Palestinians throw stones at Israeli vehicles as a manifestation of popular terrorism.
An Israeli policeman holds the screwdriver used in the attempted attack (Facebook page of alresala.net, November 9, 2016).
Muhammad Omar al-Jalad (Facebook page of Bethlehem al-Hadath, November 9, 2016).
Palestinians clash with IDF forces near the border security fence (Facebook page of QudsN, November 11, 2016).
Palestinians carry Fatah flags on their way to confront IDF soldiers.
From Hamas' Facebook page. The Arabic reads, "The call of the muezzin will not be silenced. Allahu akbar. Allahu akbar. The Israeli law to prevent public address systems in mosques" (Facebook page of Safa, November 15, 2016)
Operatives of the Palestinian national security forces help rebuild the house of Palestinian terrorist Ahmed Zakarna in the town of Qabatiya (Facebook page of Jenin al-Hadath, November 8, 2016)
- On November 9, 2016, a Palestinian went to the Hawwara Junction (near Nablus) with a screwdriver which he used to try to stab an IDF soldier. He was shot and critically wounded by the Israeli security forces, and evacuated to a hospital. The Palestinian media reported he was Muhammad Omar al-Jalad, 24, from Tulkarm (Wafa, November 9, 2016).
Detention of Palestinians Suspected of Involvement in Terrorism
- During September and October 2016 the Israeli security forces detained eight Palestinians from Samaria. They were suspected of involvement in terrorist activity against IDF forces in Samaria and of planning to carry out terrorist attacks in Israel. The investigation also revealed that a Palestinian from the Bab al-Hata neighborhood of east Jerusalem planned to smuggle two kilograms (about 4.4 pounds) of gunpowder into Jerusalem to manufacture pipe bombs. The detention of the terrorist squad led the Israeli security forces to a location used for the manufacture of IEDs, and the seizure of about 120 kilograms (about 265 pounds) of raw materials used to manufacture weapons (Israel Security Agency, November 10, 2016).
Riots, Clashes and Popular Terrorism
- This past week acts of popular terrorism continued. Palestinians threw stones at Israeli cars and buses in Judea and Samaria. Two Israelis were wounded. In some instances vehicles were damaged. Palestinians detonated an IED to attack IDF forces and threw Molotov cocktails.
- The more prominent events were the following:
- November 14, 2016 – Palestinians used an IED to attack an IDF force in the region of al-Khader (near Efrat in Gush Etzion). There were no casualties. A search was instituted to find the attackers (Facebook page of Red Alert, November 14, 2016).
- November 14, 2016 – Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli bus near Pisgat Ze'ev in Jerusalem. There were no casualties. The front windshield of the bus was damaged (Facebook page of Red Alert, November 14, 2016).
- November 12, 2016 – On the night of November 12, 2016, five ultra-Orthodox Jews entered Nablus without authorization to pray at the Tomb of Joseph. They were apprehended by Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces and turned over to the Israeli security forces. According to their driver, they were shot at by Palestinians and he drove away towards Jerusalem. There were no casualties; the vehicle was damaged. They will be prosecuted (Spokesman for the Judea and Samaria police district, November 13, 2016).
- November 12, 2016 – Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli bus near Ofra, wounding the driver (Judea and Samaria Rescue, November 12, 2016).
- November 10, 2016 – Palestinians threw four Molotov cocktails at the community of Beit El, causing a fire (Twitter account of Paldf, November 10, 2016).
- November 10, 2016 – The Israeli security forces detained about 20 Palestinians from Judea and Samaria. During the detentions weapons were seized (Facebook page of Red Alert, November 10, 2016).
- November 9, 2016 – Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli bus on the Gush Etzion-Hebron road near Bayt Ummar. There were no casualties. The bus was damaged (Facebook page of Red Alert, November 9, 2016).
- November 9, 2016 – Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli vehicle near the village of Husan (west of Bethlehem). There were no casualties. The vehicle was damaged.
- November 6, 2016 – Palestinians threw stones at vehicles on the Gush Etzion-Hebron road near Halhul. An Israeli was wounded. IDF forces searched the area for the attackers (Facebook page of Red Alert, November 6, 2016).
Terrorist Attacks Carried Out in October 2016
- According to an Israel Security Agency report there was an increase in terrorist attacks in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem during October 2016. There was a total of 151 attacks, up from 104 in September 2016. In Judea and Samaria Palestinians carried out 103 attacks and 48 in Jerusalem. Most of the attacks (121) involved Molotov cocktails, 19 involved IEDs, eight were shooting attacks using light arms, two were vehicular attacks and one was a stabbing attack. The attacks killed two Israelis and wounded 23, ten of them security force personnel. Prominent was a combined shooting-stabbing attack in Jerusalem on October 9, tea, in which two Israelis were killed (Note: Israel Security Agency data do not include instances of stone-throwing).
Rocket Fire Attacking Israel
- This past week no rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory.
Clashes at the Border Security Fence
- On November 11, 2016, Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces near the border security fence east of the al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Some of the Palestinians carried Fatah flags. About five Palestinians were injured (Facebook page of QudsN, November 11, 2016).
Opening the Rafah Crossing and Strengthening Economic Relations with Egypt
- On November 14, 2016, the Egyptians authorized the opening of the Rafah crossing in both directions. It will remain open for five days (Website of the ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip, November 14, 2016). Opening the crossing is apparently a manifestation of recent Egyptian policy to ease the situation in the Gaza Strip.
- The opening of the Rafah crossing may be linked to recommendations made at a recent economic conference held at a resort in Ain Sokhna, Egypt, which dealt with strengthening and improving economic ties between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. A Palestinian delegation also participated. According to Osama Kahil, spokesman for the Palestinian government, improvement in economic relations between Egypt and the Palestinians will be accomplished in stages. During the first stage, which will last from between one to three months, the Egypt government will facilitate passage through the Rafah crossing and make it easier to import and export merchandise and raw materials. According to Egyptian sources, acting on recommendations from the recent economic conference, Egypt approved, in principle, the establishment of a trade zone along the Egyptian-Gaza Strip border (al-Akhbar, November 14, 2016).
Statement Made by Khaled Mashaal
- Khaled Mashaal, head of Hamas' political bureau, in a speech delivered via video to participants at the 11th International Forum of Youth for Jerusalem held in Istanbul, stressed the importance of Jerusalem. He said Jerusalem was the Palestinians' top priority and their most important symbol. He accused Israel of trying to link Jerusalem to Zionism, but of having failed. He said that defending al-Aqsa mosque was not only the responsibility of the Palestinians, but of the entire Islamic nation, and that the only way to defend Jerusalem was through jihad, intifada and the end of the internal Palestinian schism (al-Jazeera, November 13, 2016).
Hamas Activity against Salafist-Jihadists in the Gaza Strip
- On November 11, 2016, Hamas security forces in the Gaza Strip operating in the al-Shati refugee camp detained seven Salafist-jihadists operatives affiliated with ISIS. They were detained after they were exposed as planning to fire rockets into Israeli territory (al-Alam, November 12, 2016). Salafists in the Gaza Strip continue criticizing the increased detention of their operatives by Hamas. They claim Hamas is holding and torturing Salafist 40 operatives.
- In the meantime, according to reports, Bilal Ali al-Ghafari from the Gaza Strip was killed fighting in the ranks of ISIS in Mosul (Watan24, November 11, 2016). He was the son of Sheikh Ali al-Ghafari, head of the al-da'wah wal-tablir faction in the Gaza Strip, affiliated with the Salafists. The Sheikh is a prominent preacher in the Gaza Strip and enjoys good relations with Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) (Paldf forum, November 11, 2016). Several years ago Bilal al-Ghafari published a book called The Duty of Immigration [i.e., hegira] (Ma'an and PNN November 11, 2016).
Left: Sheikh Ali al-Ghafari, Bilal al-Ghafari's father (right) and Ismail Haniyeh. Right: Bilal Ali al-Ghafari, a fighter in the ranks of ISIS in Iraq (Paldf forum, November 11, 2016).
Marking the Anniversary of Operation Pillar of Defense
- Palestinians in the Gaza Strip marked the fourth anniversary of the death of Ahmed al-Ja'abari, head of Hamas' military-terrorist wing, and Operation Pillar of Defense, which began after he was killed. Hamas issued a formal statement to the effect that the "resistance" and the "armed struggle" [i.e., terrorism and violence] would continue as long as Israel occupied Palestinian lands (Hamas website, November 14, 2016). The Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, issued a statement claiming they continued forging ahead, becoming stronger and developing in every field, including the manufacture of weapons. The statement also mentioned that the long-range M75 rocket was first used in Operation Protective Edge, July-August 2014 (Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades website, November 14, 2016).
- Musheir al-Masri, a senior Hamas figure, gave a speech at a military display held in memory of Ahmed al-Ja'abari. He claimed Hamas had thousands of rockets that could reach Tel Aviv and targets even more distant. He claimed Hamas did not want a new military confrontation, but if one were forced on Hamas it would respond with force, firing rockets ad Tel Aviv and Haifa as it had during Operation Pillar of Defense (al-Aqsa TV, November 14, 2016).
Marking the Anniversary of the Yasser Arafat's Death
- Palestinians in Judea and Samaria marked the 12th anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat with a series of ceremonies. Mahmoud Abbas officially dedicated the museum of "The shaheed and hero Yasser Arafat" with the current secretary general of the Arab League and two former secretary generals in attendance. He said the museum was meant to preserve the legacy of Arafat's struggle. He said the Palestinians would continue to adhere to their national principles as defined by the Palestinian National Council in 1988. They would continue to defend their rights and holy places, and chalk up achievements on their way to the establishment of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital (Shasha News, November 9, 2016).
Left: Museum model of Yasser Arafat's room. Right: Mahmoud Abbas officially dedicates the Yasser Arafat museum in Ramallah (Wafa, November 10, 2016).
The Seventh Fatah Conference
- A meeting of Fatah's Central Committee in Ramallah voted to hold the seventh Fatah conference on November 29, 2016. It will be held in the Muqata'a in Ramallah and chaired by Mahmoud Abbas, last two days and be attended by 1,300 activists from Judea, Samaria, the Gaza Strip and abroad (Wafa and Dunia al-Watan, November 8, 2016). Sources within Fatah estimate that about 350 activists from the Gaza Strip will be in attendance (Ma'an, November 14, 2016).
- Nabil Shaath, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, said that in preparation for the conference a committee had been appointed to formulate the movement's political platform. Its members are prominent Fatah figures, members of the Central Committee, the Revolutionary Council and the Advisory Council. He said the struggle against Israel would be conducted in two ways: through the "popular struggle" and a firm stance in the PA territories, and by exerting international pressure to isolate Israel and impose an economic boycott on it (al-Quds, November 14, 2016).
Reaction to the Muezzin Law in Israel
- On November 13, 2016, the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation authorized a proposal for a law outlawing the use of public address systems in places of worship to prevent excessive noise. If the law is passed it will prevent the muezzins in the mosques from using public address systems to call the faithful to prayer. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu supports the law.
- The proposal led to a wave of reactions from the Palestinians, who represented it as a blow to freedom of worship. A campaign was launched under the hashtag "muezzins will not be silenced." Some of the reactions were the following:
- Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, warned Israel not to pass the law. He claimed such actions were completely forbidden and that the Palestinian leadership would appeal to the Security Council and all the international agencies to stop Israel's "escalation" (Wafa, November 14, 2016).
- Yusuf Ideis, minister of the waqf and religious affairs, condemned the proposal and called it racist and a violation of religious freedom. He claimed it crossed political lines and could lead to the outbreak of a regional religious war. He called on the international community, the Arab-Islamic nation and the international agencies to force Israel immediately to retract the proposal, which he called "extremist and irresponsible," and to stop harming the Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem (Wafa, November 13, 2016).
- The PLO's department of international relations condemned the proposal, claiming it was proof of the level of extremism reached by the Israeli government. It called on the international community and all the international human rights and religious freedom agencies to intervene as soon as possible (Ma'an, November 14, 2016).
- Hamas issued a statement warning of the consequences of the proposal and demanding the international community and human rights agencies intervene to stop aggression against mosques (al-Anadolu News, November 14, 2016). Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua said the proposal was a dangerous development and part of a program for change that would erase the Muslim identity of Jerusalem. He called it crude aggression against Muslim sentiments and unacceptable intervention in religious worship and customs.
Commemorating Terrorists and Rebuilding Their Houses
- On November 8, 2016, various Palestinian Facebook pages posted pictures of a memorial built for Dhiaa Abd al-Halim al-Talahma, a PIJ terrorist operative from the village of Harsa (southwest of Hebron). He was killed in the Hebron region on September 22, 2015, while attempting to attack an IDF force with a hand grenade (Facebook page of Dura-al-Khalil, November 8, 2016). It is unknown who financed the memorial.
- The social networks recently posted pictures of Palestinian national security force operatives helping rebuild the house of Ahmed Zakarna in the town of Qabatiya, south of Jenin (Facebook page of Jenin al-Hadath, November 8, 2016). On February 3, 2016, Ahmed Zakarna and two friends (Muhammad Kamil and Ahmed Abu Alrab) carried out a combined shooting attack near the Nablus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, killing Border Policewoman Hadar Cohen. His house was razed by IDF forces in April 2016.
According to the Israel Security Agency website
For further information, see the November 3, 2016 bulletin "Analysis of the modus operandi of the shooting attack carried out from a driving car in Jerusalem, and of the perpetrator’s profile, shows unique characteristics."
The statistics do not include mortar shell fire or rockets which misfired and fell inside the Gaza Strip.
A report in Hamas' al-Resalah magazine entitled "Varied Egyptian goals at the economic conference in Ain el-Sokhna" noted the beginning of a change for the better in Egypt's policies towards the Gaza Strip, especially regarding the participation of two delegations from the Gaza Strip attending economic conferences in Egypt during the past two weeks. According to the report, the conferences raised hopes for many Gazans regarding the improvement the Gaza Strip economy after many years of blockade.