Four year-old Daniel Tregerman, killed by shrapnel from a mortar shell that hit his house in the village of Nahal Oz (Photo courtesy of the family).
: Mahmoud Abbas meets the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamed the second (Wafa.ps, August 23 and 24, 2014)
Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The death notice issued by the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Left to right: Muhammad Ibrahim Shamallah, Ra'ed Subhi al-Attar, Muhammad Hamdan Barhoum (PALDF, August 21, 2014).
Muhammad al-Ghoul's burned-out car and dollar bills on the ground next to it (Palestine-info.info, August 24, 2014)
A school compound (red) in the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City from where rockets were fired at Israel (IDF Spokesman, August 24, 2014).
Violent confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the northern area of Bethlehem (Wafa.ps, August 22, 2014).
Demonstration in Nablus (Ghaza al-A'an, August 23, 2014)
Demonstration in Hebron.
Donations of medicines and medical equipment organized by the PA ministry of health in Ramallah for the Gazans (Wafa.ps, August 20, 2014)
- On August 19, 2014, the Israeli-Hamas ceasefire collapsed following the firing of three rockets into Israel. Since then the fighting has continued, with both sides intensifying their attacks. Hamas has fired massive rocket and mortar shell barrages at Israel, especially targeting the communities near the Gaza Strip. In ITIC assessment, the attacks are Hamas' response to the damage done to its ability to fire long-range rockets, because it is relatively easy to attack targets close to the border, and to promote its political objectives (negotiating from a position of strength).
- The IDF has intensified its response and attacked more than 300 terrorist targets since the ceasefire collapsed. Especially prominent were the targeting killings of figures in Hamas' upper echelons. A house was attacked where Muhammad Deif, head of Hamas' military-terrorist wing, was known to be present (his fate is still unknown). In addition, four senior Hamas terrorist operatives were attacked and killed, heads of Hamas' military-terrorist infrastructure in the southern Gaza Strip, who also engaged in financial matters and smuggling.
- Meanwhile, efforts continue to arrange an end to the fighting and the renewal of negotiations. Cairo is the focal point for the negotiations, but there is activity in the UN for a Security Council Resolution. So far, Hamas' position has been intransigent and refuses to agree to the Egyptian initiative.
Massive Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire Attack Israel
- On the afternoon of August 19, 2014, three rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip targeting Beersheba and Netivot. In response to the rocket fire Israeli Air Force (IAF) aircraft attacked terrorist targets. That signaled the collapse of the ceasefire and the renewal of massive rocket fire into Israeli territory, which has not ceased since. Israel recalled its delegation to the negotiations in Cairo.
- The Israeli leadership made it clear that as long as the rocket and mortar shell attacks continued Israel would not negotiate. The IDF renewed and intensified its aerial attacks, including attacks targeting senior Hamas operatives (See below). On the afternoon of August 23, 2014, the IDF began distributing flyers and sending recorded and SMS messages warning the Gazan population. The Gazans were informed that the IDF would employ all its force against any civilian or military facility from which anti-Israeli terrorist activity was carried out. They were also warned that the IDF would attack and damage any structure from which military activity was carried out. Since the collapse of the ceasefire IAF aircraft have attacked more than 300 terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip (IDF Spokesman, August 24, 2014).
- At the same time, Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip continue attacking Israel with massive rocket and mortar shell fire, especially targeting the communities around the Gaza Strip. Since the ceasefire collapsed 740 rocket hits have been identified in Israeli territory. Scores of mortar shells have been fired as well.
- Rocket and mortar shell fire have focused on communities in the western Negev, especially those close to the border. A four year-old boy was killed by a mortar shell attack in his home in the community of Nahal Oz, which borders on the Gaza Strip. Several local residents have been wounded and considerable property damage has been reported.
- In the meantime, Egyptian and UN efforts continue to bring about an end to the fighting. On August 23, 2014, the Egyptian ministry of foreign affairs issued a formal announcement to Israel and the Palestinians asking them to agree to an unlimited ceasefire and to return to the negotiations in Cairo. Mahmoud Abbas met with the Emir of Qatar, the president of Egypt and the head of Egyptian intelligence. After the meeting with the Egyptians he claimed the organizations, including Hamas, were willing to return to the talks in Cairo (Alwatanvoice.com, August 24, 2014). Hamas claimed if would cooperate with any initiative that would guarantee the Palestinians' demands (Samanews.com, August 23, 2014). In reality, so far Hamas has not agreed to the Egyptian initiative.
Targeted Killings of Senior Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades Operatives
- On August 20, 2014, the IDF attacked a house in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City where Muhammad Deif, head of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military-terrorist wing, was known to be present. His wife, son and daughter were killed in the attack. So far, his fate is unknown.
- On August 21, 2014, the IDF attacked in Rafah, killing three senior members of Hamas' military-terrorist wing. They were (Shabak.gov.il date, 2014):
- Muhammad Ibrahim Saleh Abu Shamallah: Born in 1974, veteran terrorist operative, one of the senior Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operatives. Commander of the southern sector of the Gaza Strip. During Operation Protective Edge he was involved in the planning and execution of the terrorist attack in which 13 operatives infiltrated into Israel territory through a tunnel in the Sufa region (southern Gaza Strip). In the past he was involved in the planning and execution of dozens of terrorist attacks, including those in which an IDF officer was killed in Rafah in 1994, an attack carried out through a tunnel in 2004 in which IDF soldiers were killed, and in the massive attack at the Kerem Shalom crossing in 2008 in which 13 IDF soldiers were wounded. Abu Shamallah was also involved in planning the attack near Kerem Shalom in 2006 in which two IDF soldiers were killed and Gilad Shalit was abducted.
- Ra'ed Subhi Ahmed al-Attar: Born 1974, veteran Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operative and senor commander, responsible for the Rafah region. One of the architects of Hamas' project for attack tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip. Helped the other brigades in the Gaza Strip construct tunnels. In recent years was responsible for the southern region and headed the campaign against Israel. One of the founders of the nakhba forces, elite Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades units. Responsible for directing military-terrorist action in the Rafah region, including planning and executing terrorist attacks, digging attack tunnels and directing terrorist activities from the Sinai Peninsula. He participated in terrorist attacks involving infiltration into Israel, rocket and mortar shell attacks, and IED attacks, which caused many Israeli fatalities. He was also involved in smuggling weapons and constructing Hamas' strength in the Rafah region.
- Muhammad Hamdan Barhoum: Born in 1969, lived in Rafah. Senior operative in the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades' Rafah battalion. Dealt with smuggling weapons and finances. Spent a number of years in Syria and Libya raising funds.
Left: The official Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades announcement of the deaths of the three operatives (Qassam.ps, August 21, 2014). Right: The building in Tel al-Sultan in Rafah where the three operatives were killed (Ghaza al-A'an, August 21, 2014).
- In response to the killing of the three operatives, Hamas spokesmen claimed that Israel would pay "a heavy price" and that the coming days would be "black days" for Israel. Reading from a prepared speech, Ismail Haniya, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, claimed Hamas had become stronger since the death of the operatives, and other senior operatives would take their place. He accused Israel of responsibility for the failure of the negotiations in Cairo and called on Egypt to accuse Israel of killing civilians and of war crimes (Al-Aqsa TV, August 21, 2014).
- On the afternoon of August 24, 2014, Muhammad al-Ghoul was killed in an IDF attack in the northern Gaza Strip. Al-Ghoul was responsible for the transfer of funds to Hamas (IDF Spokesman, August 24, 2014).
Various Responses and Statements
nPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and told him that Hamas had again violated a ceasefire this week and said that it was responsible for the escalation. He pointed out that this was the eleventh time that Hamas had violated a ceasefire and noted that it was Hamas which had violated all of the ceasefires while Israel had honored them (Israeli Prime Minister's website, August 23, 2014).
nAt the opening of the weekly Cabinet meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu called on the residents of Gaza to immediately evacuate any building from which Hamas was carrying out terrorist activity. Israel, he said, was determined to complete the mission and was patient, and Operation Protective Edge would continue until its goals were achieved. Israel, he said, was prepared that the campaign might continue even after the start of the school year (September 1) (Israeli Prime Minister's website, August 24, 2014).
The Palestinian Authority
nInterviewed by the Egyptian media, Mahmoud Abbas said that the most important issue was "to stop the bloodshed." He called for another round of talks carried out in an atmosphere of quiet while humanitarian aid entered the Gaza Strip. He said there had to be a permanent lull so that issues of administration and directing the Gaza Strip and a political solution could be dealt with that would lead to a permanent solution. He also claimed it was important to form a united Palestinian delegation for the talks in Cairo, based on the existence of the national consensus government (Sada al-Balad, August 23, 2014).
The Palestinian Terrorist Organizations
- Sources in Hamas accused Israel of deliberately disrupting the negotiations. The rhetoric of Hamas spokesmen was particularly strident, while the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) appeared more willing to reach a ceasefire:
- Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of Hamas' political bureau, claimed that Israel had perpetrated a fraud on the international community when it announced three rockets had been fired from the Gaza Strip during the negotiations and later attacked the Al-Dalou family's house, thinking Muhammad Deif was present. He also said that during the negotiations Israel had tried to avoid the issue of lifting the siege of the Gaza Strip (Aawsat.net, August 21, 2014).
- Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum claimed that it might be possible to return to indirect Egyptian-mediated negotiations. He said Hamas accepted any activity, whether by Mahmoud Abbas or the Egyptians or the international community, which would make suggestions and promote the demands of the Palestinian people. He claimed that so far Hamas had heard of statements from the media but had not received anything official. He claimed that when Hamas received an official document, it would be examined (Al-Quds TV, August 24, 2014).
- Hamas spokesman Musheir al-Masri claimed Hamas was waiting for Israel to respond to a document presented by the Palestinian delegation before the ceasefire was violated. He said Hamas related to the Egyptian initiative or any initiative, according to how it coordinated with the demands of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian "resistance." He claimed they were waiting for the Israeli response and that Hamas was examining the Egyptian proposal for an unlimited ceasefire (Aa.com.tr, August 24, 2014).
- Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri claimed that Hamas was waiting for Israel's response to the Palestinian document. He claimed Israel's situation was problematic because it could not provide for the security of its citizens (Al-Mayadeen TV, Lebanon, August 24, 2014).
- Interviewed by the Iranian Khabar TV, Khaled Mashaal, head of Hamas' political bureau, accused Israel of violating the ceasefire. He claimed that Israel had not provided a fitting response to the Palestinians' demands. He accused Israel of attacking mosques, hospitals and schools (including UNRWA schools), and claimed the attacks were "war crimes." He claimed the length of this war was different from prior wars. As to the negotiations, he claimed that all the demands presented were not conditions but rights of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. He claimed the demands to lift the siege, open the crossings and the construction of an airport and seaport were not new. However, he stressed that their top priority was "resistance" [i.e., continuation of the fighting] and not negotiations (Iranian Khabar TV, August 24, 2014).
- Interviewed by Al-Mayadeen TV, Lebanon, senior PIJ figure Khaled al-Batash claimed that he expected a ceasefire would be declared in the next few hours, after Egypt announced that the sides agreed. He claimed the ceasefire agreement was based on the understandings of Operation Pillar of Defense and on the current Egyptian initiative, and included the opening of the crossings, the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip, the delivery of aid and building materials to the Gaza Strip, and a free fishing zone (Paltoday.ps, August 25, 2014). Ziyad al-Nakhaleh, deputy PIJ secretary general, confirmed the remarks made by Khaled al-Batash, adding that great effort had been invested and all the sides had reached an agreement on the wording of the Palestinians demands (Al-Mayadeen TV, Lebanon, August 25, 2014).
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri spoke with the UN Secretary General, stating that Egypt was continuing its efforts to return the sides to a process of indirect negotiations. Negotiations, he said, would make it possible to reach a ceasefire, lift the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip and hold an international conference for rebuilding it (Facebook page of the Egyptian ministry of foreign affairs, August 22, 2014).
"A high ranking Egyptian source" said that Egypt was getting ready to receive the Israeli and Palestinian delegations to renew the indirect negotiations for a ceasefire. According to the source, Mahmoud Abbas, Khaled Mashaal and the Emir of Qatar were determined that Egypt continue as broker for the negotiations (Maannews.net, August 23, 2014).
The International Arena/Community
- The UN Security Council expressed deep concern over the renewal of the fighting and called on both sides to renew the negotiations for a long-term ceasefire. At the same time, the Security Council is trying to rush the formulating of a resolution for ending the fighting in the Gaza Strip. According to media reports, there are currently three different proposals: European, Jordanian and American:
- France, Germany and Britain, which currently presides over the Security Council, formulated a draft for an initiative which will be put before the Security Council. The initiative supports Egypt as negotiator. The British ambassador to the Security Council, who serves as its president, said he hoped the Security Council would unite and agree on a joint draft for the issue of Operation Protective Edge which could be voted on and accepted (AFP.com, August 21, 2014).
- Jordan leads the effort to formulate a proposed resolution for the Security Council. It has not yet presented its proposal and is trying to enlist support for it among the Council members (Khabrani, August 22, 2014).
- The United States has also formulated a proposal for a resolution.
Rocket Hits in Israeli Territory – Weekly Summary
- After the ceasefire was violated massive rocket and mortar shell fire began attacking Israel. Since the ceasefire ended 740 rockets have been identified in Israeli territory, and scores of mortar shells have been fired. The level of daily rocket fire returned to level at the beginning of Operation Protective Edge. Most of the rockets and mortar shells are fired at the communities close to the Gaza Strip. That may indicate that Hamas' and the other terrorist organizations' supplies of long- and medium-range rockets are dwindling. It may also indicate the terrorist organizations' intention to make political-propaganda use of the massive attack on the communities near the border. A four year-old boy was killed by shrapnel from a mortar shell that penetrated his house. Several people were injured, one of them critically. Extensive property damage was reported.
- The main events were the following:
- On the afternoon of August 22, 2014, Daniel Tregerman, a four year-old boy was killed in the community of Nahal Oz. He was playing in his house and did not have time to reach the reinforced room. He was fatally wounded by shrapnel from a mortar shell which penetrated the house, and died a short time later.
- On the afternoon of August 22, 2014, a synagogue in Ashdod took a direct hit. Three civilians incurred minor shrapnel injuries. A man was seriously wounded in Beersheba when a rocket hit a parking lot, seriously damaging several cars.
- On the evening of August 22, 2014, a 22 year-old soldier on leave was critically wounded by a direct rocket hit in the Gan Yavne region. He and his brother were in a car at the time. His 20 year-old brother incurred minor injuries.
- On August 23, 2014, a mortar shell hit the dining room of the community of Nahal Oz, causing extensive damage.
- On the afternoon of August 24, 2014, three civilians at the Erez crossing were injured, two of them seriously, by mortar shell shrapnel. All three were taxi drivers who had come to pick up Palestinians from the Erez crossing and take them for medical treatment in Israel. They were evacuated by IDF soldiers under heavy mortar shell fire and taken to a hospital. The Erez crossing was closed following the attack. Hamas' military-terrorist wing claimed responsibility for the mortar shell fire. Hamas claimed in a statement they had attacked a bus transporting Israeli soldiers and officers, and to that end fired 23 mortar shells which, claimed Hamas, caused casualties among the soldiers (Qassam.ps, August 24, 2014).
Claims of Responsibility
- Hamas' military-terrorist wing claimed responsibility for most of the rocket and mortar shell fire. Hamas terrorist operatives fire rockets and mortar shells and try to keep the attacks continuous, especially the attacks on the western Negev. The Jerusalem Brigades, the PIJ's military-terrorist wing, and the military-terrorist wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, also claimed responsibility for rocket and mortar shell fire into Israel.
A formal Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades announcement claiming responsibility for the rocket fire which violated the ceasefire. It claims the attacks were resumed because of the attack on the Al-Dalou family house in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood (Qassam.ps, August 19, 2014). In reality the announcement is a lie, because the rockets were fired before the Al-Dalou house was attacked.
- According to "a senior Israeli officer," Hamas has fired more than 2000 short-range rockets and scores of medium-range rockets (i.e., as far as the greater Tel Aviv region). According to the officer, less than 30% of the rockets in Hamas' arsenal before the fighting began remained. He added that Hamas' capabilities for rocket manufacture were low because many facilities for production had been attacked by the IAF (Haaretz.co.il, August 23, 2014).
Rocket Fire from Civilian Locations
- During the past few days rockets and mortar shells have been fired into Israeli territory from civilian population centers in the Gaza Strip. The locations include school compounds in the northern Gaza Strip, from where there had been more than 30 rocket launchings. Other locations include an infirmary and graveyards, which are popular with the terrorist organizations (IDF Spokesman, August 23, 2014).
- According to the IDF Spokesman, since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge more than 600 rockets have been launched from within civilian population centers. More than 260 rockets have been launched from educational institutions, more than 130 from graveyards, more than 160 from religious institutions and more than 50 from hospitals (IDF Spokesman, August 23, 2014).
Rocket launched from within a medical facility (YouTube, August 23, 2014)
Click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmh1dhRGzzM&feature=youtube_gdata_player for the video.
- In accordance with the Israeli decision to respond to every attempt to attack Israel with rocket fire, IAF aircraft attacked many terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip. Since the ceasefire was violated, IAF aircraft have attacked more than 300 terrorist targets (IDF Spokesman):
- On August 19, 2014, in response to the violation of the ceasefire, IAF aircraft attacked terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip.
- On August 20 2014, the IAF attacked approximately 80 terrorist targets, including weapons caches, hidden rocket launchers, and terrorist operatives who fired rockets into Israel.
- On the evening of August 21, 2014, IAF aircraft attacked a PIJ terrorist operative after he left a building in the southern Gaza Strip from which rockets had been fired at Ashqelon the preceding day.
- On August 22, 2014, the IDF attacked more than 50 terrorist targets including rocket launching sites, weapons caches and hidden rocket launchers. Five terrorist operatives were also attacked.
- On August 23, 2014, IAF aircraft attacked several dozen terrorist focal points, among them hidden rocket launchers, military compounds and apartments serving as command and control centers for terrorist operatives. In addition, three areas of terrorist activity located in religious institutions were attacked, among them a mosque in the southern Gaza Strip and a mosque used as a meeting place for terrorist operatives in the northern Gaza Strip.
- On August 24, 2014, the IDF attacked approximately 100 terrorist targets, including mortar shell launchers used to attack the western Negev, hidden rocket launchers, locations for the manufacture and storing of weapons, two mosques used as meeting places for terrorist operatives and for storing weapons.
Rocket Fire from other Sectors
- On the evening of August 23, 2014, two rockets were fired from south Lebanon. One fell near a community in the western Galilee. An eight year-old girl and a 35 year-old man incurred minor injuries. Twenty-one other civilians, among them seven children, were treated for shock. A building was damaged. So far it is unknown who was behind the rocket attack.
- The IDF sent Lebanon a strong communiqué through UNIFIL, stating that Israel regarded the Lebanese government as responsible for everything that occurred in its territory. The UNIFIL force said that the rocket had been launched from the region of Alma al-Shaab in the western sector of south Lebanon. Lebanese army forces imposed a closure on the area from where the rocket was fired. The commander of the UNIFIL forces condemned the rocket fire which was, he said, a violation of UN Security Council resolution 1701 (Nna-leb.gov.lb, August 24, 2014).
- At 0130 hours on August 24, 2014, five Grad 122mm rocket hits were identified near a community in the Golan Heights. The rockets fell in open areas and there were no casualties. A high-tension wire was hit, causing a power outage in several communities in the Golan Heights. So far it is not clear who was behind the rocket fire. The IDF Spokesman said the five rockets were fired from Syrian territory and that the IDF regards the Syrian regime as responsible for what happens in its territory (IDF Spokesman, August 24, 2014).
Violence on the Ground
- 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, Beit Umar, etc.).
- On the night of August 23, 2014, stones were thrown at a vehicle driving in the Gush Etzion region near Beit Umar. The vehicle overturned and the driver was seriously injured. His wife and one year-old daughter incurred minor injuries (Haaretz.co.il, August 24, 2014).
Gaza Strip Solidarity Demonstrations
- Hamas continues calling of the residents of Judea and Samaria to support the Gaza Strip. Throughout Judea and Samaria demonstrations and rallies have been held to show solidarity with the Gaza Strip. Most of the events were organized by Hamas activists. The demonstrators waved Hamas-affiliated flags and held signs. The PA security forces were present at a number of demonstrations and in some cases violence developed between them and the demonstrators. Events were held in Ramallah, Hebron, Bethlehem, Tulkarm, Jenin and other locations. Some of the demonstrations turned into confrontations with Israeli security forces.
The Erez Crossing
- Following the mortar shell fire at the Erez crossing and the wounding of the three taxi drivers who had come to help wounded Palestinians, the head of the Crossings Administration in the Ministry Of Defense and the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories decided to close the Erez crossing, with the exception of activities to save lives (IDF Spokesman, August 24, 2014).
The Rafah Crossing
- Maher Abu Subha, director of the Gaza Strip crossings, said the Rafah crossing was operating as usual and that 400-500 Palestinians passed through every day. He said the information that the crossing was closed was false (Radio Sawt al-Aqsa, August 22, 2014).
- Regarding a permanent arrangement for the Rafah crossing, during his visit to Egypt Mahmoud Abbas said that the agreements of 2005 should be implemented, according to which the Palestinian presidential guard and European representatives should be present at the crossings. He claimed Egypt was not involved in the matter because the agreement was between the Palestinians, Israel, the United States and Europe. He claimed that with the re-implementation of the agreement, members of the presidential guard would be sent to Egypt for training to regain their capabilities, and thus be capable of controlling the crossings and the border. Mahmoud Abbas also claimed that Egypt was "100%" agreeable to the arrangement (Sada al-Balad, August 23, 2014).
The Situation in the Gaza Strip
- Following the collapse of the ceasefire, the flow of Gazans to UNRWA shelters and the homes of relatives in the central Gaza Strip continues. UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said that on August 23, 2014, an unprecedented number of Gazans needed shelter. He said the agency was providing for more than 314,000 Gazans in 84 UNRWA schools and seven government shelters (UNRWA Twitter account, August 23, 2014).
Instructions from the Hamas Ministry of the Interior to the Gazans
- On the afternoon of August 23, 2014, using flyers and recorded and SMS messages, the IDF began warning the population throughout the Gaza Strip to vacate their houses. The IDF, according to the warning, would take action against any military or civilian facility from which terrorist activity against Israel had been carried out and any house from which terrorist activity had been carried out would be attacked.
Left: Gazans leave their houses (Paltimes.net, August 21, 2014). Right: The flyer distributed by the IDF (IDF Spokesman, August 23, 2014)
- In response to the warning, the Hamas ministry of the interior called on Gazans not to pay attention to the text messages sent to the phones or to the flyers that had been distributed. According to the ministry, the flyers and SMS messages were part of IDF psychological warfare against the population and the objective was to incite the population against Hamas. The ministry also advised the Gazans not to pass the flyers on to other people (Facebook page of the ministry of the interior, August 23, 2014).
- The Hamas ministry of the interior also issued an announcement warning against private publication of the pictures of Gazan fatalities. According to the announcement, publicizing the pictures, especially pictures of armed operatives, endangered the families of the dead person and his house as well, and gave Israel a reason to attack (Facebook page of the ministry of the interior, August 22, 2014).
Survey Conducted in the Gaza Strip
- The Palestinian Center for Public Opinion issued the findings of a survey it conducted among 1,000 Gazans over the age of 18 during the ceasefire. According to the results, 87.6% support a long-term ceasefire, although 93,2% oppose the disarmament of the "resistance" [i.e., terrorist organizations] (Maannews.net, August 23, 2014).
Providing the Gaza Strip with Assistance
- Various countries have begun sending assistance to the Gaza Strip. On August 23, 2014, aid from the Red Crescent in the UAE arrived, including 80 tons of clothing, blankets, canned food and other equipment, entering the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing (Almasryalyoum.com, August 23, 2014). The Turkish agency for disaster and emergency management announced it had transported humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip "through an air corridor" [Israel], which included 10,000 packages of food, medical supplies and fuel worth more than $3 million. In addition, wounded Palestinians were flown to hospitals in Turkey (Hurriyet.com.tr, August 21, 2014).
Executions of Suspected Collaborators
- After Israel eliminated several senior Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operatives in targeted killings, Hamas' security forces initiateda series of executions of Gazans suspected of collaborating with Israel. The Palestinian media reported that more than 20 Gazans, including two women, had been executed. Hamas claimed the executions were carried out after "legal proceedings" had been completed and after the sentences had been authorized. The executions were held in public and witnessed by hundreds of Gazans (Qudspress.com, August 22, 2014).
Left: Public executions. Right: The accusations against one of the men executed (Ghaza al-A'an and PALDAF, August 22, 2014)
Mahmoud Abbas' New Initiative
- The media, quoting Mahmoud Abbas' aides, have reported thatonce the operation in the Gaza Strip ends, Mahmoud Abbas intends to launch a new political initiative which he calls "a surprise." According to the initiative, Israel will be required to withdraw from Judea and Samaria not by means of negotiations, but through an international apparatus that will compel it and determine the schedule for its implementation. If the initiative is not accepted, the PA will appeal to the Security Council to impose a solution based on decisions made by international institutions. If the initiative is rejected or if the United States vetoes it, the PA will join the Rome Convention and sue Israel in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague (AP.org, August 24, 2014).
Suing Israel in the ICC
- The issue of bringing Israel to trial in the ICC in The Hague continues to engage the PA and the Palestinian terrorist organizations. At a press conference Mahmoud Abbas held in Egypt, in response to a question about joining the Rome Convention, he said the issue had been referred to the other Palestinian organizations for their agreement, because joining the Convention would have "consequences" for the organizations (Palestinian TV, August 23, 2014).
- Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum claimed that Hamas had demanded that Mahmoud Abbas join the Rome Convention and the ICC in The Hague. He claimed all the [Palestinian terrorist] organizations had given their agreement in writing and were now waiting for Mahmoud Abbas to officially sign the Convention without delay or excuses (Al-Aqsa TV, August 24, 2014). However, Khaled al-Batash, a member of the PIJ's political leadership, claimed that the organization had reservation about appealing to the ICC lest it be exploited by "the forces of imperialism" to take legal action against the "resistance" (Alhayat.com, August 24, 2014).
Hamas Attacks the Israeli Public with Psychological Warfare
- Hamas is waging a campaign to frighten the Israeli public. It has used the social networks to post notices aimed at the Israeli population:
- On August 21, 2014, the Facebook page of Palinfo posted a picture of a bus on Dizengoff Street and the caption "SOON" [i.e., soon Hamas will blow up a bus in Tel Aviv].
- On August 24, 2014, the Ghaza al-A'an Facebook page posted pictures warning of a cyber attack on Israeli on September 1. According to the posting, an "electronic storm" is planned (Facebook page of Ghaza al-A'an, August 24, 2014).