The room in Kiryat Arba where the girl was stabbed to death in her sleep (Ma'an, June 30, 2016).
Notice posted to Facebook by the Palestinian terrorist five days before he murdered a 13 year-old girl in her sleep. The Arabic reads, "Death is a right and I demand my right" (Facebook page of Muhammad Tarayrah, June 25, 2016)
The death notice issued by the Hamas movement in the Hebron district for the "shaheed of Palestine," Muhammad Nasr Tarayrah from Bani Na'im (Facebook page of the Hamas movement in the Hebron district, July 1, 2016)
Sarah Tarayrah (Facebook page of Gaza al-A'an, July 1, 2016)
The knife found in the terrorist's possession (Facebook page of Quds.net, July 1, 2016).
The house of Palestinian terrorist Issa Assaf (Facebook page of Palinfo, July 4, 2016).
Cement and other building materials enter the Gaza Strip from Egypt through the Rafah crossing (Dunia al-Watan, June 29, 2016). Upper right: The Gazan side of the Rafah crossing (Facebook page of the ministry of the interior, Gaza Strip, June 29, 2016).
- On June 30 and July 1, 2016, towards the end of the Muslim religious month of Ramadan, there was series ofstabbing and shooting attacks in which two Israelis were killed: a drive-by shooting attack on Route 60, south of Hebron (July 1); a stabbing attack in Kiryat Arba where a 13 year-old girl was murdered in her sleep (June 30); and two stabbing attacks in Hebron (June 30 and July 1)
- As in the previous wave of terrorist attacks, the Hebron region was the focal point for attacks and a base for attackers. Five days before the attack in Kiryat Arba on June 30, the Palestinian terrorist who carried it out posted a notice to his Facebook page hinting he planned a terrorist attack in which he would sacrifice himself. In response to the drive-by shooting attack on July 1, a closure was imposed on the entire Hebron region in order to apprehend the terrorist squad responsible.
- Additional details were recently made public about the shooting attack at the Sarona Market in the heart of Tel Aviv (June 8, 2016), where Palestinian terrorists killed four Israeli civilians. Investigation of the attack revealed it was inspired by ISIS, whose ideology influenced one of the terrorists during his studies in Jordan. The terrorists' initial intention was to carry out a shooting attack in a train, but because of security precautions at the station they changed their plans and took a taxi to Tel Aviv, arriving by chance at the Sarona Market commercial complex.
Shooting Attack in South Mt. Hebron
- On July 1, 2016, Palestinians carried out a drive-by shooting attack on Route 60, south of Hebron, targeting a family of Israeli civilians. The Israeli vehicle came under heavy fire. The attack killed the father and seriously wounded his wife and one of the two children in the car with him. IDF forces pursued the shooters, who were assumed to have fled to Hebron after the attack. The Israeli security forces imposed a closure on the entire Hebron region to apprehend the terrorists.
Thirteen Year-Old Girl Murdered in Kiryat Arba
- In the early morning hours of June 30, 2016, a Palestinian terrorist climbed over the security fence around the Givat Harsina outpost in Kiryat Arba, entered a house and stabbed a 13 year-old girl while she slept, mortally wounding her. The Kiryat Arba rapid response squad broke into the house, and the terrorist stabbed one of the squad members in the face, seriously wounding him. The terrorist was shot and killed.
- According to the Palestinian media, the terrorist was Muhammad Nasr Mahmoud Tarayrah, 19, from the village of Bani Na'im in South Mt. Hebron (Facebook page of Paldf, June 30, 2016). He worked in a candy store in Dura. The Hamas movement in the Hebron district issued a death notice for him (Facebook page of the Hamas movement in the Hebron district, July 1, 2016).
- Muhammad Tarayrah was a relative of the terrorist who carried out the vehicular attack at the entrance of Kiryat Arba in March 2016 and was shot and killed. According to his Facebook page he was apparently influenced by the deaths of Majd al-Khudour, from Bani Na'im, who carried out a vehicular attack on June 24, 2016 at the entrance of Kiryat Arba, and of his cousin, Yusef Walid Tarayrah, who was killed on March 14, 2016, while carrying out a terrorist attack at the entrance to Kiryat Arba. Five days before Muhammad Tarayrah carried out the attack he posted a notice to his Facebook page reading, "Death is a right, and I demand my right."
- After the attack Israeli security forces surrounded the town of Bani Na'im and searched the terrorist's house. They detained his father and sister and took them for interrogation. The Israeli government decided to revoke the Israeli work permits of all Tarayrah clan members.
Two Stabbing Attacks
- June 30, 2016 – A Palestinian armed with a large knife ran along a main street near an open market in the central Israeli city of Netanya, stabbing three Israeli civilians along the way. One of them was seriously wounded; the other two suffered minor injuries. An armed Israeli civilian shot and killed the terrorist. He was Wael Abu Saleh, 40, from the village of Shuweika, north of Tulkarm, in Israeli illegally.
- July 1, 2016 – A Palestinian woman went to an examination point at the entrance of the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, arousing the suspicions of the Israeli security forces stationed at the site. They stopped her and she took out a knife and tried to stab one of the female IDF soldiers examining her. The terrorist was shot and killed. She was Sarah Hajuj Daoud Ata Tarayrah,27, from the village of Bani Na'im.Sarah Hajuj Daoud Ata Tarayrah. She was related to Muhammad Tarayrah, the Palestinian terrorist who carried out the stabbing attack in Kiryat Arba on June 30. She was married and pregnant (Al-Quds, the Facebook page of Quds.net, the Facebook page of Gaza al-A'an, July 1, 2016).
Monthly Distribution of Terrorist Attacks in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem
Responses of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to the Wave of Terrorist Attacks
- At the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said "...We are using various means, including aggressive measures that we have not used in the past. This includes cordoning off the entire Hebron district, 700,000 people; revoking work permits from Bani Naim, the village six terrorists have come from; a massive reinforcement of our units, two brigades with emphasis on securing the roads; automatically investigating all family members of murderers and terrorists and their arrest as per their involvement; a special effort to strengthen the communities..."
- So far, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has not condemned the terrorist attacks. PA spokesman Yusef al-Mahmoud condemned the activities of the Israeli security forces in the Hebron district and called on the international community and international human rights organizations to intervene rapidly to force Israel to lift the closure of the district and end its "collective punishment, which is a war crime" (Wafa, July 2, 2016). Hamas spokesman Husam Badran called on the organizations to act in the face of "the crimes of the [so-called Israeli] occupation."
Houses of Palestinian Stabbers Destroyed
- Following the instructions of the Israeli political leadership, the Israeli security forces destroyed the houses of Palestinian terrorists Issa Yassin Yusuf Assaf and Anan Muhammad Saleh Abu Habsa in the Qalandia refugee camp. The two carried out a stabbing attack at the Jaffa Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem on December 23, 2015, killing one Israeli and wounding another. While the houses were being destroyed Palestinians rioted, throwing stones and concrete blocks at the Israeli security forces. The Israeli security forces responded with riot dispersal equipment and live gunfire; six Palestinians were wounded (IDF spokesman, July 4, 2016).
Hebron Governor's Entry Permit into Israel Revoked
- Kamel Hamid, governor of Hebron, paid a condolence call in Bani Na'im at the house of Muhammad Tarayrah, the Palestinian terrorist who stabbed a young girl in her sleep in Kiryat Arba. He also visited the house of the female terrorist who tried to stab IDF soldiers at the Cave of the Patriarchs. In response the Israeli coordinator for government activities in the territories revoked his VIP documents, which allowed him free entrance into Israel. Hamid claimed he had no special privileges and denied he had VIP documents (Facebook page of the Israeli coordinator for government activities in the territories and Ma'an, July 3, 2016).
Left: Kamel Hamid, governor of Hebron, pays a condolence call at the mourning tent set up in Bani Na'im by the family of Sarah Hajuj Tarayrah. Right: Kamel Hamid, pays a condolence call at the mourning tent set up in Bani Na'im by the family of Palestinian terrorist Muhammad Tarayrah (Facebook page of Kamel Hamid, July 2, 2016).
Update on the Terrorist Attack at the Sarona Market
- An indictment was recently handed down for the two Palestinian terrorists who carried out the shooting attack at the Sarona Market commercial complex in the heart of Tel Aviv on June 8, 2016, killing four Israeli civilians and wounding 41. The indictment included additional information about the planning of the attack and the terrorists (Israel Security Agency website, July 4, 2016):
- The attack was inspired by ISIS: One of the terrorists was influenced by ISIS ideology during his studies in Jordan. He returned to his home in the village of Yatta, near Hebron, in January 2016, and with a friend planned to carry out a terrorist attack. Although inspired by ISIS's ideology, neither of them had officially been recruited in the organization's ranks and had not received support or guidance from ISIS operatives. Another terrorist operative was involved in the attack, helping them by acquiring weapons. At the last minute the two terrorists prevented him from joining them because he owed money, and according to Islam a debtor may not become a shaheed.
- Preparations for the attack: The three terrorists began preparing for the attack in January 2016. Their first plan was to train passengers. To that end they gathered information about train schedules, routes, and station entrances and exits. They decided to attack a train going from Tel Aviv to Haifa. They purchased suits, watches, leather briefcases, shoes and glasses, as well as two improvised submachine guns which had been manufactured in their village. They also purchased rat poison to smear on knives to make stab wounds more lethal.
- Arrival at the target site: Their arrival at the Sarona Market commercial complex was a chance occurrence. They were infiltrated into Israeli territory by an accomplice who customarily illegally drove Palestinians through a hole in a fence in the South Mt. Hebron region. From there they went to a safe house in the Israeli village of Segev Shalom. Some hours later they went to Beersheba and planned to take the train from there. They changed their plans at the last minute because there was a security check at the entrance to the station. They took at taxi to Tel Aviv and got out near the Shalom train station in the center of Tel Aviv. They asked passersby where there were restaurants and coffee shops, and were directed to the Sarona Market.
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:
- July 5, 2016 – Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli vehicle north of Kiryat Arba. A woman was wounded, suffering facial injuries (Facebook page of Red Alert, date, 2016).
- July 4, 2016 – An IDF force engaged in a counterterrorism action seized three improvised weapons in Beit Fajjar in Mt. Hebron (IDF spokesman, July 5, 2016).
The guns found in Beit Fajjar (IDF spokesman, July 5, 2016).
- July 2, 2016 – Palestinians threw stones at Israeli vehicles in the region of Hawwara, south of Nablus. Palestinians threw stones at Israeli vehicles at the Yizhar Junction and at the light railway on the Shuafat line. There were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, July 2, 2016).
- July 2, 2016 – Palestinians gathered near the Nablus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem and threw stones at Israeli security forces (Facebook page of Red Alert, July 2, 2016).
- July 1, 2016 – Dozens of Palestinians gathered near the entrance to the Qalandia crossing and tried to push their way through while throwing stones at the Israeli security forces. A policeman was wounded. Taysir Muhammad Habash, 63, from Nablus was killed in the riot. His funeral was held in Nablus, attended by many local residents, including many Hamas supporters (Wafa and Palinfo, July 1, 2016).
- June 28, 2016 – Israeli security forces detained three terrorist squads from Beit Fajjar who carried out shooting attacks and threw Molotov cocktails at the nearby village of Migdal Oz (Facebook page of Red Alert, June 28, 2016).
Rocket Fire Attacking Israel
- On the evening of July 1, 2016, a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip into the western Negev. The rocket hit was identified in a children's activity center in the southern city of Sderot. A Salafist-jihadi network in the Gaza Strip calling itself "the Descendants of the Prophet in Greater Jerusalem" issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack. According to the statement, the attack was "successful" and the hit was "precise," part of the organization's ongoing jihad against the Jews. According to another statement, written in incorrect Hebrew, the "frightened Jews" had no security in Palestine and in the end [Israeli Defense Minister] Lieberman would fail (Haq, July 2, 2016).
Left: Threats in incorrect Hebrew. Right: The claim of responsibility issued by the "Descendants of the Prophet in Greater Jerusalem (Haq, July 2, 2016).
- In response to the rocket fire, Israeli Air Force aircraft attacked four Hamas targets in northern and central Gaza Strip. The Palestinian media reported that the planes attacked an Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades post in Beit Lahia, a metal-working shop and another post in the southern Gaza Strip. Four Palestinians were reported wounded (Twitter accounts of Filastin Online and Gaza al-A'an, July 2, 2016). A senior Hamas figure reported attacks on four targets in the Gaza Strip, with no casualties. The Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military-terrorist wing, condemned the so-called "Israeli escalation" and warned of reprisals. The Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades also instructed all the organizations to coordinate their activities and not respond independently (Ma'an, July 2, 2016).
The Rafah Crossing
- On June 29, 2016, Egypt opened the Rafah crossing (Alresala.net, July 2, 2016), the fourth time this year. The crossing remained open until Monday, July 4, but was closed on Friday. Hisham Adwan, the director of the Gazan side of the crossing, said that during the four days the crossing was open 2,250 Gazans left the Strip and 1,500 entered (Dunia al-Watan, July 4, 2016). Ismail Haniyeh, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, thanked Egypt for opening the crossing, saying Hamas appreciated the measure but wanted the crossing to stay open permanently (Al-Kofia Press, July 4, 2016).
Aid Arrives from Turkey for the Gaza Strip
- On July 1, 2016, the ship Lady Leyla received a festive send-off at the southern Turkish port of Mersin, sailing to the Israeli port of Ashdod. It was the first Turkish ship bringing aid to the Gaza Strip, part of the reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey. On July 3, 2016, the ship anchored in Ashdod. It had a cargo of 11 tons of humanitarian aid, including food (flour, sugar and rice), medicine, clothing and toys (Hurriyet, July 1, 2016). The cargo was taken for security inspection and then transferred to the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing. Turkey also said it would send a technical committee to the Gaza Strip to conduct initial research for an energy-saving project (Safa, July 4, 2016).
Left: The first truck carrying aid from Turkey for the Gaza Strip passes through the Kerem Shalom crossing (The crossings authority in the Israeli ministry of defense, July 4, 2016).Right: The Turkish aid ship, Lady Leyla (Facebook page of Gaza al-A'an, July 2, 2016).
- The reconciliation agreement Israel signed with Turkey is still being discussed by the Palestinians. Some of the responses were the following:
- Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee, said the agreement exposed local, regional and international strategic and economic considerations, among them gas in the Mediterranean Sea (Al-Kofia Press, June 30, 2016). Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Majdalani's remarks reflected the PA's desire to continue the siege of the Gaza Strip and prevent any genuine effort to end the Gazans' suffering. He said Hamas called on the PA to act to lift the siege instead of criticizing those who did (Khaber Press, July 2, 2016).
- Interviewed by an Iranian newspaper, Mahmoud al-Zahar, a member of Hamas' political bureau, said Hamas opposed the normalization of relations between Israel and Turkey despite its welcome of Turkey's efforts to reduce the siege. He said there was a difference between reducing the siege and lifting it completely (Sabah, June 29, 2016). On another occasion he said he was worried about the results of the agreement, because it included bringing merchandise to the Gaza Strip through the "occupied port of Ashdod" and then through the Erez crossing. He claimed Israel could create an "artificial crisis" that would lead to the closing of the port and the crossing and prevent merchandise from entering the Gaza Strip (Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, June 30, 2016).
The UN Secretary General Visits the Gaza Strip
- On June 28, 2016, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spent a few hours in the Gaza Strip. He held a press conference where he warned that the continuing closure, which he referred to as "collective punishment," increased the probability of renewed escalation. He thanked the donor countries for their aid in reconstructing the Gaza Strip. When he visited an UNRWA school, a map of "Palestine" from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea without showing Israel was covered, leading to harsh criticism in the Gaza Strip.
Left: Criticism of covering the map during Ban Ki-moon's visit. A photojournalist from Gaza Tweeted, "The entire world will fall in opposition to Palestine #Why_cover_it. Right: The map, before and after (Twitter account of Wael Abu Omar – Gaza, June 28, 2016).
Jihad Operative Killed in the Fighting in Syria
- The Ibn Taymiyyah Center, affiliated with the Salafist-jihadis in the Gaza Strip, said in a statement that Ali Hisham al-Saidani had died in an international coalition airstrike against ISIS in the region of Manbij, Syria. Ali al-Saidani was the son of Abu al-Walid al-Miqdasi (Hisham al-Saidani) one of the Salafist-jihadi leaders in the Gaza Strip, who was killed in a targeted killing in October 2012. Ali al-Saidani was photographed on September 11, 2010, at the time 11 years old, with his father as they prepared rockets (Haq, July 2, 2016).
The International Quartet Report and Palestinian Reactions
- On July 1, 2016, the International Quartet issued "a report on the situation on the ground focusing on major threats to achieving a negotiated peace and offering recommendations to advance the two-state solution" (Quartet Report 2016):
- Violence and incitement: According to the report, "continuing violence, recent acts of terrorism against Israelis, and incitement to violence are fundamentally incompatible with advancing a peaceful two-state solution..." On the one hand, "there have been over 250 attacks...by Palestinians against Israelis. At least 30 Israelis have been killed in stabbings, shootings, vehicular attacks and bombing." On the other, "Settler violence against Palestinians, including assaults, vandalism, and the destruction of property, remains a serious concern."
- Settlement expansion, land designations, and denial of Palestinian development: According to the report, "the continuing policy of settlement construction and expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, designation of land for exclusive Israeli use, and denial of Palestinian development, including the recent high rate of demolitions, is steadily eroding the viability of the two-state solution."
- The Gaza Strip and Palestinian Governance: According to the report, "the illicit arms buildup and militant activity by Hamas, the lack of control of Gaza by the Palestinian Authority, and the dire humanitarian situation, exacerbated by the closures of the crossings, feed instability and ultimately impede efforts to achieve a negotiated solution."
- The report makes a number of suggestions for coping with the issues mentioned. Among them are a call on Israel to "cease the policy of settlement construction and expansion, designating land for exclusive Israeli use, and denying Palestinian development." The PA "should act decisively and take all steps within its capacity to cease incitement to violence and strengthen ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, including by clearly condemning all acts of terrorism."
- Spokesmen for the PA and PLO strongly condemned the report, possibly because it tried to strike a balance between Israel and the PA. Some of the reactions were the following:
- The PLO's Executive Committee met, chaired by Mahmoud Abbas, and rejected the report's recommendation, claiming it was a "scandalous" deviation from international law and violated the Road Map, the Arab peace initiative and agreements that had already been signed. However, the committee did express its willingness to continue cooperating with the Quartet, but only on the basis of what had previously been outlined (Wafa, July 4, 2016).
- PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said the report did not mention an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders or the cessation of construction in the settlements. He said the report was in violation of international law and as long as it did not relate to those issues, it would lead to tension and regional destabilization (Wafa, July 2, 2016).
- Riyad al-Maliki, foreign minister in the Palestinian national unity government, condemned the report, claiming it was biased towards the Israel. He claimed the report was the essence of the American position supporting Israel. He called on the Quartet to "correct" the report immediately.
- Saeb Erekat, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee, said the report did not fulfill the expectations of the Palestinian people, who lived under [Israeli] occupation. He called on the international community to support the French and Arab initiatives. Interviewed by Al-Jazeera, he said that if the objective of the report was to have the Palestinian people accept the current situation, it was inappropriate. He said the PA demanded a date for holding a peace conference (Al-Jazeera, July 4, 2016).
Hamas Praise for the Shooting Attack in Hassan al-Banna
- After the shooting attack in South Mt. Hebron, where a father of ten was killed and his wife and two of his children were wounded, Hamas issued a series of notices supporting of the attack and calling for more. Examples are the following:
Left: A notice from Hamas' Islamic Block faction at Al-Quds University. The Arabic reads, "This is the pure weapon...the weapon of the resistance. The death of a settler and the wounding of three others in a shooting attack at a car near Hebron Facebook page of the Islamic Bloc at Al-Quds University, July 1, 2016). Right: A notice for Ramadan. The Arabic reads, "The attack in Hebron in retaliation for the death of the [Palestinian] woman at the Cave of the Patriarchs" (Facebook page of Palinfo, July 1, 2016).
A notice posted by Hamas in Nablus. The Arabic reads, "Set [the car] on fire, oh son of Hebron. Set it on fire and bring pain to your enemy" (Facebook page of Hamas in Nablus, July 2, 2016).
As of July 5, 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.
The Quartet is an international body established in Madrid in 2002. Its members are the United States, the European Union, the UN and Russia. It is accepted by both sides, Palestinian and Israeli, to oversee a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict according to the Road Map (2003).