News of the Israeli-Palestinian Confrontation December 16-31, 2005

The response: a flyer announcing to local
residents the establishment of a buffer zone
in the northern Gaza Strip where the IDF will
act against Qassam launchings. "For your
own safety, keep out of the areas
marked on the map…”

Escalation of rocket attacks

A Qassam rocket prepared for launching
at Kibbutz Zikim in the Negev
(Al-Jazeera TV, December 22, 2005)



Main points 

  • During the second half of December Palestinian terrorism continued escalating. An IDF officer was killed in a suicide bombing attack at a checkpoint by two suicide bombers who were on their way to Israel, and an Israeli civilian was killed when his car was shot in the southern Hebron hills. There was also a significant increase in Gaza Strip-based Qassam rocket attacks on populated areas in the Western Negev, including strategic sites south of Ashkelon. A terrorist group in Lebanon, possibly Palestinian and possibly Palestinian-Lebanese linked to Al-Qaeda, fired Katyusha rockets at Kiriyat Shemonah and other populated areas in the western Galilee.

  • In view of the situation, Israeli security forces took a number of preventive steps, including the establishment of a buffer zone in the northern Gaza Strip where the IDF is acting to prevent terrorist movement, air attacks against terrorist targets and operatives in the Gaza Strip, the detention of terrorist-operatives in Samaria and the closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

  • At the same time, spokesmen for the Palestinian terrorist organizations, particularly Hamas, Fatah and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) announced the end of the so-called lull in the fighting at the end of 2005 (an internal Palestinian agreement which was never actually honored by any of the groups involved).

  • The Palestinian Authority (PA) continues to demonstrate its weakness and has had no success in curbing the rising tides of terrorism and anarchy which reached record heights during the past weeks. Signs of anarchy include the abduction of foreign nationals, gunmen taking control of institutions, public buildings and even the Rafah crossing point, and an invasion of the Bethlehem city hall on Christmas eve.