This past week a missile fired from Syria hit a truck and killed an Israeli boy.
IDF night actions (IDF Spokesman, June 21, 2014).
The Israeli Chief of Staff with the forces on the ground.
Hamas propaganda and lies: Khaled Mashaal shows pictures he claims "prove" two of the abducted Israeli youths were IDF soldiers
The terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip hold a press conference (Al-Wataniya TV, Gaza Strip, June 17, 2014)
The solidarity march held in Khan Yunis (Paltimes.net, June 18, 2014)
Ismail Haniya helps carry the coffin of one of the five Hamas terrorists killed in the tunnel explosion
Semi-military training and the simulation of the abduction of Israeli soldiers held at a Hamas summer camp in Khan Yunis
Simulating blowing up a motorbike and abducting an Israeli (Facebook page of the summer camp, June 12, 2014)
The Arabic reads, "Our prisoners in the jail of the Zionist occupation... you will soon be free" (Palestine-info.info, June 24, 2014).
- IDF Operation Brothers' Keeper to find and return the three abducted Israeli youths has entered its 11th day, focusing on the region around Hebron. So far the youths are still missing. The IDF has also carried out extensive activities throughout Judea and Samaria in order to damage the Hamas infrastructure. So far more than 300 suspects have been detained, most of them (240) Hamas activists and operatives. Among the detainees are 56 terrorist operatives released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal. Weapons have also been seized and institutions affiliated with Hamas have been closed.
- An Israeli boy was killed in the Golan Heights by a Syrian anti-tank missile. Israel holds the Syrian regime was responsible for the attack and the boy's death. In retaliation the Israeli Air Force struck Syrian army posts.
- Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority (PA), gave a speech in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he said that those responsible for the abduction "want to destroy us, and we [i.e., the PA] will settle accounts with them." At the same time the PA strongly criticized the IDF action in Judea and Samaria. In addition, there a certain amount of unrest was created in the Palestinian street, the result of friction with IDF forces. Hamas was severely critical of Mahmoud Abbas' speech, and angry Palestinians attacked the PA's police station in Ramallah.
Israeli Boy Killed by Syrian Anti-Tank Missile Fired into Israeli Territory
- A 13 year-old Israeli boy was killed and two Israeli civilians were wounded when an anti-tank missile was fired at a truck near Tel Hazeka in the central Golan Heights. It was the most serious attack from Syria in the Golan Heights since the beginning of the Syrian civil war. The truck belonged to an Israeli Ministry of Defense subcontractor who was carrying out routine work to improve security near the border fence. The boy killed was Muhammad Fahmi Qaraqra, 13, from the village of Arabeh in the Galilee, the son the truck driver. He had accompanied his father to work on the first day of the summer vacation. The father sustained minor injuries.
- According to information from security sources published in the Israeli media, a Kornet anti-tank missile was fired from a location controlled by the Syrian army. In response, on June 22, 2014, the IDF struck nine Syrian army targets belonging to 90th Brigade in the Syrian area of the Golan Heights. Among the targets were Syrian army posts and firing positions (IDF Spokesman, June 23, 2014). The Syrian media reported that a number of soldiers were killed and wounded in the attack. The Syrian government condemned Israel's so-called "vicious attack."
- Israel's Defense Minister, Moshe Yaalon, said that the IDF strike was a response to the serious incident in which an Israeli boy had been killed and two civilians wounded. He said Israel held Syria and the Syrian army responsible for what occurred in territory under their control. He added that Israel would continue to respond harshly and decisively to any provocation and/or violation of its sovereignty, whether by the Syrian army or by terrorists operating from Syrian territory (Ynetnews.co.il, June 3, 2014).
The Situation on the Ground
- This past week the search continued for the three youths abducted on June 12, 2014 (the working Israeli assumption is that they are still alive). Actions have also been taken to weaken Hamas' strength in Judea and Samaria. Activities were carried out throughout Judea and Samaria, concentrating on Hebron and its immediate area. On June 22, 2014 the Israeli security forces began focusing their activities on relatively small areas. Intelligence efforts to locate the youths also continue (IDF Spokesman, June 22, 2014).
- So far more than 1,000 locations have been searched and more than 300 suspects, most of the (240) Hamas operatives and activists, have been detained (including senior activists in Judea and Samaria). Fifty-six of the detainees are terrorist operatives released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal. Weapons have also been seized in the operation and the offices of Hamas-affiliated institutions and organizations have been closed (IDF Spokesman, June 22, 2014).
Left: The IDF searches wells in the Hebron regions (Photo from the Etzion search and rescue unit of the Judea and Samaria police, released by the Tazpit News Agency, June 22, 2014). Right: IDF activity in Judea and Samaria (IDF Spokesman, June 21, 2014).
- Generally speaking the Israeli security forces operated without interference, although there were a number of incidents in which the soldiers met with resistance. Four Palestinians were killed in local clashes when they tried to attack the Israeli security forces and interfere with their activities. Prominent examples follow (IDF Spokesman):
- June 18, 2014 – IDF forces operating in Nablus uncovered a cache of weapons that included M-16 assault rifles, grenades, handguns, IEDs and hundreds of bullets. The soldiers were attacked with an IED during the action.
- June 19, 2014 – IDF forces operating in Jenin were shot at and attacked with IEDs. The soldiers returned fire, wounding a number of Palestinians.
- June 20, 2014 – A Palestinian youth was killed in Dura (near Hebron), the result of a clash between Palestinians and the IDF forces combing the region (Maannews.net, June 20, 2014). The Palestinian media reported that a Palestinian from the Qalandia refugee camp had been killed in a clash with IDF forces (Safa.ps, Maannews.net, June 20, 2014).
- June 21, 2014 – Palestinians threw stones at IDF vehicles in Ramallah and tried to prevent the soldiers from carrying out detentions.
- The night of June 22, 2014 – Two Palestinians were killed. A Palestinian was shot during a search of houses in the Al-Ein refugee camp, near Nablus. He was apparently emotionally disturbed and approached the IDF force by mistake.
Statements Regarding Operation Brothers' Keeper
Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu
- At the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said, "...We are in the midst of a continuing and focused effort to – first of all – bring the boys home. This effort entails a certain friction with the civilian population in Judea and Samaria; we have no intention of deliberately harming anyone but our forces are acting as necessary for self-defense and from time to time there are victims or casualties on the Palestinian side as a result of the self-defense actions of our soldiers. We are focusing on returning the abductees, on finding the kidnappers and on striking at the organization to which they belong. We have unequivocal proof that this is Hamas..." (Office of the prime minister, June 22, 2014).
Mahmoud Abbas' Speech in Jeddah
- Mahmoud Abbas, speaking at an OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference) meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, strongly attacked the abductors. He said that "those who abducted the youths want to us, and we [i.e. the PA] will settle accounts with them." He added that whoever attacked and accused the PA because of its security coordination [with Israel] had to understand that it was in the interests of the PA, whose goal was to protect the Palestinian people. The PA, he said, did not want another round of anarchy and destruction like the second intifada.
- Mahmoud Abbas added that PA was coordinating with Israel to find the youths because they were human beings and they had to be returned to their families. However, he criticized Israel's actions, saying that Israel was escalating its activities. He said that the abduction had been carried out in an area for which the PA had no security responsibility and that Israel had not notified the PA as soon as the event occurred, but only after 12 hours (Maannews.net, June 18, 2014).
- Mahmoud Abbas' speech was strongly criticized by Hamas spokesmen:
- Sami Abu Zuhri said that Mahmoud Abbas' remarks were "unjustified and harmed the reconciliation," a violation of the Cairo agreement and harming to the morale of thousands of prisoners. He said Mahmoud Abbas had based his remarks exclusively on the Israeli narrative, without genuine evidence from the ground (Alresala.net, June 18, 2014).
- Yusuf Rizqa, advisor to Ismail Haniya, said that Mahmoud Abbas' remarks "sanctified" the PA's security coordination with Israel. He said Mahmoud Abbas position put Fatah seriously at odds with Palestinian public opinion, and that Fatah had to convene a general conference to discuss Abbas' remarks and make the appropriate decisions (Felesteen.ps, June 20, 2014).
Other Palestinian Reactions to Operation Brothers' Keeper
- As the Israeli security force actions continue, protests have been heard from the PA leadership as well as from the Palestinian public, whose daily lives have been disrupted. PA spokesmen represent the IDF operation as the collective punishment of the Palestinians. The PA said in an official announcement that it condemned the Israeli action and the detention of prisoners who had been released, and called on the international community to intervene. According to the announcement, Netanyahu's government was using the "disappearance" of the three "settler youths" as an excuse to severely punish the Palestinians people, violating international and humanitarian law (Wafa.ps, June 19, 2014).
- The PA also undertook international political activity, calling for an emergency session of the UN Security Council to "put an end to Israel's aggression and collective punishment" (Wafa.ps, June 22, 2014). Riyadh al-Maliki, foreign minister in the national consensus government, said that the foreign ministry had instructed its ambassadors around the world to appeal to foreign ministries, heads of state and parliaments to condemn the so-called Israeli "war crimes" against the Palestinians. He also said that communiqués would be sent to the UN Secretary General, the president of the UN Security Council, the chairman of the UN General Assembly, and foreign minister of the EU. The communiqués would urge them to take steps to stop the "Israeli crimes" against the Palestinians (Voice of Palestine, June 22, 2014).
- As a result of the IDF's actions and the friction with the Palestinian population, there is unrest on the ground and voices have begun to be heard against the PA and its security coordination with Israel. Demonstrations were held in Hebron and Ramallah in protest. Enraged Palestinians attacked the police station in Ramallah and vandalized Palestinian police cars (Anballwatan.com, June 22, 2014). Hamas initiated a campaign on the social networks with the theme "Coordination=Treason."
Left: A vandalized PA police car (Paltimes.net, June 22, 2014). Right: Palestinians attack the PA police station in Ramallah to protest the security coordination with Israel (Raya.ps, June 22, 2014).
Responses from Senior Hamas Figures
- Hamas continues to praise the abduction and congratulate the abductors, but denies any tie to the abduction. Interviewed by Al-Jazeera on June 23, 2014, Khaled Mashaal, chairman of Hamas' political bureau, spoke about the abduction for the first time:
- Asked if Hamas had a hand in the abduction, he said that he could not answer the question because Hamas had no information about what had happened and thus he could neither confirm nor deny. However, he did say that if it were true, that the Palestinian organization had in fact carried out the abduction, he "blessed their hands." He said that such an act was the duty of the Palestinian people.
- As to the chain of command within Hamas, he said that the military wing was subordinate to the policies of the movement's leadership. He said the political bureau, which he headed, was responsible for all the actions of Hamas members, including its military actions. He said that generally speaking, the leadership made policy for the "resistance," but that the details of various actions did not necessitate specific instructions from the movement's leadership.
- · As to the issue of the "resistance" [violence and terrorism] within the internal Palestinian reconciliation, he said that according to the 2005 Cairo agreement, the Palestinian people had the right to resist to end the [Israeli] "occupation" and to establish a Palestinian state. He claimed that similar concepts had been noted in the 2006 reconciliation document, which specified "all forms of resistance" [i.e., terrorism and violence], and that all the signatories had agreed. In addition, according to the reconciliation agreement, the purpose of the Palestinian security bodies was to defend the homeland and its citizens, that is, "to defend the weapon of the resistance" (Al-Jazeera, June 23, 2014).
- Ismail Haniya, deputy chairman of the Hamas political bureau, claimed that there was already an intifada in Judea and Samaria. He said that everything Israel was doing in Judea and Samaria not only would not strike a blow to the "resistance" or Hamas, but would have the opposite effect (Al-Aqsa TV, June 23, 2014).
Hamas Reaction to the Closing of Al-Aqsa TV in Judea and Samaria
- After a military order closed the Judea and Samaria branch of Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV, which had opened after the reconciliation, began a campaign entitled "You're our correspondent." It called on Palestinians to circumvent Israel's closing of the station and to report events, including pictures and videos, on its Facebook page and Twitter account. A group of reporters demonstrated in front of the Al-Aqsa TV office in Ramallah.
- Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri condemned the military order, saying that it was a serious escalation and that its objective was to keep the truth from being revealed. Regarding the claim that the station incited the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria to violence, Muhammad Tharia, director of Al-Aqsa TV in the Gaza Strip, said that such statements made him and the station happy. That was because they were proud to inspire the resistance of the Palestinian people, whether in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip (Alquds.com, June 19, 2014).
Murderers of Baruch Mizrahi Detained
- On May 7, 2014, the Israeli security forces detained two suspects, father and son, from the village of Edna (west of Hebron), for involvement in the April 14, 2014 (Passover eve) shooting attack in which Police Superintendent Baruch Mizrahi was killed (Israel Security Agency website, June 23, 2014):
- Ziad Hassan Awad – 42, Hamas operative, suspected of committing the murder. He was formerly imprisoned in Israel for killing Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel. He was released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal in October 2011.
- Izz al-Din Ziad Hassan Awad – 18, son of Ziad Hassan Awad, suspected of participating in planning the attack and helping his father escape after it had been carried out.
Left: Video of the reception held for Ziad Hassan Awad (yellow circle) upon his release (YouTube, October 20, 2014). Right: Ziad Hassan Awad and his son, Izz al-Din Ziad Hassan Awad (Maannews.net, June 23, 2014).
- During interrogation Izz al-Din Ziad Hassan Awad admitted that he know about his father's intentions and gave up the Kalashnikov assault rifle used to carry out the attack. The interrogation also revealed that before the attack Ziad Awad acquired a motorbike and a rifle, and also went to the site of the attack to gather information and carry out surveillance. Despite the fact that both father and son were Hamas operatives, the attack was apparently not directed or supported by any external organization, and the motive was apparently religious (Israel Security Agency website, June 23, 2014).
- In the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal (October 2011), 1,027 Palestinian terrorist operatives were released from Israeli jails, more than 600 of them to Judea and Samaria. Seventy-six terrorist operatives have since been detained again because they returned to the cycle of terrorism. During Operation Brothers' Keeper, 56 other terrorist operatives released in the deal have been detained again. Note: Many of the terrorist operatives released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal have returned to the cycle of terrorism and become involved in orchestrating and carrying out terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria.
Terrorist Operative Infiltrates into Israel from the Gaza Strip
- Before dawn on June 22, 2014, a Palestinian infiltrated into Israel from the southern Gaza Strip. He was discovered by a local guard about 4 kilometers, or about 2.5 miles, inside Israeli territory. An IDF force was dispatched to the site and detained the infiltrator, who had a hand grenade in his possession (Ynetnews.co.il, June 22, 2014).
- Note: On the night of November 25, 2012, immediately after the end of Operation Pillar of Defense, a terrorist operative infiltrated into Israel through the security fence. He entered a house in one of the villages (near the location of the June 22, 2014 attack) and threatened a mother with a knife. She fought him off while protecting her four children, overcame him and locked him in the bathroom, and then called for help (Ynetnews.co.il, November 27, 2012).
Rocket Fire into Israel
- Parallel to the search for the abducted youths in Judea and Samaria, there has been an increase in the number of rocket and mortar shells fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel's south. This past week six rocket hits were identified in the western Negev (12 since the beginning of Operation Brothers' Keeper):
- On June 19, 2014, two rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory.
- OnJune 20, 2014, a rocket hit was identified on a road in the western Negev near a hothouse in one of the villages. There were no casualties.
- On the evening of June 21, 2014, a rocket hit was identified in the Ashqelon region. There were no casualties and no damage was reported.
- In response to the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip targeting Israel's south Israeli Air Force aircraft struck a number of terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip:
- On June 19, 2014, several terrorist targets were struck throughout the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian media reported a strike on a Hamas military-terrorist wing post in the Zeitoun neighborhood, another in Jabaliya, one in the region of Netzarim and one northwest of Gaza City. A passerby was reported to have incurred minor injuries (Paltoday.ps, date, Alresala.net, Al-Ra'I, June 19, 2014).
- On the night of June 19, 2014, the Palestinian media reported a strike on a "food warehouse" in the Zeitung neighborhood, which wounded four Palestinians. A post of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's (PIJ) military-terrorist wing west of Khan Yunis was struck, another in Rafah and one in Deir al-Balah (Safa.ps, Wafa.ps, June 20, 2014).
The Rafah Crossing
- After having been open for four days, the Rafah crossing was closed by the Egyptian authorities until further notice. People using it complained that employees on both sides asked for bribes of between $1,800 and $3,000 to facilitate their exit from the Gaza Strip (Al-ayyam.com, June 19, 2014).
- On June 17, 2014, Israel decided to open the Kerem Shalom crossing, which had been closed since the abduction of the three Israeli youths on June 12, 2014.
Demonstrations in Support of the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria
- Rallies and press conferences were organized in the Gaza Strip to show support for the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria:
- On June 17, 2014, representatives of the terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip held a joint press conference to express their support for and solidarity with the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. They condemned the Israeli action, saying that they would not sit idly by in the face of Israel's activity (Al-Wataniya TV, Gaza Strip, June 17, 2014).
- In Khan Yunis Hamas held a march to show its solidarity with the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. Some of the marchers were armed and in uniform. There were also many children and youths (Paltimes.net, June 18, 2014).
Five Hamas Military-Terrorist Wing Operatives Die in Tunnel Explosion
- The Palestinian media and the website of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military-terrorist wing, reported the deaths of five Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operatives in an explosion in a tunnel in the Al-Fattah neighborhood of Gaza City. According to the reports, the five died "fulfilling their duty of jihad in one of the resistance tunnels east of Gaza City" (Qassam.ps, Paltoday.ps, Safa.ps, Quds.net, June 19, 2014). In addition to the five, while trying to evacuate them Hussein Tawfiq Massoud, 30, from Rafah, an Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operative, was also killed (Paltimes.net, Qassam.ps, June 19 2014).
- The funeral held for the five Hamas operatives was attended by Ismail Haniya, deputy chairman of the Hamas political bureau, who helped carry one of the coffins. It was also attended by Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operatives, who exploited the opportunity for a show of military force (Paltimes.net, June 20, 2014). Khaled Mashaal, chairman of the Hamas political bureau, said that he was proud of the five operatives, who had been killed digging a tunnel so that the "enemy" would not enjoy tranquility in its country (Al-Jazeera, June 23, 2014).
Hamas Summer Camps in the Gaza Strip
- As they are every year, this year as well the Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip are exploiting their summer camps for indoctrination and semi-military activities for the youth of the Gaza Strip:
- In a semi-military activity held in a summer camp in the Khan Yunis region, campers practiced firing rockets and simulated abducting two IDF soldiers from an Israeli post (marked with an Israeli flag) (Gaza al-'Aan, June 21, 2014). According to the camp's Facebook page, campers in the center of Gaza City carried out "a military raid that ended with the abduction of two soldiers of the Zionist enemy." It also said that "the Israelis conducted negotiations for their release, in return for the release of all our prisoners from the enemy's jails and the recognition of the state of Palestine whose capital is Jerusalem."
- At the end-of-camp ceremony held in the yard of the Abasan school in the southern Gaza Strip, adolescents conducted military exercises which included activating IEDs, jumping through hoops of fire, jumping off roofs and the simulation of abducting Israeli soldiers and civilians (Facebook page of the summer camp, June 12, 2014).
- At a summer camp held in the Sheikh Radwan network in the northern Gaza Strip, the campers held a mock trial for senior IDF officers and Israeli government figures, trying them for their so-called "crimes against the Palestinian people." The "criminals" were put into cages, sentenced to death and executed (Siraj, June 11, 2014).
Right The cage where the "commanders of the Zionist occupation" were held during the "trial." Left: The executions. The pictures are identifiable as (left to right) Dan Halutz, Benny Gantz, Moshe Yaalon, Shimon Peres, Ehud Olmert and Avigdor Lieberman (Siraj, June 11, 2014)
- One of the activities in a summer camp in the western part of Gaza City was a version of the children's game of Snakes and Ladders. The snakes were IDF soldiers, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and the ladders were rocket fire. The aim of the game was to reach Al-Aqsa mosque (Siraj, June 16, 2014)
Flyers Call for the Abduction of Israelis
- Even during Operation Brothers' Keeper, Hamas continues its calls for the abduction of Israelis. For example, last week the following notice was posted on the Hamas website, encouraging the abduction of IDF soldiers.
 On April 14, 2014, a few hours before the Passover Seder, there was a shooting attack on the road to Hebron near the Tarqumia crossing. Dozens of shots were fired at seven Israeli vehicles. The shots hit a car and members of an Israeli family en route to celebrate the Seder in Kiryat Arba were wounded. The father, Baruch Mizrahi, 48, was killed. His wife was critically wounded; two of their five children sustained minor injuries.
 As of June 24, 2014. The statistics do not include mortar shell fire and rocket hits inside the Gaza Strip.
 The statistics do not include mortar shell fire.