Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad
Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israeli territory
Rocket Fire -- Monthly Distribution
Mortar Shell Fire -- Monthly Distribution
Demonstrations in Ramallah against the Syrian army attacks of the
Sporadic rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory continues. This past week a 122mm Grad rocket hit an open area near the southern Israeli city of Beersheba. In response Israeli aircraft attacked four terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip. A terrorist squad preparing to launch rockets into Israeli was also struck. According to the Arab media, networks affiliated with the global jihad claimed that the Hamas security forces were operating against them in an attempt to reinforce the ceasefire with Israel.
Riyadh al-Maliki, Palestinian foreign minister, said that Mahmoud Abbas would present the Palestinian appeal to join the United Nations on September 20, 2011. The UN Secretary-General is expected to send the appeal to the Security Council for deliberation. In addition, with the support of the Palestinian Authority, various Palestinian networks are preparing for what they call "popular activity" (marches and demonstrations) to accompany the move at the UN. Prominent Hamas figures continue emphasizing the differences between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, saying that it was Israel’s fate to disappear, and a Palestinian state would rise up in its place, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.
Important Events in Israel’s South
This past week one rocket hit was identified (August 15, 2011). The rocket, a Grad 122mm, fell in an open area near the southern Israeli city of Beersheba. No casualties were reported and no damage was done.
Rockets and Mortar Shells Fired into Israeli Territory 1
Rocket Fire — Monthly Distribution
Mortar Shell Fire — Monthly Distribution
Israeli Air Force Response
In response to the rocket attack on Beersheba, Israeli Air Force aircraft struck four terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip. In addition, a terrorist squad in the Zeitun quarter of Gaza City was it while preparing to launch rockets into Israeli territory. Some of the terrorist operatives were wounded and the rocket attack was prevented (IDF Spokesman’s website, August 16, 2011).
Hamas Detains Terrorist Operatives Launching Rockets into Israel
Sources linked to the terrorist networks in the Gaza Strip affiliated with the global jihad reported that the Hamas security forces operate against them in what they call an attempt to "reinforce the ceasefire with Israel." To that end Hamas increased the deployment of its security forces along its border with Israel and detained large numbers of network operatives (Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, August 10 2011).
Judea and Samaria
The Situation on the Ground
Salam Fayyad, prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, attending an event in Bila’in organized by "the popular campaign for resistance to the fence and settlements," praised what he called "the nonviolent resistance." He had particularly kind words for the "resistance" in Bila’in, which, he said, had succeeded in "restoring the lands" and sending a message that the Palestinian people were determined to remain on their land until the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders (Al-Ayam, August 15, 2011). Note: the demonstrations in Bila’in (and other friction points) have often been characterized by well-organized "soft violence," causing casualties among both Palestinians and the Israeli security forces.
This past week there were a number of demonstrations at the traditional friction points in Judea and Samaria. In the village of Walajeh near Bethlehem, a violent demonstration was held during which Palestinians, Israeli civilians and foreigners threw stones at the Israeli security forces, which responded with riot control measures (IDF Spokesman’s website, August 10 2011).
A demonstration was held in Bethlehem by a network called "the popular campaign for resistance to the fence and settlements," and called for a boycott of Israeli products. The organizers said the demonstrations could be expected to continue until the boycott of Israel became part of "Palestinian culture" (Ma’an News Agency, August 11, 2011).
Developments in the Gaza Strip
This past week between 244 and 264 trucks carrying merchandise entered the Gaza Strip every day (Website of the Israeli government coordinator for the territories, August 16, 2011).
The United States Threatens to Stop Support for
Aid Organizations Operating in the Gaza Strip
The media recently reported a crisis in the relations between Western aid organizations operating in the Gaza Strip and Hamas. It was caused by the de-facto Hamas administration’s recent demand for an audit of some of the organizations and for the offices of the International Medical Corps to be closed following its refusal to allow its books to be examined.
Following the demand, the United States State Department informed the de facto Hamas administration that if it did not revoke the demand, $100 million in planned aid money would not be transferred to the Gaza Strip. An American official who remained anonymous said that as of August 12, American aid programs connected to USAID for the Gaza Strip would be frozen. He said that in recent months the Hamas administration had created an environment which sabotaged the attempts of NGOs to help the needy of the Gaza Strip (Agence France-Presse, August 12, 2011).
In response, Taher al-Nunu, spokesman for the de facto Hamas administration, said that the international organizations "do not obey Palestinian law." In an attempt to resolve the crisis, it was suggested that an international accounting firm, chosen by the Hamas administration, would audit the books and present its report; Hamas rejected the suggestion (New York Times and Al-Hayat, August 12, 2011). A few days later a compromise was reached when Hamas announced it would postpone its demand by three months (UN website, August 14; Agence France-Presse, August 12, 2011).
During the past year the de facto Hamas administration has attempted to increase its oversight of the international organizations operating in the Gaza Strip and demanded they register with the administration, pay fees and present financial reports. According to the American media, contacts between the American aid organizations and the Hamas administration are illegal, because Hamas has been designated as a terrorist organization and the law forbids contact with it (New York Times, August 12, 2011).
Egypt Takes Steps against Networks Affiliated with the Global Jihad
Terrorist operatives identified by Egypt as belonging to networks affiliated with the global jihad recently attacked government installations in the northern Sinai Peninsula (including five separate attacks against the Egyptian gas terminal which supplies gas to Israel and Jordan). As a result, the Egyptian security forces began "Operation Eagle" to strengthen their control of the region and increase oversight of the external elements coming into the Sinai:
Egypt deployed more military forces in the area: According to the Egyptian media, 1,000 troops and police accompanied by tanks would be sent. Most of the forces would deploy near El Arish and Sheikh Zayed. Additional forces deployed in Ismailia have been alerted to provide support if necessary2 (walla.co.il website, August 14, 2011).
Egyptian security forces have conducted extensive detentions: The operation was accompanied by exchanges of fire, during which one operative was killed. Among those detained were operatives belonging to the Army of Islam, affiliated with the global jihad and originating in the Gaza Strip (Al-Masri Al-Yawm, August 15, 2011).
According to information gained during interrogations and quoted by the Egyptian media, the global jihad-affiliated Palestinian Army of Islam was trying to establish a branch of Al-Qaeda in the Sinai Peninsula. To that end, in February 2011 Army of Islam operatives set up a training camp, and 2,000 operatives came to train in the use of light weapons and heavy artillery. Their objective was to establish in the Sinai a force of operatives affiliated with global jihad organizations to expel the Egyptian security forces and the international force deployed there (Al-Masrawi portal, August 13, 2011).
Israel and the Palestinians
The September UN Move
Riyadh al-Maliki, Palestinian Authority foreign minister, said that on September 20, 2011, Mahmoud Abbas would present the Palestinian appeal to join the UN to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon when the General Assembly session opened. The Secretary-General is expected to transmit the appeal to the Security Council for deliberation. According to al-Maliki, about 130 countries are expected to vote in support of the Palestinians if no veto is cast in the Security Council (Agence France-Presse, August 13, 2011).
Prominent figures affiliated with Fatah spoke of the possibility of an American veto in the Security Council:
Azzam al-Ahmed, head of the Fatah faction in the Palestinian parliament, said that the Palestinian leadership would not retract its decision, even though it was likely that passing it would be prevented by an American veto. In that case, he said, the Palestinians would appeal to the UN General Assembly.
Marwan Barghouti, a member of Fatah’ Central Committee, currently imprisoned in Israel, called the [American] veto "international terrorism" which would end the American role in the Middle East. He said that a veto would bring about "demonstrations of millions throughout the Arab-Muslim world and around the globe" (Fatah media website, August 10; Al-Manar TV, August 13, 2011).
A group network itself "the popular campaign for support of the Palestinian appeal to the UN" (which, in our assessment, coordinates its moves with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority) appointed four committees to coordinate the "popular activities" accompanying the appeal. One, headed by Abdallah Abu Rahma, chairman of the Bila’in popular committee, will coordinate activities within Palestinian society, including the organization of large, "nonviolent" marches. Another, headed by Dr. Hussam Zumlut, will focus on activity in the Arab world and the international community. A third, headed by Hassan al-Balawi will deal with media relations for the fourth committee, which will be responsible for logistics. In addition, regional and local subcommittees will probably be appointed to coordinate local activities (Ma’an News Agency, August 10 and 14; Al-Hayat, August 11, 2011).
Prominent Figures in Hamas Reiterate the Movement’s Extremist Fundamental Positions3
Fathi Hamad, interior minister of the de facto Hamas administration, referred to the Israeli "tent protest" during an interview with the Iranian media. He said that the date of the collapse of Israeli society" was close, and that Hamas was optimistic about the collapse of the State of Israel, and was "working day and night to reach that moment." He predicted that in 12 years the State of Israel would no longer exist, having been "defeated" by the "armed resistance" [i.e., terrorist organizations] which would fight it, and in its stead "Palestine" would arise, an Arab, Islamic state (Fars News Agency, Iran, August 14, 2011).
Ahmed Bahar, deputy chairman of the Palestinian Legislative Council in the Gaza Strip, in a televised Friday sermon, described the Hamas view of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. He said that such a state would not bring about the end of the conflict with Israel, but rather would be simply one stage of the process of the liberation of Palestine "from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river." He described the state as follows (Al-Aqsa TV, July 29, 2011):
Its capital would be Jerusalem.
It would support the "resistance" [i.e., violence and terrorism]. He appealed to "resistance" operatives to demonstrate "adherence" and abduct more Israeli soldiers like Gilad Shalit.
It would work to realize the "right of return" of the refugees [to the territory of Israel].
Ahmed Bahar prayed, calling on Allah to "deal with the Jews and their allies!…Deal with the Americans and their allies!…Count them, kill them one by one until not a single one of them remains!"
Convoys to the Gaza Strip � Update
The African Convoy
The Africa Aid 1 convoy, which left for the Gaza Strip from Cape Town, is currently on the last leg of its journey. The Egyptians authorized the entrance of 100 activists and aid (most of which arrived by sea). One group will enter the Gaza Strip by land and another by air on two different dates.
The first group, which includes Ihsan Hendricks, a key figure in the convoy, is expected to fly to Egypt on Saturday, August 20, and another group three days later. In Egypt they plan to meet 33 activists from Europe and Bahrain who came with the Miles of Smiles 5 convoy. The entire convoy is supposed to enter the Gaza Strip on August 25 and spend Eid al-Fitter, which ends the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in the Gaza Strip (Africa Aid 1 Facebook page and The Voice of Cape website, August 16, 2011).
Viva Palestina Organizes an Aid Convoy
Anti-Israeli British activist George Galloway announced that Viva Palestina, the organization he heads, was planning another international aid convoy to the Gaza Strip. It would be Viva Palestina’s sixth such convoy. According to the announcement, it will leave London at the end of November and be joined by activists from European countries along the way, entering the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing on December 27, close to the date of Christmas (Viva Palestina Facebook page, August 14, 2011).
Viva Palestina is a pro-Hamas organization specializing in dispatching aid convoys to the Gaza Strip. It is headed by George Galloway, a former member of the British Parliament, affiliated with the extreme left in Britain and a Hamas supporter. The last Viva Palestina convoy arrived in the Gaza Strip on October 21, 2010, and received a festive welcome from Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad4 (Safa News Agency, October 24, 2010). Note: convoys to the Gaza Strip are represented as bringing humanitarian assistance, however, in our assessment, they are also used to bring funds to the de facto Hamas administration.5
The Palestinian Authority Denounces the Syrian Regime for
Attacking Palestinian Refugee Camp in Northern Syria
On August 15 the Syrian army conducted operations in the area around the port city of Latakia, including the Al-Ramal Palestinian refugee camp. According to reports in the Syrian media, at least two Syrian soldiers were killed and "60 wounded in confrontations with armed groups." According to unofficial sources, civilian inhabitants were killed and wounded, and 5,000 fled their homes (Al-Watan, and FNN, August 15, 2011).
The events gave rise to strong criticism among the Palestinians and protest demonstrations were held throughout Judea and Samaria. Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for the Palestinian presidency, appealed to the Syrian authorities to take steps to protect the Palestinian refugees in Al-Ramal. Yasser Abd Rabbo, secretary-general of the PLO, strongly denounced the "invasion of the Al-Ramal refugee camp by Syrian forces and the expulsion of its inhabitants," and called on the international community to stop the "crime against humanity." UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness also denounced the event, claiming that the camp had been subjected to artillery fire (Wafa News Agency and Agence France-Presse, August 15, 2011).
Demonstrations in Ramallah against the Syrian army attacks of the
Palestinian refugee camp (Ma’an News Agency, August 14, 2011).
1 The statistics do not include the rockets and mortar shells which fell inside the Gaza Strip. As of August 16, 2011
2 According to the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, Egypt cannot increase the number of its security forces deployed in the Sinai Peninsula without authorization for Israel. Such authorization was given to Egypt immediately after President Mubarak was ousted and again before the current operation (Haaretz, August 15, 2011).
3 For further information see the August 4, 2001 bulletin "Senior Hamas figures reiterate extremist positions, reject the Palestinian Authority’s proposed September UN move and emphasize the ideological and strategic differences between Hamas and the PA�" at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/ipc_e215.pdf.
4 For further information see the October 28 bulletin "The Viva Palestina convoy arrived in the Gaza Strip and as given festive ceremonies by senior Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad figures’ at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/ipc_e138.pdf.
5 For further information see the August 11, 2011 bulletin "Seniors in Interpal, a British fund that supports Hamas, play a major role in sending aid convoys to Gaza. South African organizations belonging to the Union of Good are also involved. It is our assessment that convoys portrayed as a humanitarian project are also a means of transferring money to Hamas" at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/hamas_e148.pdf.