Some of the members of two Hamas terrorist networks, handled from Turkey and captured in Judea and Samaria (Shabak.gov.il November 27, 2014)
Palestinian terrorist Amal Taqatqa (Radio Al-Rabaa website, December 1, 2014).
One of the knives found in her possession (Gush-etzion.org.il, December 1, 2014).
Issa Qaraqa, Palestinian minister for prisoners' affairs, visits terrorist Amal Taqatqa upon her release in 2011 and presents her with an award (Al-Rabia' radio website, December 1, 2014)
Palestinians demonstrate in front of the Palestinian embassy in Cairo, demanding Egypt open the Rafah crossing (PALDF, November 25, 2014).
Gazans returning through the Rafah crossing (Paltimes.net, November 27, 2014).
Demonstrators in front of UNRWA headquarters (Palestine-info.info, December 1, 2014).
Palestinian security force activity in area H2 in Hebron, where Israel has jurisdiction (Maannews.net and the Facebook page of QUDSN, December 2, 2014)
The new Palestinian passport, soon to be issued by the Palestinian ministry of the interior (Maannews.net, November 25, 2014).
- Clashes continue along the Gaza Strip border security fence. In one instance shots were fired at an IDF patrol and in another IDF soldiers opened fire on a Palestinian youth who approached the border fence and did not heed a warning to halt. The civilian rebuilding of the Gaza Strip proceeds slowly.
- Terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria continue, including stabbing attacks, vehicular attacks and the throwing of stones, rocks and Molotov cocktails. In Jerusalem there has been a certain decrease in violence.
- In recent months two Hamas military-terrorist terrorist networks were uncovered in Judea and Samaria, handled from Turkey, which has become a focal point for directing terrorist squads in Judea and Samaria. The Hamas terrorist operatives recruited to the squads planned to attack the Teddy Stadium and the light railway in Jerusalem.
Rocket and Mortal Shell Fire into Israel
- This past week no rocket or mortar shell hits were identified in Israeli territory.
Clashes along the Gaza Strip Border
- Clashes continue along the Gaza Strip border security fence:
- On November 27, 2014, shots were fired from light arms or a machine gun at an IDF jeep on routine patrol along the border fence, near the village of Be'eri. There were no casualties; the jeep's windshield was damaged. In response IDF forces fired an anti-tank shell at the area from which the shots were fired (Ynetnews.co.il, November 27, 2014).
- On November 29, 2014, IDF soldiers shot at a 16 year-old Palestinian who approached the border security fence near the town of Beit Lahia (northern Gaza Strip). When he did not heed the warnings of the soldiers they opened fire; he was evacuated to a hospital in Gaza City (Ynetnews.co.il, November 29, 2014). The Palestinian media reported that he was seriously wounded (Maannews.net, Alqudsnews.net, November 29, 2014).
Stabbing and Vehicular Attacks
- On the morning of December 1, 2014, a young Israeli man waiting at a bus stop in the Etzion Bloc was stabbed by a female Palestinian terrorist operative. He incurred minor injuries. The terrorist operative was Amal Taqatqa, 22, from Beit Fajjar south of Bethlehem. She was armed with two knives. Soldiers nearby shot her, wounding her seriously; she was evacuated to a hospital. After the attack a roadblock was erected to stop the vehicle that brought her to the site. Israeli security forces entered Beit Fajar (IDF Spokesman and Ynetnews.co.il, December 1, 2014).
- The terrorist who carried out the attack was Amal Jihad Ali Taqatqa, was a former security prisoner. In the past she was detained for a year for attempting to stab a soldier at the Gush Etzion junction (Radio Al-Rabaa website, December 1, 2014). According to another version she was kept in administrative detention for four months for an attempted stabbing at the Gush Etzion junction (Alhayat-j.com, January 15, 2011). Issa Qaraqa, Palestinian minister for prisoners' affairs, claimed she was a released prisoner who belonged to Fatah. He said he had visited her in the past after she was released (Sawt al-Fatah radio website, December 1, 2014).
- Several hours later there was apparently a vehicular attack at the Alon junction in Samaria. A vehicle hit a civilian and fled in the direction of the Tapuah junction. The victim, a 60 year-old Israeli man, received serious head injuries (Ynetnews.co.il, December 1, 2014).
Hamas Military-Terrorist Networks Uncovered in Judea and Samaria
- In August and September 2014 the Israeli security forces uncovered two Hamas military-terrorist networks operating throughout Judea and Samaria and recruiting squads to attack Israeli targets. Their operations were directed from Turkey and the operatives were trained outside Judea and Samaria. More than 30 terrorist operatives were detained and large quantities of weapons were seized.
- Information about the networks (from the Israel Security Agency website, November 27, 2014):
- Recruiting operatives: Most of the operatives were Palestinian students studying in Jordan. They were approached by people they knew. Candidates considered personally and ideologically acceptable were enlisted and turned over to commanders who saw to their training.
- Military training: The recruits' training was carried out in coordination with and under the supervision of Hamas military-terrorist operatives at locations in the Gaza Strip and abroad, including Jordan, Turkey and Syria. To reach the Gaza Strip the recruits went to the Sinai Peninsula and were smuggled in through the tunnels. In the Gaza Strip Hamas military-terrorist operatives trained them in using explosives, operating weapons, terrain analysis and navigation. They also learned about securing information. In Turkey they were briefed on planning military activity, including on how to attack targets in Israeli, Judea and Samaria and abroad. In Jordan they were trained in the use of weapons, in sabotage and covert activity, and were given security briefings. After training they were assigned various missions by senior Hamas figures in Turkey and Jordan.
- Military activity: After completing their training they were sent back to their homes in Judea and Samaria. When they had settled they were given various missions, such as attacking Israeli targets, coordinating and transporting weapons and funds, training local squads, and locating sites suitable for creating home laboratories and operational houses.
- Objectives of the terrorist attacks: The recruits were instructed to carry out a number of terrorist attacks, the most prominent of which were attacks on the Teddy [soccer] Stadium and the light railway, both in Jerusalem. They were also instructed to carry out shooting attacks and to place IEDs along the roads in Judea and Samaria, prepare car bombs, infiltrate Jewish towns and villages, and abduct Israelis in Judea and Samaria and abroad. In effect, on August 31, 2014, one of the squads placed IEDs at the Rehalim and Jat junctions in Samaria.
- The most important terrorist operatives caught were the following:
- Manaf Muhammad Abd al-Rahman Ajbara – Born in 1986, resident of Jordan. Recruited to Hamas terrorist activity while studying engineering. Received military training. Instructed to establish a network in Judea and Samaria and carry out attacks on Israel. Helped prepare the IED used in the attack at the Rehalim junction in Samaria on August 31, 2014.
- Rajaa'i Ahmed Mustafa Amouri – Born in 1984, from Tulkarm. Imprisoned in Israel five times for Hamas terrorist activity. Recruited by a Hamas terrorist operative from the Gaza Strip at the beginning of 2014. Rented a safe house in Ramallah where weapons and materials to manufacture IEDs were stored. When detained, he handed over several weapons in his possession.
- Mahmoud Wael Mahmoud Milham – Born in 1984, resident of Anabta/Tulkarm. Was imprisoned in the past for Hamas terrorist activity. Helped rent the safe house in Ramallah.
- Abdallah Muhammad Yussuf Zeitawi – Born in 1989, resident of Jordan. Underwent three series of military training courses in the Gaza Strip in 2012-2013. In 2014 was instructed to enter Judea and Samaria and to settle there.
- Musab Khaled Ibrahim Dweib – Born in 1991, resident of Zaatra/Bethlehem. Studied in Jordan between 2010 and 2014. Instructed by Hamas handler in Jordan to support terrorist activity in Judea and Samaria by transferring weapons and funds to another operative.
- Adnan Taysir Kamel Samarra – Born in 1984. Resident of Safarin/Tulkarm. Was imprisoned four times in the past for Hamas terrorist activity. Planned to recruit a squad to carry out terrorist attacks.
Weapons found in the possession of members of the Hamas network (Shabak.gov.il November 27, 2014).
Hamas Networks in Judea and Samaria Handled from Turkey
- The terrorist networks were handed by Saleh Muhammad Suleiman al-Arouri, a senior Hamas operative living in Turkey. Saleh al-Arouri was born in the village of Aroura (Ramallah district) in 1966 and was a member of Hamas' political bureau, where he held the prisoners' affairs portfolio. In the 1990s he was one of the founders of Hamas' military-terrorist wing in Judea and Samaria. He was detained by Israel in 1992 and sentenced to five years in prison for membership in a terrorist organization. After that he served various prison sentences. He was released on March 30, 2010, and expelled to Jordan, and from there he went to Syria.
- In Syria he returned to anti-Israeli terrorist activity. Once in Syria he was appointed to Hamas' political bureau and given the prisoners' affairs portfolio. He also participated in the negotiations for the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal. At the same time, as responsible for Judea and Samaria at Hamas headquarters in Syria he worked to establish, fund and maintain Hamas military-terrorist networks there. During the past two years his name was mentioned in connection with handling a Hamas terrorist network in Judea and Samaria from his current place of residence in Turkey.
- According to reports in the Israeli media, Israel appealed to NATO and the American administration to take steps against Turkey for allowing Hamas to establish its headquarters in Istanbul and from there to direct anti-Israeli terrorist activity. "Turkish sources" claimed the allegation that Hamas initiated terrorist attacks from its Istanbul headquarters was baseless, adding that making such information public was an attempt to defame Turkey and sabotage the contacts to end the diplomatic crisis between the two countries (Ynetnews.co.il, November 28, 2014).
Continuing Violence in Judea and Samaria
- This past week the wave of riots and violence continued in the neighborhoods of east Jerusalem, part of what the Palestinians refer to as the "popular resistance." The violence "symbolized" Palestinian solidarity with Al-Aqsa mosque. Most of the riots were held after the Friday prayer in the mosques. In some instances there were clashes between rioters and the Israeli security forces. An Italian activist was injured in a riot in the village of Kafr Qadoum.
- In Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem Palestinians continued to throw stones, rocks and Molotov cocktails, there were attempts to stab Israelis and there was one shooting attack. The most prominent events were the following:
- In the early evening on November 27, 2014 a resident of Talmon (northeast of Modi'in) reported that shots had been fired at his car from three Palestinian vehicles parked at the side of the road. Israeli security forces searching the area found nine empty shell casings (Tazpit.org.il, November 27, 2014).
- On November 27, 2014, during an Israeli security force activity near the Jewish area in Hebron a vehicle with Palestinian license plates was halted and searched. In the vehicle a Karl Gustav rifle and ammunition magazine were found (IDF Spokesman, November 27, 2014).
Left: Empty shell casings found after the Israeli vehicle was shot at (Tazpit.org.il, November 27, 2014). Right: The rifle and magazine found in the Palestinian's vehicle (IDF Spokesman, November 27, 2014).
- On November 30, 2014, three Molotov cocktails were thrown at a house in the northern neighborhood of Beit El (north or Ramallah). A fire broke out causing minor property damage (Tazpit.org.il, November 30, 2014).
- On December 1, 2014, Palestinians threw rocks at an Israeli vehicle driving between Itamar and Alon Moreh, There were no casualties and no damage was reported.
- At approximately 0800 hours on December 1, 2014 a Palestinian came to the Tapuah roadblock, arousing the suspicions of the Border Police soldiers stationed there. A search revealed he was carrying a knife (Police.gov.il, December 1, 2014).
- On December 1, 2014, rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus near the village of Silwad (north of Ramallah). There were no casualties. The bus continued toward Ariel. Initially there was concern that it had been shot at, but an examination revealed that rocks had been thrown (Police.gov.il, December 1, 2014).
The Rafah Crossing
- On November 25, 2014, the Rafah crossing opened, having been closed since October 24, 2014 (since the terrorist organization Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis attacked Egyptian security forces, killing 33 Egyptian soldiers). The crossing was opened chiefly to allow stranded Gazans to return home. According to reports, so far 2,554 Palestinians have returned to the Gaza Strip (Paltoday.tv, November 28, 2014). On December 2, 2014, Egypt closed the Rafah crossing again. Maher Abu Subha, director of the Gazan crossings authority, said he was in contact with Egypt to have the crossing open continuously (Paltimes.net, November 29, 2014).
The Kerem Shalom Crossing
- Maher Abu Subha, director of the Gazan crossings authority, claimed there was an internal struggle within the Palestinian Authority (PA) for directing the Kerem Shalom crossing. He accused the Palestinian national consensus government of not being serious regarding accepting responsibility for the crossings (Paltimes.net, November 29, 2014).
- Kerem Shalom crossing on November 25, 2014, part of the program for rebuilding the Gaza Strip of Robert Serry, UN envoy to the Middle East (Paltoday.ps, November 26, 2014)
Rebuilding the Gaza Strip
- On November 27, 2014, UNRWA issued a report about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. According to the report, there are 23,338 Palestinians sheltered in UNRWA schools. As of November 25, 2014, 15,726 families had received financial aid to repair their houses, and to that end UNRWA had transferred the sum of $15.1 million. UNRWA expressed concern over the slowness of the rebuilding process (UNRWA.org, November 27, 2014).
- John Gatt-Rutter, the EU representative to the PA, said "A long time has gone by without enough cement or enough materials coming in that will allow people to rebuild their houses." He added there was "a real need to move urgently and diplomatically and politically to try to work something out" (Reuters.com, November 26, 2014).
- Rami Hamdallah, prime minister of the Palestinian national consensus government, met with ambassadors of foreign countries and emphasized his government's commitment to rebuild the Gaza Strip and the need to speed up the program. He called on the international community to exert pressure on Israel to increase the amount of building materials entering the Gaza Strip and to completely lift the siege. He also called on the donor countries to make good on their promises to send funds to rebuild the Gaza Strip (Al-Amad, November 26, 2014).
- On December 1, 2014, dozens of Gazans whose houses had been destroyed in Operation Protective Edge demonstrated in front of UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City. They said that if the delays continued they would take more serious steps. They demanded the "siege" of the Gaza Strip be lifted and that concrete and cement be delivered (Paltimes.net, December 1, 2014).
Oversight Mechanism of Materials Entering the Gaza Strip
- It was recently reported that cement dealers in the Gaza Strip objected to stationing security cameras in the warehouses where sacks of cement were stored, as demanded by the oversight mechanism. Their refusal was supported by similar decisions made by the union of factories and the association of businessmen in the Gaza Strip not to station cameras in their factories (Quds.net, October 26, 2014).
- Hamas sources continue opposing the establishment of a mechanism to oversee the delivery of building materials into the Gaza Strip. The following remarks were made:
- Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of Hamas' political bureau, claimed that Robert Serry, the UN envoy to the Middle East, had recently changed the oversight mechanism, based on Hamas' demands (Alresala.net, November 26, 2014).
- Senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Zahar claimed that officials connected to the oversight mechanism had accepted Hamas' objections and that negotiations were underway with a number of agencies, especially the UN. He stressed that anyone in need would receive building materials, as in the past. He claimed Hamas intended to have larger quantities of building materials enter the Gaza Strip without Israel's forcing conditions on it (Safa.ps, November 25, 2014).
- Senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Zahar claimed that highly placed officials in Egypt had contacted the heads of Hamas to improve relations. He claimed both sides wanted closer relations and to turn over a new leaf. However, he noted the negative influence of the buffer zone along the Rafah border on the Gazans and the "resistance| [i.e., terrorist organizations] (Paltoday.tv, November 25, 2014).
- Wael Nasr al-Din Atia, Egyptian representative in the PA, said that Egypt was expected to renew the indirect Israel-Palestinian negotiations in the near future. He said Egypt would invite the two sides "when the conditions are ripe" (Al-Istiqlal, November 30, 2014).
Cartoon appearing on the Felesteen website: The Egyptian buffer zone cuts the umbilical cord to the Gaza Strip (Felesteen.ps, November 30, 2014).
VIP Security Course Graduation
- On November 30, 2014, the security and defense network of the ministry of the interior and Hamas' national security in the Gaza Strip held graduation exercises for its fifth VIP security course, named for those killed in Operation Protective Edge. It was attended by senior figures in the ministry of the interior, senior commanders in the security forces and senior member of Hamas' political bureau. The 85 graduates displayed their skills in various military exercises (Website of the Palestinian ministry of the interior and PALDF, November 30, 2014).
Remarks by Mahmoud Abbas
- In a speech given by Mahmoud Abbas during the festivities for Palestinian Solidarity Day, he said the Palestinians were prepared to resolve the conflict with Israel based on international decisions and initiatives with only 22% of the territory of "historical Palestine." The state that would be established would have east Jerusalem as its capital. In addition, the solution would resolve the issue of the Palestinian refugees. His remarks gave rise to great anger and furious reactions on the social media, where people called him a traitor and said he should resign (QNN, November 25, 2014). After his remarks the Palestinian media noted that he had again stated his intention to appeal to the UN Security Council, stressing that it was forbidden to harm the holy sites, among them the Temple Mount (Al-ayyam.com, November 26, 2014).
- Mahmoud Abbas gave an assertive speech before the Arab initiative peace conference in Cairo on November 29, 2014, in which he threated to stop the security coordination withIsrael if there were no genuine negotiations between the two sides. The main points were the following (Wafa.ps, November 29, 2014):
- The situation in Judea and Samaria is dangerous and the status quo cannot continue.
- The PA decided to appeal to the UN Security Council and to sign international agreements, including joining the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
- The PA is considering ending its security coordination with Israel, and will do so if there are no genuine negotiations between the two sides. The PA asks for the complete freezing of construction throughout Judea and Samaria and the implementation of the fourth phase of prisoner releases.
- Recent Israeli proposals for laws are "racist," such as the proposed Jewish [Nation] State bill. The PA will recognize the State of Israel but will never recognize it as a Jewish [nation] state.
- All signs point to the failure of the American efforts. American Secretary of State John Kerry was asked to formulate a new proposal for the Security Council about stopping construction in the settlement to exert pressure on Israel.
Two Hamas cartoons mocking Mahmoud Abbas' political activity. Left: Mahmoud Abbas marches to the UN to end the Israeli occupation:" one step forward and two steps back (Alresala.net, November 24, 2014). Right: The anniversary of the UN Partition Plan. The Arabic reads, "In memoriam, the partition of Palestine...the leader's victory" (Felesteen.ps, November 29, 2014).
Palestinian Responses to the Jewish [Nation] State Bill
- Remarking on the bill proposed in the Israeli Knesset, Mahmoud Abbas claimed that recently five "racist" laws were proposed, designed to perpetuate "apartheid" in Israel. Among the laws he noted the Jewish [Nation] State law, which would impose Israeli law on the settlements in Judea and Samaria (Wafa.ps, November 28, 2014).
- According to the announcement issued after the weekly meeting of the Palestinian national consensus government, the Jewish State law passed by the Israeli government was an explicit declaration of the government's intention to put an anti-Palestinian apartheid regime into practice. The announcement also denounced the so-called incitement of the Israeli prime minister against the Palestinian people, its "president" and leadership, and demanded the international community not only issue condemnations but also take an aggressive stance (Wafa.ps, not 25, 2014).
Security Activity of the PA's Security forces
- On December 2, 2014, the PA security forces carried out an activity in Area H2 in Hebron, under Israeli control. Its operatives detained a number of Palestinian rioters and wanted individuals. According to a senior Palestinian officer, it was a program prepared by the Palestinian security forces in Hebron to enforce law and order in the region (Maannews.net, December 2, 2014).
- Senior sources within Hamas were critical of the PA security forces' activity. They said that there had recently been an increase in activities against Hamas activists in Judea and Samaria, and that 89 Hamas activists were detained in November 2014. Hamas condemned what it called the continuing "political detentions" of its activists in Judea and Samaria and the suppression of what it called "activities held to show solidarity with the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa mosque" (QNN, November 30, 2014).
The PA Updates Palestinian Passports and ID Cards
- Hassan Alawi, deputy minister of the interior in the national consensus government, announced that the Palestinian ministry of the interior intended to change its passports and ID cards to read the "State of Palestine" instead of the "Palestinian Authority." He said his ministry would make the change between 2014 and 2016, alongside the PA's move in the Security Council to "end the occupation" and establish an independent Palestinian state with the 1967 borders and Jerusalem as its capital. He said the new passport would include pictures of prominent Palestinian religious and heritage sites, including the Dome of the Rock, the Church of the Nativity, the Tomb of the Patriarchs and the port of Gaza. As to the new ID cards, he said they would include text in Hebrew (Maannews.net, November 25, 2014).
The PA Subordinated the Prisoners' Authority to the PLO
- Qadoura Fares, chairman of the Palestinian prisoners' club, said that as of 2015 the prisoners and released prisoners authority would be subordinate to the PLO's Palestinian national fund and would no longer have any connection to the Palestinian ministry of the treasury. He said that would remove the obstacles of the ministry of the treasury concerning the funds of Palestinian prisoners. He added that it would save [former] security prisoners from having to produce indictments for the ministry of the treasury to be able to receive a monthly allowance. An ID number and telephone number would be sufficient, along with a legal commitment from the prisoner that he had a fixed income of more than 2000 Israeli shekels a month, and a document from the Red Cross (Quds.net, December 1, 2014).
Boycotting Israeli Products
- On November 30, 2014, the Palestinian popular committee for boycotting Israeli products organizations a march in Nablus for international Palestinian Solidarity Day. The marchers carried signs calling for the boycott of Israeli products (PALDF, November 30, 2014).
Marchers in Nablus carry signs calling for the boycott of Israeli products. One reads, "Boycott your enemy" (PALDF, November 30, 2014).
As of December 2, 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.
For further information about Saleh al-Arouri, see the August 24, 2014 bulletin "Saleh al-Arouri, Turkey-based senior Hamas operative who handles military-terrorist networks in Judea and Samaria, admitted that Hamas was behind the abduction and murder of the three Jewish youths from Gush Etzion."