News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (May 4-11, 2010)

Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, May 9, 2010

Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, May 9, 2010

Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israeli territory

Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israeli territory

Rocket Fire 2010, Monthly Distribution

Rocket Fire 2010, Monthly Distribution

Equipment waiting to be loaded on board the ship, Rachel Corrie

Equipment waiting to be loaded on board the ship, Rachel Corrie

George Mitchell opens the proximity talks (Al-Ayam, May 8, 2010)

George Mitchell opens the proximity talks (Al-Ayam, May 8, 2010)


Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, May 9, 2010


Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas chairs a joint Fatah Central Committee � PLO Executive Committee meeting where the participation of the Palestinian Authority in the proximity talks was confirmed (Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, May 9, 2010).

Overview

 This past week one rocket hit was identified in the western Negev. In response the Israeli Air Force attacked two targets in the southern Gaza Strip. There were two shooting attacks against IDF soldiers carrying out routine security activities along the border fence with the Gaza Strip were shot at twice.

 The coalition of pro-Palestinian organizations if completing preparations to send the so-called flotilla of aid to the Gaza Strip. The first ships are expected to leave their European ports shortly.

 The American State Department announced the inception of proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the result of the most recent meetings held by George Mitchell, special envoy to the Middle East. The PLO�s Executive Committee and Fatah�s Central Committee, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, confirmed their participation in the talks. According to Saeb Erekat, chief PLO negotiator, the core issues will be discussed, especially borders, Jerusalem and the refugees.

Important Events

Gaza Strip

Rocket and mortar shell fire

 This past week one rocket hit was identified in the western Negev. There were no casualties and no damage was done. An organization affiliated with the global jihad, calling itself �The Supporters of the Sunnah on the Wings of Jerusalem,� claimed responsible for the attack (Ansar al-Mujahedin forum, May 9, 2010).

 IDF soldiers were attacked twice with light arms as they dealt with security issues near the border fence. Responsibility for one attack was claimed by the military-terrorist wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP website, May 4, 2010).

Rockets and Mortar Shells Fired into Israeli Territory 1

Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israeli territory

Monthly distribution of rocket fire in 2010 *

Rocket Fire 2010, Monthly Distribution

The Israeli Air Force Response

 In response to the rocket attack, the Israeli Air Force attacked two targets in the southern Gaza Strip (IDF Spokesman, May 10, 2010). The Palestinian media reported that two tunnels in the Rafah area were attacked, one near the Dahania airport. No casualties ere reported (Ma�an News Agency, May 10, 2010).

Judea and Samaria

Counterterrorism Activities

 The Israeli security forces continued their preventive counterterrorism activities, detaining several Palestinians suspected of terrorist activities and confiscating weapons. Confrontations continued during riots in several locations in Judea and Samaria. A Border Policeman sustained minor injuries.

 Stones continued to be thrown at Israeli vehicles. On May 9 stones were thrown at an Israeli vehicle east of Qalqiliya. An Israeli civilian sustained minor injuries and was treated on site. The vehicle was damaged (IDF Spokesman, May 9, 2010).

Developments in the Gaza Strip

Ships on Their Way to the Gaza Strip � Update

 According to information from the coalition of pro-Palestinian organizations planning to send a flotilla of aid to the Gaza Strip, final preparations are being made. The first vessels will apparently leave their European ports May 12. They plan to meet ships from Greece and Turkey in Cyprus and then sail to the Gaza Strip.

 The flotilla will carry 5,000 tons of cargo which will include building materials, pre-fabricated structures, medicines and medical equipment for physically challenged Palestinians, such as crutches, wheelchairs and dialysis machines. So far no list of passengers has been issued. According to previous reports, participants will include human rights activists, members of various European parliaments and many members of the media, who will cover the events. At least some of the ships are expected to sail under their own countries� flags.

Equipment waiting to be loaded on board the ship, Rachel Corrie
Equipment waiting to be loaded on board the ship, Rachel Corrie

 On May 4 John Ging, head of UNRWA in the Gaza Strip, appealed to the international community to lift the so-called �blockade� of the Gaza Strip by bringing supplies in by sea. A UN spokesman said that the UN did not intend to use sea lanes to transport aid, and noted that the UN cooperated with Israel to bring aid into the Strip overland (Agence France-Presse, May 4, 2010).

The Financial Straits of the De Facto Hamas Administration

 According to an increasing number of reports, the de facto Hamas administration is in financial straits. One of the symptoms is its inability to pay its employees. Thousands of Hamas administration workers have not received their full salaries for the past two months, while senior officials have not received salaries at all for three months. The lack of payment has led to financial difficulties influencing daily life in the Gaza Strip (Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, May 8, 2010).

The Peace Process

The Israeli-Palestinian Proximity Talks

The United States

The American State Department said in an announcement that proximity talks would be held following meetings held by George Mitchell, special envoy to the Middle East, with Israel and the Palestinians. The following are the main points of the announcement, according to the State Department website:2

�Both parties are taking some steps to help create an atmosphere conducive to successful talks, including President Abbas� statement that he will work against incitement of any sort and Prime Minister Netanyahu�s statement that there will be no construction at the Ramat Shlomo project for two years.�

�[The United States has] received commitments from both sides, and [has] made assurances to both sides, that are enabling us to move forward.�

�As both parties know, if either takes significant actions during the proximity talks that [the United States] judge would seriously undermine trust, [the United States] will respond to hold them accountable and ensure that negotiations continue.�

�[George Mitchell] will return to the region next week to continue the proximity talks.�

The Palestinian Authority

The PLO�s Executive Committee and Fatah�s Central Committee, headed by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, confirmed the decision to begin proximity talks with Israel through American mediation. The Palestinian leadership said the following:

Saeb Erekat, chief PLO negotiator, said that the United States and the Palestinians had agreed that the proximity talks� agenda would include �all the core issues, headed by borders, Jerusalem and the refugees� (Palestinian TV, May 5, 2010). He said that negotiations with Israel had consistently failed in the past because of Israel, but that now the talks were being held with the United States, which had different interests in the region, and if the United States wanted Israel to withdraw to the 1967 borders, it could cause that to happen (Al-Jazeera TV, May 8, 2010).

Yasser Abd Rabbo, the PLO Executive Secretary, said that the decision to hold negotiations was a response to the Palestinian interest to give the peace process a chance to succeed. He said the decision had been made based on guarantees the Palestinian leadership had received that construction in the settlements would stop and regarding the source of authority for the peace process, which is based, he said, UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 (Palestinian TV, May 8, 2010).

Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad

Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad were severely critical of the Palestinian Authority�s decision to participate in the proximity talks.

Khalil al-Haya, a senior Hamas figure, said that �the PLO leadership does not represent the Palestinian people,� and blamed it for waiving the �fundamental rights of the Palestinians� (Felesteen, May 9, 2010).

Khaled al-Batash, senior PIJ figure, said that the proximity talks provided Israel with �an Arab cover for continuing its crimes against Jerusalem and Palestine� (Filisteen al-Yawm, May 8, 2010).

George Mitchell opens the proximity talks (Al-Ayam, May 8, 2010)
George Mitchell opens the proximity talks (Al-Ayam, May 8, 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 misfired and landed inside the Gaza Strip.

** As of May 11, 2010.

2http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2010/05/141637.htm