The scene of the vehicular attack near the Arab village of Teqo'a, southeast of Bethlehem (Facebook page of QudsN, July 10, 2017).
Muhammad Ibrahim Jibrin, 23, from Teqo'a (Facebook page of QudsN, July 10, 2017).
Windshield of Israeli vehicle damaged by a stone near the village of Nebi Elias, east of Qalqilya (Facebook page of QudsN, July 10, 2017).
Demonstration near the IDF's Nahal Oz post (Facebook page of the Gaza Now website, July 6, date, 2017).
Ismail Haniyeh delivers a speech in Gaza City (Facebook page of the Shehab news agency, July 5, 2017).
Ismail Haniyeh visits the mourning tent erected in Gaza City for the Egyptian soldiers killed in the terrorist attack (Palinfo Twitter account, July 8, 2017).
Hamas delegation pays a visit. Left to right: Suheib(?), Khalil al-Haya, Yasser Musa, Mahmoud Mardawi, Fawzi Barhoum (Hamas movement website, July 9, 2017).
The opening of the summer camp in the western part of Gaza City (Siraj Lili'am, July 9, 2017).
- This past week terrorist events focused on the combined vehicular-stabbing attack at the entrance to the village of Teqo'a(southeast of Bethlehem). The terrorist was shot and killed. An IDF soldier was wounded. Demonstrations and riots continued throughout Judea and Samaria. The Gaza Strip border was relatively quiet.
- On July 7, 2017, operatives of ISIS's Sinai Province carried out a large-scale attack on an Egyptian security forces' checkpoint in the village of el-Barth, southeast of Rafah. A car bomb was detonated, killing 23 Egyptian soldiers and wounding 33. Three of the ISIS operatives were from the Gaza Strip (reportedly, at least two of them were formerly operatives in Hamas' military-terrorist wing).
- According to accounts in the Egyptian press, the operatives who participated in the attack in Rafah entered the Sinai Peninsula through tunnels from the Gaza Strip. Hamas, which is attempting to effect a rapprochement with Egypt, rushed to condemn the attack and insisted the movement had no part in it.
- Combined vehicular-stabbing attack: On July 9, 2017, a Palestinian drove out of the village of Teqo'a (southeast of Bethlehem). Near the exit he increased his speed and raced towards a group of IDF soldiers changing shifts at the guard house at the entrance to the village. He hit and wounded one of the soldiers. He then drove into a railing, exited the vehicle holding a knife and tried to stab the soldiers. He was shot and killed.
- The Palestinian media reported he was Muhammad Ibrahim Jibrin, 23, from Teqo'a. The Fatah movement in Teqo'a issued a death notice for him (Facebook page of QudsN, July 10, 2017).
Riots, Clashes and Popular Terrorism
- This past week demonstrations, clashes and riots continued throughout Judea and Samaria, primarily involving the throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails. The more prominent occurrences were the following:
- July 8, 2017 – Palestinians threw stones at a bus passing Adam Square in the Benyamin region (north of Jerusalem). There were no casualties. The windshield of the bus was damaged. (Facebook page of Red Alert, July 8, 2017).
- July 7, 2017 – Palestinians threw stones at Israeli security forces in Hebron. There were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, July 7, 2017).
- July 7, 2017 – Palestinians threw stones at Israeli security forces in the village of Qadoum, injuring one Border Policeman (Facebook page of Red Alert, July 7, 2017).
- July 7, 2017 – A number of pipe bombs were thrown at Israeli security forces in the village of Jilazoun, near Ramallah. There were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, July 7, 2017).
- July 6, 2017 – During a riot near the Nablus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem a Palestinian threw a chair at a Border Policeman, injuring him. The Palestinian was detained (Facebook page of Red Alert, July 6, 2017).
- July 5, 2017 – Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli civilian in Silwan, east Jerusalem. Israeli policemen and Border Policemen arriving at the scene were also attacked with stones. A Border Policeman and civilian were injured (Facebook page of Red Alert, July 5, 2017).
Rocket Fire Attacking Israel
- This past week no rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory.
Hamas-Instigated Demonstrations along the Israel-Gaza Strip Border
- This past week Hamas-instigated protests continued along the Gaza Strip border. Several hundred Palestinians participated in demonstrations held simultaneously at a number of locations. The Palestinian media reported that two demonstrators, one of them a photographer, were wounded by IDF fire (Filastin al-Yawm, July 7, 2017).
The Humanitarian Crisis
- The Gazan energy authority announced that deliveries of fuel from Egypt for the Gaza Strip power plant had stopped. According to the announcement, the currency authority, which is under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority (PA), exerted pressure on Palestinian banks not to transfer funds to Egypt to pay for the fuel.
- Two of the plant's generators were shut down (Dunia al-Watan, July 8, 2017). As a result, during the past few days electricity was supplied for between an hour and a half and two hours a day. Hamas looked for ways to transfer the funds so that the power plant could function again. After two days the Egyptians reopened the Rafah crossing and renewed the supply of fuel to the Gaza Strip (Safa, July 9, 2017).
- Public figures in the Gaza Strip accused the PA of responsibility for the situation:
- Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said the PA's efforts to keep Egyptian fuel from reaching the power plant were a continuation of Mahmoud Abbas' policy of the "collective punishment" of the Gaza Strip. He said the fact that Mahmoud Abbas seeks to undermine Hamas' understandings with Egypt proves he is prepared to harm the Palestinian people in order to achieve his personal goals (alresalah.net, July 8, 2017).
- Senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) figure Khaled al-Batash said Mahmoud Abbas and Rami Hamdallah (prime minister of the Palestinian national consensus government) were responsible for the medical conditions in the Gaza Strip. He said the responsibility was national and humanitarian, and more important that any political dispute (al-Ra'i, July 10, 2017).
- During its weekly meeting, the Palestinian national consensus government strongly accused Israel of responsibility for the hardships of the Palestinian people, which were the result of the eleven-year Israeli "siege" of the Gaza Strip. However, the Palestinian people had to know that Hamas had deposited tax revenues into its private account, and sold medicine as well as cement meant for construction in the Gaza Strip (Wafa, July 4, 2017).
Hamas cartoon of Mahmoud Abbas' anger at Egypt's supplying the Gaza Strip with fuel (alresalah.net, July 10, 2017).
Ismail Haniyeh's First Speech as Head of Hamas' Political Bureau
- Ismail Haniyeh gave his first speech as head of the new Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip. He discussed, among other topics, Jerusalem, al-Aqsa mosque and the struggle against Israel. Some of his statements were the following:
- The Palestinians' fundamental principles – Ismail Haniyeh claimed that as head of Hamas' political bureau he would remain faithful to the Palestinians' fundamental principles, the most important of which was the liberation of the territories, Jerusalem, al-Aqsa mosque and the prisoners. In addition, the Palestinians strove to realize the [so-called] "right of return' and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. He claimed the Western Wall was an integral part of al-Aqsa mosque and the right to it could not be waived under any circumstances. Israel, he claimed, continued its attempts to change the status of al-Aqsa mosque through Judaization, demographic changes, invasions of the mosque and recently, allowing members of the Knesset [the Israeli parliament] and government ministers to enter. Such attempts would not succeed, he said, and al-Aqsa mosque would remain Muslim and Israel would not have access to it.
- The "siege" of the Gaza Strip and PA policy – Ismail Haniyeh claimed Israel was directly and centrally responsible for the "siege" and called on Israel to lift it. He said the PA's recent decision had damaged the national Palestinian fabric. He called on the PA and Mahmoud Abbas to change their policies towards the Gaza Strip and retract the measures they had instituted against it. He claimed the only reason the committee to administer the Gaza Strip functioned was because of the vacuum in the Gaza Strip created by the national consensus government.
- A political solution – Haniyeh stressed that Hamas opposed a political solution. He said any deal would fail and not be binding on the Palestinian people. He said that since Donald Trump had entered the White House he had encouraged Israel to blackmail the Arab world to obliterate the Palestinian cause.
- Hamas' new political document – In reference to Hamas' new political document, he claimed it incorporated the movement's concepts, principles and objectives. He said its objective was to show that Hamas was prepared to work with all factors on the basis of a clear strategy regarding the "resistance" [i.e., anti-Israeli terrorism] and internal and external policies.
Gaza Strip Operatives Accused of Participating in Sinai Peninsula Terrorist Attack
- On July 7, 2017, the Egyptian security forces reported they had overcome a large-scale attack carried out by operatives of ISIS's Sinai Province against an Egyptian army checkpoint in the village of el-Barth, southeast of Rafah. According to Egyptian sources, about 40 ISIS operatives were killed and six of their vehicles were destroyed. It was also reported that during the attack a car bomb was detonated, killing 23 Egyptian soldiers and wounding 33. One of the victims was the commander of Battalion 103 (Facebook page of the spokesman of the Egyptian armed forces, July 7, 2017)
- Immediately after the attack the Facebook pages of Palestinian jihadists reported the deaths of Muhammad Sa'adi Abu 'Azra, Mu'az al-Qadi and Khalil al-Hamayda, three ISIS operatives from the Gaza Strip killed in the attack. At least two of them were allegedly former operatives in Hamas' military-terrorist wing. The Egyptian newspapers carried reports of the question of Hamas involvement in the attack. Egyptian editorials noted that terrorists who carried out the attack had entered the Sinai Peninsula through tunnels from the Gaza Strip, and mourning tents had been erected in the Gaza Strip after the deaths of the operatives (al-Ahram, July 10, 2017).
Three ISIS operatives from the Gaza Strip reportedly among the terrorists who carried out the attack in the southern part of Egyptian Rafah (Facebook page of Sahem, July 8, 2017).
- Hamas rushed to condemn the attack and strongly deny any involvement in it. Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas political bureau, paid a visit to the mourning tent the Egyptian exile community in the Gaza Strip had erected in memory of the Egyptian soldiers killed in the attack. Haniyeh claimed Hamas would institute intensive security measures along the Gaza Strip border with Egypt to ensure that no one infiltrated from either side (al-Quds, July 8, 2017; Hamas website, July 9, 2017).
- The following were responses from Hamas figures:
- Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called the attack "cowardly." He said the attack had harmed not only Egyptian security and stability, but the security of the entire Arab nation (Hamas website, July 7, 2017).
- Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri condemned the attack, saying it benefitted only those trying to choke the Gaza Strip and opposed any attempt to lift the "siege" (Twitter account of Sami Abu Zuhri, July 7, 2017)
- Tawfiq Abu Na'im, deputy minister of the interior, held a press conference at one of security forces' posts in the southern Gaza Strip. He expressed condolences on the death of the Egyptian soldiers and announced new security measures, including increased deployment of the security forces in the southern Gaza Strip and raising the level of alert to prevent the infiltration of operatives from Egypt to the Gaza Strip (YouTube, July 8, 2017).
Left: Hamas police deployed in Rafah search vehicles as part of increased vigilance after terrorist attack in Egyptian Rafah (Palinfo Twitter account, July 9, 2017). Right: Tawfiq Abu Na'im, deputy minister of the interior in the Gaza Strip, holds a press conference (YouTube, July 8, 2017).
Chairman of Qatar Reconstruction Committee Visits Gaza Strip
- Muhammad al-Emadi, chairman of Qatar's committee for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, arrived in the Gaza Strip for a number of days to conduct a first-hand examination of the projects being carried out with funding from the ruler of Qatar. It was his first visit to the Gaza Strip since Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States imposed a boycott on Qatar. Upon arriving he said Qatar would continue its efforts for an uninterrupted reconstruction of the Gaza Strip (Gaza al-A'an, July 8, 2017). During his visit he participated in a ceremony to distribute $1 million to 130 families as part of a project to rebuild houses. The project is being funded by Qatar. Its total cost is $3 million and 370 families will profit from it. At the ceremony al-Emadi said his committee would continue providing support for reconstructing houses in the Gaza Strip (Paltoday, July 10, 2017).
Left: Muhammad al-Emadi, chairman of Qatar's committee for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, at the ceremony for the distribution of financial aid (Palinfo Twitter account, July 10, 2017). Right: Muhammad al-Emadi (Facebook page of al-Jazeera, July 10, 2017).
Marking the Third Anniversary of Operation Protective Edge
- For the third anniversary of Operation Protective Edge Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanu' said in a statement that the Palestinians would continue "resisting the occupation" until they had achieved their "legitimate rights." He added that the "Palestinian resistance" [i.e., anti-Israel terrorism], headed by the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, was stronger than ever. He said that in any war Israel dragged the Palestinians into, Israel would stumble and fall under the blows dealt by the "resistance" and because of the Palestinians' firm stance (Palinfo, July 7, 2017).
- A delegation of members of the Hamas leadership paid a visit to the border area of the northern Gaza Strip near the Israeli community of Netiv Ha'asara. Members of the delegation included Khalil al-Haya, a member of Hamas' political bureau; Yasser Musa, head of Hamas' information department; Fawzi Barhoum, Hamas spokesman, Abu Suheib, commander of Hamas military wing in the northern Gaza Strip region; and Mahmoud Mardawi, a Palestinian terrorist prisoner released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal.
- The delegation visited locations where the "resistance" (i.e., Hamas military operatives) had carried out "heroic acts" during the Operation. The delegation also visited military posts. Abu Suheib examined the situation along the border and the surveillance carried out by military operatives on IDF movements along the border (Hamas movement website, July 9, 2017; Facebook page of Mahmoud Mardawi, July 8, 2017).
- Dozens of PIJ operatives held a military display in the northern Gaza Strip. One of the commanders of the PIJ military-terrorist wing's northern brigade, aka Abu Khaled, said the strategic choice of the PIJ and its military wing was the option of jihad and resistance for the liberation of Palestine from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river (Website of the Jerusalem Battalions, July 10, 2017).
Left: Military display of the PIJ's terrorist wing in the northern Gaza Strip. Right: PIJ military wing spokesman gives a speech to mark the third anniversary of Operation Protective Edge (Website of the Jerusalem Battalions, July 10, 2016).
PIJ Terrorist Tunnel Exposed near Beit Hanoun
- On the first anniversary of the death of Ibrahim Hassan al-Masri, a PIJ terrorist operative from Beit Hanoun who died in a tunnel collapse, his family paid a visit to operatives of the PIJ's Jerusalem Battalions tunnel unit and the operatives manning the posts along Beit Hanoun's north and eastern borders. The family also visited the tunnel where Ibrahim al-Masri was killed (Website of the Jerusalem Battalions, July 9, 2017).
A visit to the Jerusalem Battalions terrorist tunnel near Beit Hanoun (Website of the Jerusalem Battalions, July 9, 2017).
Hamas Summer Camps
- On July 8, 2017, senior Hamas figure Usama al-Mazini announced the opening of Hamas' summer camps. He said the camps would be one month long and there would be 120,000 campers, 50,000 boys and 70,000 girls, of all ages and from all districts of the Gaza Strip. The camps' activities would be "entertaining and educational." In addition, there would be designated camps for scouting, science, arts, Qur'an memorization and technology. The camps' slogan would be "Going to Jerusalem."
- According to al-Mazini, the camp's slogan emphasized that the compass pointed to Jerusalem, the core of the struggle against Israel. He said the goal of the camps was to prepare the generation of "victory and liberation" that will have the honor of liberating Jerusalem and expelling the occupation (website of Voice of Palestine Radio, July 8, 2017; website of the al-Quds newspaper, July 8, 2017; and (Filastin Online, July 8, 2017).
Quarterly Public Opinion Poll
- The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, which is headed by Khalil Shikaki, published the results of its quarterly public opinion poll at the end of June 2017. The poll focused mainly on how the Palestinian public related to recent measures taken by Mahmoud Abbas regarding the Gaza Strip. According to the results, an overwhelming majority of 84% of Palestinians are opposed to the measure taken by the PA to stop covering the Israeli-supplied electricity to the Gaza Strip; 87% in the West Bank and 80% in the Gaza Strip. Similarly, an overwhelming majority of 88% are opposed to the step taken by the PA reducing the amount of salary payments to its employees in the Gaza Strip. Ninety-one percent are opposed to the suspension of PA payments to Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails. Sixty-two percent of the public want president Abbas to resign while 31% want him to remain in office. Three months ago, 64% said they wanted Abbas to resign. Demand for his resignation stands at 55% in the West Bank and 75% in the Gaza Strip. Three months ago demand for Abbas resignation stood at 61% in the West Bank and 70% in the Gaza Strip. Politically, most of the public remained pessimistic about the future of Palestinian-Israeli relations (website of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, July 5, 2017).
UNESCO Resolution about Jerusalem and Hebron
The UNESCO World Heritage Centre declared the Old City of Hebron (including the Cave of the Patriarchs) an " 'endangered' World Heritage Site in Palestine." Of Centre's 21 members, 12 voted in favor of the resolution, six abstained and three opposed. Palestinian spokesmen welcomed the vote and many of them claimed it reconfirmed the historic Palestinian link to Hebron and dispelled Israeli claims about the Jewish identity of the city.
Cartoon appearing in al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, the official PA organ (al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, July 9, 2017).
- At the beginning of the weekly government meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said the connection between Israel and Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs was one of purchase and history and it was doubtful if there was anything similar in the history of any people. That, however, did not prevent the UNESCO World Heritage Centre from passing another "delusional" decision and claim the Cave of the Patriarchs was a Palestinian heritage site (website of the Israeli prime minister, July 7, 2017).
- The Palestinians regarded the resolution as a significant diplomatic achievement. Mahmoud Abbas praised Palestinian diplomatic achievements in general and the UNESCO decision in particular. He said it had been passed despite the pressure exerted by Israel and the United States on a number of countries (Wafa, July 7, 2017). Other responses were the following:
- Saeb Erekat, secretary of the PLO's Executive Committee, welcomed the decision and said it was a diplomatic victory for Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian people, and a step towards the full independence of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital (Dunia al-Watan, July 7, 2017).
- Riyad al-Maliki, minister of foreign affairs and migrants, welcomed the decision. He claimed the decision was a victory for Palestine's diplomatic campaign against the pressure exerted by Israel and the United States and a resounding failure for Israel and its allies confronting the history of the Palestinian city of Hebron. He said the Israeli occupation did not give Israel sovereignty over any part of the land of Palestine (Wafa, July 7, 2017).
- Fatah spokesman Usama al-Qawasmeh praised the decision, claiming it stressed the Arab-Palestinian identity of Hebron and put an end to attempts to fake history and lead international public opinion astray (Wafa, July 7, 2017).
- Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem also praised the decision, saying it reaffirmed the right of the Palestinian people to Hebron and the land of Palestine in general. He claimed it exposed the fake claims presented by Israel. He also claimed all of Israel's attempts to distort the truth would not succeed, thanks to the adherence of the Palestinian people to its land. He said global support for the right of the Palestinian people to its land and holy places had increased (Hamas website, July 7, 2017).
Street and Square Named for Terrorist Khaled Nizal
- The Palestinian media reported that the residents of the village of Burqin (southwest of Jenin) had named a street and town square after Khaled Nizal, a former senior Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) operative (Palinfo Twitter account and the Facebook page of QudsN, July 5, 2017). It was the residents' response to the removal of a monument erected to Khaled Nizal's memory in Jenin, which had been demanded by Israel and the PA.
Khaled Nizal Square and Khaled Nizal Street in the village of Burqin. The DFLP logo appears on both signs (Facebook page of QudsN, July 5, 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.