A horse's head, under which is written, "Some day we will leave [the world] without possessions! .. oh Allah .. Turn our faces towards paradise." It was posted to the Facebook page of Qassem Jabber the day before he carried out the vehicular and shooting attack at the entrance to Kiryat Arba (March 14, 2016). His fellow terrorist, Amir al-Jneidi, had the same picture on his own Facebook page.
1. As part of an ongoing series of bulletins dealing with the maturing of the idea to carry out a terrorist attack as reflected in the Facebook pages of terrorists, this bulletin examines the Facebook pages of four Palestinian terrorists. They carried out shooting, vehicular and stabbing attacks during the first half of March 2016: a combined vehicular and shooting attack at the entrance to Kiryat Arba (March 14, 2016); a stabbing spree on the seaside promenade between Jaffa and Tel Aviv (March 8, 2016); a shooting attack near Herod's Gate the Old City of Jerusalem (March 8, 2016).
2. The attacks were indicative of the worsening of the Palestinian terrorist campaign which began more than half a year ago. There have been more shooting attacks which are more deadly, the attacks have been carried out by pairs of terrorists and not "lone wolves," the average age of the terrorists has risen (Palestinians in their twenties, not teenagers), and there have been repeated attempts to move the terrorist campaign to population centers inside Israel to increase the number of Israelis killed and attract more attention (for instance the killing spree in Tel Aviv).
1) The four terrorists who carried out the shooting, vehicular and stabbing attacks and whose Facebook pages were examined were:
2) Qassem Farid Abd al-Aziz Jabber, 31, from Hebron, a former prisoner affiliated with Hamas, one of the two terrorists who carry out the vehicular and shooting attack at the entrance to Kiryat Arba on March 14, 2016.
3) Amir Fouad Na'im al-Jneidi, 22, from Hebron, Qassem Farid Abd al-Aziz Jabber's co-terrorist in carrying out the attack at the entrance to Kiryat Arba on March 14, 2016.
4) Bashar Muhammad Masalha, 22, from the village of Hajja, east of Qalqilya, who carried out a stabbing spree along the seaside promenade between Jaffa and Tel Aviv, killing an American tourist on March 8, 2016.
5) Fouad Kazaf Abdallah Abu Rajab al-Tamimi, 22, from the village of Issawiya in east Jerusalem, who carried out a stabbing attack near Herod's Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem on March 9, 2016.
The Four Terrorists' Use of Their Facebook Pages
3. The following characteristics were reflected in the Facebook pages of the four terrorists (see the Appendix A for details):
1) The extended maturing process of the decision to carry out a terrorist attack: The four terrorists posted relevant messages to their Facebook pages over a period of weeks and sometimes months before the attacks. Some of them significantly increased their Facebook page activity during the days before the attacks, including posts indicating their desire to sacrifice themselves. Apparently some of the older terrorists did not share the spontaneity and desire to simulate other terrorists that have characterized the teenage terrorists.
2) The use of Islamic terminology, especially Qur'an verses dealing with death and paradise: As in the case of previous terrorists, some of the above four quoted the Qur'an, especially the verses dealing with paradise and the rewards waiting there for the shaheed. One of the terrorists even went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, returning a few days before carrying out the attack. He also posted a recorded sermon to his Facebook page, given by a Saudi Arabian Salafist sheikh. Other terrorists posted expressions and verses often used on the social networks about the desire to sacrifice themselves and reach paradise.
3) The influence of Palestinian incitement (TV, radio and Facebook): The Palestinian terrorist who carried out the shooting attack at the entrance to Kiryat Arba regularly watched programs on Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV and Al-Jazeera TV, whose broadcasts are hostile to Israel. He also viewed the Facebook page of Al-Huriya Radio, which broadcast from Hebron and which was shut down by the IDF a number of months ago because of its incitement to terrorism. The Palestinian terrorist carried out the shooting attack at Herod's Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem posted "ten commandments for every shaheed" on his Facebook page a few hours before the attack. The "commandments" were written by Bahaa' Alian, the terrorist who carried out the shooting and stabbing attack attack in Jerusalem's Armon Hanatziv neighborhood. The "commandments" were spread by the social networks (see Appendix B).
4) Of the four terrorists, only Fouad Abu Rajab al-Tamimi, who carried out the terrorist attack at Herod's Gate, used his Facebook page to identify with and glorify the terrorists killed in the current terrorist campaign by posting various pictures (including of Hamas arch-terrorist Yahya Ayyash, killed in 1996). Apparently "adopting" a specific terrorist as a role model and the desire to avenge him are more characteristic of young terrorists, who act more spontaneously and desire to "imitate" them.
5) Hostility towards Mahmoud Abbas: The Facebook posts of Fouad Abu Rajab al-Tamimi often included hostile remarks about Mahmoud Abbas. That was exceptional, since posts on the Facebook pages of other terrorists which were examined did not generally relate to either the Palestinian Authority (PA) or the various terrorist organizations (Fatah, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad).
4. In ITIC assessment, the Facebook page of Fouad Abu Rajab al-Tamimi reflects the world of the young Palestinian generation that grew up in the shadow of the PA's so-called "popular resistance" strategy. The strategy, adopted by the PA and Fatah at Fatah's Sixth Conference in August 2009, provides legitimacy for popular terrorism. Fouad Abu Rajab al-Tamimi, who was a teenager when the strategy was first implemented, grew up and matured in the shadow of popular terrorism (including vehicular, stabbing and shooting attacks, Molotov cocktails and stone-throwing). His Facebook page clearly reflects the influence of the strategy and its incitement on young Palestinians who have grown up under it.
5. Fouad Abu Rajab al-Tamimi posted pictures of weapons on his Facebook page and calls for terrorist attacks as early as 2014. For example, in January 2014 he posted a notice encouraging killing Jews for the sake of Al-Aqsa mosque (Facebook page of Fouad Abu Rajab al-Tamimi, November 19, 2014). In July 2014 he posted a notice encouraging the throwing of Molotov cocktails, showing two masked Palestinians toasting one another with Molotov cocktails and writing "To your health, my homeland" (Facebook page of Fouad Abu Rajab al-Tamimi, July 8, 2014). Thus even before the outbreak of the current terrorist campaign, the social networks provided a platform for intensive anti-Israel incitement. The influence of the PA's popular terrorism policy – and its attendant incitement – on the younger Palestinian generation has been great and long-term. In the case of Fouad Abu Rajab al-Tamimi it matured at a later date, that is, during the current Palestinian terrorist campaign.
Appendices and Previous ITIC Bulletins
6. For the maturing of the decision to carry out terrorist attacks reflected on the Facebook pages of the four Palestinians terrorists noted above, see the Appendices.
7. For the maturing of the decision to carry out terrorist attacks as reflected the Facebook pages of Palestinian terrorists during the current terrorist campaign, see the following ITIC bulletins:
1) "The social networks as a source of inspiration and imitation for terrorists: the case study of two Palestinian youths who carried out a stabbing attack in a supermarket in the commercial area of Sha'ar Benyamin," February 28, 2016.
2) "The social networks as a source of inspiration and imitation for terrorists," February 18, 2016.
3) "The Shooting and Stabbing Attack at the Nablus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem Signals an Escalation in the Complexity and Daring of the Palestinian Terrorist Campaign," February 9, 2016.
4) "The social networks as a source of inspiration and imitation for terrorists: the case study of Amjad Jaser Sukari, the Palestinian policeman who carried out a shooting attack near Beit El," February 2, 2016.
5) "The social networks as a source of inspiration and imitation for terrorists: the case study of Obada Abu Ras, the Palestinian terrorist who carried out the stabbing attack in Givat Ze'ev, Jerusalem," January 31, 2016.
6) "The stabbing attack in Beit Horon showed an increase in relative complexity, daring and premeditation," January 27, 2016.
For further information, see the May 20, 2013 bulletin, "The Palestinian "Popular Resistance" and Its Built-In Violence."