Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mashaal meet in Doha, Qatar, to discuss implementing the Palestinian reconciliation agreement (Wafa News Agency, May 4, 2014).
Crowding as the Rafah crossing is opened (Filastin Al-'Aan, April 29, 2014).
Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mashaal meet in Doha (Wafa News Agency, May 6, 2014)
Criticism in a Hamas newspaper of the recognition of Israel, a PA package deal for the reconciliation agreement (Felesteen, May 2, 2014)
Green Hamas-affiliated flags dominate the funeral held in Al-Bireh for the brothers Adel and Imad Awadallah (Filastin Al-'Aan, April 30, 2014)
Joint Fatah-Hamas rally held in Hebron to support the administrative prisoners on hunger strikes in Israeli jails (Wafa News Agency, May 2, 2014).
- One rocket hit was identified in the western Negev. In Judea and Samaria Palestinian violence continued (throwing stones and Molotov cocktails), part of the so-called "popular resistance." In northern Israel a young girl was stabbed to death. The possibility of its being a nationalist-motivated attack is currently being examined.
- Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority (PA), and Khaled Mashaal, head of Hamas' political bureau, met in Doha, Qatar, to discuss ways of implementing the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement. A number of steps to build mutual trust were initiated.
- Israel's return of the remains of Palestinian terrorist operatives to the PA was exploited by Hamas for a show of force in Judea and Samaria. At a mass-attended funeral was held for two of them in Al-Bireh, calls for jihad were heard, along with commitment to the reconciliation agreement.
The IAF Strike in the northern Gaza Strip and Rocket Fire into Israel
- On May 1, 2014, a rocket hit was identified in the western Negev. There were no casualties and no damage was reported
Israeli Girl Murdered in Apparent Terrorist Attack
- On May 1, 2014, the body of a 19 year-old Israeli girl was found in an empty parking lot in the industrial zone of the northern town of Migdal HaEmek. The girl lived in the nearby city of Afula and had been on her way to a job interview at a Migdal HaEmek company. According to the police, the murder may have been committed for nationalist reasons, although other lines of enquiry have not been ruled out (Ynet, May 1, 2014).
Terrorist Squad Detained by Israeli Security Forces
- In recent months the Israeli security forces detained two squads of Palestinian terrorist operatives who planned to carry out terrorist attacks on Israeli targets (Israel Security Agency website, May 2014):
- In Qalqiliya a number of terrorist operatives were detained who had set up a military-terrorist squad affiliated with Hamas. Their activities included manufacturing improvised explosives and attempting to purchase weapons originating in Israel. They planned to place IEDs and to shoot at Israelis. One of the squad members, who lived in Qalqiliya, has Israeli citizenship.
- In the village of Issawiya (east Jerusalem) a squad was detained, some of whose members had carried out terrorist attacks in the French Hill and Mt. Scopus areas of Jerusalem during the past year. Their attacks included throwing Molotov cocktails at a synagogue, an apartment house and a disco in the French Hill in Jerusalem, and torching a police car. They often threw Molotov cocktails and stones at Israeli civilians and at security force personnel in the Jerusalem area.
Summary of Terrorist Attacks, April 2014
- According to Israel Security Agency statistics, in April 2014 there was an overall decrease in the number of terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria compared with March, and an increase in Jerusalem. During April there were 89 terrorist attacks (compared with 110 in March). Eighty were carried out in Judea and Samaria (107 in March). Seven were carried out in Jerusalem (three in March). Two were carried out inside Israel. Most of the attacks involved Molotov cocktails (75 attacks, seven in Jerusalem and two inside Israel), 13 IEDs were detonated and there was one shooting attack involving light arms.
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. The Friday riots held at the traditional friction points (Bil'in, Ni'lin, Nebi Saleh, Qadoum, etc.).
- The following incidents were prominent:
- On May 2, 2014, Palestinians threw stones at a Jewish house located near the Flowers Gate (Herod's Gate) in east Jerusalem. A stone hit a security guard in the head. Israeli Border Police soldiers tried to disperse the Palestinians but they were also attacked with stones (Tazpit News Agency, May 2, 2014).
- On the night of May 2, 2014, stones were thrown at an Israeli bus near the Har Shmuel district of the town of Givat Ze'ev northwest of Jerusalem. A five-month old baby girl sustained minor injuries (Tazpit News Agency, May 2, 2014).
- On May 6, 2014, stones were thrown at an Israeli civilian bus en route from Hamzeh to the Israeli village of Adam. The bus was damaged (Tazpit News Agency, May 7, 2014).
Escalation of the "Popular Struggle" Suggested
- According to newspaper reports, after the meeting of the PLO's Central Council, the Palestinian leadership discussed the option of escalating and broadening the so-called "popular struggle." They claimed that even if the Palestinians returned to negotiations with Israel for another round of talks the "peaceful popular struggle" would have to be used as a means to exert pressure on Israel. They decided that in the near future marches would be held to the Israeli checkpoints, there would be extensive campaigns to boycott goods manufactured in the Israeli settlements and it might also be possible to block main roads. They also called for activities to be broadened in east Jerusalem (Al-Quds Al-Arabi, May 2, 2014).
Palestinians throw stones at IDF forces in the village of Silwad (northeast of Ramallah) (Palestinian TV, May 2, 2014).
The Rafah Crossing
- This past week the Rafah crossing was open for a few days and only for humanitarian cases. As a result there was crowding at the crossing and those seeking to cross had to wait for extended periods of time (Filastin Al-'Aan, April 29, 2014).
Hamas Expectations of Improved Relations with Egypt
- Regarding Hamas-Egypt relations, Yousef al-Rizqa, Ismail Haniya's political advisor, said that recently there had been a positive development but that relations had not yet reached the stage Hamas wanted. He said that in recent weeks there had been fewer attacks on Hamas in the Egyptian media but that improvement did not yet include a freely open Rafah crossing (Alresala.net, May 2, 2014).
- Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of Hamas' political bureau, said that the government of national agreement, part of the internal Palestinian reconciliation, would turn a new leaf in relations with Egypt, one aspect would be the opening of the crossings, especially the Rafah crossing (Ma'an News Agency, May 5, 2014).
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Military Display in Khan Yunis
- On April 29, 2014, operatives of the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the military-terrorist wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), held a military display in Khan Yunis to mark the 11th anniversary of the death of Nidal Salameh, Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades commander for the southern Gaza Strip. The display included masked terrorist operatives who carried various weapons. Demonstrators called to continue the struggle of the operatives who had been killed.
PFLP military display in Khan Yunis (Quds.net, April 29, 2014).
Mahmoud Abbas-Khaled Mashaal Meeting
- To further the internal Palestinian reconciliation, on May 5, 2014, Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the PA, and Khaled Mashaal, head of Hamas' political bureau, met in Doha, Qatar. They met for two hours and discussed how to implement the reconciliation agreement. According to Izzat al-Rishq, a member of the Hamas political bureau, they did not discuss the details of the agreement but rather its general outlines. He added that they would hold a series of meeting to monitor the agreement's implementation (Al-Quds Al-Arabi, May 6, 2014).
- According to Hamas spokesman Ihab al-Ghussin, the meeting ended because Mahmoud Abbas wanted to consult with his advisors about forming the government as soon as he returned from Doha. He added that within two weeks a meeting would be held by the interim PLO leadership (Al-Mayadeen TV, Lebanon, May 5, 2014). The Palestinian reconciliation delegation, headed by Azzam al-Ahmed, is supposed to return to the Gaza Strip in the upcoming days to discuss the formation of the "government of national agreement" (Paltoday.ps, May 5, 2014).
Mutual Trust-Building Measures
- Following the reconciliation agreement, the sides discussed confidence-building measures for mutual trust:
- Iyad al-Bazam, spokesman for the Hamas ministry of the interior, said that in accordance with a decision of de-facto Hamas administration head Ismail Haniya, six Fatah security prisoners held in the Gaza Strip had been released (Al-Ra'i, May 5, 2014).
- Mustafa Barghouti, the secretary general of the "Palestinian national initiative," said that a final agreement had been reached that would allow newspapers published in the Gaza Strip to be distributed in Judea and Samaria (Safa News Agency, may 5, 2014). Ihab al-Ghussin, Hamas administration spokesman, said that Al-Quds, a newspaper published in Jerusalem, would again be allowed to be distributed in the Gaza Strip (Quds News, May 5, 2014).
Hamas' Military-Terrorist Wing a Part of the Reconciliation
- With regard to the internal Palestinian reconciliation, several senior Hamas figures related to the fate of the Hamas military-terrorist wing. Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of Hamas' political bureau, who has been in the Gaza Strip since April 21, 2014, rejected the idea that the issue be discussed because Hamas' weapons were a "national resistance weapon." Mahmoud al-Zahar said that Hamas would continue to control its military force in the Gaza Strip without linkage to the reconciliation agreement (Reuters, April 29, 2014). In a different interview, Musa Abu Marzouq said that the negotiations for the formation of the government would continue for five weeks. He said that any discussion of security issues would be postponed until the end of the term of the interim government. Until then, he said, the security situations in the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria would not be changed (Al-Quds, date, 2014).
- According to an article in Al-Monitor, Hamas spokesmen said that they would not compromise or give up control of the movement's military wing and its weapons. According to a senior Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades figure, after the implementation of the reconciliation agreement, military operatives employed by the Hamas administration security apparatuses would be subordinate to the military wing and not to the ministry of the interior (Al-Monitor, May 6, 2014).
The apprehension of Palestinian civilians caused by the uniting of the Hamas and PA security apparatuses (Al-Quds, May 5, 2014).
The PA Joins International Conventions
- Following the PA's April 2, 2014, announcement that it would join UN conventions and agencies, a spokesman for the UN's Office for Human Rights said that the Palestinians had officially joined five international conventions (of the 15 they had asked to join), primarily human rights agencies (forbidding torture, the rights of women and children, etc.). He added that in the coming months the PA would join two others (Agence France-Presse, May 2, 2014). Saeb Erekat, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee and head of the PA negotiating team, said that the Palestinian leadership would continue its efforts to join international agreements and conventions (Voice of Palestine Radio, May 1, 2014).
Funerals for the Remains of Four Hamas Terrorists
- On April 29, 2014, Israel delivered the remains of four additional Palestinian terrorist operatives to the PA. They had a formal military reception that included an honor guard of members of the general security apparatus and wreaths from the PA (Al-Fajr TV, Tulkarm, April 29, 2014). The funerals held for the terrorist operatives, all of them members of Hamas' military-terrorist wing, were an opportunity for a Hamas show of force in PA territory.
Military reception in Tulkarm for the remains of four Hamas terrorist operatives (Al-Fajr TV, Tulkarm, April 29, 2014)
- On April 30, 2014, Hamas held a mass-attended funeral in Al-Bireh for two of its senior operatives (brothers) whose remains were returned by Israel. The funeral was attended by senior Hamas figures in Judea and Samaria, and a speech by Khaled Mashaal, head of the Hamas political bureau, was transmitted. In their eulogies the Hamas spokesmen emphasized that jihad was the preferred path "for the liberation of Palestine from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river," and called on the PA to stop negotiating with Israel. However, Khaled Mashaal expressed his commitment to the internal Palestinian reconciliation and said that alongside jihad and "armed resistance" (the main path), political and diplomatic measures to "pursue Israel" throughout the world should not be rejected.
Formal military funerals were also held for the remains of Izz al-Din Suheil Ahmed al-Masri, a suicide bomber who blew himself up in the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem in August 2001, and for Tawfiq Muhameid, who carried out an attack in Wadi Ara in northern Israel. Recorded speeches by Khaled Mashaal, head of the Hamas political bureau, and Abu Obeida, Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades spokesman, were played.
Fatah-Hamas Rally Held in Hebron
- A joint Fatah-Hamas rally was held in Hebron in support of the hunger-striking administrative prisoners in Israel (there are 91 administration prisoners in Israeli jails who have been on a hunger strike for more than 20 days to protest the conditions of their imprisonment. The rally was attended by 2,500 people, including several senior Fatah and Hamas figures in Hebron, among them members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Aziz Dweik, PLC chairman, senior Hamas figure in Judea and Samaria. He said that the joint activity in Hebron showed that the Palestinians wanted to implement the national reconciliation on the ground (Safa News Agency and Al-Aqsa TV, May 2, 2014).
[*]This week's update was delayed by Israel's Independence Day holiday.
May 7, 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 Israel Security Agency statistics. The statistics do not include the dozens of stones thrown each month.
The "peaceful popular struggle," as it is called by senior PA figures, also refers to violence and terrorist attacks.
Nidal Salameh died in an Israeli Air Force targeted killing of April 29, 2003.
For further information see the May 1, 2014 bulletin "The funeral held in Al-Bireh for two senior Hamas terrorist operatives, brothers whose remains were returned to the Palestinian Authority by Israel, was exploited by Hamas for a show of force in Judea and Samaria."
On August 9, 2001, suicide bomber Izz al-Din al-Masri blew himself up in the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem, killing 15 people and wounding 110. The terrorist attack was planned and carried out by the Hamas network in Ramallah.