Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas chairs the Fatah Central Committee meeting which presented Salam Fayyad as its candidate to head the unity government
Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israeli territory
Rocket Fire -- Monthly Distribution
Mortar Shell Fire -- Monthly Distribution
Wafa News Agency, June 7, 2011
Wafa News Agency, June 10, 2011
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas chairs the Fatah Central Committee meeting which presented Salam Fayyad as its candidate to head the unity government (Wafa News Agency, June 11, 2011).
This past week relative quiet prevailed in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
A mosque in the village of Al-Mughayyir (near Ramallah) was torched and vandalized. "Price tag" was painted in Hebrew on one of the external walls, indicating the arson was the work of extremist settlers. The Israeli prime minister and minister of defense denounced the attack and the minister of defense said that Israeli security forces would apprehend the felons. Spokesmen from the American state department, the UN and the European Union all denounced the act as well.
The disagreements between Fatah and Hamas remain. Fatah’s Central Committee voted to present the Salam Fayyad as candidate for prime minister of the unity government. Hamas strenuously objected.
Important Terrorism Events
This week Israel’s south was quiet and no rocket or mortar shell hits were identified.
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
Mosque in Village near Ramallah Torched
A fire broke out in a mosque in the village of Al-Mughayyir near Ramallah, on the night of June 6. Israeli security forces arriving on the scene found graffiti and signs of vandalism, leading them to suspect that the fire was caused by Jews whose illegal settlement had been evacuated the previous week (NRG, June 7, 2011). There was a confrontation between the Israeli security forces who entered the mosque to examine it and local residents (Wafa News Agency, June 7, 2011). The Palestinian Authority and Hamas individually issued condemnations (Wafa News Agency and Hamas’ Palestine-info website,� June 7, 2011).
The torched mosque. The graffiti reads "Price tag." (Wafa News Agency, June 7, 2011)
Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu denounced the vandalizing of the mosque and said that Israel would act strictly with "anyone who violates the freedom of religion and religious worship." Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak also denounced the incident, and said that the Israeli security forces would apprehend the felons (NRG, June 7, 2011).
A spokesman for the American state department, the UN’s Secretary-General’s envoy to the Middle East and a spokesman for the European Union all denounced the incident (UNESCO and US state department websites, June 8; European Union Council website, June 9, 2011).
The Situation on the Ground
This past week demonstrations and riots were held throughout Judea and Samaria at the usual friction points, especially the villages of Bila�in and Ni�lin. Rioters threw stones at IDF forces; in some instances riot control measures were employed. There were also a number of confrontations between Jewish settlers and Palestinians.�
Foreign national activists confront IDF soldiers in one of the demonstrations
held in Judea and Samaria this past week (Wafa News Agency, June 10, 2011)
Developments in the Gaza Strip
This past week between 196 and 278 trucks carrying merchandise entered the Gaza Strip every day (Website of the Israeli government coordinator for the territories, June 14, 2011).
Disagreements continue between Egypt and Hamas regarding the opening of the Rafah crossing. While the Egyptian authorities decided to reopen the crossing (after security issues led to its being closed on June 3), in protest, the de facto Hamas administration decided not to open the crossing on the Gazan side. Representatives of the Hamas administration were in contact with the Egyptian authorities. After four days of deliberations, a compromise was reached which allowed for the daily passage of 550 Palestinians (as opposed to the 700 demanded by Hamas). To date no agreement has been reached regarding Palestinians whose entry is forbidden into Egypt (New York Times, June 8; Xinhua, June 6 and 8, 2011).
The Political Front
The Palestinian Authority Continues to Advance a Vote in the UN for the Recognition of a Palestinian State
Nabil Shaath, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, said that the Palestinian leadership would appeal to the UN General Assembly for recognition of a Palestinian state, regardless of whether or not negotiations with Israel were renewed. He said that the Palestinian Authority would not use violence after September, but would continue its "popular" activities and interaction with the international community (Palestine News Network, June 11, 2011.
The Internal Palestinian Arena
Fatah and Hamas Disagree about the Prime Minister of the Unity Government
The issue of setting up a Palestinian unity government, agreed on as part of the reconciliation agreement signed by Fatah and Hamas at the beginning of May, continues to be an obstacle. Meeting on June 11, Fatah’s Central Committee proposed Salam Fayyad, currently the Palestinian prime minister, as its candidate to head the unity government (Agence France-Presse, June 12, 2011).
Hamas received the proposal with strenuous objections. Hamas spokesman Salah al-Bardawil said that Hamas would not agree to Salam Fayyad as prime minister or even a minister in the future government, and called on Fatah to propose other candidates. Hamas spokesman Mahmoud al-Zahar said that proposing only one candidate contradicted the reconciliation agreement. He added that Hamas had already told Fatah representatives that it objected to the candidacy of Salam Fayyad (Hamas’ Palestine-info website, Agence France-Presse, Safa News Agency and Radio Sawt al-Arab, June 12, 2011).
Flotillas and Convoys to the Gaza Strip � Update
Preparations Continue to Launch a Flotilla at the End of June
Preparations continue to launch Freedom Flotilla 2 at the end of June. According to the Turkish newspaper H�rriyet, the German ship is expected to sail from the port of Hamburg on June 19. All the ships in the flotilla plan to meet in Greece on June 27, in preparation for a joint departure for the Gaza Strip (H�rriyet, June 6, 2011).
After the American secretary of state and the foreign ministers of a number of Western countries appealed to their citizens not to participate in the flotilla, the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu advised the organizers of the flotilla to wait and see how the opening of the Rafah crossing progressed. A senior IHH figure who preferred to remain anonymous made it clear that at this stage no changes would be made in their plans and the flotilla would set sail as planned at the end of June (H�rriyet, June 7, 2011).
The Ship to Gaza � Greece network, which is planning to send a ship to the flotilla, denounced the appeals from "international countries and bodies" such as the United States, the UN and Israel not to dispatch the flotilla, and said the flotilla organizers were determined to have the flotilla set sail despite international pressure (Ship to Gaza � Greece website, June 11, 2011).
Some of the networks organizing the flotilla have still not raised the funds necessary for buying a ship and participation in the flotilla. For example, the Norwegian network announced it still needed $90,000 to ensure Norway’s participation in the flotilla (Ship to Gaza � Norway, June 13, 2011).
Changes in the Route, Schedule and Nature of the South African Convoy to the Gaza Strip
According to updated information, changes were recently made in the route, schedule and nature of the South African convoy to the Gaza Strip, which was supposed to depart during the third week of June 2011. The main changes were the following: Fewer vehicles will participate in the convoy and the route has been changed to avoid passing though Sudan and Kenya, where political tensions and concern for the safety of the convoy led to a change in plans. In addition, the departure of the land convoy has been delayed (it will not leave South Africa before the end of July), and it was suggested that some of the participants and cargo be flown from Durban to Alexandria on August 20. The cargo ship is supposed to set sail from the port of Durban on July 15 and reach Alexandria on August 18.2
The departure of a convoy organizing in Durban by a South African NGO called the South African Relief Agency (SARA)3 has been delayed as well. It was expected to leave for the Gaza Strip in the coming weeks.
The Global Jihad
Egypt Announced the Detention of the Terrorist Who Attacked the Al-Husseini Mosque in Cairo in 2009, a Member of the Palestinian Army of Islam
The Egyptian security forces detained Khaled Mahmoud Abu al-Kheir, a member of the Palestinian Army of Islam, a network in the Gaza Strip affiliated with the global jihad. He is accused of carrying out the attack on Al-Husseini mosque in Cairo on February 22, 2009. The attack� killed a 17 year-old boy and wounded 17 students from the French school (Al-Quds Al-Arabi, June 12, 2011).4
1 The statistics do not include the rockets and mortar shells which fell inside the Gaza Strip.
2 A bulletin about the South African convoy will appear shortly on the ITIC website.
3 SARA is an NGO established in Durban, South Africa, in 2006. It carries out humanitarian activities locally and in foreign countries, avowedly collaborating with local governments and international humanitarian organizations. In July 2010 a SARA delegation went to the Gaza Strip.
4 For further information about the Army of Islam and terrorist attacks in Egypt, especially about attacks on religious institutions such as churches, see the� date ITIC bulletin, " Exporting terrorism and subversion from the Gaza Strip: in our assessment terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip may exploit the recent events to increase arms smuggling and
infiltrate operatives into Egypt. The Gaza-based jihadist Army of Islam has already been accused of the attack on the Coptic church in Alexandria" at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/ipc_e165.pdf