Hamas operatives burn a coffin decorated with an Israel flag and pictures of Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. It occurred during a protest demonstration in the central Gaza Strip motivated by the rising tension between the PA and Hamas.
Palestinian terrorist Jamil al-Tamimi, who carried out the attack (al-Masdar News, April 16, 2017).
The knife used by Jamil al-Tamimi to stab and kill British student Hannah Bladon (Israel Police Force, April 14, 2017).
The scene of the stabbing attack in Jerusalem (Twitter account of Palinfo, April 14, 2017).
Knife and stun grenade found in the possession of a terrorist at the Qalandia crossing (Facebook page of Red Alert, April 13, 2017).
Hamas praise for Malik Hamed, the terrorist who carried out the vehicular attack.
Pictures from the scene of the vehicular attack at the junction near the entrance of the community of Ofra (Twitter account of Palinfo, April 6, 2017).
The knife found in the schoolbag of a Palestinian boy near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron (Twitter account of Palinfo, April 6, 2017).
Anas Musa Abu Shawish, killed in a Hamas tunnel collapse in the Gaza Strip (Twitter account of Palinfo, April 18, 2017).
Terrorist Attacks and Attempted Terrorists Attacks
- Vehicular attack in Gush Etzion (April 19, 2017) –According to the preliminary report, a Palestinian driver rammed into a 60 year-old man as he got off a bus in Gush Etzion, wounding him. An IDF force on the scene shot and fatally wounded the terrorist, who was declared DOA at an Israeli hospital. A knife was found in his vehicle, indicating that he may have been planning to carry out a combined vehicular-stabbing attack (Ynet, April 19, 2017).
- Fatal stabbing attack in Jerusalem (April 14, 2017) – On the afternoon of April 14, 2017, a Palestinian terrorist stabbed a female passenger on the light railway near IDF Square in Jerusalem, fatally wounding her. She was evacuated to a hospital and declared DOA. She was Hannah Bladon, 21, a British exchange student from Birmingham University, studying at the Hebrew University. The Palestinian terrorist was Jamil al-Tamimi, 57, from Ras al-Amoud in east Jerusalem. In recent months he had been hospitalized in a psychiatric facility, where he tried to commit suicide. In 2011 he was convicted of committing indecent acts on a female member of his family and imprisoned (Ynet and the Facebook page of Red Alert, April 14, 2017).
- The PA-affiliated media provided laconic coverage without interpretation. The Wafa news agency reported that based on Israeli sources, a Palestinian civilian had been detained on the claim that he stabbed a foreign tourist on the light railway, and that it later became apparent he was mentally disturbed (Wafa, April 14, 2017). The PA organ al-Hayat al-Jadeeda's report was based on the AFP account. Its headline read, "Student with dual British-Israeli citizenship stabbed to death in occupied Jerusalem" (al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, April 15, 2017). No response to the attack from Mahmoud Abbas, senior Palestinian figures or Hamas has been found.
- Stabbing attack prevented at Qalandia crossing (April 10, 2017) – On the eve of Passover the Israeli security forces prevented a terrorist attack when a Palestinian terrorist armed with a knife and a stun grenade went to the Qalandia crossing in order to enter Israel. He planned to carry out the attack with another terrorist who apparently changed his mind and instead gave himself up to the Israeli security forces (Facebook page of Red Alert, April 13, 2017).
- Fatal vehicular attack in Ofra (April 6, 2017) – A Palestinian driving a car used his vehicle to attack IDF soldiers standing at the bus stop at the Ofra Junction (north of Ramallah). He rammed into them, killing IDF soldier Elhi Taharlev, and wounding another soldier. Investigation revealed that the terrorist had driven along the road a number of times looking for soldiers to attack. He drove to the Tapuah Junction and then back to Ofra, where he saw a group of IDF soldiers standing at the bus stop, made a U-turn and drove straight at them.
- The Palestinian media reported that the terrorist was Malik Ahmed Musa Hamed, 21, from the village of Silwad, northeast of Ramallah. He incurred minor wounds. According to reports, he had been detained two years ago while trying to infiltrate the community of Adam (Twitter account of Palinfo, April 6, 2017).
- The PA's and Fatah-affiliated Facebook pages posted a selection of pictures from the scene of the attack and reported that Malik Hamed was detained by the Israeli security forces who alleged he had carried out a vehicular attack (Facebook pages of Wafa and the PA, April 6, 2017). Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) praised the attack and said they hoped for more such attacks, emphasizing that the intifada continued (Twitter account of Palinfo, April 2, 2017).
- Shooting attack at military post (April 6, 2017) – Palestinians attacked an IDF post in a drive-by shooting near the community of Psagot (east of Ramallah). No casualties were reported.
Riots, Clashes and Popular Terrorism
- In the meantime, demonstrations, clashes and riots continued. The more prominent occurrences were the following:
- April 17, 2017 – Two Palestinians were detained near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. A knife and brass knuckles were found in their possession. They were taken for interrogation (Facebook page of Red Alert, April 17, 2017).
- April 17, 2017 – Palestinians threw stones at Israeli vehicles on Route 443 (between Jerusalem and Modi'in) near the village of Bayt Ur al-Tahta. No casualties were reported (Facebook page of Red Alert, April 17, 2017).
- April 16, 2017 – Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli vehicle on the road between Kiryat Arba and the Cave of the Patriarchs. The vehicle was damaged (Facebook page of Red Alert, April 16, 2017).
- April 15, 2017 – The Israeli security forces detained a 20 year-old Palestinian man from east Jerusalem who went to the Shuafat crossing. Examination revealed he had a knife, a can of pepper spray and handcuff keys in his possession. He was detained and turned over to the Israeli security forces for interrogation (Facebook page of Red Alert, April 15, 2017).
- April 14, 2017 – A Palestinian threw a Molotov cocktail at Israeli vehicles on Route 60 near the village of al-Khader (south of Bethlehem). No casualties were reported (Facebook page of Red Alert, April 14, 2017).
- April 14, 2017 – The Israeli security forces detained a Palestinian near Nebi Saleh (north of Ramallah). He had a knife hidden inside a jacket in the trunk of his car. He was detained and taken for interrogation (Facebook page of Red Alert, April 14, 2017).
- April 6, 2017 – Examination of a boy's schoolbag by Israeli security forces near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron revealed a kitchen knife among the books and notebooks (Facebook page of Red Alert, April 6, 2017).
Rocket Fire from the Sinai Peninsula into Israeli Territory
- On April 10, 2017 a rocket was launched from the Sinai Peninsula into the western Negev. It hit a local greenhouse, causing damage. ISIS used its affiliated Amaq news agency to claim responsibility for launching a Grad rocket. According to the claim, "The fighters of the Islamic State fired a Grad rocket at the settlements in the Jewish Eshkol area in southern Palestine" (Amaq, April 10, 2017).
Left: ISIS's claim of responsibility for the Grad rocket fire (Amaq, April 10, 2017). Right: The Grad fired from the Sinai Peninsula that fell in a hothouse in the western Negev (Ma'an, April 10, 2017).
Rocket Fire Attacking Israel
Tensions Increase between the PA and Hamas
- Following the increased tensions Hamas held protest demonstrations throughout the Gaza Strip, accusing Mahmoud Abbas of responsibility for the siege of Gaza. Demonstrators burned pictures of Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian national consensus government Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (Twitter account of Palinfo, April 17 and 18, 2017). Hamas also published a cartoon on one of its Twitter accounts showing the Gaza Strip as a bomb waiting to be detonated (Twitter account of Palinfo, April 19, 2017).
Left: The Gaza Strip is a bomb waiting to be detonated. Right: Protestors burn pictures of Mahmoud Abbas in a demonstration in the central Gaza Strip (Twitter account of Palinfo, April 19, 2017).
Hamas Terrorist Operative Killed in Tunnel Collapse
- The Palestinian media reported that a Hamas terrorist operative was killed on the morning of April 17,2017, when a "resistance tunnel" collapsed. He was Anas Musa Abu Shawish, 20, from the al-Tufakh neighborhood in the eastern part of Gaza City. The Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, held a funeral for him on April 17, 2017, attended by terrorist operatives (Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades website and the Palinfo Twitter account, April 17 and 18, 2017).
Palestinian Prisoners' Day
- Every year the Palestinians mark Palestinian Prisoners' Day on April 17. This year rallies and marches were held throughout Judea and Samaria in support of Palestinian prisoners, with the participation of senior PA and Fatah figures. Palestinian Prisoners' Day events, attended by several thousand people, passed without exceptional event both inside and outside the prisons.
- Mahmoud Abbas praised the "heroic prisoners in Israeli jails for Palestinian Prisoners' Day." He said efforts were continuing to bring about their release. He called in the international community to intervene urgently to save the lives of the prisoners who began hunger strikes on April 17, 2017 (Wafa, April 17, 2017).
- In the Gaza Strip, Hamas and the PIJ held a number of rallies for Palestinian Prisoners' Day. At one rally senior Hamas figure Ismail Radwan said that the issue of the Palestinian prisoners was at the top of Hamas' priority list, and claimed Israel would surrender to its demands and make a prisoner exchange deal (Twitter account of Gaza al-A'an, April 17, 2017)
Palestinian Security Prisoners Began Hunger Strike
- This year Palestinian Prisoners' Day was exploited to launch a hunger strike of the Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails. So far 1187 prisoners are striking, the majority of them from Fatah, led by Marwan Barghouti (Hamas prisoners in only one jail joined the strike). The strikers presented 13 demands. The first was the installation of public telephones for security prisoners in every wing of every prison. The second dealt with the issue of visits.
- The prisoners demands were, among others, the following: visits every two weeks that no one can cancel, and that visits be doubled from the current 45 minutes to an hour and a half. Regarding medical issues, they demanded the closing of the infirmary in the Ayalon jail, periodical medical examinations, employment of medical specialists and the release of prisoners whose health has deteriorated. Other demands included a greater variety of television channels, air conditioning, receipt of books and newspapers from visitors, and a renewal of studies at the Hebrew University and the Open University (Ma'an and Ynet, April 17, 2017).
- Marwan Barghouti, the leader of the hunger strike, was transferred to solitary confinement after he wrote an article that was published in the New York Times on April 16, 2017. He wrote, "After exhausting all other options, I decided there was no choice but to resist these abuses by going on a hunger strike...Hunger striking is the most peaceful form of resistance available. It inflicts pain solely on those who participate and on their loved ones, in the hopes that their empty stomachs and their sacrifice will help the message resonate beyond the confines of their dark cells." The article led to a storm of negative reactions in Israel, especially since nowhere was it mentioned that Barghouti was in prison because he had been convicted of murder. That led the Times to make the following clarification on April 18, 2017: "This article explained the writer’s prison sentence but neglected to provide sufficient context by stating the offenses of which he was convicted. They were five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization..." (ITIC emphasis) (New York Times website, April 16 and 18, 2017).
Left: #strike_of_honor, nickname for the Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike (Twitter account of Palinfo, April 18, 2017). Right: Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah at the protest tent erected for the sake to Palestinian prisoners (Wafa, April 18, 2017).
Mahmoud Abbas' Upcoming Visit to the United States
- Azzam al-Ahmed, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, said that on May 3, 2017, Mahmoud Abbas was supposed to meet President Trump at the White House. However, a senior Palestinian source claimed no definite date had been set for the meeting. Husam Zomlot, PA ambassador to Washington, said Trump was expected to set a date for the meeting with Mahmoud Abbas according to his schedule.
- According to the Palestinian daily paper al-Quds, a high-ranking Palestinian delegation headed by Saeb Erekat, secretary of the PLO's Executive Committee, and Majid Faraj, head of general intelligence, was expected to pay a visit to the United States between April 23 and 29, 2017. The delegation will meet with Jason Greenblatt, the president's advisor for international negotiations, and his team to make preparations for Mahmoud Abbas' visit and present topics to be discussed at the meeting (al-Quds, April 17, 2017).
Student Council Elections at al-Najah University in Nablus
- On April 18, 2017, elections were held for the student council at al-Najah University in Nablus. Fatah's Shabiba faction won a majority 41 of the 81 council seats. Hamas won 34, and the remaining six were divided among the so-called "leftist factions" (of which the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine won three). Hamas' student faction increased its representation by one seat, having won 33 in the 2013 elections, and Fatah lost two of its previous 43 seats (aljazeera.net, April 18, 2017).
A significant attack is defined by the ITIC as involving shooting, stabbing, a vehicle, the use of IEDs, or a combination of the above. Stones and Molotov cocktails thrown by Palestinians are not included.
The statistics do not include mortar shell fire or rockets which misfired and fell inside the Gaza Strip.