Armed Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives march in the northern Gazan town of Beit Hanoun
Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israeli territory
Rocket Fire -- Monthly Distribution
Mortar Shell Fire -- Monthly Distribution
Hamas' Safa News Agency, June 18, 2011
Armed Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives march in the northern Gazan town of Beit Hanoun (Photo from the PIJ’s Jerusalem Brigades website, June 18, 2011)
This past week one rocket hit was identified in the western Negev. Protests continued in Judea and Samaria, some of them violent, at the customary friction points.
Disagreements continue between Egypt and Hamas regarding the operation of the Rafah crossing. An editorial in the Egyptian weekly newspaper Akhbar Al-Yawm criticized the attitude of the de facto Hamas administration, claiming its final objective was to have the Rafah crossing open without oversight or established procedures. The editorial stressed that it was an international border crossing, and subject to the rules imposed on border crossings around the globe.
B�lent Yildirim, head of the Turkish IHH, announced that the Mavi Marmara would not participate in the upcoming flotilla, due to "technical difficulties." Spokesmen for other organizations taking part in the flotilla said that as far as they were concerned, their ships would set sail at the end of June. The organizations are still facing with organizational and political challenges.
Important Terrorism Events
This past week one rocket hit was identified in Israeli territory (June 16). It fell in an open area in the western Negev; there were no casualties and no damage was done.
Rockets and Mortar Shells Fired into Israeli Territory 1
Rocket Fire — Monthly Distribution
Mortar Shell Fire — Monthly Distribution
** Rocket and mortar shell hits identified in Israeli territory, not the Gaza Strip.
Judea and Samaria
The Situation on the Ground
On June 19 a Palestinian armed with a knife infiltrated an IDF post near Qalqilya with the intention of stabbing an Israeli soldier. Other IDF Spokesman soldiers tried to stop him. When he did not heed their calls to stop or the shots fired in the air, the soldiers shot at his legs. He was badly wounded and evacuated to an Israeli hospital (IDF Spokesman’s website, June 19, 2011).
This past week demonstrations and riots were held at the usual friction points in Judea and Samaria, especially the villages of Bila�in and Ni�lin. The demonstrators threw stones at the IDF soldiers, who in some instances responded with riot control measures. On June 15, during a demonstration in Deir Qiddis (northwest of Ramallah), an IDF soldier was seriously wounded by stone-throwing rioters and another soldier suffered minor injuries. When the rioters continued throwing stones at one of the wounded soldiers, endangering his life, the IDF force opened fire. Two Palestinians were wounded, one seriously; the other suffered minor injuries (IDF Spokesman’s website, June 15, 2011).
Palestinians and foreigners confront Israel security forces during a protest in the village of Beit Ummar, northwest of Hebron (Hamas’ Safa News Agency, June 18, 2011)
Developments in the Gaza Strip
This past week between 178 and 284 trucks carrying merchandise entered the Gaza Strip every day (Website of the Israeli government coordinator for the territories, June 21, 2011).
The Rafah Crossing
Hamas and the Egyptian authorities continue their arguments regarding the opening of the Rafah crossing. Al-Sayyid al-Najar, the editor-in-chief of the Egyptian weekly Akhbar al-Yawm, wrote an editorial criticizing the conduct of the de facto Hamas administration in the issue. The editorial was entitled "Hamas imposes a siege on Gaza" and claimed that Hamas’ eventual objective was to have the Rafah crossing open without oversight or established procedures. It stated that Hamas was exerting pressure on Egypt and employing aggressive measures to have the crossing open on its own terms, and to that end inciting the residents of the Gaza Strip against Egypt.
The editorial stressed that the Rafah crossing was in international border crossing, and was subject to all the rules regulating such crossings all over the globe, adding that Egypt would not compromise its security interests because of Palestinian sensitivities (Akhbar al-Yawm, June 11, 2011).
Procession Held by the Jerusalem Brigades, the Military Wing
of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad
Dozens of operatives of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s terrorist-operational wing held a march in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. They displayed various types of arms, including anti-tank and automatic weapons. Abu Mujahed, one of the movement’s field commanders, said that the purpose of the march was to stress the "continuation of the path of resistance [i.e., terrorism] and jihad, until the Zionist occupation is stamped out and Palestine is liberated from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river" (Jerusalem Brigades website, June 15, 2011).
Hamas Attempts to Impose Islamization on UNRWA Summer Camps by Force
This summer, as in the summers in the past, disputes arouse over the nature of UNRWA’s summer camps, considered by Hamas as "competing" with its own camps. This year as well, Hamas criticized activities in the UNRWA camps it regarded as not "Islamic." For example, the Hamas department of refugee rights objected to UNRWA’s intention to teach Capoeira martial arts and accused UNRWA of trying to destroy the Palestinian cause by "stultifying the youth and inculcating new concepts."
However, Khalil al-Halabi, deputy director of UNRWA’s education project, met with Hamas’ minister of education (in the presence of the director of the project) and said that boys would be completely separated from girls in the summer games as well as in trips to the beach organized by UNRWA for the children attending its summer camps (Website of the Hamas education ministry, June 3; Palestine-info website, June 7, 2011).2
Flotillas and Convoys to the Gaza Strip � Update
The Turkish Mavi Marmara Cancelled Its Participation in the Upcoming Flotilla
B�lent Yildirim, head of the Turkish IHH, officially announced that the Mavi Marmara would not participate in Freedom Flotilla 2 due to "technical difficulties." An IHH spokesman said earlier that the reason was "regional developments," particularly in Syria, explaining that IHH did not need a voyage to the Gaza Strip to support the Palestinian cause and could do so even if the Mavi Marmara did not sail (H�rriyet, June 15 and 17, 2011). So far it is not clear if some or all of the Turkish participants will join other ships, and if so, which.
With the cancellation of the Turkish ship, spokesmen for the other organizations participating in the flotilla said that their ships would set sail on the appointed date. Greta Berlin, spokeswoman for the Free Gaza Movement (FGM), said that the ships from the other countries would set sail as planned, between June 24 and 27.
The flotilla continues grappling with organizational difficulties and it is not clear how many ships will in fact participate:
The organizers of the French network announced that two ships would participate, one of which would apparently set sail from a French port and the other from Greece. Several days previously it was reported that the organizers of the French ship anchored off the coast of Marseilles had cancelled its participation in the flotilla. The reason was apparently the refusal of insurance companies to insure the ship. The organizers called on those who had registered to sail with the flotilla to join the ships departing from Greece and Turkey (Ynet, June 15, 2011).
A network calling itself the International Committee to Break the Siege on Gaza (ICBSG) announced it would send only "a small ship" to the flotilla because of difficulties encountered in purchasing its original ship, which was supposed to carry 320 passengers. The American network Free Palestine Movement (FPM) said its delegation would join the ICBSG’s ship and would include five people, after some of the members of the original delegation cancelled their participation (FPM website, June 14, 2011).
Wa’el al-Saqa, chairman of the Jordanian LifeLine committee which was supposed to send a delegation to the flotilla, claimed that its departure had been postponed to July 5, stating that the negotiations for purchasing an Arab ship were "in its final stages" (Al-Intiqad, June 19, 2011).
In the Gaza Strip, Hamas is making plans to receive the flotilla. Fathi Hamad, interior minister in the de facto Hamas administration, announced that Hamas’ internal security forces would deploy to receive the Freedom Flotilla 2 (Website of the interior ministry of the Hamas administration, June 12, 2011).
The British Foreign Minister: Travel Warnings to the
Gaza Strip Include its Maritime Border
The British foreign minister, William Hague, meeting with representatives of Jewish organizations, said that travel warnings issued by the British Foreign Office regarding visits to the Gaza Strip were still in force. He said the warnings included the Gaza Strip’s maritime border (Website of the British Foreign Office, June 17, 2011).
1 The statistics do not include the rockets and mortar shells which fell inside the Gaza Strip.
2 For further information about Hamas’ summer camps and the recurring confrontations between them and UNRWA, see the date ITIC bulletin, "Educating the younger generation in the Gaza Strip: summer camps organized by UNRWA in �competition� with Hamas, are a target for threats and assaults" at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/hamas_e106.pdf.