Site of the August 4 rocket hit in the area of the southern Israeli city of Ashqelon in the western Negev
Photo by Adi Israel, courtesy of NRG, August 4, 2011
Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israeli territory
Rocket Fire -- Monthly Distribution
Mortar Shell Fire -- Monthly Distribution
South African convoy activists at prayer (From the convoy's website, August 4, 2011).
This past week the rocket and mortar shell fire into Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip continued. Two of the rockets fell southwest of the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Gat, a greater range from the Gaza Strip than in past weeks. Israeli aircraft attacked terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip. A spokesman for the interior ministry of the de-facto Hamas administration said that his ministry was enforcing the "national consensus" that rockets were not to be fired into Israeli territory. A network affiliated with with the global jihad calling itself the "Oneness of Allah and Jihad" reported that Hamas’ internal security forces had detained some of its operatives as they were about to rockets into Israel.
The Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said at a press conference that the Palestinian Authority was planning acts of violence and bloodshed for the September events. Adnan al-Dumiri, spokesman for the PA’s security forces, responded that the PA supported a popular non-violent resistance and had instructed the population not to give Israel an excuse to respond with violence.
Important Events in Israel’s South
This past week three rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory. Two of the rockets had longer ranges than usual and landed near the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Gat. On August 3 an improved locally-manufactured rocket was fired. On August 4 what was apparently a 122mm Grad rocket was fired, requiring a number of civilians to be treated for shock. Another rocket was fired on August 4 and landed in the western Negev. There were no casualties. A network calling itself the "Oneness of Allah and Jihad," affiliated with with the global jihad, claimed responsibility for the attack (Jihad forum website, August 4, 2011).
Site of one of the rocket hits in the western Negev
(Photo by Adi Israel, courtesy of NRG, August 4, 2011).
During the past week five mortar shell hits were identified in Israeli territory. They fell in open areas in the western Negev. No casualties were reported and no damage was done.
Rockets and Mortar Shells Fired into Israeli Territory 1
Rocket Fire — Monthly Distribution
Mortar Shell Fire — Monthly Distribution
Israeli Air Force Response
In response to the rocket attacks on Israel, Israeli aircraft struck a number of terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip:
On August 5 three tunnels used by Hamas for terrorist purposes were attacked. Two additional focal points of terrorist activity in the central and southern Gaza Strip were also struck (IDF Spokesman’s website, August 5, 2011).
On August 4 Israeli aircraft struck a terrorist squad preparing to fire rockets into Israel. Two additional terrorist targets in the northern Gaza Strip and a smuggling tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip were also struck (IDF Spokesman’s website, August 4, 2011).
The Palestinian media reported that three civilians were seriously wounded. According to reports, one of the targets hit was a post belonging to Hamas’ military wing and the three wounded were Hamas terrorist operatives (Hamas’ PALDF and Paltoday websites, August 5, 2011).
The De-Facto Hamas Administration Attempts to Restrain the Rocket Fire
According to the Palestinian media, the network affiliated with the global jihad and calling itself the "Unity of Allah and Jihad" reported that the security forces of the Hamas administration had detained network operatives as they were about to fire rockets into Israel. Ihab al-Ghussein, spokesman for the Hamas administration interior ministry, denied the reports. However, he did say that his ministry was enforcing the "national consensus" that rockets were not to be fired into Israel, but he added that no one would be detained for "resistance" [i.e., terrorist] activity (Ma’an News Agency, August 6, 2011).
Judea and Samaria
The Situation on the Ground
This past week there were a number of demonstrations at the traditional friction points. Demonstrators, among them Palestinians, Israeli civilians and foreigners, threw stones at the Israeli security forces, who responded with riot control measures.
Developments in the Gaza Strip
This past week between 250 and 276 trucks carrying merchandise entered the Gaza Strip every day (Website of the Israeli government coordinator for the territories, August 9, 2011).
Global Jihad Activity in the Northern Sinai Peninsula
On July 29 masked operatives opened fire on an Egyptian police station in El Arish. Six people were killed in the attack, two of them members of the security forces (Masrawi website, July 30, 2011). On July 30 the Egyptian gas terminal which supplies gas to Israel and Jordan was attacked by the same operatives for the fifth time since February 2011. A confrontation developed between the attackers and the Egyptian security forces, who tried to protect the terminal (Al-Jazeera TV, July 30, 2011).
Egyptian security sources reported that the operatives might have belonged to networks affiliated with the global jihad and recently established in the Sinai Peninsula. According to the sources, the operatives were trained in the Gaza Strip under the aegis of the Army of Islam2 and also received financial support from the network (Masrawi website, July 31, 2011). Abu al-Muthana, senior Army of Islam figure, denied the accusations, saying that the Army of Islam had no connection to the events in El Arish and that the accusations were groundless (Qudsnet website, August 6, 2011).
General Salah al-Masri, head of the Egyptian security department in northern Sinai, said that in light of the attacks a new security program had been formulated to reinforce Egyptian control of the northern Sinai Peninsula and increase the oversight of external elements coming to the region (Al-Masri Al-Yawm, August 1, 2011).
Israel and the Palestinian Authority
Reports in the Israel Media about Israel’s Readiness to Negotiate on the
Basis of the 1967 Borders Met with Skepticism by Palestinians
According to reports in the Israeli media, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to negotiate with the Palestinians on the basis of the 1967 borders. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman confirmed the reports, but claimed that the Palestinians rejected to offer (Israeli Channel 2 TV news, August 7, 2011).
In response, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said that the declarations were not trustworthy, and the meeting he was supposed to hold with Israeli President Shimon Peres had been called off (Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, August 3, 2011). Yasser Abd Rabbo, secretary of the PLO’s executive committee, called the statements "a worthless Israeli trick," claiming that the American proposal to the International Quartet, on which Israeli compliance was based, was not recognized as a basis for negotiations (Voice of Palestine Radio, August 2, 2011).
The Palestinian Authority Prepares for its UN Move in September
The Palestinian Authority is getting ready for the vote expected to be held in the UN in September. So far, it seems that they prefer the track of an appeal to the Security Council, and only afterwards to the General Assembly. Speaking on Palestinian radio, Sa’eb Erekat, a member of the PLO’s executive committee, said that the Palestinians could be expected to take "all the steps necessary" to prevent a veto in the Security Council and that they already had a "comprehensive plan" for that issue (Voice of Palestine Radio, August 4, 2011).
Sa’eb Erekat emphasized that the efforts to achieve Palestinian membership in the UN were now "the main way to protect the peace process" and the principle of two states for two people. He called on all the countries which had not yet recognized the state of "Palestine" to do so. He said that the efforts in the UN would be made to achieve membership for the Palestinian state in the UN and not to declare independence, which had already been declared in 1988 (Wafa News Agency, August 8, 2011).
The Arab League is also making preparations for the expected move:
The Organization of Non-Aligned Countries, the countries of the African Union and the countries of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference agreed to establish a joint situation room for the Palestinian move, headed by Nabil al-Arabi, chairman of the Arab League.
A delegation of Arab ministers is supposed to leave for the member states of the Security Council to enlist their support for the vote.
A meeting of the Arab monitoring committee is planned for the second week of September, after the peace initiative before the session of the General Assembly
Senior Palestinian Figures Deny the Palestinian Authority’s Intention to Employ Violence in September
Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli foreign minister, told a press conference that "the Palestinian Authority is planning violence and bloodshed of a sort never seen before along with the September events in the UN." he claimed that an "assault" the A-Ras blockade near Jerusalem had been planned (Israel Channel 2 TV and Channel 10 TV news, August 7, 2011).
Sa’eb Erekat, a member of the PLO’s central committee, claimed that the Palestinians were not planning to commit violent acts in September, but rather for "peace and reconciliation," although Lieberman�s remarks made it clear that "there is no partner" in Israel (Wallah news, August 7, 2011). Adnan al-Dumiri, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority’s security forces, said that the PA supported non-violent popular resistance and that the leadership had instructed the Palestinians not to give Israel and excuse to use violence. He added that the popular resistance should become "public" and not remain only in the hands of the "elite" (Wafa News Agency, August 7, 2011).
Convoys to the Gaza Strip � Update
The African Convoy Is on Its Way to the Gaza Strip
The African aid convoy which left Durban on July 14 is currently in Sudan. The participants were planning to load their cargo on board a ship and continue by sea from Port Sudan to the port of El Arish. However, delays on the way made them miss the boat and they were supposed to board another boat on August 5 after having returned to Port Sudan. The convoy organizers hope to reach the Gaza Strip in the middle of August.
The Africa Aid 1 convoy which left for the Gaza Strip from Cape Town is currently on its way to Zimbabwe. From there it is supposed to continue to Zambia.
South African convoy activists at prayer
(From the convoy’s website, August 4, 2011).
1 The statistics do not include the rockets and mortar shells which fell inside the Gaza Strip. As of August 9, 2011
2 For further information see the February 2, 2011 ITIC Bulletin "Exporting terrorism and subversion from the Gaza Strip " at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/ipc_e165.pdf.