The burning of an Israeli flag during a violent demonstration at WadiJoz (PALDF, September 8th, 2014).
The destruction at a gas station in Ha’Givaa Ha’Tsarfatit, which was caused by a few dozen masked men
Mahmoud Abbas as being handled by Israel
Clashes with Israeli security forces in Wadi Joz (North-East Jerusalem), following the funeral of Palestinian youth Mohammed Sanukrut.
On the right: a car damaged by stone throwers in Halhul (Tatzpit Agency, September 3rd, 2014.Photo: Avraham Weiss).
Al-Jazeera’s report on PIJ’s tunnels in Palestine (Memri, September 4th, 2014)
Meeting between Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi(Wafa, September 7th, 2014)
A sign held up on behalf of Hamas during a victory rally in Hebron, with the names of the three men responsible for the abduction of the three youths in Gush Etzion.
- The cease-fire achieved at the conclusion of operation Protective Edge is being maintained. The Palestinians are preparing for upcoming negotiations. Hamas has declared its objection to the demands that have been raised with regards to the future agreement, such as de-militarization of the Gaza Strip or the deployment of an international supervisory force.
- The focal point of the most recent violent activity has been Jerusalem. This following the trend over the last months of exacerbation of attacks and violence. The most prevalent forms of violence include the throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails, violent demonstrations and damages to property.
- Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine are running media campaigns to establish the “Myth of Victory” in the war. On the other hand, the war has once again accentuated the fundamental disagreements and hostility between Fatah and Hamas, which are present in the National Consensus Government since its founding.
Diplomatic Efforts and Statements regarding the Cease-Fire Agreement
- Approximately two weeks after the cease-fire announcement,peace isbeing maintained. The sides are preparing to establish the cease-fire, supply the Gaza Strip with humanitarian aid and renew the indirect negotiations. On this topic, an official Egyptian source has made notification that an official Egyptian delegation had visited Ramallah and Israel and met with both parties (Al-Masry Al-Youm, September 4th, 2014). A senior Hamas official has said that his organization and the other Palestinian groups are awaiting an official invitation from Egypt to renew the indirect negotiation with Israel. According to the senior official, Egypt has not yet approached either party, but at the same time there are communicationsbetween senior Hamas officials and Egyptian General Intelligence and the Palestinian Authority (Quds News, September 6th, 2014).
- In an interview given by Khaled Mashaal, head of Hamas’ political bureau, he expressed disappointment at statements made by Mahmoud Abbas, according to which Hamas could have prevented the deaths of thousands of Palestinians had it accepted the Egyptian initiative earlier than it had. He expressed his commitment to abiding by the reconciliation agreement and said that the National Consensus Government will begin fulfilling its duties in the Gaza Strip immediately. Also, according to him, there is agreement that decisions on matters of war and peace should be at the hands of the government and mutually reached (Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed, September 3rd, 2014).
- Senior Hamas officials continue to express satisfaction over the campaign’s outcomes. Spokespersons for the organization have emphasized that they will hold their ground firmly on maintaining the cease-fire, but will not agree to offers such as de-militarizing the Gaza Strip or stationing an international supervisory force there. Below are some of the quotes:
- Ismail Haniyeh, Deputy Head of Hamas’ political bureau, during a “Conference on the Future of the Palestinian Issue following the victory in Gaza”, called for taking advantage of the “victory’s” achievements. According to him, Israel’s basic assumptions were erroneous and the outcomes of the war prove that. Haniyeh was praiseful when speaking of “the Resistance”, which lasted for 51 days. He called for Palestinian organizations to assemble afollow-up committee to track the achievements in the cease-fire agreement with Israel (Al-Aqsa Channel, September 7th, 2014)
- Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, rejected the possibility of renewed hostilities on the part of Israel. However, at the same time Al-Zahar threatened that if Israel attempts to avoid abiding by the understandings, reached as part of the cease-fire agreement, it “will pay for it”. According to him, Hamas and the other Palestinian organizations have the capabilities to deter Israel ((Al-Aqsa Channel, September 2nd, 2014)
- Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said that the cease-fire will last indefinitely. Hamas will meet all that is required of it, so long as Israel does. He mentioned that the room allowed to the Israeli delegation to maneuverduring negotiations will be narrow, with regards to unsolved issues, with building the airport and a seaport and the problem of the prisoners at the top of the list (Alresalah.net, September 6th, 2014).
- Sallah Al-Bardawil, a senior Hamas official, said that he opposes the deployment of international troops to the Gaza Strip by the UN to supervise building materials during the process of rebuilding the Gaza Strip. According to him, they will not cooperate with any offer that is not in line with the Palestinian people’s aspirations to free themselves from Israeli occupation and that the essence of the offer is “replacing one occupation with another” (Al-rai, September 7th, 2014).
- Ismail Radwan, a senior Hamas official, voiced his objection to the presence of foreign troops in the Gaza Strip. According to him, Hamas will view these forces as a new occupation (Pal Press, September 7th, 2014).
- Khalil al-Haya, a member of Hamas’ political bureau who served as one of Hamas’ delegates in the indirect negotiations in Egypt, called for the National Consensus Government to take steps begin building a port and an airport. According to him, rebuilding efforts must be joined together to force Israel to allow building materials into the Gaza Strip. He said the “Resistance” still has the initiative, strength and weapons, and that it will not accept reinstatement of the siege to the Gaza Strip (Palestine Info, September 6th, 2014).
Tensions within the National Consensus Government following Operation Protective Edge
- Operation Protective Edge has accentuated the fundamental disagreements present in the National Consensus Government since its inception. At the heart of the current disagreements is Hamas’ independent decision making with regards to the war against Israel, its conduct during the war and the matter of responsibility for rebuilding Gaza. Mahmoud Abbas’ statements have poured more gasoline on the fire.
- Speaking to Egyptian journalists, Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, vehemently attacked Hamas over its conduct during Operation Protective Edge. He voiced disbelief at the fact that Hamas was surprised by the fighting in the Gaza Strip despite the fact that it had kidnapped, killed and fired rockets. According to Abbas, over the course of the operation more than 120 Palestinians were killed because they had violated the curfew and house arrest imposed on them. Also, 30-40 Palestinians had been executed. He claimed that approximately fifty Hamas operatives were killed, compared to 861 Fatah members(Note: In reality, according to our estimates,hundreds of Hamas operatives were killed. In our opinion,Mahmoud Abbas is quoting an unreliable figure, as part of the propaganda campaign to minimize losses).
- Mahmoud Abbasemphasized that the Palestinian Authority will not consent to any cooperation with Hamas so long as the situation in Gaza remains as it is. The partnership with Hamas is predicated on the principle that the weapons will be under control of the Palestinian State, and decisions on war and peace will made by one authority. Mahmoud Abbas further claimed that Hamas has a “shadow government” comprised of 27 sub-cabinet officials who manage the affairs of the government. He said this prevents the National Consensus Government from taking any action in the Gaza Strip (Pal Today, September 6th, 2014).
- In response, senior Hamas officials strongly condemned Mahmoud Abbas’ statements:
- Musa Abu-Marzuq, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, called for establishing a new National Consensus Government, arguing that the current government has failed to manage interior crises. According to him, there are senior members in Fatah who support this idea (Alresalah.net, September 7th, 2014).
- Sami AbuZuhry, Hamas Spokesman, said that Mahmoud Abbas’ declarations are unjustified and that the numbers he has presented are not accurate, baseless, and not approved by the Health Ministry. He described his statements as an “injustice” towards the Palestinian people and the Resistance, which brought forth the great victory. He called for Mahmoud Abbas to put an end to talks conducted through the media, and allow for a chance for mutual discussion and understanding between Hamas and Fatah (Sami AbuZuhry’s Facebook page, Maan, September 7th, 2014).
- Sallah Al-Bardawil, a senior Hamas official, noted that Mahmoud Abbas has begun occupying himself with mundane issues which have no political importance, and added that he should leave the arguments to spokespersons in the media (Quds Press, September 7th, 2014).
- FawziBarhum, Hamas Spokesperson, said that Mahmoud Abbas’ attack on Hamas is “a direct hit and has inflicted harmupon the resistance and the unity of the Palestinian people”. According to him, Mahmoud Abbas’threats to dismantle the Coalition Government are disappointing and serve the US and Israel (Safa, September 8th, 2014).
Mahmoud Abbas as being handled by Israel: a caricature mocking Mahmoud Abbas’ statement regarding the “shadow government”, under the title: “The Israeli Shadow Government” (PALDF, September 9th, 2014)
Findings of a Palestinian Survey on Operation Protective Edge
- In a survey conducted by Palestinian polling institute PRS, headed by Khelil Shkaki, among 1,270 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria following the conclusion of Operation Protective Edge, the following findings were reported:
- 97% are of the opinion that Hamas was victorious over the course of the war. A similar percentage think Israel is to blame for starting the war.
- 94% expressed satisfaction at the performance of Hamas’ military wing against IDF forces. 78% are satisfied with the protection provided by Hamas’ military wing to residents of the Gaza Strip.
- 86% support the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel if the “siege” is not lifted.
- 60% claim that Hamas does not fire rockets from residential area. 30% think that they do.
- 57% oppose demilitarizing the Gaza Strip.25% support demilitarization if the “siege” is lifted and elections are held.
- Two thirds of respondents are of the opinion that theIran-Turkey-Qatar axis provided Gaza with the capabilities to prolong the war.
- 25% described Egypt’s role in the cease-fire negotiations as beneficial for Palestinians. 52% defined it as detrimental. 22% said that Egypt served as an objective party.
Rocket Firetowards Israel
- Since the announcement of a cease-fire (August 26th, 2014), no firing of rockets or mortar shells at Israel has been detected.
Sharp Increase in the Number of Terrorist Attacks in Jerusalem
- Over the last few months there has been a significant increase in the number of violent events and terrorist attacks in the city of Jerusalem. In the background are the abduction and murder of the three Israeli teenagers in Gush Etzion, the murder of the Palestinian youth in Beit Hanina, and Operation Protective Edge. According to Israeli Security Agency (ISA) data, during July and August 2014 152 terrorist attacks were carried out in the city. This as opposed to 22 attacks during May and June, 2014. A few hundred Palestinians have been arrested and around 200 of them have been indicted (Israeli Channel 10 News, September 8th, 2014). The main forms of violence are stone throwing at Israeli vehicles, including buses and Light Rail railways, hurling Molotov Cocktails and damaging property. There have also been a number of cases of sniper fire at Israeli neighborhoods.
- On September 7th, 2014, 16 year old Palestinian teenagerMohammed Sanukrut, of Wadi Joz, who was critically injured at a demonstration held in Wadi Joz on August 31st, 2014, passed away. Therewere rage filled demonstrations in East Jerusalem following his death. These events culminated on the evening of September 7th, 2014, when a few dozen masked men arrived at a gas station in Ha’Givaa Ha’Tsarfatit, caused damage to a store located on the premises, stole merchandise, and attempted to set the place on fire, apparently using a Molotov Cocktail. They also caused damage to the gas pumps and the security cameras. Afterwards, they poured oil on the road leading to Issaiya to prevent police forces from arriving at the area (Israeli Police, September 7th, 2014).
The damage caused to the Ha’Givaa Ha’Tsarfatit gas station(Israeli Police, Jerusalem Firefighting and Rescue Station Spokespersons, September 7th, 2014)
- Following are a number of additional violent events in Jerusalem:
- On September 8th, 2014stones were thrown at the Light Rail train near the Shoafat neighborhood in East Jerusalem. No one was injured and no damage was caused.
- On September 7th, 2014 stones were thrown at vehicles in the Abu Tur neighborhood and Wadi Joz in East Jerusalem. Two drivers were lightly injured. Also, stones were thrown in Issaiya towards police forces (Israeli Police, September 7th, 2014).
Vehicular Attack Foiled
- On September 2nd, 2014 a Palestinian driver who was attempting to smuggle Palestinians into Israeli territory, tried to run over an IDF soldier near the Eyal crossing (west of Qalqilia). An IDF officer who became aware of the danger opened fire on the vehicle. The driver was killed, and a passenger who tried to escape was shot in the leg and suffered light injuries (IDF Spokesperson, September 2nd, 2014). Palestinian media outlets have reported the death of Muhammad Sabri Alkani of the village of Klil (East of Nablus), who is employed as a driver of Palestinian workers travelling to Israel, after he attempted to run over a soldier (FilastinAl’aan, alreseala.net, September 2nd, 2014).
Other Violent Events in Judea and Samaria
- Routine violence continues in Judea and Samaria in what is being termed “the Civil Resistance”. As part of these events, stones have been thrown at Israeli security forces and civilians, Molotov Cocktails have been hurled towards major roads in Judea and Samaria. Also, demonstrations were held in the larger cities and the “traditional” points of friction (Biliin, Naalin, Nabi Saleh, Kadum, Beit Amar and others). On September 2nd, 2014, stones were thrown at Israeli vehicles near Halhul (Hebron area). Two people were lightly injured, and cars were damaged (Tatzpit Agency, September 3rd, 2014).
The Arrest and Interrogation of a Hamas Operative who Took Part in the Abduction and Murder of the Three Teenagers
- The ISA recently made public additional details of the abduction of the three teenagers in Gush Etzion,and the conduct of Hussam Qawasmeh(ISA website, September 4th, 2014):
- Upon the discovery of the bodies of the three kidnapped youths (June 30th, 2014), Hussam Hassan Qawasmehof Hebron became a wanted man, as the bodies were discovered buried within land owned by him. He attempted, with the help of his family, to escape to Jordan using counterfeit documentation. Before he managed to get out he was located in a hiding place in the Shoafat refugee camp on July 11th, 2014, and was arrested by Israeli security forces.
- In his interrogation it was discovered that he served as commander of the abduction operation. For this purpose he obtained 220,000 NIS in order to carry out the attack. The money was obtained through his brother Mahmoud, who was released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange, and is currently in Gaza. With these funds they acquired the two vehicles used in the abduction, as well as two rifles and handguns, which were delivered to Marwan Qawasmeh, one of the abductors who has not yet been captured.
- During the interrogation it was also learned that a number of other operatives were involved in the planning and execution of the abduction and murder, all Hebron residents.
- The Rafah Crossingis still operating in reduced capacity. An Egyptian source revealed that Egypt has let Hamas know that the Rafah Crossing and other crossings will not be opened and that will not take steps for building a seaport and airport, without a full return to the Gaza Strip by the Palestinian Authority (Sama, September 7th, 2014). Hamas Spokesperson Mushir Al-masri said that the Rafah Crossing issue is in the hands of the Palestinian Authority and that it must take things over quickly (Qudsnet, September 3rd, 2014).
- In response, a senior member of the Palestinian Authority’s Presidential Guard reported that the Presidential Guard is ready to complete security arrangements in the Rafah Crossing. According to him, during the first stage 1,000 officers and troops will be sent to the Border Crossing, and will be reinforced as needed. He also added that Egypt has shown a willingness to train 1,000 men for approximately two months inorder to prepare them for their new duties (Maan, September 6th, 2014).
The Humanitarian Situation in the Gaza Strip
- According to a reportcommissioned by UNWRA (as of September 5th, 2014), there are still 59,728 uprooted people residing at the Agency’s 31 schools. The report states that $47 million will be needed for rebuilding and humanitarian aid over the course of the month of September (UNWRA website, September 5th, 2014). According to a report published on the UN’s committee on the Palestinian issue’s website, over 90% of health service facilities in the Gaza Strip are operational, although some offer partial service only. Five clinics under the jurisdiction of the Health Ministry have been completely destroyed. All other clinics and UNWRA clinics are open to the public. The report also states that of the 90 UNWRA schools which served as shelters for the population, 64 have already been vacated (UN Committee website, September 7th, 2014).
Offering Assistance to Residents of the Gaza Strip
- Hamas has reported that to date it has distributed $32 million to residents of the Gaza Strip: $19.5 million have been granted to homeowners whose homes have been completely destroyed, $11.5 million to homeowners whose homes have been partially damaged, and $800,000 to families that suffered a loss of life during the fighting (Tsafa, September 8th, 2014).
- At apress conference,Muhammad Ashtia, Chairman of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Rebuilding presented the overall plan they have put together. According to the plan, the overall cost of rebuilding will add up to $7.8 billion, with about $450 million of these allocated towards humanitarian relief. For the purposes of development, including the building of the port and a water desalination plant, $3.02 billion will be allocated (Wafa, September 4th, 2014).
- Rami Hamdallah, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Coalition Government, spoke critically of Hamas when he said they have a one hundred day plan to rebuild the Gaza Strip, but are facing many problems they must contend with. According to him, the government is not performing as needed since there are disagreements in some of the ministriesbetween the minister based in the West Bank and the minister or sub-cabinet official (who is usually a Hamas member based in the Gaza Strip, and does not follow the Minister’s instructions). He said that if things continue in this manner he will turn to the Palestinian Authority’s chairman and let him know that he is encountering obstacles and a lack of cooperation (Palestinian Television, September 4th, 2014).
The village of Beit Lakya organized the donation of 17,000 school bags for students and pupils in the Gaza Strip(Wafa, September 8th, 2014).
- Ziad Amro, Deputy Prime Minister of the National Consensus Government said that the International Donors’ Conference for the Rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip will gather on October 10th, 2014, in Egypt. He said that negotiations are being conducted with all parties to obtain guarantees that Israel will not hinder the plans of contributing countries by preventing the entry of building materials into the Gaza Strip (alRai, September 7th, 2014).
Statement made by Ramadan Shallah Regarding Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) during Operation Protective Edge
- In an interview with an Iranian channel, Ramadan Shallah, Secretary General of PIJ in Palestine, spoke of the organization’s conduct during Operation Protective Edge (ChannelKhabar, September 6th, 2014):
- The fighting in Gaza: According to him, this was avictory of the Resistance forces and a failure on the part of Israel, though there are those who try to cast doubt on this victory. He said PIJ’s military wing in Palestine was the first to fire rockets at Tel Aviv. He added that his organization executed many “surprises” and showcased many innovations since previous conflicts.
- Egypt’s role as broker:although Egypt presented itself as broker between Israel and the Palestinians, from the start of the clashes its point of view towards the Gaza Strip was negative. Shallah said that he does not want to interfere with Egyptian policies, but that he wishes its policies would change.
- Iran’s Support:Shallah praised Iranian leaders, led by supreme leader Ali Hamanai and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who remained in contact with the organization and supported it during the war. He mentioned Iran’s support for weaponry, funds, readiness and military research as well as its diplomatic/propaganda assistance
- Thisstatement by Ramadan Shallah is part of PIJ’s propaganda campaign, which is aimed at highlighting the organization’s pivotal role and its achievements during the fighting. As part of this campaign, a report aired on al-Jazeera Network on PIJ’s preparations for the next battle. The reporter visited two offensive tunnels in the Khan Yunes area, the building of which began, according to him, on the day of the cease-fire announcement. Also, the report showed Kornet anti-tank rockets and anti-aircraft weapons in the organization’s posession (al-Jazeera, September 4th, 2014).
Attempts to Advance Mahmoud Abbas’ Diplomatic Initiative
- Mahmoud Abbas is working to garner support for his diplomatic initiative among Arab League member countries and among western countries, with the US at the top of the list. For this purpose,Mahmoud Abbas met with the Egyptian President and Foreign Ministers of the Arab League and presented his plan to them. According to Mahmoud Abbas, Arab League foreign ministers have accepted the wording of the Palestinian request for expedient acknowledgement of an independent state according to the 1967 borders, which will be filed with the UN Security Council. According to him, the Arab League will approach the US with a request not to veto the decision (al-Hayat al-Jadeed, September 8th, 2014)
- Saeb Erakat, member of the PLO Executive Committee, and Majed Faraj, Head of the PA’s General Intelligence, left on September 2nd, 2014 for Washington and met with US Secretary of State John Kerry, in order to present the plan to him (Quds News, September 2nd, 2014).According to Amin Maqbul, anassistant to Mahmoud Abbas, the plan is based on a demand of the US and the international community to reach a unambiguous decision to establish a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, acknowledge it and prepare for a negotiation process, within a pre-defined period of time, which will be based on acknowledging the state and its borders (Asharq Al-Awsat, September 3rd, 2014).
Subjugation of the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs to the PLO
- The National Consensus Government, in its meeting of September 2nd, 2014, has approved the appointment of Issa Qarakaas Chairman of the Supreme National Agency for Released-Prisoners’ Affairs. The agency for Released-Prisoners’ Affairs was established following a presidential decree that determined that the Ministry for Prisoners’ Affairs will be transformed from a governmental office to a supreme national agency, subordinate to the PLO (Wafa, September 2nd, 2014). Issa Qaraka, Chairman of the Agency for Prisoners’ Affairs, said that all the Palestinian organizations, including Hamas, have consented to the abolishing of the Prisoners’ ministry and transforming it into an agency subordinate to the PLO. He emphasized that the issue was settled after two months of debate among all Palestinian organizations (alraesalah.net, September 2nd, 2014).
- Demonstrations and rallies to mark the so-called victory over Israel in the Gaza Strip continued all over Judea and Samaria. Hamas organized a victory rally in Hebron on September 6th, 2014, under the headline “The Qassams are Marchingtowardsoccupied al-Aqsa [Mosque]”. During the rally, several signs held up on behalf of Hamas stood out, containing the names and photos of the three abductors of the teenagers in Gush Etzion (PALINFP, September 7th, 2014)
On the right: a sign held up on behalf of Hamas during a victory rally in Hebron, with the names of the three men responsible for the abduction of the three youths in Gush Etzion. On the left: A sign on behalf of Hamas with the name and photo of Amer AbuAysha, one of the three teenagers’ abductors (PALINFP, September 7th, 2014).
Continued Activities to Appeal to International Organizations
- HusseinShabana, head of the Arab Lawyers Union, said that on September 11th, 2014, a conference will be held in Egypt for the Arab lawyers’ association to discuss the working plan for the documentation of “Israeli crimes” in the Gaza Strip, and to formalize recommendations to the Palestinian leadership on the legal aspect. This, so the Palestinians can petition international organizations. According to him, a meeting of experts will be held on the Conference’s sidelines, which will discuss the ramifications of turning to the International Court. He also added that a delegation on behalf of the Lawyers’ Union will travel to the Gaza Strip to meet with Palestinian lawyers and document Israeli war crimes (Maan, September 6th, 2014).
- Riyad Al-maliki, theCoalition Government’s Foreign Minister, said that they are continuing efforts on all fronts to assemble an international conference of all parties signed to the Geneva Conventions, in order to provide international protection to the Palestinian people. According to him, letters on the subject have been sent to the Swiss government, which is responsible for the Geneva Conventions. At the same time, a Palestinian delegation is currently in Switzerland to advance the meeting and force Israel to abide by these conventions (Wafa, September 8th, 2014).
- Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has confirmed that Hamas has signed a document formalizing its approvalfor the Palestinian Authority to join the Rome Convention. He added that after the signing the issue is under the Palestinian Authority’s responsibility (al-Arabi al-Jadeed, September 3rd, 2014). In the Friday sermon given by Ismail Haniyeh, he called on Mahmoud Abbas to join the Rome Convention so as to put Israeli leaders on trial in front of the International Criminal Court (ICC) (Safa, September 5th, 2014).
 As of September 9th, 2014. These statistics do not include the firing of mortar shells, nor do they include rockets falling within the Gaza Strip area.
 Numbers do not include mortar shells.