The Palestinian terrorist campaign of stabbing, vehicular, shooting and stone-throwing attacks continues.
A rock thrown by Palestinians that smashed the front windshield of an Israeli vehicle near the Beit Arieh Junction (north of Modi'in).
The death notice issued by Hamas for Palestinian terrorist Abd Hassouna (Facebook page of PALDF, December 15, 2015).
The death notice issued by Hamas for Palestinian terrorist Issa al-Haroub (Facebook page of the Hamas movement in Nablus, December 11, 2015).
The notice issued by Hamas praising the shooting attack (Hamas website, December 10, 2015)
Death notice issued by Hamas for Palestinian terrorist Adi Irshid (Facebook page of the Hamas movement in Nablus, December 11, 2015).
The Anniversary of the Founding of the Hamas Movement
Khaled Mashaal and Prime Minister Razak of Malaysia (Facebook page of Shihab, December 9, 2015)
Ali Baraka, Hamas representative in Lebanon, meets with an Iranian diplomat in Beirut (Facebook page of Ali Baraka, December 10, 2015).
Contributions to the campaign to rebuild the houses of the terrorists (Facebook page of Quds, December 14, 2015).
- The Palestinian terrorist campaign continues unabated, marked this past week by an increase in vehicular attacks in addition to stabbing and shooting attacks. The most serious vehicular attack was carried out at the entrance to Jerusalem by a Palestinian from Beit Hanina (north Jerusalem) who lived in Hebron. He rammed into a group of civilians waiting at a bus stop, injuring 11. One of them, and infant, was critically injured. In addition, Palestinians continue rioting in Judea and Samaria, and in the Gaza Strip near the border security fence.
- This past week a rocket hit was identified in the western Negev. In response Israel Air Force aircraft struck two Hamas terrorist targets.
Terrorist Attacks and Attempted Attacks
- December 14, 2015 – vehicular attack:
- A Palestinian carried out a vehicular attack at a bus stop on Herzl Street at the entrance to Jerusalem. He hit eleven people, among them a one year-old infant who was critically injured; two adults were seriously injured. The terrorist drove up on the sidewalk and rammed into people waiting at a bus stop. Members of the Israeli security forces and a security guard saw the attack and shot and killed the terrorist before he could exit his car. An axe was found in the car.
- The terrorist was Abd al-Muhsen Shaher Hassouna, 21, from Beit Hanina (north Jerusalem). Two years ago the family moved to Hebron (Facebook page of PALDF, December 14, 2015). Hamas issued a death notice for Abd Hassouna (Facebook page of PALDF, December 15, 2015).
- December 14, 2015 – attempted vehicular attack: Two young Palestinian girls attempted to run over an IDF soldier on Hebron Road in Jerusalem. There were no casualties. The driver and passenger drove away.
- December 13, 2015 – attempted stabbing attack: A Palestinian girl tried to stab an Israeli at the western gate of Kiryat Arba. The Israeli struggled with her and IDF soldiers shot and wounded her. She was evacuated to a hospital in critical condition. The terrorist was Lama Munzer Hafez al-Bakri, 16, from Hebron. She carried out the attack on her way home from school (Finiq News, December 13, 2015).
- December 11, 2015 – shooting attack: A Palestinian armed with a rifle went to the Jalameh crossing in northern Samaria and shot at the roadblock. An Israeli crossings authority guard shot and wounded him. The terrorist was driven away in a Palestinian car that came to pick him up.
- December 11, 2015 – attempted vehicular attack:
- A Palestinian terrorist tried to ram into soldiers at the Halhul Junction in Hebron. He sped to the concrete barrier behind which the soldiers were standing. They shot and killed him. A knife was found in his car.
- The terrorist was Issa Ibrahim Salameh al-Haroub (Abu Jawad), 57, from the village of Deir Samet (west of Hebron). He had two wives and 16 children. He had worked for many years as a clothing merchant (Ma'an News Agency, QudsN, December 11, 2015).
- Hamas issued a death notice for him. Ismail Haniya, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, spoke to one of his children and expressed his condolences (PalInfo and the Facebook page of the Hamas movement in Nablus, December 11, 2015).
- December 10, 2015 – vehicular attack:
- Four Israelis were injured, one of them critically, in a vehicular attack on the road between the village of Luban and Beit Arieh (north of Modi'in). The Palestinian terrorist rammed into three IDF soldiers standing at the side of the road. After that he drove into their Hummer jeep, which was parked nearby, injuring the driver. He then drove away.
- The following day the Israeli security forces detained the terrorist at his home in the village of Luban al-Gharbiya, (south of Beit Arieh), after he had abandoned the vehicle he used in the attack. He confessed to having carried out the attack because, he claimed, he had been influenced by the Palestinian media's coverage of the situation in Jerusalem and the "murder of Palestinian children."
- The Palestinian terrorist is Muhammad Abd al-Halim Abd al-Hamid Salem, 37, from the village of Luban al-Gharbiya. He is a released prisoner. In 2001 he spent a year and a half in administrative detention for his membership in Hamas (Facebook pages of the village of Luban al-Gharbiya and the Hamas movement in Nablus, December 11 and 13, 2015).
- December 9, 2015 – shooting attack: A Palestinian terrorist fired 23 bullets into an Israeli vehicle near the community of Avnei Hefetz in Samaria. Two Israelis, a man and a woman, were wounded, the man critically. The terrorist drove off in the direction of Tulkarm. Large numbers of Israeli policemen searched the area for the shooter. Confrontations developed between Palestinian rioters and the Israeli security forces. Hamas praised the attack, calling it a response of the Palestinian people to the Israeli occupation (Hamas website, December 10, 2015).
- December 9, 2015 – stabbing attack:
- A Palestinian terrorist stabbed an Israeli civilian and an IDF soldier near Beit Hadassah in Hebron. The terrorist walked down the steps leading to an IDF post, and when the soldiers asked him for identification he pulled out a knife and stabbed a soldier and a nearby civilian. The security coordinator at the scene shot and killed the terrorist. Both the civilian and the soldier sustained minor wounds.
- The terrorist was Abd al-Rahman Yasri Zakaria Masouda, 21, from Hebron, cousin of Palestinian terrorist Ihab Fathi Zakaria Masouda, who carried out a stabbing attack near the Cave of the Patriarchs on December 7, 2015. Hamas issued a death notice for Abd Masouda (Facebook pages of Shihab, Quds and the Islamic Movement in Nablus, December 9, 2015).
Left: The death notice issued by Hamas for Palestinian terrorist Abd al-Rahman Yasri Zakaria Masouda. Right: Abd Masouda on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (Facebook page of the Islamic Movement in Nablus, December 9, 2015).
Riots, Clashes and Popular Terrorism
- In the meantime, demonstrations, protest marches, riots, and the throwing of stones, Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs continues in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. In some instances PA security forces prevented Palestinian demonstrators from reaching IDF roadblocks.
- Some of the more prominent incidents were the following:
- December 14, 2015 – Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli bus in the region of Hizma north of Jerusalem. There were no casualties. The front windshield of the bus was damaged (Facebook page of Red Alert, December 13, 2015).
- December 14, 2015 – Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli vehicle near Beit Arieh (north of Modi'in), injuring three people (Facebook page of Red Alert, December 14, 2015).
- December 12, 2015 – Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails at an Israeli vehicle on the Husan bypass road (Bethlehem region). There were no casualties and no damage was reported (Facebook page of Red Alert, December 12, 2015).
- December 12, 2015 – Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli bus south of Adam Square (Beit El region). There were no casualties. The front windshield of the bus was damaged (Facebook page of Red Alert, December 12, 2015).
- December 11, 2015
- Palestinians reported Adi Jihad Hussein Irshid, 24 (or 22, according to some reports) from Hebron, was killed when rioters confronted IDF forces at the northern entrance of Hebron.
- He was the brother of female Palestinian terrorist Dania Irshid, from Hebron, who was killed on October 25, 2015, while carrying out a stabbing attack at the Cave of the Patriarchs (Wafa News Agency, December 11, 2015). Hamas issued a death notice for him (Facebook page of the Hamas movement in Nablus, December 11, 2015). Ismail Haniya, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, called the family to express his condolences (PalInfo, December 11, 2015).
- December 10, 2015 – Palestinians threw seven Molotov cocktails at an IDF post near Neveh Tsuf (northwest of Ramallah). There were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, December 10, 2015).
- December 10, 2015 – Palestinians threw stones at the light railway in Jerusalem near Shuafat. There were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, December 10, 2015).
- December 8, 2015 – Hundreds of Palestinians threw stones at Israeli security forces near the Tomb of Rachel in Bethlehem after the funeral held for Malek Shahin, a Palestinian killed during a riot. IDF forces used crowd control measures to disperse the rioters and shot and wounded the two main ringleaders.
Security Force Established for Palestinian Hospitals
- Interviewed by Palestinian TV, Adnan al-Damiri, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces, said the PA had decided to establish a forceto secure the hospitals. The decision was made in the wake of the IDF entrance into the Al-Ahli hospital in Hebron to detain a terrorist who had fled to the hospital after having been wounded in an attack.
- According to Adnan al-Damiri, the force had previously existed but had not had a presence inside or at the entrance to hospitals. He claimed the force had undergone training and its commanders had capabilities and authority. He added they were also authorized to shoot at Israeli soldiers disguised as Palestinian demonstrators if there was no doubt about their identity (Palestinian TV, December 13, 2015).
Rocket Fire Attacking Israel
- On December 13, 2015, a rocket hit was identified in the western Negev. There were no casualties and no damage was reported. In response Israel Air Force aircraft struck two Hamas terrorist targets: a naval police facility in the northern Gaza Strip and a military wing post in the central Gaza Strip (Ynet, December 14, 2015).
Riots and Terrorist Attacks near the Border Security Fence
- Palestinians continue rioting along the border security fence in a show of solidarity with the Palestinian terrorist campaign in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. During one of the riots east of the Al-Bureij refugee camp a Palestinian was killed by IDF fire and two were wounded (Paltoday, December 11, 2015). Throughout the Gaza Strip (and in a number of locations in Judea and Samaria) Palestinians held rallies, marches and events to mark the 28th anniversary of the founding of the Hamas movement. Senior Hamas figures participated in the events and Gazans were urged to join them. Hamas exploited the events to show support for the so-called "Jerusalem intifada" (Alresala.net, December 11, 2015).
The Crossings – Recent Developments
The Rafah Crossing
- Contacts continue for opening the Rafah crossing, while in the meantime the power struggle between representatives of the PA and Hamas for its control continues. Abbas Zaki, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, said the PA had reached an agreement with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi concerning the opening of the crossing. He claimed there was a chance the PA in Ramallah would be put in charge, but that Hamas did not intend to vacate the crossing, which kept the PA from taking responsibility for it (Paltoday, December 13, 2015).
- In view of Hamas' criticism of the Rafah crossing issue, Osama Hamdan, in charge of Hamas' foreign relations, claimed the continued closure of the Rafah crossing was intended to perpetuate the closure of the Gaza Strip and harm the "resistance" [i.e., terrorist organizations]. He claimed the crossing was not open on a regular basis mainly because of Egyptian policy. He also claimed the Palestinian reconciliation government had failed to solve the problem of the crossing and all other issues related to the Gaza Strip. In his opinion, he said, the solution was to be found in establishing a "national management committee" with the participation of all the Palestinian organizations (Samaa, December 8, 2015).
Tunnel Workers in Rafah Rescued
- On December 8, 2015, 14 workers were rescued when a tunnel collapsed west of the Rafah border, the result of Egypt's flooding the tunnels. According to one report, the workers had been rebuilding a tunnel that collapsed because of the flooding. A spokesman for the Egyptian army said Egyptian border guards had exposed 21 tunnel shafts along the Rafah border in November during their activities to destroy the tunnels (Pal Press News Agency, December 8, 2015).
The Anniversary of the Founding of the Hamas Movement
- The 28th anniversary of the founding of Hamas was marked throughout the Gaza Strip. Mass rallies, marches and demonstrations were held and exploited to show support for the current Palestinian terrorist campaign (the "Jerusalem intifada") (Hamas website, December 11, 2015; Facebook page of Palinfo, December 14, 2015).
- Hamas issued a formal notice stressing Hamas' prominent place in the "liberation of Palestine" as compared with the PA and Fatah, "which abandoned the battlefield for the field of negotiations and security coordination." A number of senior Hamas figures were interviewed by the official Hamas website, and dealt mainly with the recent terrorist campaign in Judea and Samaria. They said the following:
- Khaled Mashaal, head of Hamas' political bureau, claimed the "liberation of the Palestinian people" was closer than ever and that Hamas and the other Palestinian organizations were approaching Jerusalem.
- Ismail Haniya, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, claimed the intifada had created a "new Palestinian" expressing the optimism of the new generation responsible for the events in the West Bank, and of the youths shooting rockets at Tel Aviv and Haifa from the Gaza Strip.
- Musa Abu Marzouq, member of the Hamas' political bureau, claimed Israel had no future in the Palestinian territories and that liberation was close. He claimed Hamas had sabotaged the Oslo Accords by preserving the rights of the Palestinian people.
- Saleh al-Arouri, member of Hamas' political bureau (who runs Hamas terrorist networks in Judea and Samaria from his home base in Turkey), claimed the anniversary of Hamas' founding was synchronized with the current intifada against Israel. He claimed Hamas' advantage was that it was located inside Palestine in the heart of the occupied land and battlefield.
Hamas' Foreign Relations
- During the visit of a Hamas delegation led by Khaled Mashaal to Malaysia, members of the delegation met with senior government figures, among them Malaysian Prime Minister Mohammad Abd Najib Razak. They discussed relations between Malaysia and Hamas. Khaled Mashaal called on Prime Minister Razak to continue his support for the Palestinian cause and to complete all of Malaysia's plans for reconstruction in the Gaza Strip (Hamas website, December 10, 2015).
- Mahmoud al-Zahar, member of Hamas' political bureau, appealed to Iran to renew its relations with the "Palestinian resistance," especially with Hamas. He said Hamas had invested efforts in reestablishing its relations with Iran. He claimed Hamas' appeal was not connected to the current intifada but rather meant to strengthen the ties joining the Palestinian people and Iran (Fars News, December 12, 2015).
- Hamas activists in the Gaza Strip issued a video of Ismail Haniya, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, asking Iran to support the intifada. Haniya made a speech appealing to the Iranian people to increase their "strategic support of the Jerusalem intifada" to enable it to continue and grow. He also said the Palestinians understood the importance of Jerusalem for the Iranian people, and therefore the intifada would continue until the liberation of the land of Palestine (Al-Quds, December 9, 2015).
- Ahmed Yussuf, senior Hamas figure, claimed the differences of opinion between Hamas and Iran regarding Syria had cast a shadow over their relations. He also claimed Iranian support was limited to the military wing of Hamas (Ma'an News Agency, December 13, 2015).
- Ali Baraka, Hamas representative in Lebanon, met with Mohamed Majdi, an Iranian diplomat who serves as political advisor to the Iranian embassy in Beirut. Majdi expressed Iran's support for the Palestinian people and praised the courage of the young Palestinians who, he claimed, had turned the stone and knife into weapons to fight Israel (Facebook page of Ali Baraka, December 10, 2015).
Examination of Ending Security Coordination with Israel
- Saeb Erekat, secretary of the PLO's Executive Committee, claimed that immediately after all the necessary preparations had been made, the Palestinians would implement the Central Council's decision to end security and economic coordination with Israel. He did not state exactly when that would happen. He claimed a PLO committee was currently seriously examining possible responses regarding possible consequences. He said the Palestinian cause would not be resolved only by ending security coordination with Israel, but that relations with Israel had to be defined regarding security, policy and the economy (Al-Quds Al-Arabi, December 9, 2015).
Reshuffling the Palestinian National Consensus Government
- Mahmoud Abbas changed the membership of the Palestinian national consensus government, swearing in three new ministers (Wafa News Agency and Dunia al-Watan, December 14 and 15, 2015):
- Ali Mahmoud Abdullah Abu Diyak is the new minister of justice. Until now he was secretary general of the PA government. He replaced former minister Saleem Al-Saqqa.
- Ihab Yasser Aref Bseiso is the new minister of culture. Until now he was spokesman for the PA government. He is an academician from Bir Zeit University, and originally from the Gaza Strip. He replaced Ziad Abu Amr.
- Mahmoud Rashid al-Shaer is the new minister of social affairs. He replaced Shawqi al-Aissa, who resigned a month ago. Al-Shaer is an academician from Bethlehem, and was vice president of Al-Quds Open University.
Support for the Families of Imprisoned Terrorists
- Ali Abu Diyak, while still secretary general of the Palestinian national consensus government, announced salaries would no longer be paid to released prisoners and prisoners still serving sentences in Israeli jails. The announcement met with harsh criticism from the families of prisoners and from senior Palestinian figures. The families of the prisoners called on Mahmoud Abbas to intervene immediately (Dunia al-Watan, December 10, 2015).
- Interviewed by Voice of Palestine Radio, Issa al-Qaraqe, head of the prisoners' authority, protested the governmental decision. He said that before the crisis broke out letters had been sent to the minister of the treasury, to the prime minister and to the chairman of the national fund asking them to solve the problem, and nevertheless payments to the families had stopped (Voice of Palestine Radio, December 10, 2015).
- As a result of the criticism, the Palestinian national consensus government apparently changed its mind. Ali Abu Diyak said that the government would continue providing services, and was committed to providing all services, to take care of the prisoners, pay the families of the killed and wounded, and pay the salaries of the prisoners in Israeli jails (Wafa News Agency, December 10, 2015).
Rebuilding the Houses of Palestinian Terrorists
- On December 14, 2015, it was reported that the campaign to "rebuild the houses of the liberators" had collected the sum of one million shekels (a little less than $260,000): 800,000 shekels in cash (and jewelry) and 200,000 shekels in land, furniture and building materials of equal value. In the second stage of the campaign, donations of furniture and appliances will be requested. Most of the items are expected to be donated by Palestinian merchants (Quds and Facebook page of Quds, December 14, 2015).
Palestinian Minister of Tourism Reports a Decline in Arrival of Tourists
- Rula Maa'yaa, Palestinian minister of tourism, reported there had been a serious decline in the number of tourists visiting the PA since October 2015 (when the current Palestinian terrorist campaign began). She said that fewer than a million and a half tourists had come, that is, far fewer than last year. She said this year they had expected a very large number of tourists, but the events had caused many cancellations. She said that this year 2.2 million tourists had come to the PA, compared with 2.5 million last year. The decline is a severe blow to Palestinian tourism, which accounts for 15% of the national income (Ma'an News Agency, December 12, 2015).
- The Palestinian social networks and websites continue glorifying the Palestinian terrorists, defaming Israel and the United States, and issuing calls and notices encouraging terrorist attacks and the continuation of the ongoing violence. For example:
Left: Notice on the website of the Hamas movement in Nablus, according to which 2015-2016 will be the year of the "Jerusalem intifada:" the gun, the stone, the knife and the car (Website of the Hamas movement in Nablus, December 9, 2015). Right: Cartoon from the website of Fatah's information unit accusing Israel and the United States of executing Palestinian children (website of Fatah's information department, December 12, 2015).
Glorifying the terrorists who carried out attacks in the current terrorist campaign, on a wall in the western part of Gaza City (Facebook page of Shihab, December 11, 2015).