The bus in the central Israeli city of Bat Yam, where an IED was found.
Israeli security forces pursue the attacker (Spokesman for the Judea and Samaria district, December 23, 2013).
The funeral of the Palestinian terrorist Saleh Yassin (Ma'an and Wafa news agencies, December 19, 2013).
Packages of food bearing the logo of the Salafist groups (Al-Quds, December 17, 2013).
Distributing Iranian aid to the residents of the Gaza Strip suffering from the recent severe weather conditions in the area (Al-Alam TV, Iran, December 16, 2013)
Masked DFLP terrorist operatives armed with guns at the reception for Samer al-Issawi after his release from jail (Qudsnet website, December 23, 2013).
IED Explodes on a Bus in Bat Yam
- Around noon on December 21, 2013, a catastrophe was prevented when an IED exploded on a civilian bus in the central Israeli city of Bat Yam. A passenger on the No. 240 bus from Bnei Brak to Bat Yam found a suspicious object on one of the rear seats, and alerted the driver. He stopped the bus in the center of the city, told the passengers to evacuate the bus and called the police. A few minutes later an explosion was heard. A policeman, who helped the passengers exit the bus, sustained minor injuries. So far it is not known who was res for the IED, which was apparently detonated by remote control.
- No organization has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Palestinian terrorist organizations praised the terrorist attack, calling for more:
- Hamas: Musheir al-Masri, a senior Hamas figure, said that the terrorist attack in Bat Yam showed that the "resistance" [i.e., the terrorist organizations] was capable of attacking deep in Israel any time it pleased and that it would continue, despite attempts to oppress is (Al-Aqsa TV, December 22, 2013). Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said that it was a "heroic action" carried out in response to the "crimes of the occupation." He said that the "resistance" would continue despite attempts to stop it (Filastin Al-'Aan, December 22, 2013).
- The Palestinian Islamic Jihad(PIJ): Ahmed al-Mudallal, a senior PIJ figure, said his organization praised the attack, and that in the current situation attacks might be carried out anywhere, either by individual operatives or by an organization (Al-Aqsa TV, December 22, 2013).
- The Popular Resistance Committees: Spokesmen for the organization said that the attempted terrorist attack was "the natural response to the continuing crimes committed by the Zionist enemy" (Filastin al-Yawm, December 22, 2013).
Policeman Stabbed North of Jerusalem
- Adam (north of Jerusalem). His condition was described as serious and he was evacuated to a hospital with the knife still in his back. He and other policemen had been called to the Adam Junction following a minor traffic accident. The police were directing traffic when the je was stabbed in the back. His attacker escaped to the nearby village of Jaba'. IDF forces searched the area for the attacker but he has not yet been caught (Ynet, December 23, 2013).
- Stabbing attacks are a modus operandi within the so-called "popular resistance,"the strategy favored by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah's campaign against Israel. The popular resistance is not the quiet protest represented by the PA but rather makes massive use of violence that sometimes results in casualties. The tactic used most often is throwing stones and Molotov cocktails, but on occasion there are stabbing or vehicular attacks. Such attacks are usually not initiated by the established terrorist organizations, although the anti-Israeli incitement of Hamas and the PIJ to escalate terrorism in Judea and Samaria also fuels popular resistance attacks.
Israeli Civilian Shot and Killed at the Security Fence
- According to the initial announcement issued on December 24, 2013, during the afternoon an Israeli civilian repairing the security fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip in the region of Nahal Oz was shot by a Palestinian sniper. The Israeli, employed by the ministry of defense, had been repairing damage to the fence done by the recent heavy storm. He was critically wounded and later died.
- This past week one rocket hit was identified in Israel's south. It was fired during the night of December 23, 2013, and fell near a bus stop in the western Negev. There were no casualties but the bus stop incurred minor damage.
Violence at the Security Fence along the Israeli-Gaza Strip Border
- This past week there was an increase in violent events along the security fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip: On December 21, 2013, an IDF force identified several Palestinians who were about to place an IED near the fence in the region of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. The force opened fire, wounding a Palestinian. According to Palestinian sources, he was a civilian farmer who was working his land at the time. Two days previously, on December 19, 2013, a Palestinian from Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip was killed, and there were several clashes between Palestinians and IDF forces when Palestinians gathered at the security fence and threw stones at the IDF soldiers (Haaretz, December 21, 2013).
- Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum accused Israel of responsibility for the events. He said the "Israeli escalation" was a manifestation of "Israel's disregard for Palestinian life," and a function of America's unlimited support for Israel and the United States' antagonism toward the Arab-Muslim world (Safa News Agency, December 21, 2013).
Violence and Attempted Attacks Continue
- This past week there were two particularly violent clashes between Palestinians and IDF forces:
- During an IDF roundup of terrorist operatives in Qalqiliya on the night of December 18, 2013, a Palestinian opened fire on the soldiers. The soldiers returned fire and killed him. A search conducted after the attack uncovered a gun and bullets. A number of shooting attacks have been carried out in the same location (IDF Spokesman, December 19, 2013). The shooter was Saleh Yassin, an officer in Palestinian general intelligence. He was buried with full military honors and his funeral was attended by the governor of the Qalqiliya district, Abdallah Kamil, and the heads of the district's services (Ma'an and Wafa news agencies, December 19, 2013).
- On the evening of December 18, 2013, during the detention of wanted Palestinian terrorists in Jenin, IDF forces were shot at and a number of hand grenades and IEDs were thrown at them. The soldiers returned fire, killing a Palestinian (IDF Spokesman, December 19, 2013). He was Nafa Jamil al-Saadi, 23, from the Jenin refugee camp, a PIJ terrorist operative.
Left: Armed PIJ operatives at al-Saadi's funeral (Jerusalem Brigades website, December 20, 2013). Right: The formal PIJ announcement of al-Saadi's death (Jerusalem Brigades website, December 19, 2013).
- This past week violent events continued in Judea and Samaria, part of the so-called popular resistance. Stones and Molotov cocktails were thrown at Israeli civilians and Israeli security forces. In addition, a number of attacks were carried out on the main roads. Among the more prominent attacks were the following:
- On the afternoon of December 20, 2013, Palestinians in the area of Nebi Saleh threw stones at Israeli security forces, damaging a military vehicle (Tazpit News Agency, December 20, 2013).
- On December 22, 2013, an estimated 20 Palestinians from the Jelazoun refugee camp (near Ramallah) burned tires and threw stones at Israeli security forces near Beit El (Tazpit News Agency, December 22, 2013).
- On December 23, 2013, an Israeli civilian woman was injured when stones were thrown at her car near the village of Eli (Tazpit News Agency, December 23, 2013).
Left: A car hit by a stone (Photo by Meir David Blum, Tazpit News Agency, December 23, 2013). Right: Palestinians burn tires in the Jelazoun refugee camp (Photo by Inbal Gross, Tazpit News Agency, December 22, 2013).
Restrictions on Movement Eased for the Christian Holidays
- With the upcoming holidays (Christmas and New Year's Eve), the coordinator for government activities in the territories (COGAT) ordered a series of measures to ease the lives of the Christian population in Judea and Samaria. Among them are authorization for unlimited entrance into Israel, issuing visiting permits for non-resident Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, permission for guided tours in Israel and permission for Christians from the Gaza Strip to enter Israel (COGAT website, December 23, 2013).
Irregular Opening of the Rafah Crossing
- Barakat al-Fara, PA ambassador to Egypt, said that following intensive contacts the Egyptian authorities announced they would open the Rafah crossing for three days, December 24 to 26 (Wafa News Agency, December 23, 2013). According to the general authority for crossings and borders of the de-facto Hamas administration, opening the crossing is insufficient for the needs of the Gazans because it will be only partially open and there are 5,000 Gazans registered to leave (Website of the interior ministry of the Hamas administration, December 23, 2013).
Aid for the Gaza Strip
- In continuation of the aid given by Qatar to the Gaza Strip, Issam Da'alis, advisor to de-facto Hamas administration head Ismail Haniya, said that Qatar had made all the necessary arrangements to send a ship loaded with fuel to the Gaza Strip and was waiting for official confirmation from Israel and the PA to set sail. He said the ship would anchor in the southern Israeli port of Ashdod and the fuel would be delivered from there to the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing (Alresala.net website, December 20, 2013).
Repairing the Storm Damage
- The de-facto Hamas administration continues to repair the damage done by the recent storm and to compensate the Gazans. The heads of the administration said they were satisfied by the way the Gaza Strip dealt with the storm. Ismail Haniya, head of the Hamas administration, said the Strip had been "victorious" over the storm as Hamas had been "victorious" over Israel in Operation Cast Lead and Operation Pillar of Defense. He said that from the beginning the Hamas administration had put together a plan to deal with the consequences of the storm, and its top priority was rescuing the Gazans from flooding and improving their conditions (Filastin al-Yawm, December 17, 2013).
- In view of the harsh conditions in the Gaza Strip, many volunteered to help, among them groups of Salafists who distributed food to the needy. According to a Quds News correspondent, it was the first time such groups had been seen engaging in humanitarian activities. However, a source close to the Salafist groups said that it was not the first time they had engaged in social activities (Qudsnet website, December 18, 2013).
- According to Iranian media reports, the Iranian-affiliated Imdad al-Imam al-Khomeini Support Committee in the Gaza Strip also volunteered to help the local residents. According to Awad Abu Daqa, a member of the general support committee, on December 16, 2013, they began distributing food and winter necessities to 1,400 Gazan families (Fars News Agency and Al-Alam TV, Iran, December 16, 2013).
The Negotiations with Israel
- Muhammad Sabih, deputy secretary general for Palestinian affairs of the Arab League, said he expected American Secretary of State John Kerry would present a written agreement to the two sides by the end of December 2013. Muhammad Sabih gave the position of Mahmoud Abbas as explained to the members of the Arab League, including the following points (Ma'an News Agency, December 22, 2013):
- Rejection of the presence of Israeli military forces along the borders, the rejection of a demilitarized state and the rejection of third-party presence.
- Agreement that the Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories would extend over three years, according to a pre-arranged schedule.
- Rejection of part of Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state as an alternative to east Jerusalem.
- Rejection of the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
- Rejection of any temporary solution.
- Agreement to the exchange of "equally valuable" territories.
The Release of Palestinian Terrorist Prisoner Samer al-Issawi
- On December 23, 2013, Israel released Samer al-Issawi from jail after he Had been on a hunger strike for 210 days. Al-Issawi is a Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) operative sentenced to 26 years for terrorist activities and released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal in 2011. After violating the terms of his release he was detained again. In the village of Al-Issawiya in east Jerusalem he was given a mass reception attended by senior figures of the PA and masked, armed PFLP operatives. It was also reported that Mahmoud Abbas telephoned him and congratulated him on his release (Qudsnet website, December 23, 2013).
Terrorists in the Gaza Strip Handle Terrorist Squads in Judea and Samaria
- According to a report in the Israeli daily Haaretz newspaper, Hamas has re-established its military-terrorist headquarters in Judea and Samaria. The headquarters are handled by a team of terrorists in the Gaza Strip released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal. The team, which served long prison terms for the murders of Israelis, is headed by Salah Arouri, deported by Israel and operating from Turkey. He is the leader of a team of operatives in the Gaza Strip who regularly transmit instructions and large amounts of money to squads in Judea and Samaria. During the past two years the Israel Security Agency prevented an estimated eighty plans for terrorist attacks from Judea and Samaria from being carried out, all of them originating with terrorists released in the Gilad Shalit deal and living in the Gaza Strip (Article by Amos Harel, Haaretz, December 20 2013).
 For further information about stabbing attacks see the November 19, 2013 bulletin “The Fatal Stabbing Attack of an Israeli Soldier at the Afula Central Bus Station is a Widespread Modus Operandi that is Relatively Easy to Carry Out, Constituting Part of the Palestinian “Popular Resistance” Attacks.”
 As December 24, 2013. The statistics do not include mortar shell fire.
 The statistics do not include mortar shell fire.
 Salah Arouri was born in the village or Aroura (near Ramallah) and is one of the founders of Hamas' military-terrorist wing in Judea and Samaria. He is a member of Hamas' political bureau and holds the prisoner affairs portfolio. He was released from an Israeli jail in 2010 after having served a sentence of 18 years and was expelled from Israel as part of the agreement signed with him. He was a member of the Hamas team that negotiated the release of Gilad Shalit.