Two Israeli soldiers killed in terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria during the past week (IDF spokesman)
Palestinian activists confront IDF forces (Wafa News Agency, September 20, 2013).
A French diplomat attacks a member of the Border Police (YouTube, September 20, 2013).
Gazans protest the closing of the Rafah crossing (Paltoday website, September 29, 2013).
Children participate in the military display held in the Al-Shati refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.
Mahmoud Abbas speaks before the UN General Assembly in New York
- This past week one rocket hit was identified in the western Negev. Two IDF soldiers were killed by Palestinians in separate terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria. One was killed by sniper fire in Hebron and the other murdered in Samaria for the purpose of using his body to negotiate with Israel. There was extensive rioting in Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and other locations in the Judea and Samaria, part of the so-called "popular resistance."
- The Egyptian army continues taking action against pockets of terrorism in the northern Sinai Peninsula, while trading accusations with Hamas. The Egyptian measures against the smuggling tunnels have damaged the Gaza Strip economy. For the first time since Hamas' violent takeover of the Gaza Strip (June 2007), Israel allowed building materials destined for the private sector to enter the Strip (350 trucks per week) to ease unemployment; Israel also increased its fuel quota to escalate the production of electricity.
- On the night of September 18 one rocket hit was identified in an open area in the western Negev. There were no casualties and no damage was reported.
IDF Shoots at Two Palestinians Who Approached the Security Fence
- On the evening of September 30, 2013, an IDF force in the northern Gaza Strip identified two Palestinians near the border security fence. The two began sabotaging the fence and IDF forces shot at them (IDF spokesman, September 30, 2013). The Palestinian media reported that one Palestinian had been killed and another wounded by IDF fire (Alresala.net website and Al-Aqsa TV, September 30, 2013).
IDF Soldier Murdered in Samaria
- On the evening of September 20, 2013, IDF soldier Tomer Hazan was reported missing. He had not been seen since the morning and had not contacted his family. Intelligence information led to Nidal Amar, a resident of the Samarian village of Bayt Amin (southwest of Qalqiliya). Amar, 42, worked with Hazan at a restaurant in the central Israeli city of Bat Yam. According to intelligence, Amar came for Hazan and the two took at taxi to the Jewish settlement of Shaarei Tikva, near Beit Amin. Acting on the information, the Israeli security forces detained Amar and one of his brothers for questioning.
- During interrogation Amar admitted he had persuaded Hazan to come to his home for a visit. He led him to an area north of the village of Saniriya (east of Bayt Amin) where he murdered him and threw his body into a well. He said he wanted to use the body to negotiate the release of his brother, Nur al-Din Amar, a Fatah-Tanzim operative imprisoned in Israel since 2003 for his involvement in a number of terrorist attacks (Israel Security Agency website, September 21, 2013). Tomer Hazan, 20, served in the Israeli Air Force and worked in the Bat Yam restaurant in his spare time.
- According to an ISA report, the Palestinian terrorist organizations have recently increased their efforts to abduct Israelis in Judea and Samaria as well as inside Israel to use them as bargaining chips to release terrorists from Israeli jails. That has been shown by a series of preventive actions directed against terrorist squads in Judea and Samaria whose operatives admitted they were planning to abduct Israelis. According to the report, the operatives' activities are directed by terrorist organizations abroad and by security prisoners in Israeli jails (ISA website, September 2013).
IDF Soldier Killed by Palestinian Sniper Fire in Hebron
- On the evening of September 22, 2013, First Sergeant Gabriel (Gal) Kobi, 20, from Tirat HaCarmel, near Haifa, was killed by Palestinian sniper fire in Hebron, shot in the neck during a security mission. The shots were fired from the Jabal Johar neighborhood of Hebron, located near the Jewish settlement. Following the attack the IDF took steps to apprehend the shooter (IDF spokesman, September 22, 2013). Stones and Molotov cocktails were then thrown at the Israeli security forces, which responded with rubber bullets and tear gas (Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, September 24, 2013).
Left: The area where First Sergeant Kobi was shot (Yerah Rapp, Tazpit News Agency, September 22, 2013). Right: Palestinians confront IDF forces in Hebron (Wafa News Agency, September 27, 2013).
- The social media posted a notice claiming that the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the Fatah military-terrorist wing, was behind the sniper attack. Its credibility is uncertain because it was not issued on either a Fatah or an Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades official website. However, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades did issue a notice praising the attack and calling it "the natural response to the crimes of the [so-called Israeli] occupation." The notice also called for national unification and the continued attack of IDF soldiers and Jewish settlers (Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades Facebook page).
The notice claiming Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades responsibility for the sniper attack in Hebron (ONA, September 22, 2013).
- Senior Palestinian Authority (PA) figures did not formally or publicly respond to the terrorist attacks, and the Palestinian media made few references to them. Speaking before the Jewish community in New York, Mahmoud Abbas was questioned about the shootings. He said both soldiers had been killed in Area C, which is under Israeli control, and not in areas under the control of the Palestinian security forces. He added that the Palestinians condemned the killings exactly as they demanded the Israelis condemn the killing of the four Palestinians in the Qalandia refugee camp (Wafa News Agency, September 24, 2013).
- Riyadh al-Maliki, the PA's foreign minister, said the PA's position was clear, should the American administration demand the PA leadership condemn the recent attacks. He stressed what he called Israel's "aggression" toward the Palestinians, especially what he referred to as the killing of Palestinians in the Qalandia and Jenin refugee camps, and the continued construction in the Jewish settlements (Voice of Palestine Radio, September 23, 2013).
Violence Continues in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem
- Violence continues in Judea and Samaria as part of the so-called "popular resistance." A large number of stones were thrown at Israeli vehicles, the security forces and Israeli civilians, and Molotov cocktails were also thrown. Confrontations and friction continued between Palestinians and the Israeli security forces at the weekly demonstrations and riots.
- The main events were the following:
- On September 20, 2013, dozens of Palestinian demonstrators, foreign leftist activists and diplomats gathered near the Israeli village of Hemdat in the Jordan Valley. The demonstrators had brought tents and tried to erect an outpost. They threw stones at the Israeli security forces that came to disperse the demonstration (Tazpit News Agency, September 20, 2013). As the demonstrators were being evacuated, Reuters documented a confrontation between a female French diplomat and the Israeli security forces, during which the diplomat attacked a member of the Israeli Border Police. According to the media, Israel lodged a complaint, the result of which was that the woman, who worked as a cultural attaché at the French consulate in Jerusalem, would leave Israel by the end of the year (Israel HaYom, September 21, 2013).
- On September 24, 2013, several hundred Palestinians gathered near the Nablus Gate in east Jerusalem. Some of them waved PLO flags and threw stones at the Israeli security forces (Tazpit News Agency, September 24, 2013). Similar demonstrations were held in the neighborhoods of Ras al-Amoud and the Muslim Quarter in the Old City (Ynet, September 24, 2013). Relating to the events in Jerusalem, Hatem Abd al-Qader, who holds Fatah's Jerusalem portfolio, said "there is a war going on in Jerusalem whose end is not yet on the horizon" (Voice of Palestine, September 25, 2013).
- On September 27, 2013, the anniversary of the outbreak of the Second Intifada was marked in various locations in Judea and Samaria. Despite the calls in the Palestinian street for protest demonstrations, the events were limited and no exceptional occurrences were reported.
- On September 28, 2013, the Rafah crossing opened after having been closed for eight days. It remained open for a limited number of hours every day. Hamas spokesman Ihab al-Ghussin said the opening was a ploy of Egyptian public relations and not a serious step that would end the crisis (Al-Quds, September 28, 2013).
- Despite the opening of the crossing, the bureaucracy involved in passing through is time-consuming and the number of Palestinians leaving and entering the Gaza Strip is small. On September 29, 2013, several hundred Palestinian students attending schools outside the Gaza Strip tried to break through the Palestinian side of the crossing and enter Egypt; they were prevented by the Palestinian security forces (Anadolu News Agency, Turkey, September 29, 2013).
- In view of the serious disruptions in the Rafah crossing's operations, Hamas is considering ways to keep it fully open. Yousef al-Rizqa, Ismail Haniya's political advisor, said that the [de facto] Hamas administration wanted to reach a general Palestinian agreement for managing the crossing not based on the agreement signed in 2005 (Alresala.net website, September 21, 2013). Ihab al-Ghussin, spokesman and head of Hamas information bureau, said he agreed in principle to examine any new mechanism that would lead to keeping the Rafah crossing open. However, he said, only on condition Israel had no say in the matter (Sama News Agency, September 26, 2013).
- As a result of the Egyptian steps taken against the smuggling tunnels, shortages of merchandise, fuel and other commodities continue to be felt throughout the Gaza Strip. Mohamed al-Fara, minister for local government in the Hamas administration, reported that there was a shortage of drinking water because there was no fuel to operate the water pumps. He called on the international human rights organizations to provide the Gaza Strip with the necessary fuel (Safa News Agency, September 17, 2013).
- To ease the shortages, for the first time since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip (June 2007), the Israeli government decided to allow building materials for the private sector to enter the Gaza Strip(350 trucks a week). The objective is to increase employment and reinforce the private sector. Authorization was also given to increase the amount of fuel entering the Gaza Strip to raise its independent production of electricity (NRG website, September 17, 2013).
- Jamal al-Khudari, head of the Committee for Lifting the Siege on Gaza, said in response that allowing a limited amount of building materials for the private sector to enter the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing was insufficient for maintaining projects in the Gaza Strip. He added that the materials brought in through the Kerem Shalom crossing would suffice for only 20% of the projects and would not prevent a crisis in the building industry (Ma'an News Agency, September 22, 2013).
Right: Building materials enter the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing (Wafa News Agency, September 23, 2013). Left: Hamas policeman directs the entrance of trucks and merchandise at the Kerem Shalom crossing (Qudsnet website, September 23, 2013).
Hamas – Egypt Relations
- Musa Abu Marzouq, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, said that Hamas was taking steps to deal with the current crisis with Egypt, as follows (Facebook page of Musa Abu Marzouq):
- Instructing the Waqf in the Gaza Strip to oversee the themes of the sermons delivered in the mosques and forbidding the mention of Egypt.
- Forbidding demonstrations and marches in support of the Muslim Brotherhood.
- Keeping Al-Aqsa TV from broadcasting news about Egypt.
- Deploying Hamas security forces along the border with Egyptto control events.
Marches and Displays in the Gaza Strip
- The terrorist organizations, mainly Hamas, have held an increasing number of marches and displays of power throughout the Gaza Stripto demonstrate their deterrent capabilities, especially to Israel. The following military displays were recently held:
- September 28, 2013: The Popular Resistance Committees held a military display in Gaza City to mark the 14th anniversary of the organization's founding (Qawem website, September 28, 2013).
- September 26, 2013: Hamas held a mass march in Gaza. Abu Obeida, spokesman for Hamas' military-terrorist wing, said that the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades were prepared for any confrontation or aggression (Alresala.net website, September 26, 2013).
- September 25, 2013: Hamas security forces held a military display in Gaza City as part of their deployment for a possible Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip (Filastin Al-'Aan, September 25, 2013).
- September 24, 2013: A march was held, initiated by Hamas, to protest Israel's alleged "activities against Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem" (Safa News Agency, September 24, 2013). A march to show solidarity with Al-Aqsa was held by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip (Paltoday website, September 24, 2013).
- September 21, 2013: Hamas held a military display in the Al-Shati refugee camp attended by Ismail Haniya, head of the de-facto Hamas administration. During the display, in which children participated, rocket launchers were exhibited.
- September 20, 2013: Hamas held a military display in Rafah, where there was a hint of support for the Muslim Brotherhood. Musa Abu Marzouq, deputy chairman of Hamas political bureau, warned against provocative behavior with regard to the Egyptian army and against future intervention in Egypt's internal affairs (PalPress website, September 20, 2013).
Demonstrations at the Security Fence
- On Friday, September 27, 2013, several dozen young Palestinians held a protest demonstration near the border security fence in the Nahal Oz region. They approached the fence and threw stones at IDF forces stationed there. They had left Gaza City following a call posted on the social networks by a group calling itself the "Intifada Youth Coalition." Their objective was to mark the anniversary of the outbreak of the Second Intifada (Filastin Al-'Aan, September 27, 2013).
Young Gazans confront IDF forces at the security fence in the Nahal Oz region (Filastin Al-'Aan, September 27, 2013)
- According to an article posted by the Al-Monitor website, Iran has renewed its financial and logistic support of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The article stated that support had been renewed after a number of meetings held under the auspices of Hezbollah in Beirut, Damascus and Tehran by the "external" PFLP heads and representatives of Iran. PFLP spokesman Abu Jamal said that his operatives were being trained by Hezbollah instructors in Syria and Lebanon, and perhaps in Iran as well. The renewal of aid, according to the article, will shortly lead to a significant increase in the strength of the PFLP's military wing. In addition, PFLP operatives in the Gaza Strip continue to show their support for Assad's regime and for Hezbollah, and are trying to launch rockets into Israel (Al-Monitor, September 17, 2013).
The Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations
- Speaking before a conference of contributing states, American Secretary of State John Kerry said that Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas had recently agreed to speed up the negotiations and increase American participation in bridging the gaps between the two sides. He again noted the dangers of maintaining the status quo, including the possibility of another violent confrontation and a blow to the status of the PA. He called on the international community to support the PA in dealing with its financial problems, and praised Israel for its willingness to widen the type and quantity of merchandise entering the Gaza Strip, for its agreement to ease the passage of Palestinians at the Allenby Bridge and to allow more Palestinians from Judea and Samaria to work in Israel.
Comments by Mahmoud Abbas at the UN and on the UN Sidelines
- Mahmoud Abbasheld a series of meetings in New York, including with American President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. He also met with EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton and with several leaders of the American Jewish community. He spoke about the negotiations with Israel at every meeting.
- On September 25, 2013, Mahmoud Abbas met with American President Barack Obama. After the meeting he held a press conference where he said that Israel was trying to disrupt the peace process and damage the negotiations by its actions in Jerusalem (Wafa News Agency, September 25, 2013). Speaking in the UN General Assembly, President Obama stressed his commitment to advance the peace process based on the two-state solution, but also confirmed American support for the Jewish nature of the State of Israel. Riyadh al-Maliki, the PA foreign minister, criticized Obama, saying that the Palestinians would never accept the State of Israel as Jewish (Voice of Palestine Radio, September 25, 2013).
- Speaking before the General Assembly, Mahmoud Abbassaid that the goals of the peace negotiations were to end what he called the "historical injustice" perpetrated against the Palestinian people and to reach a viable peace, meaning a Palestinian state with full sovereignty with the 1967 borders and east Jerusalem as its capital. Such a state, he said, would live in peace and security with the State of Israel. He also called for a "just and agreed-on solution" for the problem of the refugees according to UN Resolution 194. He said he opposed any temporary agreement or interim arrangement, because, he said, his intention was to reach a comprehensive agreement that would resolve all the issues. He spoke at length about the actions of the Jewish settlers against the Palestinians and Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria, as opposed to what he called the "peaceful popular resistance" of the Palestinians (Palestinian TV, September 26, 2013).
Al-Qaeda Affiliate Carries Out a Mass-Casualty Terrorist Attack in a Mall in Kenya
- On September 21, 2013, several dozen terrorist operatives attacked a crowded shopping mall in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Before the attack, the terrorists, members of an Al-Qaeda-affiliated Somali Islamic organization called Al-Shabab, told the Muslims in the mall to leave. The terrorists barricaded themselves in the mall for two days, killed more than 60 people and wounded more than 200, and kept many hostages. After two days the Kenyan security forces broke into the mall and released the hostages.
- Ahmed Abdi Godane, who heads Al-Shabab, said that the attack was meant as a warning to anyone who supported the Kenyan invasion of Somalia. He said more blood would be shed if Kenya did not withdraw its soldiers from Somalia. Al-Shabab was founded in 2006 and is the largest armed organization in Somalia, estimated to have between 6,000 and 7,000 operatives. It wants to see an Islamic Caliphate established in "greater Somalia," which would include Djibouti as well as parts of Ethiopia and Kenya. The organization has taken over large areas of Somalia including Mogadishu, the capital. In 2008 the United States designated Al-Shabab as a terrorist organization.
Iranian Spy Detained in Israel
- On September 11, 2013, the Israel Security Agency detained Ali Mansouri, a Belgian businessman of Iranian extraction, at Ben-Gurion airport. He had apparently been sent by the Iranians to establish a base in Israeli for Iranian espionage. Mansouri was recruited by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards and sent to Israel in the guise of a Belgian businessman named Alex Mans. His handlers instructed him to set up companies in Israel that could be used as a base for covert Iranian activities against Israeli and American interests. In return he was promised a million dollars. Mansouri visited Israel three times on a Belgian passport, during which he tried to develop business connections and sign contracts with businesses in Tel Aviv.
- Ali Mansouriwas born in Iran in 1958. During interrogation he said that he lived in Iran with his family until 1980 and then moved to Turkey, where he lived until 1997. In 1997 he received a resident's visa from Belgium because of his business activities. In 2006 he received Belgian citizenship, having married a Belgian woman, whom he later divorced. In 2006 he also changed his name to Alex Mans to hide his Iranian identity. In 2007 he returned to Iran to expand his business interests in Iran, Turkey and Belgium. Over the years he lived in Iran, Turkey and Belgium and remarried, this time to an Iranian woman.
- According to what he revealed during interrogation, for years he was in contact with various elements in the Iranian regime. In early 2012, he said, he received a specific proposal to operate against the State of Israel. His handlers instructed him to establish a business base in Israel to provide cover for Iranian Intelligence activities and which could be used by Iran for various purposes. He was instructed to visit Israel, make commercial contacts and sign contracts that would enable him to conduct ongoing business activities, for which he was promised large sums of money. Following the instructions of his handlers, once in Israel he used his cover as a salesman of windows and roofing for stores and restaurants. He was careful to represent himself as a Belgian businessman, supported by Internet and social media sites.
- Mansouri's handlers sent him to Israel twice, in July 2012 and January 2013. His last visit began on September 6 and ended with his detention on September 11, 2013. When he was detained he was found to be carrying photographs of various locations in Israel, one of which was the American embassy in Tel Aviv. Mansouri was handled by the special operations unit of the Qods Force, headed by Hamed Abdallahi and Majid Alawi.
Raji al-Sourani, Head of the PCHR, to Receive the "Alternative Nobel Prize"
- On September 26, 2013, the decision was made to award the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the "Alternative Nobel Prize," to Raji Sourani, a Gaza Strip lawyer who runs the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), for his so-called human rights activities. The award ceremony will be held in the Swedish parliament in Stockholm on December 2, 2013. Al-Sourani is the first Palestinian to receive the prize. Ismail Haniya, head of the de-facto Hamas administration, congratulated him on willing the prize (Filastin Al-'Aan, date, 2013).
- Raji Musa Sourani heads the PCHR, a prestigious anti-Israeli NGO operating in the Gaza Strip, which has a good reputation among human rights organizations around the world. Despite its respectable image and proclaimed commitment to human rights and democracy, the PCHR is an active partner in the current campaign to delegitimize Israel, a campaign which fundamentally seeks to destroy the State of Israel as the national homeland of the Jews. The PCHR also plays a central role in the international anti-Israeli lawfare campaign. The organization regularly defames Israel, calling it an "apartheid" state responsible for "ethnic cleansing" and "war crimes," while it totally ignores and never criticizes the anti-Israeli terrorism of the Palestinian terrorist organizations (for example, the rockets launched from the Gaza Strip attacking Israeli population centers, genuinely defined as a war crime). The universal authority to judge is perceived by the PCHR as a means to attack Israel, institute law suits to harass its senior figures and hamper its security forces in their efforts to wage an effective campaign against the Palestinian terrorist organizations, especially Hamas.
The Right Livelihood Award logo (PCHR website, September 26, 2013)
As at October 1, 2013. The statistics do not include mortar shell fire.
The statistics do not include mortar shell fire.
For information about the violent nature of the popular resistance, see the May 20, 2013 ITIC study, "The Palestinian 'Popular Resistance' and Its Built-In Violence."
According to the Israel Security Agency, September 29, 2013.
For further information about Iran's Qods Force and its terrorist activities, see the August 7, 2012 bulletin “The Quds Force, an elite unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, spearheads Iran's global terrorist campaign.”
Since 1980 the prize has been awarded annually to an organization or individual who works to find practical solutions for the urgent problems facing the world. The winner is chosen by an international committee. The award ceremony is held in the Swedish parliament in Stockholm. Anti-establishment Israelis have also won the prize.
For further information see the April 29, 2013 ITIC bulletin “The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) plays a leading role in anti-Israeli lawfare and is planning to exploit Operation Pillar of Defense to sue senior Israeli figures.”