News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (July 8 –14, 2015)

One year since Operation Protective Edge.

One year since Operation Protective Edge.

One year since Operation Protective Edge.

One year since Operation Protective Edge.

Gazans leave the Strip through the Erez crossing en route to the Laylat al-Qadr prayer at Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem

Gazans leave the Strip through the Erez crossing en route to the Laylat al-Qadr prayer at Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem

Palestinians throw concrete blocks at an IDF vehicle in Nebi Saleh.

Palestinians throw concrete blocks at an IDF vehicle in Nebi Saleh.

Jerusalem Day marchers carry black PIJ flags (Filastin al-Yawm, July 10, 2015)

Jerusalem Day marchers carry black PIJ flags (Filastin al-Yawm, July 10, 2015)

Yahya al-Sinwar, holder of the

Yahya al-Sinwar, holder of the "Israeli prisoners' portfolio"

Farid al-Jallad (Website of the PA's High Judicial Council)

Farid al-Jallad (Website of the PA's High Judicial Council)

The giant Palestinian flag held by Muslims on the Temple Mount.

The giant Palestinian flag held by Muslims on the Temple Mount.

  • This past week Israel's south was quiet. In Judea and Samaria "popular resistance" terrorism and violence continued (stone-throwing and Molotov cocktail attacks).
  • On July 8, 2015, Hamas' military-terrorist wing held a military display in Gaza City on the eve of the first anniversary of Operation Protective Edge. Hamas exhibited two new rockets it had manufactured, claiming they had improved capabilities. Senior Hamas figures have stressed that Hamas is not interested in a new round of fighting.
Rocket Fire Attacking Israel
  • This past week no rocket or mortar shell hits were identified in southern Israeli territory.

Rocket Fire Attacking Israel

"Popular Resistance" Terrorism and Violence Continue
  • This past week violence and popular terrorism 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. Some of the prominent attacks were the following:
  • On July 9, 2015, Israeli Border Police soldiers stationed at the Ras Bidu roadblock (north of Jerusalem) noticed a suspicious young Palestinian approaching. He refused to answer their calls to halt, came closer and took out a knife. During interrogation he admitted he had been planning to carry out a stabbing attack (Facebook page of the Israel Police Force, July 9, 2015).
  • On July 12, 2015, Palestinians threw stones at the light railway in the Shuafat section of north Jerusalem. There were no casualties but the railway was damaged (Red Alert, July 12, 2015).
  • On July 12, 2015, Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails at the Zif junction in Hebron. There were no casualties; a fire broke out at the site (Red Alert, July 12, 2015).
  • On July 13, 2015, Palestinians set fire to tires near the Maccabim junction after hiding a gas balloon among them. There were no casualties and no damage was reported (Tazpit News Agency, July 13, 2015).
The Rafah Crossing – Recent Developments
  • This past week the Rafah crossing remained closed.
The Erez Crossing
  • The Ma'an News Agency reported that Israel allowed 800 Gazans to leave the Strip to go to Jerusalem for the Laylat al-Qadr prayer held on the Temple Mount. It was the first time in several years that Israel had permitted Gazans to participate in the prayer (Ma'an News Agency, July 13, 2015).
Military Display Held for the Anniversary of Operation Protective Edge
  • On July 8, 2015, Hamas' military-terrorist wing held a display in Gaza City to mark the first anniversary of Operation Protective Edge. During it Hamas exhibited two new rockets it had manufactured, which it claimed had already entered its arsenal. The rockets were named for Ra'ed Atar and Muhammad Abu Shamala, two senior military wing terrorist operatives who were killed during the Operation. According to Abu Obeida, spokesman for Hamas' military wing, the rockets' capabilities will be demonstrated in due time (Al-Aqsa TV, July 8, 2015). In addition, a memorial "Israeli armored personnel carrier" statue was unveiled. It shows an upraised fist on top of an APC. The fist holds three dog tags [of IDF soldiers], one with a picture of Oron Shaul and two with question marks.

An "Israeli APC," a simulation of the one hit during Operation Protective Edge. The upraised fist holds three [IDF] dog tags (Palinfo, July 8, 2015).
An "Israeli APC," a simulation of the one hit during Operation Protective Edge. The upraised fist holds three [IDF] dog tags (Palinfo, July 8, 2015).

  • During the rally Hamas military wing spokesman Abu Obeida made a speech praising the achievements of the military wings of Hamas and the other organizations. He claimed Operation Protective Edge revealed the firm and determined stance of the Palestinians in the face of the "criminal visage of the Israeli leadership." He mentioned the missing Israeli soldiers, saying the "battle files" were still open and the top one was the issue of missing soldiers. He warned against a continued siege of the Gaza Strip and threatened Israel with another war in the Gaza Strip (Al-Aqsa TV, July 8, 2015).
  • On July 10, 2015, the Palestinian terrorist organizations held a march in Gaza City to mark World Jerusalem Day (an annual event initiated by Iran) and the first anniversary of Operation Protective Edge. Armed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) operatives led the march (Filastin al-Yawm and the Ma'an News Agency, July 10, 2015). Another rally was held by the military-terrorist wings of other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip. A spokesman for the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees claimed they had renewed their capabilities and were ready for the next campaign against Israel. He said that they would never agree to a situation in which Israel achieved a lull with the Gaza Strip without the lifting of the siege and without the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip (Ma'an News Agency, July 11, 2015).
Statements from Senior Hamas Figures on the Anniversary of Operation Protective Edge
  • The events held for the anniversary of Operation Protective Edge prompted a wave of statements from the Hamas leadership, stressing the message that Hamas was not currently interested in another war with Israel. The main statements were the following:
  • Khaled Mashaal, head of Hamas' political bureau, gave a speech in which he said Hamas was holding meetings with European and international agencies to promote the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. He denied Hamas was trying to achieve a long-term lull with Israel, and said Hamas had not suggested any such political plan. He claimed the Hamas movement's efforts were aimed strictly at establishing the ceasefire [called at the end of Operation Protective Edge]. He also claimed that Hamas was not interested in war, but was prepared for one if it were forced on Hamas, and noted the importance of the "resistance" [i.e., terrorism] in Judea and Samaria (Al-Shorouk, July 7, 2015).
  • Ismail Haniya, deputy chairman of Hamas' political bureau, claimed during his Friday sermon that Hamas was not interested in another war with Israel. However, he said Hamas was working to preserve its military advantages to be able to deal with the dangers facing it. He also said that Hamas was continuing its efforts on a number of levels to lift the siege of the Gaza Strip, and hinted that in the near future a positive development could be expected (Filastin al-'Aan, July 10, 2015).
  • Ghazi Hamad, deputy foreign minister in the Hamas administration, in an interview in Hebrew with Israel's Reshet Bet radio station, claimed Hamas had a civilian-public interest in preserving the lull and that Hamas did not want another war. He denied that Israel and Hamas were in contact to promote a long-term lull. He claimed that there was no possibility Hamas' military wing would defy the political wing and initiate an escalation (Israel's Reshet Bet radio station, July 8, 2015).
Hamas Assigns Its "Israeli Prisoners' Portfolio"
  • Sources within Hamas reported that Yahya al-Sinwar, a member of Hamas' political bureau, was assigned the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades' "Israeli prisoners' portfolio". According to the sources, he will hold negotiations for the exchange of Israeli prisoners. He will be aided by Rawhi Mushtaha, the member of Hamas' political bureau who holds Hamas' dead and imprisoned operatives' portfolio. Sinwar and Mushtaha, both released from Israeli prisons in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal, will be joined by Saleh al-Arouri, based in Turkey (Paltoday, July 13, 2015)
Tension between Hamas and the Salafist-jihadi Organizations in the Gaza Strip Continues
  • The tension continues between Hamas and the Salafist-jihadi organizations in the Gaza Strip as Hamas continues to detain their operatives. Abu al-Inaa' al-Ansari, a senior Salafi-jihadist operative in the Gaza Strip, accused Hamas' military-terrorist wing of giving the names of 15 Gazan operatives to Egyptian general intelligence, while attempting to represent Israel as having provided the list. He compared the coordination between Hamas and Egypt to that between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel, and warned Hamas that the Salafists could "overturn the tables on their heads" (Al-Ayyam, July 8 and 9, 2015).
Terrorist Operative from the Gaza Strip Reported Killed in Iraq
  • On July 11, 2015, the death of Musa Hassan Hijazi, aka Abu Musa, from Gaza City, was reported. He had formerly been an operative in Hamas' military-terrorist wing. Musa Hassan Hijazi fought in the ranks of ISIS and was killed in the Iraqi city of Fallujah while carrying out a suicide bombing attack using an APC full of explosives. It is not known when he left the Gaza Strip and enlisted in the ranks of ISIS. He was documented in a video showing him executing Iraqi army captives. He claimed he was a "Sharia graduate" and that he had "killed Jews in Gaza." In Gaza City a mourning tent was erected for him (theshamsnews.com, Twitter accounts @madoon160, @iraqiua1, July 12, 2015; Twitter account @6v595, July 11, 2015).

Left: Musa Hijazi and other ISIS operatives shown executing Iraqi army soldiers (theshamnews.com, July 12, 2015). Right: Musa Hijazi (Twitter, July 12, 2015).
Left: Musa Hijazi and other ISIS operatives shown executing Iraqi army soldiers (theshamnews.com, July 12, 2015). Right: Musa Hijazi (Twitter, July 12, 2015).

Banner hung over the mourning tent erected for Musa Hijzai in Gaza City (theshamnews.com, July 12, 2015)
Banner hung over the mourning tent erected for Musa Hijzai in Gaza City (theshamnews.com, July 12, 2015)

"Saberin Movement" in the Gaza Strip Dismantled
  • Last week the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip announced the dismantling of the network called the "Saberin movement." It had been operating in the Gaza Strip for the past year under the aegis of and with funding from Iran, and running a series of Shi'ite charitable societies. Its head, Hashem Salem, claimed in a declaration that Saberin was a Palestinian "resistance movement" established to resist the [Israeli] occupation. He claimed any action taken to forbid its operation would be a "historic mistake" (Ma'an News Agency, July 7, 2015).
The "Saberin movement" was established two years ago by a number of former senior figures of the PIJ and headed by Hashem Salem. According to its activists they openly received support from Iran (Quds.net, July 6, 2015). Hamas' decision to dismantle it was apparently primarily the result of internal considerations. The dismantling might be related to the ongoing tense relations between Iran and Hamas' political leadership since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war. It might also be one of Hamas' attempts to neutralize any organization that could challenge or threaten its governance of the Gaza Strip, similar to the actions it takes against the Salafist-jihadi organizations.

 

Committee Established to Investigate "Israel's Crimes"
  • Mahmoud Abbas issued an order instructing a high national committee to be formed to investigate what he referred to as "the war crimes Israeli carried out against the Gaza Strip." Farid al-Jallad, a lawyerwho chaired the High Judicial Council (2009 – 2014), was appointed to head the committee. It will be composed of seven legal experts, base its work on the results of the recently-published international investigative Davis Commission Report. It will begin its work immediately after Eid al-Fitr (Ma'an News Agency, July 12, 2015).
  • Riyadh al-Maliki, PA foreign minister, confirmed that the delegation of judges from the International Criminal Court (ICC), headed by the attorney general, would arriveat the end of July 2015. The judges are currently waiting for entrance visas from Israel. According to al-Maliki, they are coming to get a general impression of the situation and not to investigate (Sawt Filastin, July 13, 2015).
Demonstrations at Al-Aqsa Mosque
  • Onthe last Friday of the Muslim religious month of Ramadan an estimated 250,000 Muslims participated in the prayers at Al-Aqsa mosque. A demonstration was also held to mark the first anniversary of Operation Protective Edge. The demonstrators carried a giant Palestinian flag with pictures of Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. There was also an appeal on the flag to the Arab-Muslim countries around the globe to "rescue" "endangered" Al-Aqsa mosque. A demonstration of Hamas activists was also held at the mosque (Wafa News Agency, July 10, 2015).
Release of Administrative Detainee Khader Adnan
  • Before dawn on July 12, 2015, Israel released administrative detainee Khader Adnan, a senior PIJ terrorist, who had been on a hunger strike for 50 days. He was turned over to the Palestinian military liaison apparatus near Jenin (Ma'an News Agency, July 12, 2015). At his release he reported that he was in good health. He said that the way Israel released him exposed its weakness and fragility, and showed the confusion of its leadership. He called on the [other] prisoners to regard his hunger strike as a tool in their struggle and the struggle of the Palestinian people, and not as something personal (Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, July 12, 2015; Paltoday, July 13, 2015).
  • The day after his release he was detained by the Israeli police in Jerusalem when he went to the Temple Mount for the Laylat al-Qadr prayer, although he was forbidden to enter Jerusalem. Before his detention he visited the homes of Palestinian prisoner Samer al-Issawi in east Jerusalem, the family of Muhammad Abu Khdeir (the Palestinian boy murdered by Israelis), and Jawad Boulos, an attorney and head of the legal division of the Palestinian prisoners' club (Ma'an News Agency, July 14, 2015).

Left: Khader Adnan arrives home in the village of 'Arrabe (southwest of Jenin) and is welcomed by local residents (Facebook page of PALDF, July 12, 2015). Right: Khader Adnan is received by Palestinian coordination and liaison upon his release (Ma'an News Agency, July 12, 2015).
Left: Khader Adnan arrives home in the village of 'Arrabe (southwest of Jenin) and is welcomed by local residents (Facebook page of PALDF, July 12, 2015). Right: Khader Adnan is received by Palestinian coordination and liaison upon his release (Ma'an News Agency, July 12, 2015).

Hamas Operatives Detained in Judea and Samaria
  • This past week PA's security forces continued detaining Hamas activists throughout Judea and Samaria and summoning them for questioning. The security forces also dispersed a riot held in front the Red Cross offices in Ramallah protesting the detentions. Hamas issued a statement strongly condemning the detention of 200 of its activists in Judea and Samaria, and accusing Mahmoud Abbas and the PA of being dictated to by Israel. Hamas warned that additional detentions would lead to the end of the contacts for the internal Palestinian reconciliation and a reexamination of Hamas' position regarding it.
Continuing Palestinian Anti-Israeli Activity in FIFA
  • It was reported that Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian football association, received an official communiqué from Jerome Valcke, secretary general of FIFA. According to the communiqué, the committee overseeing Israel's sports policies would begin its work as soon as possible. The committee was appointed in coordination with a decision of the FIFA Council and is supposed to examine the freedom of movement of Palestinian athletes and anti-Arab racism in Israeli sports. It will also deal with the matter of Israeli teams playing in Judea and Samaria (Dunia al-Watan, July 11, 2015). 

[1]As of July 14, 2015. The statistics do not include mortar shell fire or rockets which misfired and fell inside the Gaza Strip.
[2]The statistics do not include mortar shell fire or rockets which misfired and fell inside the Gaza Strip.