suspected of involvement in terrorism lived. A search revealed two improvised guns and a large quantity of equipment for making pipe bombs. The suspect, who was 18 years old, was detained and taken for interrogation by the Israeli security forces (Facebook page of the Israel Police Force, September 11, 2016).
Rocket Fire Attacking Israel
  • This past week no rocket hits were reported in Israeli territory.

Rocket Fire Attacking Israel

Hamas Calls on Palestinians to Intensify the Intifada
  • Khalil al-Haya, a member of Hamas' political bureau, delivered a sermon during the main Eid al-Adha prayer in Gaza City on September 12, 2016. He called for the unification of the efforts to intensify the intifada and keep "the fire burning" throughout the lands of the Palestinians. He claimed "the Islamic nation's only enemy is Israel, which desecrates Al-Aqsa mosque" (Alresala.net, September 12, 2016).
Hamas Police Inaugurate a New Headquarters in Western Khan Yunis
  • On September 8, 2016, the Hamas police in the Gaza Strip inaugurated new headquarters in the western part of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. The ceremony was attended by General Tawfiq Abu Na'im, commander of the internal security forces in the Gaza Strip; and General Taysir al-Batash, commander of the Gazan police force. Abu Na'im delivered a speech in which he said that the ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip would continue to build police headquarters to serve local residents and ensure their safety (Facebook page of the ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip, September 8, 2016).
Hamas' National Security Forces Hold a Show of Force along the Gaza Strip's Border with Egypt
  • On September 7, 2016, the first battalion of the southern brigade of Hamas' security forces in Rafah held a military parade along the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt. Its objective was to raise morale and show the public that the nation's security forces guarded and defended the southern border (Website of the ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip, September 7, 2016).
Aid from Turkey Enters the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom Crossing
  • On September 8, 2016, trucks carrying aid from Turkey entered the Gaza Strip from Israel through the Kerem Shalom crossing. The ship anchored in the port of Ashdod on September 4, the second Turkish ship to bring humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip to anchor there. Its cargo consisted of 2500 tons of humanitarian aid (Paltimes and Twitter account of Palinfo, September 8, 2016).
Young Palestinian Killed in the Central Gaza Strip
  • On September 9, 2016, young Palestinians rioted and clashed with IDF forces east of the al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. The Palestinian ministry of health reported the death of Abd al-Rahman al-Dabagh, 18. Many people attended the funeral held for him and his body was draped with a Fatah flag (Twitter account of Palinfo and Facebook page of Quds.net, September 9, 2016). The IDF spokesman's unit reported that "the event has been investigated and our forces are not known to have fired their weapons in that region" (Ynet, September 9, 2016).
Russian Initiative to a Netanyahu-Mahmoud Abbas Meeting
  • The Russian foreign ministry reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas had agreed in principle to a summit meeting in Moscow. A date has not yet been announced (Interfax, September 8, 2016). On September 5, 2016, Netanyahu met in his office with Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian President Putin's special envoy to the Middle East. Netanyahu said he was always willing to meet with Mahmoud Abbas, directly and without preconditions (Website of the Israeli prime minister, September 5, 2016). At a press conference held during his visit to Holland Netanyahu said he was willing to meet with Mahmoud Abbas for direct talks in any place at any time without preconditions. He said he had been appealing to Mahmoud Abbas to talk to him for the past seven years (Ynet, September 8, 2016).
  • On September 11, 2016, Mahmoud Abbas gave a speech for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which was broadcast by Palestinian TV. He again claimed he was willing to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu in accordance with the request made by Russian President Putin, after the efforts of the International Quartet had failed. At the same time, he attacked what he claimed were Israel's efforts to represent the Palestinians as isolated, saying that "It is the government of the occupation that is internationally isolated" (YouTube and Ma'an, September 11, 2016).
  • Ahmed al-Majdalani, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee, claimed that the news reported was inexact. He claimed the proposed meeting necessitated clarifications about the settlements and the prisoners, as well as a timetable for negotiations (Youm7, September 6, 2016). His remarks were probably intended to indicate that the Palestinians' agreement to a Netanyahu-Mahmoud Abbas meeting was subject to conditions, among them the release of prisoners and the cessation of construction in the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.
The Women's Boat to Gaza Flotilla Expected to Set Sail from Barcelona on September 14
  • According to a statement from the organizers of Women's Boat to Gaza, the boats Amal and Zaytouna, which will participate in the flotilla, are expected to set sail from Barcelona on September 14, 2016. From there they will sail to Ajaccio, the capital of Corsica and then travel through another Western Mediterranean port "before reaching the shores of Gaza in October" (Website of Women's Boat to Gaza, September 12, 2016). The passengers will be anti-Israeli activists from America, Asia and Europe, among them Mairead Maguire, a social activist from Northern Ireland who won the Nobel Peace Prize; Malin Björk, a member of European Parliament from Sweden; Ann Wright, a retired U.S. Army Colonel and former American. diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the invasion of Iraq; and Dr. Fawzila Hassan, a doctor from Malaysia. In addition, Israeli women are also expected to participate in the flotilla, among the Yehudit Ilani, MK Haneen Zoabi's media advisor (Ma'ariv and the website of Women's Boat to Gaza, September 12 and 13, 2016).
  • The objective of the flotilla has been defined as the desire to "break [the] inhuman blockade" of the Gaza Strip (Website of Women's Boat to Gaza, September 13, 2016). They plan to challenge Israel despite the fact that in reality Israel allows hundreds of tons to of humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip through the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings and encourages international projects for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.
Hate-Propaganda Video Calls for Terrorist Attacks
  • Shehab, a Hamas-affiliated Palestinian news agency operating in the Gaza Strip, exploited the Eid al-Adha holiday for inciting Palestinians to carry out terrorist attacks against Israelis. It posted a short video on its Facebook page showing a masked Palestinian who takes bullets off a table and leaves pieces of candy, loads the bullets into a magazine of a hand gun, sees a picture of Al-Aqsa mosque on the wall and says, according to the subtitle, "Our holiday will only be complete if you [Al-Aqsa mosque] are liberated." Shehab also posted pictures encouraging young Palestinian men and women to confront Israel (Facebook page of Shehab, September 11, 2016).

Scenes from Shehab's short video encouraging attacks against Israel. At the right the masked Palestinian chooses bullets over candy, at the left he inserts them into a magazine. In the lower picture he sees a picture of Al-Aqsa mosque and the subtitle reads, "Our holiday will only be complete if you are liberated [Al-Aqsa mosque]"  (Facebook page of Shehab, September 11, 2016).
Scenes from Shehab's short video encouraging attacks against Israel. At the right the masked Palestinian chooses bullets over candy, at the left he inserts them into a magazine. In the lower picture he sees a picture of Al-Aqsa mosque and the subtitle reads, "Our holiday will only be complete if you are liberated [Al-Aqsa mosque]" (Facebook page of Shehab, September 11, 2016).

Pictures for Eid al-Adha encouraging young Palestinian men and women to confront Israel. Left: The Arabic reads, "May every year be good for you" (a traditional blessing used at Muslim holidays). Oh sister of the [manly] men. Jerusalem intifada.) Right: The Arabic reads, "May every year be good for you, oh revolutionary of Palestine. Jerusalem intifada "(Facebook page of Shehab, September 11, 2016).
Pictures for Eid al-Adha encouraging young Palestinian men and women to confront Israel. Left: The Arabic reads, "May every year be good for you" (a traditional blessing used at Muslim holidays). Oh sister of the [manly] men. Jerusalem intifada.) Right: The Arabic reads, "May every year be good for you, oh revolutionary of Palestine. Jerusalem intifada "(Facebook page of Shehab, September 11, 2016).

[1]The statistics do not include mortar shell fire or rockets which misfired and fell inside the Gaza Strip.

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (December 3 – 9, 2014)

 Stabbing attack in a supermarket in Mishor Adumim (east of Jerusalem), as seen through the eye of a security camera.

Stabbing attack in a supermarket in Mishor Adumim (east of Jerusalem), as seen through the eye of a security camera.

Gazans throw rocks at IDF soldiers near the security fence in the region of Jabaliya (PALDF, December 5, 2014).

Gazans throw rocks at IDF soldiers near the security fence in the region of Jabaliya (PALDF, December 5, 2014).

Clearing the debris in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City before rebuilding (Paltoday.tv, December 3, 2014).

Clearing the debris in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City before rebuilding (Paltoday.tv, December 3, 2014).

Cartoon in a Palestinian newspaper: The Arabic reads,

Cartoon in a Palestinian newspaper: The Arabic reads, "The Gaza Strip is on the brink of a health disaster...the national consensus government" (Felesteen.ps, December 6, 2014).

from the PA's establishment newspaper encouraging the boycott of Israeli-manufactured goods. The Arabic reads,

from the PA's establishment newspaper encouraging the boycott of Israeli-manufactured goods. The Arabic reads, "Made in Israel" (Alhayat-j.com, December 7, 2014).

  • This past week clashes near the security fence along the Israel-Gaza Strip border continued. Violence and terrorism in Judea and Samaria continued in the usual patterns: throwing stones, rocks and Molotov cocktails, and stabbing attacks.
  • Prominent this past week was the stabbing attack carried out by a Palestinian in a supermarket in Mishor Adumim, east of Jerusalem. The terrorist sustained minor injuries. The Palestinian Authority (PA), which supports the so-called "popular resistance," did not condemn the attack. The PA continues its political campaign against Israel in UN agencies.
Rocket and Mortal Shell Fire into Israel
  • This past week no rocket or mortar shell hits were identified in Israeli territory.

Rocket and Mortal Shell Fire into Israel

Clash on the Gazan Border
  • This past week there was another clash near the security fence along Israel's border with the Gaza Strip. On December 5, 2014 dozens of Gazans gathered at the fence near Jabaliya (northeastern Gaza Strip) and threw rocks at the IDF soldiers stationed there. Israeli security forces dispersed them; two Gazans were wounded (PALDF, December 5, 2014).
Palestinian Terrorist Stabs Civilians in a Supermarket in a Supermarket
  • On the afternoon of December 4, 2014, a Palestinian terrorist entered a supermarket in Mishor Adumim, the industrial zone of Maaleh Adumim east of Jerusalem. When he reached the rear section of the supermarket he took out a knife and began stabbing customers. He stabbed two before he was shot. The terrorist operative, Ibrahim Salim Abu Sneineh, 16 ½ years old, from Al-Azariya (near Maaleh Adumim), sustained minor wounds and was evacuated to a hospital. The Israeli security forces detained two Palestinians on suspicion of helping him (Ynetnews.co.il, December 4, 2014).
  • The Palestinian media presented a biased, distorted version of the stabbing attack. The Palestinian Authority (PA)'s establishment newspaper reported that the terrorist was shot "by the supermarket [security] guard on the pretext that he had tried to stab a Jew" (Alhayat-j.com, December 4, 2014).
  • Stabbing attacks are a common occurrence in what the Palestinians call the "popular resistance" (i.e., popular terrorism). The PA regards them as "legitimate" and does not condemn them or those who carry them out.
Terrorism and Violence in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem
  • This past week the wave of violence and rioting continued in the traditional friction spots in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem (Kafr Qadoum, near the Ofer prison, Bil'in, the Qalandia roadblock, etc.), part of what the Palestinians call the "popular resistance."
  • in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem stones, rocks and Molotov cocktails were thrown and there were stabbing attacks targeting Israelis. The prominent attacks were the following:
  • On December 8, 2014, rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. There were no casualties. The bus was damaged.
  • On December 5, 2014 rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near Tekoa (in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem). A one year-old baby girl sustained minor injuries (The Gush Etzion Regional Council, December 5, 2014).
  • On the afternoon of December 4, 2014, police and security guards at the Qalandia roadblock noticed a 16 year-old Palestinian girl standing near the checkpoint. She began walking towards the checkpoint and when she did not heed calls to stop one of the policemen approached and detained her. A knife was found in her possession. During interrogation she said she had gone to the roadblock to kill Jews (Ynetnews.co.il, December 4, 2014).

Left: The Palestinian terrorist at the Qalandia roadblock (Israel Police Force, December 4, 2014). Right: A vehicle damaged by rocks thrown by Palestinians in Gush Etzion  (Gush Etzion Regional Council, December 5, 2014)
Left: The Palestinian terrorist at the Qalandia roadblock (Israel Police Force, December 4, 2014). Right: A vehicle damaged by rocks thrown by Palestinians in Gush Etzion  (Gush Etzion Regional Council, December 5, 2014)

  • On December 3, 2014, Palestinian rioters clashed with the Israeli security forces between Neveh Suf and Nahliel (northwest of Ramallah). During the riot Palestinians shot fireworks at the security forces, endangering cars driving on the road. The security forces shot at the rioters, wounding two (Tazpit.org.il, December 3, 2014).
  • On December 3, 2014, Palestinian rioters burned tires and threw rocks at Israeli vehicles at the Sinjil junction (north of Ramallah), damaging several. A Palestinian vehicle swerved out of its lane to run into soldiers standing at the junction. It drove off in the direction of the village of Ain Yabrud (Tazpit.org.il, December 3, 2014).
  • On December 2, 2014, a woman who lived in Eli was driving home when two Palestinians heaved a large rock at her car on the road between Loven and Rehalim (east of Ariel). It shattered the rear windshield and crushed a child's car seat in the back seat (Ynetnews.co.il, December 2, 2014).
Delivery of Building Materials Halted
  • According to reports, on December 2, 2014, the delivery of building materials to the Gaza Strip was halted after the Hamas-controlled ministry of the treasury in the Gaza Strip announced it was imposing a tax of 20 shekels (about $5) on every ton of cement entering the Gaza Strip through the crossings (Aleqt.com, December 2, 2014). The attempt to impose the tax was met with severe criticism in the PA. The Palestinian national consensus government said in a statement that imposing a tax on building materials for the Gaza Strip was unacceptable and that such moves harmed the ability of the national consensus government to see to the needs of the Gazan population (Wafa.ps, December 2, 2014).
  • Nazmi Muhanna, head of the Palestinian crossings and border authority, said that the PA was surprised to learn that Hamas had imposed a tax on building materials on the orders of the ministry of the treasury in the Gaza Strip. He said it sabotaged everything the PA was doing to speed the delivery of building materials. He said that as soon as the facts became known the deliveries were stopped. He condemned the illegal tax imposed by Hamas, adding that everything had to be conducted transparently to enable them to discuss the delivery of building materials with Israel, the Europeans and the UN (Voice of Palestine Radio, December 3, 2014).
Rebuilding the Gaza Strip
  • At its weekly meeting, the Palestinian national consensus government decided to carry out the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip through three main channels: raising funds, delivering building equipment to the Gaza Strip and carrying out the initial stages of the program. The government noted that it was working to get delivery of the funds promised at the conference of donor states and was waiting for Qatar to meet its commitment to transfer $200 million (QNN, December 2, 2014).
  • The national consensus government's ministry of public works and housing said in an announcement that work had begun to clear the wreckage in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City. The project, whose cost was estimated at $3.4 million, is funded by the Swedish government and implemented under UN supervision. According to the ministry, during the first stage 140 tons of debris will be cleared, 60 tons of which will be recycled.
Demonstrations and Strikes
  • In light of the slow progress of the rebuilding and the transfer of funds, demonstrations and protests continue in the Gaza Strip. Various groups, especially those affiliated with Hamas, accuse the national consensus government of procrastinating:
  • The cleaning staffs in the hospitals went on strike after not receiving their salaries. The strike caused a crisis and concern over the spread of disease. The Gaza Strip ministry of health declared an emergency situation and cancelled non-essential operations. According to the ministry, the national consensus government was shirking its commitments to the Gaza Strip and not transferring funds to its medical institutions (Samanews.com, December 2, 2014).
  • Dozens of employees in the local administrations demonstrated in front of the government building in Gaza City. They accused the government of shirking its commitments to the Gaza Strip (Palpress.ps, December 3, 2014).
Hamas-Egypt Relations
  • Egypt continues its intensive activity to destroy the smuggling tunnels and establish a buffer zone along its border with the Gaza Strip (Al-ayyam.com, December 8, 2014). Senior Hamas figure Khalil al-Haya said that Hamas had been making efforts to rehabilitate its relations with Egypt (Sawa.ps, December 2, 2014). Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of Hamas' political bureau, said that Hamas' relations with Egypt were not good and that no progress had been made, because, among other reasons, the Egyptian media were causing tension (Alresala.net, December 4, 2014). On another occasion Musa Abu Marzouq said that Hamas was willing to have a committee appointed to investigate, because in all the events [i.e., terrorist attacks] in Egypt, so far not one single Palestinian had been detained (Al-Jazeera, December 8, 2014).
Khaled Mashaal Interview
  • Khaled Mashaal, Hamas leader, was interviewed by Sky News' Tom Rayner.[3] In an interview directed at Western ears, Mashaal related to various issues, among them the following:
  • The events in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount – Mashaal accused Israel of the events, claiming they were a "spontaneous Palestinian reaction" to Israel's actions. He claimed Israel's "targeting the holy sites, in Jerusalem and Palestine, and specifically the Al Aqsa Mosque, brings about the angry Palestinian reaction." He added that "Netanyahu is playing with fire when he allows members of his government, the Knesset, and the extremists to repeatedly storm the Al Aqsa mosque." He added, "Our fight, is a national fight, but Netanyahu is turning it into a religious fight. He bears responsibility for the consequences of what is happening."
  • The terrorist attack in the Jerusalem synagogue – Mashaal said, "We can’t take events out of context...for every action there is a reaction. Netanyahu is playing with fire and he will bear the consequences of that. This is one of the rare occasions when a synagogue was targeted — why? Because there is anger, extreme anger. The Aqsa mosque is for the Muslims. The Muslims were blocked from praying there. The soldiers and the police and the right-wing extremists were allowed to storm in with their shoes, into the sanctuary of the Mosque — this is playing with fire."
  • Terrorist attacks against Israel – Mashaal said, "Hamas is committed to resistance [i.e., terrorism]...We never agreed, at any stage in the process of reconciliation, to abandon resistance, because this is rejected on a national level. But we do ask for finding a common strategy on how resistance should be run...and Hamas is ready for coordination and in drawing up a strategy for the struggle together in coordination with our brothers in Fatah and with the Palestinian Authority leadership."
Graduation of Officers' Training Course
  • On December 4, 2014 the Gazan ministry of the interior and national security held graduation exercises at the port of Gaza for an officers' training course named after "The Martyrs of Operation Protective Edge." There were about 1,000 graduates. Senior members of the ministry of the interior and national security attended the exercises (Website of the ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip, December 4, 2014).

Left: A course graduate climbs up an Israeli flag. Right: Graduates on parade during the exercises (Website of the ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip, December 4, 2014).
Left: A course graduate climbs up an Israeli flag. Right: Graduates on parade during the exercises (Website of the ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip, December 4, 2014).

Notices Posted to Mark 27 Years since the Founding of Hamas
  • Hamas launched a campaign to mark the 27th anniversary of its founding. The campaign theme was "Our foundation – loyalty and giving." A press conference was held where Hamas noted it was marking the day when "jihad fighters use cars and knives to defend the Palestinian people." Hamas also announced that a rally to mark the anniversary had been cancelled out of "consideration for the difficult circumstances" [of the Gazans] (Al-Aqsa TV, December 8, 2014). Many Hamas-affiliated Facebook pages posted notices encouraging the path of terrorism and violence against Israel (PALDF, December 7, 2014).

Left: Hamas' fires R160, M75 and J80 rockets. At the right a Hamas terrorist operative carries an abducted Israeli soldier over his shoulder. Right: A masked Palestinian throws a rock during a riot in Judea and Samaria. The Arabic reads, "The West Bank's heartbeat will liberate Palestine" (PALDF, December 7, 2014).
Left: Hamas' fires R160, M75 and J80 rockets. At the right a Hamas terrorist operative carries an abducted Israeli soldier over his shoulder. Right: A masked Palestinian throws a rock during a riot in Judea and Samaria. The Arabic reads, "The West Bank's heartbeat will liberate Palestine" (PALDF, December 7, 2014).

Israel Investigates Events in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge
  • Since the end of Operation Protective Edge the Israeli military prosecutor has held a preliminary investigation of complaints and reports of one hundred events that took place during the operation. Others are still being examined. Five events were deemed by the Chief Military Prosecutor as being worthy of criminal investigation, and have been sent to the Chief of Staff's mechanism for examination and clarification. The five events were the following:
  • A claim that five children were killed on a beach in the Gaza Strip during an IDF attack on July 16, 2014.
  • A claim that an UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun (northern Gaza Strip) was hit on July 24, 2014, and that the attack killed, according to reports, 15 civilians.
  • A claim that IDF fire caused the death of an ambulance driver near the hospital in Beit Hanoun on July 25, 2014.
  • A claim that 27 civilians were killed in an attack on the Jame' family house in Khan Yunis on July 20, 2014.
  • In addition, the Chief Military Prosecutor ordered the military investigation unit to investigate several events without their first being examined by the Chief of Staff's mechanism. Regarding nine other events, the decision was made to end the examination without beginning a criminal investigation. It was recommended that lessons be learned from some of the cases (IDF Spokesman, December 6, 2014).
  • Following the Chief Military Prosecutor's decision, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that Israel was trying to prevent a UN commission from investigating. He added that Hamas did not trust the results of Israeli investigations, and that it was unacceptable for the criminal to act as judge. The families of those killed in the Gaza Strip also expressed lack of trust, claiming that the investigation was a mere formality meant to appease international public opinion and present Israel as abiding by the law (Safa.ps, December 7, 2014).
Accepting the PA as an ICC Observer State
  • On December 8, 2014, the member states of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague voted to accept the "state of Palestine" as an observer state that could participate in all the court's meetings. The PA was previously considered "an observer entity." The significance of the decision is that "Palestine" is recognized by the ICC members but is not itself a member of the court. In addition, it has not yet signed the Rome Convention (Wafa.ps, December 8, 2014).
  • Riyadh Mansour, permanent Palestinian representative to the UN, claimed it was another victory for the Palestinians in the international arena and brought them closer to the restoration of their rights. He claimed the decision paved the way for the Palestinians to bring the Israeli leadership to trial (Wafa.ps, December 8, 2014).
France Recognizes the "State of Palestine"
  • On December 2, 2014, France's lower house of parliament voted 339 to 115 to recognize the Palestinian state and called on the French government to exploit the recognition to promote a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The decision was symbolic and non-binding; France has joined Britain, Spain, Sweden and Ireland, all of which have recently made similar decisions.
  • Palestinian sources expressed satisfaction with the decision, saying it clearly showed the desire of the French people (Maannews.net, December 2, 2014). Regarding the series of countries that had recognized the Palestinians state, Mahmoud Abbas again emphasized his refusal to recognize the Jewish character of the State of Israel. As to his appeal to the UN, he said an Arab decision had been reached to appeal to the Security Council and that it was currently in the hands of Riyadh Mansour, the permanent Palestinian representative to the UN, who was waiting for comments and opinions from international sources (Wafa.ps, December 6, 2014).
Security Coordination with Israel and the PA Detentions
  • Adnan al-Dmeiri, spokesman for the security services in Judea and Samaria, said that there were people who called the PA's security coordination with Israel "treason," but it was in the Palestinian daily interest. He said the security services were obliged to carry out political decisions and to act in accordance with the law. They would not, he said, allow anyone to harm the interests of the Palestinian people. He said they did not carry out detentions arbitrarily and that all the detainees had been charged (Skynewsarabia.com, December 6, 2014).
  • Hussam Badran, external Hamas spokesman, criticized the PA's policy of detentions, claiming that the increased number of "political detentions" showed a PA decision to halt the escalation in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. He claimed the PA's policy was a grave blow to the internal Palestinian reconciliation and violated Palestinian law. He claimed every Palestinian had the right to resist policies that harmed him (Facebook page of Hussam Badran, December 4, 2014).
  • Fatah's official Facebook page continues to post calls for terrorism and violence against Israel. For example:

Left: "[Fatah:] the first stone...and the first bullet." Right: Yasser Arafat and the Fatah insignia. The Arabic reads, "A million shaheeds are going to Jerusalem," Arafat's famous battle cry (Official Facebook page of Fatah, December 5, 2014)
Left: "[Fatah:] the first stone...and the first bullet." Right: Yasser Arafat and the Fatah insignia. The Arabic reads, "A million shaheeds are going to Jerusalem," Arafat's famous battle cry (Official Facebook page of Fatah, December 5, 2014)

The Call to Boycott Israeli-Manufactured Goods

from the PA's establishment newspaper encouraging the boycott of Israeli-manufactured goods. The Arabic reads, "Made in Israel" (Alhayat-j.com, December 7, 2014).
from the PA's establishment newspaper encouraging the boycott of Israeli-manufactured goods. The Arabic reads, "Made in Israel" (Alhayat-j.com, December 7, 2014).

Plans to Organize a Flotilla for May 2015
  • Mazen Kahil, chairman of the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) said that "Freedom Flotilla" activists held a meeting where they voted to hold a flotilla called "Freedom Flotilla 2."It is supposed to sail to the Gaza Strip during the last week of May 2015 to mark the fifth anniversary of the Mavi Marmara flotilla. He said this flotilla would be different from the previous one and activists from an estimated one hundred countries would participate.
  • Mazen Kahil added that the Turkish IHH (which was in charge of the Mavi Marmara flotilla) would be responsible for coordinating the project. He said that as the date of the flotilla approached awareness-raising activities would be held in the ports of Europe (Safa.ps, December 6, 2014).

[1] As of December 9, 2014. The statistics do not include mortar shell fire or rockets which misfired and fell inside the Gaza Strip.
[2] The statistics do not include mortar shell fire.
[3] https://medium.com/@RaynerSkyNews/hamas-leader-warns-against-stripping-palestinians-of-hope-20c3aab595c5

The IHH, the jihadist Turkish organization that played a major role in the Mavi Marmara flotilla, currently leads an international anti-Israeli coalition that announced its intention to dispatch another flotilla to the Gaza Strip in 2014.

A press conference in Istanbul where it was announced that an international coalition was planning another flotilla to the Gaza Strip. Third from the left is the Turkish representative, Durmush Aydin, the IHH's vice president for international relations (IHH.org.tr, August 12, 2014).
A press conference in Istanbul where it was announced that an international coalition was planning another flotilla to the Gaza Strip. Third from the left is the Turkish representative, Durmush Aydin, the IHH's vice president for international relations (IHH.org.tr, August 12, 2014).

Overview

1.   On August 12, 2014, a press conference was held in Istanbul to announce a new flotilla to end the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. The press conference was organized by the Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FCC), led, in ITIC assessment, by the IHH. According to an IHH report and a Coalition press release, discussions about the new flotilla were held at IHH headquarters in Istanbul on August 10 and 11, 2014. Present were representatives from Greece, Norway, Sweden, Canada, France, Britain, Spain, South Africa, Malaysia, Jordan and Indonesia.

2.   The organizers claimed the flotilla would express solidarity with the Palestinian people and that the coalition members supported the Gazan demands for a seaport. They also claimed that many Mediterranean port administrations intended to declare the port of Gaza a so-called "sister port" and that in the coming months protests would be held in various ports and on the high seas (Yenisafak.com and IHH.org.tr, August 12, 2014).

3.   The IHH website listed the various organizations and networks in the coalition organizing the flotilla – some national and some international – familiar from previous attempts to send flotillas to the Gaza Strip and from the international anti-Israeli campaign. The organizations participating in "The Freedom Flotilla Coalition" are the following (IHH.org.tr, August 12, 2014):

1)  The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza

2)  Freedom Flotilla Italia (Italy)

3)  Gaza's Ark (the Gaza Strip)

4)  IHH Insani Yardim Vakfi (Turkey)

5)  International Committee for Breaking the Siege on Gaza (ICBSG)

6)  Rumbo a Gaza (Spain)

7)  Ship to Gaza (Greece)

8)  Ship to Gaza (Norway)

9)  Ship to Gaza (Sweden)

4.   Other participants in the flotilla, but not members of the IHH steering committee, are the following (IHH.org.tr):

1)  Palestine Solidarity Alliance (South Africa)

2)  Free Gaza

3)  Haluan Palestin (Malaysia)

4)  Life Line to Gaza (Jordan)

5)  Miles of Smiles

6)  Sahabat Al-Aqsa

5.   The IHH is a radical Islamic Turkish jihadist organization whose ideology is anti-American, anti-Western, anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic. It is well-connected to the Erdogan administration. It is an important factor in the international coalition waging the campaign to delegitimize Israel, and participates in its activities. It collaborates with Islamist organizations in Turkey, anti-Israeli organizations in the West, and organizations in the Arab-Muslim world and in the West affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

6.   The IHH was the moving spirit behind the flotilla project to challenge Israel's policy regarding Gaza Strip maritime activities(aimed to prevent the smuggling of weapons by sea into the Gaza Strip). It played a main role in the flotilla that ended with the violent confrontation aboard the Mavi Marmara (May 31, 2010). It helped plan the flotilla, purchased three of the ships (including the Mavi Marmara), placed Turkey's governmental capabilities at the disposal of the coalition that dispatched the flotilla and planned the violent confrontation with the IDF without the knowledge of the other flotilla participants. IHH operatives were central to the violence aboard the Mavi Marmara, which ended with the deaths of ten operatives, nine wounded IDF soldiers, and dozens of wounded passengers. The IHH is apparently trying to exploit anti-Israeli criticism caused by Operation Protective Edge and the Hamas demands for a seaport in the Gaza Strip to renew the flotilla project to the Gaza Strip, understanding it will be met with support from the Turkish government.

IHH leader Bülent Yildirim (right) gives a speech aboard the Mavi Marmara to encourage them for the expected confrontation with IDF soldiers.
IHH leader Bülent Yildirim (right) gives a speech aboard the Mavi Marmara to encourage them for the expected confrontation with IDF soldiers.

7.   During and after the Mavi Marmara affair, the IHH and the Turkish government represented the organization as a human rights organization operating in humanitarian spheres, and either hid or denied its radical Islamic jihadist nature. However, its violent nature was manifested in the behavior of its operatives against the IDF aboard the Mavi Marmara and against an Egyptian security force about six months previously. Speeches given by its leader, Bülent Yildirim, also manifest its radical Islamist nature and anti-American anti-Western orientation. All of the above clearly indicate that its violent ideology and character, grounded in its jihadist past, have not fundamentally changed or disappeared. Given the nature of the organization, it should be recognized that in any future interaction with Israel, it would not hesitate to employ violence, as it did aboard the Mavi Marmara.

8.   According to the IHH website, during Operation Protective Edge the organization sent $8 million worth of medicine, food and other vital commodities to the Gaza Strip. The delivery to the Gaza Strip was coordinated with Mehmet Kaya, IHH representative in Gaza. The humanitarian aid from Turkey was unloaded at the Israeli port of Ashdod and from there transferred to the Gaza Strip by truck through the Kerem Shalom crossing (Cogat.idf.il). In addition, the IHH engaged in strong anti-Israeli incitement and propaganda in Turkey, including calls for boycotts and isolation, organizing broadcasts on 30 radio and TV stations calling for a boycott of Israel. Bülent Yildirim said to Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman "You are Hitler. You and your cabinet are committing an offense by carrying out genocide" (IHH.org.tr, August 13, 2014).

9.   For a profile of the IHH, see the Appendix.
 

An Istanbul court holds a show trial of Israelis accused of responsibility for the deaths of nine Turkish operatives aboard the Mavi Marmara.

‘’Israel on trial,’’ an IHH poster marking the beginning of the trial in Istanbul, November 6 (IHH website, November 6, 2012).

‘’Israel on trial,’’ an IHH poster marking the beginning of the trial in Istanbul, November 6 (IHH website, November 6, 2012).

Signs equating Nazism with Zionism at a demonstration in front of the court house in Istanbul.

Signs equating Nazism with Zionism at a demonstration in front of the court house in Istanbul.

Front page of the Turkish newspaper Sabah, owned by Erdogan's son-in-law, on the day the trial opened: ‘’The Israelis are not soldiers, they are monsters’’ (Sabah, November 6, 2012).

Front page of the Turkish newspaper Sabah, owned by Erdogan's son-in-law, on the day the trial opened: ‘’The Israelis are not soldiers, they are monsters’’ (Sabah, November 6, 2012).

IHH leader Bülent Yildirim at the demonstration in front of the courthouse in Istanbul (IHH website, November 6, 2012).

IHH leader Bülent Yildirim at the demonstration in front of the courthouse in Istanbul (IHH website, November 6, 2012).

Pictures of the ‘’wanted’’ Israelis and a swastika (The PIJ's PalToday website, November 6, 2012).

Pictures of the ‘’wanted’’ Israelis and a swastika (The PIJ's PalToday website, November 6, 2012).

Overview

1.On November 6, 2012, a hearing began in the Istanbul Court for Serious Crimes in the case of four senior IDF officers, who will be tried in absentia. According to the prosecution, they are charged with responsibility for the deaths of nine Turkish shaheeds (martyrs for the sake of Allah) aboard the Mavi Marmarain May 2010.[1] In our assessment, the proceedings are a show trial in which Israel is not represented and which presents only one side of the events, depicted with bias and sometimes untruthfully.

2. The four Israelis on trial are former Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, former head of military intelligence Amos Yadlin, former commander of the Israeli Navy Eliezer Marom, and Air Force Commander Avishai Levy. The prosecution is asking for nine consecutive life sentences for each. An investigation of General Tal Russo was also initiated; he is accused of planning and carrying out the attack on the Mavi Marmara(IHH website, November 6, 2012). The indictment includes charges such as "incitement to commit murder through torture" and "incitement to do harm with live weapons." After three days the deliberations were postponed to February 21, 2013, apparently because of legal flaws (See Appendix II).

3. The IHH, which organized the Mavi Marmaraflotilla and whose operatives participated in the violent confrontation with the IDF, exploited the opening day of the trail for a vicious anti-Israel hate campaign (which the Turkish administration did nothing to prevent). On the morning the trial opened a mass demonstration, sponsored by the IHH,was held in front of the courthouse. The demonstrators waved Turkish, Palestinian and IHH flags. There were large pictures of the accused Israelis and anti-Israel signs, including some comparing Israel ("Zionism") to Hitler and Nazi Germany. The demonstrators shouted anti-Israel slogans such as "Death to Israel," "Independence for Palestine," and "Jihad." There was also a display of pictures taken aboard the Mavi Marmara. The IHH was careful to invite representatives of the international media to cover the demonstration.

4. Beyond vilifying Israel, the IHH seeks to exploit the results of the trial in its lawfare campaign against Israel. IHH leader Bülent Yildirimsaid that in the wake of the trial it would be difficult for senior Israelis and even soldiers who participated in the event to travel abroad. He added that he expected warrants to be issued for the arrest of those "guilty of premeditated murder." A similar statement was made on the eve of the trial by Muhammad Kaya, the IHH representative in the Gaza Strip. Both statements were made with total disregard for the Palmer Commission appointed by the UN Secretary General which, with the participation of the Turkish government, investigated the events of the flotilla.


5. The Palmer Commission determined that "Israeli Defense Forces personnel faced significant, organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers when they boarded the Mavi Marmara requiring them to use force for their own protection."[2] The Commission also determined that "the fundamental principle of the freedom of navigation on the high seas is subject to only certain limited exceptions under international law. Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law (ITIC emphasis)."[3]

Front page of the Turkish newspaper Sabah, owned by Erdogan's son-in-law, on the day the trial opened: ‘’The Israelis are not soldiers, they are monsters’’ (Sabah, November 6, 2012).
Front page of the Turkish newspaper Sabah, owned by Erdogan's son-in-law, on the day the trial opened: "The Israelis are not soldiers, they are monsters" (Sabah, November 6, 2012).

6. The opening day of the trial was covered by the Turkish press and accompanied by libelous remarks directed against Israel. Nevertheless, there was also criticism of both the trial and the anti-Israel incitement accompanying it, primarily by the opposition:

1) Opposition journalist Efkan Bulaç, who writes for the News of the Country website, said that Turkey did not have the authority to judge an event in which a ship flying a foreign flag was involved, and that trying defendants in absentia was only a show. He added that the trial was meaningless because not all the documents had been assembled, the defendants had not yet received formal summonses, and the process by which the defense lawyers had been chosen by the bar associationwas unlawful and they therefore could not defend the defendants (Ulkedehaber website, November 7, 2012).

2) Emin Çölaşan, journalist and editor of the opposition paper Sözcü, wrote that the Turkish government would never allow a ship bringing aid to the Kurds to approach one of its ports and would call it an illegal action. He said the government would also not hesitate to use the military force against it. He claimed that the government of Turkey should be brought to trial for having supported and encouraged the Mavi Marmara in the face of warnings from Israel, and for having sent nine men "to their deaths"(Ilk-kurusum.com website, November 8, 2012).

Nature of the IHH

7. The IHH, which is waging a hate campaign against Israel and hounding senior Israelis, is a radical Turkish jihadist Islamic organization, anti-American, anti-Western, and anti-Semitic. The organization, which works hand in glove with the Turkish administration, is an important component in the international coalition waging the campaign to delegitimize Israel and participates in its activities by collaborating with anti-Israeli organizations in the West and with organizations affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. IHH operatives played a main role events aboard the Mavi Marmara, which ended with a violent confrontation on May 31, 2010. Before that IHH activists had joined a convoy sent to the Gaza Strip at the end of 2009 whose participants engaged in a violent confrontation with the Egyptian security forces.

8. The IHH played a central role in the flotilla by planning it, purchasing three ships (including the Mavi Marmara), making Turkey's governmental capabilities available to the coalition which sent the flotilla and planning the violent confrontation with the IDF without the knowledge of the coalition's other members. IHH operatives played a main role in the violence aboard the ship which ended with the deaths of nine Turkish operatives, nine wounded IDF soldiers and dozens of wounded passengers[4] (See Appendix III).

Appendices

9. This document has three appendices:

1) The IHH's involvement in the trial in Istanbul.

2) The conduct of the trial

3) IHH support for Hamas and its place in confronting the IDF aboard the Mavi Marmara.

[1] The nine Turkish citizens killed aboard the Mavi Marmara were not innocent civilians, but rather operatives belonging to the IHH and other radical Islamist organizations.

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (October 31 – November 6, 2012)

Demonstrators burn a picture of Mahmoud Abbas in Jabalia in the Gaza Strip (Qassam.ps website, November 3, 2012).

Demonstrators burn a picture of Mahmoud Abbas in Jabalia in the Gaza Strip (Qassam.ps website, November 3, 2012).

An anti-Abbas demonstration in the Gaza Strip (Palestine-info website).

An anti-Abbas demonstration in the Gaza Strip (Palestine-info website).

Demonstrators in the village of Qadoum burn the British flag (Facebook page of PALQA, November 2, 2012).

Demonstrators in the village of Qadoum burn the British flag (Facebook page of PALQA, November 2, 2012).

The Bahraini delegation opens the Bahrain School in Tel-al-Hawa, built in collaboration with UNRWA (Safa News Agency, November 1, 2012).

The Bahraini delegation opens the Bahrain School in Tel-al-Hawa, built in collaboration with UNRWA (Safa News Agency, November 1, 2012).

Mahmoud Abbas meets with Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi in Rabat Amman (Wafa News Agency, November 5, 2012).

Mahmoud Abbas meets with Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi in Rabat Amman (Wafa News Agency, November 5, 2012).

Demonstrators trample a picture of Lord Balfour and Mahmoud Abbas on the background of the British and Israeli flags (Hamas forum, November 3, 2012).

Demonstrators trample a picture of Lord Balfour and Mahmoud Abbas on the background of the British and Israeli flags (Hamas forum, November 3, 2012).

Anti-Abbas poster (Hamas forum, November 3, 2012).

Anti-Abbas poster (Hamas forum, November 3, 2012).

Hamas commentary on the ''concessions'' of Mahmoud Abbas (Filastin al-'Aan, November 3, 2012).

Hamas commentary on the ''concessions'' of Mahmoud Abbas (Filastin al-'Aan, November 3, 2012).

Muhammad Kaya (center) holds a press conference at the monument erected by Hamas for the

Muhammad Kaya (center) holds a press conference at the monument erected by Hamas for the "activists" killed aboard the Mavi Marmara (Alresala.net website, November 4, 2012).

The PRC launches its campaign

The PRC launches its campaign

  • Rocket fire from the Gaza Strip continues. This past week two rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory. Three IDF soldiers conducting routine counterterrorism activities near the security fence were wounded in what was apparently an IED attack. A young Jewish man was stabbed in the back by two Palestinians in east Jerusalem.
  • A remark made by Mahmoud Abbas to Israel's Channel 2 TV implying he had relinquished the so-called "right of return" enraged the Palestinians (especially in the Gaza Strip) and the Arab world. He was quick to explain that the "right of return" was "sacred" and anchored in UN General Assembly Resolution 194.
Three IDF Soldiers Injured near the Security Fence
  • On the morning of November 6, during a routine IDF counterterrorism activity conducted near the security fence in the central Gaza Strip, what was apparently an IED exploded. The blast injured three IDF soldiers, one of them seriously, while two sustained minor injuries.
Suspicious Palestinian Shot and Killed at the Security Fence
  • On the evening of November 4 an IDF force identified a suspicious Palestinian approaching the security fence. They called to him to halt and fired shots in the air. However, when he did not comply and continued towards the fence, he was shot and killed (IDF Spokesman, November 5, 2012).
  • The Palestinian media reported the death of Ahmed Tawfiq al-Nabahin, 23, a resident of Juhr al-Dik. The reports claimed he was "mentally disturbed." A picture of the same "mentally disturbed" individual, wearing a body-armor vest and armed with a rifle, was posted on the Hamas forum. The Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights in the Gaza Strip denounced the event and called on international organizations to take action against Israel's so-called "war crimes" against the Palestinians (Ma'an News Agency and Shihab News Agency, November 5, 2012). Hamas posted a notice of al-Nabahin's death on its website and appealed to the residents of the Al-Bureij refugee camp to participate in his funeral. His body was wrapped in the Hamas flag (Alresala.net website and Safa News Agency, November 5, 2012). (Safa News Agency, November 5, 2012)

Left: Al-Nabahin wearing a body-armor vest and armed with a rifle (Hamas forum website, November 5, 2012). Right: The body of Ahmed al-Nabahin, wrapped in a green Hamas flag at the Al-Bureij mosque (Shabakat Al-Wusta TV, Gaza Strip, November 5, 2012).
Left: Al-Nabahin wearing a body-armor vest and armed with a rifle (Hamas forum website, November 5, 2012). Right: The body of Ahmed al-Nabahin, wrapped in a green Hamas flag at the Al-Bureij mosque (Shabakat Al-Wusta TV, Gaza Strip, November 5, 2012).

Rocket Fire Targets Israel
  • This past week two rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory. The rockets fell in open areas; there were no casualties and no damage was reported.

Rockets Fired into Israeli Territory Since the Beginning of 2011[1]

Rockets Fired into Israeli Territory Since the Beginning of 2011

Detention of Iron Merchant Who Transferred Money to Hamas Operatives
  • On September 6, 2012, it was revealed that the Israel Security Agency (ISA), in collaboration with the Israel Police, detained Maher Atia Abu Juba at the Erez crossing. Abu Juba, an iron merchant from the Gaza Strip, was detained on suspicion of using his authorization to import civilian goods to transfer millions of dollars to Hamas. He was also suspected of selling iron to operatives in Hamas' Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, used to build tunnels, military posts and bunkers. On September 30, 2012, he was indicted by a court in Beersheba (ISA website, November 1, 2012).

Some of the imported iron seized by the Israel Security Agency at the southern Israeli port of Ashdod, and destined for the Gaza Strip (ISA website, November 1, 2012).
Some of the imported iron seized by the Israel Security Agency at the southern Israeli port of Ashdod, and destined for the Gaza Strip (ISA website, November 1, 2012).

Young Jewish Man Stabbed at Ras al-Amoud
  • On Friday, November 2, a young Jewish man was stabbed in the back by two Palestinians in the Ras al-Amoud quarter of east Jerusalem. He was seriously wounded and evacuated to a hospital. He and another man were walking in the Old City when they were attacked by two unidentified men who stabbed him in the back and fled. He and his companion continued on foot to the Maale Zeitim neighborhood where they met rescue personnel. Israeli security forces searched the area for the attackers (Ynet, November 2, 2012).
Weapons Discovered
  • An IDF force patrolling in the village of Bayta (east of Nablus) found two Uzi submachine guns (IDF Spokesman, October 31, 2012).

One of the submachine guns (IDF Spokesman, October 31, 2012).
One of the submachine guns (IDF Spokesman, October 31, 2012).

Demonstrations at the Usual Friction Sites
  • This Friday, November 2, the usual demonstrations were used to protest the 95th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration: in the village of Qadoum (near Nablus), the theme of the weekly protest was "Overthrow the Balfour Declaration and overthrow the occupation" (Al-Quds forum, November 2, 2012). Demonstrators burned the British flag (Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda and the Amad website, November 3, 2012). At the demonstration at Um Salmounademonstrators called on the Palestinians to unite around the Palestinian Authority's leadership in its political move in the UN. Demonstrators also called for greater participation in the demonstrations against the security fence and the settlements (Wafa News Agency, November 2, 2012).
  • The PLO's department of culture and information issued a statement for the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. It said that the international community, especially Britain, was politically and morally responsible for the fact that the Palestinian people "continue to struggle under the yoke of the only occupation in the world because of the humanitarian crime committed [by Britain] when it issued the Balfour Declaration in violation of international and humanitarian law." It also said that the time had come for the international community, especially Britain, to make an effort to correct the historical mistake or at least to apologize for the deprivation [it caused] and to provide moral and material support for the Palestinians (Ma'an News Agency, November 2, 2012).
A Bahraini Delegation Visits the Gaza Strip
  • Following the visit of the emir of Qatar, on November 1 an official delegation from Bahrain arrived in the Gaza Strip for a visit of several hours. The delegation was headed by Mustafa al-Sayed, a representative of the Bahrain's Royal Charity Organisation.[2] The delegation launched a number of projects in the Gaza Strip (Safa News Agency, November 1, 2012), including the following:

· The Bahrain School in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City, built in collaboration with UNRWA.

· A technological center for the handicapped at the Islamic University in Gaza City.

· A library in the Al-Fakhari School in the northern Gaza Strip and a medical center in Khan Yunis.

The Palestinian Move in the UN
  • The PA has increased its diplomatic activities to enlist international support for its move to upgrade its status. To that end, senior PA figures have met with foreign diplomats and representatives in an attempt to gain support. On November 5 Mahmoud Abbas met in Rabat Amman with Nabil al-Arabi, Secretary General of the Arab League, to discuss the steps which would be taken in the UN (Wafa News Agency, November 5, 2012). Riyadh al-Maliki, the Palestinian foreign minister, said that November would be the "decisive month" but so far no specific date has been set (PalPress, October 31, 2012).
  • As part of the Palestinian diplomat activity:

· Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee, left for Germany to participate in an international convention dedicated to the future of Middle East peace and to meet with important people, among them the Austrian foreign minister (Wafa News Agency, October 30, 2012).

· Muhammad Ashtiya, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, left for a state visit to the Scandinavian countries to enlist support. He carried three communiqués from Mahmoud Abbas for the heads of the governments of Denmark, Sweden and Finland (Ma'an News Agency, October 31, 2012).

  • Palestinian sources stress that one of the main objectives of raising the status of the Palestinian delegation in the UN is that it will make it possible to attempt legal action against Israel before international bodies. Zaki Abbas, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, said in an interview with Al-Quds Al-Arabi in London that when the status of the PA has been upgraded, an "unprecedented" campaignwill begin in which the Palestinians with bring suit against Israel in UN agencies and various international legal frameworks (Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, November 5, 2012).
Palestinian Rage Following Mahmoud Abbas' Interview on Israel Channel 2 TV
Main Points of the Interview
  • Interviewed by Israel's Channel 2 TV, Mahmoud Abbas implied that he had relinquished the so-called "right of return." Among other things he said that while he had been born in the city of Safed, he did not intend to return there. "For me," he said, "Palestine is a state with the 1967 borders side by side with the State of Israel." He added that he was planning a state which would include Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria with east Jerusalem as its capital. He said, regarding the "armed struggle," that as long as he remained in power he would not allow "a third armed intifada" to take place, and promised to use "only diplomacy and peaceful methods" (Channel 2 News, Israel, November 2, 2012). His remarks enraged the Palestinians, especially the de-facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip.
  • In response to the harsh criticism, Mahmoud Abbas rushed to clarify (or change) his position. Interviewed by the Egyptian TV channel Al-Hayat, he said that the position he expressed on Israeli TV reflected his own personal decision not to return to Safed. However, he emphasized, the so-called "right of return" was a "sacred right" anchored in UN General Assembly Resolution 194 (Al-Hayat TV, Egypt, November 3, 2012).
Main Responses
  • On November 3 anti-Abbas demonstrations were held in three locations in the Gaza Strip: Gaza City, the northern Gaza Strip and Khan Yunis. Demonstrators shouted anti-Abbas slogans and waved signs calling him "the new Balfour" and a "traitor," and claiming that he did not represent the Palestinians. Demonstrators burned pictures of Mahmoud Abbas and Lord Balfour to mark the 95th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration (Ma'an News Agency, Filastin al-'Aan, Safa News Agency, November 3, 2012).

Left: Anti-Abbas poster (Hamas forum, November 3, 2012). Right: Demonstrators trample a picture of Lord Balfour and Mahmoud Abbas on the background of the British and Israeli flags (Hamas forum, November 3, 2012).
Left: Anti-Abbas poster (Hamas forum, November 3, 2012). Right: Demonstrators trample a picture of Lord Balfour and Mahmoud Abbas on the background of the British and Israeli flags (Hamas forum, November 3, 2012).

  • Hamas responses

· Ismail Haniya, head of the de-facto Hamas administration, said that the interview had dangerous implications and harmed the "right of return" not only of Mahmoud Abbas, but of six million Palestinians (Al-Aqsa TV, November 2, 2012).

· Fawzi Barhoum, Hamas spokesman, said that Mahmoud Abbas lived in a state of confusion and was unaware of the reality of the Palestinian people's struggle against Israel. He said that diplomacy without resistance [i.e., terrorism] would not realize "one percent of the Palestinian people's aspirations" (Al-Aqsa TV, November 2, 2012).

· At one of the demonstrations in the Gaza Strip, Salah al-Bardawil, senior Hamas figure, stressed that Hamas would not recognize any agreement signed by Mahmoud Abbasbecause he represented only himself (Palestine-info website, November 3, 2012).

· Yahya Musa, senior Hamas figure, claimed that Mahmoud Abbas had lost his national legitimacy (Palestine-info website, November 3, 2012).

  • Harsh criticism of Mahmoud Abbas' remarks was also heard in Judea and Samaria. On November 3 the Islamic and leftist factions at Beir Zeit University held a protest strike during which they waved signs reading "Israel admitted killing Abu Jihad and Mahmoud Abbas gives up Jerusalem, the land, honor and the blood of the shaheeds" and "Resistance is our only option" (Filastin al-'Aan, November 3, 2012).

Hamas commentary on the ''concessions'' of Mahmoud Abbas (Filastin al-'Aan, November 3, 2012).
Hamas commentary on the "concessions" of Mahmoud Abbas (Filastin al-'Aan, November 3, 2012).

Turkey Institutes Legal Proceedings against Senior Israeli Figures
  • On November 6 a hearing began in a court in Istanbul which will continue for three days. It is part of a trial being held in Turkey of four high-ranking IDF officers for their alleged responsibility, according to the prosecution, for the deaths of nine "activists" aboard the Mavi Marmara. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs called it a show trial with no relation to law or justice and whose only objective was propaganda (Ynet, November 6, 2012).
  • The four officers accused are former Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Former Head of Military Intelligence Aharon Yadlin, Former Commander of the Navy Eliezer Marom, and Air Force Commander Avishai Levi. The Turkish prosecutor is asking for sentences of life imprisonment. The Turks also instigated an investigation of General Tal Russo, accused of planning and carrying out the attack on the Mavi Marmara (IHH website, November 6, 2012). The indictments include charges of "incitement to commit murder through torture" and "incitement to use weapons to cause harm."
  • On November 4 Muhammad Kaya, IHH representative in the Gaza Strip, held a press conference at the Gaza memorial erected by Hamas for the Turkish "activists" who were killed aboard the Mavi Marmara. He formally announced the beginning of the legal proceedings. He also said he hoped the trial would mean the end of the free passage around the world of those involved in the killing of the flotilla activists (The PIJ's PalToday website, November 4, 2012).

Muhammad Kaya (center) holds a press conference at the monument erected by Hamas for the "activists" killed aboard the Mavi Marmara (Alresala.net website, November 4, 2012).
Muhammad Kaya (center) holds a press conference at the monument erected by Hamas for the "activists" killed aboard the Mavi Marmara (Alresala.net website, November 4, 2012).

The Anniversary of the Balfour Declaration
  • The website of the Palestine Return Centre (PRC), an organization participating in the campaign to delegitimize Israel, announced that it was launching a new campaign in Britain called "Britain, It's Time To Apologize." The initiative arose in connection with the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration (December 2), and its objective is to collect a million signatures during the next five years calling on the British government to denounce its "colonial policy" of 1917-1948, especially for giving the Zionist movement the Balfour Declaration. Collecting signatures will be accompanied by propaganda events including conventions, rallies, etc.
  • The PRC is a center for anti-Israeli Palestinian propaganda, established in London in 1996. It is affiliated with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, and some of its senior figures were also Hamas operatives who found asylum in Britain. Its activities center on spreading and instilling the idea of the so-called "right of return" of the Palestinian refugees to the territory of the State of Israel.[3]

The PRC launches its campaign
The PRC launches its campaign

The Ship Gaza Ark
  • According to Palestinian activists from the Gaza Ark initiative, March and April 2013 are possible dates for the Gaza Ark to set sail from the Gaza Strip to Europe. The ship, whose construction began in August 2012, will set sail from the Gaza Strip for Europe with 13 "flotilla activists" from various countries on board. The voyage will be accompanied by an extensive campaign to exert international pressure on Israel not to prevent the ship from sailing (Al-Ayam, November 4, 2012).
Jordan
  • The Jordanian government said in an announcement that its intelligence services had prevented terrorist activity of operatives affiliated with Al-Qaeda. The terrorists had been planning to carry out a number of simultaneous attacks on civilian and government targets, including the American embassy in Amman. They had stockpiled a large quantity of explosives and weapons, acquired from Syria, and they were planning to carry out attacks in Amman in shopping centers and cafés as a diversionary tactic to draw attention away from their main targets, which included government buildings and embassies (Washington Post, October 21, 2012).
  • According to the Jordanian minister of information, the operatives often passed between Jordan and Syria. When taken into custody they were found to possess a large quantity of weapons and maps marked with the sites they planned to attack. Among the targets were two large shopping malls in Amman and sites in Abdoun, an upscale neighborhood in Amman where many foreign embassies are located. A security sources said the suspects had manufactured explosives meant to cause as many casualties as possible (Al-Arabiya in English, October 21, 2012). It was the most formidable Al-Qaeda cell caught since the attack in Amman in November 2005.[4] According to a Jordanian intelligence source, the Jordanian intelligence services had monitored the members of the cell since it was established (BBC, October 21, 2012).

Pictures of the suspects issued by Jordanian News Agency Petra.
Pictures of the suspects issued by Jordanian News Agency Petra.

Egypt
  • The security authorities in the Sinai Peninsula detained five men with weapons in their possession, including hand grenades, RPGs and automatic weapons. An initial interrogation revealed that they were planning to carry out attacks on holiday sites in the southern Sinai Peninsula during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. The police also detained four men who had TNT in their possession. They apparently belonged to one of the cells affiliated with the global jihad and operating in the Sinai Peninsula (Al-Hayat, October 30, 2012).

[1] As of November 5, 2012. The statistics do not include mortar shell fire.

[2] Bahrain's Royal Charity Organisation is headed by Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa, son of the Bahraini ruler.

[4] In November 2005 three simultaneous suicide bombing attacks were carried out in three hotels in Amman. They caused the deaths of 67 civilians and wounded an estimated 200. There were only minutes between the attacks. The organization headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a branch of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, claimed responsibility for the three suicide bombing attacks.

According to the Turkish media (June 2012), IHH head Bülent Yildirim was under investigation for having clandestinely transferred funds to Al-Qaeda.

IHH head Bülent Yildirim at a press conference on his return to Turkey from Israel, where he was detained after the Mavi Marmara flotilla

IHH head Bülent Yildirim at a press conference on his return to Turkey from Israel, where he was detained after the Mavi Marmara flotilla

Bülent Yildirim (right) gives an inflammatory speech to IHH operatives and supporters aboard the Mavi Marmara in preparation for their confrontation with IDF soldiers.

Bülent Yildirim (right) gives an inflammatory speech to IHH operatives and supporters aboard the Mavi Marmara in preparation for their confrontation with IDF soldiers.

The IHH logo

The IHH logo

Bülent Yildirim speaks to a large audience of supporters, March 31, 2010

Bülent Yildirim speaks to a large audience of supporters, March 31, 2010

Information published in the Turkish media about the investigation of the IHH

1. According to items appearing in the Turkish media in the middle of June 2012, the Turkish justice system initiated an investigation of IHH head Bülent Yildirim, suspected of transferring funds to Al-Qaeda. The Turkish newspaper Haberturk, quoted by other media,[1] reported that the investigation was being covertly conducted by the offices of the special prosecutor in Istanbul and Diyarbakir. It added that the investigation focused on the IHH's transfer of funds to Al-Qaeda and on IHH activities in the Middle East (Islamgundem website, June 15, 2012).

2. IHH head Bülent Yildirimdenied his organization had transferred money to Al-Qaeda. He claimed that for years the IHH has operated as a worldwide humanitarian organization. According to Yildirim, it provides assistance to the needy regardless of race, religion or language. He called the media reports "psychological warfare." He his organization was definitely not under investigation and that he hoped the Turkish authorities would "clarify the issue." He added that the media reports about an investigation reflected attempts "to defame, isolate, and take revenge on us" (Islamgundem website, June 16; and the Dogruhaber website, June 18, 2012).

The IHH's double identity

3. The IHH is a radical Islamic Turkish organization whose ideology is anti-American, anti-Western and anti-Israeli. It is an important factor in the international coalition waging the campaign to delegitimize Israel. It had a prominent role in the Mavi Marmara flotilla, which ended with a violent confrontation between Turkish operatives and IDF soldiers. Its central role was manifested by purchasing three ships, the Mavi Marmara among them; in addition, its operatives were at the center of the violent confrontation with the IDF. The IHH also made it possible for the coalition thatsent the flotilla to enjoy Turkish governmental backing.

4. The accusation against the IHH of providing support for Al-Qaeda, including financial aid, is firmly rooted in fact. Reliable information indicated that in the 1990s and early 2000s the IHH had contacts with global jihad networks in the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Balkans, and provided them humanitarian assistance and logistic support (including the recruitment of operatives, the transfer of funds). However, during the Mavi Marmara affair, the Turkish government and the IHH repeatedly denied the organization's jihadist side, emphasizing, for obvious reasons, its humanitarian aspect. Therefore, at this point it is not clear whether or not an investigation of the IHH has actually been initiated, and if it has, for what reason. In our assessment, the information published in the Turkish media may reflect an internal Turkish power struggle also manifested during the Mavi Marmara affair.

5. In any event, publicizing IHH funding of Al-Qaeda alongside Bülent Yildirim's insistence that the organization deals with humanitarian issues clearly reflects the organization's double identity:

1) It is a humanitarian organization, and undertakes a wide variety of humanitarian projects in Turkey and distressed areas of the world, especially among Islamic communities: the IHH sends shipments of food, has a program to help orphans, deals with education, builds mosques and provides other kinds of humanitarian and social aid (including in regions controlled by organizations affiliated with Al-Qaeda, in Somalia, for example). This past year the IHH provided aid to Syrian refugees.

2) It is also a jihadist organization, radical Islamic, anti-American, anti-West and anti-Semitic.In the past the IHH did in fact support Al-Qaeda and global jihad networks, including financially, and was involved in a terrorist attack against the United States (the 2000 Christmas "millennium attack"). During the past few years the IHH has focused its efforts on propping up Hamas and the de-facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip. After the Americans killed Osama bin Laden in a targeted attack the IHH joined the Turkish Islamist organizations denouncing the United States and representing the killing as "illegal."

6. In our assessment, with Turkey's defiant stance regarding Israel and in view of the legal proceedings Turkey has instituted against four senior Israeli figures involved in the Mavi Marmara affair, the Turkish administration and the IHH can be expected to deny the IHH's jihadist, violent side, and continue to represent the IHH's involvement in the Mavi Marmara flotilla as a manifestation of its humanitarian activities (and thus exaggerate its accusations of Israel's so-called "guilt"). Thus even if the Turkish prosecutors do in fact initiate an investigation of the IHH (which has not yet been verified), in all probability the Erdogan administration, for purely political reasons,will step in to end or minimize it.

7. For an analysis of the IHH's double identity and a portrait of its head, Bülent Yildirim, see the Appendix.

[1] The item was quoted by Hürriyet and appeared on the Islamic website Islamgundem.