Jibril Rajoub (left), a member of Fatah's Central Committee, meets in Tehran with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (right) (Al-Alam TV, Iran, January 28, 2014)
The official Fatah death notice for terrorist operative Muhammad Mahmoud Mubarak (Official Facebook page of Fatah's recruitment and organization bureau, January 29, 2014).
Rami Hamdallah (red tie), Palestinian prime minister, and Said Abu Ali, minister of the interior (holding microphone), pay a condolence call to the family of the terrorist (Wafa News Agency, January 29, 2014).
Masked Palestinians rioting near the Ofer Jail (Wafa News Agency, January 40, 2014).
Gazan children demonstrate for the immediate opening of the Rafah crossing.
Atallah Abu Sabah, minister of prisoner affairs, calls for the abduction of IDF soldiers (Filastin Al-'Aan, January 30, 2014).
The funeral held by the PA for two suicide bombing attacks (Wafa News Agency, February 3, 2014).
Bawabat al-Awda (Ma'an News Agency, February 2, 2014)
- This past week two rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory, one in the region of Eilat (intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system) and the other near the southern city of Netivot. In response Israeli Air Force aircraft struck a number of terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip.
- Mahmoud Abbas, in an interview with the New York Times and in a recorded speech given at a conference held at the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies, made an attempt to send "softened" messages that would resonate with American and Israeli public opinion. Hamas, however, rushed to reiterate that it would not relinquish an inch of Palestinian soil or renounce the armed struggle.
- Jibril Rajoub, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, paid a visit to Iran this past week during which he expressed the Palestinian Authority's desire for closer relations with Iran. He employed his usual extremist rhetoric when referring to Israel, calling it "the foremost enemy of Palestine and of all Arabs and Muslims." He also said that "armed resistance" was an option if the negotiations failed.
- This past week two rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory.
- On January 30, 2014, a rocket landed in an open area near the southern city of Netivot. There were no casualties and no damage was reported.
- On the evening of January 31, 2014, a rocket was fired from the Sinai Peninsula at Eilat, Israel's southernmost city. It was intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system. There were no casualties and no damage was reported. The Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, a terrorist organization affiliated with the global jihad, claimed responsibility for the attack (the same organization that claimed responsibility for rocket fire targeting Eilat on January 20, 2014).
Israel's Response to the Rocket Fire
- In response to the rocket fire targeting Netivot, on January 31, 2014, Israeli Air Force aircraft struck a number of terrorist sites in the Gaza Strip. Among the targets were a site for manufacturing weapons and a center for terrorist activity in the northern Gaza Strip, and a site for storing weapons in the southern Gaza Strip (IDF Spokesman, January 31, 2014). The Palestinian media reported that seven Palestinians had incurred minor wounds, three in the northern Gaza Strip and four in the south (Paltoday website and the Safa News Agency, January 31, 2014).
- The media reported that in response to the Israeli attacks Hamas removed the operatives of its "restraint" forces who had been deployed to prevent the so-called "rogue" organization from launching rockets into Israel (Agence France-Presse, February 1, 2014). Two days later the media reported that they had been redeployed (PalPress, February 1, 2014).
IDF Officer Killed by Friendly Fire
- On the night of February 3, 2014, an IDF officer was killed by friendly fire near the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip. The circumstances of the incident are under investigation. The officer was Tal Nahman, 21, from the central Israeli city of Nes Tziona (IDF Spokesman, February 4, 2014).
Hamas Network Uncovered in East Jerusalem
- In recent weeks a joint security force operation exposed an extensive Hamas network, some of whose operatives were residents of east Jerusalem and carried Israeli identity cards. Some of them were senior operatives in Hamas' regional headquarters. They directed and financed Hamas' activities in east Jerusalem and in the Temple Mount compound. Sixteen operatives, residents of east Jerusalem, were detained. Activists of the northern branch of the Israeli Islamic Movement who collaborated with Hamas on the Temple Mount were also detained (Israel Security Agency, January 29, 2014).
- Among the detainees were the following:
- Rami Zakaria Ibrahim Baraka – Born 1975, resident of Sur Baher, one of the senior operatives in the headquarters in Jerusalem. Previously convicted of Hamas activity.
- Khalil Atia Muhammad Ghazawi – Born 1973, resident of Abu Tor in Jerusalem, one of the senior operatives in the headquarters in Jerusalem. Previously convicted of Hamas activity.
- Majed Rajeb Muhammad A'shour Ju'ba – Born 1981, resident of the Old City in Jerusalem, senior Hamas operative. Released from prison in November 2012 and returned to terrorist activity immediately. In the months before his detention he was involved in transferring funds from the Gaza Strip to operatives in Jerusalem.
- Hitham Rajeb Muhammad A'shour Ju'ba – Born 1982, brother of Majid, resident of the Old City in Jerusalem. High-ranking Hamas operative on the Temple Mount.
- In addition, in December 2012, two Jerusalem offices of the Islamic movement institutions, Al-Quds Development and Amarat al-Aqsa, were closed following information that Hamas activities were carried out there. An investigation into the offices' activities revealed that the Islamic movement had been funding "an educational project" on the Temple Mount called "Platforms of knowledge." As part of the project the Islamic movement gave money to operatives in return for their presence on the Temple Mount. The project was funded, at least in part, by Hamas. A video was uploaded to the Internet in which Ismail Haniya, head of the de-facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, admitted he was promoting the project by funding it (ISA, January 29, 2014).
Terrorist Operative Shooting at IDF Post Killed
- On January 29, 2014, a Palestinian opened fire at an IDF post near the village of Bir Zeit (north of Ramallah). An IDF force returned fire at the Palestinian, a worker employed on a project at the post. The exchange of fire lasted a number of minutes, and the terrorist was shot and killed. The Palestinian was Muhammad Mahmoud Mubarak, a resident of the Jelazoun refugee camp (near Ramallah) (IDF Spokesman, January 30, 2014).
- Senior Palestinian Authority (PA) figures condemned his killing and demanded that Israel give an account of its actions (Ma'an News Agency, January 29, 2014). Fatah issued a formal death notice for Muhammad Mahmoud Mubarak (Official Facebook page of Fatah's recruitment and organization bureau, January 29, 2014). Lila Ghanem, governor of the Ramallah district, paid a condolence call to the family and gave them a personal letter from Mahmoud Abbas condemning the killing (Facebook page of the governor of the Ramallah district, January 29 and 30, 2014). Rami Hamdallah, the Palestinian prime minister, and Said Abu Ali, the PA's minister of the interior, also paid condolence calls to the family (Wafa News Agency, January 30, 2014).
- Sultan Abu al-Inin, a member of Fatah's Central Committee and advisor to Mahmoud Abbas for NGOs, posted a notice on his Facebook page praising the terrorist operative who, he said, "had risen to heaven from the battlefield as a shaheed, challenging the Zionist enemy" (Official Facebook page of Sultan Abu al-Inin, January 29, 2014).
Left: Facebook page of Sultan Abu al-Inin with praise for the terrorist operative (January 29, 2014). Right: IDF soldier holds the gun used by the terrorist (Tazpit News Agency, January 29, 2014).
Palestinian Violence Continues
- 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. An attempt to smuggle weapons into Israel was prevented:
- The main incidents were the following:
- On January 30, 2014, three Karl Gustav submachine guns were seized at a crossing in the region of Tulkarm. The guns were hidden in the trunk of a car on its way into Israel.
- On January 31, 2014, three Molotov cocktails were thrown at the balcony of a private house on French Hill in Jerusalem. They ignited and the owner of the house put out the fire. There were no casualties; minor property damage was incurred (Ynet, January 31, 2014).
- On January 31, 2014, a Palestinian armed with a knife was detained at the entrance to the village of Nahliel (west of Ramallah) (Tazpit News Agency, January 31, 2014).
Left: The knife found in the possession of a Palestinian (Tazpit News Agency, January 31, 2014). Right: Three submachine guns seized near Tulkarm (IDF Spokesman, January 30, 2014).
The Rafah Crossing
- In view of the continuing difficulties experienced by Palestinians wanting to use the Rafah crossing, Hamas organized a demonstration of dozens of Gazan children to protest Egyptian policy. The demonstration took place near the crossing. Young women held laptops and children waved signs calling for the Egyptians to open the crossing. They were protesting the frequent closing of the Rafah crossing caused, according to the Egyptian claim, by "computer problems," and even offered to give their own laptops to the Egyptians (Safa News Agency, January 29, 2014).
- Following the increasing severity of Egypt's accusations against Hamas during Mohamed Morsi's trial, Hamas issued a special statement appealing to "regional Egyptian, Arab and Islamic public opinion." Hamas denied any interference in internal Egyptian affairs and claimed that all the accusations directed against it were baseless. Hamas added that all of its weapons were aimed at Israel. It called for an independent Arab committee to be appointed by the Arab League to investigate the allegations (Filastin Al-'Aan, January 28, 2014).
Hamas Minister of Prisoner Affairs Calls for Abduction of IDF Soldiers
- At a press conference held in Dir al-Balah front of the house of a Palestinian prisoner, Atallah Abu Sabah, minister of prisoner affairs in the Hamas administration, called for the abduction of IDF soldiers to effect the release of Palestinian prisoners (Filastin Al-'Aan, January 30, 2014).
Statements from Mahmoud Abbas
- Interviewed by the New York Times, and in a recorded speech played at the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies INSS), Mahmoud Abbas made an attempt to send "softened" messages that would resonate with American and Israeli public opinion. However, in both instances he emphasized that he would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Hamas spokesman rushed to make it clear that remarks made by Mahmoud Abbas reflected only his personal opinion, and that Hamas would not agree to relinquish an inch of Palestinian soil or renounce the armed resistance.
- During a conference held at the INSS, Mahmoud Abbas, in a recorded speech, presented his plan for peace with Israel:
- He expressed readiness to accept a gradual Israeli withdrawal over a period not exceeding three years. He said the Palestinians did not object to the presence of a third party after or during the Israeli withdrawal, and said NATO would be an appropriate body.
- He expressed willingness to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu at any time. He said that there was nothing to prevent it, but that the issue had to be examined. However, he did not explicitly relate to Netanyahu's invitation to speak before the Knesset or the possibility that Netanyahu would speak before the Palestinian Legislative Council.
- He claimed that Hamas was not an obstacle to an Israeli-Palestinian agreement. He said Hamas and Fatah had a written agreement in which both sides stated their willingness to negotiate with Israel based on the 1967 borders and on the so-called peaceful "popular resistance." Note: A "senior Hamas figure" denied the existence of such an agreement, saying that Hamas could not possibly agree to such a solution. He added that it would never relinquish one inch of Palestinian soil (Filastin Al-'Aan, January 27, 2014).
- Mahmoud Abbas told the New York Times that he told John Kerry he agreed that Israel soldiers could remain in Judea and Samaria for up to five years, and not three, as he had previously stated. He said he had proposed to Secretary of State John Kerry that an American-led NATO force patrol a future Palestinian state indefinitely, with troops positioned throughout the territory, at all crossings, and within Jerusalem, indefinitely. "Palestine," he said, would not have its own army, "only a police force [ITIC emphasis throughout]"
- On recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, he said, “This is out of the question.” As to ending the negotiations on April 29, he said, "If, after nine months, we didn’t get anything, if there is nothing on the horizon, we will stop.” He said he had been resisting pressure from the Palestinian street and leadership to join UN agencies. He said he wanted to "take advantage of every minute now. He would not, he said allow a third intifada [ITIC emphasis throughout].
- Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri used his Facebook page to denounce Mahmoud Abbas' New York Times interview, saying that Abbas had been stating his personal views and that they did not reflect the overall Palestinian position, which rejected negotiating with Israel or any solution that threatened the rights and national principles of the Palestinians (Facebook page of Sami Abu Zuhri, February 3, 2014).
Remarks Made by Saeb Erekat Regarding the Negotiations with Israel
- A panel discussion was held at the Munich Middle East Peace Conference. Two of the panel members were Saeb Erekat, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee and head of the Palestinian negotiating team, and Tzipi Livni, Israeli minister of justice and chairman of the Israeli negotiating team. Saeb Erekat was extremely critical of Israel's policies in Judea and Samaria. He said Israel used the word "security" to justify "its racist apartheid regime" in the "territories." He added that he recognized Israel's right to exist in security and peace, but the demand for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state meant changing Palestinian history, which the Palestinians could not accept. He also attacked what he called Israel's "shrugging off" its responsibility for the suffering of the Palestinian refugees (Wafa News Agency, date, 2014).
Glorifying Two Dead Suicide Bombers
- On February 2, 2014, the bodies of two more terrorist operatives were transferred to the Palestinian as part of an agreement reached following an Israeli Supreme Court decision. The two were suicide bombers who had carried out suicide bombing attacks in Jerusalem during the second intifada:
- Ayat al-Akhras, who blew herself up in a supermarket in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood in Jerusalem on March 29, 2002. Two people were killed and 27 and wounded. Fatah-Tanzim claimed responsibility for the attack.
- Daoud Abu Suwe, who blew himself up in the Hilton Hotel in the Mamilla neighborhood of Jerusalem on December 5, 2001. Five people were wounded; the Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.
- On February 3, 2014, the PA held a funeral for them with full military honors in Bethlehem, attended by many Palestinians. Their coffins were carried on the shoulders of Palestinian national security operatives. Tawfiq al-Tirawi, a member of Fatah's Central Committee who is also president of the PA's military academy in Jericho, praised their sacrifice and the sacrifice of the other Palestinian shaheeds. He said that the "Palestinian people will continue to wave the flag of the resistance until it has achieved its goals" (Al-Ayam, February 4, 2014).
Jibril Rajoub Visits Iran
- Jibril Rajoub, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, paid a visit to Iran, calling it "turning over a new leaf in the relations between Iran and the Palestinian Authority" (France Press, January 29, 2014). While in Iran he met with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, and other senior figures. The media reported that he gave a communiqué to Zarif from the Palestinian leadership to the Iranian leadership, expressing interest in creating ties between Iran and Palestine.
Jibril Rajoub holds hands with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (Jibril Rajoub's Facebook page, January 28, 2014).
- Interviewed by Al-Alam TV on January 29, 2014, and Al-Quds Al-Arabi on January 30, 2014, Jibril Rajoub related to the following issues:
- Relations with Iran: He said that Iran was not an enemy and that the Palestinians would not participate in an attempt to exchange Iran for Israel, because Israel was "the foremost enemy of Palestine and all Arabs and Muslims." He said relations with Iran had "become warmer" following the visit of the Iranian foreign minister to the region. He also said that the PA's openness towards Iran was within Palestinian national interests and part of the Palestinian strategy to open the PA to the world. Note: When asked, following Jibril Rajoub's visit to Iran, about the nature of the PA's relationship with Iran, Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf said that Mahmoud Abbas regarded developing relations with Iran as very important (Ajyal Radio, January 30 2014).
- The negotiations with Israel: Jibril Rajoub said that the problem of the refugees had to be resolved based on UN General Assembly Resolution 194. He said it was the last time negotiations were being held and that after they were over the Palestinians would seek other options, especially appeals to international institutions. He added that if the negotiations failed, 2014 would be the "year of decisiveness," either a [Palestinian] state would be established or Israel would no longer have either security or stability. In a different interview he said that the Palestinians had entered into the negotiations to "expose the truth about the right-wing rule and the person in charge of it."
- The issue of the "resistance" [i.e., violence and terrorism]: According to Jibril Rajoub, the option of "resistance" was a strategic option, and the option of "armed resistance" was also a possibility. In 2014, he said, the Palestinian people would decide whether to opt for an arrangement or for the path of confrontation, which would include escalating the "resistance," severing ties with Israel, imposing a closure on Israel and boycotting it. In another interview he said that all options were open, and that all forms of "resistance" would be on the table if the political-diplomatic efforts for establishing a Palestinian state failed. He added that the "resistance" would be limited to "the occupied areas" because international legitimacy allegedly permitted it (Al-Mayadeen TV, February 2, 2014).
Tawfiq al-Tirawi Speaks in Favor of the Armed Struggle against Israel
- Tawfiq al-Tirawi, a member of Fatah's Central Committee and president of the PA's military academy in Jericho, attended Fatah award ceremony for Palestinian security force veterans in Bethlehem on February 3, 2014. At the ceremony he gave a speech in which he said that "Fatah has not laid down its arms and will not lay them down until its national goals have been achieved." He said that "various means have to be developed to reach those goals and that includes military struggle, popular struggle, diplomacy in the UN and negotiations." He also said that "all of us in Fatah, from the younger generation to the veterans, are prepared to return to resistance and to the struggle using all means" (Qudsnet website, February 3, 2014).
Campaign to Erect Outposts in the Jordan Valley
- Popular resistance activists announced the launching of a new campaign called "the salt of the earth." Its objectives, according to the activists, are to erect settlements on land Israel allegedly intends to seize, especially in the Jordan Valley. According to Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf, the campaign activists represent the entire political spectrum. Mahmoud al-'Alul, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, who heads the campaign, said that its goal was to ensure that the Jordan Valley would remain Palestinian and part of the territory of the Palestinian state (Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, February 2, 2014). Another campaign activist is Mustafa al-Barghouti, a member of the legislative council and secretary general of the Palestinian national initiative movement (Ma'an News Agency, January 31, 2014)
- As part of the campaign Palestinian and foreign demonstrators have so far erected two outposts in the Jordan Valley:
- On January 31, 2014, an outpost called Eyn Hijla was constructed near the entrance to Deir Hijla. According to the activists, it was erected in an area where Israel was planning to seize land and proclaim it a closed military area (Palestinian TV, January 31, 2014). The activists distributed a flysheet claiming that "the outpost was erected to protest the current political situation and the negotiations that rob the Palestinian people of their independence and freedom, and as part of the popular resistance and to protest the sir desire to annex the Jordan Valley." Senior Fatah and PA figures arrived at the site, among the Saeb Erekat, a member of Fatah's Central Committee and head of the Palestinian negotiating team.
Saeb Erekat visits the illegal outpost Eyn Hijla in the Jordan Valley (Qudsnet website, February 3, 2014).
- On the evening of February 1, 2014, popular resistance and foreign activists erected another outpost, this one named Bawabat al-Awda ("the gate of return") in the northern Jordan Valley. According to the Palestinian activists, the name expresses their adherence to the so-called "right of return" of the Palestinian refugees (Ma'an News Agency, February 2, 2014).
Al-Muqawama Internet Café Opens in the Jenin Refugee Camp
- Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV broadcast the opening of an Internet café in the Jenin refugee camp called Al-Muqawama ("the resistance"). It was opened by a young Palestinian named Mahmoud Abu Hashish, and Hamas, Fatah and PIJ flags were hung on the walls, along with pictures of Palestinian terrorist operatives killed in Operation Defensive Shield. According to Abu Hashish, the name expresses "the spirit of the place" and it has won appreciation from the people who come to the café (Al-Aqsa TV and the Palinfo website, January 31 and February 2, 2014).
Al-Muqawama Café in the Jenin refugee camp, inside and outside (Palinfo website, January 31 and February 2, 2014)
As February 4, 2014. The statistics do not include mortar shell fire and rocket hits inside the Gaza Strip.
The statistics do not include mortar shell fire.