Tag Archives: Jerusalem

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.

Spotlight on Global Jihad (June 15-21, 2017)

Spotlight on Global Jihad

Spotlight on Global Jihad

Aerial photograph of the site of the meeting of senior ISIS operatives distributed by the Russian Ministry of Defense. Left: The site before the airstrike. Right: After the airstrike (Facebook page of the Russian Ministry of Defense, June 16, 2017)

Aerial photograph of the site of the meeting of senior ISIS operatives distributed by the Russian Ministry of Defense. Left: The site before the airstrike. Right: After the airstrike (Facebook page of the Russian Ministry of Defense, June 16, 2017)

Two SDF fighters observing Al-Raqqah’s eastern neighborhoods. One of them notes that they have reached the Bab Baghdad neighborhood (YouTube, June 17, 2017).

Two SDF fighters observing Al-Raqqah’s eastern neighborhoods. One of them notes that they have reached the Bab Baghdad neighborhood (YouTube, June 17, 2017).

Photos from the city of Al-Raqqah (YouTube, June 19, 2017)

Photos from the city of Al-Raqqah (YouTube, June 19, 2017)

Syrian Army in the Al-Rasafah area: the photo on the bottom right shows bodies of ISIS operatives killed in the fighting against the Syrian Army

Syrian Army in the Al-Rasafah area: the photo on the bottom right shows bodies of ISIS operatives killed in the fighting against the Syrian Army

The advance of the Syrian Army towards Al-Rasafah: ISIS’s sign (right) reading “the Al-Raqqah Province” is still there (Syrian Al-Ittihad Press website, June 19, 2017)

The advance of the Syrian Army towards Al-Rasafah: ISIS’s sign (right) reading “the Al-Raqqah Province” is still there (Syrian Al-Ittihad Press website, June 19, 2017)

Forces of the Iraqi government’s Counterterrorism Apparatus on the outskirts of the Old City

Forces of the Iraqi government’s Counterterrorism Apparatus on the outskirts of the Old City

Iraqi border police soldiers on the Iraqi-Syrian border (Al-Sumaria, June 19, 2017)

Iraqi border police soldiers on the Iraqi-Syrian border (Al-Sumaria, June 19, 2017)

Main events of the week

  • On the ground, the severe pressure on ISIS is mounting: In Mosul, the Iraqi army has entered the Old City, ISIS’s last stronghold in the western part of the city. In Al-Raqqah, the SDF forces have taken over several other neighborhoods in the east and west of the city. In addition, the severe erosion of ISIS’s manpower (the killing of many commanders and field operatives) continues, and in the economic domain, ISIS continues to lose its assets (this week, the Aarak oil and gas field northeast of Palmyra was taken over).
  • Along the Syrian-Iraqi border and in eastern Syria, the competition for control continues between the local forces supported by the US and the Coalition and those supported by Russia and Iran, creating the potential for friction and incidents between them. Two noteworthy incidents this week:
  • The Syrian regime’s military forces advanced towards the Euphrates Valley and took over the town of Al-Rasafah, southwest of Al-Raqqah. An incident occurred between the Syrian force and the SDF forces controlling the Al-Raqqah region, leading to the interception of a Syrian fighter plane by the United States and the Coalition. In response, the Russians suspended their coordination of flights with the United States.
  • This week, an Iraqi force took over the Al-Waleed border crossing, the Iraqi side of the Al-Tanf crossing (near the Iraq-Syria-Jordan tri-border area) from ISIS. Rebel groups operate in the Al-Tanf area with the support of the US and the Coalition. The Iraqi move was apparently coordinated between the Iraqi government and the US.
  • In response to ISIS’s attacks in the Majles building and the Khomeini Tomb, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards launched six medium-range surface-to-surface missiles at ISIS targets in the area of Deir ez-Zor. This is the first time Iran has launched such missiles in the Syrian arena. Iran took advantage of the incident to launch a propaganda campaign directed both inside and outside the country and designed to emphasize its military might. Iranian spokesmen emphasized that the missile fire was only a first warning and that in the future Iran’s response would be much harsher.

 

Russian involvement in Syria

Attack on a target where senior ISIS officials were meeting in Al-Raqqah
  • The Russian Ministry of Defense announced that on May 28, 2017, Russian forces carried out an airstrike in Al-Raqqah, on a target where a meeting was being held with the participation of senior ISIS commanders and field commanders. According to the announcement, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may have been killed in the airstrike. The airstrike was carried out after the Russians learned about the meeting of ISIS leaders in a southern suburb of Al-Raqqah and after drones verified its existence. According to the Russian announcement, some 30 ISIS field commanders and some 300 fighters who had guarded the organization’s leaders were killed in the attack. The Russians noted that according to the information in their possession, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in the airstrike. The operatives who were killed included Abu al-Hajj al-Masri, the Emir of Al-Raqqah; Ibrahim al-Nayef al-Hajj, the Emir of the area between Al-Raqqah and Al-Sukhnah; and Suleiman al-Shawah, ISIS’s head of security (Facebook page of the Russian Ministry of Defense, June 16, 2017).
  • nIn response to the Russian statements, the spokesman for the International Coalition for the War on ISIS said that the report could not be verified or refuted at this stage (Al-Arabiya, June 16, 2017). Pentagon Spokesman Jeff Davis also said they had no information to confirm the report (The New York Times, June 16, 2017). Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also stressed that Al-Baghdadi’s death could not be definitively confirmed (RT, June 16, 2017).
  • The last public sign of life was heard from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on November 2, 2016, on an audiotape distributed by the Al-Furqan Media Foundation, one of ISIS’s propaganda arms. On the tape, Al-Baghdadi addressed ISIS’s supporters abroad and called on them to escalate their actions against the Coalition countries. Since then, there have been several reports of Al-Baghdadi’s alleged death, which have not yet been verified.

 

President Putin praises the campaign in Syria
  • In an interview with Russian media, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia had acquired “invaluable” military experience in the Syrian campaign.  According to him, innovative weapons systems were introduced for the first time during the campaign in Syria.Putin also noted that “the campaign was very beneficial to our defense industry” (TASS News Agency, June 15, 2017).

Main developments in Syria

The campaign to take over Al-Raqqah
  • Fighting inside the city of Al-Raqqah, which started on June 6, 2017, continues. SDF forces, supported by the US-led International Coalition, attacked the city from the east and west and took over additional neighborhoods. They are now fighting near the wall surrounding the Old City. ISIS operatives are trying to curb their advance by sniper fire and mortar shells. According to reports, there are thousands of civilians trying to escape from the city, while SDF forces and ISIS operatives have blocked all the exits (Zaman Al-Wasl, June 19, 2017).

 

  • The situation in the various fighting zones is as follows:
  • In east Al-Raqqah: Fighting continues on Al-Raqqah’s eastern outskirts. In recent days, SDF forces took over the Al-Sina’ah neighborhood (Sham Network, June 15, 2017; Al-Jazeera, June 16, 2017). Clashes continue in the Al-Batani neighborhood. Sixteen SDF fighters were reportedly encircled by ISIS operatives who infiltrated towards them through tunnels in Bab Baghdad, the southeastern Old City, close to the wall. Contact with the fighters was reportedly lost (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, June 19, 2017).
  • In west and northwest Al-Raqqah:Clashes between the SDF forces and ISIS in the Al-Qadisiyyah neighborhood continue. The SDF reportedly took over several sites in the neighborhood (Sham Network, June 19, 2017). Fighting also took place in the western part of the Al-Barid neighborhood, in northwestern Al-Raqqah (Qasiyoun, June 18, 2017).
Syrian Army advances towards Al-Raqqah; Syrian fighter plane intercepted by the US and the Coalition
  • The Syrian Army also tries to make its presence felt in the Al-Raqqah region and its forces advance eastward, recognizing the importance of this region. This week, the Syrian Army took over the town of Al-Rasafah, about 40 km southwest of Al-Raqqah. The Syrian Army activity in a region where the US-supported SDF forces are operating led to friction between them, causing the interception of a Syrian fighter plane by the US and the Coalition (claiming that the plane was attacking the SDF forces). In response, Russia suspended the coordination of flights with the United States.

 

  • This week, the Syrian Army took over the town of Al-Rasafah, about 40 km southwest of Al-Raqqah. Al-Rasafah is situated south of an important crossroad, with one road leading eastward to Al-Raqqah and another westward to the SDF-held Tabqa. The Syrian Army also took over Jaidin, about 10 km northwest of Al-Rasafah (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, June 18, 2017).
  • The advance of the Syrian Army has apparently created friction with the SDF forces operating west and southwest of Al-Raqqah. It has been reported that a fighter plane of the US-led Coalition intercepted a Syrian fighter plane which allegedly attacked the SDF forces. The Syrians confirmed the interception of the plane. The Syrian Army headquarters claimed that the attack had been carried out in response to the advance of the Syrian Army and its allies in the fighting against ISIS,  and that this action indicated the existing coordination between ISIS and the US (Facebook page of the Syrian Ministry of Defense, June 19, 2017). Syria dispatched messages to the UN secretary-general and the Security Council chairman denouncing the interception of the plane (Syrian News Agency, June 19, 2017).
Russia suspends the coordination of the flights
  • In response to the interception of the Syrian plane, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that a US fighter plane attacked a Syrian plane which was carrying out a combat mission supporting Syrian Army units fighting against ISIS near Al-Rasafah. The announcement states that the attack is a violation of Syrian sovereignty, “military aggression against Syria,” and a “blatant violation of international law.” According to the announcement, while the Syrian plane was intercepted, Russian planes were carrying out missions in Syrian skies. However, the Coalition forces did not use the existing communications channels between the US air command center in Qatar and the Russian Hmeymim base to coordinate the attack (Facebook page of the Russian Defense Ministry, June 19, 2017).
  • According to the Russian announcement, following the incident, the Russian Defense Ministry stopped its cooperation with the US forces as of June 19, 2017. The US forces were required to carry out a thorough investigation into the incident. The announcement ends with the threat that as of now, in regions in Syria where the Russian Air Force is operating, any Coalition plane or unmanned aircraft flying west of the Euphrates River will be identified by the Russian air defense systems as targets (Facebook page of the Russian Defense Ministry, June 19, 2017). US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford said in response that the hotline between the US Central Command in Qatar and its Russian equivalent in Syria was still open and functioning. However, he noted that he had not spoken with the Russians since the interception of the plane (Defence News, June 19, 2017).

 

Iranian missiles launched at ISIS targets in the Deir ez-Zor area in response to the attacks in Tehran
  • In response to ISIS’s attacks in the Majles building and the Khomeini Tomb (June 7, 2017), the Iranian Revolutionary Guards launched six surface-to-surface missiles at ISIS targets in the area of Deir ez-Zor. The Iranians reported that the attack killed terrorist operatives and destroyed equipment and weapon systems (Tasnim News Agency, June 18, 2017). According to reports by Syrian sources, Saad al-Husseini, a senior ISIS commander from Saudi Arabia, was killed in the attack (Tasnim, June 19, 2017).

 

  •  Iranian Revolutionary Guards Spokesman General Ramazan Sharifsaid that the Iranian attack had been coordinated with the Damascus regime and that the missiles had been launched from the Iranian Air Force base in western Iran. He said that Iran had fired six Iranian-made Dhu al-Fiqar[1] medium-range (650-700 km) ballistic missiles.  According to him, the missiles had successfully hit their targets, including ISIS headquarters, ammunition, and logistic depots.[2] Ramazan Sharif added that this was a “warning” operation following the terrorist attacks in Tehran (ISNA, June 19, 2017).
  • Iranian government spokesmen praised Iranian capabilities as demonstrated by the missile fire, stressing that the missile launch was only an initial warning:
  • Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said that Iran had dealt a “fatal blow” to the “terrorist groups” and their control centers in Deir ez-Zor. He said that Iran had used all its defensive, military, intelligence and security capabilities in order to protect its citizens from the threat of terrorism. He added that the missile attack was only a “minor blow” and a warning for the future (Mehr, June 19, 2017). 
  • Iranian Air Force Commander Ali Haji Zadeh said that the missile launch was a message to ISIS and that it was “one of the minor operations that were carried out.”  He said that the enemies (ISIS) should know that Iran is not like Paris or London, and if they continue their policy, they will be severely harmed. According to him, the targets of the missiles were command bases, construction centers, and car bomb manufacturing sites in Deir ez-Zor.  He noted that at the same time that the missiles were launched, drones were launched at the targets from Damascus. The drones transmitted photos from the target areas to Iran in real time (Fars, June 19, 2017).
  • In an Instagram post, Ali Akbar Velayati, advisor to the Iranian leader on international affairs, wrote that Iran’s attack on ISIS outposts in Syria was an example of Iran’s deterrent defense capabilities (Asr-e Iran, June 19, 2017).
Gas and oil facilities taken over in the Palmyra area
  • In the Palmyra area, the Syrian forces recorded several successes: On June 15, 2017, the Syrian Army took over the Aarak gas field and key areas dominating it (about 20 km northeast of Palmyra). This area, which has so far been held by ISIS, is where the Aarak oil and gas field is situated. ISIS reportedly sustained many fatalities and lost a lot of equipment. It also lost control of the T3 Pumping Station for Crude Oil, located about 42 km east of Palmyra. Before ISIS operatives retreated from the pumping station, they destroyed it and blew up oil and gas wells (SANA, June 15, 2017).
  • The Syrian News Agency reported that the recapture of the Aarak gas field is an achievement for the Syrian regime since this field is of major economic importance. For ISIS, the loss of the gas field represents further damage to its sources of income. Furthermore, as a result of the takeover of the area, ISIS’s supply routes east of Palmyra were reportedly cut off, and the ground has been prepared for taking over the Syrian Desert from ISIS (SANA, June 15, 2017).

 

Main developments in Iraq

The campaign for the takeover of Mosul
  • The campaign for the takeover of Mosul is nearing its end. small enclave, including the Old City and the Al-Shifa neighborhood, currently remains in the hands of ISIS. On June 18, 2017, the Iraqi Army announced that it had launched a military move to liberate the Old City, and that army forces and forces of the Iraqi government’s Counterterrorism Apparatus take part in this campaign (Nineveh Information Center, June 18, 2017; Al-Sumaria, June 18, 2017).

 

  • The Iraqi Army announced that Iraqi Air Force planes had destroyed an ISIS main headquarters, where Arab and foreign operatives were staying, in the Al-Mahlabiyya area, about 35 km southwest of the city of Mosul. In addition, an ISIS hostel was destroyed in the attack, as well as a weapons and ammunition depot in the Tal Afar area, about 60 km west of Nineveh (Al-Sumaria, June 17, 2017).
Iraqi Army takes over the Al-Waleed border crossing
  • This week, the Iraqi Army announced that its border police forces, with International Coalition air support, had taken over the Al-Waleed border crossing between Iraq and Syria (Reuters, June 17, 2017; Al-Sumaria, June 19, 2017). The crossing, which is situated on the Iraqi side of the Al-Tanf crossing, had been held by ISIS since May 2015. After the takeover of the crossing by the Iraqi Army, the Al-Qaim crossing remains the only crossing under ISIS control on the border between Syria and Iraq (Baghdad News, June 17, 2017). Iraqi forces reportedly took control of an area of about 40 km between the Al-Waleed crossing and the Al-Qaim crossing (Al-Sumaria, June 19, 2017).

 

  • The Iraqi Army declared that the takeover of the Al-Waleed areaput an end to the presence of ISIS on Iraqi soil, near the US base in the Al-Tanf area, on the Syrian side of the border (Reuters, June 17, 2017). One of the commanders of the Shiite Popular Mobilization Units, pro-Iranian Iraqi militias cooperating with the Iraqi government against ISIS, reported that a meeting was held with the forces on Syrian territory. According to that commander, the militia operatives are waiting for the zero hour to attack ISIS in the city of Abu Kamal (Al-Hadath, June 18, 2017). The city of Abu Kamal in Syria is the target of the Commandos of the Revolution rebel force, which is supported by the US and International Coalition.
  • Before the takeover of the Al-Waleed crossing, the Iraqi Defense Ministry reported that a high-ranking Syrian delegation had come to Baghdad and discussed with Iraqi Army senior commanders issues pertaining to the security of the common border. This visit was the first of its kind for years, and its purpose was to establish cooperation in the war against ISIS. The Iraqi Army chief of staff said that the parties agreed to cooperate in the area of intelligence (Zaman Al-Wasl, June 14, 2017).
ISIS’s suicide bomber terrorism

An international report of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT)[3] revealed that between December 2015 and November 2016, ISIS established a “suicide bombing industry.” According to the report, most of the organization’s major operations were carried out in Iraq and Syria. The percentage of foreign fighters who carried out suicide bombing attacks is 20%, while the percentage of the Iraqis (i.e., suicide bombers whose codename was Al-Iraqi) and the Syrians (i.e., suicide bombers whose codename was Al-Shami) is 74% (the ICCT could not define the rest). Iraq was the scene of 62% of the suicide bombing attacks, while 24% of the attacks were carried out on Syrian soil. About 3% of the attacks were carried out in Libya, while 1.7% took place in Yemen. Noteworthy among the foreign fighters who carried out suicide bombing attacks are Tajiks, Saudis, and North-Africans (Al-Suriya, June 15, 2017).

Global jihad activity in other countries

Attack thwarted in Belgium
  • On June 20, 2017, around 20:30, a suicide bombing attack was thwarted at Brussels central train station. According to initial reports, a man aged 30-35, wearing an explosive belt, was shot and killed by soldiers at the scene. There were no other casualties. An explosion was heard at the station, and a fire broke out. So far, no organization has claimed responsibility.
Indonesia
  • Indonesia Army commander said that ISIS is present almost in all the country’s provinces. According to him, ISIS sleeper cells are set up throughout the country and can easily join other radical cells. Marawi, the Philippine city where government troops are fighting against ISIS forces, is only a short distance from several Indonesian islands (Time, June 13, 2017).
Afghanistan
  • On June 15, 2017, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to the Al-Zahra Mosque in southwest Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan. Four people were killed and eight were wounded (Afghanistan Times, June 16, 2017). ISIS announced that 17 Shiites were killed and dozens were wounded in a suicide bombing attack carried out by its operatives in Kabul (Al-Sawarim, June 16, 2017).
  • Afghan government officials reported that ISIS had taken over the Tora Bora area in Nangarhar Province, eastern Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan. It happened after battles with Taliban operatives, which lasted for a week. This region, where there are many caves, had been used in the past as the stronghold of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. ISIS released an announcement in Pashto, stating that its black flags were flying on the mountain range in the region. It also called on fleeing residents to return to their homes (Rai Al-Youm, June 15, 2017).
  • Abu Omar al-Khorasani, one of ISIS’s commanders in Afghanistan, said that is operatives had taken over Tora Bora and that they were fighting against Afghan government forces which are assisted by US ground and air support. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed that ISIS had taken over several villages, but denied that it had occupied Tora Bora (Reuters, June 15, 2017).

The battle for hearts and minds

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack in Jerusalem[4]
  • On the evening of June 16, 2017, three Palestinians armed with knives and improvised weapons arrived at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem and carried out attacks in two sites simultaneously. One female Border Police combatant was killed in the attack. Another policeman was slightly wounded and two civilians were moderately wounded. The three terrorists were shot and killed. The attacks were carried out by three terrorists aged 18-19, residents of Deir Abu Mash’al (south of Ramallah).
  • ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack via the Aamaq News Agency.The heading of the claim of responsibility: “Attack by the soldiers of the Caliphate on a gathering of Jews in the city of Jerusalem.” The announcement says that the attack in Jerusalem was carried out by “Lions of the Caliphate” from ISIS’s Palestine Province. The announcement names the three perpetrators of the attacks as Abu al-Baraa al-Maqdisi, Abu Hassan al-Maqdisi, and Abu Rabah al-Maqdisi. The announcement also includes a threat that this is not the last operation and that the Jews should expect their country to be destroyed by the “Soldiers of the Caliphate.”
  • This is the first time that ISIS has claimed responsibility for carrying out an attack in Israel. According to information in the ITIC’s possession, this is a false announcement. The attack at the Damascus Gate was carried out by a local network from the village of Deir Abu Mash’al, whose operatives are affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Hamas. Residents of the village, as well as the Popular Front and Hamas, have vehemently denied ISIS’s claim of responsibility. The false claim of responsibility may indicate ISIS’s interest in demonstrating “successes” in a symbolic place like “Palestine,” precisely in view of the severe pressure exerted on it in Syria and Iraq.[5]

 

ISIS’s attempt to raise the morale of its operatives
  • An editorial in ISIS’s organ Al-Naba noted that three years have passed since the war against ISIS broke out and that the leaders of the Coalition countries (“the leaders of the Crusaders”) admit that they cannot say when the campaign will end. Therefore, according to the editorial, every day in which the holy warriors stand firm in their war against the Coalition may exacerbate the struggle between the allies of the United States. The editorial also stresses that time is an important factor in dismantling coalitions and that the continuation of the campaign will cause unrest among the ranks and the desire of some parties to withdraw from it. All this will happen through forbearance, patience, jihad, and steadfastness (Al-Naba, June 16, 2017).

[1]Dhu al-Fiqar: A two-blade sword given by the Prophet Muhammad to his son-in-law Ali bin Abi Taleb on Allah’s orders, before one of the first battles of Islam. For the Shiites, the sword is a symbol of jihad and the fighting spirit of Imam Ali on behalf of Islam.
[2]The degree of accuracy of the Iranian missiles that were launched is still unclear. Military sources in Israel told Israeli daily Haaretz that “the operational results of the Iranian missile attack were far less impressive than the media buzz that Iran is making with regard to the launch” (Haaretz, June 20, 2017).
[3]An independent research center located in The Hague.
[4]For details about the attack, see the ITIC’s Information Bulletin: “News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, June 14-20, 2017.”
[5]The weaker ISIS becomes, the greater the discrepancy between its public announcements and the reality on the ground. For example, on June 19, 2017, ISIS published an infographic summing up its “achievements” in Mosul in the past month. In reality, however, the only area still under its control is an enclave in the Old City of Mosul, where it is conducting the “last battle” against the Iraqi forces.

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (June 14 –20, 2017)

Palestinians carried out a combined terrorist attack in two locations near the Nablus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Palestinians carried out a combined terrorist attack in two locations near the Nablus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Palestinians carried out a combined terrorist attack in two locations near the Nablus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Palestinians carried out a combined terrorist attack in two locations near the Nablus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem.

An old picture of the three terrorists (Palinfo Twitter account, June 18, 2017).

An old picture of the three terrorists (Palinfo Twitter account, June 18, 2017).

Usama 'Atta at the Kaaba in Mecca (Facebook page of Usama 'Atta, May 18, 2017).

Usama 'Atta at the Kaaba in Mecca (Facebook page of Usama 'Atta, May 18, 2017).

Stone thrown by a Palestinian at an Israeli vehicle near the village of Husan, west of Bethlehem (Facebook page of the Shehab news agency, June 15, 2017).

Stone thrown by a Palestinian at an Israeli vehicle near the village of Husan, west of Bethlehem (Facebook page of the Shehab news agency, June 15, 2017).

Demonstrators wave Palestinian and Qatari flags during a riot near the border security fence (Palinfo Twitter account, June 16, 2017).

Demonstrators wave Palestinian and Qatari flags during a riot near the border security fence (Palinfo Twitter account, June 16, 2017).

The Turkish ship anchored in the southern Turkish port of Mersin  (Palinfo Twitter account, June 19, 2017).

The Turkish ship anchored in the southern Turkish port of Mersin (Palinfo Twitter account, June 19, 2017).

  • This past week Palestinian terrorist events focused on a simultaneous combined terrorist attack carried out at two locations in east Jerusalem (the Nablus Gate and the nearby Cave of Zedekiah). A Border Policewoman was killed. The three terrorists who carried out the attack came from the village of Deir Abu Mash'al, near Ramallah. Two of them were affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the third with Hamas. According to their Facebook pages, their motivation was religious ("Allah, end our deeds with a righteous accomplishment so that through it we may meet you.").
  • Hamas and the PFLP both reported that operatives affiliated with their movements had carried out the attack. ISIS issued a false statement claiming responsibility. Fatah, as usual, accused Israel of "war crimes" without mentioning the terrorist attack or the death of the Border Policewoman.
  • The energy authority in the Gaza Strip reported that Israel had begun reducing the amount of electricity it supplied. A Hamas spokesman warned the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel about the measure's destructive consequences. The Hamas-affiliated "national authority to break the siege on the Gaza Strip" called on Gazans to demonstrate near the border and clash with the IDF to protest the cut in electricity.
Terrorist Attacks and Attempted Terrorists Attacks
Combined Terrorist Attack near the Nablus Gate in East Jerusalem
  • In the early evening of June 16, 2017, three Palestinian terrorists armed with knives and an improvised sub-machine gun went to the area near the Nablus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem and carried out two simultaneous attacks:
  • One attack was carried out at in front of the Cave of Zedekiah on Sultan Suleiman Street. Two terrorist operatives, one armed with an improvised sub-machine gun ("Carlo") and the other with a knife, tried to attack Israeli security forces stationed there. The police shot and killed them.
  • The other attack was carried out near the Nablus Gate (a few hundred yards from the first). A Palestinian mortally stabbed a Border Policewoman. She was evacuated to a hospital and later died. Another Border Policeman suffered minor wounds and two civilians were wounded by gunfire. The terrorist was shot and killed by Israeli security forces.
  • The attacks were carried out by a local three-man terrorist squad whose operatives were 18-19 years old, all of them from the village of Deir Abu Mash'al (west of Ramallah). Two of them were affiliated with the PFLP and one with Hamas. They did not have permits to enter Israeli territory. Two of them had been detained in the past by the Israeli security forces for participating in riots and had served short prison sentences. According to the initial investigation, they had been planning the attack for weeks and apparently were not handled by any organization.
  • According to the investigation, the quick response of the Border Policemen and the fact that the machinegun misfired prevented a much more serious attack.

Communication between the three terrorists on Facebook. On April 17, 2013, Usama 'Atta, one of the terrorists, virtually told the other two operatives of the squad he was planning to end his life with a "righteous accomplishment" so that he could meet Allah. His friends, 'Adel 'Ankush and Baraa 'Atta responded that they fully agreed. Usama 'Atta's answer to them reads as follows: "We pass through life and the world is not ours. One day we will pass [away] and leave everything behind us. Allah, end our deeds with a righteous accomplishments so that through it we may meet you." 'Adel Ankush answered, "by Allah, amen." Baraa' Saleh ('Atta) answered, "Amen" (Facebook page of Usama 'Atta, April 13, 2017).
Communication between the three terrorists on Facebook. On April 17, 2013, Usama 'Atta, one of the terrorists, virtually told the other two operatives of the squad he was planning to end his life with a "righteous accomplishment" so that he could meet Allah. His friends, 'Adel 'Ankush and Baraa 'Atta responded that they fully agreed. Usama 'Atta's answer to them reads as follows: "We pass through life and the world is not ours. One day we will pass [away] and leave everything behind us. Allah, end our deeds with a righteous accomplishments so that through it we may meet you." 'Adel Ankush answered, "by Allah, amen." Baraa' Saleh ('Atta) answered, "Amen" (Facebook page of Usama 'Atta, April 13, 2017).

  •  Personal information about the three terrorists:
  • Baraa' Ibrahim Saleh 'Atta – 19 years old, reportedly a PFLP operative. He was detained in 2015 for throwing stones and Molotov cocktails and imprisoned in Israel for a year. His Facebook name was Baraa' Saleh; only his Facebook friends could view his page.
  • Usama Ahmed Mustafa 'Atta – 19 years old, reportedly a PFLP operative. He was detained in 2014 for throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles and imprisoned in Israel for a number of months. His father was detained during the first intifada and sentenced to five years in prison. With his release he was deported to the Gaza Strip. When the Palestinian Authority was established the father returned to his village. Usama's older brother Muhammad was sentenced to a year and a half in prison. His younger brother Mansour, 14 years old, was detained two months ago and is awaiting trial (al-Araby al-Jadeed, June 17, 2017). Usama's Facebook page contains a great deal of Islamic religious material including, verses and entire pages from the Qur'an, and "shared" sections of Islamic sermons. In May 2017, about a month before the attack, he went to Mecca (Facebook page of Usama 'Atta, May 18, 2017).
  • 'Adel Hassan Ahmed 'Ankush
  • Eighteen years old, reportedly a Hamas operative. His brother Tareq was imprisoned in Israel for throwing Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles. 'Adel's Facebook homepage has the inscription, " 'Adel 'Ankush, at your orders, al-Aqsa." He says he hopes Allah will be satisfied with him. His Facebook page is full of religious material, including quotations from Muslim sermonizers and an anti-abortion video. There are also pictures of Hamas terrorist operatives, including Bassem al-Takrouri who carried out a suicide bombing attack on the French Hill in Jerusalem in May 2003 (Facebook page of 'Adel 'Ankush).
  • His mother said he was determined to pray at al-Aqsa mosque and always complained of the restrictions Israel placed on Muslims who wanted to go there (Watan channel, June 17, 2017). Before he left for the terrorist attack in Jerusalem he left a "will" for his parents. In it he praised the path of jihad for the sake of Allah and the great rewards that accompanied it. He asked his family not to mourn him because he would be paradise. He asked his mother to behave like the mothers of other shaheeds, to be patient and understanding, and not to be sad because paradise was of high value (Nablus News, June 20, 2017).

Left: The "will" 'Adel 'Ankush left for his parents before he left to carry out the terrorist attack in Jerusalem (Nablus News, June 20, 2017). Right: 'Adel Ankush stands on the Israeli flag (Palinfo Twitter account, June 17, 2017).
Left: The "will" 'Adel 'Ankush left for his parents before he left to carry out the terrorist attack in Jerusalem (Nablus News, June 20, 2017). Right: 'Adel Ankush stands on the Israeli flag (Palinfo Twitter account, June 17, 2017).

  • Three terrorist organizations claimed responsibility for the attack:
  • ISIS – ISIS's Amaq agency, posting on a number of ISIS-affiliated websites, claimed the attack in Jerusalem had been carried out by "the lions of the Caliphate," calling the three Abu al-Baraa' al-Maqdisi, Abu Hassan al-Maqdisi, and Abu Rabah al-Maqdisi. The ISIS announcement threatened it was not the last "action" and that the Jews could expect their country to be destroyed by the "soldiers of the Caliphate." It was the first time ISIS had claimed responsibility for an attack carried out in Israeli territory in general and Jerusalem in particular. In ITIC assessment the announcement was baseless. The ITIC has no information about any link, either operative or ideological, between the terrorists who carried out the attack and ISIS, or even the possibility that they may have been inspired by ISIS. However, their families and the residents of Deir Abu Mash'al denied any connection between the terrorists who had carried out the attack and ISIS (Facebook page of Ramallah al-Akhbariya, June 16, 2017)
  • HamasSenior Hamas figure Izzat al-Rishq tweeted that the three "heroic shaheeds of the action in Jerusalem" had no ties to ISIS and belonged to the PFLP and Hamas. He added that the action had been carried out as a "private initiative" (Twitter account of Izzat al-Rishq, June 16, 2017). Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said ISIS's claim was an attempt to blur the facts and that the action had been carried out by two Palestinians from the PFLP and one from Hamas (Paldf Twitter account and Hamas website, June 16, 2017). Senior Hamas figure Taher al-Nunu said Hamas' objective was to have such actions continue and that ISIS's announcement had been forged by Israeli intelligence (Dunia al-Watan, June 18, 2017).
  • The PFLP – The PFLP confirmed that two of its operatives had carried out the attack. They called it "Operation Promise of al-Buraq."[1] According to the organization's announcement, they would continue fighting Israel until the liberation of Palestine (Paldf Twitter account, June 16, 2017). Maher al-Taher, a member of the PFLP's political bureau, said the attack was the fruit of collaboration between the PFLP and Hamas, and that it was a call to the military wings of all the organizations to collaborate (al-Mayadeen, date, 2017).

Left: Hamas cartoon published after the terrorist attack in Jerusalem: "Operation Promise of al-Buraq" (Palinfo Twitter account, June 17, 2017). Right: Notice issued by the PFLP reporting the deaths of two of its operatives, released prisoners Baraa' and Usama 'Atta; it also mentions 'Adel 'Ankush (Twitter account of Voice of the PFLP, date, 2017)
Left: Hamas cartoon published after the terrorist attack in Jerusalem: "Operation Promise of al-Buraq" (Palinfo Twitter account, June 17, 2017). Right: Notice issued by the PFLP reporting the deaths of two of its operatives, released prisoners Baraa' and Usama 'Atta; it also mentions 'Adel 'Ankush (Twitter account of Voice of the PFLP, date, 2017)

  • The PA and Fatah, as usual, did not condemn the terrorists who carried out the attack. On the contrary, Fatah condemned the "occupation forces" in Jerusalem and the "war crimes" Israel had carried out against three young Palestinians. Fatah spokesman Usama al-Qawasmeh said in a statement that the silence of the international community regarding the on-going occupation and its crimes encouraged Israel to spill Palestinian blood. He added that the crime Israel carried out in cold blood and the lives Israel had taken of three young Palestinians were proof of that (Wafa, June 16, 2017). His announcement made no mention of the terrorist attack the three had carried out and the murder of the Border Policewoman.

 

  • To celebrate, residents of Deir Abu Mash'al held a march to the houses of the three terrorists and distributed candy. The local Facebook page commemorated them and changed its theme picture to a picture of all three, adding, "To you. [You deserve] congratulations and all the purity of the sky. You are here and there and everywhere. May peace be upon your souls" (Facebook page Deir Abu Mash'al, June 18, 2017).

Left: The Facebook page of Deir Abu Mash'al commemorates and glorifies the three terrorists operatives who carried out the terrorist attack in east Jerusalem. Right: Spontaneous outbreak of joy: a celebratory march to the houses of the three terrorist operatives in Deir Abu Mash'al (Facebook page Deir Abu Mash'al, June 18, 2017).
Left: The Facebook page of Deir Abu Mash'al commemorates and glorifies the three terrorists operatives who carried out the terrorist attack in east Jerusalem. Right: Spontaneous outbreak of joy: a celebratory march to the houses of the three terrorist operatives in Deir Abu Mash'al (Facebook page Deir Abu Mash'al, June 18, 2017).

Israel's Response
  • In response to the attacks Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu held a meeting to evaluate the situation. It was decided to cancel permission for Palestinians to enter Israel during Ramadan. However, Palestinians who wanted to pray on the Temple Mount could continue to enter the country as usual.
  • The IDF and the Israeli security forces carried out activities in the village of Deir Abu Mash'al (where the terrorists lived). A closure was imposed on the village and relatives of the terrorists were forbidden to enter Israel. The security forces seized illegal vehicles, documents and personal items, and detained suspects for interrogation. Hundreds of Palestinians clashed with the Israeli security forces and the Palestinian media reported that three Palestinians had been wounded (Palinfo Twitter account, June 17, 2017).
Other Terrorist Attacks
  • On June 17, 2017, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli near the community of Alon Shvut (in Gush Etzion), inflicting minor wounds. The Palestinian was detained and taken for interrogation.
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 Israeli security forces detained a number of Palestinians suspected to terrorist activity. The more prominent occurrences were the following:
  • June 18, 2017 – Palestinians tried to barricade themselves on the Temple Mount. Three Israeli policemen were wounded. Two Palestinians who tried to attack a policeman were detained (Jerusalem Police spokesman's unit, June 18, 2017). Palestinian sources condemned what they called "Israel's escalation against al-Aqsa mosque" (Filastin al-Yawm, June 18, 2017). Note: For the approaching last Friday of Ramadan, Muslim clerics, among them Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and the PA, are enflaming Palestinian emotions and encouraging the Palestinians to go en masse to al-Aqsa mosque (Palinfo Twitter account and IINA News, June 19, 2017)
  • June 18, 2017 – Palestinians threw a pipe bomb at Israeli security forces operating in the region of Abu Dis (east of Jerusalem). There were no casualties and no damage was reported (Facebook page of Red Alert, June 18, 2017).
  • June 17, 2017 – Palestinians fired shots in the region of the Tekoa Junction (Gush Etzion). The Israeli security forces searched the area and found a number of shell casings. The shooters escaped (Facebook page of Red Alert, June 17, 2017).
  • June 16, 2017 – The Israeli security forces detained six Palestinians who threw stones and Molotov cocktail in the region of Kokhav Hashahar (northeast of Ramallah). In addition, two vehicles were seized and found to be carrying stones and Molotov cocktails (Facebook page of Red Alert, June 16, 2017).
  • June 15, 2017 – Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli vehicle near Anata (east of Jerusalem). A woman was injured and evacuated to a hospital (Facebook page of Red Alert, June 15, 2017).
  • June 15, 2017 – Two Palestinians tried to throw a Molotov cocktail at the security fence around Kiryat Arba (near Hebron). They were unsuccessful, and fled (Facebook page of Red Alert, June 15, 2017).
Summary of Terrorist Attacks, May 2017[2]
  • According to statistics provided by the Israel Security Agency, during May 2017 the number of terrorist attacks increased, compared with April 2017. In May there 142 terrorist attacks were carried out (116 in April). Of them, 113 were carried out in Judea and Samaria, 29 in Jerusalem, and one deep inside Israel in Netanya. Most of the attacks (121) involved Molotov cocktails. Eleven involved IEDs, two were stabbing attacks, three were shooting attacks using light arms, and six were arson attacks.[3] Two Israelis were wounded, both members of the Israeli security forces (in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem, May 13, 2017, and in a stabbing attack in Netanya, May 23, 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
  • This past week demonstrations and riots organized by Hamas continued along the border security fence with Israel, held to protest Mahmoud Abbas' decision to reduce resources directed towards the Gaza Strip. On Friday, June 16, 2017, demonstrations were held at four sites, with several hundred Palestinians participating in each. The Palestinian media reported that a number of Gazans were wounded in clashes with the IDF in the eastern Gaza Strip (Wafa, June 16, 2017).
The Electricity Crisis
  • On June 19, 2017, the Energy Authority in the Gaza Strip reported that Israel had begun to reduce the amount of electricity it supplied to the Gaza Strip by eight megawatts (of the 120 supplied until now). According to the authorities in the Gaza Strip, that will reduce the flow of electricity to the residents by 45 minutes (from four hours a day to 3 1/4 hours a day). The effects will be most severely felt in Gaza City and the Khan Yunis region.
  • Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum warned that the consequences of the cut in electricity would be disastrous, and accused the PA and Israel of responsibility. He said the reduction in electricity would "hasten the coming explosion" (Hamas website, June 19, 2017). The Hamas-affiliated "national authority to break the siege on the Gaza Strip" called on Gazans to demonstrate near the border and clash with the IDF to protest the cut in electricity and confront the "enemy" (i.e., the IDF) at the friction points along the Gaza Strip (Zone Press and Ma'an, June 20, 2017).
  • A report prepared by the Palestinian al-Mezan Center warned of a coming "ecological catastrophe" along the 42-kilometer (26-mile) Gazan coast. According to the report, the lack of fuel and ensuing lack of electricity prevent the operation of sewage purification plants, forcing many municipalities to dump their waste into the sea. Every day, 100 thousand cubic meters (about 26.5 million gallons) of waste are poured into the sea from the Gaza Strip' 23 sewage purification plants. The Gazan ministry of health and ecological authority have found a very high level of pollution in the sea water (Ma'an, June 20, 2017).

Left: Hamas cartoon of Benyamin Netanyahu using Mahmoud Abbas to cut off electricity to the Gaza Strip (Facebook page of al-Risalah, June 16, 2017) Right: Hamas cartoon of Mahmoud Abbas, Rami Hamdallah and Israel working together to worsen the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. The TV newsflash reads, "The Israeli cabinet meets to reduce electricity to the Gaza Strip" (alresalah.net, June 15, 2017).
Left: Hamas cartoon of Benyamin Netanyahu using Mahmoud Abbas to cut off electricity to the Gaza Strip (Facebook page of al-Risalah, June 16, 2017) Right: Hamas cartoon of Mahmoud Abbas, Rami Hamdallah and Israel working together to worsen the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. The TV newsflash reads, "The Israeli cabinet meets to reduce electricity to the Gaza Strip" (alresalah.net, June 15, 2017).

Turkish Sends Ship with Aid for the Residents of the Gaza Strip
  • The Turkish deputy prime minister said that following instructions received from President Erdogan, preparations were being made to send a Turkish ship with humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip. It set sail from the southern Turkish port of Mersin. He said Turkey hoped the humanitarian aid aboard the ship would strengthen the Palestinian people (Shehab, June 17, 2017).
  • Fa'ed Mustafa, PA ambassador to Turkey, reported that on June 17, 2017, the ship had sailed from Mersin en route to [Israel's southern] port of Ashdod, carrying humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip, which he said would be distributed to needy families for Eid al-Fitr (which falls on June 25, 2017 this year). It will be the third Turkish ship to unload its cargo at the port of Ashdod since the reconciliation between Israel and Turkey (alresalah.net, June 18, 2017).
Khalil al-Haya Statements at a Press Conference
  • Senior Hamas figure Khalil al-Haya held a press conference and addressed various issues (al-Aqsa TV, June 18, 2017)"
  • He claimed humanity's real enemy was Israel and that genuine terrorism was organized by Israel (the "Zionist entity"). He claimed the easy normalization of relations of a number of Arab states with Israel was dangerous and harmed the Palestinians.
  • He claimed the measures taken against the Gaza Strip by Mahmoud Abbas, as difficult as they were, would not make the Palestinians abandon the "resistance" [i.e., terrorism]. They would rather unite the Palestinian people both inside and outside the Gaza Strip. Not providing electricity, he said, was like not giving medicine to a sick person.
  • He claimed Hamas did not initiate wars with Israel and did not expect one to break out in the near future. However, he warned that the continuing "siege" of the Gaza Strip might lead to an "explosion." He informed the Israeli defense minister that Hamas would not give up "the weapon of resistance" but would only develop and strengthen it.
  • Fatah spokesman Usama al-Qawasmeh condemned the statements made by Khalil al-Haya. He said there were internal contradictions in Hamas' political document whose aim was to appease Israel and the Western world. He added that Hamas was responsible for the difficult humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip because Hamas prevented the Palestinian national consensus government from operating. He said Hamas was determined to control the crossings and was destroying the private sector (Wafa, June 18, 2017).
Criticism of Hamas' Conduct during Operation Protective Edge
  • Interviewed by the Persian Gulf's "The National" news site, Mohammed al-Falahi, head of the UAE's Red Crescent, says Hamas "betrayed and sacrificed" the Red Crescent during Operation Protective Edge. He said that during the operation the Red Crescent has set up a field hospital in the Gaza Strip to reinforce the local health system, which was under heavy pressure because of the large number of wounded. He said the hospital's location had been made known to the Israeli authorities by the Red Cross.
  • "While we were in the field hospital that the UAE built," he said, "we were surprised someone from Hamas instigating Israeli forces by launching locally made rockets from the field hospital," he said. Inevitably, the Israelis hit back. "This shows their [Hamas’s] wicked intentions and how they sacrificed us," Fa'ed al-Falahi said. "They always claim that the enemy targets humanitarian envoys but the betrayal came from them"[6] (The National, June 12, 2017).
Payments to Palestinian Terrorist Prisoners
  • Three different aspects of the issue of payments to Palestinian terrorist prisoners were raised this week:
  • Israel legislation – The ministerial committee for legislation confirmed a proposal for a bill that would balance the salaries prisoners and their families receive from the PA by cutting the taxes Israel transfers to the PA. At its weekly meeting the Palestinian national consensus government condemned the law. The Palestinian government stressed that the funds in question belonged to the PA and not Israel, and therefore it was theft of public Palestinian money. That, he said, reflected Israel's decision to deliberately violate former agreements and international law (Wafa, June 18, 2017).
  • The diplomatic arena
  • Rex Tillerson, the American secretary of state, told a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Palestinian leadership had made a U-turn on payments to the families of convicted Palestinian attackers. He said, "They have changed that policy and their intent is to cease the payments to the families of those who have committed murder or violence against others." He continued, “We have been very clear with them that this [practice of paying terrorists] is simply not acceptable to us." The decision was made, he said, after Donald Trump’s hosting of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the US. and a visit with him in the West Bank city of Bethlehem(website of the American State Department, June 16, 2017).
  • At a press briefing held on June 15, 2017, State Department spokesman Heather Nauert was asked, "Secretary Tillerson told Congress the other day that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas or the authority have agreed not to make payments to the families of prisoners and martyrs, as they call them. And then yesterday [Mahmoud Abbas] basically backtracked. Could you clarify this for us?" She answered, "The Secretary addressed this yesterday, and he said this type of thing is not acceptable to the American people; it is certainly not appropriate. I think those are very clear comments. We have a certain set of expectations, and the expectation is that that should, in fact, stop. Last month the Palestinian Authority announced that it was stopping payments to some Hamas-affiliated prisoners, but this step we consider to be inadequate to talk about – to address our concerns"  (Newsweek and other American media outlets, June 14, 2017).
  • The decision taken by the PA – The PA decided to stop paying the salaries of 277 Hamas prisoners released to the Gaza Strip, in view of the dispute between Hamas and the PA (al-Quds, date, 2017).
  • Issa Qaraqe, chairman of the prisoners and released prisoners' authority in the PA, and Qadoura Fares, chairman of the Palestinian prisoners club, reacted strongly to Tillerson's statement, claiming it wasn't true. They also claimed no complaint had been received from the prisoners' families about funds not having been paid this month. However, they both said that payments to 277 prisoners released to the Gaza Strip had been frozen. In addition, "senior Palestinian sources" said the PA had not changed its policy about paying salaries to the families of shaheeds and prisoners. According to the sources, news items about the issue were part of an incitement campaign waged by the Israeli prime minister and the Israeli media against the Palestinian leadership (Facebook page of prisoners and released prisoners' authority and al-Quds, June 15, 2017)
The PA Blocks Hamas Websites
  • The PA decided to block 40 Palestinian and Arab websites, including a number of popular social network pages. Most of the blocked sites are affiliated with Hamas or Mahmoud Dahlan. Among them was the Hamas affiliated Safa news agency (Majal Press, June 18, 2017).

Left: Campaign launched on the social networks protesting the PA's move to block Hamas websites: "#noblocking." The Arabic reads, "No to shutting us up" (Palinfo Twitter account, June 19, 2017). Right: Hamas cartoon criticizing the PA move to block its websites  (Palinfo Twitter account, June 16, 2017).
Left: Campaign launched on the social networks protesting the PA's move to block Hamas websites: "#noblocking." The Arabic reads, "No to shutting us up" (Palinfo Twitter account, June 19, 2017). Right: Hamas cartoon criticizing the PA move to block its websites (Palinfo Twitter account, June 16, 2017).

[1]Al-Buraq is the name of the mythological horse that carried Mohammad to heaven from al-Aqsa mosque. According to later Islamic tradition, Mohammad tethered al-Buraq to the West Wall when they arrived at al-Aqsa mosque from Mecca.
[2]Data from the Israel Security Agency website
[3]The data do not include the hundreds of incidents of Palestinian stone-throwing.
[4]A significant attack is defined by the ITIC as involving shooting, stabbing, a vehicle, the use of IEDs, or a combination of the above. Stones and Molotov cocktails thrown by Palestinians are not included.
[5]The statistics do not include mortar shell fire or rockets which misfired and fell inside the Gaza Strip.
[6]http://www.thenational.ae/uae/red-crescent-chief-tells-of-hamas-betrayal-while-delivering-aid-in-gaza

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (June 2 – 6, 2017)

Gazans clash with IDF forces at the border security fence following a Hamas call to hold a week of demonstrations on the Israeli-Gazan border to protest the

Gazans clash with IDF forces at the border security fence following a Hamas call to hold a week of demonstrations on the Israeli-Gazan border to protest the "siege" of the Gaza Strip (Twitter account of QudsN, June 2, 2017).

Gazans clash with IDF forces at the border security fence following a Hamas call to hold a week of demonstrations on the Israeli-Gazan border to protest the

Gazans clash with IDF forces at the border security fence following a Hamas call to hold a week of demonstrations on the Israeli-Gazan border to protest the "siege" of the Gaza Strip (Twitter account of QudsN, June 2, 2017).

Pictures from the end-of-year display put on by the children in the Dar al-Huda kindergarten in the Zeitun neighborhood of Gaza City (Facebook page of the al-Huda ha-Islami kindergarten, June 2, 2017).

Pictures from the end-of-year display put on by the children in the Dar al-Huda kindergarten in the Zeitun neighborhood of Gaza City (Facebook page of the al-Huda ha-Islami kindergarten, June 2, 2017).

Jibril Rajoub interviewed by Israeli Channel 2 TV (YouTube, June 4, 2017).

Jibril Rajoub interviewed by Israeli Channel 2 TV (YouTube, June 4, 2017).

  • This past week no significant terrorist attack was carried out in Judea and Samaria or the Gaza Strip. After Hamas called on the residents of the Gaza Strip to hold demonstrations near the border with Israel, several hundred Palestinians rioted at each of various locations for a number of days.
  • The Arab media reported that Qatar gave Hamas the names of 12 operatives who were required to leave Doha immediately. Most of the names were of Hamas operatives handling terrorist networks in Judea and Samaria; one of the operatives was Saleh al-Arouri. Hamas strongly denied the report.
  • This past week a delegation of senior Hamas figures left the Gaza Strip for Egypt, led by Yahya al-Sinwar, the head of the new Hamas' political bureau in the Gaza Strip. According to Hamas' media, the delegation will discuss Hamas-Egypt relations and the worsening humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip. The delegation will also ask Egypt to open the Rafah crossing and ease the "siege."
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. Israeli security forces detained a number of Palestinians suspected of terrorist activity and seized weapons. The more prominent occurrences were the following:
  • June 5, 2017 – Israeli security forces operating in the village of Asira al-Shamaliya (Nablus region) seized weapons, including a hand gun, rifle sights and ammunition (Facebook page of Red Alert, June 5, 2017).
  • June 5, 2017 – Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli vehicle near Nebi Elias (Samaria). There were no casualties; the vehicle was damaged(Facebook page of Red Alert, June 5, 2017).
  • June 3, 2017 – IDF forces attempted to detain a Palestinian at the checkpoint near Nebi Saleh (northwest of Ramallah) and a clash with other Palestinians ensued. One was seriously injured. The IDF is investigating the circumstances (Facebook page of Red Alert, June 3, 2017).
  • June 2, 2017 – Palestinians threw a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli vehicle near the community of Kokhav Hashahar (northeast of Ramallah). There were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, June 2, 2017).
  • June 2, 2017 –Israeli security forces operating in the village of Khirbet Aqaba (west of Nablus) seized a large quantity of weapons (Facebook page of Red Alert, June 2, 2017).

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

Condemnation of the Death of a Palestinian Terrorist Who Carried Out a Stabbing Attack
  • On June 1, 2017, a Palestinian girl carried out a stabbing attack near the community of Mevo Dotan, wounding an IDF soldier. She was shot and later died in a hospital. The Palestinian ministry of health issued an announcement condemning the IDF's "field court martial" which had sentenced her to death. According to the announcement, such trials held by IDF soldiers indicate the moral deterioration of the IDF under Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. The ministry also appealed to the UN Security Council and international organizations to investigate the event, and ensure Israel bore responsibility for its acts and obeyed international law (Wafa, June 2, 2017).
  • The above is another example of how the PA and Fatah systematically accuse Israel of responsibility for the deaths of Palestinian terrorists who die while carrying out attacks. They consistently ignore the relationship between cause (an attempted terrorist attack) and effect (the death of the terrorist).[2]
Rocket Fire Attacking Israel
  • This past week no rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory.

Rocket Fire Attacking Israel

Clashes near the Border Security Fence
  • The Hamas-affiliated "national authority to break the siege" called on the residents of the Gaza Strip to hold "demonstrations" near the border with Israel for a week. Their slogan was "the warning of rage." The demonstrations were meant to protest the intensifying of the "siege" on the Gaza Strip (al-Aqsa, June 1, 2017).
  • Inanswer to the call Gazans rioted on the Israeli-Gazan border for a week. Clashes were held simultaneously in a number of locations (determined in advance by Hamas). There were several hundred rioters at each location. They set fire to tires and threw stones at IDF forces (Twitter account of al-Aqsa TV, June 2, 2017). The Palestinian media reported that a number of Gazans were injured during the clashes (Filastin al-Yawm, al-Aqsa and Wafa, June 2-5, 2017).
Hamas Delegation Goes to Egypt
  • A Hamas delegation led by Yahya al-Sinwar, the head of Hamas' political bureau in the Gaza Strip, left the Gaza Strip for Egypt through the Rafah crossing. Members of the delegation included senior Hamas figures Khalil al-Haya and Rawhi Mushtaha, as well as Tawfiq Abu Na'im, assistant deputy minister of the interior and in charge of the security forces. The delegates planned to meet with senior figures in the Egyptian administration, including the head of Egyptian General Intelligence. They will discuss a series of issues relating to the Gaza Strip and Hamas-Egyptian relations (Filastin al-Yawm, June 4, 2017).
  • According to Salah al-Bardawil, a member of Hamas' political bureau, the objective of the visit was to develop relations with Egypt and discuss the future of the Palestinian cause. The delegates will also raise the issue of the humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip, the role of Egypt in easing the siege and the necessity of opening the Rafah crossing (alresalah.net, June 4, 2017). It is the first visit of Yahya al-Sinwar to Egypt since he was elected to head Hamas' political bureau in the Gaza Strip on February 13, 2017.
Hamas' External Relations
  • Osama Hamdan, in charge of Hamas' external relations, spoke about Hamas' relations with Iran. He claimed there was nothing new in the report published by the London-based newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat about a rapprochement between Hamas and Iran because they had never cut off relations. For the past two years, he claimed, relations had been steadily improving. He said the last time he visited Iran was three months ago. Regarding meeting with Israelis, he said no one in Hamas was permitted to meet with Israelis or negotiate with them in the name of the movement. Anyone who met with Israelis would pay the price (al-Mayadeen, May 31, 2017).
Hamas' Relations with Qatar
  • Hezbollah-affiliated al-Mayadeen TV, quoting diplomat sources, reported that Qatar had given Hamas the names of 12 Hamas operatives who were required to leave Doha [the capital of Qatar] immediately. According to the report, most of the names listed were of Hamas operatives who coordinated activities with the movement's leadership in Judea and Samaria. Qatar expressed regret at having to take such a step, but it did "in the wake of external pressures" (al-Mayadeen, June 3, 2017). According to the Jordanian paper al-Ghad, Saleh al-Arouri, a member of Hamas' political bureau, had already left Qatar (al-Ghad, June 3, 2017).
  • Hamas publicly denied its senior figures had been expelled from Qatar:

 

  • Hamas spokesman Husam Badran said the report was false, distorted the true situation, and was an attempt to influence Hamas' external relations. He thanked Qatar for its positive role in supporting the Palestinian people (alresalah.net, June 4, 2017).
  • Salah al-Bardawil, a member of Hamas' political bureau, Tweeted that the discourse regarding the expulsion of the Hamas leadership from Qatar was part of a well-planned, well-orchestrated media campaign initiated by people who wanted to harm Hamas. Such people were concerned Hamas would soon overcome its present crisis and be stronger than before (Twitter account of Salah al-Bardawil, June 4, 2017)
Stopping Payment of Salaries to Released Terrorist Prisoners
  • Released prisoners in the Gaza Strip said the Palestinian Authority (PA) had stopped paying the salaries of 277 Palestinian terrorist prisoners who had been released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal and exiled to the Gaza Strip. They said when they had gone to their banks to receive their salaries they were told the money had not yet been deposited. They appealed to everyone involved and asked for pressure to be exerted on the PA so that they could receive the funds (al-Ra'i, June 4, 2017). Abu Jerad, chairman of the of the union of PA workers in the Gaza Strip, condemned the PA's measure and said the union would undertake a series of protest measures against the PA (Samaa News, June 4, 2017).
  • Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum condemned the PA's decision to stop the payments. He said it served Israel and Israel's positions. He called on Mahmoud Abbas to cancel the decision (Hamas website, June 5, 2017).
End-of-Year Ceremony at a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Kindergarten in Gaza City
  • The PIJ-affiliated Islamic Dar al-Huda NGO held an end-of-the-year ceremony at its kindergarten in Gaza City. The ceremony demonstrated the hatred and violence towards Israel with which the children are indoctrinated.
  • The ceremony was held at the end of May 2017 at the kindergarten run by the NGO in the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City. The children, wearing "camouflage uniforms" of the PIJ's military-terrorist wing, simulated attacking and killing two ultra-Orthodox Jews, who, according to the script, had killed a Palestinian woman. The children held up pictures of Ramadan Shallah, PIJ secretary general, and Fathi Shqaqi, the organization's founder (Facebook page of the Islamic Dar al-Huda kindergarten, June 2, 2017). A similar ceremony was held last year.[4]
Responses to the United States' Announcement to Delay the Relocation of the American Embassy to Jerusalem
  • Donald Trump signed an waiver delaying the relocation of the American embassy to Jerusalem by six months (until December 1, 2017). In a statement issued by the White House, officials said Mr. Trump’s move should not be considered “a retreat from the president’s strong support for Israel” and its alliance with the United States.[5] The United States, according to the statement, was still planning to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem, and the only question was when (New York Times, June 1, 2017).
  • The PA welcomed the move, which they claimed was consistent with international consensus and gave peace a chance. In the meantime, the PA said it was considering sending a delegation of senior Palestinian figures to Washington in preparation for beginning negotiations with Israel (al-Quds, June 20, 2017). Some responses were the following:
  • Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, said Trump's decision was positive and would increase the chances for peace. He said it also proved the American administration was serious about the peace process and its intentions to construct a bridge of trust (Wafa, June 1, 2017).
  • Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee, praised the United States for not surrendering to Israeli pressure. He called Trump's decision a step in the right direction which proved the new American administration could be trusted to work for peace (Dunia al-Watan, June 2, 2017).
  • Husam Zomlot, the de facto PA ambassador to Washington, said the decision was important for three reasons: president Trump would continue the policy of not recognizing Israel's military rule in Jerusalem, both east and west; the president was serious about reaching a comprehensive resolution for the Palestinian cause; and Prime Minister Netanyahu was not serious about achieving peace. Husam Zomlot claimed Mahmoud Abbas' instructions to prevent the relocation of the embassy to Jerusalem were clear and the American administration understood from the Palestinian position that relocating the embassy would destroy any chance of reaching a political settlement, at the same time increasing regional extremism and instability (Samaa, June 1, 2017).
Statements Made by Jibril Rajoub about the Western Wall
  • In an interview given by Jibril Rajoub, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, to Israeli Channel 2's program "Meet the Press," he said, regarding Trump's visit to the Western Wall, that it had to remain under Israeli sovereignty but that the Temple Mount had to remain in the hands of the Palestinians. He also said the regarding the issue of the Western Wall there was no argument and that it was a holy place for the Jews.
  • Jibril Rajoub's remarks about the Western Wall caused a storm of criticism in the Palestinian social networks. He posted a denial of his alleged remarks about the Western Wall on his Facebook page. He said a number of websites and "tabloids" had published false reports claiming that in an interview in Hebrew he had ceded the Western Wall and Jerusalem. However, he claimed, he meant that Trump's solo visit to the Western Wall, without Israelis accompanying him, sent the message that he did not recognize the legitimacy of Israel's sovereignty over the site (Facebook page of Jibril Rajoub, June 4, 2017).

Jibril Rajoub's response to criticism (Facebook page of Jibril Rajoub, June 3, 2017).
Jibril Rajoub's response to criticism (Facebook page of Jibril Rajoub, June 3, 2017).

  • Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said in an announcement that he condemned the statements made by Jibril Rajoub. He said Jibril Rajoub's statements were a "national crime" and sent a clear message to Israel that the Palestinians had officially waived their rights to one of their holy places, which was also a Palestinian national historic site. He claimed the statements made by Jibril Rajoub showed the depths to which some of the Fatah leadership had sunk and that such statements showed disregard for the struggle of the Palestinian people (Hamas website, June 4, 2017).
  • Daoud Shehab, director of the PIJ's media bureau, wrote that the statements made by Jibril Rajoub were serious and prepared the ground for the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. He added that the concepts of "the Oslo negotiations pack" ignored what was sacred and that as far as they were concerned everything was open to negotiation, which was the cause of catastrophes (Paltoday, June 4, 2017).

Hamas cartoons. Left: "Rajoub: the Western Wall has to remain under Jewish sovereignty..." (Palinfo Twitter account, June 4, 2017). Right: Rajoub presents the Islamic Western Wall to the Jews (Palinfo Twitter account, June 5, 2017).
Hamas cartoons. Left: "Rajoub: the Western Wall has to remain under Jewish sovereignty..." (Palinfo Twitter account, June 4, 2017). Right: Rajoub presents the Islamic Western Wall to the Jews (Palinfo Twitter account, June 5, 2017).

Public Opinion Poll about the Israel-Palestinian Political Process
  • The Bethlehem-based Ma'an News Agency (considered one of the most prominent Palestinian media) conducted a public opinion poll about renewing negotiations under the aegis of Donald Trump. According to the poll, 88% of those who participated were of the opinion that Trump, like his predecessors, would be biased in favor of Israel and that his administration would present nothing new. Only 8.4% were of the opinion that a return to negotiations could lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state (Ma'an, June 4, 2017).

Cartoon by Khalil Abu Arafeh exaggerating the extent of construction in the Israeli settlements before (right) and after (left) Trump (Facebook page of Khalil Abu Arafeh, June 4, 2017).
Cartoon by Khalil Abu Arafeh exaggerating the extent of construction in the Israeli settlements before (right) and after (left) Trump (Facebook page of Khalil Abu Arafeh, June 4, 2017).

The Palestinian Terrorists Prisoners' Hunger Strike
  • Ashraf al-Ajami, who was formerly PA minister for prisoners affairs, wrote an article about the prisoners' strike. In it he claimed that ending the strike after negotiations with Israel, which had initially refused to negotiate with the prisoners, was a victory. However, he wrote, it revealed the difficult and disturbing truth that only 10% of all the prisoners in Israeli jails had joined the strike, demonstrating a low level of solidarity among the prisoners. That showed that the prisoners' movement was divided, similar to Palestinian society (al-Ayam, June 5, 2017).
The 50th Anniversary of the Six Day War
  • This past week the PA marked the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War (the naksa, "defeat" in Arabic). Mahmoud Abbas' office issued an announcement stressing that the end of the occupation and establishment of an independent Palestinian state with the 1967 borders and east Jerusalem as its capital were the real way to achieve security and stability. The Palestinians adhered to their national rights and basic principles, for which they had sacrificed thousands of shaheeds and wounded. The announcement called on the free world to put an end to the world's "last occupation" and allow the Palestinians their full and legitimate rights (Wafa, June 4, 2017).
  • Saeb Erekat, secretary of the PLO's Executive Committee, said in an announcement that the Palestinians would not allow Israel or its supporters to uproot them from their land again. They would not waive their national rights, which were anchored in international law, and would continue their struggle against the occupation with every means at their disposal. He said the two-state solution was the only way to end the occupation, and that the Palestinian leadership would not agree to temporary or partial solutions, or to a regional solution. He called on the international community, especially the UN, to take responsibility for ending the Israeli occupation and bring its criminals to trial for their war crimes and the crimes against humanity they had committed against the Palestinian for 50 years. He added that in the absence of the two-state solution and of support, the Palestinians would not sit idly by but would struggle to defeat the "apartheid regime" Israeli was trying to enforce (Wafa, June 4, 2017).

Palestinian cartoons for the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War (left to right: Felesteen, June 6, 2017; Twitter account of Filastin al-A'an, June 5, 2017; alresala.net, June 5, 2017).
Palestinian cartoons for the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War (left to right: Felesteen, June 6, 2017; Twitter account of Filastin al-A'an, June 5, 2017; alresala.net, June 5, 2017).

[1]A significant attack is defined by the ITIC as involving shooting, stabbing, a vehicle, the use of IEDs, or a combination of the above. Stones and Molotov cocktails thrown by Palestinians are not included.
[2]See the June 5, 2017 bulletin, "Anti-Israel Incitement in the Palestinian Authority: Causes and Aspects." (Hebrew; the document will soon be available in English translation.)
[3]The statistics do not include mortar shell fire or rockets which misfired and fell inside the Gaza Strip.
[4]See the June 5, 2016 bulletin, "Kindergarten party held by a PIJ-affiliated NGO once again demonstrates the indoctrination of Gazan children with violence and hatred for Israel."
[5]https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/01/world/middleeast/israel-embassy-jerusalem-trump.html?_r=0