This past week, for the first time since Operation Protective Edge Egypt authorized the entrance of cement into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing (Paltimes.net, June 13, 2015).
Walid Bani Gharra wearing a Hamas headband (Facebook page of PALINFO, June 10, 2015).
Palestinians waiting at the Rafah crossing (Paltimes.net, June 14, 2015).
Trucks carrying cement enter the Gaza Strip with Egyptian authorization for the first time since Operation Protective Edge.
Left: Ahmed Badwan in Syria. Right: Ahmed Badwan armed and wearing an ISIS uniform (@bakoon82 Twitter account, June 9, 2015).
Military display at the Hamas national security force officers' training course graduation exercises (Website of the ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip, June 11, 2015)
Military display at the Hamas national security force officers' training course graduation exercises (Website of the ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip, June 11, 2015)
Iyad al-Bazam at the press conference where he accused the PA of responsibility for bombings in the Gaza Strip intended to plunge the Gaza Strip into a "whirlpool of anarchy" (Facebook page of the ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip, June 10, 2015).
Local activists have their picture taken about the Marianne in Palermo (Livesicilia.it, June 15, 2015).
- This past week another rocket was fired at Israeli territory, falling inside the Gaza Strip. An ISIS-affiliated jihadi network claimed responsibility for the rocket fire for the third time on the past two weeks. A senior Salafi-jihadist in the Gaza Strip claimed the Salafists would continue targeting Israel with rocket fire as long as the Hamas security forces detained their operatives and did not release those they had in custody.
- This past week there was a rise in the number of Molotov cocktails and stones thrown at Israeli security forces and Israeli transportation. According to the Israel Security Agency, in May 2015 there were more terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria than in April. Most of the attacks involved Molotov cocktails and stones.
Rocket Fire Attacking Israel
- On June 11, 2015, a rocket was fired at Israel, falling in the Gaza Strip. There were no casualties and no damage was reported.
- Responsibility for the rocket fire was claimed by an ISIS-affiliated Salafist-jihadi network calling itself the Company of Sheikh Omar Hadid – Bayt al-Maqdis. According to the announcement, the rocket targeted Israel's southern coastal city of Ashqelon and was fired to show solidarity with the Palestinian who died in the Jenin refugee camp and with the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli and Hamas jails (Twitter account of the Company of Sheikh Omar Hadid, June 12, 2015). It was the third time in the past two weeks that the network claimed responsibility for rocket fire targeting Israel. On the previous two occasions the rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory.
"Popular Resistance" Terrorism and Violence Continue
- This past week the wave of violence and rioting continued at the usual locations in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem, part of what the Palestinians call the "popular resistance." The violence mainly centered on throwing stones, rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli security forces and civilians. Two Palestinians were killed during the riots.
- Some of the prominent attacks were the following:
- On June 10, 2015, during an Israeli security force activity in the Jenin region an IED was thrown at the soldiers, who responded with gunfire. Walid Bani Gharra, 20, from the Jenin refugee camp, was wounded and later died (Ynetnews.co.il, June 10, 2015). Hamas said in an announcement that he had been one of its operatives and called for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to stop its security coordination with Israel. At the funeral held for Walid Bani Gharra, his body was wrapped in a Hamas flag (Pnn.ps, Wafa.ps, and the Facebook page of PALINFO, June 10, 2015).
Left: A notice issued by Hamas for terrorist operative Walid Bani Gharra. Center: Hamas' death notice. Right: Walid Bani Gharra wearing a Hamas headband (Facebook page of PALINFO, June 10, 2015).
- On June 14, 2015, Palestinians threw stones at the light railway in Shuafat (east Jerusalem). There were no casualties. The window of a railway car was shattered (Redalert.co.il, June 14, 2015).
- On June 14, 2015, during an Israeli security force operational activity in the village of Qafr Malik (east of Ramallah), a military vehicle swerved out of its lane and turned over. The vehicle hit and killed a Palestinian about to throw a Molotov cocktail (Redalert.co.il, June 14, 2015). The Palestinian media reported he was Abdallah Iyad Ghnaim, 22, from Ramallah. The Palestinian media claimed the Israeli version of the events was false, and that Iyad Ghnaim had been shot to death. Hamas issued a death notice for him and demanded adherence to the "path of resistance" [i.e., violence and terrorism] (Wafa.ps and Maannews.net, June 14, 2015).
Left: Hamas's death notice for Iyad Ghnaim (Hamas website, June 14, 2015). Left: Abdallah Ghnaim (Facebook page of PALDF, June 14, 2015).
- On June 14, 2015, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at an Israeli vehicle at the Hawara junction in Samaria. There were no casualties and no damage was reported (Redalert.co.il, June 14, 2015).
- On June 13, 2015, five Molotov cocktails were thrown at Israeli police in the Shuafat refugee camp (east Jerusalem). One of the policemen incurred minor injuries.
- On June 12, 2015, an IDF soldier incurred minor injuries from stones thrown at him in the Jelazoun refugee camp (Ramallah) (Redalert.co.il, June 12, 2015).
Detention of Woman Activist Who Transferred Hamas Funds from the Gaza Strip to Judea and Samaria
- The Israeli security forces blocked a conduit for the transfer of funds from Hamas in the Gaza Strip to Judea and Samaria. Ms. Sanaa Muhammad Hussein Hafi, 43, from Nuseirat in the Gaza Strip was detained. For a number of years she had been using various methods to transfer hundreds of thousands of dollars from Hamas to her brother, Hussein Abu Kweik, a Hamas terrorist operative imprisoned in Israel.
- During interrogation Ms. Hafi admitted that the money was transferred from Hamas' Al-Nur society, which provides funds for its imprisoned operatives and the families of its operatives who were killed or wounded. Moneychangers were employed because of the difficulty of using the official banking transaction system. She said the money she transferred to her brother served him, among others, to buy apartments and luxury vehicles (Shabak.gov, June 11, 2015).
Terrorist Attacks in May 2015
- In May 2015 the number of terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria rose from April 2015. During May 152 terrorist attacks were carried out, 121 in April. The rise was most notable in Jerusalem. The following are the statistics relating to terrorist attacks carried out in May 2015 (Shabak.gov, June 11, 2015):
- Modus operandi – Most of the attacks involved Molotov cocktails (129, 58 of them in Jerusalem). There were two stabbing attacks (one in Jerusalem), two vehicular attacks (one in Jerusalem), two attacks involving small-arms fire and 16 attacks involving IEDs.
- Geographical distribution – There were 91 attacks in Judea and Samaria (82 in April), and 60 in Jerusalem (38 in April).
- Casualties – Nine Israelis (six civilians and three members of the security forces) were wounded in May by terrorist attacks. Most of them (six) were injured in vehicular attacks, the others (three) in stabbing attacks.
The Crossings – Recent Developments
The Rafah Crossing
- The Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing for three days to allow for the transfer of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip and to permit Palestinians stranded on the Egyptian side to enter Gaza (Almasryalyoum.com, June 13, 2015). In addition, for the first time since Operation Protective Edge, Egypt allowed cement (7,000 tons) for the private sector to be imported into the Gaza Strip (Maannews.net, June 14, 2015).
- The Rafah crossing opened on June 13, 2015. According to reports the following day the passage of Palestinians into the Gaza Strip stopped because the computers were down, the result of communications issues in the northern Sinai Peninsula during a security activity in the region (Maannews.net, June 14, 2015). After three days during which the Rafah crossing was open, it was reported that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi decided to keep it open until June 17, 2015 (Youm7.com, June 15, 2015).
- Nazmi Mahanna, PA head of the crossings and border authority, claimed intensive contacts were being held with the Egyptians in an effort to keep the Rafah crossing open longer and to open it on a weekly basis. Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of Hamas' political bureau who arrived in the Gaza Strip about two weeks previously, took advantage of the opening to leave the Gaza Strip for Qatar (Alresala.net, June 13, 2015).
New Hospital Opens in the Gaza Strip
- On June 15, 2015, the Palestinian ministry of health officially opened a new hospital in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. It was contributed by the Indonesian MER-C (Medical Emergency Rescue Committee). Also present at the ceremony was a small delegation from the organization in Indonesia. Ashraf Abu Mahadi, general director of international collaboration in the ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip, claimed establishing the hospital had been proposed in 2008, after the only hospital in the northern Gaza Strip was destroyed during Operation Cast Lead. He claimed the new hospital had a sufficient amount of advanced equipment to serve the local population (Wataniya News Agency, June 15, 2015).
Left: The new hospital, flying the Indonesian and Palestinian flags. Right: A MER-C representative during the ceremony opening the hospital (Facebook page of PALINFO, June 15, 2015).
Egyptian Exposure and Destruction of Tunnels
- During the past few days Egyptian security forces operating along the border between the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip destroyed three tunnels and four openings of abandoned tunnels located about one kilometer (about 0.6 miles) from the border. A tunnel 1.2 kilometers long (about 0.75 miles) was exposed; its opening was inside a building. The tunnels were used for smuggling (Youm7.com, June 11, 2015).
- The Egyptian security forces reported that during the past year and a half 1,429 terrorist smuggling tunnels had been exposed and destroyed in the northern Sinai Peninsula (Aswatmasriya.com, June 14, 2015). The Egyptians also reported the beginning of the third stage of creating a buffer zone of 500 meters (about 0.3 miles) along the Gaza Strip border (Alwatanvoice.com, June 10, 2015).
Salafist-Jihadi Rocket Fire from the Gaza Strip
- Abu al-Inaa' al-Ansari, a senior Salafi-jihadist in the Gaza Strip, claimed that rocket fire attacking Israel would continue in accordance with the [internal] security situation in Gaza. He claimed the Salafists did not have an agreement with Hamas and any report to the contrary was a Hamas attempt to ease the crisis between them. He claimed Hamas' security forces still detained Salafists and so far only four had been released because Hamas was afraid they would die from the torture they had undergone in jail (Alqudsnews.net, June 11, 2015).
- A senior Salafist, speaking on condition of anonymity, claimed the Salafists would continue firing rockets into Israeli territory as long as Hamas' security forces continued detaining their operatives and did not release those already imprisoned. He claimed the Salafists were not committed to the lull [with Israel] (Quds.net, June 14, 2015).
Reports of Two Gazans Killed Fighting in the Ranks of ISIS
- This past week the names were released of two more Palestinians from the Gaza Strip killed fighting in the ranks of ISIS in Iraq and Syria:
- Ahmed Khalil Mahmoud Badwan, akaAbu Tareq al-Ghazawi, 26, from the Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. He joined the ranks of ISIS and was killed in an international coalition attack on the outskirts of Ramadi (in Al-Anbar Province in western Iraq). He reportedly left the Gaza Strip after Operation Protective Edge, went to Syria and from there to Iraq. His bother was detained by Hamas on charges of belonging to a Salafist organization (Sawa.ps, date, 2015; Pnn.ps, PALDF and Maannews.net, June 10, 2015).
- Wahid Maher al-Hu, akaAbu Abdallah al-Ghazawi, 24, from Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. He joined the ranks of ISIS and was killed in an international coalition attack in the northern part of the Syrian province of Al-Raqqah. He had reportedly studied education at Al-Zahar University in Gaza City and left the Gaza Strip about six months ago (Ebadairhman forum, June 10, 2015).
Graduation Exercises for a Hamas National Security Force Officers' Training Course
- On June 11, 2015, Hamas' national security forces in the Gaza Strip held graduation exercises for the 104 participants in the ninth officers' training course. They were held at the Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi post in the northern Gaza Strip, and included a military display, parade exercises, a simulation of fighting in an urban environment, and taking control of a vehicle and suspicious passengers (Website of the ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip, June 11, 2015).
Registration Begins for Summer Camps in the Gaza Strip
- On June 11, 2015, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military-terrorist wing, announced the beginning of registration for its "Pioneers of Liberation" summer camps, held throughout the Gaza Strip. According to the announcement, the camps are open to groups of Gazans aged 15-17, 18-25, and 25 and up who attended the camps last summer. The camps will begin on July 25, 2015, after the end of Ramadan (Facebook page of the Pioneers of Liberation summer camps, June 11, 2015; Palestine-info.info, June 12, 2015).
- Campers will learn various military skills, fire live ammunition, learn to give first aid and study religious subjects. To open registration and attract participants, last year's campers held a military display for an audience of several dozen Gazans (Facebook page of the Pioneers of Liberation summer camps, June 13, 2015).
Left: The military display held by last year's "Pioneers of Liberation" campers (Facebook page of PALINFO, June 13, 2015). Left: The notice issued by Hamas' military-terrorist wing announcing the opening of registration for this year's "Pioneers of Liberation" camps (Facebook page of the Pioneers of Liberation summer camps, June 13, 2015).
Hamas Accuses the PA of the Recent Bombings in the Gaza Strip
- Referring to the recent string of bombings in the Gaza Strip, Iyad al-Bazam, spokesman for the Hamas ministry of the interior, held a press conference where he claimed those responsible for the bombings had been exposed. He claimed that according to an investigation carried out by the security forces, elements within PAsecurity and politics were responsible, and were attempting to plunge the Gaza Strip into a "whirlpool of anarchy." He claimed the security forces [in the Gaza Strip] had detained a number of operatives involved in the bombings. He gave information about the interrogation of Naim Abu Fool, who had been detained while trying to detonate a car bomb in Shejaiya. Iyad al-Bazam claimed Naim Abu Fool had received the bomb from Sami Nasman, advisor to the head of PA general intelligence (Al-Aqsa TV, June 10, 2015).
Results of a Recent Public Opinion Poll
- The following are the results of a public opinion poll held between June 4 and 6, 2015, by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, headed by Khalil Shikaki. The Center interviewed 1,200 Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. The poll was about contemporary issues of interest to the Palestinian public (PCPRS.org, June 8, 2015) (ITIC emphasis):
- 47% would vote for Ismail Haniya if elections were held today, 46% for Mahmoud Abbas [results similar to the poll held three months ago].
- 26% preferred Marwan Barghouti to Mahmoud Abbas, 20% Ismail Haniya and 4% Muhammad Dahlan.
- In the FIFA battle, 33% believe that Israel came out as the winner and 22% believe the Palestinian side came out as the winner.
- 79% feel pessimistic about the future of Palestinian-Israeli relations.
- 84% believe ISIS is a radical group that does not represent true Islam and 10% believe it does represent true Islam (14% in the Gaza Strip and 8% in Judea and Samaria think it does).
- 86% support the campaign to boycott Israel and impose sanctions on it. 88% say they have stopped buying Israeli products. 64% believe that the boycott will be effective in helping to end occupation.
Masked Operatives Fire Guns in Palestinian Cities
- Masked operatives have recently been firing guns in the Palestinians cities during various events (funerals, demonstrations, festivities). The Palestinian security forces present at the time do not generally act to prevent the operatives from carrying or firing their weapons. Two examples from the past week are the following:
- On June 14, 2015, Israel released Rawhi Ghassan Marmash, a Fatah terrorist operative from Nablus, after he had served 12 years in an Israeli jail. When he arrived in Nablus he was received with guns fired into the air by armed, masked Fatah terrorist operatives (Facebook page of QudsN, June 14, 2015).
- On June 14, 2015, armed, masked terrorist operatives in the center of Ramallah fired into the air after the funeral of Abdallah Ghnaim (Facebook page of QudsN, June 14, 2015).
Left: Armed, masked terrorist operatives in the center of Ramallah fired into the air after the funeral of Abdallah Ghnaim. Right: Armed, masked Fatah terrorist operatives fire their guns into the air during a reception for Rawhi Ghassan Marmash (Facebook page of QudsN, June 14, 2015).
"Freedom Flotilla" 3 to the Gaza Strip
- According to Mazen Kahil, head of the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, "Freedom Flotilla 3" was expected to set sail for the Gaza Strip towards the last week of June 2015. He claimed the ships were currently in the Mediterranean Sea and expected the Swedish ship Marianne, now in Palermo in Italy, to join them. The ships carry symbolic humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip, medical equipment, medicines for children and electronic appliances (Samanews.com, June 14, 2015).
Protest Campaign in the Nablus District
- On June 13, 2015, Fatah activists in Nablus, along with "popular resistance" activists, launched a campaign to counter the enlargement of the Jewish towns and villages and the seizure of Palestinian land in Judea and Samaria. The campaign's slogan is "Climbing the mountains." On June 13, 2015, hundreds of activists, public figures and "popular resistance" activists went to the hills around the villages of Jamma'in and Hawara, south of Nablus. Near Jamma'in they began building a permanent structure of cement to make it difficult for Israel to seize the land.
- According to Akram Rajoub, governor of the Nablus district, the objective of the activity was to stress the "adherence of the Palestinian people to its land and the struggle against enlarging the settlements" (Alhayat-j.com, date, 2015). Ghasan Daghlas, who holds the northern Judea and Samaria settlements portfolio, claimed they would go to 200 targets in 35 villages in the Nablus district whose lands were slated for Israeli seizure, where they would build permanent structures and place caravans (Maannews.net, June 14, 2015).
Left: Activists build a permanent structure on the land of the village of Jamma'in (Wafa.ps, June 13, 2015). Right: Akram Rajoub, governor of the Nablus district, and Ghasan Daghlas, holder of the northern Judea and Samaria settlements portfolio, lead a march toward Jamma'in (YouTube, May 13, 2015)
An Iraqi jihadist operative killed by the Americans.
On June 10, 2015, during a riot in the Jenin refugee camp a Palestinians was killed by IDF fire (See below).
As of June 16, 2015. 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 or rockets which misfired and fell inside the Gaza Strip.
The statistics do not include the dozens of incidences of stone-throwing.