Tag Archives: Gaza

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (July 26 – August 1, 2017)

Muslims enter the Temple Mount en masse after Israel removed its security installations (Wafa, July 27, 2017).

Muslims enter the Temple Mount en masse after Israel removed its security installations (Wafa, July 27, 2017).

An operative of the PA security forces in Nablus hands out candy (Wafa, July 27, 2017).

An operative of the PA security forces in Nablus hands out candy (Wafa, July 27, 2017).

Palestinians on the Temple Mount after the security installations were removed  (Wafa, July 27, 2017).

Palestinians on the Temple Mount after the security installations were removed (Wafa, July 27, 2017).

Muslims hold the Friday prayer outside the Temple Mount compound, unable to enter because of the age limitation imposed by the Israel Police Force (Wafa, July 28, 2017).

Muslims hold the Friday prayer outside the Temple Mount compound, unable to enter because of the age limitation imposed by the Israel Police Force (Wafa, July 28, 2017).

The Palestinian who was killed east of the al-Bureij refugee camp (Twitter account of QudsN, July 28, 2017).

The Palestinian who was killed east of the al-Bureij refugee camp (Twitter account of QudsN, July 28, 2017).

The march to Jabalia, where a rally was held (Facebook page of al-Shamla Online, July 28, 2017).

The march to Jabalia, where a rally was held (Facebook page of al-Shamla Online, July 28, 2017).

The decision of the European Court of Justice to leave Hamas on the list of terrorist organizations (Felesteen, July 29, 2017).

The decision of the European Court of Justice to leave Hamas on the list of terrorist organizations (Felesteen, July 29, 2017).

Wanted Salafist operatives (clockwise from top left): Nour Issa, Tal'at Abu Jazar, Yusuf Miqdad, Mahmoud Taleb (website of al-Saa' al-Thamina, July 24, 2017).

Wanted Salafist operatives (clockwise from top left): Nour Issa, Tal'at Abu Jazar, Yusuf Miqdad, Mahmoud Taleb (website of al-Saa' al-Thamina, July 24, 2017).

Abd al-Karim Khabel (al-Quds, July 26, 2017).

Abd al-Karim Khabel (al-Quds, July 26, 2017).

Mahmoud Abbas leaves the hospital in Ramallah accompanied by an entourage of senior PA figures (Facebook page of Mahmoud Abbas, July 29, 2017).

Mahmoud Abbas leaves the hospital in Ramallah accompanied by an entourage of senior PA figures (Facebook page of Mahmoud Abbas, July 29, 2017).

  •  After two weeks, the Temple Mount crisis came to an end. It ended after Israel removed the security installations out in place after a shooting attack on the Temple Mount (in which Palestinians shot and killed two Border Policemen). Muslims clerics in Jerusalem reported the status quo ante had been restored and allowed the public to return to pray on the Temple Mount.
  • Before the afternoon prayers on July 27, 2017, a large number of flag-waving Palestinians broke into the Temple Mount compound and clashed with Israeli security forces. About 50 Palestinians were injured.
  • The Palestinians view the removal of the security installations as an important victory over Israel. Nevertheless, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has not restored its ties with Israel, and its senior figures announced that the PA leadership's decision to stop security coordination with Israel remained in force.
  • Riyad al-Maliki, PA foreign minister, reported that Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, had interrupted her vacation to receive a formal Palestinian referral regarding the settlements. Nabil Shaath, a senior PA figure, said the Palestinians were making preparations to join 25 additional international organizations.
Terrorist Attacks and Attempted Terrorists Attacks
  • On July 28, 2017, a Palestinian armed with a knife ran towards IDF soldiers standing near the Hebron Junction and tried to stab them. He was shot and killed. The Palestinian media reported he was Abdallah Ali Mahmoud Taqatqa, 24, from the village of Marah Ma'la, south of Bethlehem. Hamas issued a death notice for him (Twitter account of Shehab, July 28, 2017). According to reports, Taqatqa had been detained by the Israeli security forces in the past for participating in a clash at the northern entrance of Bethlehem (Palinfo Twitter account, July 28, 2017).

Left: Archive picture of Abdallah Taqatqa, detained by the Israel security forces during a clash at the northern entrance to Bethlehem (Palinfo Twitter account, July 28, 2017). Right: Death notice issued by Hamas for (Twitter account of Shehab, July 28, 2017).
Left: Archive picture of Abdallah Taqatqa, detained by the Israel security forces during a clash at the northern entrance to Bethlehem (Palinfo Twitter account, July 28, 2017). Right: Death notice issued by Hamas for (Twitter account of Shehab, July 28, 2017).

End of the Temple Mount Crisis[1]
  • After Israel removed the security installations it had put in place at the entrances to the Temple Mount, Muslim religious authorities in Jerusalem issued a statement accepting Israel's action, calling the public to pray again on the Temple Mount. The PA leadership held a meeting, after which Mahmoud Abbas called for the noon prayer to be held inside the mosque (Palestinian TV, July 27, 2017). The mufti of Jerusalem announced that the situation had returned to the status quo ante and called on Muslims to return to al-Aqsa mosque to pray (Twitter account of al-Arabi al-'Ajel, July 27, 2017).
  • Before the prayers Palestinians protested because Bab al-Hitta, a gate near the Lions' Gate, remained closed. Once it was opened they entered the Temple Mount compound, many of them waving Palestinian flags. When the prayers ended Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces both inside and outside the Temple Mount. About 50 Palestinians were wounded. In the main cities of Judea and Samaria, PA security forces' operatives handed out candy to passersby in celebration (Wafa, July 27, 2017).
  • On July 28, 2017, the Friday prayers were held on the Temple Mount with relative calm. About 5,000 Muslims participated in the prayers. Only Palestinians fifty years and older were permitted to enter the compound. Several thousand Palestinians gathered to protest the age limitations, holding prayers nearby.
  • In Judea and Samaria several hundred Palestinians clashed with the Israeli security forces in various locations, including Bethlehem (the Tomb of Rachel), Hebron and Ramallah. The clashes continued on Saturday, July 29, 2017. Demonstrations were held in the Gaza Strip.
  • Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, the director of al-Aqsa mosque, said the status of the mosque had been restored to that of July 14, 2017. He said during the late afternoon and the evening prayer on Friday, July 28, about 60 thousand Muslims had come to pray. In addition, the sources of religious authority appointed a technical committee to examine the damages, if any, done to the Temple Mount compound (Radio Ajyal, July 29, 2017).
  • Taysir Jaradat, deputy Palestinian foreign minister, sent a check for $100 thousand to the ministry of Muslim endowments and religious affairs in the PA foreign ministry in Ramallah. The money was a gift from the Islamic Solidarity Fund for the renovation of al-Aqsa mosque (Ma'an, July 27, 2017).
  • The Palestinians regarded the removal of the security installations from the Temple Mount as an important victory over Israel:
  • Rami Hamdallah, prime minister of the Palestinian national consensus government, said the firm stance of the Palestinian people, its unity and non-violent resistance proved that Jerusalem would remain their symbol and capital forever. He also said that the Palestinian people would refuse to allow any change in Jerusalem and would not agree to any measures that would replace or influence control of al-Aqsa mosque (Wafa, July 29, 2017).
  • Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas' political bureau, said the struggle of the Palestinian public on the Temple Mount was a "certificate of honor" and that Israel had been defeated when it removed the security installations. He said the events had proved that despite the imbalance of forces, the Palestinian public was capable of realizing its rights (al-Aqsa TV, July 27, 2017).
  • Mahmoud al-Zahar, a member of Hamas' political bureau, said the Palestinian people had won without the use of weapons. He stressed the firm stance of the Palestinian people on the issue of al-Aqsa mosque, an indication of [what would happen in] the next campaign (Majal Press, July 27, 2017).
  • Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of Hamas' political bureau, said that the victory of the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem and their redefining the situation at al-Aqsa mosque had given the [Israeli] occupation a stinging slap in the face (Hamas news website, July 27, 2017).
  • The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) said the victory of al-Aqsa mosque had been won by the patience, sacrifice, firm stance and unity of the Palestinian people. He added that the Palestinian people had to continue that path (Filastin al-Yawm, July 27, 2017).

Two cartoons by Hamas-affiliated Omaya Joha about the victory over the Israeli security forces (Palinfo Twitter account, July 29, 2017).
Two cartoons by Hamas-affiliated Omaya Joha about the victory over the Israeli security forces (Palinfo Twitter account, July 29, 2017).

Hamas cartoon of the victory over the Israeli security forces (Twitter account of al-Risalah, July 27, 2017).
Hamas cartoon of the victory over the Israeli security forces (Twitter account of al-Risalah, July 27, 2017).

Security Coordination with Israel
  • Despite the fact that Israel removed the security installations and prayers were renewed on the Temple Mount, the PA decided not to renew security coordination with Israel. According to Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee, the decision made by the Palestinian leadership during the Temple Mount crisis to stop security coordination with Israel was still in force. He said the Palestinian leadership was examining its relations with Israel (Dunia al-Watan, July 29, 2017). Nabil Shaath, advisor to Mahmoud Abbas for foreign affairs and international relations, said security coordination and political relations with Israel had been stopped and would not be restored until Israel revoked all the measures it had taken (Dunia al-Watan, July 31, 2017).
Riots, Clashes and Popular Terrorism
  • In the meantime, this past week demonstrations, clashes and riots inspired by the events on the Temple Mount continued throughout Judea and Samaria, primarily involving the throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails. The Israeli security forces continued their counterterrorism activities in Judea and Samaria, detaining several dozen Palestinians suspected of terrorist activity. They also seized weapons and objects used in riots. The more prominent occurrences were the following:
  • July 30, 2017 –Border Policemen conducting a security activity at the exit of the city of Yatta (south of Hebron) saw a vehicle enter a dirt road nearby in an attempt to leave the city. The Border Policemen chased the vehicle. The driver tossed away a knife and tried to escape. The driver, 18, from Yatta, was detained for questioning (Israel Police Force spokesman's department, July 30, 2017)
  • July 28, 2017 – Palestinians threw an improvised IED during a clash with Israeli security forces near the a checkpoint in Hebron. There were no casualties.
  • July 28, 2017 – Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli vehicle near the village of Hizma (near Pisgat Ze'ev, Jerusalem). There were no casualties; the vehicle was damaged (Facebook page of Red Alert, July 29, 2017).

Significant Terrorist Attacks in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem since September 2015

The IDF Takes Action against Radio Station in Ramallah
  • IDF forces raided the offices of a radio station in Ramallah (Palmedia News) suspected of broadcasting and disseminating materials inciting terrorism. Media materials and documents were seized. Saeb Erekat, secretary of the PLO's Executive Committee, condemned the raid and the damage done to the company's property. He claimed the objective of the raid had been "to silence the voice of the Palestinian people." He called on the international community, international legal institutions, international media and the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate to take steps immediately to respond to Israel's actions against the Palestinian people (Wafa, July 29, 2017).
Residents of East Jerusalem Indicted for Incitement
  • The Israeli Prosecutor's Office of the Jerusalem district handed down indictments against five residents of east Jerusalem for incitement of terrorism, calling for terrorist attacks and other felonies. Three of them were accused of using their Facebook pages to incite violence after the attack on the Temple Mount on July 14, 2017.
  • One of those indicted, a 19 year-old Palestinian from Anata al-Jadeeda, was accused of posting encouragement on his Facebook page for acts of violence and terrorism against Israeli civilians and the Israeli security forces. He had been using his Facebook page to advocate terrorist attacks since September 2014. He also posted praise for Hamas and its military-terrorist wing. After the attack on the Temple Mount he posted encouragement for violence on his Facebook page. Another one of those indicted, a 21 year-old Palestinian from Abu Tor, was accused of praising the Temple Mount attack and calling for more (Globes, July 31, 2017).
Rocket Fire Attacking Israel
  • This past week no rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory.

Rocket Fire Attacking Israel

Violence at the Border Security Fence
  • On July 28, 2017, riots were held at several locations near the Israel-Gaza Strip border. A spokesman for the Hamas ministry of health in the Gaza Strip said that Abd al-Rahman Abu Hamisa, 16, from the al-Bureij refugee camp, had been killed in a clash with IDF forces, and that two other young Palestinians had been shot in the leg by IDF soldiers. Four other Palestinians were wounded by IDF fire in riots east of Jabalia (alresalah.net and Wafa, July 28, 2017).
The Rafah Crossing
  • The Rafah crossing is undergoing renovations. The Palestinian authority for crossings and borders said the crossing would remain closed until renovations had been completed (Twitter account of 'Ajel from Palestine, July 30, 2017). Hisham 'Adwan, spokesman for the Rafah crossing, said Egypt had been carrying out maintenance and development work for the past four months. He said the work had progressed significantly but the security situation in the Sinai Peninsula was liable to cause delays, and therefore no date for completion had been set. The work being done includes general renovations and enlarging the waiting rooms for those entering and leaving the Gaza Strip (Majal.press, July 30, 2017).
Celebrating the Victory on the Temple Mount and Mutual Fatah-Hamas Accusations
  • Hamas held a march in the Jabalia refugee camp to mark the removal of Israel's security installations on the Temple Mount. Fathi Hamad, a member of Hamas' political bureau, gave a speech when the march ended, stressing that the campaign for Jerusalem had not ended. He also praised the heroism of the residents of Jerusalem and the murabitoun (local citizens defending the Temple Mount) at the gates of al-Aqsa mosque (Hamas movement website, July 28, 2017).
  • The Palestinian media claimed that during the procession Fathi Hamad, a member of Hamas' political bureau, told participants that Fatah had created the Temple Mount crisis to deflect attention from the Gaza Strip and to avoid having to support it. He said Jerusalem was not under siege like the Gaza Strip. He added that that the $25 million budget Mahmoud Abbas had allotted for supporting Jerusalem, and the funds given to the residents of Jerusalem as declared by the PA government, would only worsen the situation and not relieve it. He said that as soon as financial support had been announced the numbers of the murabitoun at the gates of al-Aqsa mosque grew. All they wanted, he said, was to receive money and not to defend al-Aqsa mosque. The Gaza Strip, he said, under siege for more than twenty years, should receive the financial support, and Fatah's calls for reconciliation were nothing more than attempts to deceive (Sahem, July 26, 2017).
  • Tawfiq al-Tirawi, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, strongly attacked the statement made by Fathi Hamad. He compared what Hamad had said to the media line used by the Israeli government (Ma'an, July 27, 2017). Fathi Hamad's office was quick to issue an announcement denying the statement attributed to him by "the mercenaries of the security coordination [with Israel]." According to the announcement, Fathi Hamad had not even attended the procession where he allegedly made the statement. The announcement called it an unsuccessful attempt of the intelligence apparatus in the Muqata'a in Ramallah to draw attention away from the events at al-Aqsa after the failure to repress the "fire of the intifada" (Hamas movement website, July 28, 2017).
Decision to Leave Hamas on the EU List of Terrorist Organizations
  • The EU Supreme Court decided to leave Hamas on the EU list of terrorist organizations. The court said in an announcement that after the issue had been raised again for discussion, the decision had been made not to remove the Hamas movement from the list. Hamas issued a statement criticizing the decision and objecting to it. Muhammad al-Jamassi, a member of Hamas' political bureau, later issued a formal statement to the effect that Hamas would continue fighting political decisions made against the Palestinian people in general and the Hamas movement in particular. He said it was the right of the [Hamas] movement to defend the rights of the Palestinian people in their struggle against Israel. According to the announcement, the Israeli media tried to have the decision passed because Israel has an interest in having Hamas remain on the EU list of terrorist organizations (Palinfo, July 26, 2017).
Announcements of Death of Hamas Military-Terrorist Wing Operatives
  • This past week Hamas' military wing announced the death of three of its operatives:
  • Muhammad Ahmed al-Sharafi, 21, from the northern Gaza Strip, was killed during "preparations and training." Local sources in the Gaza Strip reported that he was killed during naval exercises held by Hamas' naval commando unit (Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades website and Samaa, July 25, 2017).
  • Hani Abdallah Shakshak, 22, from Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, died of cardiac arrest on July 26, 2017 (Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades website, July 26, 2017).
  • Mu'az Omar Abu N'ameh, 22, Rafah, an operative in the nukhba special forces unit, was electrocuted while passing through one of the tunnels (Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades website, July 27 and 30, 2017).
Hamas Action against the Salafists in the Gaza Strip
  • The ISIS media reported that on July 24,2017, Hamas' internal security forces published pictures of four Salafist operatives in the Gaza Strip wanted by Israel for launching rockets into Israeli territory. According to the Hamas announcement, the four were wanted by the internal security forces, following instructions from the military prosecutor, and hiding them was breaking the law. The four were Nour Subhi Issa, from the al-Bureij refugee camp; Tal'at Ibrahim Abu Jazar, from the region of Khan Yunis; Muhammad Uthman Taleb, from the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, who had allegedly previously been wounded in an attempted Israeli targeted killing; and Yusuf Muhammad Miqdad from the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City (Haq, July 24, 2017).
Hamas Summer Camps
  • Hamas marked the end of its "Knights of Palestine" summer camps with a military display in the streets of Gaza City, where signs were held in support of al-Aqsa mosque. After the display a speech was given by Fathi Hamad, a member of Hamas' political bureau, who praised the victory of the murabitoun at the gates of al-Aqsa mosque. He said the victory sent Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu the message that he was not allowed to attack al-Aqsa or to harm it as long as the Palestinian people lived. He said the victory also sent the Arab-Muslim world the message to take down Israel flags, as the Israeli flag had been taken down from al-Aqsa mosque (Hamas movement website, July 27; aljazeera.net, July 28, 2017)

Pictures from Hamas' summer camps (Hamas movement website and the Facebook page of the Hamas summer camp's central committee, July 27, 2017).
Pictures from Hamas' summer camps (Hamas movement website and the Facebook page of the Hamas summer camp's central committee, July 27, 2017).

Life Imprisonment for Hamas Operative in Austria
  • An Austrian court handed down a life sentence to a Hamas operative who had been released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal. The operative was sentenced for plotting to carry out and recruiting others to carry out terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. The operative, 27 years old, whose name was not revealed in Austria, lived in the Gaza Strip. In Austria he had lived in a center for asylum seekers.
  • In the past he had been tried in Israel and sentenced to nine years for involvement in attacks on IDF soldiers. According to the verdict, during 2016 he contacted two residents of Judea and Samaria through the Internet and coordinated with them to recruit other operatives to carry out shooting attacks and throw hand grenades in crowded locations in Jerusalem. The attacks were never carried out (Ynet, July 30, 2017).
  • According to Hamas, the operative was Abd al-Karim Abu Khabel. Muhammad al-Jamassi, head of Hamas' legal department, condemned the verdict of the Austrian court. He said Hamas was following the events from the legal perspective. He also said that Abu Khabel had been convicted by the Austrians on the basis of his postings to the social media (Filastin Online, July 27, 2017). 
Mahmoud Abbas Hospitalized for Tests
  • PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina announced that Mahmoud Abbas had entered al-Istishari Hospital in Ramallah for routine tests. He added that Mahmoud Abbas was expected to leave the hospital after a number of hours (Wafa, July 29, 2017). Jawad 'Awad, Palestinian minister of health, said Mahmoud Abbas had left the hospital after a series of routine tests which, he said, were carried out every six months. He said Mahmoud Abbas was in excellent health (Wafa, July 29, 2017). Nabil Shaath emphasized Mahmoud Abbas had undergone the tests in Ramallah instead of Jordan because he refused to coordinate the trip with the Israeli authorities (Dunia al-Watan, July 31, 2017).
Anti-Israeli International Moves Planned by the PA
  • The events on the Temple Mount led the Palestinians to lodge a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague and ask to join various international organizations. Riyad al-Maliki, the Palestinian foreign minister, said in an interview that Fatou Bensouda, the ICC's chief prosecutor, would interrupt her vacation to receive the Palestinian referral regarding the settlements.[3] He said the Palestinians were waiting for a date to be set for lodging their appeal (Voice of Palestine, July 30, 2017).
  • According to Nabil Shaath, the Palestinians were ready to appeal to the ICC and Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor, had interrupted her vacation to examine the issue. He also said that as part of its international efforts, the PA was making preparations to join 25 additional international organizations (Dunia al-Watan, July 31, 2017).
Pictures from Summer Camps Organized by the PA Security Forces
  • Fatah's summer camps' organizing committee in the Qalandia refugee camp published pictures of the activities of campers from the Qalandia refugee camp. The camp was called "The guardians of al-Aqsa," and it was held by the national security forces in Jericho. The pictures show the campers in uniform, engaging in weapons' training and operation (Facebook page of the Fatah organizing committee in the Qalandia refugee camp, July 31, 2017).

PA national security forces' summer camps in Jericho (Facebook page of the Fatah organizing committee in the Qalandia refugee camp, July 31, 2017).
PA national security forces' summer camps in Jericho (Facebook page of the Fatah organizing committee in the Qalandia refugee camp, July 31, 2017).

[1]For further information about the Temple Mount crisis, see the July 27, 2017 bulletin, "The Crisis on the Temple Mount, Overview, updated to the afternoon of July 27, 2017."
[2]A significant attack is defined by the ITIC as involving shooting, stabbing, a vehicular attack, the use of IEDs, or a combination of the above. Stones and Molotov cocktails thrown by Palestinians are not included.
[3]The statistics do not include mortar shell fire or rockets which misfired and fell inside the Gaza Strip.

The Crisis on the Temple Mount Overview (updated to the afternoon of July 27, 2017)

Notice proclaiming the Palestinian

Notice proclaiming the Palestinian "victory" over Israel following the dismantling of the security installations. The Arabic reads, "The occupation surrendered to the firm stance of the residents of Jerusalem and removes the bridges [the installations for the security cameras]" (Palinfo Twitter account, July 27, 2017).

Dismantling the security camera scaffolding amid a mass celebration of Arabs from east Jerusalem yelling

Dismantling the security camera scaffolding amid a mass celebration of Arabs from east Jerusalem yelling "Allahu akbar" (Facebook page of QudsN, July 27, 2017).

Mass prayer held in front of the Lions' Gate in east Jerusalem on the morning of July 27, 2017 (Facebook page of QudsN, July 27, 2017).

Mass prayer held in front of the Lions' Gate in east Jerusalem on the morning of July 27, 2017 (Facebook page of QudsN, July 27, 2017).

Overview of Current Situation

1.   On the night of July 26, 2017, Israel dismantled the scaffolding for "smart" security cameras at the entrances to the Temple Mount, meant to be set up at a later date. A "senior source" in the Israel Police Force reported that by doing so the [security] situation had returned to status quo ante before the shooting attack, that is, the absence of any effective check at any of the gates through which Muslims enter the Temple Mount compound (Ynet and Haaretz, July 27, 2017). The scaffolding was dismantled after the removal of the metal detectors (July 25, 2017), which had been installed at the entrances to the Temple Mount compound, following a decision of the Israeli Political-Security Cabinet.

2.   The removal of the installation heightened the sensation of "victory" over Israel felt by various Palestinian agencies involved in the Temple Mount crisis. In Palestinian perspective, it was not only a victory of removing security measures and preserving the status quo. It was a victory to increase Palestinian sovereignty and influence on the Temple Mount and in Jerusalem. After the security cameras were removed, thousands of shouting Palestinians took to the streets of east Jerusalem to celebrate. However, on the morning of July 27, 2017, a mass morning prayer was nevertheless held outside the Temple Mount compound, waiting for a later decision from the Muslim religious leadership.

 

Cartoon of the "victory" over the security cameras: "Victory is better than sleep" (Hamas-affiliated Palinfo Twitter account, July 27, 2017).
Cartoon of the "victory" over the security cameras: "Victory is better than sleep" (Hamas-affiliated Palinfo Twitter account, July 27, 2017).

On the morning of July 27, 2017, senior Muslim clerics held a press conference in east Jerusalem. They called on the Palestinian public to go to al-Aqsa mosque the following day (July 28, 2017) for the Friday prayers. They also called on the Palestinian public to gather in front of the gates to the Temple Mount compound before the prayer in the late afternoon, and to enter al-Aqsa mosque shouting of "Allahu akbar" (Facebook page of QudsN, July 27, 2017). However, there may still be last minute obstacles on the path to the renewed entrance of Muslims to the Temple Mount.[1]

 

On the morning of July 27, 2017, senior Muslim clerics hold a press conference in east Jerusalem announcing the renewal of prayers on the Temple Mount. Sitting at the table are Sheikh Ikrima Sabri (center, wearing glasses), who delivers the sermons in al-Aqsa mosque and who has a long history of harsh anti-Israel incitement; to the right (black beard) is Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, waqf-appointed director of al-Aqsa mosque with ties to Jordan; to the left is Sheikh Abdel-Azeem Salhub, director-general of the Islamic waqf, in effect Jordan's senior representative on Temple Mount compound. Missing from the picture is Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the Mufti of Jerusalem and the PA, who at the time was in a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah to update him on developments (Facebook page of QudsN, July 27, 2017).
On the morning of July 27, 2017, senior Muslim clerics hold a press conference in east Jerusalem announcing the renewal of prayers on the Temple Mount. Sitting at the table are Sheikh Ikrima Sabri (center, wearing glasses), who delivers the sermons in al-Aqsa mosque and who has a long history of harsh anti-Israel incitement; to the right (black beard) is Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, waqf-appointed director of al-Aqsa mosque with ties to Jordan; to the left is Sheikh Abdel-Azeem Salhub, director-general of the Islamic waqf, in effect Jordan's senior representative on Temple Mount compound. Missing from the picture is Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the Mufti of Jerusalem and the PA, who at the time was in a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah to update him on developments (Facebook page of QudsN, July 27, 2017).

The Palestinian Authority (PA) Supports the Decision of the Muslim Clerics

The PA joined religious leaders in authorizing prayer in al-Aqsa mosque. The Palestinian News Agency reported that Mahmoud Abbas, after having met in his office in Ramallah with the Palestinian leadership, decided to allow the noon prayer to be held inside al-Aqsa mosque, after an examination had shown the situation in the Temple Mount compound had returned to the status quo ante.

 

3.   Mahmoud Abbas held a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in his office in Ramallah, also attended by Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the Mufti of Jerusalem and the PA, who updated them on the situation of the Temple Mount compound. He told them that after waqf guards had examined the area, they found that Israel had in fact dismantled all security measures installed after July 14, 2017. Mahmoud Abbas praised the firm stance of the residents of Jerusalem against Israel. He added that the PA government's decisions regarding Jerusalem would be implemented (Wafa, July 27, 2017).

Left: The Palestinian leadership applauds Sheikh Muhammad Hussein. Right: Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, Mufti of Jerusalem and the PA updates Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership at a meeting in Ramallah (Facebook page of Mahmoud Abbas, July 27, 2017).
Left: The Palestinian leadership applauds Sheikh Muhammad Hussein. Right: Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, Mufti of Jerusalem and the PA updates Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership at a meeting in Ramallah (Facebook page of Mahmoud Abbas, July 27, 2017).

4.   The initial reactions of the PA were the following:

a.   Yusuf al-Mahmoud, spokesman for the Palestinian government, said the moment of entering the al-Aqsa compound was "a great, historic moment" in preparation for the liberation, and heralding the approaching removal of the [Israeli] occupation. He said the campaign for al-Aqsa mosque was a campaign for sovereignty in Jerusalem. He called on the Palestinians to close ranks to bring the Palestinian struggle to a [successful] end (Ma'an, July 27, 2017).

b.   The Palestinian foreign ministry in Ramallahissued an announcement praising the Palestinian people and residents of Jerusalem for forcing Israel to remove the security measures recently installed on the Temple Mount compound. The announcement called on the Palestinian public to perpetuate the achievement and build on it in the future (Facebook page of Wafa, July 27, 2017).

Other Reactions

5.   Other reactions to recent developments were the following:

a.   Fatah spokesman Usama al-Qawasmehcongratulated the Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership headed by Mahmoud Abbas for their achievements in Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque. He said the merging of people at the official and popular level had played a role in the victory of the campaign for al-Aqsa mosque. The campaign had not yet ended, he said, and the great, real victory would be pushing the [Israeli] "occupation" out of the Palestinians' lands and holy places, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state (Fateh Media, July 27, 2017).

b.   Nasr al-Qudwa, a member of Fatah's Executive Committee, congratulated the Palestinian people on their achievement, and said it deserved to be celebrated (Fateh Media, July 27, 2017).

c.   Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas' political bureau, said the Palestinian people and the residents of Jerusalem had proved their loyalty to al-Aqsa mosque and the Muslim and Christian holy places. The events, he said, showed that the Palestinian people could achieve their rights in Jerusalem(Facebook page of QudsN, July 27, 2017).

"#Jerusalem was victorious" (Facebook page of QudsN, July 27, 2017).
"#Jerusalem was victorious" (Facebook page of QudsN, July 27, 2017).

What Next?

The return of Muslims to pray on the Temple Mount may signal the end of the current phase of the Temple Mount crisis. However, in ITIC assessment, the way the crisis ended can be very problematic for Israel and may lead to further crises. That is because of the Palestinian sensation of "victory" and the perception that Israel folded under popular pressure (accompanied by terrorist attacks inspired by the crisis, the worst of which was the triple murder in Halamish). That may encourage different agencies which participated or meddled in the Temple Mount crisis to create difficulties and obstacles preventing the return to routine daily life. Such agencies include the Palestinian street in east Jerusalem, the PA and Hamas, all of which may try to create new crises around the Temple Mount and use them to promote their own interests.

 

6.   In ITIC assessment, such efforts may take the following forms:

a.   Terrorist attacks: the crisis caused by the shooting attack from the Temple Mount is liable to encourage copycat attacks(attacks on the Temple Mount similar to the one carried out by the Israeli Arabs from Umm al-Fahm, or other types of attacks). The lack of an effective security solution for entrance to the Temple Mount compound is also liable to encourage various types of copycats. Hamas and other agents of incitement, which regard the Temple Mount as a tool for leveraging their own interests, can be expected to continue inciting terrorist attacks to "protect" the Temple Mount and al-Aqsa mosque and the Temple Mount from Israel.

b.   The political level:Mahmoud Abbas, the PA and Fatah will try to exploit the success of the campaign to exert pressure on Israel. That will be done through activity on the ground(the "popular resistance") and in the international arena(see below). At this stage it is unclear if Mahmoud Abbas will restore collaboration with Israel to the status quo before the crisis, even after the crisis is ended.

c.   The popular level:Muslim clerics on the Temple Mount and the residents of Jerusalem may choose new political targetsafter the removal of security measures from the entrance to the Temple Mount. Their targets may go beyond tying Israel's hands on the Temple Mount. They may try to mobilize east Jerusalem residents to hold extensive protests (accompanied by mass prayers) over other ongoing issues in the conflict with Israel, especially sovereignty over east Jerusalem.

7.   Friday, July 28, 2017is a possible date for a mass protest. Fatah called for a "day of rage" on July 28 before the recent developments, but so far no formal announcement has canceled or updated it. Hamas announced, also before the recent developments, a "day of rage" for the sake of al-Aqsa mosque, and can be expected to hold it.

[1]According to the Palestinian media, Bab al-Hitta (the Gate of Remission), one of the gates to the Temple Mount, was not opened by the Israeli police. For that reason Muslims refuse to enter the Temple Mount compound, claiming they will continue to pray in the open space in front of the gates.

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (July 25 – 29, 2017)

The aftermath of the stabbing attack in the community of Halamish northwest of Ramallah, where three members of a family were murdered by a Palestinian in retaliation for

The aftermath of the stabbing attack in the community of Halamish northwest of Ramallah, where three members of a family were murdered by a Palestinian in retaliation for "the desecration of al-Aqsa mosque" (Twitter account of alresala.net, July 21; al-Fajr channel, July 22, 2017).

The aftermath of the stabbing attack in the community of Halamish northwest of Ramallah, where three members of a family were murdered by a Palestinian in retaliation for

The aftermath of the stabbing attack in the community of Halamish northwest of Ramallah, where three members of a family were murdered by a Palestinian in retaliation for "the desecration of al-Aqsa mosque" (Twitter account of alresala.net, July 21; al-Fajr channel, July 22, 2017).

Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, Sheikh Omar al-Keswani, director of al-Aqsa mosque, and Hatem Abd al-Qadr,  senior Fatah figure in east Jerusalem, hold a protest prayer at one of the Temple Mount gates (Palinfo Twitter account, July 19, 2017).

Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, Sheikh Omar al-Keswani, director of al-Aqsa mosque, and Hatem Abd al-Qadr, senior Fatah figure in east Jerusalem, hold a protest prayer at one of the Temple Mount gates (Palinfo Twitter account, July 19, 2017).

Even after the Israeli cabinet decided to remove the metal detectors from the Temple Mount Muslim protests continued: morning prayers in an open space near the Lions Gate in the Old City of east Jerusalem (Palinfo Twitter account, July 25, 2017).

Even after the Israeli cabinet decided to remove the metal detectors from the Temple Mount Muslim protests continued: morning prayers in an open space near the Lions Gate in the Old City of east Jerusalem (Palinfo Twitter account, July 25, 2017).

New rockets displayed by Hamas' military wing in the eastern part of Gaza City. The rocket at the left bears the inscription,

New rockets displayed by Hamas' military wing in the eastern part of Gaza City. The rocket at the left bears the inscription, "Oh Jerusalem, we are coming" (Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades website and Twitter account, July 21, 2017).

  •  The shooting attack carried out by three Israeli Arabs, in which two Border Policemen were killed, turned into a crisis on the Temple Mount, threatening to spin out of control. The Palestinian religious and political leadership represented the installation of metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount as a unilateral Israeli change in the status quo. Following the call of the religious leadership, Muslim worshippers avoided the Temple Mount, deepening the crisis.
  • The events inspired several Palestinians to carry out terrorist attacks as a response to the so-called "desecration" of al-Aqsa mosque. The most serious attack was the murder of three members of a family by a terrorist who entered the community of Halamish (northwest of Ramallah). He wrote on his Facebook page that he was going to die for the sake of al-Aqsa mosque. There were also demonstrations, some of them turning into riots, at many locations in east Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Mahmoud Abbas announced he was stopping security coordination with Israel.
  • In Amman, the capital of Jordan, a young Jordanian from a family originally from Hebron stabbed an Israeli security guard (possibly inspired by the events on the Temple Mount). The guard shot and killed him, accidentally killing another Jordanian who happened to be there at the time. That created another crisis; when it ended the Jordanians allowed the embassy staff, including the security guard, to return to Israel.
  • On July 24, 2017, Israel's political cabinet decided to install an alternative technological system on the Temple Mount, making it possible to remove the metal detectors. However, the Jerusalem waqf still does not allow worshippers to enter the Temple Mount compound. In the meantime, appeals are heard to continue praying outside the Temple Mount. Palestinians used the social media to call on Muslims to reject alternative security measures. Hamas also advocates preventing any alternative 
  • On the evening of Friday, July 21, 2017, a Palestinian terrorist entered the community of Halamish (northwest of Ramallah) by climbing over the fence around it. He entered one of the houses on the outskirts and stabbed three family members to death: the father, his son and his daughter, who were at dinner. His wife was wounded. His daughter-in-law and her five children were saved by the mother, who locked them in another room and called the police. A neighbor, a soldier on leave from the army, shot at the terrorist through a window. The terrorist was wounded and detained by Israeli security forces.
  • Israeli security forces raided the terrorist's house in the village of Kobar, near Halamish. They imposed a closure on the village and detained Palestinians. The Israeli defense minister ordered the razing of the terrorist's house. Several dozen Palestinians clashed with the Israeli security forces at the entrance to the village. In the meantime, Israeli forces were increased in Judea and Samaria and detentions were carried out in other locations.
  • The Palestinian media reported that the terrorist who stabbed the three Israelis to death was Omar Abd al-Jalil al-Abd, 20, from the village of Kobar. He was studying business administration at the al-Quds Open University, where he was active in the Hamas student faction. He worked in a quarry. He had been detained a number of times in the past by the Palestinian security forces. The last time was in April 2017 after information had been received that he was planning to carry out a terrorist attack. He was released after his intentions could not be proved (QudsN, July 22, 2017).
  • During the initial interrogation he said he had decided to carry out an attack because of the recent events on the Temple Mount. He walked the 2.5 kilometers (about a mile and a half) from his house to Halamish. While he was walking, less than two hours before the attack, he posted his "will" on his Facebook page. He wrote, "They desecrate al-Aqsa mosque and we sleep." He wrote that he was going to die for the sake of al-Aqsa, he was going to paradise and he was eager to meet Allah (Twitter account of alresala.net, July 22, 2017)

Left: Hamas announcement praising Hamas movement member Omar Abd al-Jalil al-Abd from the village of Kobar, who stabbed three Israelis to death in Halamish (Palinfo Twitter account, July 21, 2017). Right: The "will" the terrorist posted on his Facebook page (Twitter account of alresala.net, July 22, 2017).
Left: Hamas announcement praising Hamas movement member Omar Abd al-Jalil al-Abd from the village of Kobar, who stabbed three Israelis to death in Halamish (Palinfo Twitter account, July 21, 2017). Right: The "will" the terrorist posted on his Facebook page (Twitter account of alresala.net, July 22, 2017).

  • Hamas praised the stabbing attack. In the northern Gaza Strip Hamas operatives held a demonstration to celebrate the murders. It was attended by Fathi Hamad, a member of Hamas' political bureau. He gave a speech in which he called on the young people of Judea and Samaria to follow in the footsteps of the Palestinian who carried out the attack in Halamish (Hamas website, July 22, 2017). Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum praised the attack which he called the result of "Israel's crimes" in Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque. He said the attack showed that Jerusalem and al-Aqsa were the Palestinians' top priority (Hamas website, July 22, 2017). Hamas' military wing praised the attack, claiming it was a "natural response" to the events in Jerusalem (Twitter account of Khabar 'Ajel, July 21, 2017).

Hamas notices after the terrorist attack. Left: The Arabic reads, "Who [owns] Jerusalem today?" Right: Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu pays the price for his determination to install metal detectors in the Temple Mount compound (Palinfo, July 22, 2017).
Hamas notices after the terrorist attack. Left: The Arabic reads, "Who [owns] Jerusalem today?" Right: Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu pays the price for his determination to install metal detectors in the Temple Mount compound (Palinfo, July 22, 2017).

Israeli Security Guard Attacked in Jordan
  • A Jordanian went to the house of one of the members of the staff of the Israeli embassy in Jerusalem to exchange furniture. An Israeli security guard was stationed at the house. The Jordanian crept up behind him and stabbed him with a screwdriver. The security guard shot and killed his attacker. The Jordanian owner of the house, who was there at the time, was wounded by a stray bullet and later died. The security guard sustained minor wounds. In the opinion of the Israeli foreign ministry, the attack was inspired by the events on the Temple Mount.
  • According to the Jordanian press, the man who stabbed the security guard was Muhammad Zakaria al-Jawawdeh, 17, a Palestinian who lived in Jordan and whose family originated in the Hebron region. He worked as a carpenter and went to the apartment [of the Israeli embassy staff member] to assemble a piece of furniture. The other Jordanian killed was Bashar al-Hamarneh, a doctor who owned the apartment.
  • Immediately after the attack the wounded security guard went to the embassy and reported it. The Jordanians wanted to question him despite his diplomatic immunity. They refused to allow the Israeli security personnel to leave Jordan before an investigation had been held into the circumstances surrounding the death of two Jordanian civilians. The Israeli diplomats and security personnel were was confined to the embassy for more than 24 hours.
  • Israel tried to resolve the crisis through contacts with the Jordanian authorities. An Israeli cabinet meeting voted to send the head of the Israel Security Agency to Jordan. He met with the head of Jordanian General Intelligence and negotiated with him. They reached an agreement whereby the security guard would give a statement to the Jordanian police which would include a description of the event.
Other Terrorist Attacks
  • On July 20, 2017, a Palestinian attempted a stabbing attack in Tekoa. (south of Bethlehem) targeting Israel soldiers at a check post. There were no casualties. The soldiers shot and killed the terrorist. The Palestinian media reported he was Muhammad Hussein Ahmed Tanuh, 26, from the village of Teqo'a. Fatah in Teqo'a issued a death notice for him and erected a mourning tent (Facebook page of Teqo'a al-'Aan, July 20, 2017). Senior Fatah figure Sultan Abu al-'Einein, a member of Fatah's Central Council and advisor to Mahmoud Abbas, went to Teqo'a to pay a condolence call on the terrorist's family (Ma'an, July 24, 2017). Note: The condolence visit was an expression of Palestinian Authority (PA) support for popular terrorism, familiar from previous terrorist attacks.

Left: Senior Fatah figure Sultan Abu al-'Einein, who went to Teqo'a to pay a condolence call on the terrorist's family (Ma'an, July 24, 2017). Right: Muhammad al-Tanuh (Facebook page of the Teqo'a municipality, July 20, 2017).
Left: Senior Fatah figure Sultan Abu al-'Einein, who went to Teqo'a to pay a condolence call on the terrorist's family (Ma'an, July 24, 2017). Right: Muhammad al-Tanuh (Facebook page of the Teqo'a municipality, July 20, 2017).

  • On July 24, 2017, a Palestinian stabbed a man near the central bus station in Petah Tikva (central Israel). The man was an Israeli Arab from the town of 'Ar'ara (central Israel), and was seriously wounded. The Palestinian who stabbed him, 21, from Qalqilya, who was in Israel illegally, was detained and taken for questioning. He said he had carried out the attack for the sake of al-Aqsa mosque. According to the Israel Security Agency, between 2015 and 2016 the Palestinian had been in jail in Israel for involvement in popular terrorism.
Metal-Detector Crisis on the Temple Mount
  • Metal detectors were installed at the entrance to the Temple Mount after a terrorist attack carried out from the Temple Mount compound killed two Border Policemen. The Palestinians and Muslims regarded their installation as a unilateral change in the status quo carried out by Israel. It led to a wave of rage and protests from Palestinian religious and political leaders, and from the Palestinian street as well. There were many protests posted on the social networks, where users stressed the importance of "a firm stance" in combatting the metal detectors. Some of the posts called for terrorist attacks against Israel.
  • Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the Mufti of the PA and Jerusalem, issued instructions forbidding Muslims to pass through the metal detectors to enter the mosque, saying anyone who did would be considered to have committed a sin. He called for prayers to be held in front of the gates leading to the entrance to the Temple Mount compound. His call had positive results, motivating a large crowd to gather in front of the metal detectors but not enter the Temple Mount compound. Mass prayers were held near the entrance of the Temple Mount. Others Muslims went to the outskirts of the Old City and prayed there (Dar al-Ifta' website, July 23, 2017). Not entering the Temple Mount compound exacerbated the general unrest.
  • Protest demonstrations were held at many sites in Jerusalem (the Lions Gate, Issawiya, A-Tor, as well as the Qalqilya checkpoint), Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Several hundred protestors participated at each location, clashing with Israeli security forces. There were reports of several Palestinians killed and several hundred wounded. Several dozen demonstrators were detained. Several Israeli security force operatives were also injured. In ITIC assessment, the extent of the demonstrations was greater than those held during the recent years of popular terrorism. The demonstrations illustrated the great sensitivity of the Palestinian street towards what was perceived as an slight to al-Aqsa mosque.
Mahmoud Abbas Announces Stopping Security Coordination with Israel
  • Given the crisis on the Temple Mount, Mahmoud Abbas announced he was "freezing" all levels of coordination between the PA and Israel. The freeze would remain in place until the metal detectors were uninstalled and Israel committed itself to preserving the historic and legal status of al-Aqsa mosque. He also spoke with Jared Kushner, Donald Trump's advisor for Middle Eastern affairs. Mahmoud Abbas asked that the American president intervene urgently and make Israel retract its decision and remove the metal detectors. He said the situation was dangerous and if Israel did not remove them, events were liable to spin out of control (Wafa, July 21, 2017).
  • Two days later Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian leadership would never permit metal detectors to be installed at the entrance to al-Aqsa mosque. That was because sovereignty over the mosque belonged to the Palestinians, and they were responsible for overseeing it. He also said that the decision reached by the Palestinian government about stopping all levels of coordination with Israel, including security coordination, had not been an easy one. He said if Israel wanted security coordination, it would have to reverse its decision regarding the metal detectors (Wafa, July 23, 2017). In the meantime, the Palestinian security forces were reportedly ordered to cut off contacts with Israel at all levels, including meetings and telephone conversations (Twitter account of Khabar 'Ajel, July 23, 2017). So far it is unclear how the order is being put into practice[1].
Israel Announces Removal of Metal Detectors – Initial Reactions to Announcement
  • On July 24, 2017, the Israeli security cabinet decided to install an alternative technological system suggested by the Israel Police Force which would replace the metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount. The suggestion was reportedly to install eight systems of facial recognition cameras connected to a command center. The metal detectors and cameras currently installed on the Temple Mount were removed. Until the new system is installed there will be an increased deployment of police to ensure the safety of visitors to the Temple Mount.
  • In response, the waqf in Jerusalem announced that Muslims were not to enter the Temple Mount compound until the situation had been evaluated once Israel had finished removing the system. Palestinians on the social networks claimed they would not agree to any form of monitoring or security measures, and they demanded a return to the status quo ante. In the meantime, calls continue for Palestinians to continue praying outside the Temple Mount compound. Palestinian activists launched hashtags rejecting all alternative forms of security measures, including cameras (Facebook page of QudsN, July 25, 2017).
  • Hamas issued a call to prevent Israel from carrying out any program or attempt to enforce a new situation on al-Aqsa mosque and its gates, and to continue the campaign of rage against the installation of "smart cameras" or other security measures (Facebook page of QudsN, July 25, 2017). Fatah also issued a statement rejecting any change in al-Aqsa's status quo, including alternative solutions (official Facebook page of Fatah, July 25, 2017).

Left: Palestinian hashtag rejects the installation of alternative security measures (Facebook page of QudsN, July 25, 2017). Right: Notice posted to the official Fatah Facebook page: "And Jerusalem was victorious" (Facebook page of Fatah, July 25, 2017).
Left: Palestinian hashtag rejects the installation of alternative security measures (Facebook page of QudsN, July 25, 2017). Right: Notice posted to the official Fatah Facebook page: "And Jerusalem was victorious" (Facebook page of Fatah, July 25, 2017).

Other Riots, Clashes and Popular Terrorism
  • In the meantime, in addition to the riots throughout Judea and Samaria because of events on the Temple Mount, Palestinians continued throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. The Israeli security forces continued their counterterrorism activities throughout Judea and Samaria, detaining several dozen Palestinians suspected of terrorist activity and seizing weapons and objects used in riots. The more prominent occurrences were the following:
  • July 24, 2017 – Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli vehicle near the Beit Hagai Junction (southern Mt. Hebron). There were no casualties. One of the vehicle's windows was shattered (Facebook page of Red Alert, July 24, 2017).
  • July 23, 2017 – During an operational activity near Jerusalem, Border Policemen saw a vehicle parked at the side of the road. Examining it they found two young men from east Jerusalem and boxes of the kind of fireworks used as weapons in riots (Facebook page of Red Alert, July 23, 2017).
  • July 23, 2017 – A resident of the Arab village of al-E'izariya (near Ma'aleh Adumim) was killed after having been wounded by an IED he was trying to throw at Israeli security forces (Facebook page of Red Alert, July 23, 2017).
  • July 22, 2017 – A young Palestinian from Hebron went to a roadblock near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. He aroused the suspicions of the Border Policemen stationed at the roadblock. While they were searching him a knife fell out of his clothing; he was detained and taken for questioning. During initial interrogation he claimed he had taken the knife to see if he could pass the security check without its being discovered (Facebook page of Red Alert, July 22, 2017).
  • July 22, 2017 – Palestinians fired shots at a synagogue in the community of Avnei Hefetz in Samaria. A search of the area revealed a shell casing. There were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, July 22, 2017).
  • July 20, 2017 –The Israeli security forces detained a 25 year-old Palestinian woman from the Israeli Arab village of Kafr Qassem (central Israel) who had recently moved to east Jerusalem. She was planning to carry out a terrorist attack in the Jerusalem region (Facebook page of Red Alert, July 20, 2017).

Significant Terrorist Attacks in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem since September 2015

Rocket Fire Attacking Israel
  • This past week two rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory. Another rocket was launched but fell inside the Gaza Strip:
  • On the night of July 23, 2017, a rocket hit was identified in an open area in the western Negev. There were no casualties and no damage was reported. In response Israeli Air Force aircraft attacked Hamas posts in the southern Gaza Strip.
  • On July 23, 2017, a rocket hit was identified in an open area in the western Negev  . There were no casualties and no damage was reported.
  • On July 21, 2017, a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory. The Palestinian media reported it fell on a house in the Gaza Strip (Twitter account of Ghaza al-'Aan, July 21, 2017).

Rocket Fire Attacking Israel

Violence at the Gaza Border Security Fence
  • Palestinians rioted along the Gaza Strip border with Israel in solidarity with al-Aqsa mosque. Marches were also held throughout the Gaza Strip. The riots were held at the usual friction points, among them eastern Jabalia, the eastern part of Gaza City, east of the al-Bureij refugee camp and east of Khan Yunis. The Palestinian media reported two Palestinians had been wounded by IDF fire east of the al-Bureij refugee camp and that about 30 Palestinians were suffering from tear gas inhalation (Shehab and the Facebook page of the spokesman for the ministry of health in the Gaza Strip, July 27, 2017)
The Humanitarian Crisis
  • Khalil Shaqfa, head of the Gaza Strip Petroleum Committee, said that 400,000 liters (a little less than 106,000 gallons) of fuel had arrived from Egypt and had been delivered to the local market for sale to residents. He said preparations were being made to import 700,000 liters (about 185,000 gallons) of fuel from Egypt for the power plant (Filastin al-Yawm, July 20, 2017).
Military Display of Hamas' Military-Terrorist Wing
  • The al-Sajaiya Battalion of Hamas' military wing held a military display in the Sajaiya neighborhood in the eastern part of Gaza City to mark the third anniversary of Operation Protective Edge. The display was exploited to express solidarity and support al-Aqsa. The Palestinian and military wing's media highlighted the exposure and first showing of a new rocket.
  • At the end of the display Khalil al-Haya, a member of Hamas' political bureau, made a speech in which he said the rocket power of the military wing would amaze Israel. He said, "There are rockets whose power, capabilities and range the occupation is familiar with, and there are those [the Izz al-Din] Qassam [Brigades] has concealed for the next rounds (Twitter account of Hamas' military-terrorist wing and the Facebook page of al-Sajaiya's media network, July 21, 2017) 
Palestinian Cartoons about the Events on the Temple Mount
  • The events on the Temple Mount inspired Palestinian cartoonists, who called on Palestinians to disobey Israel security measures and carry out terrorist attacks. For example:

Left: Hamas cartoon calling for Palestinians to break the metal detectors: "No metal detectors" (Palinfo Twitter account, July 20, 2017). Right: Notice published in al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, the PA's official organ, calling for Palestinians to damage the metal detectors in the Temple Mount compound. The metal detector spells "Jerusalem is for us" (al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, July 24, 2017).
Left: Hamas cartoon calling for Palestinians to break the metal detectors: "No metal detectors" (Palinfo Twitter account, July 20, 2017). Right: Notice published in al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, the PA's official organ, calling for Palestinians to damage the metal detectors in the Temple Mount compound. The metal detector spells "Jerusalem is for us" (al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, July 24, 2017).

Left: Cartoon by Ismail al-Bazam from the Gaza Strip, calling for Palestinians to attack IDF soldiers: "Show your rage" (Facebook page of Ismail al-Bazam, July 22, 2017) Right: Cartoon by Hamas-affiliated Omaya Joha inciting Palestinians to carry out suicide bombing attacks for the sake of al-Aqsa mosque: "With our souls and blood we will redeem you, oh al-Aqsa..."  (Facebook page of al-Risalah, July 20, 2017).
Left: Cartoon by Ismail al-Bazam from the Gaza Strip, calling for Palestinians to attack IDF soldiers: "Show your rage" (Facebook page of Ismail al-Bazam, July 22, 2017) Right: Cartoon by Hamas-affiliated Omaya Joha inciting Palestinians to carry out suicide bombing attacks for the sake of al-Aqsa mosque: "With our souls and blood we will redeem you, oh al-Aqsa..."  (Facebook page of al-Risalah, July 20, 2017).

Left: Cartoon in the Palestinian daily paper al-Quds shows Israel [the IDF helmet] "enforcing" measures on the Dome of the Rock (al-Quds, July 22, 2017). Right: Cartoon by Hamas-affiliated Omaya Joha encouraging Palestinians to disobey security measures in the Temple Mount compound: "The Palestinians taunt the steps taken by the occupation in al-Aqsa," "[It is] our al-Aqsa [mosque], not your Temple" (Palinfo Twitter account, July 19, 2017).
Left: Cartoon in the Palestinian daily paper al-Quds shows Israel [the IDF helmet] "enforcing" measures on the Dome of the Rock (al-Quds, July 22, 2017). Right: Cartoon by Hamas-affiliated Omaya Joha encouraging Palestinians to disobey security measures in the Temple Mount compound: "The Palestinians taunt the steps taken by the occupation in al-Aqsa," "[It is] our al-Aqsa [mosque], not your Temple" (Palinfo Twitter account, July 19, 2017).

[1]Mahmoud Abbas was criticized for his statement. The Palestinian press quoted a leaked document with the information that Mahmoud Abbas' statement did not include freezing security coordination, such as the coordination at the crossings, which will continue as usual (Majal Press, July 21, 2017). Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said freezing contacts was meaningless if the sanctions on the Gaza Strip were not lifted, security coordination were not stopped and the resistance [i.e., the terrorist organizations] were not given a free hand to "struggle" against Israel (Twitter account of Sami Abu Zuhri, July 21, 2017).
[2]A significant attack is defined by the ITIC as involving shooting, stabbing, a vehicular attack, the use of IEDs, or a combination of the above. Stones and Molotov cocktails thrown by Palestinians are not included.
[3]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 (July 12 – 16, 2017)

The scene of the shooting attack on the Temple Mount where two Border Policemen were killed (YouTube, July 14, 2017).

The scene of the shooting attack on the Temple Mount where two Border Policemen were killed (YouTube, July 14, 2017).

The three terrorists who carried out the shooting attack. Left to right: Muhammad Ahmed Muhammad Jabarin, Muhammad Hamed Jabarin, Muhammad Ahmed Feisal Jabarin (Palinfo Twitter account, July 14, 2017).

The three terrorists who carried out the shooting attack. Left to right: Muhammad Ahmed Muhammad Jabarin, Muhammad Hamed Jabarin, Muhammad Ahmed Feisal Jabarin (Palinfo Twitter account, July 14, 2017).

Weapons found in the possession of the three terrorists (Palinfo Twitter account, July 14, 2017).

Weapons found in the possession of the three terrorists (Palinfo Twitter account, July 14, 2017).

Selfie taken on the Temple Mount and posted by Muhammad Hamed Jabarin to his Facebook page a few hours before the attack. He wrote,

Selfie taken on the Temple Mount and posted by Muhammad Hamed Jabarin to his Facebook page a few hours before the attack. He wrote, "Tomorrow my smile will be more beautiful, if Allah so wishes" (Arabs48, July 14, 2017).

Praying in the al-Farouq mosque in Umm al-Fahm for the memory of the three terrorists (Panet website, July 14).

Praying in the al-Farouq mosque in Umm al-Fahm for the memory of the three terrorists (Panet website, July 14).

Senior Hamas figure Khalil al-Haya (left) and senior PIJ figure Muhammad al-Hindi in a joint demonstration in the Gaza Strip to protest the measures employed by Israel on the Temple Mount (Palinfo Twitter account, July 17, 2017).

Senior Hamas figure Khalil al-Haya (left) and senior PIJ figure Muhammad al-Hindi in a joint demonstration in the Gaza Strip to protest the measures employed by Israel on the Temple Mount (Palinfo Twitter account, July 17, 2017).

Baraa' Hamamda slings projectiles at Israeli security forces in previous clashes in the Dheisheh refugee camp (Facebook page of Dheisheh News, July 14, 2017).

Baraa' Hamamda slings projectiles at Israeli security forces in previous clashes in the Dheisheh refugee camp (Facebook page of Dheisheh News, July 14, 2017).

Hamas rally in the Jabalia refugee camp protesting the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Demonstrators hold pictures of the three Israeli Arab terrorists who carried out the shooting attack on the Temple Mount (Facebook page of al-Shimal Online, July 14, 2017).

Hamas rally in the Jabalia refugee camp protesting the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Demonstrators hold pictures of the three Israeli Arab terrorists who carried out the shooting attack on the Temple Mount (Facebook page of al-Shimal Online, July 14, 2017).

  • Terrorist events this past week focused on the shooting attack from the Temple Mount compound (July 14, 2017) carried out by three Israeli Arabs from Umm al-Fahm (central Israel). Two Border Policemen stationed near the Lions' Gate were killed. The three terrorists fled to the region of the mosques and were shot and killed by Israeli security forces. In their possession were a Carl Gustav submachine gun, a hand gun and knives smuggled onto the Temple Mount.
  • In the wake of the shooting attack the Israel decided to close the Temple Mount compound to prayers and to search for other weapons. On July 16, 2017, the Temple Mount compound was reopened, but metal detectors were installed to prevent weapons from being brought in. The heads of the waqf objected (and still object) to the installation of metal detectors and called on Palestinians not to enter the Temple Mount compound. Clashes broke out between Palestinians coming to pray in the mosque and the Israeli security forces, and prayers were held nearby. The tension continues.
  • In an exceptional statement, Mahmoud Abbas condemned the terrorist attack. However, closing the Temple Mount and cancelling the Friday prayers led to a wave of protests from Palestinians as well as from Egypt and Jordan. Hamas exploited the opportunity to incite Palestinians to escalate the so-called Jerusalem intifada [i.e., popular terrorism] and clash with Israel and settlers at friction points to defend al-Aqsa mosque.
Shooting Attack on the Temple Mount: Overview
  • Early in the morning on July 14, 2017, three Israeli Arabs began shooting from the Temple Mount compound at Border Policemen stationed near the Lions Gate (to the northeast).[1] The Border Policemen returned fire; two of them were mortally wounded and later died. A third Border Policeman and a paramedic were wounded by shrapnel. The terrorists fled to the region of the mosques. One of them tried to enter a mosque. They were pursued, shot and killed by Israeli security forces. In their possession were two Carl Gustav submachine guns, a handgun and knives.
  • After Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu discussed the issue with the heads of the Israeli security establishment, the decision was made to close the Temple Mount compound and search it to make sure there were no other weapons. The compound was evacuated and closed. All the gates to the Old City were also closed. The police detained about 20 members of the waqf for questioning, and three of them remained in detention. The Mufti of Jerusalem was also detained on suspicion of having urged Muslims to break into the Temple Mount. Two days later, on the afternoon of July 16, 2017, the Temple Mount compound was gradually reopened. Security force presence was significantly increased and metal detectors and security cameras were installed at the gates to the Temple Mount. The heads of the waqf announced they opposed the installation of metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount and called on Palestinians wanting to pray not to enter the compound.
  • The three Israeli Arabs who carried out the shooting attack were Muhammad Ahmed Muhammad Jabarin, 29, Muhammad Hamed al-Latif Jabarin, 19, and Muhammad Ahmed Feisal Jabarin, 19, all three from Umm al-Fahm, an Arab city in central Israel. Initial investigation revealed that the three had spent several hours on the Temple Mount compound before the attack. A short time before the attack Muhammad Hamed Jabarin wrote on his Facebook page that "Tomorrow my smile will be more beautiful, if Allah so wishes," posting a selfie (with Muhammad Ahmed Jabarin) with the Temple Mount in the background (Arabs 48, July 14, 2017). The three generally prayed at the al-Farouq mosque in Umm al-Fahm, where Muhammad Ahmed Muhammad Jabarin was also the muezzin. Muhammad Hamed al-Latif Jabarin was a prominent boxer (Facebook page of al-Masar, July 15, 2017).
  • Mourning tents were erected in Umm al-Fahm, which the Israeli prime minister ordered closed. Crowds of local residents gathered near the homes of the terrorists and called out praise for them (Shuf, July 15, 2017). On the evening of the day of the attack a memorial prayer was held for the terrorists in the al-Farouq mosque, where the three customarily prayed. The mosque imam, Sheikh Tawfiq Jabarin, eulogized them, claiming they were "simple young men" who did not belong to any organization and who frequently worshipped in mosques (Panet website, July 14, 2017). Sheik Khaled Hamdan, Umm al-Fahm's mayor, sent letters of condolence to the families in the name of the employees of the Umm al-Fahm municipality (Facebook page of Umm al-Fahm, date, 2017)
Reactions from Senior Palestinian Figures
  •  In an exceptional statement, Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack. In a telephone call to the Israeli prime minister, he said he opposed violent actions, especially at sites of worship. He also took the opportunity to condemn the closing of the Temple Mount compound to prayers. He warned of the consequences of closing the Temple Mount and demanded its reopening (Wafa, July 14, 2017).
  • A short time after the attack Mahmoud Abbas participated in the Friday prayer at the mosque in the Muqata'a in Ramallah. Mahmoud al-Batash, Mahmoud Abbas' advisor for religious matters and the head cadi (Muslim judge) of the Palestinian Authority (PA), gave a sermon in which he said the escalation threatened to ignite a religious war and cause an "explosion." He said al-Aqsa mosque had to be open to Muslims and that the [Israeli] "occupation" was the main reason for the instability and lack of security in the Middle East and around the globe (Facebook page of Fatah, July 14, 2017). However, he did not condemn the attack itself.

Left: Mahmoud al-Batash delivers a sermon. Right: Mahmoud Abbas at the Friday prayers in the Muqata'a in Ramallah (Facebook page of Fatah, July 14, 2017)
Left: Mahmoud al-Batash delivers a sermon. Right: Mahmoud Abbas at the Friday prayers in the Muqata'a in Ramallah (Facebook page of Fatah, July 14, 2017)

  • Majed Faraj, head of PA general intelligence, said the PA opposed all forms of violence and terrorism. He said the PA expressed sorrow [for the event] to the Israeli side. He added that Mahmoud Abbas, in a conversation with the Israeli prime minister, said those who carried out the attack had come from a region under Israeli control, and emphasized that the Palestinian side met its security commitment and worked to prevent terrorist attacks. He claimed that during the past year the PA had prevented a number of terrorist attacks from being carried out against Israelis (alresalah.net, July 15, 2017).
Reactions in Egypt and Jordan
  • Reactions in Egypt and Jordan focused on condemning the closing of the Temple Mount to prayers (without reference to the attack in which two Border Policemen were shot to death). The Egyptian government warned of the consequences of preventing prayers from being held, and members of the Egyptian parliament called the decision to close the Temple Mount an "act of terrorism." King Abdallah of Jordan spoke with the Israeli prime minister and condemned the attack, rejected all forms of violence in holy places, and called for the Temple Mount to be opened. Muhammad al-Mumni, spokesman for the Jordanian government, demanded Israel open the mosque compound immediately to people who wanted to pray. He said Israel should not take any step that would change the historic status quo in Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque (Jordanian News Agency, July 14, 2017).
Additional Palestinian Authority Reactions
  • Closing the Temple Mount and cancelling the Friday prayers[2] caused a wave of protests. Many Twitter accounts called for the prayers to be held near the mosque (Twitter account of Ajel from Palestine, July 14, 2017). Hundreds of Jerusalem residents took to the streets and held the Friday prayer at locations near the walls of the Old City (Wafa, July 14, 2017). Palestinians sources stressed that throughout the years there had been hundreds of [terrorist] attacks in Jerusalem, but none of them had led to the closing of al-Aqsa mosque. Many called the attack an excuse for Israel to close the Temple Mount compound.
  • Other reactions including the following:
  • The Fatah movement claimed the Israeli decision to close al-Aqsa mosque and prevent the Friday prayer was dangerous and unacceptable escalation. Fatah spokesman Usama Qawasmeh said what had happened in al-Aqsa mosque and nearby was very dangerous and that Israel was now trying to do what it had had done at the Cave of the Patriarchs (Wafa, July 14, 2017).
  • Tareq Rashmawi, spokesman for the Palestinian national consensus government, said the Palestinian government condemned the Israeli authorities' breach of al-Aqsa mosque and called the decision not to allow Palestinians into the mosque to pray an "act of terrorism." He said Israel's dangerous escalation were causing international efforts to fail, including the American efforts to revive the peace process (Dunia al-Watan, July 14, 2017).
  • The Palestinian foreign ministry condemned Israel's actions and warned of dangerous consequences. The ministry called on the international community, the Arab community and the Islamic community to take responsibility and rescue al-Aqsa mosque (Safa, July 15, 2017).
  • Azzam al-Ahmed, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, said [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu was using the attack to escalate his "cruel and oppressive" activities. He noted that coordination between the Palestinian leadership and the Jordanian government prevented harm from coming to the holy places. He also said that as long as Israel continued to ignore efforts to restart the peace process, the Palestinian people would "use every method in the struggle" to realize their rights (Dunia al-Watan, July 15, 2017).
Reactions in the Gaza Strip
  • Organizations in the Gaza Strip, mainly Hamas, issued a series of announcements welcoming and praising the attack and condemning Israel for closing the Temple Mount to people wanting to pray. The events on the Temple Mount were a good opportunity for them to strengthen incitement to continue and even escalate the Jerusalem intifada (i.e., popular terrorism). Sources in Hamas exploited demonstrations planned to protest Mahmoud Abbas' policies towards the Gaza Strip, using them to express support for the attack and to protest Israel's closing of the Temple Mount. Several hundred Palestinians participated in the demonstrations.

Hamas cartoons about the shooting attack. Left: The Arabic reads, "[...al-Masjid al-Aqsa,] whose surroundings We have blessed" Qur'an Sura 17 (al-Isra), Verse 1 (Felesteen, July 15, 2017). Right: "Act of sacrifice in Jerusalem in response to the settler invasions of al-Aqsa mosque" (Palinfo Twitter account, July 14, 2017).
Hamas cartoons about the shooting attack. Left: The Arabic reads, "[...al-Masjid al-Aqsa,] whose surroundings We have blessed" Qur'an Sura 17 (al-Isra), Verse 1[3](Felesteen, July 15, 2017). Right: "Act of sacrifice in Jerusalem in response to the settler invasions of al-Aqsa mosque" (Palinfo Twitter account, July 14, 2017).

  • Other reactions:
  • Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri tweeted that the attack was a "natural response" to the [so-called Israeli] "desecration" of al-Aqsa mosque. He claimed the attack was a direct continuation of the intifada and proved that the Palestinian people stood united behind the resistance (Twitter account of Sami Abu Zuhri, July 17, 2017).
  • Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of Hamas' political bureau, claimed it was the first time al-Aqsa mosque had been closed since 1967. He said he was surprised that there had been no official Arab response (Twitter account of Musa Abu Marzouq, July 15, 2017).
  • Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called on the Palestinian people to escalate the Jerusalem intifada and confront Israel and the settlers at friction points in order to defend al-Aqsa mosque. He called closing the mosque "a crime of Israel" and an unprecedented attack on the rights of the Arab-Islamic nation. He also said it was in preparation for creating a new status quo in which the mosque would be separated from the Palestinian people (Hamas website, July 15, 2017).
  • Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said what had happened at al-Aqsa mosque was a crime against freedom of worship and against the Palestinian people. He claimed that by closing the mosque Israel had offended the sensibilities of the entire Palestinian people as well as those of the Arab-Islamic nation. He called for the intensification of the Jerusalem intifada and for a basic national program to defend the holy mosque (al-Aqsa, July 15, 2017).
  • The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) held a rally in the Jabalia refugee camp in support of the three terrorists. Speakers condemned the Israeli decision to prevent people from holding the Friday prayer in al-Aqsa mosque (Ma'an, July 14, 2017).
Installation of Metal Detectors at the Entrance to the Temple Mount and Reactions

On July 16, 2016, the Temple Mount reopened with metal detectors installed at the entrances. Nevertheless, the tension continued in Jerusalem in general and on the Temple Mount in particular because of the waqf's objection to the metal detectors. Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces and prayers were held near the entrance to the Temple Mount compound. The tension continues.

 

  • Many Palestinian sources represented the metal detectors as an Israeli attempt to take control of the Temple Mount and al-Aqsa mosque. Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) took the exceptional step of issuing a joint statement claiming the Temple Mount was a "red line" and that they would not permit any harm to come to it. They called on the Palestinians to declare a state of alert to defend al-Aqsa mosque and to escalate the Jerusalem intifada. They called on Israel to cease its activities on the Temple Mount and restore control of the area to the waqf (Dunia al-Watan, July 17, 2017).
  • The hashtag "Anger for Jerusalem" was launched, calling for the Palestinian public to protest the security measures Israel had installed on the Temple Mount (Facebook page of QudsN, July 17, 2017).

Hashtag "Anger for Jerusalem" tweets (Facebook page of QudsN, July 17, 2017).
Hashtag "Anger for Jerusalem" tweets (Facebook page of QudsN, July 17, 2017).

  • The Fatah Facebook page posted a quote from a speech given in the past by Mahmoud Abbas where he said, "We must defend our holy places in every way and bare-chested. It is not sufficient to say there are settlers in al-Aqsa, they have to be expelled and prevented in every way from desecrating al-Aqsa mosque."
  • Other reactions:
  • Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas political bureau, Israel was trying to gain control of al-Aqsa mosque. He said the Palestinian people and the "resistance" [i.e., terrorism] would not permit Israel to continue. He praised the Ribat operatives[4] and the jihad fighters in Jerusalem for their struggle against the occupation. He praised the shaheeds who had died during the attack and those worshippers who refused to enter the Temple Mount (Watan, July 17, 2017).
  • Senior Hamas figure Fathi Hamad called for an escalation [of the Jerusalem intifada] in Judea and Samaria. On the other hand, he said Hamas' military wing was committed to a lull and thus could not respond to the events from the Gaza Strip (NN Press, July 17, 2017).
  • Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanu' called on Palestinians not to pass through the metal detectors at the entrance to the mosque. He claimed Israel had installed them to establish its security control over the site and change the status quo.
 Other Terrorist Attacks and Attempted Attacks
  • On July 15, 2017, two shooting attacks were carried out at two locations in the Benyamin region. Drive-by shots were fired at a vehicle with Israeli license plates on the road between Ateret and Umm Safa (north of Ramallah). A Palestinian in the vehicle was injured by broken glass. The vehicle was damaged. A few hours later shots were fired at an IDF post near Nebi Saleh. There were no casualties.
  • The Israeli security forces tracked down the couple who had carried out the attacks. The man was Imad Ahmed Lutfi al-Tirawi, 34; he was killed in an attempt to detain him. In the past he was an operative in the PA's security forces and then became an arms dealer. He carried out both attacks with his fiancée, Rawan Imbar, who turned herself into the Palestinian security forces (Israel Security Agency, July 16, 2017).
  • On July 18, 2017, a Palestinian driver accelerated at the Einun Junction near Hebron and drove into soldiers walking at the side of the road, injuring three. Other soldiers shot and killed him. He was Rafaat Nathmi Shukri Hirbawi, 29, from Hebron (Ma'an, July 18, 2017).
Riots, Clashes and Popular Terrorism
  • This past week demonstrations, clashes and riots continued throughout Judea and Samaria, primarily involving the throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails. The more prominent occurrences were the following:
  • July 18, 2017 – Palestinians threw stones at an IDF force operating in the Jilazoun refugee camp (Ramallah). An IDF officer was injured (Facebook page of Red Alert, July 18, 2017).
  • July 17, 2017 – A vehicle sped towards a roadblock in the Old City in Hebron near a Jewish community. The IDF force stationed at the site suspected a vehicular attack and shot at the driver. There were no casualties. The driver escaped (Judea and Samaria Rescue, July 17, 2017).
  • July 17, 2017 – Palestinians rioting against Israeli security forces in Silwan in east Jerusalem threw stones and Molotov cocktails. A Palestinian was injured by IDF fire (Facebook page of Red Alert, July 17, 2017).
  • July 17, 2017 – Israeli security forces operating in the village of Idna (west of Hebron) seized 2,000 shekels (about $560), transferred from Hamas to the family of a Palestinian terrorist released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal. After his release the Palestinian carried out the terrorist attack on the eve of Passover in 2014 in which Deputy Commissioner Baruch Mizrachi was murdered (Facebook page of Red Alert, July 17, 2017).
  • July 16, 2017 – Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails at an Israeli security force guard post at the T junction in Gush Etzion. There were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, July 16, 2017).
  • July 15, 2017 – Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails at Israeli security forces in Silwan in east Jerusalem. One Israeli policeman was injured (Facebook page of Judea and Samaria Police Spokesman's Unit, July 15, 2017).
  • July 15, 2017 – Palestinians threw more than 25 Molotov cocktails at Israeli security forces operating in Issawiya (northern Jerusalem). There were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, July 15, 2017).
  • July 14, 2017 – Palestinians threw two IEDs at Israeli security forces on the Gush Etzion–Jerusalem road near the village of Khader. There were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, July 14, 2017).
  • July 14, 2017 – Palestinian sources reported that a Palestinian was killed and two wounded during clashes with Israeli security forces in the Dheisheh refugee camp (Bethlehem region). The Palestinian who was killed was Baraa' Ismail Hamamda, 18. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) reported he was one of their operatives (PFLP website, July 14, 2017).
  • July 12, 2017 – Two young Palestinians were killed and one was injured while rioting against IDF forces in the Jenin refugee camp (Safa, July 12, 2017). The Fatah movement in Jenin claimed the two had belonged to its ranks (aljazeera.net and Wafa, July 12, 2017). The PA and Fatah strongly condemned their killing. The national consensus government claimed Israel was responsible for worsening the situation and for "hostilities" against the Palestinian people (Wafa, July 12, 2017). The PA minister of justice paid a condolence call on the families of the two Palestinians who had been killed; he came as a representative of PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (Wafa, July 15, 2017).

The two Palestinians killed in the riot. Left: Aus Salameh throws stones at IDF forces in the Jenin refugee camp (Facebook page of the Fatah movement, July 13, 2017). Right: Sa'ad Salah (Facebook page of Wafa, July 12, 2017).
The two Palestinians killed in the riot. Left: Aus Salameh throws stones at IDF forces in the Jenin refugee camp (Facebook page of the Fatah movement, July 13, 2017). Right: Sa'ad Salah (Facebook page of Wafa, July 12, 2017).

Israel Security Agency Report on Terrorist Attacks, June 2017[5]
  • During June 2017 there was a decline in the number of terrorist attacks. A total of 93 attacks were carried out in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, most of them (80) involving the throwing of Molotov cocktails. In May 2017 there were 142 terrorist attacks.[6] In Judea and Samaria there were 72 terrorist attacks (113 in May 2017). In Jerusalem there were 21 attacks (29 in May 2017). A Border Policewoman was killed and three Border Policemen were wounded in a terrorist attack at the Nablus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, June 16, 2017). An operative in the Israeli security forces was stabbed (at Mevo Dotan, Samaria, June 1, 2017).

Significant Terrorist Attacks in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem since September 2015

Rocket Fire Attacking Israel
  • This past week no rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory.

Rocket Fire Attacking Israel

Riots at the Border Security Fence
  • Hamas exploited the demonstrations planned to protest the pressure Mahmoud Abbas exerts on the Gaza Strip and used them instead to support the terrorist attack on the Temple Mount. Several hundred Palestinians participated (Amama, July 14, 2017). The Palestinian media reported one Palestinian was injured, east of Jabalia (July 14, date, 2017).
The Gazan Humanitarian Crisis
  • The energy authority in the Gaza Strip reported that the power plant had resumed operations after fuel arrived from Egypt (al-Aqsa, July 13, 2017). The Gaza Strip electric company said that according to the amount of fuel at its disposal, it could provide electricity in cycles of four hours with 12-hour power outages (Palinfo, July 15, 2017).
  • The Gaza Strip environment authority reported that a recent analysis of sea water carried out in conjunction with the ministry of health revealed that 73% of the water along the coast was polluted. Only four areas were found where swimming was possible. The reason for the high percentage of pollution was the 110 thousand cubic meters (more than 29 million gallons) of untreated sewage poured into the sea, a result of the electricity crisis (website of the environment authority in the Gaza Strip, July 16, 2017).

Map of the Gaza Strip coastline where swimming is permitted (blue) and forbidden (red). The map was issued by Gaza Strip environment authority (website of the Gaza Strip environment authority, July 16, 2017).
Map of the Gaza Strip coastline where swimming is permitted (blue) and forbidden (red). The map was issued by Gaza Strip environment authority (website of the Gaza Strip environment authority, July 16, 2017).

  • The Jerusalem-based newspaper al-Quds quoted a report from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. It said that the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip after Operation Protective Edge was proceeding very slowly because of the "siege" on the Gaza Strip and the inefficient apparatus used to import building materials. According to the report, between October 14, 2014 and June 30, 2017, 1.6 tons of cement had been delivered to the Gaza Strip, or one third of what was needed.
  • Of the 11,000 dwelling units completely destroyed during the Operation, (4,274 (38.8%) had been rebuilt and 1,516 units were under construction. More than 6,300 families (about 33,000 people) had nowhere to live. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, during the first quarter of 2017, 41.1% of Gazans were unemployed and 65% lived below the poverty line. In addition more than 60% of Gazans were supported by UNRWA and other international relief agencies (al-Quds, July 8, 2017).
  • A UN report dealing with the humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip claimed that in view of the humanitarian crisis, in ten years the Gaza Strip will be unfit for human habitation. Robert Piper, "deputy special coordinator for the Middle East peace process and the humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory," accused the PA and the Israeli security forces of the current situation in the Gaza Strip and called on the international community to put the residents of the Gaza Strip at the top of their priority list (Reuters, July 11, 2017).
Hamas Activity against Jihadist Operatives in the Gaza Strip
  • A Hamas military court in the Gaza Strip sentenced three Salafist operatives who followed ISIS's ideology to prison terms of between five and seven months on charges of firing rockets at Israeli territory. The operatives had been detained by Hamas about four months previously. It is estimated that today Hamas holds about 550 Salafi jihadist operatives in detention, and whose cases will be transferred to Hamas' military court (al-Sharq al-Awsat, July 15, 2017). The Salafi jihadist website in the Gaza Strip also reported that the Hamas military court had sentenced a number of its operatives to prison, apparently for involvement in firing rockets at Israel. The Salafi jihadist social networks did to issue threats against Hamas.
Military Activities in Hamas Summer Camps in the Gaza Strip
(from the Facebook page of the summer camps' committee in the Khan Yunis district, July 2017)

Military Activities in Hamas Summer Camps in the Gaza Strip (from the Facebook page of the summer camps' committee in the Khan Yunis district, July 2017)

Senior Fatah and PA Figures Visit the Family of the Teqo'a Terrorist
  • Jamal al-Muheisen, a member of Fatah's Central Committee and head of its bureau of mobilization and organization in Judea and Samaria, and Majed Faraj, head of Palestinian general intelligence, paid a condolence call in Teqo'a to visit the family of terrorist Muhammad Ibrahim Jibrin. Jibrin carried out a vehicular attack near Teqo'a on July 10, 2017. The two gave speeches (Facebook page of Fatah, July 12, 2017). The visit was another expression of PA and Fatah routine support for popular terrorism.

Jamal al-Muheisen (white hair) and Majed Faraj (next to him) pay a condolence call on the family of the terrorist operative from Teqo'a (Facebook page of Fatah, July 12, 2017).

[1]Shooting on the Temple Mount is an extremely rare occurrence. The last time was in 1982 when Alan Goodman, a Jewish American who had served in the IDF, killed a waqfbodyguard and wounded policemen. He claimed his motive was retaliation for the Coastal Road Massacre, carried out four years previously. He was sentenced to life imprisonment plus forty years. He was released after 15 ½ years and deported to the United States. In addition, in April 2013 the Israeli security forces detained a squad of Palestinians from Ras al-Amoud and A-Tor in east Jerusalem planning to carry out several terrorist attacks, including a shooting attack on Israeli security forces in the Temple Mount compound (Israel Security Agency, April 17, 2013).
[2]The last time the Temple Mount compound was closed was the day after the attempted assassination of Yehuda Glick in 2014. The last time the Israeli government closed the Temple Mount compound and cancelled the Friday prayer was in 1969, when a Messianic Christian tourist tried to set the mosque on fire.
[3]The Qur'an, Oxford World Classics, OUP, p. 210.
[4]An organized ne of Muslim men and women operating in shifts on the Temple Mount to protect al-Aqsa mosque and turn away Jews who try to enter the compound.
[5]According to data from the Israel Security Agency.
[6]The hundreds of incidents of stone-throwing do not appear in the statistics.
[7]A significant attack is defined by the ITIC as involving shooting, stabbing, a vehicular attack, the use of IEDs, or a combination of the above. Stones and Molotov cocktails thrown by Palestinians are not included.
[8]The statistics do not include mortar shell fire or rockets which misfired and fell inside the Gaza Strip.

The UAE Red Crescent secretary general criticized Hamas for launching rockets near a UAE field hospital during Operation Protective Edge to provoke a reaction from Israel that would “show Israel attacked humanitarian aid facilities.”

A UAE Red Crescent team sets up a field hospital in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge. Left: Dr. Mohammed al-Falahi, secretary general of the UAE Red Crescent, gives a lecture in which he reveals that a Hamas operative provoked Israel by firing rockets from a field near the field hospital (video of the Dr. Mohammed al-Falahi's lecture, YouTube, June 12, 2017).
A UAE Red Crescent team sets up a field hospital in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge. Left: Dr. Mohammed al-Falahi, secretary general of the UAE Red Crescent, gives a lecture in which he reveals that a Hamas operative provoked Israel by firing rockets from a field near the field hospital (video of the Dr. Mohammed al-Falahi's lecture, YouTube, June 12, 2017).

Overview

1.   On June 12, 2017, Dr. Mohammed al-Falahi, secretary general of the UAE Red Crescent, gave a lecture about the security challenges faced by the UAE in carrying out its humanitarian activities around the globe. The lecture was attended by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi, and senior government figures. The lecture was translated into English and quoted by The National's news site, without noting that the statements had been made during a lecture.[1]

2.   Dr. al-Falahi reported that during Operation Protective Edge the UAE Red Crescent set up a field hospital in the Gaza Strip (initially in Deir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, and moved a short time later to the Rafah region). Its objective was to reinforce the Palestinian health-care system in the Gaza Strip, which was under great pressure during the war because of the large number of wounded. He said the UAE Red Crescent had informed the Israeli authorities about the location of the field hospital, relating positively to the coordination between the UAE Red Crescent, the Red Cross and Israel.

3.   Dr. al-Falahi was severely critical of Hamas. He noted that despite the fact that Hamas was aware of the hospital's activity, "someone from Hamas [provoked] Israeli forces by launching locally made rockets from the field hospital." He said that showed Hamas’ "wicked intentions" and readiness to sacrifice the hospital staff to achieve its propaganda objectives.

 

4.   It was the first public statement from a senior Arab heading a humanitarian organization about Hamas "wicked" and immoral conduct during Operation Protective Edge. In ITIC assessment the fact that the revelation was made when and where it was, in the presence of senior UAE figures, was not accidental. In all probability it was linked to the cutting off of diplomatic relations by Saudi Arabia and its allies (the UAE among them) with Qatar, and the demand that Qatar stop its support of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood (al-Youm al-Sabaa, June 6, 2017). Donald Trump included Hamas when mentioning regional terrorist organizations during his visit to Saudi Arabia.

5.   The repeated military use made by Hamas of medical facilities in the Gaza Strip (hospitals, clinics, ambulances) is well-known from Operation Protective Edge and more so from Operation Cast Lead. It included transferring military headquarters, operatives and weapons to hospitals, and firing rockets and mortar shells near medical facilities. The objective was to provide Hamas' operatives and weapons with a kind of "immunity" from IDF attacks, based on the knowledge that the IDF does not attack medical facilities.

 

The Reference to Hamas in Mohammed al-Falahi's Lecture

Left: The ruler of Abu Dhabi and other senior UAE figures listen to Dr. Mohammed al-Falahi. Right: Dr. Mohammed al-Falahi delivers his lecture (YouTube, June 12, 2017).
Left: The ruler of Abu Dhabi and other senior UAE figures listen to Dr. Mohammed al-Falahi. Right: Dr. Mohammed al-Falahi delivers his lecture (YouTube, June 12, 2017).

6.   On June 12, 2017, Dr. Mohammed al-Falahi, secretary general of the UAE Red Crescent, gave a lecture in Abu Dhabi. It was attended by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi, and senior government figures. His topic was the security challenges faced by the UAE Red Crescent in carrying out its humanitarian activity around the globe. He illustrated with events occurring in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge (July-August, 2014), when an UAE Red Crescent team set up a field hospital in the Gaza Strip. He said it was "the first time they were announcing the events."

7.   Dr. al-Falahi said that before the UAE Red Crescent team arrived it coordinated with the Red Cross, which gave the team and hospital authorization to enter the Gaza Strip. The Red Cross also liaised with the IDF, informing them of the location of the field hospital so it would not be attacked.

8.   Dr. al-Falahi said that while they were in the UAE field hospital they were surprised by someone from Hamas provoking Israeli forces by launching locally made rocketsat Israeli planes from a field near the field hospital. In response the Israel planes shot at the source of fire. He said that in his opinion, Hamas was provoking the Israelis primarily to show the world that Israel attacked humanitarian aid sites. He said the members of the team felt victimized by Hamas, which controlled the Gaza Strip. He said, "This shows [Hamas'] wicked intentions and how they sacrificed us. They always claim that the enemy targets humanitarian envoys but the betrayal came from them."

9.   Dr. al-Falahi ended that section of his speech by saying that as the team was leaving Gaza "after having raised the white flag, Hamas accused us of being spies, undercover foreign intelligence who were escaping. And apparently they had informed extremist militias in Sinai and Sheikh Zuweid [in the northern Sinai Peninsula] that there was a group making their way there, so [they were to] prepare for jihad against them. So Muslims fighting Muslims, who were giving humanitarian aid to Muslims. As we stopped...to buy something to eat, they started shooting at us." He added that they found that the militias had planted landmines in their path a few kilometers farther down the path. "What hurts is that the betrayal came from our own people," he said (The National, June 12, 2017).

Hamas' Military Use of Medical Facilities

10.   Hamas and the other terrorist organizations customarily make military use of medical facilities in the Gaza Strip(hospitals, clinics, ambulances). It is one aspect of the wider military use made of public institutions and facilities, including schools. It is done to ensure a kind of "immunity" for its operatives and equipment, knowing that the IDF will not, insofar as is possible, attack medical facilities. If, however, a medical facility is damaged by the IDF, Hamas' propaganda apparatus exploits it to accuse Israel of "war crimes" and a deliberate attack on the civilian population.

11.   William Booth, a Washington Post correspondent, wrote an article from the Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge on July 15, 2014. He said, "At the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, crowds gathered to throw shoes and eggs at the Palestinian Authority's health minister, who represents the crumbling 'unity government' in the West Bank city of Ramallah. The minister was turned away before he reached the hospital, which has become a de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders, who can be seen in the hallways and offices" (ITIC emphasis).

12.   The al-Shifa Hospital, located in the western part of Gaza City, is the largest and most important hospital in the Gaza Strip. Hamas used it for a wide range of military purposes during Operation Cast Lead: its senior figures were housed there; some of the wards were closed off and guarded by armed operatives; weapons were brought in; and terrorist operatives were stationed near the hospital from which they fired mortar shells.[2] During Operation Cast Lead the hospitals throughout the Gaza Strip were used for military purposes.

13.   During Operation Protective Edge an IDF force identified two Palestinian terrorist operatives using an ambulance to drive around the Gaza Strip(IDF spokesman, July 22, 2014). They were documented getting into the vehicle and being driven away by a driver wearing a white coat. The IDF did not attack the ambulance, fearing that there might be civilians inside. The event was publicized by a video posted to YouTube by the IDF spokesman.

Two scenes from a video issued by the IDF spokesman show terrorist organizations using an ambulances for military purposes during Operation Protective Edge  (IDF Spokesman's Unit, July 22, 2014).|
Two scenes from a video issued by the IDF spokesman show terrorist organizations using an ambulances for military purposes during Operation Protective Edge (IDF Spokesman's Unit, July 22, 2014).

Appendix
Dr. Mohammed Ateeq al-Falahi

Dr. Mohammed Ateeq al-Falahi, secretary general of the UAE Red Crescent (al-Watan, Kuwait, March 26, 2015; YouTube, March 30, 2016).
Dr. Mohammed Ateeq al-Falahi, secretary general of the UAE Red Crescent (al-Watan, Kuwait, March 26, 2015; YouTube, March 30, 2016).

1.   Dr. Mohammed Ateeq Sultan al-Falahihas served as secretary general of the UAE Red Crescent since 2012. He got a BA in Islamic jurisprudence from the UAE's Islamic University (2006), and an MA in general management from a school in New York (2007). He wrote his PhD thesis on management from an Islamic perspective at the Mohammed V University in Morocco (2011).

2.   Mohammed al-Falahi lives in Abu Dhabi. Before his present role as Security Council of the UAE Red Crescent he worked for Abu Dhabi's oil company for five years. In addition, he is on the board of directors of a number of other institutions, including the high commission for mothers and children, the general authority for Islam and the waqf, and the UAE branch of al-Azhar University (al-Bayan, June 13, 2017).

The UAE Field Hospital Set Up in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge

3.   The field hospital set up in the Gaza Strip was donated by the UAE Red Crescent and sponsored by the Abu Dhabi crown prince and the commander of the armed forces. Its objective was to reinforce the local health-care system in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge, which was under great pressure because of the number of people who had been wounded. The field hospital team arrived in Cairo on July 15, 2014. On arrival they announced they were planning to hold talks with the local authorities in the Gaza Strip regarding the best location for the hospital (website of the UAE Red Crescent, July 16, 2014).

4.   A medical team of about 50 personnel arrived with the equipment for setting up the hospital. After coordinating with the Red Cross (which reported to the IDF about the hospital and its location), on July 19, 2014 the hospital was set up near the Shuhadaa' al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip. A short time later it was moved to the Tel Sultan neighborhood in the western part of Rafah, because of the large number of people who had been wounded in the Rafah region, and to provide medical responses for the southern Gaza Strip. When the delegation left the Gaza Strip (through the Rafah crossing), the hospital and all its equipment were given to the Palestinian Red Crescent in Deir al-Balah (24.ae, September 7, 2014).

5.   According to the field hospital's director, there were 50 beds,operating rooms, and intensive care, surgical and burn units. There were also two ambulances the team had brought with them from Abu Dhabi. The medical team numbered more than 50 (alresalah.net, July 16, 2014). According to reports the hospital treated hundreds of people every day (website of the UAE Red Crescent, August 12, 2014).

[1]The National is an English-language newspaper and website in the UAE. It was founded in 2008 and covers local, regional and international news. It is operated by Abu Dhabi Media, whose offices are in Abu Dhabi. This document is based on the Arabic lecture supplemented by The National's website. ITIC emphasis throughout.
[2]See the July 23, 2014 bulletin, "Hamas and the Other Terrorist Organizations in the Gaza Strip Use Medical Facilities and Ambulances for Military-Terrorist Purposes." 

An article by a Hamas activist analyzes the advantages of a “controlled confrontation” against Israel and calls on Hamas and the other organizations to consider this option

Dr. Issam Adwan, chairman of Hamas’s Division of Refugee Affairs (Photo: website of Hamas’s Division of Refugee Affairs, June 15, 2017)
Dr. Issam Adwan, chairman of Hamas’s Division of Refugee Affairs (Photo: website of Hamas’s Division of Refugee Affairs, June 15, 2017)

Overview
1.   On June 7, 2017, Hamas’s newspaper Filastin published an article by Dr. Issam Adwan, entitled “The controlled confrontation is essential.”[1] The article analyzes at length the advantages of a scenario, in which Hamas will initiate a “controlled confrontation” against Israel in response to the “intensification of the siege” on the Gaza Strip. Under such a confrontation, Hamas and the other organizations will be givencarte blanche to inflict “very limited blows” on Israel (Adwan does not specify the nature of such blows). Adwan believes that Israel will respond vigorously. However, in such a case, Hamas and other organizations should not respond in a like manner, but their response must be controlled and minimalist. The author of the article believes that a scenario of a “controlled confrontation” against Israel may put Gaza and its needs on the agenda of global media and cause all the relevant parties to act towards finding solutions for the new situation created by the “resistance” (i.e., terrorist organizations).[2] Dr. Issam Adwan advises Hamas and the other organizations to consider this alternative.


 

2.   Dr. Issam Adwan is a resident of Gaza City, born in 1967. He has a Ph.D. in history from the Institute of Arab Research and Studies in Cairo, 2004 (he earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in history from Yarmouk University in Jordan and the Islamic University of Gaza). In recent years, he has headed Hamas’s Division of Refugee Affairs.[3] In addition, he has been a lecturer on Modern History at the Islamic University in Gaza and Al-Quds Open University. He has written books and published studies on the issue of refugees and is often interviewed on local and Arab television channels. On his two Facebook pages and in Hamas-affiliated media, he usually publishes articles and posts on the Palestinian refugees’ “right of return.” In the past, he uploaded militant posts against Israel.[4]

3.   It is unclear whether the call for the initiation of a “controlled confrontation,” published in Hamas’s newspaper by Dr. Issam Adwan, an outstanding medium-level activist, reflects a prevailing line of thought among the Hamas leadership; or whether this is his personal opinion, which he has already expressed in the past (a similar article was written by him after Operation Protective Edge and also published in the newspaper Filastin, on May 17, 2015).In the ITIC's assessment, the publication of the article at the current time, with the pressure mounting on Hamas and Hamas’s public threats of escalation,[5] may indicate Hamas’s internal discourse about the strategic alternatives regarding the nature of its response to the hard situation that it incurred.

Summary of Dr. Issam Adwan's article

The article written by Dr. Issam Adwan in Hamas’s organ, entitled “The controlled confrontation is essential” (Filastin, June 7, 2017)
The article written by Dr. Issam Adwan in Hamas’s organ, entitled “The controlled confrontation is essential” (Filastin, June 7, 2017)

4.   Following are the main topics of the article:

A.      Dr. Issam Adwan opens the article with the assertion that Hamas is coping with the intensification of the siege on the Gaza Strip, which has become the preferred policy of local, regional and international forces. The intensification of the siege on the Gaza Strip was intended to cause the Gaza Strip residents to oppose the “resistance” (i.e., Hamas and the other terrorist organizations).

B.      Subsequently, Adwan analyzes three alternatives which, according to him, Hamas faces while attempting to cope with this complex situation. Dr. Issam Adwan raises two possible alternatives, which he rules out:

1)   “Unarmed confrontation” along the borders of the Gaza Strip: a confrontation that is carried out by hundreds of young Palestinians along the borders of the Gaza Strip, which brings only a limited benefit (reference is made here to demonstrations held near the border, the likes of which are held recently upon the Hamas initiative).According to Adwan, until the number of young Palestinians involved in the confrontations near the border reaches tens of thousands, their impact is liable to be very small.

2)   Renewal of the extensive confrontation[6] with Israel “will bring hellfire” on the Gaza Strip, in the current circumstances. The author believes that under the prevailing conditions, Hamas and the other organizations (“the resistance”) will not be able to curb Israel, “and therefore everyone avoids raising the subject as a possible alternative.”

C.      At this point, Dr. Issam Adwan mentions the third alternative, which is the preferred one, in his opinion. The gist of it is a prolonged confrontation controlled by Hamas. As part of this alternative, Hamas and the other organizations will be given carte blanche to inflict very limited blows on Israel. This alternative, in his opinion, will be “an appropriate solution” for the current situation and will be totally different from the alternative of renewing the extensive confrontation with Israel. The limited confrontation will allow the forces in the Gaza Strip which are angry because of the “continued siege” “to let off steam” against Israel, and at the same time, it will make clear to the international community the consequences of “the continuation of the siege” on the Gaza Strip.

 

D.      The author is aware that Israel will retaliate vigorously in response to the controlled blows. However, he advises the “resistance” (the terrorist organizations) to refrain from a similar reaction (in response to the Israeli reaction). According to Adwan, the reaction of the “resistance” should be “fully controlled and minimalist.” The meaning of the above is firing rockets at open areas in Israel, diversifying the targets of the rockets, and firing rockets over a relatively long period. All this should be carried out while ignoring the scope of “savage response” expected from Israel (“the enemy”) towards Gaza and its “resistance” (i.e., the terrorist organizations).

E.      Such tactics, Dr. Issam Adwan believes, will cause Israel to reduce its attacks within a few days, based on the understanding of “the nature of confrontation desired by the resistance.”His opinion that Israel will respond in the same manner (i.e., by limited attacks on the terrorist organizations) is based on his assessment that Israel is interested in avoiding escalation, which could bring about widespread objection in Israel’s home front. The Israeli home front, according to Dr. Issam Adwan, is capable of accepting a (small) number of rockets fired every day, but not an extensive war lasting for several months.

F.      Dr. Issam Adwan believes that the alternative that he suggests is in line with the historic experience of other “liberation movements” in the world, which have used tactics of a war of attrition and guerrilla warfare to achieve victory over the enemy, or at least to score points in the long campaign for the liberation. The resistance in the Gaza Strip must take advantage of the fact that the residents of the enemy are within the range of its fire, unlike most of the countries that were under occupation. Israel’s desire for security will allow the “resistance” to achieve (in return) its “legitimate demands,” even in return for (granting) temporary security to Israel (as opposed to recognizing it).

5.      At the end of the article the author points out two gains which are expected, in his opinion, from the “controlled confrontation”: It will place “Gaza and its needs at the top of global media’s agenda”; It will also cause all the international, regional and local forces to act towards finding a solution to the new situation created by the “resistance.”Therefore, the author advises the decision makers among “all the forces of the Palestinian resistance” (i.e., Hamas and the other terrorist organizations) to consider this alternative, which the author believes to be “the only useful alternative in the current complex circumstances.”

 

[1]The term used in Arabic for “controlled confrontation” is al-Muwajaha al-Mundabita.
[2]Dr. Issam Adwan finds advantages with the scenario of “controlled confrontation.” However, he refrains from analyzing the disadvantages of this scenario, which is based on the assumption that Israel will be dragged into the “rules of the game” dictated by Hamas.
[3]Hamas’s Division of Refugee Affairs was established in 2001 by a decision of the movement leadership as a professional division charged with the issue of the refugees in Hamas. The division is currently headed by Dr. Issam Adwan. The purpose of the division is to safeguard the rights of the refugees, act towards the improvement of their situation, support and coordinate local, regional and international efforts to protect their rights (website of Hamas’s Division of Refugee Affairs, June 15, 2017). As part of his activity, Dr. Issam Adwan is in touch with UNRWA. In 2016, he called for the removal of UNRWA Commissioner Pierre Krähenbühl due to the reduction in the volume of UNRWA’s activities (Issam Adwan's Twitter account, October 10, 2016).
[4]In 2014 and on April 26, 2017, Dr. Issam Adwan uploaded the following post to his Facebook pages: “The enemy (i.e., Israel) should be faced with a tough equation: the demolition of an Arab house in Israel should mean a rocket falling in Tel Aviv; and an attack against the Al-Aqsa Mosque should mean no red lines for the resistance” (Dr. Issam Adwan's Facebook page, April 26, 2017). 
[5]The mounting pressure includes the exacerbation of the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip; the economic pressure exerted by Abu Mazen on Hamas; the removal of Hamas officials from Qatar; the killing of Mazen Fuqaha, who was one of Hamas’s military wing senior commanders; and the decision of the Israeli government to assent to Abu Mazen’s request, which means a reduction of the electricity supply to the Gaza Strip. Following all these developments, Hamas’s senior officials threatened several times to resort to escalating the situation; however, so far, we haven’t encountered a public discussion on how to put these threats into action.
[6]In Arabic, Muwajaha Maftuha, i.e., an open, borderless confrontation. Reference is made here to an extensive confrontation which lasts a long period of time, such as Operation Protective Edge or Operation Cast Lead.