Abu Mazen making a speech declaring the ceasefire (Wafa News Agency, August 26, 2014).
Ismail Haniya visiting the Shati refugee camp after the declaration of the ceasefire (Filastin Al-'Aan, August 29, 2014).
The remains of a rocket that fell in a kindergarten in Ashdod just hours before the ceasefire (Israel Police, August 26, 2014)
Victory rally organized by Hamas in Nablus (Facebook page of the Islamic Bloc at Al-Najah University, August 29, 2014)
Hamas operatives holding models of weapons used during Operation Protective Edge.
Residents leaving the UNRWA shelters (Wafa News Agency, August 27, 2014)
Burning an Israeli flag at a rally in Gaza (Gaza Alan, August 26 and 27, 2014).
Hamas officials Fawzi Barhoum and Sami Abu Zuhri hoisted on the shoulders of civilians during victory celebrations in Gaza.
Abu Hamza, the new spokesman of the PIJ’s military wing (Al-Quds Battalions website, August 30, 2014)
- On August 26, 2014, after fifty days of fighting, an indefinite ceasefire came into effect. Since then, calm has been maintained in the Gaza Strip. The ceasefire includes the immediate opening of the border crossings and expansion of the fishing zone. Within a month, the parties will begin to discuss the key issues, which include the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip and the establishment of an airport and seaport.
- Victory rallies were held in the Gaza Strip and throughout Judea and Samaria. In their speeches, senior Hamas leaders reiterated the message that during the fighting they managed to defeat Israel, change the “rules of the game” and paralyze life in Israel. The speakers also stressed that this was not the final act of the “resistance” but rather another important stage in promoting the goal of liberating Jerusalem and Palestine. The speakers also emphasized that they would not agree to the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip.
- At the same time, efforts to rebuild the Gaza Strip began. An international conference on the subject is to take place in Cairo in October.
Declaration of a ceasefire
- On August 26, 2014, at 19:00, after fifty days of fighting, an indefinite ceasefire came into effect. With the agreement of the parties, the ceasefire includes the immediate opening of the border crossings and expansion of the fishing zone. In this context, Israel undertook to immediately open the crossings and allow the entry of humanitarian supplies and equipment for rebuilding the Gaza Strip under Israeli supervision. Israel also agreed to expand the fishing zone beyond three miles. Within a month, the parties will begin to discuss the key issues, which include the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip and the establishment of an airport and seaport (ynet, August 26, 2014). On August 30, 2014, the Israeli Home Front Command announced a return to routine and the closing of public shelters (IDF Spokesman, August 30, 2014).
- Until the announcement of the ceasefire, massive rocket and mortar fire into Israeli territory continued, with an emphasis on the communities close to the Gaza Strip. Just before the announcement of the ceasefire, the firing increased. On August 26, 2014, just hours before the ceasefire came into effect,two Israelis from Kibbutz Nirim were killed by shrapnel from mortar shells. The two men were repairing high voltage power lines damaged as a result of the firing. The Israel Air Force continued to attack dozens of terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip.
Summary of operation until the ceasefire
- In total, 3,852 rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory during Operation Protective Edge. In addition, hundreds of mortar shells were also fired, especially at the communities close to the Gaza Strip. Nine Iron Dome systems throughout Israel intercepted around 735 rockets.
- The Israel Air Force carried out more than 5,200 strikes against terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip. The targets that were attacked include (IDF Spokesman, August 29, 2014):
- 1,814launchers and other targets related to the firing of rockets and mortars
- Hundreds of buildings that served as military outposts
- 1,914 command and control centers and infrastructures
- 237government institutions that supported terrorist activity
- 191weapon manufacturing and storage sites
- The military activity of the IDF ground forces concentrated mainly on the Hamas tunnel system. This included locating, mapping and destroying 32 tunnels. Thirteen of them were destroyed completely, 13 tunnels were neutralized, and the operation of six tunnels was disrupted. All the tunnels throughout the Gaza Strip were characterized by a large number of tunnel shafts and forks, some of which were booby-trapped. The tunnels were destroyed in order to thwart terrorist attacks that Hamas planned to carry out through them (IDF Spokesman, August 28, 2014).
- In total, 66 IDF soldiers and six civilians were killed during Operation Protective Edge.
Comments and statements made by various figures
- According to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel did not agree to accept any of the conditions imposed by Hamas, and the ceasefire was achieved without any conditions. The only thing that Israel has agreed to is humanitarian rehabilitation in the Gaza Strip, with the supervisory measures and capabilities being in Israel’s hands. He said that this was in order to prevent weapons or materials that could be used to manufacture weapons from being brought into the Gaza Strip (Prime Minister's Office website, August 27, 2014).
The Palestinian Authority
- The Palestinian media has stressed the role of Palestinian Authority Chairman Abu Mazen in achieving the ceasefire and his efforts to rebuild the Gaza Strip. In an interview, Abu Mazen accused Hamas of responsibility for Operation Protective Edge and stressed that it is forbidden for any organization to decide to go to war on its own. He said that the decision on peace or war should be made only by a united government. Abu Mazen also hinted at the existence of a “shadow government” in the Gaza Strip that is opposed to the reconciliation and the unity of the Palestinian people. In reference to Israel’s “crimes” during the war, he claimed that this is a “holocaust that must never be repeated” and declared that he would turn to international institutions for the purpose of condemning Israel. Abu Mazen also declared that he would like to further progress towards a political solution based on the 1967 borders (official Palestinian channel, August 28, 2014).
Palestinian organizations in the Gaza Strip
- All the Palestinian organizations in the Gaza Strip, led by Hamas, expressed great satisfaction when the ceasefire entered into effect. Simultaneously, the establishment of a narrative of victory began in the Gaza Strip. In their speeches, senior Hamas leaders reiterated the message that during the fighting they managed to defeat Israel, change the “rules of the game” and paralyze life in Israel. The speakers also stressed that this was not the final act of the “resistance” but rather another important stage in promoting the goal of liberating Jerusalem and Palestine. The speakers also emphasized that they would not agree to the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip.
- With the announcement of the ceasefire, Hamas leaders emerged from the hiding places where they stayed during the operation, and began to participate in victory rallies and demonstrations. Hamas spokesmen made sure to emphasize that the victory was achieved thanks to the cohesiveness of all the military wings on the ground and their functioning as a single wing.
- The day after the declaration of the ceasefire, Ismail Haniya, deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, emphasized in his first public appearance that they had taught Israel a lesson and that following the operation, Israel changed its military plans, which are now based on defense rather than attack. He said this is an unprecedented war in Israel’s history and that the victory in this campaign is twice as great as the victory in the previous campaign (Operation Pillar of Defense). He praised the steadfastness of the residents of the Gaza Strip, calling them “heroes,” emphasized the deaths of senior figures in the military wing, calling them symbols of the victory, and congratulated all the military wings, especially the Hamas military wing (Al-Aqsa TV, August 27, 2014).
- Following are additional statements:
- Abu Obeida, spokesman for Hamas’s military wing, gave a speech in Shejaiya stressing the victory of the “resistance” against Israel. Abu Obeida praised the abilities and successes of the military wing in striking deep inside Israel, causing tens of thousands of residents of the south to leave their homes and putting six million residents into shelters. He accused Israel of formulating a “false” target bank, including kindergartens, civilian shelters, hospitals and schools, while the military wing focused on attacking only military targets (Al-Aqsa TV, August 27, 2014).
- Moussa Abu Marzouq, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, said that the “resistance” won the battle. According to him, Israel’s prime minister has not gained anything from the conditions imposed by Israel in the agreement, especially with regard to limiting the development of weapons and Hamas’s military capabilities. Israel also failed to destroy the tunnels or achieve surrender (maannews.net, August 28, 2014). Moussa Abu Marzouq also said that the current ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is indefinite and that the date for resuming negotiations in Egypt will be set in the days ahead. He charged the national consensus government with full responsibility for the situation in the Gaza Strip and its rehabilitation (Al-Aqsa TV, August 31, 2014).
- Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that Hamas’s priority now is rebuilding the Gaza Strip, rehabilitating the “resistance” capabilities and reaping political benefit from its military success. He said that the agreement meets many requirements and there are several requirements that will be discussed in the near future. He added that Hamas holds many “bargaining chips” constituting pressure on Israel so that it will assent to all the demands and commit to everything that has been agreed on (Safa News Agency, August 27, 2014).
- Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar said that he is convinced that the Israeli government would commit to the issues raised in the ceasefire agreement. Al-Zahar added that Israel's commitment to the agreement is not due to the fact that it is committed to treaties, contracts and agreements, but rather because it wants quiet and cannot afford to return to aggression (Al-Quds Al-Arabi, August 29, 2014).
- PIJ Secretary General Ramadan Abdallah Shalah spoke with Abu Mazen by telephone and thanked him for his efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement (Wafa News Agency, August 27, 2014). Khaled al-Batsh, senior PIJ official and the organization’s representative in the delegation to the Cairo talks, said that the Palestinian government is now awaiting an official invitation to renew the talks. According to him, Egypt asked the Palestinian side to provide a detailed report of any breach of the agreement, in order to discuss any untoward incident (Filastin al-Yawm, August 31, 2014).
- According to presidential spokesman Ihab Badawi, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi received a phone call from Abu Mazen thanking Egypt for its efforts and the vigorous and successful negotiations that it conducted in order to reach a ceasefire. During the conversation, the Egyptian president stressed that the Palestinian issue is a key issue for Egypt and that Egypt will continue to support the rights of the Palestinians on their attempt to establish an independent state (al-Masri al-Youm, August 27, 2014). Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that in the days ahead, Egypt will begin to hold talks with the Israeli side and the Palestinian side in order to draft a document on which to base the indirect negotiations. He expressed hope that both sides would make an effort to conduct effective negotiation and that mutual understanding would be reached (Russia Al-Youm, August 31, 2014).
- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke to PIJ Secretary General Ramadan Abdallah Shalah and Khaled Mashaal, head of Hamas’s political bureau, congratulating them on the victory in the campaign and expressing his hope that this victory is just the start of bigger victories. The secretary of the Iranian Supreme Council, who spoke with the two men, said that Iran has always stood beside the “resistance” (Khabar; ISNA, August 28, 2014).
- Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign policy advisor to the Iranian Supreme Leader, praised the Palestinian people for its steadfastness during some fifty days of fighting “until it managed to get the terms it requested for a ceasefire.” He added that it is Iran that supplied the Palestinians with most of the weapons that they used during the fighting and Iran is the one that helped them manufacture such weapons. He said that Iran was the only country that helped the Gaza Strip because all other countries were afraid to help due to pressure from Western countries (Al-Alam, August 31, 2014).
Rockets fired at Israel
- Until the announcement of the ceasefire, massive rocket and mortar fire into Israeli territory continued, with an emphasis on the communities close to the Gaza Strip. Just before the ceasefire entered into effect, the firing increased. At 17:00, barrages of rockets were launched at the Israeli cities of Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ofakim, Kiryat Malachi and Beersheba. In addition, the firing of mortar shells at communities close to the Gaza Strip continued. On August 26, 2014, just hours before the ceasefire was declared, two Israelis from Kibbutz Nirim were killed by shrapnel from mortar shells.
- On August 26, 2014, two Israelis from Kibbutz Nirim were killed by mortar fire. They were wounded by shrapnel while repairing a high voltage line damaged as a result of the firing. In addition, five people were injured, one of them critically. The fatalities:
- Zeev Etzion, 55, married with five children. Served as the security coordinator of Kibbutz Nirim for many years.
- Shahar Melamed, 43, married with three children. Served as deputy security coordinator.
- IDF soldier Sergeant Nentanel Maman, who was wounded on August 22 by shrapnel from a rocket while he was in his car in Gan Yavne, died on August 29, 2014. Sergeant Nentanel Maman, 21, from Gan Yavne, served as a technician in the Ordnance Corps. Another soldier, Sergeant Shahar Shalev, died of his wounds on August 31, 2014. Sergeant Shahar Shalev, 20, from Alonei Habashan, was seriously wounded in Khan Yunis on July 23, 2014.
Claiming responsibility for the firing
- The military wing of Hamas and military wing of the PIJ claimed responsibility for most of the rocket and mortar attacks.Other organizations such as the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) also claimed responsibility for the firing. During the final days of the operation, terrorist organizations attempted to maintain continuity of fire, especially mortar fire at communities close to the Gaza Strip.
- In accordance with Israel’s decision to respond to any attempt at firing at Israel, Israel Air Force aircraft carried out a large number of attacks against terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip. Until the ceasefire was declared, the Israel Air Force continued to attack dozens of terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip.
Use of public buildings as a cover for military/terrorist activity
- During the operation, Israeli security forces arrested around 150 operatives from Hamas and other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip. They were brought in for questioning, which served mainly for obtaining information and conveying it to the combat forces on the ground. During the interrogations, the issue of Hamas making use of the civilian population and public buildings for its military/terrorist operations arose time and time again. In this regard, the use of mosques and hospitals as hiding places and as gathering and meeting points was salient. It also emerged that tunnels and launching pits were dug and weapons stores were located near them and near educational institutions (Israel Security Agency, August 2014). Following are a number of examples:
- Use of mosques:
- Abd al-Rahman Ba’aloosha of Khan Yunis said that two mosques in the city (Al-Safa and Al-Abra) were used by Hamas operatives as a gathering point. At Al-Abra Mosque, the gathering point is an underground bunker.
- Muhammad Ramadan of Khan Yunis said that in February 2014, he received training as an anti-tank weapons operator. The training took place in a hall located under the Al-Shafi’i Mosque in Khan Yunis. He said that the mosque serves as a training center of Hamas’s military wing. He also said that the Al-Islah Mosque and the Al-Banna Mosque in Khan Yunis were used during the fighting as gathering points for military activity, including activity in offensive tunnels.
- Muhammad al-Qudra of Khan Yunis said that mosques are used as hiding places for weapons such as RPGs, heavy PKC machine guns and Kalashnikov assault rifles.
- Hatem Abu Rida of Khuza’ah said that the Al-Taqwa Mosque serves as an observation point from which instructions are conveyed to cells of PIJ operatives who plant IEDs.
- Location of tunnels adjacent to kindergartens: Muhammad Abu Daraz of Abasan al-Kabirasaid that the starting point of the tunnel where he worked was adjacent to a clinic. He also said that he was arrested near an area where a kindergarten is located, which is adjacent to a clinic. He said they were instructed that if they carry out an abduction, they should bring the abducted individual to the kindergarten.
- Hospitals as hiding places:
- Muhammad al-Qudra of Khan Yunis said that Hamas leaders are hiding in hospitals. He said that the armed guards of the leaders usually wear police uniforms and man the hospital admission desks. These bodyguards block off areas in the hospital and deny patients access to them.
- Nafez Shalouf of Rafah said that Al-Najar Hospital is used as a hiding place by Hamas and PIJ operatives. He said some civilians who were in need of medical attention were made to leave the hospital.
Violent events in Judea and Samaria
- Violence continued in Judea and Samaria as part of the so-called popular resistance. Stones were thrown at Israeli security forces and civilians, and Molotov cocktails were thrown in major traffic arteries in Judea and Samaria. In addition, demonstrations were held in big cities and “traditional” friction points (Bil’in, Ni’lin, Nabi Saleh, Qaddoum, Beit Ummar etc), most of them in solidarity with the Gaza Strip.
- Following are a number of incidents:
- August 31, 2014 - Stones were thrown at Israeli vehicles near the Halhoul junction (north of Hebron). A young man of around 20 was lightly wounded. Several vehicles were damaged (Tazpit News Agency, August 31, 2014).
- August 31, 2014 - Stones were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near Deir Abu Meshal (northwest of Ramallah). An Israeli woman was lightly wounded; her granddaughters, who were with her in the vehicle, were not wounded. The vehicle was damaged (Tazpit News Agency, August 31, 2014).
- September 1, 2014 - Stones were thrown at a bus in Jerusalem. A three-year-old toddler sustained minor shrapnel wounds and was taken to the hospital (Israel Police, September 1, 2014).
- September 1, 2014 - A Molotov cocktail was thrown at an Israeli vehicle near the Tapuach junction. An Israeli civilian was lightly wounded (Israel Police, September 1, 2014).
Left: Vehicle damaged nearDeir Abu Meshal (Tazpit News Agency, August 31, 2014. Photo: Ehud Amiton). Right: Vehicle damaged in the Halhoul junction (Tazpit News Agency, August 31, 2014).
Summary of terror attacks in July 2014
- According to the Israel Security Agency, during July 2014 (the time of Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip), there was a significant increase in the number of terrorist attacks carried out in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. In total, 507 terrorist attacks were carried out in July 2014, compared with 100 in June 2014. Most of the terrorist attacks, 424, consisted of Molotov cocktails, 77 of them in Jerusalem (compared with 71 attacks of this type in June). There were 35 IED attacks, five of them in Jerusalem, and13 small arms fire attacks (one in Jerusalem). Concurrently, there was a sharp increase in the number of riots and clashes with Israeli security forces (ISA website).
Rallies marking the end of the fighting
- Many Palestinians took part in rallies held by Hamas and the PIJ in Judea and Samaria on the occasion of the announcement of the ceasefire. The Palestinian Authority security services supervised the events, confiscated Hamas flags and arrested a number of operatives (Safa News Agency, Alresalah.net, August 30, 2014).
- In a recorded speech heard at a rally in Hebron, which was attended by Hamas supporters, senior Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Zahar called to pass the combat experience of the “resistance” to Judea and Samaria, andalso demanded a boycott of Israeli goods (Al-Arabi Al-Jadid, August 29, 2014). In Nablus, a rally entitled “Gaza Victory – the Glory of the Nation” was held, which was attended by many Hamas supporters. Khalil al-Haya, member of the political bureau of Hamas, and the father of Yahya Ayash (a senior Hamas operative killed by the IDF) spoke at the rally (Safa News Agency, August 29, 2014).
- On August 30, a victory rally was held in front of the Al-Bireh city hall, organized by Hamas and entitled “Oath of Allegiance to Victory”. The rally was attended by Hamas operatives who displayed models of rockets and other weapons. The rally also included an installation simulating the taking over of an Israeli post and the abduction of soldiers (Facebook page of the Islamic Bloc at Birzeit University, August 30, 2014; PALDF, August 30, 2014).
Left: Installation simulating an attempted abduction of IDF soldiers at an Israeli post (Facebook page of the Islamic Bloc at Birzeit University, August 30, 2014). Right: Hamas operatives holding models of weapons used during Operation Protective Edge.
The situation at the crossings
The Rafah Crossing
- With the announcement of the ceasefire, the Rafah crossing was opened for traffic, mainly to enable injured Palestinians to travel to Egypt for treatment and in order for aid convoys to enter the Gaza Strip. However, it is still operating on a limited basis (Filastin al-Yawm, August 30, 2014).
- In reference to the Rafah crossing, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that the Rafah crossing has a unique nature and is subject to Egyptian sovereignty. According to him, Egypt treats the crossing the same way it treats its international airport and therefore Egypt operates the crossing in a manner that will meet its security needs (Russia Al-Youm, August 31, 2014).
- Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdel Aty said that Egypt would not allow any foreign individual to be present on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing, emphasizing that the crossings agreement signed in 2005, designed to regulate the movement of crossings between the Gaza Strip, stipulated that a European delegation would be present on the Palestinian side of the crossing. He made it clear that Egypt is not a party to the crossings business and that the parties to the agreement are the Palestinian Authority, Israel and the European Union, while the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing is subject to absolute Egyptian sovereignty (Masrawy, August 27, 2014).
The situation in the Gaza Strip
- After the ceasefire was declared, Gaza Strip residents began returning to their homes. According to Yousef Moussa, director of the UNRWA in Rafah, only those left homeless remain in UNRWA centers and an alternative solution will be found for them through funding their rent or finding an alternative residence (Al-Ayyam, August 30, 2014). UNRWA has requested the allocation of USD 295.4 million to support the residents of the Gaza Strip who left their homes (UNRWA website, August 26, 2014).
- Ma’moun Abu Shahla, Minister of Labor in the national consensus government, said that efforts are being made to provide mobile homes for families whose homes were destroyed during Operation Protective Edge. He said that a budget of USD 190 million has been allocated for the purchase of mobile homes. The sum was donated by the Palestinian Authority and others. In addition, they are now working with the Egyptian authorities to arrange for the delivery of 3,000 mobile homes that Turkey promised to supply (Al-Ayyam, September 1, 2014).
- Hamas announced that it has completed the distribution of USD 3 million in aid to residents whose homes were destroyed during the fighting. According to Moussa al-Samak, a Hamas senior official in the central Gaza Strip, assistance has been distributed to 1,700 families whose homes were destroyed, and each family received initial assistance in the sum of USD 2,000 (Safa News Agency, August 31, 2014)
- Mufid al-Hasayneh, Minister of Public Works and Housing in the national consensus government, said that on August 31, his office would begin to assess the damage caused during the operation. He said a committee has been formed, consisting of representatives of UN agencies, whose job is to collect damage assessment data (Safa News Agency, August 28, 2014).
Meeting of the Gaza Strip Aid Conference
- Egyptian foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that now, after the ceasefire agreement, preparations have begun for the Conference of Donors for Rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip, which will be held in early October 2014 in Cairo (Al-Masri Al-Youm, August 27, 2014). Mohammed Ashtiya, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, said that the conference will be attended by representatives from 46 donor countries in addition to representatives of UN agencies. The conference will be headed by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and will probably be attended by Abu Mazen as well (Al-Jazeera, August 31, 2014).
Activity aimed at providing aid to the Gaza Strip
- The national consensus government called on all countries to provide urgent economic and humanitarian assistance to the residents of the Gaza Strip (Wafa News Agency, August 26, 2014). PLO Executive Committee member Saeb Erekat said on August 27, 2014, that by order of Abu Mazen, the PA began talks with the American government and Secretary of State John Kerry, demanding the start of a humanitarian aid campaign in the Gaza Strip (Al-Jazeera, August 27, 2014).
- Meanwhile Mahmoud al-Aloul, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, criticized Hamas for, so he claimed, taking over the food and aid to the Gaza Strip and putting it in its private warehouses (Voice of Palestine Radio, August 31, 2014).
- Various countries began to send aid shipments to Gaza:
- Turkey- an aid shipment from Turkey arrived in the Gaza Strip on August 28, 2014, via the Rafah crossing. The shipment included 92 tons of sugar (Anatolia, August 28, 2014). According to the Turkish health minister, 33 additional casualties were evacuated to Turkey from the Gaza Strip for treatment in a hospital in Turkey. He also said that a team of 80 people from Turkey are waiting for permission to enter the Gaza Strip to provide medical assistance (Hürriyet, August 29, 2014).
- Saudi Arabia - aSaudi convoy sent by King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia passed through the Rafah crossing. The convoy consisted of 19 trucks containing 150 tons of medicines and medical equipment (Al-Youm Al-Sabaa, August 27, 2014). Saudi Arabia also sent a shipment of 67 tons of medical aid through the Palestinian Red Crescent (Red Mountain website, September 1, 2014).·A convoy from the Sultanate of Oman, containing 45 tons of medicines and medical supplies, arrived through the Rafah crossing (Al-Youm Al-Sabaa, August 27, 2014).
- ·A UN convoy containing 16 trucks of food reached the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing (Al-Youm Al-Sabaa, August 27, 2014).
- Sudan- a Sudanese medical delegation has arrived in the Gaza Strip. The delegation includes physicians and representatives of the Sudanese Red Crescent. The delegation will help treat the wounded in hospitals (SUNA News Agency, August 28, 2014).
- The Kuwaiti Red Crescent donated two ambulances to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The ambulances were transferred to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing (Kuwait Times, August 31, 2014).
- The Maldives sent a donation to the Kuwaiti Red Crescent valued at USD 1.9 million for the Gaza Strip (Relief Web, 27 August 2014).
Rallies marking the end of the fighting
- Immediately upon publication of the news of the ceasefire, thousands of Gazans took to the streets distributing sweets, setting off fireworks and waving Hamas flags. Thousands of Palestinians took part in rallies held by Hamas and the PIJ in the Gaza Strip. During the rallies, Hamas attempted to refute the reports of the death of Muhammad Deif, head of the military wing, as a result of an Israeli air strike. These attempts included a procession for renewing the oath of allegiance to Mohammad Deif, commander of the military wing, in front of his home in Khan Yunis (Al-Resalah.net website, August 27, 2014).
Left: Members of the Hamas military wing during victory celebrations in Gaza. Right: A child in uniform holding a model of an M75 rocket (Gaza Alan, August 26 and 27, 2014)
- On August 28, 2014, the PIJ held a victory parade in Gaza attended by many of the organization's officials and operatives. During the parade, Hamas official Khaled al-Batsh stressed their success in recording a victory, surprising Israel and causing Israeli losses. Another PIJ official, Mohammad al-Hindi, noted that since the ceasefire was declared, the organization has begun to prepare for the next round. He accused Israel of committing a “New Hiroshima” against the residents of the Gaza Strip (Filastin Al-Yawm, August 29, 2014). During the events, the PIJ’s military wing revealed its new spokesman, known as Abu Hamza, who spoke for the first time at the rally in the Gaza Strip. Hamza is replacing the previous spokesman, Abu Ahmed, who was killed in one of the IDF attacks in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge (Ma'an News Agency, August 29, 2014).
Statements made by Khaled Mashaal
- In a speech given at a press conference convened in Doha to mark the end of Operation Protective Edge, Khaled Mashaal, head of Hamas’s political bureau, praised the steadfastness of the Palestinian people, stressing that the equation of the balance of terror with Israel has been realized. The main points of his speech follow (Al-Jazeera, August 28, 2014):
- He praised the “jihad fighters,” their commanders, the leadership of Hamas and other organizations on their performance during the fighting, including their training, their deployment, “their tricks and their surprises”. At the same time, he praised the resilience of the residents of the Gaza Strip, assuring them that the national consensus government would take care of their rehabilitation.
- He claimed that Israel committed “a holocaust that surpassed Hitler’s”. Nevertheless, he said, the Israeli army's image of being “invincible” has been impaired, since the “resistance” demonstrated superiority in the battle with “willpower and the war of minds” against Israel, as well as with the initiative that it took. And thus equation of the balance of terror has been realized. He noted that there were five million people in Israel who were forced to hide in shelters and that in Israel as well, residents have become displaced persons.
- He praised the Palestinian national unity, which is reflected both at the front and during the talks in Cairo, despite the Israeli attempt to harm it and the intra-Palestinian reconciliation.
- The “resistance” and its weapons are sacred; they are the image of the Palestinian people, its source of inspiration and its way to liberation. There will be no policy without the “resistance” and without the weapons of the resistance.
The Palestinian Authority’s activity to resume the negotiations
- Palestinian sources reported that Abu Mazen has formulated a three-stage plan, which will be implemented in the near future in order to achieve an independent Palestinian state. According to the sources, the stages of the program include (Al-Sharq al-Awsat, August 30, 2014):
- Appealing to the United States which, within a four-month period, will determine the borders of the Palestinian state and get Israel to recognize them.
- If both parties accept it, time-limited negotiations will commence immediately, in which Israel will have to present a map of its borders.
- If this fails, the Palestinians will begin the process of joining all the international organizations, including the International Court of Justice (ICC), and will begin to file lawsuits against the Israeli leadership.
- At a Fatah meeting in Ramallah, Abu Mazen said that if negotiation process between the Israeli government and the Palestinian national consensus government is not renewed, the Palestinian leadership intends to join 522 international entities and organizations and to sign the Treaty of Rome (which is the source of authority for the operation of the International Criminal Court in the Hague) (Ma'an News Agency, August 31, 2014).
Reactions to Israel’s decision to recognize the territories as state land
- On September 1, 2014, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major General (ret.) Yoav (Poly) Mordechai, announced Israel's intention to recognize the land of the settlement of Gvaot in Gush Etzion as state land. The tract, with an area of about 3,800 dunams, is now officially defined as a neighborhood of Alon Shvut and is located in the western part of Gush Etzion (Ynet, September 1, 2014). According to the Coordinator of Government Activities, the announcement is a continuation of the instructions of the political leadership and was made possible after a thorough examination process conducted by a team from the Civil Administration to clarify who owns the land (Israel Today, September 1, 2014).
- The announcement set off a wave of Palestinian condemnations and was denounced by Egypt and the West. Following are some Palestinian statements:
- Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rodeina condemned the decision, claiming that it was an illegal act that would lead to further deterioration of the situation in the Territories (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, September 1, 2014).
- The Foreign Ministry of the national consensus government issued a statement stressing that the settlement enterprise is illegitimate and a violation of international law. According to the statement, the annexation of land is aggression that is no less dangerous than the Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip. According to the statement, this is ongoing assault and a war crime (Palestinian Foreign Ministry website, September 1, 2014).
- Hamas issued a statement condemning the announcement, which constitutes “a serious Zionist crime and a gross violation of all international laws.” In its statement, Hamas called on Palestinians to oppose this in every way possible and on human rights organizations to intervene (Hamas Info, September 1, 2014).
Turning to the International Court in The Hague
- The issue of filing suit against Israel at the International Court of Justice continues to preoccupy the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian terrorist organizations. In this context, at its weekly meeting the national consensus government noted that the Palestinian organizations have agreed to sign the Treaty of Rome to join the International Criminal Court in The Hague, in order to institute proceedings against Israel for violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity, carried out against the Palestinian people (Wafa News Agency, August 26, 2014).
- In response to criticism leveled at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, that it is not investigating the Palestinian issue because of political pressure, court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that the International Court of Justice will be able to open an investigation into the Palestinian issue only when it receives an official request from the PA leadership. She said that only countries can join the ICC, and therefore the PA’s request from 2009, before it was recognized as an observer state by the UN, is not valid. However, she said that when the ICC is granted jurisdiction on a given issue, they investigate those who committed mass crimes diligently and impartially and they will do so if they are granted the jurisdiction to deal with the Palestinian issue (The Guardian, August 29, 2014).
Attempts to prosecute Israelis with foreign citizenship
- Riyadh al-Maliki, foreign minister of the national consensus government, sent a letter to the UN Secretary General and to the representatives of member states demanding that the UN mount an investigation into the involvement of foreign volunteers in committing war crimes during Operation Protective Edge and prosecute them. He said it has become apparent that foreigner nationals volunteered to join the IDF, participated in military activity and committed “war crimes,” and that this should be investigated by all parties concerned. He also said that these people should be informed that they have committed war crimes, violated international law and that there is criminal liability that may be imposed on those who are party to such actions (Wafa News Agency, August 27, 2014).
Boycotting Israeli products
- Throughout Judea and Samaria, the campaign to promote Palestinian products and boycott Israeli goods is continuing. Bassam Walweel, President of the Palestinian Federation of Industries Union in Judea and Samaria, reported that there has been an increase in sales of locally produced dairy products and meat. He said that as part of the campaign to promote local products, companies that produce food products are planning to offer consumers reduced prices on most of their products (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, September 1, 2014).
- A women’s rally was held in Hebron, in which the women waved Palestinian flags and posters with slogans calling for a boycott of Israeli products. After the rally, the women toured around the city and visited stores and businesses to encourage their owners to cooperate with the campaign (Al-Quds, August 31, 2014). On August 25, an exhibition opened at Birzeit University, entitled The Boycott of the Resistance, calling for a boycott of Israeli products (Facebook page of the Islamic Bloc at Birzeit University, August 25, 2014).
Displays at the exhibition (Facebook page of the Islamic Bloc at Birzeit University, August 25, 2014)
Perpetuating the myth of victory
- On August 29, 2014, the website of the PIJ’s military wing posted a list of the “achievements” of the military wing during Operation Protective Edge. The achievements included: firing around 3,249 rockets of various types at the Israeli cities of Netanya, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Dimona, killing 30 IDF soldiers in 13 different incidents and wounding 90 soldiers. The website also reported that during the operation, 121 of the organization’s officers and soldiers were killed (Al-Quds Battalions website, August 29, 2014). The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, said that it would publish its lists at a later date (Filastin Al-'Aan, August 30, 2014).
As at September 2, 2014. These statistics do not include mortar shells, nor do they include rockets that were fired but landed in the territory of the Gaza Strip.
These figures do not include mortar shells.
 These terrorist attacks do not include several dozen stone-throwing incidents in Gaza, Samaria and Jerusalem.