The damage to the front windshield of the vehicle (0404 News, January 24, 2021).
The damage to the front windshield of the vehicle (0404 News, January 24, 2021).
Muhammad Shtayyeh meets with foreign representatives (Wafa, January 21, 2021).
Muhammad Shtayyeh meets with the EU representative (Wafa, January 24, 2021).
Dr. Hana Nasser gives the EU representative a formal for election observers (Facebook page of the PA central elections committee, January 24, 2021).
- In the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria coronavirus infections continue to decrease, although the numbers are still high (4,722 active cases in the Gaza Strip and 3,591 in Judea and Samaria). In the Gaza Strip there have been 513 coronavirus-related deaths, 1,290 in Judea and Samaria.
- Another rocket was fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip. It landed in an open area in the western Negev. In response, IDF tanks shot at Hamas military posts. Last week two rockets were fired at Israel. The Palestinian media claimed the launches were triggered by lightning. The Arab media reported that Israel warned Hamas, through Egypt, not to use the weather as an excuse to fire rockets.
- A Palestinian attempted a stabbing attack in Judea and Samaria near Ariel. He was shot and killed. Palestinians continued throwing stones, Molotov cocktails and bottles of paint at Israeli vehicles on the roads in Judea and Samaria.
- This past week the Israeli security forces detained three wanted Palestinians near Jenin who had been planning to carry out terrorist attacks. Weapons were found in their vehicle, including two IEDs ready for detonation. Two of them had been imprisoned in Israel in the past and one of them was also wanted by the Palestinian security forces.
- There was an explosion in a multi-floor residence in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. The building collapsed. Several nearby buildings were damaged and 36 Palestinians were wounded and evacuated to hospitals. The Palestinian media reported that the explosion occurred in the home of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) military operative. They also reported that the blast had been caused by the explosion of IEDs.
- In the internal Palestinian arena activities continue for the upcoming elections. The Palestinians are trying to solve a number of problems. At the diplomatic level, the Palestinian Authority (PA) appealed to the international community for money to hold the elections, to dispatch observers and to exert pressure on Israel, mainly regarding the elections in east Jerusalem.
The Gaza Strip
Judea and Samaria
Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israel
- On January 19, 2021, a rocket was fired from the northern Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. It landed in an open area in the western Negev. No casualties or damage were reported. In response, IDF tanks attacked Hamas military posts. The Palestinian media reported that six Hamas restraint force posts had been attacked, and that one Palestinian had been slightly wounded (Palinfo, Shehab, and the Facebook page of the al-Maghazi municipality, January 20, 2021).
- On January 18, 2021, a rocket was fired at Israel. Hamas claimed the launch was triggered by lightning. The Arab media reported that Israel had warned Hamas, through Egypt, not to use the weather as an excuse to fire rockets. Israel threatened the next launch would be met with a more forceful response. Egyptian General Intelligence clarified for Hamas the importance of maintaining the lull, especially in view of the upcoming PA elections (al-Araby al-Jadeed, January 22, 2021).
Monthly Distribution of Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire
Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits
- On the morning of January 23, 2021, Hamas’ restraint force detained four Palestinians who tried to enter Israeli territory east of Rafah (southern Gaza Strip) (Facebook page of the Amad website correspondent in the Gaza Strip and the wattan24 website, January 23, 2021).
- The Palestinian media reported that on January 24, 2021, a 24-year-old restraint force operative was wounded by Israeli sniper fire north of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip (Filastin al-A’an, and the Ghaza al-A’an website, January 24, 2021). Paldf forum users reported that an IDF force fired at a bulldozer or bulldozers leveling the ground in the area where a “resistance” observation post was being constructed. A restraint force operative was also reportedly wounded by the fire (Paldf, January 24, 2021). The Indonesian Hospital reported it had admitted a young man with a superficial bullet wound, allegedly the result of an IDF attack (Safa Twitter account, January 24, 2021).
Attempted stabbing attack near Ariel
- On the morning of January 27, 2021, a Palestinian attempted a stabbing attack near Ariel. The Palestinian, armed with a knife, arrived at the Gitai Avisar Junction near Ariel and tried to stab two IDF soldiers who were securing the junction. He tried to stab a female fighter three times. The force commander shot and killed him. No Israeli casualties were reported.
- The ministry of health in Ramallah reported that the Palestinian was Atallah Muhammad Harb Riyan, 17, from the village of Qarawat Bani Hassan, in the Salfit district southwest of Nablus (Twitter account of Radio Sawt al-Aqsa, January 26, 2021).
(Facebook page of journalist Sohaib Ewiwe, January 26, 2021).
- In Judea and Samaria Palestinians continued throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles on the roads. The more prominent events were the following:
- January 25, 2021: Stones were thrown at a vehicle northeast of Ramallah. No casualties were reported. The front windshield of the vehicle was damaged.
- January 25, 2021: Stones were thrown at a vehicle southwest of Nablus. No casualties or damage were reported.
- January 25, 2021: Stones were thrown at a vehicle south of Nablus. No casualties or damage were reported.
- January 25, 2021: Stones were thrown at a bus west of Jenin. No casualties were reported. The bus was damaged.
- January 24, 2021: Stones were thrown at a vehicle southwest of Nablus. A female passenger was slightly injured. The front windshield of the vehicle was damaged.
- January 24, 2021: A bottle of paint was thrown at a bus southwest of Nablus. No casualties were reported. The bus was damaged.
- January 22, 2021: Stones were thrown at a bus north of Hebron. No casualties were reported. The front windshield of the bus was damaged.
- January 21, 2021: Two Molotov cocktails were thrown at a vehicle south of Jerusalem. No casualties or damage were reported.
- January 21, 2021: Stones were thrown at a bus northeast of Ramallah. No casualties were reported. The bus was damaged.
- January 21, 2021: Stones were thrown at a vehicle northwest of Ramallah. No casualties were reported. The front windshield of the vehicle was damaged.
- January 21, 2021:Stones were thrown at a vehicle southeast of Ramallah. No casualties were reported. The front windshield of the vehicle was damaged.
- January 18, 2021: Stones were thrown at a vehicle northeast of Ramallah. No casualties were reported. The front windshield of the vehicle was damaged.
- January 18, 2021: A Palestinian vehicle arrived at a police roadblock near the A-Tor network of east Jerusalem. The driver did not heed the order to halt. Police shot at the vehicle but it sped away (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, January 18, 2021).
Significant terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria since January 2019
Suspects detained in Qabatiya
- In a combined Israeli security force operation in Qabatiya (near Jenin) three wanted Palestinians were detained on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks. They were known to the Israeli security forces and had been under surveillance. They were detained while driving a car. The forces searched the vehicle and found two IEDs ready for detonation, two M-16 assault rifles with magazines, two hand grenades, a bullet-proof vest and helmet (Twitter account of the Israel Police Force, and the Mako website, January 24, 2021).
The weapons found in the vehicle of the wanted Palestinians
(Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, January 24, 2021).
- The director of the prisoners’ club in Jenin reported that Israel forces had detained Ahmed Abu Alrab, Jihad Abu Alrab and Majdi Kamil while they were in their vehicle in Qabatiya (Wafa, January 24, 2021). Ahmed Abu Alrab, the ringleader, was imprisoned in Israel between August 2016 and October 2019 (AsraMedia, website, October 14, 2019). He was also wanted by the Palestinian security forces, which had unsuccessfully tried to detain him a number of times (website of West Bank Committee of the Families of Political Detainees, June 18, 2020; al-Shahed website, November 18, 2020). Majdi Kamil was also imprisoned in Israel in the past (QudsN, January 24, 2021; Facebook page of Yazan al-Saadi from Jenin, January 24, 2021).
Palestinian dies trying to cross the security fence
- A Palestinian who, along with others illegally tried to cross the security fence near Tulkarm into Israeli territory, apparently died of a heart attack while fleeing from the Israeli security forces, who tried to prevent the Palestinians from entering (Israeli media, January 24, 2021). The Palestinian media reported he was Fouad Subhi Jawda, c. 50, from a village east of Nablus. The Palestinians claimed the Israeli forces used tear gas against the Palestinians, Jawda allegedly choked on the tear gas, which led to a heart attack, causing his death (Dunia al-Watan, January 24, 2021). Fatah condemned his death. Khader Adnan, a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) operative, claimed Israel was responsible for his death (Filastin al-Yawm, January 24, 2021).
Right: Fouad Subhi Jawda (Facebook page his village, January 24, 2021). Left: Mourning notice issued by the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (SND.Agency.News, January 24, 2021).
Explosion in residence in Beit Hanoun
- On January 23, 2021, there was an explosion in a multi-floor residence in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, causing it to collapse. Several nearby buildings were heavily damaged. According to reports, the explosion occurred in the home of Ahmed Nihadh al-Kufarna, an operative in the PIJ’s military wing (Shehab and Ultra Palestine, January 23, 2021). Civil defense in the northern Gaza Strip reported that following the explosion 36 Palestinians were taken to hospitals. It was also reported that al-Kufarna’s house collapsed, six neighboring houses were damaged, and the windows were blown out of between 15 and 20 houses in the area. Iyad al-Buzum, spokesman for the ministry of the interior in Gaza, said an inquiry had been initiated to determine the reasons for the explosion (Ultra Palestine website, January 23, 2021).
- Palestinian sources reported that the blast had apparently been caused when a number of IEDs stored in the house had exploded (Ultra Palestine website, January 23, 2021). Other sources claimed it had been caused by a PIJ military wing workshop for the manufacture of rockets located in “one of the buildings” (Amad, January 23, 2021), or by the explosion of a Badr 3 rocket (al-Fajr, January 23, 2021; Filastin al-Yawm, January 24, 2021). According to another version, the explosion was caused by a technical failure during a rocket launch, which caused the rocket to fall on the house (al-Arab website, January 23, 2021).
The results of the blast (Radio Sawt al-Aqsa Twitter account, January 23, 2021).
Right: Smoke rising from the site of the blast (Twitter account of journalist Ahmed al-Muqadma, January 23, 2021). Left: Ahmed Nihadh al-Kufarna, PIJ terrorist operative, who lost his house to the explosion (Facebook page of Ahmed Nihadh al-Kufarna, December 1, 2020).
Internal Hamas elections
- There are apparently arguments in Hamas over holding internal elections. A source in the Hamas leadership told al-Akhbar that the movement leadership was discussing the possibility of postponing the elections, but that no decision had yet been made (al-Akhbar, January 19, 2021). However, knowledgeable sources reported that Hamas is not planning to postpone the elections but to hold them on the set date, despite the proximity to the general elections in the PA. Elections are supposed to be held at the beginning of February 2021 and will last a month and a half, and not four months as originally planned. That will enable the newly-elected leadership to run in the general PA elections (al-Andalou News, January 22, 2021).
Online conference about the role of cartoons in rejecting normalization
- The Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad held an online meeting to discuss “the role of cartoon art in rejecting normalization” A number of Palestinian cartoonists participated, among them Omaya Joha, who lives in Gaza, and Alaa’ al-Laqta, who lives in Bahrain; both are affiliated with Hamas. The conference was held in preparation for an international conference for the rejection of normalization which will be held between February 27 and March 3, 2021. Participants at the online meeting spoke about the importance of cartoons in the fight against normalization (website of the Popular Committee, January 24, 2021; Palinfo, January 23, 2021).
Participants in the online meeting. Left: Omaya Joha
(website of the Popular Conference, January 24, 2021; Palinfo, January 23, 2021).
Positions on the new American administration
- Mahmoud Abbas congratulated American President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on being sworn in. Mahmoud Abbas noted the PA’s willingness to begin a peace process leading to the independence of the Palestinian people. He said he was looking forward to working with Biden and his administration (Wafa, January 20, 2021).
- Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem strongly criticized newly-confirmed American Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said the United States would continue to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and that the American embassy would remain there. According to Qassem, that violated international law and resolutions, and harmed the rights of the Palestinian people (Filastin al-Yawm, January 20, 2021).
The diplomatic arena
- PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said the cost of holding elections would be about $23 million (Shehab Agency Twitter account, January 22, 2021). He appealed to the international community to provide financial aid, dispatch observers and exert pressure on Israel. Meeting with foreign diplomats, he said that according to agreements with Israel all Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, could participate in the elections. Meeting with Tor Wennesland, the new UN envoy to the Middle East, Muhammad Shtayyeh demanded Wennesland inform Israel that the residents of east Jerusalem could run for office and vote in the elections (Wafa, January 22, 2021).
- On January 24, 2021, Dr. Hana Nasser, chairman of the central elections committee, gave EU representatives in the PA a formal request to observe the PA elections (Facebook page of the PA central elections committee, January 24, 2021).
- Fatah’s Central Committee held a meeting chaired by Mahmoud Abbas. They decided the composition of the delegation which will participate in the meeting held in Egypt to discuss the elections. The delegation, headed by Jibril Rajoub, will go to Cairo at the beginning of February 2021. They also decided to appoint a committee to monitor the preparations for the elections (Wafa, January 24, 2021). Farid Taamallah, spokesman for the central elections committee, said committee members would arrive in the Gaza Strip in the coming days for meetings with representatives of the Palestinian organizations (Wafa, January 23, 2021)
- Hisham Kahil, general director of the elections committee, said Palestinian prisoners would be able to vote in the elections and also to run for office. He said that although they could not physically vote or run for office, they could register with the help of relatives. He said he expected 2,200,000 Palestinians would vote (Dunia al-Watan, January 20, 2021).
The issue of east Jerusalem voters
- Senior Palestinian figures who met with foreign representatives requested them to exert pressure on Israel to allow residents of east Jerusalem to vote. In the meantime, as part of garnering support for the upcoming elections, Muhammad Dahlan, a deposed senior Fatah figure, transferred one million Israeli shekels (about $306,000) as a first payment for the residents and neighborhoods of Jerusalem (al-Akhbar, January 21, 2021).
Deciding elections slates
- Muhammad Shtayyeh reported that Mahmoud Abbas was Fatah’s candidate for president (al-Araby, January 20, 2018). However, the parties that would run for office had not yet been formulated. According to unverified information, Fatah and Hamas had agreed to divide the seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) equally between them, so that each would receive 40% of the seats and the other organizations would receive 20% (Araby Post, January 21, 2021). Azzam Ahmed, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, said the Fatah leadership would decide the final composition of the slates of candidates for 132 PLC seats. He said the West Bank would be divided into three geographical districts and the Gaza Strip into two (al-Shuruq, January 25, 2021).
- Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, said that five or six Palestinian factions were interested in forming a coalition united with Fatah (Sawa, January 21, 2021). Supporters of Marwan Barghouti, imprisoned in Israel, said they were getting ready to form a slate outside of Fatah that would run for office. However, they did not entirely reject the possibility of integrating into the Fatah slate if an agreement could be reached with the official leadership regarding the method for choosing Fatah representatives. The Dahlan faction also announced it had a slate for the elections (al-Shuruq, January 25, 2021).
Enlisting young voters
- The secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative called for Palestinians 21 years old and older to offer themselves as candidates for the PLC and Palestinian National Council (PNC). He said groups of younger Palestinians and women had to be convinced to participate in the elections and political action in general because they made up the majority of the population and were a significant part of the voters (qudsnet.com, January 20, 2021).
- The secretary of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council said Fatah was planning to run a slate of candidates for the PLC which would represent young PA voters. He said many senior Fatah figures had noted the importance of the involvement of younger Palestinians and women in representing the Palestinian people. The composition of the slates will be determined by the Revolutionary Council and Fatah’s Central Committee (Wafa, January 20, 2021).
 For further information, see the January 25, 2021, bulletin, "The Spread of Covid-19 in Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria – Updated to January 25, 2021)." ↑
 All information and reports are from Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria unless otherwise noted. ↑
 A significant attack is defined by the ITIC as involving shooting, a vehicular attack, the use of IEDs, or a combination of the above. Stones and Molotov cocktails thrown by Palestinians are not included. ↑
 The Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad was established in Turkey in February 2017 with the participation of Hamas operatives. ↑