The scene of the terrorist mass-murder attack at the synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem
The scene of the terrorist attack at the synagogue in Har Nof in which five Israelis were killed and six wounded (Photo by Hillel Meir for Tazpit.org.il, November 18, 2014)
The two terrorists Ghassan and Uday Abu Jaml, who carried out the mass-murder attack at the synagogue (Facebook page of Qudsn, November 18, 2014)
Jamal Abu Jaml (left) on his release from prison in Israel. There are PFLP flags hung in the background (Panet.co.il, January 4, 2014).
A sign with the pictures of the two terrorists. The Arabic reads, "Ghassan and Uday Abu Jaml, you are the pride of our nation".
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip hand out candy and cookies to celebrate the terrorist attack in Jerusalem (Facebook page of Qudsn, November 18, 2014).
Israeli security forces search the area of the attack (Photos by Hillel Meir for Tazpit.org.il, November 16, 2014)
Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operatives in front of an M-75 rocket (Palestine-info.info, November 13, 2014).
The black box with "The Black Box" written in Arabic and Hebrew displayed at the rally in Rafah.
Mahmoud Abbas and King Abdallah of Jordan (Wafa.ps, November 12 and 13, 2014)
John Kerry and Mahmoud Abbas.
- The wave of Palestinian terrorist attacks in Jerusalem continues. This week terrorist events focused on the attack at the synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood in Jerusalem, where four worshippers and a policeman were killed, and six were wounded. The attack was carried out by two Palestinians terrorists armed with a gun and meat cleavers. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility. During November 2014 eleven Israelis have been killed by terrorist attacks, more than in all the attacks of the past two years.
- The use of firearms in the terrorist attack in the synagogue and the attempted assassination of Yehuda Glick may indicate a change in the nature of the attacks and turn them from "popular attacks" [i.e., popular terrorism] to attacks with guns, not necessarily carried out by lone terrorists. That may lead to an additional escalation on the ground, especially in Jerusalem.
- Mahmoud Abbas, who met this past week with American Secretary of State John Kerry in Amman, Jordan, promised to help restore calm. In reality, violence and terrorist attacks continue, as do incitement to violence and terrorism, including incitement from the Palestinian Authority.
- This past week the wave of terrorist attacks and attempted terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria continued. The most prominent attack was carried out at the synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem on November 18, 2014, where five people were killed and six wounded. This month, in addition to the riots in Jerusalem and throughout Judea and Samaria, the number of terrorist attacks has continued to rise. During the past month eleven people have been killed in terrorist attacks, more than all those killed during the past two years.
Terrorist Mass-Murder Attack at a Synagogue in Jerusalem
- On November 18, 2014 at around 0700 hours, two Palestinian terrorist operatives entered the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem, armed with a gun and meat cleavers. They began attacking the early-morning worshippers. A short time later two policemen arrived and exchanged fire with the terrorists. A few minutes later additional security forces arrived on the scene and killed the two terrorists.
- Four people were killed in the attack and seven wounded, two of them critically. Two policemen were among the wounded; one of them later died. The victims among the worshippers were Rabbi Moshe Twersky, 59, head of the Torat Moshe yeshiva and father of six, who came to the synagogue to pray every morning; Arieh Kupinsky, 43; Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, 68, father of six; and Rabbi Kalman Levine, 50, father of nine and grandfather of five. The policeman was Zidan Seif, 30.
- The terrorists were Ghassan Abu Jaml, 27, and Uday Abu Jaml, 22, cousins who lived in the Jabal Mukaber neighborhood of east Jerusalem. They were related to the former prisoner Jamal Abu Jaml, who was released in one of the prisoner release deals and recently detained again. Jamal Abu Jaml is a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) operative from Jabal Mukaber. He was detained in 1994 and sentenced to 22 years in prison for the attempted stabbing of an IDF soldier in Jerusalem. Released on December 31, 2013, as part of the third phase of prisoner releases, he was detained again on November 6, 2014 (Wafa.ps, December 31, 2013; Pls48.net, November 7, 2014).
Left: Jamal Abu Jaml (left) on his release from prison in Israel. There are PFLP flags hung in the background (Panet.co.il, January 4, 2014). Right: The two terrorists Ghassan and Uday Abu Jaml, who carried out the mass-murder attack at the synagogue (Facebook page of Qudsn, November 18, 2014)
- The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the PFLP's military-terrorist wing, issued a formal statement praising the attack in Jerusalem, stressing that the two terrorists belonged to its ranks (Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, November 18, 2014). Note: On November 11, 2014, the PFLP posted a notice on its website calling for confrontations with Israel to be escalated (PFLP website, November 11, 2014). After the attack, riots broke out in Jabal Mukaber when Israeli police forces entered the neighborhood. Dozens of Palestinians threw rocks and various objects at the police. Some of the rock-throwers were detained.
Left: Notice posted by the PFLP calling for escalation in attacks against Israel (PFLP website, November 11, 2014). Right: Formal PFLP notice claiming responsibility for the terrorist attack (Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, November 18, 2014)
- Until recently the terrorist attacks in Jerusalem were carried out as part of what the Palestinians call the "popular resistance" [i.e., popular terrorism]. Their main weapons have been rocks and stones, Molotov cocktails, knives and vehicles. The use of a gun in the most recent mass-killing attack and in the attempted assassination of Yehuda Glick may indicate a change in the nature of the so-called "popular resistance" to include firearms. If their use continues, it may escalate the violence and lead to a deterioration of the security situation in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
- Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu assigned responsibility for the attack to Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA). He said the attack was the result of incitement from Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas, ignored by the international community. Israel, he said, "will respond decisively to the horrific murder of Jews who came to pray and were killed by despicable murderers" (Prime minister's website, November 18, 2014).
- Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement that he strongly condemned the "event" [not "attack" or "terrorist attack"], adding that he was not prepared to accept a situation in which civilians were attacked at religious sites. At the same time he condemned Israel's so-called "aggression" against the Temple Mount and the holy sites, and the burning of mosques and churches. He called for complete calm and the end of such actions, making it possible for political action to be taken for the sake of peace in the Middle East (Wafa.ps, November 18, 2014).
- Masked Palestinians armed with axes in the Gaza Strip held celebrations. They handed out candy and cookies to passersby in the streets and waved signs with picture of the two terrorists inscribed "Ghassan and Uday Abu Jaml, you are the pride of our nation" (Facebook page of Qudsn, November 18, 2014).
Stabbing Attack in Jerusalem
- On November 16, 2014, a 32 year-old man ultra-Orthodox Jewish was stabbed in the back with a screwdriver while walking on HaNevi'im Street, a main street in Jerusalem. He was not seriously injured. According to the police the stabber was apparently a young Arab man who fled in the direction of the Nablus Gate and has not yet been located.
- Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, praised the stabbing attack, calling it "the natural response to the crimes of Israel in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa mosque" (Paltimes.net, November 16, 2014).
A notice issued following the stabbing attack. The Arabic reads, "We will resist with everything we have" (PALDF, November 16, 2014)
Attempted Vehicular Attack
- On the morning of November 13, 2014, several youths reported an attempted vehicular attack at a bus stop near Neveh Tsuf in Judea. They said a speeding Palestinian vehicle approached them. When the security guard standing nearby aimed his weapon at the driver the vehicle drove in the direction of Bir Zeit. Roadblocks were set up to stop the vehicle and the driver was detained (Tazpit.org.il, November 13, 2014).
The vehicle suspected of the attempted vehicular attack (Photo by Ehud Amitoun for Tazpit.org.il, date, 2014).
Rocket and Mortal Shell Fire into Israel
- This past week no rocket or mortar shell hits were identified in Israeli territory.
- In addition to terrorist attacks, the wave of violence and rioting in the neighborhoods of east Jerusalem continued, part of the so-called "popular resistance." On Friday, November 14, 2014, Palestinians throughout Judea and Samaria held marches in support of Al-Aqsa mosque. Some of the demonstrations turned into violent confrontations with Israeli security forces, and several Palestinian rioters were injured. The riots were focused in Hebron, Beit Ummar (north of Hebron), Ramallah (where a march was held to the Qalandia checkpoint), Bil'in, Bethlehem, Nablus and other locations (Alhayat-j.com, November 15, 2014). In addition, the tenth anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat was marked throughout Judea and Samaria with a series of events.
- Other prominent events included the following:
- On November 11, 2014, during the detention of suspected terrorists in Samaria, ammunition and bullet-proof vests were found in the home of one of the suspects (IDF Spokesman, November 11, 2014).
- On November 14, 2014, rocks were thrown on a main road near the village of Dir Nizam. A violent incident between the Israeli security forces and Palestinian residents followed. An IDF soldier incurred minor injuries and was treated on the scene (Tazpit.org.il, November 14, 2014).
- On November 15, 2014, a Palestinian trying to enter Israeli territory was detained at the Qalandia roadblock. His car was searched and two knives were found (IDF Spokesman, November 15, 2014).
- On the evening of November 17, 2014, during a riot in Al-Ram which included throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails, an IDF officer incurred minor injuries and was evacuated to a hospital for treatment. It is unclear whether he was shot or wounded by a firecracker (Tazpit.org.il, November 17, 2014).
- On November 17, 2014, the Israeli security forces detained three Palestinians who had thrown Molotov cocktails at an Israeli bus near Beit Ummar (southwest of Bethlehem) (IDF Spokesman, November 17, 2014).
Notices Inciting Violence and the Murder of Israelis
- The increasing tensions in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria have led the social media, especially those affiliated with Hamas and other Islamist organizations, to inflame the situation further and incite to violence. For example, this past week they posted notices calling for the murder of Israelis. The notices appeared mainly on Facebook pages affiliated with Hamas (PALDF and PALINFO) and those of Islamist surfers in various universities in Judea and Samaria. For example:
Left: The hilt of the dagger is topped with Al-Aqsa mosque. The Arabic reads, "Al-Aqsa is the red line" (Palestine-info.info, November 11, 2014). Right: Al-Aqsa mosque, a masked Palestinian throwing a burning tire, Palestinians throwing rocks. The Arabic reads, "Resist and do not hesitate," and "Resist and victory is assured." At the bottom right is the logo of the campaign for Al-Aqsa (Facebook page of the Islamic Bloc in Bir Zeit University, November 11, 2014).
Left: A car speeds from Al-Aqsa mosque, breaking through a roadblock. The Arab reads, "After today we will not stop at the roadblocks of the [PA] security coordination and the occupation..." (PALDF, November 11, 2014). Right: A knife in the shape of Israel. The Arabic reads, "Stabbing action in the West Bank and (Tel Aviv)..." (Palestine-info.info, November 11, 2014).
The Rafah Crossing
- The Rafah crossing has been closed since October 24, 2014 (the day of the terrorist attack that killed 33 Egyptian soldiers). The contacts held by the Palestinians to open it on a regular basis continue, so far without success. Jamal al-Shubaki, the PA representative in Egypt, said he had met with the Egyptians to discuss the issue. He said they had promised him the Rafah crossing would open after the security situation in the Sinai Peninsula had stabilized. He noted that the decision to open the crossing was in the hands of Egypt's army and not its politicians (Alresala.net, November 13, 2014).
Tension Continues regarding the Rebuilding of the Gaza Strip
- Palestinian national consensus government Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Minister of the Economy Muhammad Mustafa are currently visiting the Gulf States to advance the transfer of funds promised during the Cairo conference for rebuilding the Gaza Strip (Wafa.ps, November 16, 2014).
- Khalil al-Haya, a senior Hamas figure in the Gaza Strip, criticized the national consensus government regarding the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip. He said it was deliberately delaying the transfer of the Gaza Strip crossings because it did not want to accept responsibility for them. He also said the national consensus government wanted to appropriate half of the promised funds for its own budget (Website of the Palestinian Legislative Council in the Gaza Strip, November 12, 2014).
Hamas Rally in Rafah for Those Killed in Operation Protective Edge
- On November 13, 2014, Hamas held a mass rally in Rafah in memory of the residents of Rafah killed in Operation Protective Edge. It was attended by senior Hamas figures and senior members of its military-terrorist wing. There was a display of M-75 rockets, 107mm rocket launchers and various other types of rockets and launchers. There was also a display of "a black box" (possibly a hint that Hamas was hiding secrets from Israel).
- Senior Hamas figures said the following at the rally:
- Abu Obeida, spokesman for the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military-terrorist wing, warned that the siege and sabotaging the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip would lead to an explosion that Israel would have to deal with.
- Khalil al-Haya, a member of Hamas' political bureau, said that the issue of Jerusalem was at the top of the agenda. He said they would sacrifice everything for the sake of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa and warned of "a volcanic explosion to defend Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa" (Al-Aqsa TV and Safa.ps, November 13 and 14, 2014).
A Square in the Central Gaza Strip Named for Ahmed al-Jaabari
- On November 14, 2014, Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operatives dedicated a memorial in the Al-Maghazi refugee camp to Ahmed al-Jaabari, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades commander who died in a targeted killing on November 14, 2012. The memorial is topped with three J-80 long-range rockets of Hamas manufacture. There is also a map of Israel showing the locations the rockets can reach, according to the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades (Dimona, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Netanya) (Palestine-info.info, November 14, 2014).
The Ahmed al-Jaabari memorial (Palestine-info.info, November 14, 2014).
Smuggling Weapons from Egypt to the Gaza Strip by Sea
- Uday Abu Al-Layl, a smuggler of weapons from Egypt to the Gaza Strip, spoke in an interview about how weapons were smuggled to the Gaza Strip by sea. He said most of the smuggling was carried out between midnight and 0200 hours, when the Egyptian border guards changed shifts. The weapons are placed in barrels and hidden in the bottom of the boat. In case of danger, the smugglers throw the barrels overboard at a location they can return to. The cost of each smuggling voyage is between 30,000 and 40,000 Egyptian pounds (or about $4200 and $5600).
- He said Egyptian fishermen played an active role in the smuggling. Among the weapons smuggled in are SAM 124 surface to air missiles, anti-tank RPGs, Kalashnikov assault rifles, anti-aircraft Goryunov machine guns and explosives. He said the weapons were smuggled to upper Egypt from Libya and from there to the Gaza Strip (Al-Watan.com, November 12, 2014).
Jordanian-American Efforts to Calm the Security Situation
- As part of the American efforts to relieve the tension between Israel and the PA, on November 13, 2014, American Secretary of State John Kerry met with PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Amman. After the meeting the two met with the Jordanian foreign minister. On the previous day, November 12, 2014, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu met with King Abdallah of Jordan to discuss recent regional developments.
- According to the website of the American State Department, John Kerry met with Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the immediate need to change the existing situation and prevent provocations. According to Kerry, Mahmoud Abbas promised to do everything in his power to restore calm(State Department website, November 13, 2014). Note: The Palestinian terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, including the attack at the synagogue in Har Nof, as well as Palestinian incitement (also instigated by the PA) have continued since the aforementioned promise was announced.
Palestinian Public Opinion Survey on Vehicular Attacks
- The Palestinian news agency Ma'an recently conducted an Internet survey about vehicular attacks, with the following results: 83.7% of the respondents were of the opinion that the vehicular attacks were the result of spontaneous popular anger directed against so-called "Israeli racism." On the other hand, 14% were of the opinion that they were a popular response to the silence of the organizations [i.e., Palestinian terrorist organizations] (Maannews.net, November 15, 2014). However, the results of the survey indicated extensive public support for such terrorist attacks.
Anti-Israeli Incitement on Fatah's Website
- On November 11, 2014, Fatah's website posted a cartoon showing an ultra-Orthodox Jew painting Jerusalem black, with the caption "The Judaization of Jerusalem" (Fatah media, November 11, 2014). On November 16, 2014, it posted a cartoon with the caption "Where is the [Muslim] nation?" showing the ground under the Temple Mount being gnawed away by Jewish rats (Fatah media, November 16, 2014).
Anti-Israeli incitement on the Fatah website. Left: "Where is the [Muslim] nation?" Fatah media, November 16, 2014). Right: "The Judaization of Jerusalem" (Fatah media, November 11, 2014).
The PA and Hamas Accuse Israel of Murdering a Palestinian Bus Driver
- On November 17, 2014, the body of a Palestinian bus driver was found hanging in one of the company's buses. According to evidence found at the scene, the driver, Yussuf al-Ramouni, a Palestinian from east Jerusalem, apparently committed suicide.
- The PA and Hamas rushed to exploit his death for anti-Israeli incitement, accusing Israel of responsibility for his death. The Palestinian foreign minister called for an international committee to be appointed to oversee an autopsy performed in the presence of a Palestinian representative and family member of the deceased. Mahmoud Abbas condemned the event, calling it an "ugly crime" (Facebook page of the Palestinian foreign minister, November 17, 2014). Ismail Haniya, deputy chairman of Hamas' political bureau, called his death "Zionist piracy," the continuation of the Israeli policy to Judaize Jerusalem (Maannews.net, November 17, 2014).
The Establishment of Islamic State Provinces in Egypt and Other Arab Countries
- On November 5, 2014, ISIS issued a cassette of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declaring the extension of the Islamic State to Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Algeria and Saudi Arabia. He said the names of local jihad organizations had been abolished and new Islamic State provinces had been established in the aforementioned countries, and provincial heads had been appointed to them.
The map published by the Islamic State showing the new provinces, which, according to the organization, had sworn allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: Algeria, Libya, the Sinai Peninsula Yemen and Saudi Arabia. The big ISIS flag indicates the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Reblop.com, November 17, 2014).
- The Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, an Egyptian terrorist organization which swore allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, did in fact change its name to "the Sinai province of the Islamic State," the accepted geographical division of regions in Iraq and Syria under Islamic State control (the "Islamic State," or "Islamic Caliphate" is divided into provinces). The significance of the declaration is that the Sinai Peninsula has formally become a province of the self-declared Caliphate. The Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has already begun issuing statements claiming responsibility for terrorist attacks it carried out against Egyptian security forces under its new name. It also issued a video in which it claims responsibility for the attack on October 24, 2014, in which 33 Egyptian soldiers were killed.
The video claiming responsibility for the attack on the Egyptian security forces that killed 33 soldiers. Left: A spokesman wearing the ISIS logo. The Arabic reads "Sinai province – information office" (YouTube. Com). Right: An operative from the Sinai province (Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis) waves an ISIS flag from atop an Egyptian tank during the attack carried out on October 24, 2014.
 As of November 18, 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.