News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (December 5-11, 2012)

The rally at the Islamic University to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas.

The rally at the Islamic University to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas.

Khaled Mashaal, guest of honor at the rally, gave a belligerent speech against Israel (Palestine-info website, December 8, 2012).

Khaled Mashaal, guest of honor at the rally, gave a belligerent speech against Israel (Palestine-info website, December 8, 2012).

Khaled Mashaal kisses the ground after passing through the Rafah crossing into the Gaza Strip (Hamas forum website, December 7, 2012).

Khaled Mashaal kisses the ground after passing through the Rafah crossing into the Gaza Strip (Hamas forum website, December 7, 2012).

Khaled Mashaal kisses a poster glued to the remains of the car in which Ahmed Jaabari was killed (Facebook page of Gaza Mubasher, December 8, 2012).

Khaled Mashaal kisses a poster glued to the remains of the car in which Ahmed Jaabari was killed (Facebook page of Gaza Mubasher, December 8, 2012).

Khaled Mashaal attends a conference in Gaza held in honor of the families killed and wounded Palestinians. To his right is the Archbishop Alexios, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Gaza Strip (Shihab website, December 9, 2012).

Khaled Mashaal attends a conference in Gaza held in honor of the families killed and wounded Palestinians. To his right is the Archbishop Alexios, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Gaza Strip (Shihab website, December 9, 2012).

Layla Khaled visits the northern Gaza Strip (PFLP website, December 10, 2012).

Layla Khaled visits the northern Gaza Strip (PFLP website, December 10, 2012).

 Meeting of the Palestinian ministry of justice in Ramallah under the title ''State of Palestine'' (Wafa News Agency, December 8, 2012).

Meeting of the Palestinian ministry of justice in Ramallah under the title ''State of Palestine'' (Wafa News Agency, December 8, 2012).

  • Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip continue to implement the understandings reached at the end of Operation Pillar of Defense regarding rocket fire. Since November 21 no rockets or mortar shells have been fired into Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip.
  • This past week Khaled Mashaal, chairman of Hamas' Executive Committee, visited the Gaza Strip for the first time. He gave an aggressive speech at the rally held to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas. In the speech Khaled Mashaal emphasized Hamas' adherence to its strategy of striving to "liberate every inch of the soil of Palestine" through "resistance" [i.e., terrorism]. He also stressed Hamas' adherence to the so-called "right of return" of the Palestinian refugees and its commitment to "return" to Safed [the birthplace of Mahmoud Abbas], Jaffa, Tel Aviv, the Temple Mount and the rest of the State of Israel.
  • Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip continue to implement the understandings reached at the end of Operation Pillar of Defense. Since 2300 hours on November 21 no rockets or mortar shells have been fired into Israeli territory.
Rocket Hits in Israeli Territory since the Beginning of 2011[1]

Rocket Hits in Israeli Territory since the Beginning of 2011

Annual Distribution of Rocket Fire[2]
Annual Distribution of Rocket Fire
  • This past week as well there were riots at the traditional friction points in Judea and Samaria. Rioters threw stones at the IDF forces, who in certain instances used riot control equipment to disperse the demonstrators. In addition, in a number of instances stones and Molotov cocktails were thrown at Israeli civilian and security vehicles.
Khaled Mashaal Visits the Gaza Strip
  • On December 7 Khaled Mashaal, chairman of Hamas' Executive Committee and leading a delegation of senior Hamas figures, entered in the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing for a four-day visit. It was the first time Mashaal had visited the Gaza Strip. On his arrival he prostrated himself and kissed the ground (Hamas website, December 7, 2012). He was received by senior members of the de-facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip and with full military honors from the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military-terrorist wing. The high point of his visit was a mass rally (estimated at hundreds of thousands of participants) held to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas.
  • In addition to participating in the rally, Khaled Mashaal visited the house of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, founder of the Hamas movement, and the houses of the families of Ahmed Jaabari (chief Hamas military commander), Muhammad al-Hams (Ahmed Jaabari's aide), and al-Dalu (the family killed in error in Operation Pillar of Defense). He also visited the house of the family of Mahmoud al-Mabhuh, a Hamas terrorist operative killed in Dubai on January 19, 2010, who was an important operative of Hamas' vast network for smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip.
  • Khaled Mashaal also visited the Islamic University in Gaza City, well known as a Hamas stronghold. In addition, he met with representatives of the Palestinian terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, including a delegation of senior Fatah members (Al-Aqsa TV, December 9, 2012). Before he left the Gaza Strip he visited the family of Kamal al-Nairab, who had been head of the Popular Resistance Committees. Before the delegation left, Ismail Haniya presented its members with Palestinian diplomatic passports and said he hoped the passports would be "a way into Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa mosque," for which Khaled Mashaal thanked him (Al-Aqsa TV, December 10, 2012).
Summary of Remarks Made by Khaled Mashaal
  • While in the Gaza Strip Khaled Mashaal made strong statements against Israel, calling for its destruction through terrorism [the so-called "resistance"]:
  • In his speech at the mass rally, he praised Hamas' "victory" in Operation Pillar of Defense and stressed that Hamas would never recognize the State of Israel. He said that "resistance" [i.e., terrorism and violence] was the way to "liberate Palestine" and that not "one inch of the land of Palestine or the right of return" could be waived. He also appealed to the West to supply the Palestinians with weapons, to help them financially and to support them politically and publicly (Al-Aqsa TV, December 8, 2012).
  • At the house of Ahmed Yassin he said that "today we meet in Gaza and tomorrow in Ramallah, Nablus, Jerusalem, and after that we will continue on to the cities of Safed, Jaffa, Tel Aviv, the Temple Mount and all other sites [in Israel]. With the help of Allah everyone will return to their homeland" (Al-Aqsa TV, December 8, 2012).
  • At the Islamic University he said more IDF soldiers should be abducted to leverage Palestinian prisoners out of Israeli jails (Al-Aqsa TV, December 9, 2012).
Rally to Mark the Founding of Hamas
  • On December 8 Hamas held a mass rally at the Islamic University to mark the 25th anniversary of the movement's founding. Its theme was Hamas' "victory" in the most recent round of escalation and the celebration of Khaled Mashaal's visit to the Gaza Strip. In addition to Hamas' external leadership senior Hamas figures from the Gaza Strip were in attendance, as were representatives from various other terrorist organizations and representatives and delegates from Arab states. Also in attendance was Zakaria al-Agha, senior Fatah figure in the Gaza Strip, and Hashem Abd al-Rizaq, former Palestinian Authority minister of prisoner affairs as the PA chairman's representative. The rally was broadcast not only by the Gaza Strip but by PA TV as well (Ma'an News Agency, December 8, 2012).
  • An oversize model of an M75 rocket was built on stage to symbolize Hamas' "victory" in Operation Pillar of Defense. The M75 is a locally-manufactured long-range rocket which, according to Hamas, is based on Iranian technology and was used by Hamas during Operation Pillar of Defense to attack Tel Aviv. Left and right of the rocket were giant pictures of Ahmed Jaabari and Ahmed Yassin. Ismail Haniya, head of the de-facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, spoke first, swearing that nothing would remain of the State of Israel, "not in Gaza, not in the West Bank, not in Jerusalem and not in historical Palestine" (Al-Aqsa TV, December 8, 2012).
The Anniversary of the Founding of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
  • The PFLP also marked the anniversary of its founding. To that end, on December 4 PFLP terrorist operative and plane hijacker Layla Khaled[3] entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing. On December 6 she participated in a rally to mark the 45th anniversary of the PFLP's founding, where she said that "it is impossible to live with Israel." She also called on the foreign ministers of the Arab states to cut off all relations with the State of Israel (PFLP website, December 4, 2012).
The Anniversary of the Founding of Fatah in the Gaza Strip
  • In the atmosphere of the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation, Yahya Ribah, a member of Fatah's supreme leadership in the Gaza Strip, said that this year Fatah would hold a rally in the Gaza Strip to mark the 48th anniversary of its founding on January 1. Its theme, he said, would be "State and Victory" to symbolize the upgrading of the Palestinian Authority in the UN and the "victory" of Operation Pillar of Defense (Ma'an News Agency, December 9, 2012). Ahmed Yussef, former political advisor to Ismail Haniya, said that [whether or not the rally would be held] was up to the Hamas administration and conditioned on the presentation of a formal application to hold the rally (Ma'an News Agency, December 9, 2012).
Commemorating Terrorists in Educational Institutions
  • On December 9 the ministry of education of the de-facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip held a festive ceremony to open the Amir al-Munsi boys' high school, financed by the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Amir al-Munsi, a senior operative in Hamas' military-terrorist wing and commander of the Gaza City rocket network, was killed during Operation Cast Lead. At the ceremony, Anwar al-Bara'awi, undersecretary for education in the in the Hamas administration, emphasized the need to commemorate the path chosen by shaheeds such as Amir al-Munsi (Forum.q8lots.net/t1124507.html website, December 10, 2012). Al-Munsi's father, Yusef al-Munsi, served as minister of communications and minister of public works in the Hamas administration Gaza.
Operation Pillar of Defense – Supplements
Preparing for Legal Action against Israel
  • Mazen Haniya, minister of justice in the Hamas administration, said that teams from his ministry were about to finish documenting most of what he called the "war crimes" carried out by Israel in the Gaza Strip during Operation Pillar of Defense. He claimed that in the upcoming days the documentation would be completed. After that, he said, the Hamas administration would sue IDF officers and senior Israeli figures in international courts (Website of the Hamas ministry of justice, November 27, 2012). He also appealed to ministers of justice in the Arab-Muslim world to do the same, saying his ministry was to help them [by providing] all the information necessary for the suits (Website of the Hamas ministry of justice, November 28, 2012).
  • There are also international organizations supporting the PA in its lawfare. For example, the website of the Free Gaza Movement posted a long report about an emergency delegation of movement activists from the United States and Europe who had gone to the Gaza Strip to document the destruction caused by Operation Pillar of Defense. According to the report most of the activists had already left the Gaza Strip (FGM website December 7, 2012).
Establishing the "Victory Narrative" – A New Perfume Called M75
  • Hamas continues its efforts to establish its "victory narrative" for Operation Pillar of Defense: Shadi Adwan, director of a local company in the Gaza Strip said his firm had launched a new unisex perfume called "M75," named after the locally-manufactured long-range rocket. He said the perfume had been launched "as a way of showing appreciation for the victory of the Palestinian people and the resistance during Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip" (Filastin al-'Aan, December 7, 2012). According to reports, the company distributed 4,000 bottles to the markets in Gaza (2,000 for men and 2,000 for women). The bottles sell for 50 shekels apiece (about $13) (PalPress website, December 9, 2012).
Palestinian Reactions to the Israeli Decisions Following the UN's Upgrading of the PA (Supplement)
  • Senior PA figures said the Israeli decision to extend construction in Judea and Samaria was the end of the two-state solution. Mahmoud Abbas, speaking before Arab League representatives, said that continued construction was one of the most difficult obstacles to renewing negotiations with Israel. He said that if Israel stopped the construction the Palestinians would not have to turn to international organizations, the International [Criminal] Court in the Hague among them (Al-Jazeera TV, December 9, 2012).
  • Mahmoud Abbas said that construction in Area E1 was "a red line" which could not be crossed with impunity. He called on the UN secretary general to involve the international community to stop Israel (Ma'an News Agency, December 5, 2012). Saeb Erekat, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee and head of the negotiating team, said that the significance of the Israeli decision was the end of the two-state solution and the peace process. He called for the immediate intervention of the international community to prevent the project from being carried out.
  • On another occasion Mahmoud Abbas said that now that the status of the Palestinians had been upgraded by the UN General Assembly, the PA would act with more determination to change the Paris Protocol [the appendix to the Oslo Accords which regulates the economic relationship between Israel and the PA] (Hamas' Felesteen, December 9, 2012).
Adopting on the External Symbols of a State
  • After the UN upgraded the PA's status, the lower echelons began examining the practical aspects. For example, Issa Qaraqa, Palestinian minister for prisoner affairs, reported that a meeting of the committee on December 5 dealing with the results of the UN upgrade had voted to appoint a legal team to arrange "Palestine's" membership in the Geneva Conventions and UN human rights agencies. He also said they were examining the possibility of appealing to the International Court in The Hague to recognize the Palestinians in Israeli jails as prisoners of war (Ma'an News Agency, December 5, 2012).
  • In addition:
  • Riyadh al-Maliki, PA foreign minister, said that the PA was examining the matter of issuing Palestinian passports and changing the formal paperwork of the PA to state documents so that there would be no contradictions with past agreements to which the PA was committed (Ma'an News Agency, December 5, 2012).
  • On December 8 a meeting was held in the ministry of justice in Ramallah dealing with legal aid where a sign was hung reading "State of Palestine" (Wafa News Agency, December 8, 2012). The same name appeared at a meeting of the Palestinian ministry of welfare in Ramallah to mark the anniversary of World Nakba Day (Wafa News Agency, December 10, 2012).
  • However, an examination of the PA websites indicates that most of the official sites have not yet been updated and still appear as "Palestinian Authority," with the exception of the ministry of the interior and the Palestinian central bureau of statistics (PCBS), which have already changed their name to "State of Palestine" (Websites of the ministry of the interior in Ramallah and the PCBS, December 9, 2012).

[1] As of December 11, 2012. The statistics do not include mortar shell fire.

[2] The statistics for 2008 and 2009 include rocket hits identified during Operation Cast Lead. They do not include mortar shell fire.

[3] Layla Khaled is a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist operative who became an icon. In the early 1970s she was involved in a number of terrorist activities, primarily airplane hijackings. Today she is a member of the PFLP's political bureau and of the PLO's Palestinian National Council.