Manifestations of the internal Palestinian reconciliation.
Hamas-affiliated flags are carried in a joint Fatah-Hamas march in Hebron in support of the administrative prisoners holding hunger strikes in Israeli jails (Palestine-info.info, May 9, 2014)
Fatah-Hamas march in Tulkarm. The child (third from left) holds a picture of arch-terrorist Abbas Sayyid (Palestine-info.info, May 9, 2014)
A masked Palestinian throws at Molotov cocktail at an Israeli police vehicle (Official Facebook page of the PA's national security forces, May 12, 2014)
Palestinians sling stones. The text reads "We will come at you from every side."
Birthday cake decoration in the Gaza Strip: a model of an M75 rocket (Facebook page of 'Aza al-A'an, April 5, 2014).
- This past week Israel's south was quiet. In Judea and Samaria violent "popular resistance" activities continued. The Israel Security Agency said in an announcement that in April 2014 a terrorist abduction for purposes of bargaining was prevented. The planned attack had been directed by Palestinian terrorist operatives imprisoned in Israel and funded by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
- Hamas and Fatah began mutual gestures to implement their reconciliation agreement. Tactical steps were taken (permission to distribute each other's newspapers in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip), although agreement has not yet been reached on a series of basic issues. Fatah-Hamas contacts are expected to continue.
- Mahmoud Abbas met in his office with Susan Rice, the American National Security Advisor. He is also supposed to go to London to meet with American Secretary of State John Kerry. Senior Palestinian figures do not reject the renewal of the negotiations with Israel, on the condition that Israel stop the construction in the settlements and focus on discussing the border issue.
The IAF Strike in the northern Gaza Strip and Rocket Fire into Israel
- This past week no rocket or mortar shell hits were identified in Israeli territory.
Abduction Attack Prevented
- The Israeli security forces prevented an abduction for purposes of bargaining for the release of Palestinian terrorist operative prisoners held in Israeli jails. The attack was to have been carried out in April 2014, and was directed by terrorist operatives in Israeli jails and funded by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
- Following intelligence information, two Fatah terrorist operatives from Samaria were interrogated. In 2006 they carried out a shooting attack and killed an Israeli civilian. Their interrogation revealed the following details about the planned attack:
- The attack was planned in a prison in Israel in 2012. To carry it out, the two operatives took steps to acquire funding and weapons, and to enlist terrorists who were about to be released from Israeli jails to carry out the attack. Hamas in the Gaza Strip apparently agreed to support them.
- The plan was to abduct IDF soldiers in Samaria in the regions of Hawara, Ariel and the Yizhar junction.
- The two Fatah operatives instructed relatives to acquire weapons, sedatives and a stolen vehicle, and to prepare a hiding-place. The relatives were also instructed to go to Saudi Arabia to meet with an operative who was supposed to fund the attack.
- Instructions were transmitted via cell phones smuggled into the prison and messages passed to visiting relatives.
Weapons Found at a Crossing
- On May 10, 2014, a routine inspection at the Te'enim crossing (near Tulkarm in Samaria) revealed an improvised rifle and handgun. The weapons were hidden in the rear seat rest of the vehicle. The vehicle's four passengers were detained and taken for questioning (IDF Spokesman, May 10, 2014).
The weapons found at the Te'enim crossing (IDF Spokesman, May 10, 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. The Friday riots held at the traditional friction points (Bil'in, Ni'lin, Nebi Saleh, Qadoum, etc.). Most of the riots emphasized solidarity with the administrative prisoners holding hunger strikes in Israeli jails.
The Rafah Crossing
- After having been open for several days, the Rafah crossing closed until further notice. Ismail Radwan, minister of endowments in the de-facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, said that the crossing was expected to reopen between May 18 and 19 for the entrance and egress of pilgrims.
Another Gazan Foreign Fighter Killed in Syria
- Palestinian and Syrian websites quoted an announcement issued by the Al-Nusra Front (the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda) on May 12, 2014, regarding the death of Arafat al-Sayidi (aka Afu), a resident of the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. According to the announcement, he left the Gaza Strip two years ago and joined the ranks of the Al-Nusra Front in Syria (Samanews.com and Maannews.net, May 12 and 13, 2014). After his death the number of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip killed in Syria rose to nine (Maannews.net, May 13, 2014).
Arafat al-Sayidi, from the Gaza Strip, who was killed fighting in the ranks of the Al-Nusra Front in Syria (Maannews.net, May 13, 2014).
- This past week Palestinian activity to further the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement continued. On the practical level, the distribution of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) daily newspapers and magazines began in Judea and Samaria. At the same time, the distribution of PA newspapers began in the Gaza Strip. In addition, Mahmoud Abbas met with a delegation of members of the Palestinian Legislative Council's Hamas faction, and joint Fatah-Hamas events were held in Hebron and Tulkarm in support of the Palestinian administrative prisoners holding hunger strikes in Israeli jails. Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of Fatah's Central Committee and holder of the reconciliation portfolio with Hamas, is supposed to visit the Gaza Strip in the near future for talks on various unresolved issues (See below).
- Senior Hamas figures noted the sincerity of Hamas' intention to implement the agreement. Khalil al-Haya, a senior member of the Hamas leadership, said in a speech that Hamas was doing everything in its power to achieve national reconciliation and was organizing to participate in the elections. He said the agreement would lead to the end of the negotiations with Israel, strengthen the "resistance plan" and lift the siege of the Gaza Strip (Safa News Agency, May 10, 2014). Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of Hamas' political bureau, said Hamas was committed to the agreement and was doing everything in its power to achieve reconciliation (Filastin al-Yawm, May 10, 2014). However, Hamas continues to stress its refusal to recognize Israel and its commitment to the "resistance" (i.e., the path of terrorism and violence).
Statements by Senior Hamas Figures Regarding Unresolved Fatah-Hamas Issues
- Senior figures in Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) made several statements regarding various issues in the reconciliation agreement, some of them key issues, which were still unresolved:
- The nature of the interim Palestinian government – According to Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of Fatah's Central Committee and holder of the reconciliation portfolio, when the newgovernment is formed there will be one authority and everyone will be subject to it. He added that it would be a government of technocrats, which would act according to the polices of Mahmoud Abbas and would not deal with political matters or with the negotiations with Israel (Al-Arabiya, May 9, 2014). According to Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of Hamas' political bureau, the interim government will be responsible for six main issues: preparations for the elections, conducting daily affairs, rehabilitating the Gaza Strip, ending the so-called "siege," preparing the ground for elections and closing the "social reconciliation file" between Hamas and Fatah.
- The future of Hamas' security apparatuses – According to Azzam al-Ahmad, the Gazan apparatuses will be reorganized under the supervision of an Arab committee headed by Egypt (Al-Arabiya, May 9, 2014). Fatah spokesman Fayez Abu Eitta said that the unification of the security apparatuses would be carried out according to the Cairo agreement, under the government of national agreement and in coordination with Egypt (Maannews.net,, May 10, 2014). According to Musa Abu Marzouq, during the interim period all the security apparatuses will remain unchanged and continue under the authority of one minister of the interior, who will head all the apparatuses. He said that a separate deliberation would be held to determine the authority of the minister of the interior (Palestinian TV, May 7, 2014).
- The weapons of Hamas and the "resistance" [i.e., terrorism] – Bassam al-Salhi, a PLO member of the reconciliation delegation, said that Hamas would not be asked to disarm and that the issue of its weapons had not been raised during meetings with Hamas (Qudspress.com, May 9, 2014). Abu Ahmed, spokesman for the PIJ's military-terrorist wing, said the PIJ had an ongoing relationship with Hamas military wing and that the two organizations had a mutual understanding, so that no harm would be done to the "weapon of resistance" during the implementation of the reconciliation (Quds.net, May 8, 2014). According to Musa Abu Marzouq, the "resistance" would not be discussed but it was generally understood that it was the "right" of the Palestinian people (Palestinian TV, May 7, 2014).
- Recognition of Israel – According to a senior Palestinian, when Mahmoud Abbas met with the American National Security Advisor he made it clear that he would form and head the government, and therefore it would recognize Israel as it recognized it [now] (Al-Hayat, May 11, 2014). On the other hand, Hassan Yusuf, senior Hamas figure in Judea and Samaria, said that Hamas would not recognize Israel and would support all efforts to resist Israel. He said Hamas would never accept the articles in the agreement referring to abandoning the "resistance" and to the recognition of Israel (Alresala.net, May 8, 2014).
- The Rafah crossing – Musa Abu Marzouq said that opening the Rafah crossing would be coordinated with the PA government and Egypt. He said there was no reason to follow the 2005 agreement (The Agreement of Movement and Access), according to which European observers would manage the crossing (Anadolu News Agency, Turkey, May 9, 2014).
Mutual Reconciliation Gestures
- One of the first steps taken to promote the reconciliation agreement was the distribution of daily newspapers affiliated with the PA in the Gaza Strip and those affiliated with Hamas in Judea and Samaria. On May 8, 2014, approximately 2,500 copies of the daily Al-Ayam and 2,200 copies of Al-Quds were delivered to the Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing (Alresala.net, May 8, 2014). That was in addition to Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, which has been distributed in the Gaza Strip since May 9, 2014. As of May 10, 2014, Hamas' newspaper Felesteen has been distributed in Judea and Samaria, after a number of years during which it was banned. As of May 12, 2014, Hamas' Al-Risala has been distributed in Judea and Samaria, along with the PIJ's Al-Istiqlal.
Left: A Judea and Samaria resident reads Hamas' Al-Risala. The headline reads "Hello West Bank" (Al-Risala, May 12, 2014). Right: Ismail Haniya, head of the de-facto Hamas administration, reads Al-Quds in his office in Gaza City (Filastin Al-'Aan, May 7, 2014).
Detention of Hamas Operatives by PA Security Services Continues
- Sources within Hamas claimed that despite the signing of the reconciliation agreement, the PA's security forces continued detaining Hamas activists in Judea and Samaria. They claimed that since the signing five Hamas activists had been detained and six additional activists had been summoned for questioning. Mustafa Barghouti, secretary general of the National Initiative party, said that today about 40 Hamas so-called "political activists" were being held by the PA's security forces, fewer than in the past (Al-Ra'i, May 11, 2014). Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the so-called "political detentions" were one of the greatest obstacles to implementing the reconciliation agreement, that Fatah had promised Hamas that the issue would be dealt with promptly, and that all the political detainees would be released (Felesteen, May 9, 2014).
Mahmoud Abbas Meetings with Senior American Administration Figures
- Mahmoud Abbas met with Susan Rice, American National Security Advisor, at his office in Ramallah. According to Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas' office, Rice suggested ways to renew the talks with Israel. Mahmoud Abbas said that it was in the interest of the Palestinian people "to unite the land and the nation" within the reconciliation agreement and to form a government of technocrats which would hold elections. According to Saeb Erekat, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee and chief negotiator, nothing new had been said during the meeting (Sawt Al-Arab, May 10, 2014).
- Hamas responded to Rice's demand that the entire future Palestinian government had to recognize Israel by calling it meddling in internal Palestinian affairs. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said on his Facebook page that Hamas did not reject the possibility that Susan Rice's visit had been intended to poison the atmosphere of Fatah-Hamas reconciliation (Facebook page of Fawzi Barhoum, May 10, 2014).
- Mahmoud Abbas is supposed to go to London to meet with American Secretary of State John Kerry (Voice of Palestine Radio, May 12, 2014). A spokeswoman for the State Department said that the topic of discussion would be America's relations with the Palestinians. However, added that the door to the peace process was still open (Agence France-Presse, May 12, 2014).
- Senior PA figures made a number of statements regarding the negotiations and various issues concerning relations with Israel:
- PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said in a interview that it was necessary to directly influence Israelis [over the heads of their leaders] regarding the negotiations. He said that it was vital to create a connection with the various sectors of Israeli society to clarify the Palestinian positions. To that end he said [that among others,] he had already met with Israeli students, journalists and members of the Knesset (the Israeli parliament). He also said he was in contact with various elements in Israeli society and with members of AIPAC, America's pro-Israeli lobby. He said that all the surveys in Israel indicated support for the two-state solution, but that "the ruling class does not believe in peace or the Palestinians' rights." He added that he was prepared to talk to anyone [in Israel] to make his position clear, including representatives of "Shas [the orthodox Sephardic opposition Jewish political party], the National Religious Party [the orthodox Jewish coalition political party], the [political] left and the [political] right" (Palestinian TV, May 8, 2014).
- PLO Executive Committee Secretary Yasser Abd Rabbo said in an interview that if Israel did not freeze construction in the settlement the Palestinians would not continue their security coordination with Israel (The Independent, May 11, 2014).
- PA Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyadh al-Maliki said that it would be possible to return to the negotiating table if Israel committed itself to stop building in the settlements and focused on the basic issues, especially on the borders (Xinhua News Agency, May 12, 2014).
- Fatah Central Committee'sTawfiq al-Tirawi told students at the Arab-American University in Jenin that "life is resistance, a firm stance and confrontation with the Israeli occupation, not negotiations." He claimed that the negotiations with Israel were useless, because as far as Netanyahu was concerned, they were a tactic to gain time and not give the Palestinians the rights they demanded (Facebook page of Tawfiq al-Tirawi, May 5, 2014).
Rallies in Solidarity with the Hunger-Striking Prisoners
- This past week the rallies and demonstrations in solidarity with the hunger-striking administrative detainees in Israeli jails continued. A campaign was launched on the social media called "Water and Salt" in more than 10 languages. Salah al-Aruri, a member of Hamas' political bureau, and Husam Badran, a Hamas spokesman, participated in a solidarity rally held in Istanbul (Al-Quds, May 10, 2014). Ziad Abu Ein, deputy minister for prisoner affairs in the PA, said that the PA was monitoring the issue of the administrative prisoners and was in contact with the American administration and the UN to bring "an end to their suffering" (Qudspress.com, May 10, 2014).
- Many Palestinians participated in various solidarity events that took place throughout Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip:
- Ramallah – After the Friday prayer there was a march from the Al-Bireh municipality to the center of Ramallah. Participants included Issa Qaraqa, PA minister of prisoner affairs, and other senior PA figures.
- Hebron – A well-attended support march was held where Hamas-affiliated and Fatah flags were waved. Hamas activists held pictures of Mohamed Morsi, the ousted president of Egypt. Aziz Dweik, chairman of the Palestinian Legislative Council, gave a speech at the rally emphasizing the unity of the Palestinian people regarding the cause of the prisoners (Al-Quds, May 9, 2014). In response to the pictures of Mohamed Morsi, Fatah spokesman Osama al-Qawasmeh called it a provocation detrimental to the Palestinian people and the prisoners (Wafa News Agency, May 11, 2014).
- Tulkarm – Many residents marched through the streets after the Friday prayer, having been called out by Hamas. Marchers included Hamas members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Marchers carried Hamas-affiliated flags and pictures of prisoners, among them Abbas Sayyid, who was responsible for the Passover suicide bombing attack at the Park Hotel in Netanya (Palestine-info.info, May 9, 2014). Wasfi Qabha, senior Hamas figure and former minister of prisoner affairs, gave a speech to the assembled marchers (Paltoday.ps, May 9, 2014).
Left: Hamas (green flags) and Fatah (yellow flags) marchers in Hebron (Palestine-info.info, May 9, 2014). Right: A Palestinian child wearing a Hamas cap holds a picture of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi. The insignia of the Muslim Brotherhood is in the lower right hand corner (Palestine-info.info, May 9, 2014).
- Gaza Strip – A solidarity march was held in Jabaliya attended by Ismail Haniya, head of the Hamas administration, and Fathi Hamad, Hamas minister of the interior (Al-Quds, May 9, 2014). Events were also held in Khan Yunis and Rafah. A protest tent was erected in front of Red Cross headquarters in Gaza City.
Palestinian Reactions to the Proposed Israeli Law Prohibiting Pardons of Prominent Terrorists
- The Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation has proposed enacting a law that would enable the court to determine that in extreme cases of murder the president would not be able to pardon or reduce the punishment of a murderer. The law, if it passes, will make it difficult in the future to release prominent convicted Palestinian murderers within political negotiations with the Palestinians.
- The proposal for the law was strongly criticized by the PA and various Palestinian organizations, which accused Israel of raising obstacles in the path of any future arrangement:
- Issa Qaraqa, PA minister of prisoner affairs, called the proposed law "a blow to any possible process for an arrangement." He said it was an additional obstacle raised by Israel, because the release of prisoners was "a political right" and part of any future agreement (Safa News Agency, May 11, 2014).
- Fatah said the proposed law was clearly resistance to the peace process and a provocation for the international community and its efforts for regional peace (Fatah media, May 11, 2014).
- PIJ spokesman Daoud Shihab said it was another example of a violation of international law, and that the Palestinian people had the duty to secure the release of prisoners by any means, political, legal or through the "resistance" [i.e., the abduction of Israelis] (Paltoday.ps, May 11, 2014).
- Atallah Abu al-Sabah, Hamas minister of prisoner affairs, condemned the proposed law which he called "a miserable attempt to influence the prisoners' firm stance." He said the proposed law proved that the "resistance" was the only way to secure the release of prisoners [i.e., though abductions] (Anadolu News Agency, Turkey, May 11, 2014).
Incitement to Violence on the Facebook Page of the PA's National Security Forces
- The official Facebook page of the PA's national security forces recently posted notices and pictures inciting to violence against Israel (within the so-called "popular resistance"). The postings were received with support and encouragement from many surfers (Facebook page of the PA's national security forces, April 24 and May 8, 10, 11 and 12, 2014).
- For example:
Incitement to violence against the IDF. The picture shows a Palestinian throwing a Molotov cocktail at an IDF vehicle. At the left are postings from surfers and responses from the Facebook page operator. "We send you a thousand blessings, appreciation and respect, we are proud of you always," "Victory is close, with the help of Allah. Stay with us" (Official Facebook page of the PA's national security forces, May 12, 2014).
Israel's Independence Day Exploited for Anti-Israeli Incitement
- In addition to organizing events to mark "Nakba Day" (May 15) in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, the eve of Israel's 66th Independence Day was exploited by the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip to repeat the Palestinian narrative of destroying the State of Israel:
- The information department of Hamas military-terrorist wing produced a video entitled "The End of Hope" as a parody of the Israeli national anthem. The video was uploaded to YouTube and included words in Hebrew translated into Arabic and sung by a Palestinian. The text presents Hamas' ideology, which gives "the Jews living in Palestine" two options: to "return" to the countries they came from ("he will be returned to his country of origin if he only chooses to do so") or die and be buried ("the fate of the stubborn fool is sealed and is under the dust") (YouTube, May 5, 2014).
- A video circulated by the PIJ's military-terrorist wing shows the organization's military training and various weapons (Jerusalem Brigades website, May 7, 2014). Daoud Shihab, PIJ spokesman, said that his organization and the "resistance" in general (i.e., the terrorist organizations) were determined to restore their "rights." He added that Palestine did not mean the 1967 borders but an Palestine that extended "from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river" (Al-Mayadeen, May 7, 2014).
PA Idea to Expel Israel from FIFA
- Senior Fatah figure Jibril Rajoub, who is also chairman of the Palestinian football (i.e., soccer) association, met with Riyadh al-Maliki, the PA's minister of foreign affairs to discuss possible action to expel Israel from FIFA during its conference in Brazil in June 2014. Riyadh al-Maliki said his ministry would take the matter in hand. At the meeting they concluded that a Palestinian delegation would be appointed to go to Brazil for that purpose (Maannews.net, May 9, 2014).
Inculcating Hatred in Children
Children's TV Programs
- Al-Aqsa TV, affiliated with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, broadcasts a program called "Pioneers of Tomorrow." The program often contains material inculcating hatred of Israel. For example, on May 2, 2014, a bee called "Nahoul" interviewed a child from Jenin named Qais:
- Nahoul: Listen, my friend, are there Jews where you are?
- Qais: No. Not at the moment...
- Nahoul: Listen, friend; do like this with your hands [makes fists], and when they come to you punch them; make their face red like a tomato.
- Qais: Allah willing, so that we can liberate Palestine.
- Nahoul: My friend Qais...I tell him to take a stone and when the Jews come to take it and throw it at them...To smash them...
The Hamas children's show "Pioneers of Tomorrow" on Al-Aqsa TV. Left: The moderator says, "And shoot Jews..." Right: Nahoul the bee says, " I tell him to take a stone and when the Jews come to take it and throw it at them...To smash them... "(PMW, May 2, 2014).
Gaza Strip Birthday Cake
- On May 2, 2014, the Facebook page of 'Aza al-A'an posted a picture of a birthday cake for the son of an Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operative who was killed. The cake was decorated with a model of a long-range M75 rocket, the rockets used by Hamas during Operation Pillar of Defense.
Birthday cake decoration in the Gaza Strip: a model of an M75 rocket (Facebook page of 'Aza al-A'an, April 5, 2014).
May 13, 2014. The statistics do not include mortar shell fire and rocket hits inside the Gaza Strip.
The statistics do not include mortar shell fire.
Israel Security Agency website, May 12, 2014.
For further information about residents of the Gaza Strip who joined the ranks of jihadist organizations in Syria, see the January 19, 2014 bulletin "Israeli Arabs and Palestinians Join the Ranks of the Rebels in Syria, Mainly Organizations Affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Global Jihad."
The crossings agreement ("the Rafah agreement") refers to two documents intended to regulate entrance into and exit from the Gaza Strip after Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in August 2005. According to the documents the Rafah crossing was supposed to be operated by the PA and Egypt with the support of a force of European observers, and the other crossings would be designated international border crossings.
Abbas Sayyid was head of Hamas military-terrorist wing in Tulkarm. He was responsible for the suicide bombing attack at the Park Hotel during the Passover Seder on March 27, 2002. The attack killed 30 Israelis and wounded 160. Abbas Sayyid was sentenced to 30 terms of life imprisonment. After the attack Israel launched Operation Defensive Shield.
"Nakba" means catastrophe. Nakba Day commemorates what the Palestinians consider the catastrophe that befell them during Israel's War of Independence in 1948. The Palestinians mark Nakba Day every May 15.
An online new site located in the Gaza Strip.