Popular resistance activity: Palestinians uproot a gate in the Jewish settlement of Efrat in the Etzion Bloc
Molotov cocktail thrown by Palestinians at an IDF jeep
Tawfiq al-Tirawi interviewed by Al-Mayadeen TV, Lebanon
The governor of the Jenin district lays a wreath on the grave of terrorist operative Majdi Khanfar
Cartoon from PA-affiliated Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda. Praise for the burial of the Palestinian terrorist operatives, "likes" for the shaheed
- This past week no rocket hits from the Gaza Strip were identified in Israeli territory. In January 2014 16 hits were identified in the western Negev, the largest number since Operation Cast Lead. However, with 39 identified hits, 2013 was the quietest year since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip (2006).
- On the other hand according to the Israel Security Agency annual report, in 2013 there was a significant increase in the scope of terrorist activity in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. It included the use of armed attacks (201 attacks in 2013, 37 in 2012) and "popular terrorism" (i.e., so-called "popular resistance") with 858 Molotov cocktails thrown (535 in 2012).
- After a number of weeks of sporadic rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, this past week no hits were identified in Israeli territory.
Palestinians Confront IDF Forces at the Security Fence
- On the afternoon of January 24, 2014, dozens of Palestinians gathered near the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip. They tried to vandalize the fence; the IDF tried to make them retreat (Ynet, January 24, 2014). According to Palestinian sources one man was killed and two wounded. The Palestinian killed was Bilal Samir Oweida, 20, from Beit Lahia (Filastin Al-'Aan, January 24, 2014). For the funeral his body was wrapped in a green Hamas flag. There has recently been an increase in gatherings of Palestinians to defy Israel. They occur especially on Fridays, near the security fence to vandalize it and confront the IDF.
Israel Continues Response to Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire
- On January 22, 2014 in the northern Gaza Strip, as part of the Israeli security forces' counterterrorism activities, Ahmed Muhammad Juma'a Zanin, a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) operative, died in a targeted killing. Since 2009 he had carried out many attacks against Israel, primarily rocket attacks. He was recently involved in firing rockets at the western Negev and planned to carry out more in the coming days (IDF Spokesman, January 22, 2014).
- The Palestinian media reported that two Palestinians were killed on January 22, 2014. The two were in a car in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. The military-terrorist wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the PFLP issued formal death notices for Ahmed al-Zanin (Safa and Ma'an news agencies, and the Jerusalem Brigades website, January 22, 2014).
Left: PFLP death notice for Ahmed Muhammad Jumaa al-Zanin (Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades website, January 22, 2014). Right: PIJ military wing death notice (Jerusalem Brigades website, January 22, 2014).
- Following the deaths of the two Palestinians, Issam al-Di'alis, advisor to de-facto Hamas administration head Ismail Haniya, said that Egypt was holding ongoing contacts with the Palestinian side in order to stabilize the lull. He said the Hamas administration had asked Egypt to halt the Israeli escalation and force Israel to implement the lull agreement. He also said that the organizations in the Gaza Strip were trying to formulate a common position (Qudsnet website, January 24, 2014).
Rise in Extent of Terrorist Activity in Judea and Samaria, 2013
- According to the annual Israel Security Agency (ISA) report for 2013, there was a significant increase in the number of terrorist attacks in Judea, Samaria and the region around Jerusalem in 2013. There were 1,271 attacks, compared to 578 in 2012. Most of them were so-called "popular terrorism" (the so-called "popular resistance"); some were armed attacks.
- In 2013 there was a significant increase in armed attacks (shooting attacks, IEDs and hand grenades), 201 attacks in all (37 in 2012). In 2013 858 Molotov cocktails were thrown (535 in 2012), an increase of 60% (the ISA report does not include the hundreds of stone-throwing attacks in the numbers of popular resistance attacks).
- Most of the attacks were carried out in Judea, a total of 1042. There were 260 in the region around Jerusalem and 229 in Samaria. On the other hand, in the city of Jerusalem there was a decline in the number of attacks; 126 were carried out (187 in 2012), most of the throwing of Molotov cocktails.
Global Jihad Terrorist Network Exposed in East Jerusalem
- On December 25, 2013, the Israeli security forces detained three terrorist operatives who belonged to a network affiliated with the global jihad. Two of them were residents of east Jerusalem and carried Israeli ID cards. The members of the network, who did not know one another, had been recruited and were handled by an operative from the Gaza Strip, mainly through the Internet. Their objective was to carry out mass casualty terrorist attacks against Israeli and American targets.
- The members of the network were:
- Iyad Khalil Mahmoud Abu Sara, 24, from Ras al-Hamis in east Jerusalem. He agreed to carry out a number of terrorist activities, among an attack on a bus going from Jerusalem to Maale Adumim. He planned to shoot the bus tires, forcing it to overturn, then to shoot the passengers at close range, and after that to shoot the rescue teams that arrived at the scene. When the plan was canceled, he agreed to help carry out simultaneous suicide bombing attacks at the International Conference Center in Jerusalem and the American embassy in Tel Aviv. He was supposed to go via Turkey to Syria for military training and to coordinate the attacks. He received computer files from the Gaza Strip with instructions for manufacturing explosives.
- Rubin Wahib Abu Najma, 30, from Abu Tor, east Jerusalem. Participated in planning various types of terrorist attacks, among them abducting an IDF soldier from a bus stop in Jerusalem and planting an IED in a building in Abu Tor where Jews lived. During interrogation he said he planned to form a squad in Abu Tor and use the Internet to learn how to make weapons.
- Ala Yassin Muhammad Ghanam, 22, from the village of Al-Aqaba in northern Samaria. During interrogation he said that he had been forming a Salafist-jihadi squad in Samaria for the purpose of carrying out terrorist attacks.
- A terrorist operative from the Gaza Strip known as Gharib al-Sham recruited the three a number of months ago through the Internet. He also handled them after their recruitment. According to sources in the ISA, the way they used the Internet to operate was the same as the methods used by Al-Qaeda organizations around the globe.
From left to right: Iyad Khalil Mahmoud Abu Sara, Rubin Wahib Abu Najma, Ala Yassin Muhammad Ghanam (ISA)
- The suicide bombing attacks at the International Conference Center and the American embassy were planned for five foreign terrorist operatives who were supposed to come to Israel carrying forged documents identifying them as Russian tourists. Abu Sara was supposed to receive them. He was also supposed to acquire a truck, turn it into a car bomb, prepare explosive belts for the suicide bombers and take them to their targets.
Reactions of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas
- In response to the exposure of the terrorist network, senior sources in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas claimed the information was "unreliable." They said that if there were elements affiliated Al-Qaeda their number was extremely small, and therefore Israel's claim regarding the existence of Salafist-jihadi groups was intended for political purposes. Adnan al-Dhameri, spokesman for the PA security services, said that there was no indication of Al-Qaeda operatives active in Judea and Samaria and that Israel was trying to use the name of the organization as an excuse not to withdraw from the territories (Al-Hayat, January 25, 2014).
Palestinian Violence Continues
- During an operation in the Balata refugee camp (near Nablus) an IDF force found weapons in the house of a Palestinian involved in terrorist activities. The weapons included an M-16 assault rifle, two hunting rifles and ammunition. An object suspected of being a pipe bomb was also found. The weapons were apparently meant to be used in a terrorist attack on Israeli civilians or IDF soldiers (IDF Spokesman, January 27, 2014).
- This past week violent incidents continued in Judea and Samaria, part of the so-called popular resistance. Stones were thrown at Israeli civilians and Israeli security forces and Molotov cocktails were thrown at vehicles on main roads:
- On January 21, 2014, a Palestinian terrorist opened fire on the Jewish settlement of Zayit Raanan in the Talmonim region (the Ramallah area). Finding himself pursued, the terrorist dropped his weapon and fled (Tazpit News Agency, January 21, 2014).
- On January 26, 2014, it was reported that Palestinian operatives uprooted and overthrew one of the gates leading to the Jewish settlement of Efrat in the Etzion Block. They planted Palestinian flags at the site (Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, January 27, 2014).
- On January 26, 2014, Palestinians reported they had thrown a Molotov cocktail at an IDF jeep in the village of Dayr Abu Mash'al (northwest of Ramallah) (Facebook page of the village of Dayr Abu Mash'al, January 26, 2014).
The Rafah Crossing
- On January 21, 2014, normal activity was resumed at the Rafah crossing. Nevertheless, its operations are still limited and the number of Palestinians using it to leave the Gaza Strip is very low. Egyptian supervision is strict and some of those seeking to leave are refused entrance into Egypt. During the past week several dozen trucks entered the Gaza Strip carrying building materials for a Qatari project to rebuild the Gaza Strip (Filastin al-Yawm, January 23, 2014).
The Kerem Shalom Crossing
- Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon authorized an increase in the amount of building materials delivered to the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing. The materials are for UNRWA project sand to repair the damages caused by the severe recent storm. According to the coordinator for government activities in the territories, 1,000 tons of cement and other building materials will be delivered.
- The decision was met with criticism in the Gaza Strip. Adnan Abu Husna, spokesman for UNRWA, said that despite the increase in quantity, many programs remained frozen. Jamal al-Khudiri, head of the popular committee against the Israeli "siege," said that the Israeli announcement was a trick, because the quantities were small and meant for a limited number of UNRWA projects (Safa News Agency, January 26, 2014).
PIJ Remarks about the Organization's Terrorist Attack Policy
- Relating to the escalation of the past weeks, Ahmed al-Mudallal, a senior PIJ figure, noted his organization's commitment to the lull agreement. He denied that PIJ operatives had been involved in the recent rocket fire at Israel. He claimed that the rockets had been fired as "a private initiative carried out by youngsters" because of the Israeli "siege" of the Gaza Strip (Alresala.net, January 22, 2014).
- Abu Ahmed, spokesman for the PIJ's military-terrorist wing, said that the PIJ did not want a military confrontation with Israel at this time, not because it was afraid but rather because of the difficult situation in the Gaza Strip and the regional changes. However, he said that if a military confrontation were forced on them it would turn into "a battle of broken bones" and be the most extensive and violent [confrontation ever], and that both sides would use new weapons (Filastin al-Yawm, January 26, 2014).
- As the PIJ signaled its desire for the continuation of the lull in the Gaza Strip, Abu Ahmed called for suicide bombing attacks to be carried out in Israel. He said in an interview that such attacks would embarrass the PA, but would nevertheless deter Israel. He also said that the PIJ would continue to recruit the masses for the coming confrontation and the outbreak of a new intifada in Judea and Samaria (Agence France-Presse, January 25, 2014).
Deputy PIJ Secretary General Added to American Wanted List
- On January 23, 2014, the American State Department designated Ziyad al-Nakhalah, deputy secretary general of the PIJ, as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist." The reasons given were his close relations with Iran and his responsibility for firing rockets into Israeli territory between 2008 and 2011. With his name on the list of designated terrorists, all his business and property in the United States will be frozen and any collaboration or transaction with him is forbidden.
- High-ranking PIJ figures strongly denounced the American designation. Daoud Shihab, a spokesman for the PIJ, said that the United States had turned into an apparatus operating for Israel and that by designating al-Nakhalah as a "Global Terrorist" America was sponsoring Israel's threats, giving it a green light and collaborating with it in continuing the escalation (Agence France-Presse, January 23, 2014).
Left: Ziyad al-Nakhalah (Paltoday website, January 23, 2014). Right: The State Department formally designates Ziyad al-Nakhalah as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" (State Department website, January 23, 2014)
Statements Regarding the Peace Negotiations
- Mahmoud Abbas held a press conference with the president of Romania, who was on a visit to Ramallah. He told the assembled correspondents that he rejected the possibility of extending the negotiations beyond April 2014. He added that negotiations in the remaining months had to concentrate on efforts to make progress (Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, January 22, 2014).
- Interviewed by Voice of Palestine radio, Saeb Erekat, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee and head of the Palestinian negotiating team, said that Israel was sabotaging the efforts of Secretary of State John Kerry and that the time had come to impose the failure [of the negotiations] on Israel. He said that the construction in the settlements was a message sent by Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to John Kerry not to return to the Middle East. He also said that the Palestinians had the right to appeal to international institutions and UN Security Council and General Assembly to deal with what he called Israel's "destructive policies." As for the proposals of the American administration, he said that as opposed to all the media commentary so far, the administration had proposed on sporadic ideas which were, he said, "trial balloons" (Voice of Palestine Radio, January 23, 2014).
- Tawfiq al-Tirawi, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, in an interview with the Lebanese TV channel Al-Mayadeen, strongly criticized the negotiations with Israel. Tirawi, who noted he was speaking for Fatah and not the PA, said that the negotiations had not produced results. He called the Americans "liars" and said that Kerry's plan was hazy and unclear. He also said that the interim agreement proposed by Kerry was unacceptable to the Palestinians and that they opposed it.
- Al-Tirawi also said that anyone who thought a Palestinian state could be established in the next twenty years was wrong and therefore the Palestinians organization had to return to the "cycle of action." By the "cycle of action," he said, he meant "all forms of the resistance" [that is, the popular resistance and the "armed resistance"]. He claimed that the negotiations were only one form of resistance, and that they had to be strengthened by action on the ground. He said a national Palestinian strategic program had to be decided on and implemented by all the organizations, with each phase adopted through the relevant form of "resistance." He also mentioned that in the summation of the Sixth Fatah Conference, held in Bethlehem in 2009, no option for resistance had been taken off the table, including the option of armed struggle (Al-Mayadeen TV, January 23, 2014).
Responses to Remarks Attributed to Benyamin Netanyahu Regarding the Negotiations
- An official source in the Israeli prime minister's office said that Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu believed the Jewish settlers should be given the option to continue living in Palestine, after it was established, as part of the final status agreement (Ynet, January 26, 2014). Saeb Erekat, head of the Palestinian negotiating team, responded assertively, saying that the PA would not permit even one Israel settler to remain on Palestinian land because the presence of the settlers was illegal and violated international decisions. He said Netanyahu was insisting on the settlers and settlements' remaining in order to destroy the two-state solution. That was because, said Erekat, anyone who said he wanted to leave the settlements was saying, in effect that he did not want a Palestinian state to be established (Al-Ayam, January 27, 2014).
Military Funerals for the Corpses of Palestinian Terrorists Delivered to Judea and Samaria
- After a decision handed down by the Israeli Supreme Court regarding an appeal lodged by the families of Palestinian terrorists, an agreement was reached whereby the PA would receive the corpses of 36 terrorists (Ynet, January 19, 2014). Four have already been delivered to the PA, which gave them formal military funerals:
- On January 20, 2014, a funeral was held for Majdi Abd al-Jawad Khanfar from the village of Silat al-Dahr, south of Jenin. He was an operative in Fatah's military-terrorist wing and was killed in 2002 in an exchange of fire with the Border Police near Baqa al-Gharbia. During the exchange Constantine Danilov, a Border Policeman was killed. Khanfar's coffin was draped with the Palestinian flag and carried by operatives of the national security apparatus. The funeral was attended by Talal Dweikat, the governor of the district of Jenin, and senior Fatah figure Jamal Muhaisen (Wafa News Agency, January 20, 2014). Talal Dweikat said that they were proud to receive the body of the shaheed and that they blessed him for sacrificing his blood for the sake of the Palestinian people (Ma'an News Agency, January 20, 2014).
- On January 22, 2014, a funeral was held for the corpses of two Palestinians terrorist operatives in Nablus. Both belonged to Fatah's military-terrorist wing. The funeral was attended by Mahmoud al-A'loul, a member of Fatah's Central Committee (Wafa News Agency, January 22, 2014).
- On January 27, 2014, a funeral was held for terrorist operative Shadi Hamamreh from the village of Husan (west of Bethlehem). His coffin was carried by operatives of the national security apparatus (Wafa News Agency, January 28, 2014).
Armed Hamas Operatives at a PIJ Rally in the Jenin Refugee Camp
Armed and masked operatives in the Jenin refugee camp during a memorial rally for PIJ terrorist operative Nafa al-Saadi killed on December 18, 2013, in an IDF action (Filastin Al-'Aan, January 26, 2014).
Anti-Israeli Incitement: Israel Falsely Accused of Drug Trade and the Spread of Carcinogenic Substances
- As part of the Palestinian media's ongoing incitement campaign, Israel has again been falsely accused of spreading dangerous substances to the Palestinian people:
- An "investigative journalism" program called "Special Mission," broadcast by Palestinian TV on January 21, 2014, dealt with the problem of drugs in east Jerusalem. The program accused Israel of responsibility for the deliberate spread of drugs among the Palestinian residents. For example, Hussni Awad, a psychologist, claimed that "since the occupation of 1967 Israel has been spreading drugs and making it particularly easy to acquire them in Jerusalem. In effect, it is another link in the chain of activities intended to Judaize Jerusalem and take control of it."
- A survey was held in the Gaza Strip regarding the quality of the environment and Yusuf Ibrahim, chairman of the education and welfare committee, gave its results to the Gazan Legislative Council. He noted that many carcinogenic substances were being introduced into Gaza in merchandise arriving from Israel. He claimed they were part of the war Israel was waging against the Gaza Strip (Website of the Gazan Legislative Council, January 19, 2014).
As January 28, 2014. The statistics do not include mortar shell fire and rocket hits inside the Gaza Strip.
The statistics do not include mortar shell fire.
According to the Israel Security Agency website, January 17, 2014.
According to the Israel Security Agency website and an article in Haaretz, January 23, 2014.