The UNRWA summer camp after the arson attack
Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israeli territory
Rocket Fire 2010, Monthly Distribution
Ahmed Ali Ahmed
The Julia in the port of Tripoli (NBN TV, June 21, 2010).
The UNRWA summer camp after the arson attack. (Felesteen, June 29, 2010). It was the second to be burned. Islamists in the Gaza Strip regard the camps as �corrupting� the younger generation, while Hamas regards them as competing with its own summer camps.
This past week the western Negev was quiet. Twelve mortar shells were fired at an IDF patrol engaged in routine security activities near the border fence. In response the Israeli Air Force attacked terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip.
Public figures and organizations continue proclaiming their intention to dispatch additional ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip. In recent months announcements were made Lebanon and Iran that ships would be sent. The status of the voyages is unclear because of conflicting reports.
The Gaza Strip
This past week no rocket hits were identified in the western Negev. However, mortar shells were fired at an IDF force engaged in routine security activities near the border fence. Some of them fell near an Israeli community in the western Negev.
The rocket attacks were the following:
On June 24, 12 mortar shells were fired from the Beit Hanoun region at an IDF force engaged in routine security activities. Six fell in Israeli territory. The force was also attacked with light arms fire. There were no casualties. Two networks, one belonging to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad�s military wing and the other to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire (PIJ and PFLP websites, June 24, 2010).
On June 28 a mortar shell was fired at an IDF armored vehicle. The vehicle was damaged. The military wing of the PFLP claimed responsibility for the attack.
Rockets and Mortar Shells Fired into Israeli Territory 1
Rocket Fire 2010, Monthly Distribution *
*Rocket hits identified in Israeli territory. A similar number misfire and
Israeli Air Force Strikes
In response to the mortar shells, on June 24 the Israeli Air Force struck a site for the manufacture of weapons in the northern Gaza Strip and two tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip used to smuggle weapons (IDF Spokesman, June 28, 2010).
On June 28 the Israeli Air Force struck a terrorist operative firing an anti-tank missile at an IDF force engaged in routine security activities near the border fence (IDF Spokesman, June 28, 2010). The Palestinian media reported one PFLP terrorist was killed and two were critically wounded (PFLP website, Safa News Agency, Hamas� Paltoday website, June 28, 2010).
Judea and Samaria
This past week the Israeli security forces continued their counterterrorism activities, detaining Palestinians suspected of terrorist activities and seizing weapons. There were a number of riots in Beit Jala and Dir Nizam (northwest of Ramallah) near the security fence in Ni�lin. Palestinians continued throwing stones at Israeli vehicles; one Israeli civilian sustained minor injuries.
The main events were the following:
June 29 � Stones were thrown at an Israeli vehicle west of Bethlehem. There were no casualties but the vehicle was damaged (IDF Spokesman, June 20, 2010).
June 28 � During the detaining of wanted terrorists in Nablus a pipe bomb was thrown at IDF soldiers. The bomb blew up. There were no casualties (IDF Spokesman, June 28, 2010).
June 27 � An IDF force identified a suspicious bag left by Palestinian youths at the Hawara crossing point south of Nablus. It was found to contain three pipe bombs (IDF Spokesman, June 27, 2010).
June 25 � Stones were thrown at an Israeli vehicle west of Ramallah. An Israeli civilian sustained slight injuries and was evacuated to a hospital for treatment (IDF Spokesman, June 25, 2010).
June 22 � Stones were thrown at an Israeli vehicle northwest of Ramallah. There were no casualties and no damage was done. Stones were also thrown at an Israeli vehicle southwest of Bethlehem. There were no casualties but the vehicle was damaged (IDF Spokesman, June 22, 2010).
Detention in Nazareth of Terrorist Cell Inspired by Global Jihad2
During May and June the Israel Security Agency and the Israel Police detained a cell of seven young Muslim men, residents of Nazareth who belonged to a nationalist religious group inspired by the radical Islamic ideology of the global jihad. They also tried to join a network working under the aegis of Osama bin Laden.
Three of them are suspected of the November 2009 murder of Yefim Weinstein, a taxi driver from Nazareth Illit (northern Israel):
- Ghaleb Ghanim, 21
- Haydar Ziyanda, 22
- Ahmed Ali Ahmed, 26
Ahmed Ali Ahmed
In recent years their religious beliefs were radicalized and the Internet exposed them to the ideology of Osama bin Laden and the global jihad (the process of �jihadization� known from similar events in the United States and other countries). Through the Internet they got the know how to use weapons and explosives.
In November 2009 they decided to kill a Jew to raise their status and become heroes. One of them acquired a gun which the group hid in Nazareth�s Muslim cemetery. They telephoned for a taxi and decided to perpetrate the murder but only if the driver turned out to be Jewish. One of them rode in the taxi and another followed on a motor scooter. The passenger got out of the taxi and shot the driver at close range several times.
After the murder the two decided to join the global jihad and went from Israel to Ethiopia, from where they planned to go to Somalia for military training. After a number of days in Ethiopia they crossed the border into Kenya but were stopped by local security forces. After interrogation they were deported to Israel, where they were detained on arrival.
Developments in the Gaza Strip
UNRWA Summer Camp Burned
On the night of June 28 twenty armed men, masked and wearing uniforms, entered a UNRWA summer camp in the Al-Zuweida area in the central Gaza Strip. They tied up the guards and set fire to the camp. John Ging, UNRWA director in the Gaza Strip, called the event �cowardly and despicable� (TVNZ website, June 28, 2010). He promised the camp would be rebuilt and the UNRWA would continue its summer program for the children of the Gaza Strip. An UNRWA spokesman demanded that the security services of the Hamas de facto administration in the Gaza Strip investigate who was behind the arson.
Spokesmen for the Hamas police and the de facto administration�s ministry of the interior condemned the arson and said that the police had begun investigating and that serious measures would be taken against the perpetrators. They said that groups with �mistaken concepts� which wanted to restore anarchy to the Gaza Strip were behind the event (Hamas� Palestine-information and Paltoday websites, Filastin al-�Aan, June 28, 2010).
It was the second time this summer that an UNRWA summer camp was torched. On May 23 a group of 30 armed, masked men broke into the site of an UNRWA summer camp on the shore near Sheikh Ajloun in Gaza City. They set fire to the camp and burned it to the ground. It is not clear who is behind the attacks on the summer camps. Islamic groups in the Gaza Strip, among them Hamas, are severely critical of the UNRWA camps, claiming that they corrupt the youth. In addition, there is competition in the Gaza Strip over the education of the younger generation. The summer camps organized by UNRWA are seen as serious competition for those organized by Hamas, where the campers are indoctrinated with radical Islamic ideology and sometimes undergo semi-military training.
Tension between Egypt and Hamas
Tension became apparent between Egypt and Hamas recently, caused by remarks made by Hamas heads about Egypt�s attempts to negotiate between Hamas and Fatah. Senior Hamas figures stated that Hamas would not sign a reconciliation document and that it did not consider the Egyptian foreign ministry responsible for the Palestinian cause. Hamas, they said, was collaborating mainly with Egyptian general intelligence. In addition, sources within Hamas even called for exchanging the Egyptian mediation (between Hamas and Fatah) for Arab mediation (Al-Ahram, June 28, 2010).
In response the Egyptian media issued statements and articles criticizing Hamas. Some of them called for Egypt to stop mediating in �that minefield� (Al-Ahram, June 28, 2010). Others mentioned the high price Egypt was paying for the sake of the Palestinian people (Al-Ahram, Radio Cairo, June 26, 2010).
The Flotilla to the Gaza Strip
Other Flotillas � Update
More flotillas to the Gaza Strip were being organized accompanied by intensive propaganda, although it is not clear which will actually sail:
The Flotilla from Lebanon
�The status of the Lebanese flotilla is currently unclear and the reports contradict one another. According to a report, the ships Nagi al-Ali and Maryam postponed their sailing date to one more suited to the planned Freedom Flotilla 2 (Al-Hayat, June 27 and 28, 2010). According to another, the two ships will set sail together for Cyprus where they will undergo a security check and continue to the Gaza Strip (Al-Diyar, June 25, 2010).
The Julia in the port of Tripoli (NBN TV, June 21, 2010).
Freedom Flotilla 2
The flotilla is being organized by an organization calling itself the �International Committee to Lift the Siege of the Gaza Strip.� Its chairman is the former Lebanese prime minister Salim el-Hoss. Maan Bashur, the economic coordinator of the Lebanese association of popular committees and unions, claimed that the flotilla would set sail in the middle of July and be composed of between 15 and 20 ships, and that it was a fleet of ships from Arab and Islamic countries, Latin American countries and Australia. He also claimed that he had already visited a number of Arab countries, among them Egypt, Jordan and Sudan, to organization the flotilla (Al-Sharq al-Awsat, June 24, 2010).
Nasereddine Chaklal, head of the Guidance and Reform Society in Algeria, claimed that an organization called the Society of Religious Sunni Sages headed by an Egyptian cleric named Safouat Hijazi was preparing to dispatch a ship of clerics from various countries as part of Freedom Flotilla 2 (Al-Akhbar, June 22, 2010). An unknown Lebanese network calling itself �The Permanent Organization for Rescuing Al-Aqsa Mosque and Palestine� said in an announcement that it was dispatching a ship called the Muhammad al-Doura from Greece to the Gaza Strip as part of Freedom Flotilla 2, and that the ship would carry 15 Lebanese clerics (Palestinian Information Center website, June 25, 2010)
A Flotilla from Iran
Announcements from Tehran regarding the Iranian flotilla are contradictory. Mohammad Reza Shibani, deputy foreign minister for Arab affairs denied reports that Iran had changed its mind about dispatching ships and noted that sending aid from Iranian civilian and non-government organizations was �still being planned.� He said the plan would be carried out as part of the international flotilla being organized to the Gaza Strip. He also claimed that the plan to send aid to the Gaza Strip by air was still in force (Iranian radio, June 26, 2010).
In addition, Mahmoud Ahmedi Bighash, a member of the Majlis (the Iranian Parliament) and responsible for organizing a delegation of Iranian Majlis members to the Gaza Strip, said in an announcement that the delegation was expected to reach the Gaza Strip on one of the ships being organized to set sail from Lebanon (ISNA news agency, June 26, 2010). However, the organizers of the Lebanese ship Nagi al-Ali said that no parliamentarians, neither Iranian nor any other, were expected to be on board (Al-Nishra, June 27, 2010).
George Galloway, pro-Palestinian former British Member of Parliament, said in an announcement that his organization, Viva Palestina, would organize a �naval convoy� called Lifeline 4. It was expected to leave London in September 2010 and join other convoys from the Persian Gulf and North Africa and to turn into �the largest convoy in modern history� (Hamas� Palestine-info website, June 28, 2010).
Wael al-Saka, chairman of the Lifeline Committee in Jordan, said that on July 12 Lifeline 3 was expected to set out, a convoy of 500 Jordanians (and possibly other nationalities) from Al-Ramatha (in northwest Jordan) (Sama News Agency, June 26, 2010).
1 The statistics do not include the mortar shells fired at IDF soldiers patrolling the border fence which fell inside the Gaza Strip.
2 According to information received from the Israel Security Agency.
3 For further information see the May 26, 2010 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. Armed men recently torched an UNRWA summer camp. Hamas condemned the event but minimized its importance, advising UNRWA to change its ways� at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/hamas_e106.pdf.