Hamas cartoon rejecting the peace process in favor of violence. The slingshot at the left represents the Al-Quds intifada, the crutch at the right is the peace process (Facebook page of Paldf, March 27, 2016).
Left: Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif. Right: Ramzi al-Qasrawi (Facebook page of Hamas in Hebron, March 24, 2016).
The funeral held for Ramzi al-Qasrawi. The white flags are Liberation Party flags (Facebook page of Hamas in Hebron, March 24, 2016).
Palestinian documentation of the damage caused by stones.
The ceremony launching the project (Facebook page of the ministry of public works and housing, Ramallah, March 23, 2016).
Saeb Erekat meeting with Nikolay Mladenov, the UN special envoy to the Middle East (Qatar News Agency, March 28, 2016).
- The Palestinian terrorist campaign that begin more than six months ago continues with increasing and decreasing intensity. Prominent this past week was a stabbing attack carried out by two Palestinian terrorists at the Tel Romeida roadblock in Hebron, who were killed during the attack.
- After the attack a video was distributed showing an Israeli soldier shooting one of the terrorists who had already been neutralized and allegedly no longer posed a danger. The soldier was detained. The IDF and the defense minister stated it had been a serious event and contradicted IDF values. The event, which is being investigated by the military police, caused an upheaval in Israeli public opinion and the political leadership.
- Saeb Erekat, chairman of the PLO's Executive Committee, exploited the event to falsely claim Israel "executed" Palestinians, and lodged a request with the UN for an investigation. Palestinian figures repeatedly issue the false claim that Israel "executes" Palestinians, however, the "executions" the Palestinians refer to are actually instances of self defense during stabbing, vehicular and shooting terrorist attacks.
Terrorist Attacks and Attempted Attacks
- March 24, 2016 – stabbing attack:
- Two Palestinians attacked IDF soldiers with knives near the Tel Romeida roadblock in Hebron. One soldier was wounded. The soldiers manning the roadblock shot and killed the terrorists.
- Later a video was issued showing a soldier shooting one of the Palestinian terrorists who had already been neutralized and was lying on the ground, allegedly no longer posing a danger. The soldier, who according to IDF reports acted against orders, was detained and taken for interrogation. The IDF and defense minister said in a statement that the event was serious and contradicted IDF values and what was expected of IDF soldiers and their commanding officers. The event is under IDF military police investigation. It caused an upheaval in Israeli public opinion and the Israeli political establishment.
- The Palestinian terrorists who carried out the attack were Ramzi Aziz Mustafa Naji al-Qasrawi andAbd al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif, both 21 years old from Hebron. According to Abd al-Sharif's father, the two were good friends who met at school and worked together in a carpentry workshop. Hamas issued a death notice for them. The funeral held for Ramzi al-Qasrawi was attended by many Freedom Party activists and the organization's flag was in evidence. The body was also wrapped in the flag (Facebook page of Hamas in Hebron, March 24; Nour Communications Network, March 26, 2016).
- Tawfiq al-Tirawi, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, claimed the "popular uprising" had several causes. Among them he listed Israel's "stubbornness," the bias of the American administration [towards Israel], the weakness of the Arab states and the understanding of the Palestinian people that their horizons were closed and there was no hope of a political solution. He claimed young Palestinians were waging a struggle against Israel, while Israel "executed" Palestinian men, women and babies on a daily basis (Dunia al-Watan, March 26, 2016).
Riots, Clashes and Popular Terrorism
- In the meantime, demonstrations, protest marches, riots, and the throwing of stones, Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs continue in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. The Israeli security forces prevented a number of terrorist attacks.
- The more prominent events were the following (including terrorist attacks that were prevented):
- March 28, 2016 – A pipe bomb was thrown at an IDF force in Wadi Burqin (west of Jenin). There were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, March 28, 2016).
- March 28, 2016 – Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli vehicle near a roadblock on the Tunnel Road (south of Jerusalem). There were no casualties, the car was damaged. Palestinians also threw stones at an Israeli vehicle near the village of Huwwara (south of Nablus). No damage was reported.
- March 27, 2016 – Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli vehicle on the Gush Etzion-Jerusalem road near Al-Khader. The vehicle was damaged (Facebook page of Red Alert, March 27, 2016).
- March 26, 2016 – Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli bus near the gas station on Routh 433 between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The windows of the bus were damaged (Facebook page of Red Alert, March 26, 2016).
- March 26, 2016 – Palestinians threw stones at an IDF force near the village of Qadoum (Nablus region), wounding a soldier (Facebook page of Red Alert, March 26, 2016).
- March 25, 2016 – A 15 year-old Palestinian girl went from the direction of Issawiya to the gas station near French Hill. She took out a knife and tried to stab a Border Policeman. The policemen prepared their weapons for firing and she dropped the knife. They detained her and took her for questioning.
- March 25, 2016 – A Palestinian woman went to the roadblock near Tel Romeida in Hebron with a knife. She was taken for questioning (Facebook page of Red Alert, March 25, 2016).
Two Residents of East Jerusalem Indicted on Charges of Planning a Terrorist Attack in Jerusalem, Inspired by ISIS
- On March 28, 2016, the prosecution of the Jerusalem district handed down indictments for Musab Alian, 23, and Samir Abd al-Rabbo, 38, both from the neighborhood of Sur Bahr in east Jerusalem. According to the indictment, a year ago Musab Alian became an ISIS supporter when he belonged to a religious study group which included ISIS's ideology. He then decided to join the ranks of ISIS and fight in Syria.
- In October 2015 he went to Jordan, intending to go from there to Syria. While in Jordan he was interrogated by the local security authorities and sent back to Israel. He then examined the possibilities of reaching Syria via Turkey or the Sinai Peninsula. Throughout the entire time he followed ISIS's activities on the Internet.
- At the end of 2015 Musab Alian decided to manufacture an IED and use it to attack an Israeli security force vehicle in Jerusalem. He contacted Samir Abd al-Rabbo, who had experience in manufacturing IEDs. In October 2015 they purchased the necessary materials and a cell phone to use as a remote control to detonate the IED (Haaretz and Walla! March 28, 2016).
Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire Attacking Israel
- This past week no rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory.
Rebuilding the Gaza Strip
- On March 23, 2016, Mofeed al-Hasayneh, the Palestinian Authority (PA) minister of public works and housing, participated in launching a project to construct 320 housing units in the area of Juhur al-Dik (central Gaza Strip). The project is being funded with the help of TIKA, the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency. Present at the project-signing ceremony was TIKA representative Bülent Korkmaz. The project will cost $13 million and construct 20 buildings for residents of the Gaza Strip whose houses were damaged during Operation Protective Edge (Facebook page of the ministry of public works and housing, Ramallah, March 23, 2016).
Demonstrations in Support of the Palestinian Terrorist Campaign in Judea and Samaria
- This past week Gazans continued demonstrating at the border security fence in a show of solidarity with the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. The demonstrations were low-key. On Friday, March 26, 2016, about 200 Gazans demonstrated in a number of locations.
- In the meantime, inside the Gaza Strip there were a number of demonstrations and rallies in support of the current Palestinian terrorist campaign in Judea and Samaria. At a rally in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, claimed the "current intifada" had gone through two stages. The first was the popular stage of mass confrontations at roadblocks and in the streets, and the second was the vehicular and stabbing attacks. He claimed the intifada was now entering its third stage, the stage of armed attacks. He claimed the transition to the third stage would show the intifada had overcome all the attempts to cause it to fail and it would escalate and grow (Al-Aqsa, March 24, 2016).
Hamas simulation of abducting an IDF soldier soldier during a rally in the Nuseirat refugee camp (Facebook page of Gaza al-A'an, March 25, 2016).
- On March 27, 2016, a Hamas delegation again met in Cairo with senior figures in Egyptian General Intelligence. The objective of the meeting was to respond to the demands made by Egypt in the previous meeting, which had been attended by the head of Egyptian General Intelligence. A Palestinian source reported that the talks were positive and that Hamas had agreed to the Egyptian demands, and that Egypt had agreed to all of Hamas' demands. According to the source, when the delegation returns to the Gaza Strip, Hamas can be expected to increase its presence along the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt as part of the understandings reached (Khabar, Al-Kofia Press, March 27, 2016).
- Before the meeting, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri claimed Hamas had no organizational connection to the Muslim Brotherhood. He claimed that while Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood had a similar ideology, Hamas operated to further the interests of the Palestinian people and not the interests of any international movement or organization (Alarabiya.net, March 22, 2016).
Hamas' Anti-Salafist Activities
- Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip reported that Hamas had recently detained a large number of operatives from the Unity of Allah Brigade (a Salafist-jihadi network affiliated with the global jihad). According to the sources, some of those detained were field commanders. They also reported that Hamas had confiscated large quantities of weapons, including rockets, from the operatives (Al-Masdar, March 21, 2016).
Terrorist Organizations in the Gaza Strip Prepare for the Next Round of Fighting
- Operatives of the military-terrorist wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) held joint military training exercises with one of Fatah's military-terrorist wings in the Gaza Strip. The exercises were held at a training camp in the western region of Rafah. They included a demonstration of rocket unit capabilities, shooting exercises, planting explosives and simulations of attacking and blowing up IDF posts, and abducting IDF soldiers. The spokesmen of the two military-terrorist wings claimed the objective of the exercises was to make their operatives completely prepared for a possible escalation with Israel (Facebook page of the National Resistance Battalions, March 26, 2016).
Joint military training simulating an attack on and the destruction of an IDF post (YouTube, March 26, 2016).
Spreading the False Narrative of Israeli "Executions"
- On March 28, 2016, Saeb Erekat, secretary of the PLO's Executive Committee, met in Ramallah with Nikolay Mladenov, special UN envoy to the Middle East. At the meeting Saeb Erekat reported that the PA had lodged a renewed request with the UN to institute a formal investigation into what the PA called "executions without trial" by Israel of Palestinians. He claimed that while Israel had in fact announced it had begun an investigation into the killing of a Palestinian in Hebron, past experience had shown that Israel's investigations did not bear fruit. He claimed that since the middle of September 2015 207 instances had been "documented" of the "executions" of Palestinians by Israel (Al-Quds al-Arabi, March 28, 2016).
Palestinian Public Opinion Poll Shows Rise in Support of Young Palestinians for the Current Terrorist Campaign
- The AWRAD research, consulting and development firm in Ramallah, recently issued the results of a public opinion poll focusing on the young Palestinian population. According to the results, most young Palestinians support the continuation of the current Palestinian terrorist campaign. The findings of the poll were the following:
- 67% of those interviewed said they supported the continuation of the current terrorist campaign [intifada], compared with 57% who supported it in the survey conducted in December 2015.
- There has been a rise in support for an armed struggle (39% compared with 31% in the previous survey)
- There has been a decrease in support for "a peaceful resistance" as the way to end the "Israeli occupation" and the establishment of a Palestinian state: 52% compared with 62% in a survey held in July 2013 (QudsN, March 29 , 2016).
The Freedom Party (Hizb al-Tahrir) is a radical Palestinian Islamist party founded in east Jerusalem in 1952. It supports the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate and the destruction of the State of Israel through jihad. It opposes any peace agreement with Israel. It also opposes the Palestinian Authority. Despite its extremist positions, it has not yet carried out attacks against Israel.
As of March 29, 2016. 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.
AWRAD, the Arab World For Research & Development, is a Palestinian research firm that provides consulting and technical services, including public opinion polls. It is based in Ramallah and was founded in 2007. Its founder and president is Dr. Nader Said-Foqahaa, who studied in the United States and has been conducting public opinion polls for more than 20 years. AWRAD researchers are local Palestinian researchers from Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, the Arab world and around the globe. Among its clients are the PA, the Palestinian police force, various UN agencies such as UNDP, UNESCO and UNICEF, the World Bank, the EU, USAID and other international organizations (AWRAD website, March 29, 2016).