Palestinian youths riot on the Temple Mount.
A pile of stones prepared for throwing at Israeli security forces.
Khaled Mashaal, head of Hamas' political bureau, meeting in Istanbul with Turkish president Erdogan (Hamas website, June 25, 2016).
Masked Palestinians hold stones and prepare to riot against the Israeli security forces on the Temple Mount (Facebook page of QudsN, June 27, 2016).
Masked Palestinians hold stones and prepare to riot against the Israeli security forces on the Temple Mount (Facebook page of QudsN, June 27, 2016).
The pipe bombs found at the medical office of Dr. Samar al-Haliba (Israel Security Agency website, June 26, 2016).
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon holding a press conference in the Gaza Strip (Facebook page of Paldf, June 28, 2016).
Mahmoud Abbas speaking before the EU parliament in Brussels (Wafa, June 23, 2016).
- This past week tension increased on the Temple Mount in the wake of Palestinian riots. Palestinian clerics claimed the riots broke out because the status quo of previous years had been violated. They claimed that Israelis were not allowed to visit the Temple Mount during the last ten days of Ramadan. A Hamas spokesman accused Israel of "aggression" against the Palestinian holy places. The Israel police decided to close the Temple Mount to Israelis for the coming days.
- On June 28, 2016, Israel and Turkey signed a reconciliation agreement to end the crisis that began with the Mavi Marmaraflotilla. The agreement had several Palestinian aspects: Turkey would withdraw its demand that Israel's maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip be completely lifted, but ships bringing humanitarian assistance would be allowed to unload their cargoes at the Israeli port in Ashdod. Israel agreed to allow Turkey to promote a series of humanitarian projects in the Gaza Strip. Turkey said it would prevent Hamas from using Turkish soil to carry out terrorist attacks against Israel. The agreement has to be ratified by the Israeli Cabinet, expected to meet on June 29, 2016.
- In an initial response to the agreement, the Palestinian foreign minister expressed support for any effort to lift the "siege" of the Gaza Strip, but said that any Turkish effort associated with the Gaza Strip had to go through the Palestinian government in Ramallah. The person in charge of Hamas' foreign relations noted that the agreement was a decision made by Turkey and Hamas was not connected to Hamas in any way.
- On June 27, 2016, at two separate press conferences held by the respective heads of state, Israel and Turkey announced they had reached a reconciliation agreement. The agreement, signed on June 28, was meant to end the crisis that began with the affair of the Mavi Marmara flotilla (May 2010).
- Beyond the bilateral Israeli-Turkish issues, the agreement dealt extensively with the Gaza Strip and Hamas. The main points (according to a declaration made by Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu at press conferences in Rome and according to reports in the Israeli media) were the following:
- Israel is willing to allow Turkey to promote humanitarian projects for the Gaza Strip infrastructure: Netanyahu told a press conference that it was clearly in Israel's interest to advance issues of water and electricity in the Gaza Strip, in accordance with Israel's security considerations. He added that Israel would deal with Turkey and other countries on those issues. A Palestinian website operating from the Gaza Strip quoted a senior Turkish source as saying that the projects included building a hospital, power stations and desalination facilities (Quds Press, June 27, 2016).
- The maritime security blockade of the Gaza Strip will continue: Turkey withdrew its demand that Israel's maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip be completely lifted. The agreement, said Netanyahu at a press conference in Rome, would preserve the maritime security blockade of the Gaza Strip. "This is our supreme security interest," he said, "[and] I was not prepared to compromise on it...It is vital to prevent the strengthening of Hamas." However, he continued, "we are allowing ships to dock at Ashdod port and unload civilian and humanitarian cargoes there for the Gaza Strip." At a press conference in Ankara, Turkish Prime Minister Yildirim said the first Turkish aid ship, which would carry 10,000 tons of humanitarian assistance, was expected to set sail for Ashdod this coming Friday (July 1, 2016).
- Palestinian terrorist activity originating from Turkey will be prevented: Turkey promised to prevent use of its soil for carrying out military-terrorist activities against Israel. Netanyahu said that included collecting funds for such purposes. He called it an important commitment that Israel had not of far received. [Note: In recent years Turkey has been a focal point for Hamas operatives directing terrorist networks in Judea and Samaria.) According to reports in the Israeli media, Turkey will continue to allow Hamas' offices to operate in its territory, but their activities will be exclusively political.
- Turkish support for returning captives and the bodies of missing IDF soldiers from the Gaza Strip to Israel: According to Netanyahu, in addition, Israel "received a letter according to which the President of Turkey has instructed the relevant Turkish [intelligence] agencies to assist in every way in returning the prisoners and MIAs [held by Hamas] on a humanitarian basis."
Initial Palestinian Reactions
- Riyad al-Maliki, foreign minister of the Palestinian national consensus government, said that all Turkish efforts relating to the Gaza Strip had to go through the Palestinian government in Ramallah. He supported every effort, he said, to lift the siege of the Gaza Strip and ease the suffering of the Palestinian people. He also thanked Turkey for the infrastructure projects it wanted to promote (Al-Quds, June 27, 2016).
- Initial Hamas reactions were the following:
- Osama Hamdan, in charge of Hamas' foreign relations, said the agreement was a Turkish move. He said Hamas had no connection to it and had not agreed to it (Watan, June 24 and 27, 2016).
- Ismail Radwan, Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, said Hamas would not negotiate about [the bodies of] Israeli soldiers before the release of all the Palestinian prisoner released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal and later detained again by Israel. He said that was Hamas' final word on the subject.
- On June 24, 2016, Khaled Mashaal, head of Hamas' political bureau met in Istanbul with Turkish president Erdogan. According to sources in the Turkish administration, they discussed the issue of Turkey's humanitarian aid to the Palestinians (Palsawa.ps, June 24, 2016). Among Hamas' demands of Turkey was the lifting of the siege on the Gaza Strip (Hamas website, June 25, 2016).
Terrorist Attacks and Attempted Attacks
Vehicular Attack at the Entrance of Kiryat Arba
- On June 24, 2016, a female Palestinian terrorist carried out a vehicular attack at a bus stop at the entrance to Kiryat Arba. She rammed into an Israeli vehicle parked nearby, injuring two Israelis. She was shot and killed by an IDF force (Facebook page of Red Alert, June 24, 2016).
- The Palestinian media reported that she was Majd al-Khudour, 18, married with one child, from the village of Bani Na'im, in southern Mt. Hebron (Facebook page of Paldf, June 24, 2016). The Facebook page of Bani Na'im posted praise for the terrorist. The al-Khudour family also posted a formal death notice, boasting they were "proud" of the attack carried out by one of their members (Facebook page of Bani Na'im News, June 24, 2016).
- Husam Badran, Hamas spokesman abroad, welcomed the vehicular attack, stressing it was "the only way to respond to Israel's crimes" (Quds Press, June 24, 2016). Hamas' Facebook page posted drawings calling for her death to be avenged (Facebook page of Paldf, June 24, 2016). Hamas issued a formal death notice for Majd Abdallah al-Khudour (Facebook page of Paldf, June 27, 2016).
Left: The scene of the attack at the entrance to Kiryat Arba. The red car was used in the beat (Facebook page of Paldf, June 24, 2016).Right: Official Hamas death notice for Majd al-Khudour (Facebook page of Paldf, June 16, 2016).
Monthly Distribution of Terrorist Attacks in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem since the Beginning of the Current Terrorist Campaign
Palestinians Riot on the Temple Mount
- In preparation for the prayer on the last Friday of Ramadan (July 1, 2016), during the past few days tension has increased on the Temple Mount, encouraged by Palestinian clerics. According to the Palestinians, it is the result of a violation of the status quo according to which Israelis do not visit the Temple Mount during the last ten days of Ramadan. In light of the situation, the Israel Police Force closed the Temple Mount to Israelis.
- The most prominent events were the following:
- On the morning of June 26, 2016, riots broke out and Palestinians attacked Israeli security forces on the Temple Mount. They threw stones and confronted police. Two rioters were injured and five detained (Facebook page of the Israel Police Force, June 26, 2016).
- On June 27, 2016, riots broke out and Palestinians attacked Israel security forces. The Palestinians had barricaded themselves inside Al-Aqsa mosque during the night in order to confront the Israeli police and disrupt routine visits to the Temple Mount. They gathered stones and erected barricades to keep the doors of the mosque from being opened. When visits began in the morning the Palestinians, some of them masked, threw stones and other objects at the Israeli security forces (Facebook page of the Israel Police Force, June 27, 2016).
- On June 28, 2016, riots broke out and Palestinians attacked Israeli security forces. Sixteen rioters were detained.
- Sheikh Akrama Sabri, chairman of the Supreme Islamic Council and a preacher at Al-Aqsa mosque, condemned the entrance of the Israeli security forces into the Temple Mount precinct during Ramadan. He called it "a dangerous precedent that has to be resisted." He praised the response of Muslim worshippers to the Israeli security forces and Israeli visitors. In the meantime, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the mufti of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Jerusalem, called on all Muslims to march en masse to the Temple Mount to counter the activities of the "Israeli occupation" (Quds.net, June 26, 2016).
- Fawzi Barhoum, Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, condemned the events that occurred at Al-Aqsa mosque on June 26, 2016, claiming they were part of "Israeli aggression and the ongoing Zionist war against our people and our holy sites." He said the Palestinian people would continue the Jerusalem intifada (Hamas website, June 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 more prominent events were the following:
- June 27, 2016 – Palestinians threw stones at Israeli vehicles near the Bayt Ummar gas station in Gush Etzion. There were no casualties. One of the vehicles was damaged (Facebook page of Red Alert, June 27, 2016).
- June 26, 2016 – Palestinians threw three Molotov cocktails and stones at an Israeli vehicle near Ma'aleh Amos in Binyamin. Judea and Samaria Rescue reported there were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, June 26, 2016). In another incident, Palestinians threw a Molotov cocktail at an Israel vehicle driving though the Amos Junction in Gush Etzion. There were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, June 26, 2016).
- June 26, 2016 – Palestinians threw stones at Israeli vehicles on the stretch of the trans-Judea highway between Hebron and Tarqumia, and at an Israeli vehicle on Route 443 near a gas station. There were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, June 26, 2016).
- June 25, 2016 – Palestinians threw a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli vehicle near the al-Khader Junction on the Gush Etzion-Jerusalem road. There were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, June 25, 2016).
- June 24, 2016 – Palestinians driving a truck threw stones at an Israeli vehicle near the Yizhar Junction in Samaria. There were no casualties. The vehicle was damaged (Facebook page of Red Alert, June 24, 2016).
- June 23, 2016 – Palestinians threw a number Molotov cocktails near the southern gate of the Jewish community of Migdal Oz in Gush Etzion. Judea and Samaria Rescue reported there were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, June 23, 2016).
Terrorist Squad Involved in Hizma Attack Exposed
- The Israeli security forces recently detained the Palestinian terrorist who planted an IED in Hizma (east of Jerusalem) on May 10, 2016 (Remembrance Day eve). Also detained were squad operatives who assisted him. An IDF officer was critically wounded in the attack. Most of the terrorists were dentists and other medical professionals. They used the doctor's medical office to store and stockpile explosives.
- Investigation revealed that the terrorist, Dr. Samar al-Haliba, a dentist from Abu Dis, had prepared other IEDs and planned to carry out an attack in the Ma'aleh Adumim region. He began planning the attacks in February 2016, claiming his motivation was "the desecration of Al-Aqsa mosque and the harm done to Palestinian children by Israel." He prepared additional IEDs, including one that could be detonated with a cell phone, and left them at his medical office in the village of Aqab. During the investigation of the terrorists, the police found 56 pipe bombs, some of them with fuses, two Molotov cocktails and a large U-shaped pipe bomb (Israel Security Agency website, June 26, 2016).
IDF Exposes Lathe in the Village of Azzun Used to Manufacture Weapons
- On June 22, 2016, IDF forces exposed a lathe used to manufacture weapons in the village of Azzun (Qalqilya district). The soldiers confiscated a rifle and machines used in the manufacture of weapons (Twitter account of Palinfo, June 22, 2016). The Palestinian in whose house they were found was Ma'an Muhammad Radwan, an operative in the PA's preventive security force (Quds.net, June 22, 2016).
Rifle and lathe used to manufacture weapons found by the IDF in the village of Azzun (Twitter account of Palinfo, June 22, 2016).
PA Responses to the Mistaken Killing of a Palestinian Youth near Route 443 (Update)
- According to an initial IDF investigation, at about one thirty in the morning on June 21, 2016, a Palestinian was mistakenly killed by IDF fire near Route 443, which links Jerusalem and Modi'in. Before the shooting Palestinians threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles driving on the road. The boy was Mahmoud Rafat Mahmoud Badran, 15, from the village of Bayt Ur al-Tahta, west of Ramallah (Wafa, June 21, 2016).
- On June 23, 2016, the PA held a full military-style funeral for Mahmoud Badran in his home town. His body was carried on the shoulders of operatives of Palestinian national security forces (Twitter account of Palinfo, June 23, 2016). On June 25, 2016, Rami Hamdallah, prime minister of the Palestinian national consensus government, paid a condolence call to the family. Accompanying him were Majed Faraj, head of Palestinian general intelligence, and Layla Ghanem, governor of the Ramallah district. Hamdallah said that the PA intended to raise the issue of Badran's killing in every international court. He said Badran's death showed how Israel continues breaking international laws (Ma'an, June 25, 2016).
Rocket Fire Attacking Israel
- This past week no rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory.
The UN Secretary General Visits the Gaza Strip
- On June 28, 2016, Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the UN, paid a visit of a few hours to the Gaza Strip, his final visit to the Gaza Strip before his tenure as secretary general ends. He entered the Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing, visited an UNRWA school in the Zeitun neighborhood of Gaza City, stopped in at a rehabilitation center and met with UN workers.
- Ban Ki-moon held a press conference where he said the Israeli closure was choking the Gazans, destroying the Palestinian economy and delaying the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. He said the UN was familiar with the distress of the Gazans, who were being collectively punished, and that those responsible had to be held accountable (Ma'an, June 28, 2016).
The Rafah Crossing
- The Palestinian media reported that the Egyptian authorities would open the Rafah crossing for five days between June 29, 2016, and July 3, 2016 (Ma'an, June 27, 2016).
Mahmoud Abbas Gives a Speech in Brussels Claiming Israel Poisons Palestinian Water Sources
- On June 23, 2016, Mahmoud Abbas gave a belligerent speech before the EU parliament in Brussels attacking Israel, accusing it of inciting to violence and poisoning Palestinian water sources to kill Palestinians. He related to the following issues (Wafa, June 23, 2016):
- A political agreement: The Palestinians, according to Mahmoud Abbas, are in favor of a two-state solution and the establishment of a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders and east Jerusalem as its capital. The Palestinians do not object to minor territorial exchanges in the area near the border. The Palestinians want a solution for the issue of the refugees based on UN General Assembly Resolution 194, as noted in the Arab initiative. The Palestinians do not object to the presence of a third party along the border between the Palestinian state and Israel. Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the French initiative, saying the Palestinians expected it to lead to an international peace conference.
- Israel continually escalates its violence against the Palestinians: According to Mahmoud Abbas, the settlers impose terrorism, as evidenced by the burning of the Dawabsha family and Abu Khdeir. Senior Israeli "extremists" have gone so far that senior Israeli politicians have said Israel is fascist and racist.
- A general condemnation of terrorism, without specific reference to Palestinian terrorism: Mahmoud Abbas specifically condemned the terrorist attacks in Brussels and the United States. He said the Palestinians were against terrorism in all its forms and against all those behind it. However, he did to condemn terrorist attacks carried out by Palestinians, including the attack at the Sarona Market in the heart of Tel Aviv. He said that to end terrorism the Israeli occupation had to be ended, and a Palestinian state had to be established. Without fulfilling those two conditions, he said, he was sorry to note that terrorism would continue...
- Regarding the issue of incitement: According to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinians object to incitement, and they themselves are a target of Israeli incitement. He claimed Israel incited to the "collective murder" of the Palestinian people. As "proof" he raised the accusation, with anti-Semitic overtones, that Israel was poisoning Palestinian water sources "to kill Palestinians." "Just a week ago," he claimed, "a group of rabbis clearly demanded the Israeli government poison Palestinian water in order to kill them." "Was that not incitement," he asked. "Was it not clearly an incitement to collectively kill the Palestinian people?" The Palestinians, he claimed, opposed incitement.
Responses to Mahmoud Abbas' Speech
- In response, Benyamin Netanyahu said the following: "In Brussels Abu Mazen showed his true face. Someone who refuses to meet President Rivlin and Prime Minister Netanyahu for direct negotiations and spreads a blood libel in the European Parliament falsely claims that his hand is extended in peace. Israel awaits the day when Abu Mazen stops spreading lies and dealing in incitement. Until then, Israel will continue to defend itself against Palestinian incitement, which motivates acts of terrorism."
- In view of the storm of protest caused by Mahmoud Abbas' remarks, he withdrew his accusation about Israel's poisoning water sources. He said he had not meant to attack Judaism or the Jews. He claimed he rejected "Israel's remarks against him and against the Palestinian people about anti-Semitism and attacking Judaism." He added that he respected all religions but condemned Israel's illegal actions against the Palestinians (Wafa, June 25, 2016).
For further information about how Hamas directs and operates terrorist activities in Judea and Samaria, see the August 4, 2015 bulletin "Handling Hamas networks in Judea and Samaria from abroad as part of Hamas’s effort to carry out terrorist attacks against Israel," http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/article/20852
http://www.pmo.gov.il/English/MediaCenter/Speeches/Pages/speechTurkeytreaty270616.aspx, all quotations
As of June 28, 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.
While in Brussels, Mahmoud Abbas refused to meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
To minimize public diplomacy damage, the Palestinians deliberately deleted the remarks about poisoning water sources from the text of Mahmoud Abbas' speech (issued by the Palestinian news agency controlled by Mahmoud Abbas). An audio version of the speech was deliberately not posted to Mahmoud Abbas' official Facebook page, however the full version of the speech was posted to YouTube.