Closing the Rafah crossing locks the Gazans into the Strip (Filastin Al-'Aan, July 11, 2013).
Popular committee operatives use sledgehammers to make a hole in the security fence in the region of Abu Dis
Popular committee activists confront IDF forces west of Ramallah.
"The bridge of return [i.e., return of the Palestinian refugees to Israel]"
The Rafah crossing, partially open between July 11 and 12, 2013 (Hamas forum, Qudsnet, July 11, 2013)
Abu Obeida al-Jarrah, commander of the Hamas national security, service visits the Egypt-Gaza border
In his Friday sermon Ismail Haniya rejects the accusations against Hamas
- This past week there was quiet along Israel's southern border. The violent incidents in the Sinai Peninsula between Egyptian regime forces and its opponents have not yet leaked into Israeli territory.
- Violent popular resistance activities in Judea and Samaria continue, although fewer than in recent months. This past week they included sabotaging the security fence in the neighborhood of Abu Dis and blocking a main road west of Ramallah.
- This past week the Rafah crossing opened for a limited amount of movement after it had opened and closed intermittently for a few days. It was also reported that smuggling activities through the tunnels had been partially renewed (after Egyptian army steps taken to close them).
- Hamas is the subject of a media campaign waged by both Egypt and Fatah, accusing it of exporting terrorism to the Sinai Peninsula and backing the Muslim Brotherhood. Senior Hamas figures have come to deny the accusations.
- This past week there was quiet along Israel's southern border, and no rockets or mortar shells were identified in Israeli territory. There were clashes in the Sinai Peninsula between Egyptian regime forces and its opponents, which so far have not leaked into Israel.
Shooting near the Israeli-Egyptian Border
- On July 14, 2013, there was an incident on the Egyptian side of the Israeli-Egyptian border, near the Israeli village of Kadesh Barnea. The exchanges of fire took place in the Sinai Peninsula and apparently did not target Israel. According to the Egyptian newspaper Al-Youm Al-Sabea, shots were fired at Israeli military patrols, but the information was denied by official Egyptian sources (ONA, July 14, 2013).
Rocket Fire Targeting Eilat (Update)
- Following information supplied by an Israeli civilian, on July 9, 2013 an IDF force identified the remains of a rocket found in an open area approximately 15 kilometers, or about nine miles, north of Eilat. An Israeli security force investigation indicated that they apparently belonged to a rocket fired at Eilat five days previously (Ynet, July 9, 2013).
Violent Palestinian 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. Recently there have been attempts to initiate a new wave of activities against Israel within the popular resistance:
- On July 9, 2013, several operatives of the popular committees against the fence and settlements used sledgehammers to make a hole on the Palestinian side of the fence in the neighborhood of Abu Dis (east of Jerusalem). They were trying to break through to the Israeli side and were dispersed by Israeli security forces.
- On July 10, 2013, popular committee activists blocked a main road west of Ramallah and confronted IDF forces and police. Salah al-Khawaja, senior popular committee activist present at the time, said that they were implementing a plan to escalate popular resistance activities because the international community was not doing anything to implement the opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague regarding the fence (Erem News TV, July 10, 2013).
Fatah Glorifies the Population Resistance and Incites to Violence
The Arabic reads "The heroes of the stones. Our stones are stronger than your [rifle] bullets" (Official Facebook page of Fatah, July 11, 2013)
- On July 13, 2013, the Rafah crossing reopened after having been intermittently opened and closed between July 10 and 12. According to Abu Subha, head of the crossings administration in the ministry of the interior of the de-facto Hamas administration, the crossing will partially open in the coming days. He said the Egyptian authorities had decided on groups that would be allowed to use the crossing, among them the ill, holders of foreign passports and Egyptian citizens. Permission would be increased gradually until everyone was allowed to leave the Gaza Strip via the crossing (Website of the Hamas ministry of the interior, July 11, 2013).
Smuggling from Egypt to the Gaza Strip
- According to a number of reports, during the past few days the smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip resumed partial activity. An estimated 20 of 250 tunnels are now partially operative, subject to the activities of the Egyptian security forces. Most of the tunnels in operation are used to smuggle fuel and building materials into the Gaza Strip (Safa News Agency, July 10, 2013).
The Egyptian army moves against the fuel-smuggling tunnels in Egyptian Rafah (Shihab website, July 14, 2013).
- On July 11, 2013, Abu Obeida al-Jarrah, commander of the national security service of the Hamas administration's ministry of the interior, paid a visit along the Egypt-Gaza border. He examined the deployment of the national security forces and their activities to prevent smuggling (Hamas administration national security service website, July 11, 2013).
Reactions in the Gaza Strip to the Coup in Egypt
- Following the toppling to the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt, Hamas finds itself publicly accused by groups in Egypt and Fatah. Articles in Egyptian newspapers have claimed that Hamas is involved in terrorism in the Sinai Peninsula, condemned its stance on the events in Egypt and demanded a broad Egyptian action in the Sinai Peninsula to take it out of the hands of terrorists. Al-Ahram and other Egyptian media have claimed that terrorist operatives used the tunnels to infiltrate into the Sinai Peninsula from the Gaza Strip (Al-Ahram, July 12, 2013).
- Yasser Abd Rabbo, secretary of the PLO's Executive Committee, called on Hamas to examine itself now that its ally, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, had been ousted. He claimed that Egyptian public opinion had a negative image of Hamas. Previously, Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf attacked Hamas and accused it of involvement in the events in Egypt "according to orders from the Muslim Brotherhood," without taking the Palestinian people into consideration (Wafa News Agency, July 7, 2013).
- The main responses of Hamas to the accusations were the following:
- In his Friday sermon Ismail Haniya said that the "Palestinian resistance" [i.e., the terrorist organizations] relied on itself to deal with the challenges facing it. He added that he did not think political circumstances would influence the Hamas movement. He said the attempts to damage Hamas' image would not harm its position or dignity, and would eventually disappear (Al-Ra'i On Line, July 10, 2013). He also denied the accusations leveled at Hamas military-terrorist wing as "purest fabrication" (Palinfo website, July 12, 2013).
- Salah al-Bardawilsaid that the Egyptian accusations against Hamas were false claims, adding that Hamas was not influenced by the events in Egypt. He attacked senior Fatah figures who, he said, were gloating after what had happened in Egypt. He said that Hamas was strong and that current events were only making it stronger (Alresala.net website, July 13, 2013).
- Abu Obeida, spokesman for the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military-terrorist wing, denied its involvement in Egypt's internal affairs. He said the announcement which was said to have been issued by the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades calling for its operatives to be on high alert and to support the Muslim Brotherhood was false and inconsistent with the military wing's position (Safa News Agency, July 15, 2013).
- Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri denied the claim made by a senior Egyptian source that Egyptian security forces had disarmed a Hamas military squad in the Sinai Peninsula (Filastin Al-'Aan, July 12, 2013).
- Unofficially, Hamas continues criticizing the new Egyptian regime and expresses support for the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted President Mohamed Morsi. It expresses its support in newspaper articles, cartoons, billboards and solidarity demonstrations. However, within Hamas itself calls have been heard not to get involved in the events in Egypt. Yahya Mousa, a Hamas faction member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said Hamas and the Gaza Strip would pay a heavy price if they interfered in the events in Egypt. There could be severe consequences, he said, such as closing the crossings and tunnels, which were the Gazans' lifelines (Watan, July 9, 2013).
A billboard in the Gaza Strip with a sign in support of Mohamed Morsi (PalPress website, July 13, 2013)
Renewal of Negotiations with Israel
- In view of American Secretary of State John Kerry's upcoming return to the Middle East for another round of talks, senior figures in the PA made the following statements:
- Saeb Erekat, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee and chief negotiator team, said that both sides' fulfilling their commitments was the starting point for renewing the negotiations. He said the Palestinian side was committed to fulfilling all its obligations and it was up to the Israeli side to stop construction in the settlements, release the prisoners and accept the principle of a two-state solution with the 1967 borders (Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, July 14, 2013).
- Saleh Rafat, also a member of the PLO's Executive Committee, said that so far Kerry had not offered a political plan or initiative, adding that the PA opposed his previous proposal for stopping construction in the [isolated] settlements but continuing in the large blocks. He said the PLO was planning to appeal to the international community regarding the issue, especially UN agencies and the ICJ in The Hague (Voice of Palestine Radio, July 14, 2013).
- Wael Abu Yussuf, another member of the PLO's Executive Committee, said that if Israel sabotaged Kerry's efforts to renew the negotiations, the PA would petition to join international institutions and "escalate the non-violent popular resistance against the [so-called Israeli] occupation" (Voice of Palestine Radio, July 14, 2013).
The Palestinian Prisoners
- Issa al-Qaraqa, minister of prisoner affairs in the PA said there had been a serious decline in the health of Abdallah al-Barghouti, a senior operative in Hamas' military-terrorist wing who has been on a hunger strike for 75 days. Al-Qaraqa claimed that he could die at any moment. He has appealed to the UN Secretary General, the King of Jordan, the head of the International Red Cross and the head of the World Health Organization asking them to intervene to save al-Barghouti's life and the lives of other hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners (Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, July 14, 2013). Al-Qaraqa added that 2013 would be a decisive turning point in the issue of the prisoners, which had become a political issue and an integral part of any arrangement with Israel (Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, July 14, 2013).
Notice on Fatah's official Facebook page: Abdallah al-Barghouti [before his hunger strike] says, "Neither jail nor death scares me. I am a Palestinian. Break the heads of my jailers."
 As of July 16, 2013. The statistics do not include mortar shell fire.
 The statistics do not include mortar shell fire.
 For further information see the Terrorism Information Center July 14, 2013 bulletin “Popular Committee operatives in Judea and Samaria broke through the security fence in the neighborhood of Abu Dis, implementing so-called 'creative tactics'.”
 Terrorist operative Abdallah al-Barghouti, an engineer, was one of the commanders of Hamas' military-terrorist wing in Judea and Samaria. He was responsible for dozens of terrorist attacks against Israel, among them the suicide bombing attack at the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem (August 2001), the double suicide bombing attack at the Ben-Yehuda pedestrian ball in Jerusalem (December 2001), the bombing of the Moment Cafe in downtown Jerusalem (March 2002), etc. More than 66 people were killed and more than 500 were wounded in the attacks. Al-Barghouti was detained in March 2003, tried in Israel, convicted and sentenced to 67 consecutive life sentences. He is considered a resident of Jordan, and is on a hunger strike as a protest against the Jordanian authorities who have not arranged for his relatives to visit him in the Israeli jail. After being weakened by not eating he was hospitalized to prevent his condition from worsening.