Mahmoud Abbas delivers an abusive anti-Israeli speech at the UN General Assembly (Facebook page of Mahmoud Abbas, September 27, 2014).
Mahmoud Abbas' speech in the UN quenched the thirst of the Palestinians with nothing but dry words (Felesteen.ps, September 28, 2014).
The house in Hebron where the two terrorist operatives were killed
The funeral held in Hebron for the two terrorists. Participants hold green Hamas-affiliated and red and white Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) flags
- Israel's south remains quiet. Rioting continues in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. In Hebron, two of the terrorist operatives who abducted and murdered the three Israeli youths in June were killed in an exchange of fire with IDF forces.
- On September 24, 2014, indirect negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians were renewed in Cairo. They will continue during the second half of October after the Jewish and Muslim holidays. Before the talks were renewed Hamas and Fatah representatives reached an agreement to strengthen their reconciliation.
- Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority (PA), gave a speech before the UN General Assembly. In it he attacked Israel, accusing it of "genocide" and "war crimes" in the Gaza Strip. In response Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu attacked Mahmoud Abbas, accusing Hamas, his partners in the national consensus government, of war crimes. He compared Hamas to the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) and calling them "two branches of the poisonous tree."
Negotiations Renewed for a Ceasefire Agreement
- On September 24, 2014, indirect negotiations were renewed between Israel and the Palestinians in Cairo. Before they began Fatah and Hamas representatives met, primarily to discuss the internal Palestinian reconciliation and the functioning of the national consensus government. After the meeting they announced that an agreement had been reached for restoring the unity of the national consensus government, removing all obstacles and appointing a monitoring committee that would help the government carry out its duties (See below) (AFP.com, September 25, 2014).
- After the Fatah-Hamas meeting, indirect negotiations were held between the Israeli and Palestinian delegations through Egyptian intermediaries. The negotiations were delayed by a short, symbolic Palestinian walkout following the killing of twoterrorist operatives who abducted and murdered the three Israeli boys in Gush Etzion last June. After a short round of talks Badr Abdel Aty, spokesman for the Egyptian foreign ministry, said that both sides had stated they were committed to the stability of the lull and had made suggestions for an agenda to discuss the unresolved issues. He said more intensive negotiations would begin in the second half of October, after Eid al-Adha and the Jewish holidays (Maannews.net, September 23, 2014).
- According to the Facebook page of Izzat al-Rishq, a member of Hamas' political bureau, the talks ended with both sides presenting their list of topics for discussion. The Palestinian issues were the following: steps for stabilizing the lull and ceasefire, rebuilding and operating the Gaza Strip airport and seaport, an end to all Israeli punishment measures [in Judea and Samaria] and the release of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal prisoners who had been redetained and of the members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (Facebook, September 23, 2014). Qais Abd al-Karim, a member of the Palestinian delegation, claimed that Israel had raised "the usual issues," among them "the weapon of the resistance" (i.e., disarming Hamas). However, he claimed, the Palestinians were not interested in discussing the topics proposed by Israel. He claimed Egypt would not transmit to the Palestinians an Israeli proposal containing the issue of disarmament (Voice of Palestine Radio, September 24, 2014).
- This past week no rocket or mortar shell hits were identified in Israeli territory.
Two Gush Etzion Murderers Killed in Hebron
- A complex intelligence operation led to the discovery of the hiding place of two of the terrorist operatives who abducted and murdered the three Israeli youths in Gush Etzion in June. On the night of September 23, 2014, an attempt was made to detain them. A firefight developed, as a result of which the two terrorists were killed. A number of additional operatives were detained on suspicion of helping them hide. Note: on July 11, 2014, Hamas operative Husam Hassan Qawasmeh was detained. He admitted to having commanded the squad that abducted and murdered the youths, and that he had been responsible for financing the operation.
- The two terrorist operatives were (Shabak.gov.il September 24, 2014):
- Marwan Sa'adi Qawasmeh, 28, a Hamas operative from Hebron. He had previously been imprisoned in Israel a number of times for involvement in Hamas military-terrorist activity. He was most recently imprisoned in 2010 for military-terrorist activity in Hamas' Hebron network.
- 'Amar Abu Aysha, 32, a Hamas operative from Hebron. He was imprisoned in Israel between 2005 and 2006 for Hamas activity.
- The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military-terrorist wing, issued a death notice for the two, who were referred to as "defending their people and nation" (Qassam.ps, September 23, 2014). Other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip condemned the killing, claiming that "the blood of the shaheeds has not been shed in vain" and calling on the PA to end its security collaboration with Israel and to allow the "resistance" [i.e., the terrorist organizations] to operate (Safa.ps, department 23, 2014). The Hamas movement in Hebron also issued a death notice for the two "fighting heroes," claiming that the fighters' path would not end with their deaths and that the resistance would continue, despite killings and detentions (Hamasinfo.net, September 23, 2014).
- Many Palestinians attended the funeral held in Hebron for the two terrorists. They shouted slogans of praise for their act and Hamas in general, and also called for revenge and the end of the PA's security collaboration with Israel (Al-Aqsa TV, September 23, 2014).
Official death notices for the two murderers issued by the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades (The Islamic Bloc of Hebron University, September 23, 2014)
- Other responses included the following:
- Senior Hamas figure Salah al-Bardawil condemned the killing of the two and claimed that it would not have been carried out without PA security collaboration with Israel. He appealed to the Palestinians "to express their rage" (Albayan.ae, September 23, 2014).
- Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri accused Israel of the deaths, claiming the killing was a "war crime" and that Israel would have to bear responsibility for it (Facebook page of Sami Abu Zuhri, September 23, 2014).
- According to the Facebook page of Hamas spokesman Husam Badran, the two died after lives of jihad, sacrifice and dedication. He claimed that they had taken the path of "resistance" and that Hamas would continue it. He also posted the death notices issued by Hamas and the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades (Facebook, September 23, 2014).
Other Events in Judea and Samaria
- This past week the usual 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 September 24, 2014, there were clashes on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem after rioters blocked the entrance to the mosque, threw rocks and concrete blocks at police, shot off fire crackers and squirted an unidentified liquid. Police entered the Temple Mount precinct and dispersed them. Four policemen sustained minor injuries (Ynetnews.co.il, September 24, 2014). The number of violent incidents in east Jerusalem has recently increased, including the throwing of rocks and Molotov cocktails at houses, especially by minors. The Israel Police Force said in an announcement that preparations had been made to prevent such attacks (Israel Police Force Facebook page, September 29, 2014).
Number of Terrorist Attacks in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem Decreases in August
- According to the Israel Security Agency there was a slight decrease in the number of terrorist attacks carried out in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem in August 2014. That was the case despite the fact that the last Operation Protective Edge continued in the Gaza Strip throughout the last three weeks of the month.
- In Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem there were 310 attacks (241 in Judea and Samaria and 69 in Jerusalem), as opposed to 507 in July. As in July, most of the attacks (263 out of 310) involved Molotov cocktails, 66 in Jerusalem. There were 35 instances of attacks using IEDs (one in Jerusalem), eight shooting attacks (one in Jerusalem), two vehicular attacks (one in Jerusalem) and one stabbing. One Israeli was killed in a vehicular attack in Jerusalem on August 4, 2014. One Israeli was injured in a stabbing attack in Maale Adumim, one Israeli sustained minor injuries from a Molotov cocktail thrown near Bethlehem, and one Israeli was seriously injured by stones thrown near Hebron (Shabak.gov.il September 27, 2014).
Restoring the Unity of the National Consensus Government
- On September 24, 2014, before the beginning of the indirect negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in Cairo, a reconciliation meeting was held by Fatah and Hamas to deal with the functioning of the national consensus government (Alqudsnews.net, September 24, 2014). After the meeting Fatah and Hamas said in a announcement that an overall agreement had been reached to restore the unity of the national consensus government and to remove all obstacles to its functioning (AFP.com, September 25, 2014).
- Fatah and Hamas held a joint press conference to confirm the reconciliation agreement signed in April 2014 with the following understandings:
- Transferring governmental responsibility in the Gaza Strip to the national consensus government, including control of the crossings to the PA, merging ministries and transferring government institutions.
- Renewing the activity of the various reconciliation committees and holding a meeting of the legislative council as soon as possible.
- Appointing a national committee to monitor the joint understandings.
- Finding a way to pay the salaries of former Hamas administration employees.
- Creating a favorable atmosphere for general elections.
- Authorizing the ceasefire with Israel but stressing the importance of the need to lift the siege of the Gaza Strip and accelerate the rebuilding process.
- Hamas support for the PA's political moves and in general Hamas' joining international institutions and support for the Rome Convention.
- In ITIC assessment, the understandings reached still do not resolve the fundamental disagreements between Fatah and Hamas. Two key issues which will be test cases are the genuine transfer of governmental authority in the Gaza Strip in general and the crossings in particular to the PA; and finding a solution for the issue of the salaries of former Hamas administration employees, a particularly sore point for Hamas.
- Following the announcement Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of Fatah's Central Committee and responsible for the reconciliation folder, claimed that immediately after Eid al-Adha the national consensus government would begin implementing what had been agreed on (Maannews.net, September 29, 2014). Ziad Abu Amro, deputy head of the national consensus government, claimed the national consensus government would meet in the Gaza Strip (Al-ayyam.com, September 29, 2014).
The Issue of Paying Salaries
- One of the main issues has been arranging for salaries to be paid to former Hamas administration employees in the Gaza Strip. Rami Hamdallah, prime minister of the national consensus government, claimed steps were being taken to ensure that the salaries of civilians working for the administration would temporarily be paid by an international third party and not by the PA (Maannews.net, September 27, 2014). Ziad Abu Amro, deputy head of the national consensus government, claimed that solutions had been found for the issues relating to the salaries of administration employees in the Gaza Strip (Alresala.net, September 27, 2014). So far, no payments have been made.
Reactions to the Reconciliation Announcement
- Sources within Hamas praised the reconciliation announcement:
- Ismail Haniya, deputy chief of Hamas' political bureau, claimed that the mutual understandings signed in Cairo would ensure the Palestinian national reconciliation and would ensure that the siege would be lifted, the Gaza Strip would be rebuilt, and the work of the national consensus government would be made easier (Alquds.com, September 27, 2014).
- Mahmoud al-Zahar, member of Hamas' political bureau, claimed that the reconciliation agreement with Fatah would prepare the ground for the delivery of building materials and provide a solution for the problem of the Rafah crossing (Maannews.net, September 27, 2014).
- Saeb Erekat, member of the PLO's Executive Committee, represented the Fatah-Hamas agreement as "a significant strategic achievement" (AKI, September 25, 2014).
The Rafah Crossing
- The Rafah crossing does yet not operate regularly. Palestinian sources expressed hope that now, after crossing has come under the sovereignty of the national consensus government, the chances of its opening have increased. It was reported that consultations were being held by the PA and Egypt (Aawsat.net, September 29, 2014).
- Mahmoud al-Zahar claimed that the Palestinians had held a meeting with the Egyptians where they discussed all the issues relating to opening the Rafah crossing. He claimed Hamas did not object to the arrival of the PA's presidential guard in the Gaza Strip or to its oversight of the crossing (Maannews.net, September 27, 2014).
Rebuilding the Gaza Strip
- Activity to rebuild the Gaza Strip is still moving forward slowly. Mahmoud al-Zahar claimed that a Hamas delegation had met with Robert Serry, the UN's special coordinator for the Middle East. They told him Hamas would gladly accept any method to enable the delivery of building materials to the Gaza Strip "as long as the honor the Palestinian people is not harmed" (Maannews.net, September 27, 2014).
- International agencies continue delivering aid to the Gaza Strip:
- The American Secretary of State announced that the United States would contribute $71 million in humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. Of that amount, $59 million would go to UNRWA (Website of the American State Department, September 22, 2014).
- The president of Sri Lanka met with Mahmoud Abbas and gave him a donation of $1 million (Reliefweb.int, September 26, 2014).
- The chairman of Kuwait's Red Crescent claimed his organization had begun distributing goods to Gazans in collaboration with the Palestinian Red Crescent. Among the goods were 10,000 food packages, 5,000 school bags and 160 tons of medicines and medical equipment (Qna.org.qa, September 24, 2014).
- The Egyptian Red Crescent said in an announcement that 76 tons of humanitarian and medical aid donated by Algeria had entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing (Paltoday.ps, September 27, 2014).
- Greece sent a shipment of drugs for the Gaza Strip via Egypt (PNN.ps, September 28, 2014).
- The Turkish IHH sent the Gaza Strip cattle for Eid al-Adha (Palestine-info.info, September 29, 2014).
Military Displays and Rallies Continue
- Hamas continues holding ceremonies, demonstrations and "victory" rallies to reinforce its victory narrative and stress its deployment for future rounds of fighting, holding memorial ceremonies and military displays in Nuseirat and Al-Bureij. For Eid al-Adha Hamas began conducting an extensive series of visits to the houses of the families of operatives who were killed and whose houses were destroyed, calling the operation "Gaza was victorious – [we say] thank you to our people" (Paltimes.net, September 26, 2014).
Memorial rallies for Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operatives killed in Operation Protective Edge (Paltimes.net, September 27, 2014).
Mahmoud Abbas' Speech to the UN General Assembly
- On September 26, 2014 PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas gave an abusive anti-Israeli speech at a session of the UN's General Assembly. He made the following points (Palestinian TV, September 26, 2014):
- "Genocide" during Operation Protective Edge – Mahmoud Abbas claimed that during Operation Protective Edge Israel carried out "genocide" and "brutal war crimes" against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. He claimed that the destruction caused during the operation was "unmatched in modern times." He called for a negotiated ceasefire under the auspices of Egypt "to avert repeating the cycle of war and reconstruction every two or three years."
- Israel's activity in the territories – He claimed Israel's schools taught a culture of racism, which was "glaringly manifested" in the crime committed by settlers against Mohammed Abu Khdeir. He also claimed that the [so-called Israeli] occupation provided fertile ground for terrorist organizations such as the ISIS, which carry out "brutal horrors."
- Political negotiations – Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of responsibility for the failure of the negotiations at which the Palestinians arrived with "good intentions." He claimed Israel did everything in its power to sabotage the negotiations because, he claimed, Israel's official position was to oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state and because it wanted to continue and perpetuate the [so-called Israeli] occupation. Mahmoud Abbas claimed that it was useless to return to the negotiating table because negotiations would not lead to the end of the Israeli occupation or to the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
- A Palestinian appeal to UN agencies – Mahmoud Abbas claimed that during the past two weeks contacts had been made to form a proposal for a resolution to end the Israeli occupation that would be referred to the UN Security Council. The proposal, he claimed, was based on the two-state concept within a specified time frame. He called on the international community to support the Palestinian move.
Responses to Mahmoud Abbas' Speech
- Senior Israeli government figures responded to Mahmoud Abbas' speech with extreme anger. Before he left for the United States to address the UN General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said in a statement that "In my address to the UN General Assembly, I will refute all of the lies being directed at us and I will tell the truth about our state and about the heroic soldiers of the IDF, the most moral army in the world" (Website of the Israeli prime minister, September 28, 2014). In the speech he delivered on September 29, 2014, he attacked Mahmoud Abbas and his use of the term "genocide." He said that Mahmoud Abbas' partners in [national consensus] government [i.e., Hamas] were the war criminals, calling Hamas and the ISIS "two branches of the poisonous tree."
- Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Mahmoud Abbas' speech was final proof that he could not be and did not want to be a partner in a reasonable peace arrangement. He said as long as Mahmoud Abbas was chairman of the PA he would perpetuate the conflict (Haaretz.co.il, September 28, 2014). Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said that Mahmoud Abbas was a liar who dealt with incitement and spreading hatred. He said Mahmoud Abbas was not a partner for an agreement whose objective was the end of the conflict and the end of [mutual] demands (Haaretz.co.il, September 28, 2014).
The United States
- Official sources in the United States were critical of Mahmoud Abbas' speech. Jen Psaki, spokesperson for the American State Department, said that Mahmoud Abbas' remarks were "offensive," "provocative" and "counterproductive." She added that they sabotaged efforts to create a positive atmosphere and restore mutual trust (Website of the American State Department, September 26, 2014).
- Criticism of the American reaction to Mahmoud Abbas' speech was rampant in the PA. The PA's ministry of foreign affairs issued a statement expressing "surprise and resentment" at Psaki's remarks. The ministry claimed they indicated "wrong and hasty" understanding of Mahmoud Abbas' speech. It also claimed they proved once again that the United States automatically took a position defending Israel even if Israel committed crimes against the Palestinians that were "war crimes and crimes against humanity" (Wafa.ps, September 28, 2014).
- "Presidential" spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina claimed that the Americans were mainly angry about the PA's intention to appeal to the UN Security Council. He claimed the [so-called Israeli] occupation had to end and that the Palestinian leadership should appeal to the UN Security Council. After that, with the support of the Arab bloc in the UN, take a series of steps including a possible appeal to international organizations (Al-ayyam.com, September 24, 2014).
- Saeb Erekat, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee, claimed that the American response was inappropriate and irresponsible, and duplicated the Israeli response. He also claimed he had met with the American Secretary of State, who stressed his objection to a Palestinian appeal to the Security Council and its joining international organizations. He claimed that Palestinian-American relations were difficult and that the Palestinians had asked the Americans to reexamine their position (Al-Arabiya TV, September 27, 2014; Alquds.com, September 28, 2014).
Demonstrations against the American Consul's Visit
- On September 29, 2014, students at Al-Najah University in Nablus held a demonstration to protest the visit of the American consul. Students, some of them wearing Hamas scarves, held anti-American signs (Ghaza al-'An and Palestine-info.info, September 29, 2014).
Students at Al-Najah University demonstrate (Palestine-info.info, September 29, 2014)
The Palestinians Appeal to UN Agencies
- In the aftermath of Mahmoud Abbas' speech at the UN, Saeb Erekat, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee, claimed that in the near future the Palestinians planned to propose a Security Council resolution to determine a time frame for ending the [so-called Israeli] occupation. They were also planning to sign the Rome Convention. He claimed that all the Palestinians involved had agreed. He added that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) had not signed the document stating its agreement to the PA's appeal to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, but claimed it had no objections and had encouraged the other organizations to sign (Al-ayyam.com, September 24, 2014).
- Saleh Rafat, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee, claimed the Committee and the Palestinian leadership had decided to join the Rome contention and the ICC to try all the Israelis who had carried out crimes in the Palestinian territories. He claimed Mahmoud Abbas had updated the senior figures with whom he met in New York of his plan to join the Rome Convention. He added that Hamas was the last organization to sign the membership document (Al-Mayadeen TV, Lebanon, September 28, 2014).
Political Campaign against Israel
- Nabil Shath, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, claimed the Palestinian leadership would institute political campaign against Israel in view of the United States' negative response to Mahmoud Abbas' speech. He claimed it was "the world's last chance" before the Palestinian leadership put its plans into action. He also claimed that if the UN Security Council responded negatively to the proposal Mahmoud Abbas would give a green light to taking political campaign against Israel. He claimed the Palestinian leadership would not return to negotiations with Israel with the previous conditions of operating under American auspices, but only with new, international, UN supervision. He added that if the Security Council rejected the proposed Palestinian resolution, which would be lodged in a number of weeks, the Palestinians would promote an international boycott of Israel, formal and popular, and bring Israel to trial in the ICC (Maannews.net, September 28, 2014).
Israeli Arab Supports the ISIS
- A 24 year-old resident of Kafr Qara (in Israel's center), employed as a teacher in a local school, was detained on suspicion of supporting the ISIS. The detention took place after a search of his house revealed propaganda material including an ISIS flag, videos, cassettes and printed material relating to jihad. During interrogation he claimed he had brought the material from Jordan (Facebook page of the Israel Police Force, September 29, 2014).
As of September 30, 2014. The statistics do not include mortar shell fire or rockets which misfired and fell inside the Gaza Strip.
The statistics do not include mortar shell fire.
The number does not include scores of rocks and stones thrown in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.