hurriyet.com, June 6, 2010
Rockets and Mortar Shells Fired into Israeli Territory
Rocket Fire 2010, Monthly Distribution
IDF Spokesman, June 3, 2010
The disks used to cut the ships railing and steel cables
IDF Spokesman's website, June 5, 2010
Demonstrations in New York and in front of the White House
Demonstration in Berlin, June 5 (IRNA News Agency, June 5, 2010).
Demonstration in Amman, Jordan, May 31 (Today�s Zaman, June 3, 2010).
Intermittent rocket fire from the Gaza Strip continued targeting the western Negev. An anti-tank missile was fired at an IDF force engaged in routine security activities along the border. On June 7 the IDF prevented a terrorist squad from infiltrating Israel from the sea and carrying out a terrorist attack. Four operatives of the squad were killed and the fifth is missing.
An initial analysis of the statements taken from the passengers aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara shows that operatives belonging to the radical Islamic Turkish organization IHH led the violent confrontation with the IDF soldiers on board the ship. The statements prove that the violence was not spontaneous but rather a premeditated organized attack carried out by a hard core of 40 IHH operatives.
Rocket Fire Continues
This past week intermittent rocket fire from the Gaza Strip continued targeting the western Negev. Six rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory, three on May 31 and three on June 1. All the rockets fell in open areas. There were no casualties and no damage was done. The Popular Resistance Committees and Fatah�s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the rocket fire, claiming they were in response to the events surrounding the flotilla.
On June 1 an anti-tank missile was fired at an IDF force engaged in routine security activity near the border fence in the southern Gaza Strip. The force returned fire (IDF Spokesman, June 1, 2010). The military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the missile (PIJ website, June 1, 2010).
Rockets and Mortar Shells Fired into Israeli Territory1
* Rocket Fire 2010, Monthly Distribution
Israeli Air Force Preemptive Strikes
On two occasions the Israeli Air Force attacked rocket-launching squads which were about to fire rockets into the western Negev:
On June 1 the IAF attacked a five-man rocket launching squad in the northern Gaza Strip. According to Palestinian reports three of the five were killed (IDF Spokesman, June 1, 2010).
On June 7 the IAF attacked a squad of rocket launchers in the northern Gaza Strip (IDF Spokesman, June 1, 2010).
IDF Prevents a Terrorist Attack from the Sea
On June 7 an IDF force attacked a commando terrorist squad at sea. The squad was apparently on its way to Israel from the sea to carry out a terrorist attack. Four members of the squad were killed. They were initially encountered as they distanced themselves from the Gaza shore, apparently accompanied by a boat. They were armed and wearing diving gear (IDF Spokesman’s website, June 7, 2010). Fatah�s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades reported that four of its operatives were killed, two escaped at sea and one, who was wounded, was still missing.
Judea and Samaria
The Israeli security forces continued their preventive counterterrorism activities in Judea and Samaria. Riots continued in various locations, during one of which a foreign national tried to stab an IDF soldier and was transferred to the Israeli police (IDF Spokesman, June 5, 2010).
Palestinians continued throwing stones at Israeli vehicles. Two Israeli civilians sustained minor injuries.
June 7 � Stones were thrown at an Israeli vehicle south of Nablus. There were no casualties and no damage was done (IDF Spokesman, June 7, 2010).
June 4 � Stones were thrown at an Israeli vehicle southwest of Bethlehem. There were no casualties but the vehicle was damaged (IDF Spokesman, June 4, 2010).
June 3 � Stones were thrown at an Israeli vehicle southwest of Bethlehem. Two Israeli civilians sustained minor injuries and were treated at the scene. Stones were thrown at an Israeli bus northeast of Hebron. There were no casualties but the bus was damaged (IDF Spokesman, June 3, 2010).�
June 2 � Three Molotov cocktails were thrown at an Israeli vehicle southeast of Qalqilya. There were no casualties and no damage was done (IDF Spokesman, June 2, 2010).
Developments in the Gaza Strip
Initial Summary of the Questioning of the Mavi Marmara�s Passengers and of the Examination of the Equipment Found on Board 2
Following the June 1 opening of the Rafah crossing, hundreds of Palestinians passed through on their way to El-Arish, and the Egyptian forces in the area were put on alert (Al-Shuruq, June 5, 2010). A senior Egyptian security source called the so-called �siege� of the Gaza Strip a �failure� and said that keeping the crossing open would undermine Israel�s �attempts to isolate and punish the Palestinians.� The source also said that a large shipment and building materials would not be permitted through the crossing, only people (Agence France-Presse, June 7, 2010).
The Flotilla to the Gaza Strip
Increase in Rocket Fire
An initial analysis of the statements taken from passengers aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara after it was towed to the port of Ashdod shows that operatives of IHH, a radical Islamic Turkish organization,3 led the violent confrontation with the IDF soldiers.
Picture taken by a security camera aboard the Mavi Marmara. The cameras documented
the IHH operatives� preparations to attack the IDF soldiers (IDF Spokesman, June 3, 2010).
The statements make it clear that the violence was not spontaneous but rather a premeditated, organized action carried out by a hard core of 40 IHH operatives (out of 500 passengers). The operatives, who had a clearly-defined internal hierarchy, boarded the ship in Istanbul without a security check (as opposed to the ordinary passengers, who boarded in Antalya and underwent full security checks).
The advance preparations made by the IHH operatives included distributing walkie-talkies on boarding, taking over the upper deck, setting up a kind of communications situation room and a briefing for the operatives two hours before the violent confrontation. The briefing was given by IHH head B�lent Yildirim, who was on board commanding his men. The IHH operatives wore ceramic vests and gas masks, were armed with large quantities of cold weapons which they had both prepared in advance and improvised during the voyage from equipment found on board (knives, axes, metal cables, iron clubs, tools, etc.). They also bought metal cutting disks to cut metal rods from the ship�s railings.
The disks used to cut the ships railing and steel cables (IDF Spokesman, June 3, 2010)
The ordinary passengers stated that the organization had close ties with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, and that the Turkish government was involved in preparations for the flotilla. The statements reinforce the initial impression that the flotilla�s objective was not limited to bringing humanitarian assistance to the Gazans but rather focused on creating a provocation and violent confrontation with Israel.
Additional Flotillas to the Gaza Strip Expected4
The results of the flotilla to the Gaza Strip, the international media waves it created, and especially the violent confrontation aboard the Mavi Marmara and the ensuing embarrassment to Israel have led some countries and organizations to declare their intention to send additional flotillas. The flotillas, more than bringing assistance to the Gaza Strip, are intended to defame, demonize and embarrass Israel in the international arena and exert diplomatic pressure on it to lift the so-called �siege� of the Gaza Strip.
According to Jamal al-Khudari, a Hamas activist and head of the Popular Committee to Lift the Siege, there are now more than ten initiatives around the world, including the Arab-Muslim world, to sent flotillas to the Gaza Strip. He said that the Israeli action [against the last flotilla] would only lead to more such initiatives. Activists from the de facto Hamas administration�s Committee to Break the Siege also said that they knew of preparations being made around the world to send flotillas to the Gaza Strip (Ma�an News Agency, June 4, 2010).
Takeover of the Rachel Corrie
On June 5 an IDF force boarded the Irish ship Rachel Corrie, which was supposed to join the flotilla to the Gaza Strip but arrived late. The force took it over and led it to the port of Ashdod. The passengers sat on the deck and did not resist. There were 20 people aboard, of whom eight were crew, five were Irish who were apparently activists from the organization called Free Gaza, six from Malaysia, including one member of parliament, and one Cuban. The Irish nationals were flown back to their country and the others were transferred to Jordan. The ship itself is still in the Ashdod port (Irish news website, June 7, 2010).
Left: The Israeli Navy takeover of the Rachel Corrie. Right: The Rachel Corrie enters the
port of Ashdod (IDF Spokesman’s website, June 5, 2010).
World Responses to Israel�s Action
Throughout the world, and especially in the Arab world, this past week there were well-attended protest demonstrations which condemned Israel and called for the lifting of the so-called �siege� of the Gaza Strip.
Demonstrations were held in many cities across the United States, including Washington in front of the White House, Los Angeles and New York. In San Francisco there were confrontations between pro- and anti-Israeli demonstrators (Today�s Zaman, June 3; Fox News, June 1, 2010).
Hundreds of people participated in a demonstration in front of the Israeli Embassy in London. Demonstrations were held in other cities in Britain as well (PressTV, June 1, 2010).
Demonstrations in New York and in front of the White House (Today�s Zaman, June 3, 2010).
Hundreds of Palestinians, Arabs and pro-Palestinian Germans participated in a demonstration in Berlin. Demonstrations were held in other cities in Germany as well (Al-Jazeera TV, May 31; IRNA News Agency, June 5, 2010).
- Protest demonstrations were held in Paris, Madrid, and other European cities (Today�s Zaman, June 3-4, 2010).
Demonstration in Berlin, June 5 (IRNA News Agency, June 5, 2010).
Protest demonstrations in the Arab-Muslim world:
In Turkey the demonstrations began as soon as the incident occurred. On June 4 there was a protest demonstration in Istanbul attended by 10,000 people (Agence France-Presse, June 4, 2010).
In Syria there were protest demonstrations on May 31 and June 1 in a number of Syrian cities to �show solidarity� with the flotilla and �express rage� at the incident. In Damascus there was a demonstration in front of the Turkish embassy and a demonstration of Palestinian residents of Damascus in front on UN headquarters in Al-Maza on May 31. At a demonstration in Aleppo demonstrators shouted �Death to Israel� (Syrian News Agency and Day Press website, May 31; Al-Baath, June 1, 2010).
In Lebanon, near the Israeli border, Hezbollah held a demonstration on June 5 attended by 5,000 people, two of them Lebanese Parliament members. Demonstrators burned Israel and American flags and threw stones at a nearby IDF post (Lebanese News Agency, June 2, 2010). Demonstrations were also held in Beirut, other cities and the refugee camps (Lebanese News Agency, June 3, 2010).
In Amman, Jordan, there was a demonstration during which the Israel flag was burned.
Demonstration in Amman, Jordan, May 31 (Today�s Zaman, June 3, 2010).
Many senior Jordanian figures condemned the IDF action:
Queen Rania of Jordan, shortly after the incident, said on her Internet site that she was shocked by it (Twitter, May 31, 2010). She also wrote an open letter to the British Independent condemning Israel�s conduct and claiming that taking over the ship blatantly ignored international law and human rights (Independent, June 7, 2010).
Nasser Judeh, the Jordanian foreign minister, used his website to condemn the Israeli action (Twitter, May 31, 2010).
Samir Rifai, Jordanian prime minister, condemned the so-called �Israeli aggression,� which he called a �vicious crime� during his meeting with the head of the Czech Senate (Official Jordan news agency, June 1, 2010).
Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah leader, exploited the incident to make propaganda capital in statements to the media:
He praised the flotilla, which he called �an excellent human, jihadist drama,� and the �willingness [of the passengers] to die for the sake of a people under siege� (Lebanese TV, June 3, 2010).
He claimed that the objective of the Israeli action was to employ �violence and crime� on the flotilla to �frighten� and prevent other flotillas from sailing. He said that for Israel the flotillas were a �conceptual difficulty� and called for more to be organized (Turkish TRT TV channel, June 5, 2010).
Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority, called for an emergency summit meeting of the Arab League and proclaimed three days of mourning. He compared the so-called �siege� of the Gaza Strip to �a different kind of siege� imposed by Israel on Judea and Samaria. He also declared a �day of rage� in the PA, during which there were demonstrations where the flags of the 32 countries which participated in the flotilla were flown and models of the Mavi Marmara were exhibited (Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, June 5, 2010).
1 The statistics do not include the mortar shells fired at IDF soldiers patrolling the border fence which fell inside the Gaza Strip.
* Rocket hits identified in Israeli territory. A similar number misfire and customarily land inside the Gaza Strip.
2 For further information see the June 7, 2010 bulletin, �IHH Preparations for a Violent Confrontation with IDF Soldiers Aboard the Turkish Ship Mavi Marmara Initial conclusions from questioning passengers and examining equipment on board the ship� at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/hamas_e110.pdf.
3 �For further information see the may 27,, 2010 bulletin, �IHH, which plays a central role in organizing the flotilla to the Gaza Strip, is a Turkish humanitarian relief fund with a radical Islamic anti-Western orientation. Besides its legitimate philanthropic activities, it supports radical Islamic networks, including Hamas , and at least in the past, even global jihad elements� at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/hamas_e105.pdf
4 A bulletin on the subject will be issued shortly.