The situation in the Gaza Strip before and after the recent coup in Egypt (Ajnad Facebook page, July 6, 2013).
Mustafa Barghouti during the popular committees' protest in the village of Baytin, near Ramallah
Abdallah Abu Rahma and Salah al-Khawaja block the entrance to the village of Deir Qadis as part of the popular resistance's protest
Egyptian army forces deploy along the Egyptian-Gazan border
Mahmoud Abbas at a joint press conference with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman
Mahmoud al-A'alul speaks at a rally in the village of Qadoum
- Quiet continues in the Gaza Strip. On July 5, 2013, residents of Eilat, Israel's southernmost city, reported hearing explosions. Searches carried out by the Israeli security forces so far have not found rocket remains. A jihadist network claimed responsibility for firing two Grad rockets at Eilat.
- During June there was a decrease in the scope of the "popular resistance" activities in Judea and Samaria and in terrorist attacks in general. Popular resistance activists said they wanted to initiate a new wave of activities using "new and creative tactics."
- The de-facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip and the local Gazan population are worried about the consequences of the recent dramatic events in Egypt. Out of security considerations, the Egyptian authorities have closed the Rafah crossing and destroyed some of the smuggling tunnels, making daily life difficult for the Gazans. Senior Hamas figures stated that they did not interfere in Egypt's internal affairs but unofficially the Hamas media has a sympathetic attitude towards the Muslim Brotherhood and hostility to the steps taken by the Egyptian army.
Explosions Heard in Eilat
- At 21:30 on July 5, 2013 the residents of Eilat, Israel's southernmost city, heard three explosions, which were also heard in the Jordanian city of Aqaba. Searches carried out by the Israeli security forces so far have not found rocket remains. A jihadist Islamist network calling itself Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for firing two Grad rockets at Eilat.
- The last time two rockets were fired at Eilat from the Sinai Peninsula was on April 17, 2013. A network in the Gaza Strip affiliated with the global jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.
ISA Summary of Terrorist Attacks, June 2013
- According to data from the Israel Security Agency (ISA), during June 2013 there was a decrease in the number of terrorist attacks carried out in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. During June there were 99 attacks (as opposed to 121 in May 2013). Most of them were Molotov cocktail attacks (88, 34 of them in Jerusalem). In seven instances explosives were thrown (five in Jerusalem), and in four instances shots were fired from light arms. On June 5, 2013, a member of the Israeli security force was injured when stones and Molotov cocktails were thrown north of Jerusalem (ISA website).
Palestinian Shooter Detained
- In May the Israeli security forces detained a Palestinian from Qalqiliya, an operative of one of the Palestinian Authority (PA) security services. On March 17, 2013, while in his car, he shot an Israeli civilian standing at a bus stop at the entrance to the village of Qedoumim. Two men, brothers of the operative, were also detained, for having helped him carry out the attack and flee the scene. The Palestinian security forces detained him before the Israeli security forces did, but to them he denied involvement in the shooting (ISA website, July 3, 2013).
Palestinian Popular Resistance Activity Continues
- Violent confrontations and friction between Palestinians and the Israeli security forces continue at the traditional frictions sites, part of the so-called popular resistance. The Palestinian media reported that Mustafa Barghouti, secretary general of the National Initiative Movement, and more than 100 popular committees activists were inured by smoke and rubber bullets during a riot on July 3, 2013, near the village of Baytin, in the region of Ramallah (Ma'an News Agency, July 3, 2013). Mustafa Barghouti said the riot was part of the "Country, be strong" campaign. He said that the popular resistance organizers intended to carry out other activities in the near future, among them a protest against construction in the Jewish settlements and the security fence, and boycotts of Israeli-made products (Voice of Palestine Radio, July 3, 2013).
- The statements made by Mustafa Barghouti follow those made recently by other prominent figures in the "popular committees against the fence and settlements," such as Abdallah Abu Rahma, popular committee coordinator in the village of Bila'in, and Salah al-Khawaja, popular committee coordinator in the village of Ni'lin. According to the two, they are planning to use "creative ways" to initiate direct confrontations with the Israeli security forces. In our assessment such remarks reflect the feeling among popular committees activists that the weekly demonstrations and riots against the security fence have become routine and do not attract attention in Judea and Samaria or of the international community, and thus they feel the need to blow new life into the popular resistance.
Series of Israeli Gestures for Ramadan
- For the Muslim religious month of Ramadan, which begins on July 10, 2013, Israeli Defense Minister Yaalon authorized gestures for the Palestinian population. They include making it easier to enter Israel and pray on the Temple Mount, issuing entrance visas for family visits in Israel, opening the crossings longer and easing freedom of movement in coordination with the security situation (Website of the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories, July 7, 2013).
- Gazan worries have increased over the possible influence of the events in Egypt on the Gaza Strip (See below). On July 4, 2013, Egypt closed the Rafah crossing indefinitely to traffic in both directions (Qudsnet website, July 4, 2013), including groups of pilgrims returning from Mecca. Dozens of Gazans are currently delayed at the Cairo airport.
Left: A fuel shortage has caused long lines at gas stations (Filastin Al-'Aan, July 3, 2013). Right: The Rafah crossing, closed to traffic in both directions (Filastin Al-'Aan, July 6, 2013).
- Both the de-facto Hamas administration and the PA are trying to defuse the Gazans' concerns:
- The Hamas administration has promised that during Ramadan it will compensate for all civilian shortages, including basic goods, cooking fuel and building materials (Website of the Hamas administration information bureau, July 3, 2013).
- Alaa' al-Rifati, Hamas minister of the economy, said that contacts were being held with the Egyptian leadership to reopen the Rafah crossing. He added that if the crisis in Egypt continued, the Hamas administration had an alternative plan for distributing food during Ramadan. He said that the Gaza Strip had sufficient reserves of reasonably priced food for Ramadan (PalPress and Ma'an News Agency websites, July 7, 2013).
- Ihab al-Ghussin, spokesman for the de-facto Hamas administration and head of its information department, said that the events in Egypt influenced the Gaza Strip because the Rafah crossing was its only entrance and exit point. Closing the crossing and destroying tunnels had worsened the crisis in the Gaza Strip, and the Hamas administration was doing everything possible to resolve the crisis (Al-Quds TV, July 6, 2013).
- Muhammad Mustafa, deputy head of economic affairs in the PA government, said that in view of the closing of the Rafah crossing, the PA was making an effort to supply the Gazans' basic needs, including opening the commercial crossing at Kerem Shalom (Wafa News Agency, July 7, 2013).
Egyptian army forces deploy along the Egyptian-Gazan border (Safa News Agency, July 2, 2013; Qudsnet, July 8, 2013).
Christian School Principals Object to Gender Separation in Their Schools
- A new education rule ratified by the Hamas administration calls for gender separation in schools in the Gaza Strip from the age of nine, and demands that girls be taught only by women. The heads of the Christian educational system criticized the law, saying it was destructive for Christian schools and violated the liberty of the individual. They said they would not agree to implement the law in their schools, even if it meant closing them. In response Muhammad Abu Shqeir, deputy minister of primary and higher education in the Hamas administration, denied it was a religious decision, and that his ministry would try to reach an acceptable understanding with the Christian schools in the Gaza Strip (Al-Nashra, Lebanon, July 2, 2013).
The Palestinian Authority
- Senior PA figures congratulated the Egyptian people, the Egyptian army and the pro tem president, and also showed a sympathetic attitude toward the events, (even if they have not blatantly):
- Mahmoud Abbas, PA chairman, expressed hope that Egypt would be strengthened by the events and retain its leading historical position (Wafa News Agency, July 3, 2013). He was quick to send his congratulations to Adly Mansour, appointed pro tem president. He also mentioned the role played by the Egyptian army under the leadership of Ahmed Abd al-Fath al-Sisi to preserve security for Egypt and Egyptian people, which had united to save the country and establish a road map for the future of the country (Wafa News Agency, July 4, 2013).
- Al-Tayeb Abd al-Rahim, presidential general secretary, congratulated the Egyptian people and army for their achievement, emphasizing Egypt as a pioneering and cultural role model for the Arabs (Wafa News Agency, July 3, 2013).
- Ahmed Assaf, Fatah spokesman, said Fatah and the Palestinian people welcomed the victory of the will of the Egyptian people and that the coup of June 30 had restored the hope of the Arab nation and the Palestinians. He said he hoped the victory of the Egyptian people would have a beneficial influence on the Palestinian cause, which had recently been erased from the Arab agenda (Al-Kawfia Press, July 4, 2013).
- Initially Hamas refrained from openly Hamas supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, and its senior figures tried to pretend it was "business as usual." Senior Hamas figures have often stated that they do not interfere in Egypt's internal affairs (an indirect response to accusations against Hamas in the Egyptian media and by Fatah spokesmen). However, when the dust settled, Hamas showed sympathy for the Muslim Brotherhood (of which it is the Palestinian branch) in its reporting and announcements, while the army's actions were represented as "a coup against democracy."
- Examples follow:
- Ismail Haniya, head of the de-facto Hamas administration, said in his Friday sermon that he did not have an opinion about the events in Egypt. He said that there was no cause to worry about the fate of the Palestinian cause or the Gaza Strip, because they would continue to be the main issue for the Arab-Muslim world (Al-Aqsa TV, July 5, 2013).
- Yahya Mousa, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said Hamas did not interfere in Egypt's internal affairs and that it had no comment on the Egyptian army's decision to oust Mohamed Morsi (Turkish News Agency, July 4, 2013).
- Following the deaths of Egyptian civilians in confrontations between Morsi supporters and opponents, the Hamas information bureau issued a formal statement condemning "the slaughter of dozens of Egyptian civilians," expressed pain and sorrow for the victims and called for the prevention of further bloodshed (Website of the Hamas administration information bureau, July 8, 2013).
- Yussuf Rizqa, formerly political advisor to Ismail Haniya, wrote a column in the Hamas-affiliated newspaper Felesteen praising Mohamed Morsi's administration which, he said, was "an example of tolerance and respect for democracy." He also described the event in Egypt as a military coup against democracy. He said that despite the ousting of Morsi he had not failed because he continued to cling to the option of democracy. He added that the ousting and the takeover of the Egyptian administration were not part of a true democratic process, because they were based on armed force, not the will of the people (Hamas' Felesteen, July 5, 2013). According to Rizqa's Facebook page, the democratic process in Egypt had failed and what had occurred in Egypt was a coup against the administration (July 7, 2013).
- Despite Hamas' media caution, Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf attacked Hamas, accusing it of involvement in events in Egypt "on the orders of the Muslim Brotherhood" without consideration for the Palestinian people. He said Hamas' position did not represent the Palestinian people and harmed Palestinian interests, drew attention away from the Palestinians' main objectives and entangled them in internal [Egyptian] conflicts. He added that the policy of Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian national consensus was not to have an opinion and not to become involved in Egypt's internal affairs (Wafa News Agency, July 7, 2013).
Events in Egypt Lead to Establishment of New Jihadist Network
- Following the events in Egypt, a jihadist Islamic group announced the establishment of a new network called "Supporters of the Sharia in the Land of al-Kanana." The network, which announced its establishment on a jihadist forum, said it opposed the "secular" coup in Egypt, which it considered "an Egyptian declaration of war against Islam." It said the network had been established to fight those responsible for the coup, and called on all Muslims to unite, get weapons and train for a confrontation with the aggressors (Global jihad forum, July 7, 2013).
Mahmoud Abbas Visits Lebanon
- On July 3, 2013, Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the PA, arrived in Lebanon at the head of a delegation for a three-day visit. He had a formal reception, arranged by Lebanese President Michel Suleiman. Mahmoud Abbas met with senior members of the Lebanese government, among them caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati, head of the Kata'eb (Phalanges) Party Amine Gemayel, ministers, Arab ambassadors and Palestinian representatives in Lebanon. At a press conference held with Najib Miqati, he said the Palestinians did not want to harm Lebanon's security and that they completely relied on the Lebanese regarding the security of the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. He also said he hoped the American efforts to promote negotiations with Israel would be successful (Wafa News Agency, July 4, 2013).
Left: Mahmoud Abbas at a joint press conference with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman (Wafa News Agency, July 3, 2013). Right: Signs hung in Beirut in preparation for his visit (Ma'an News Agency, July 3, 2013).
Popular Resistance Rally in the Village of Qadoum
- On July 4, 2013, the popular committee against the fence and settlements in the village of Qadoum (a central location for popular resistance activities) and Fatah held a joint rally to mark the second anniversary of the popular resistance in Qadoum. The event was attended by senior PA and Fatah figures, among them Ziad Abu Ein, deputy minister for prisoners affairs; Mahmoud al-A'alul, a member of Fatah' Central Committee; and Hassan Ashtiwi, a member of Fatah's Revolutionary Council.
- The governor of the Qalqiliya district, speaking for Mahmoud Abbas, expressed his amazement at the scope of the popular resistance activities in Qadoum and the participation of its residents. He and Mahmoud al-A'lul stressed the importance of using the various aspects of the popular resistance against the IDF (PNN website, July 5, 2013). There was also a short display simulating a clash between "demonstrators" and "IDF forces" retreating in the face of stones thrown at them by village children (Fatah Facebook page, July 7, 2013).
 As of July 9 2013. The statistics do not include mortar shell fire.
 The statistics do not include mortar shell fire.
 The data do not include stone-throwing attacks, estimated at scores every month.
 On the morning of March 17, 2013, shots were fired at a 70 year-old Israel was waiting at the bus stop at the entrance of the village of Qedoumim (in Samaria). He was seriously wounded and evacuated to ahospital. Investigation revealed that a car stopped at the bus stop and its passengers held a short conversation with the Israeli, and then shot him. The car then sped away, driving in the direction of one of the nearby villages.
 For further information see the July 7, 2013 bulletin “Popular Committees Activists in Judea and Samaria Plan a New Wave of Popular Resistance Anti-Israel Activity Using 'Creative New Tactics.'"
 Al-Kanana is another name for Egypt, taken from the Islamic oral tradition.