Palestinian Authority ministers visit Ein Hijla, an illegal Palestinian outpost in the Jordan Valley, to show their support.
The motorbike ridden by Abdallah Salim al-Kharti after the attack (YouTube and Filastin Al-'Aan, February 9, 2014).
The crash caused by stones thrown near Shilo (Tazpit News Agency, February 5, 2014).
Ramadan Shallah (left) meets in Tehran with the Mahmoud Zarif (Paltoday website, February 6, 2014).
Sa'ed al-Kuni (right), minister of local governance, transfers the Wall and Colonization portfolio to Walid Assaf (Wafa News Agency, February 10, 2014).
: Israeli security forces evacuate Palestinian activists from the illegal outpost at Eyn al-Hijla (Radio Raya website, February 7, 2014).
Palestinian TV in the service of the "popular resistance:" Mahmoud al-Alul (left) presents an award to Palestinian TV for its coverage of the events at Eyn al-Hijla
- Rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory continues. The past week four rocket hits were identified in the western Negev. In response, the IDF struck terrorist targets. Senior Hamas figures claimed they were making an effort to preserve the lull.
- in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem "popular resistance" violence continues. This past week, among other things, stones were thrown, an Israeli man was stabbed near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem and Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces on the Temple Mount and in the Jelazoun refugee camp near Beit El.
- The Israeli security forces evacuated an illegal outpost erected at Eyn Hijla in the southern Jordan Valley. It was erected by "popular resistance" activists with the support of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Another attempt to erect an illegal outpost in the northern Jordan Valley was prevented by Israeli security forces.
- This past week four rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory.
- On February 4, 2014, a rocket hit was identified in the region of Ashqelon. The rocket fell in an open area; there were no casualties and no damage was reported.
- On the evening of February 6, 2014, a rocket hit was identified south of Ashqelon. The rocket fell in an open area; there were no casualties and no damage was reported.
- On the afternoon of February 8, 2014, a rocket hit was identified near a village in the western Negev. There were no casualties and no damage was reported.
- On February 10, 2014, a rocket hit was identified near a village in the western Negev. There were no casualties and no damage was reported.
Israel's Response to the Rocket Fire
- In response to the recent rocket fire, on the night of February 10, 2014 Israeli Air Force aircraft struck an underground rocket launcher in the central Gaza Strip. An additional terrorist target in the northern Gaza Strip was attacked (IDF Spokesman, February 11, 2014).
Popular Resistance Committees Terrorist Operative Attacked
- On February 9, 2014, Abdallah Suleiman Salim al-Kharti was attacked and critically wounded. He was a senior operative in one of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) factions that collaborated with the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (a terrorist organization affiliated the global jihad in the Sinai Peninsula). The attack took place as Suleiman al-Kharti rode a motorbike in the region of Deir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip. The Palestinian media reported that another Palestinian was wounded as well. The website of the Unity of Allah Brigade, an extremist PRC faction, said in a statement that a senior operative had been wounded.
- According to surfers posting on the Hamas forum, al-Kharti was also an officer in the Hamas police force (Filastin Al-'Aan, February 9, 2014). Salim al-Kharti was born in 1985 and was involved in terrorist activities, among them planning and carrying out rocket fire into Israeli territory, including an attack on Eilat, Israel's southernmost city. He was also involved in the attack on the road to Eilat (August 19, 2011) and in transferring weapons to terrorist operatives affiliated with the global jihad in the Sinai Peninsula (IDF Spokesman and Ynet, February 9, 2014).
Terrorist Attack at Banquet Hall in Jerusalem Prevented
- Four Palestinians from east Jerusalem, aged 19-21, were indicted by an Israeli court for planning to carry out a mass-casualty shooting terrorist attack at a Jerusalem banquet hall. According to the indictment, Anas Awisat and Basel Abeidat, both from east Jerusalem, planned the attack. Awisat suggested a banquet hall in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Bayit VeGan where he had worked for a short period of time. The two planned to dress as ultra-Orthodox Jews and to enter the hall along with the other guests. They approached a PA arms dealer to buy a small submachine gun, and he promised to find one for them. In the middle of December 2013 they enlisted a terrorist operative named Ahmed Srour, who was prepared to participate in financing the purchase of the gun. The three went to examine the site of the proposed attack, but a few days later they quarreled and Srour said he no longer wanted to carry it out with them (Ynet, February 5, 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. According to Palestinian reports, the main areas of clashes this past week were the Temple Mount courtyard, the Jelazoun refugee camp, Silwad, Bil'in, Qadoum and Al-Massarah (Al-Ayam, February 8, 2014).
- The main incidents were the following:
- On February 5, 2014, during a preventive counterterrorism action carried out by the Israeli security forces in the Fara refugee camp in the Jordan Valley, three IEDs, a Karl Gustav machine gun, ammunition and other weapons were seized. During the action Molotov cocktails and stones were thrown at the Israeli soldiers. A member of the Border Police incurred minor injuries (IDF Spokesman, February 5, 2014).
- On February 5, 2014, stones were thrown at the Beqaot roadblock (in the center of the Jordan Valley). An Israeli security force soldier was seriously injured.
- On February 5, 2014, masked Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli cement mixer driving on the road near Shilo (north of Jerusalem). As a result of the attack the driver of the cement mixer crashed into an Israeli bus carrying children. The driver of the cement mixer incurred minor injuries.
- On the afternoon of February 9, 2014, an Israeli civilian was stabbed and incurred minor wounds. The attack took place near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. The victim was evacuated to a hospital. His attacker fled.
Left: Clashes on the Temple Mount (Wafa News Agency, February 7, 2014). Right: Palestinians throw stones at IDF forces during a riot in the Jelazoun refugee camp, near the Jewish village of Beit El (Wafa News Agency, February 7, 2014).
The Rafah Crossing
- This past week the Rafah crossing was open and it was used by nearly 3,500 Palestinians. Several dozen trucks also passed through, carrying building materials for the Qatari project to rebuild the Gaza Strip. Maher Abu Subha, head of the crossings authority, said that there were new procedures in force, and that the passports of travelers going to Egypt had to had to be transferred to the Egyptian side in advance. That, he said, was done to overcome the frequent computer problems on the Egyptian side. He said the increase in the number of Palestinians using the crossing was the result of the new procedure (Safa News Agency, February 7, 2014).
Hamas Tunnel Destroyed
- On February 9, 2014, the Egyptian security forces destroyed a Hamas operatives' tunnel. They said it had been used to smuggle weapons and money for operatives in the Sinai Peninsula (Masrawy.com, February 10, 2014).
- On February 7, 2014, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) each organized a march to protest the framework for the agreement proposed by John Kerry, the American Secretary of State, and the negotiations with Israel. The two groups of marchers gathered at mosques in the northern Gaza Strip and then united into a single march. The demonstration had several hundred participants.
- In the south, young Palestinians gathered near the security fence in the region of Nahal Oz. The Palestinian media reported that four Gazans were hurt by IDF gunfire east of Jabaliya (northern Gaza Strip) (Palestine Online and Alresala.net, February 7, 2014).
Left: Young Palestinians approach the security fence east of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip (Qudsnet website, February 8, 2014). Right: The joint Hamas-PIJ march (Paltoday website, February 7, 2014).
Hamas Attempts to Preserve the Lull
- The ministry of the interior of the de-facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip said in an announcement that it would not allow Israel to violate the lull. Islam Shahwan, spokesman for the ministry of the interior, said that the Hamas security forces had redeployed along the border and that they would not allow Israel to annul the lull arrangement achieved after Operation Pillar of Defense (Website of the Hamas ministry of the interior, February 4, 2014).
- The Washington Post quoted Bassem Naim, Ismail Haniya's advisor on external matters, as saying that "The Israelis know Hamas is expending a huge effort to maintain the cease-fire. We have hundreds of our police watching and trying to prevent rocket fire” (Note: In reality, rockets continue to be fired into Israeli territory, as noted above.) Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas figure, was quoted as saying that "Israelis understand that Hamas has control of the situation, and that the alternative to Hamas would be chaos — with fanatics coming in from the outside, creating a new Sinai, a new Syria, in Gaza” (Washington Post, February 10, 2014).
- Palestinian sources issued a document signed by Fathi Hamad, minister of the interior in the de-facto Hamas administration, with instructing the commander of general security Abu Obeida al-Jarah to strictly enforce Hamas' policy of restraint. According to the document, under the heading of "Rocket fire," order had to be imposed on areas from which rockets were fired and anyone who fired rockets was to be detained, even if it meant live fire. It also stated that rocket-launching operatives were to be tried and punished, and that they were to be treated as collaborators or agents. The Hamas administration's ministry of the interior claimed the document was a forgery and a lie (Filastin al-Yawm, February 5, 2014)
PIJ Secretary General Visits Iran
- A delegation of senior PIJ figures headed by its secretary general, Ramadan Shallah, and his second in command, Ziyad al-Nakhaleh, visited Tehran. Ramadan Shallah met with senior members of the Iranian regime, among them the foreign minister Mahmoud Zarif and Ali Larijani, chairman of the Shura Council (Paltoday website, February 6, 2014).
- Mahmoud Zarif told Ramadan Shallah that Iran supported the "resistance" of the Palestinian people to the "aggression of the Zionist entity." Ramadan Shallah said that the "resistance" was the only path open to the Palestinian people (Paltoday website, February 6, 2014).
Expert on Iran Estimates Extent of Iranian Support to Palestinian Terrorist Organizations
- Relating to the aid Iran gives to the Palestinian terrorist organizations, Alireza Nourizadeh, who heads the London Centre for Arab and Iranian Studies, told Radio Raya in Ramallah that from the time of its founding till today, Hamas had received more than $2 billion from Iran. He said that the last time Mahmoud al-Zahar went to Iran (September 2013), he received $50 million, in addition to the $250 million Hamas received in installments over a period of three months. Regarding the PIJ, Nourizadeh said it received $100-150 million every year, transferred by Iranian banks in Beirut and Malta. He also said that the PLO and the PA did not receive "so much as a red cent" from Iran.
- As to the relations between the PIJ and Iran, Alireza Nourizadeh said they were good and friendly. He said all the PIJ operatives in Palestine had been trained in Iran and had even received their weapons from Iran, and that Hezbollah had played an important role (Radio Raya, February 8, 2014).
Security Wall and Colonization Portfolio Transferred to the PA Minister of Agriculture
- On February 10, 2014, a ceremony was held in Ramallah to transfer the Wall and Colonization portfolio from Sa'ed al-Kuni, minister of local governance in the PA to Walid Assaf, minister of agriculture. The portfolio, employees and funding were all transferred to the Palestinian ministry of agriculture. During the ceremony Walid Assaf called for implementing the "popular resistance" as had been done at Eyn Hijla. One of the people present at the ceremony was Abdallah Abu Rahma, a senior activist in the popular resistance in Judea and Samaria (Facebook page of the PA's ministry of agriculture, February 10, 2014).
Campaign to Erect Outposts in the Jordan Valley
- On February 7, 2014, PA ministers visited the Eyn al-Hijla outpost. Among them were Sa'ed al-Kuni, minister of local governance, Walid Assaf, minister of agriculture, and Jawad Naji, minister of finance. They were instructed to visit Eyn al-Hijla by Rami Hamdallah, the Palestinian prime minister. Sa'ed al-Kuni said that the Palestinian government appreciated and supported "the great efforts" of the committees for popular resistance and the steps they took to preserve the land, and the means of resistance they used (Panet.co.il, February 7, 2014).
- On the night of February 7, 2014, Israeli security forces evacuated the Eyn al-Hijla outpost. The Palestinian media reported that 41 Palestinians had been wounded during the evacuation. Ahmed Assaf, a Fatah spokesman, said that the invasion of the Israeli forces and the evacuation by force at the village of Eyn al-Hijla were not the last battle and that they would continue their struggle "regardless of the casualties." He said the outpost of Ein al-Hijla had sent the message to Israel and the entire world that the Jordan Valley would be Palestinian land and that they would not give it up (Wafa News Agency, February 7, 2014).
- In response to the evacuation, on February 7, 2014, dozens of Palestinian activists participated in the erection of an illegal outpost called Al-Awda 2 (i.e., Return 2) in the region of Jiftlic, in the central Jordan Valley. According to the organizers, the name was given after Al-Awda 1, erected in the northern Jordan Valley, had been evacuated by the Israeli security forces (Al-Ayam, February 2, 2014). The Palestinian media reported that IDF forces had prevented the Palestinian activists from erecting the new outpost and evacuated them. Some of the activists were detained and released after a short time, except for one. A senior figure in the committees for popular resistance said they would continue to erect outposts (Safa News Agency, February 7, 2014).
- On February 10, 2014, Mahmoud al-Alul, a member of Fatah's Central Committee and head of Fatah's bureau of recruitment and organization in Judea and Samaria, paid a visit to the offices of Palestinian TV in Ramallah. He went to give an award to Riyadh al-Hassan, chairman of the Palestinian TV broadcasting authority (a institution directly subordinate to the office of the PA chairman). The award was given for the media coverage the channel had given to the events at the Eyn Hijla outpost. Mahmoud al-Alul praised them for their role in "broadcasting the spirit of the [Palestinians'] firm stance and spreading the message of the popular resistance and its adherence to the land." Present at the event were Palestinian journalists and prominent popular resistance activists, among them Abdallah Abu Rahma, head of the national committee for popular resistance, and Hassan Faraj, secretary of Fatah's Shabiba in Judea and Samaria (Facebook page of Palestinian TV, February 10, 2014).
Boycott of Israeli Goods at Al-Najah University Cafeteria in Nablus
- The boycott of Israeli goods in Judea and Samaria continues: Hamas' Islamic bloc faction at Al-Najah University in Nablus used its Facebook page to officially thank the university cafeteria for its response to the Islamic bloc's demand to lower the price of a cup of tea and to remove all products manufactured in Israel (Facebook page of the Islamic bloc faction of Al-Najah University, February 6, 2014).
A note of thanks to the management of the cafeteria of Al-Najah University in Nablus (Facebook page of the Islamic bloc faction of Al-Najah University, February 6, 2014)
The "Gaza Ark"
- On February 8, 2014, "Gaza Ark" activists announced that they had lowered the "ark" into the water after it had been overhauled, cleaned and painted. They said that now electrical and plumbing work had to be done, and they asked for contributions from the general public (Gazaark.org, February 8, 2014). The activists intend to sail the ship from the Gaza Strip loaded with merchandise as a protest against the so-called Israeli "siege" of the Strip.
As February 11, 2014. The statistics do not include mortar shell fire and rocket hits inside the Gaza Strip.
The statistics do not include mortar shell fire.
Alireza Nourizadeh is an Iranian academician, author and journalist who specializes in modern Iranian history. He lives in London. He has a PhD in international relations from London University. He often appears in the media and criticizes the Iranian regime. In addition, he is a correspondent for Deutsche Welle, a political commentator for the Voice of America and also writes for the Saudi Arabian Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (Wikipedia)
Follow-up of the report in News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, January 29 – February 4, 2014.