News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (January 26 – February 1, 2022)

  • On the night of January 29, 2022, shots were fired at an IDF vehicle. No casualties were reported. During the week Palestinians continued throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israel vehicles on the roads in Judea and Samaria. The Israeli security forces carried out counterterrorism activities, seizing weapons.
  • The Gaza Strip has been relatively quiet. On January 26, 2022, IDF forces detained two Gazans attempting to cross the barrier in the southern Gaza Strip and enter Israeli territory. On January 29, 2022, a senior terrorist operative, formerly of Hamas’ military wing, escaped from a jail in the Gaza Strip. He was arrested two years ago on suspicion of collaborating with Israel and providing information about Hamas’ terrorist tunnels in the northern Gaza Strip. A reward was offered for anyone who could provide information leading to his capture.
  • Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) condemned Israeli President Herzog’s visit to the UAE. Hamas claimed such visits encouraged Israel to continue its [alleged] “crimes.”
  • On January 31, 2022, Mahmoud Abbas spoke on the phone with Antony Blinken, the American secretary of state. According to Palestinian sources, Blinken, speaking for President Biden, said the United States was committed to the two-state solution and stressed the importance of creating a political horizon. Blinken also said the American administration was aware of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) political and financial difficulties, and reiterated the administration’s promise to reopen the American consulate in east Jerusalem. PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh is supposed to attend the African Unity summit meeting in Addis Ababa. He will go representing Mahmoud Abbas. Objections to giving Israel observer status in the organization will be discussed.
  • The PLO’s Revolutionary Council conference, planned for February 22, 2022, may not be held. A vote is expected to be held to promote Hussein al-Sheikh to a more important position, leading to a controversy reflecting the Palestinian schism. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) announced they would not participate, and Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) (which are not Council members) called for the cancellation of the conference, claiming that holding it without the agreement of all the organizations and without the participation of Hamas and the PIJ would be illegal [sic].
  • The Palestinians welcomed the Amnesty report claiming Israel operated an apartheid system against the Palestinians. They called on other organizations to expose the measures Israel takes against the Palestinians.
  • In Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip there was a sharp increase in the number of active coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. The public was called on to get vaccinated and comply with public health guidelines. One million doses of the vaccine manufactured in Russia and donated by the UAE were delivered to the Gaza Strip.
IDF vehicle attacked by gunfire
  • On the night of January 29, 2022, shots were fired at an IDF vehicle close to the village of Tell, near Nablus. No casualties were reported. Marks from the bullets could be seen on the body of the vehicle. IDF forces searched the region for the shooters (IDF spokesman, January 30, 2022).
Counterterrorism activities
  • On January 31, 2022, during an Israeli security force counterterrorism activity in the Jordan Valley riots broke out in a number of locations. Dozens of Palestinians threw rocks and IEDs at the IDF forces, who responded with riot control measures. No casualties to the security forces were reported (IDF spokesman, January 31, 2022).
  • On January 31, 2022, Border Police fighters operating in the village of Qatana in the Jerusalem district detained five Palestinians who had weapons in their possession. One Border Police fighter was wounded (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, January 31, 2022).
 Weapons seized in Qatana (Israel Police Force spokesman's unit, January 31, 2022).    Weapons seized in Qatana (Israel Police Force spokesman's unit, January 31, 2022).
Weapons seized in Qatana (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, January 31, 2022).
Rocks, Molotov cocktails and other events
  • In Judea and Samaria Palestinians continued throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles driving on the roads, IDF posts and the fences of Israeli communities. The more prominent events were the following:[1]
    • January 31, 2022: Molotov cocktails were thrown at an IDF post near the fence of the Israeli community of Psagot, east of Ramallah. No casualties or damage were reported.
    • January 31, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near Karmei Tsur, north of Hebron. No casualties or damage were reported.
    • January 31, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle at the Ofarim Junction northwest of Ramallah. An IDF soldier was injured. The front windshield of the vehicle was damaged.
    • January 31, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near the al-Fawwar pools, southwest of Hebron. No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
    • January 31, 2022: A Molotov cocktail was thrown at an Israeli vehicle near the Ma’aleh Shomron Junction, east of Qalqilya. No casualties or damage were reported.
    • January 31, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near Teqoa, southeast of Bethlehem. No casualties were reported; the windshield of the vehicle was damaged.
    • January 30, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus near Azzun, east of Qalqilya. No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
    • January 30, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near Luban al-Sharqia, south of Nablus. No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
    • January 30, 2022: Molotov cocktails were thrown at an Israeli vehicle at the Halhul Junction on the Gush Etzion-Hebron road, south of Jerusalem. No casualties or damage were reported.
    • January 30, 2022: Molotov cocktails were thrown at an Israeli vehicle in Beit Fajjar, south of Bethlehem, near the Israeli community of Migdal Oz. The Palestinians who threw the Molotov cocktails escaped.
    • January 30, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle between Aqraba and Migdalim, southeast of Nablus. No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
    • January 30, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle between Gilad and the Yitzhar Junction, south of Nablus. No casualties were reported; the windshield of the vehicle was damaged.
    • January 29, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle at the Ma’aleh Shomron Junction, east of Qalqilya. No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
    • January 29, 2022: Molotov cocktails were thrown at an Israeli vehicle between Migdalim and the Tapuah Junction, south of Nablus. No casualties or damage were reported.
    • January 29, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle at the Ma’aleh Shomron Junction, east of Qalqilya. No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
    • January 28, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near the Azzun Junction, east of Qalqilya. No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
    • January 27, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near al-Aroub on the Gush Etzion-Hebron road, south of Jerusalem. No casualties or damage were reported.
    • January 26, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle on the Husan bypass road, west of Bethlehem. No casualties were reported; the windshield of the vehicle was damaged.
Significant Terrorist Attacks in Judea and Samaria since January 2020[2]

Significant Terrorist Attacks in Judea and Samaria since January 20

The weekly riots in the village of Qaddum, east of Qalqilya (Wafa Facebook page, January 28, 2022).     The weekly riots in the village of Qaddum, east of Qalqilya (Wafa Facebook page, January 28, 2022).
The weekly riots in the village of Qaddum, east of Qalqilya (Wafa Facebook page, January 28, 2022).
Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israel
  • This past week no rocket hits or mortar shell hits were identified in Israeli territory.
Monthly Distribution of Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire since January 2020

Monthly Distribution of Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire since January 2020

Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits

Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits

Attempted infiltration into Israeli territory
  • During the night of January 26, 2022 IDF fighters detained two Gazans who tried to cross the barrier along the border in the southern Gaza Strip and enter Israeli territory. A hand grenade was found in their possession and they were taken for interrogation (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, January 26, 2022).
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) delegation arrives in Algeria
  • A PIJ delegation headed by Muhammad al-Hindi, head of the organization’s political bureau, arrived in Algeria. They came to attend the meeting held by Algeria to promote a reconciliation of the Palestinian terrorist organizations (PIJ Twitter account, January 29, 2022).
Former Hamas military terrorist wing operative escapes from jail in the Gaza Strip
  • On January 29, 2022, the ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip announced the jail-break of security prisoner Abd al-Karim Abu Awda, 35, from Beit Hanoun. After his escape the Hamas security forces raised their alert level and deployed near the Gaza Strip border to prevent him from escaping into Israeli territory. Hamas’ naval police issued an announcement forbidding Gazan fisherman to set sail lest he escape by sea. The announcement included a warning not to help him in any way, and a reward was offered to anyone who could provide information leading to his capture (Shehab, January 29, 2022).
  • According to reports, Abu Awda was formerly a senior Hamas terrorist operative and was arrested by Hamas about two years ago on suspicion of collaborating with Israel and providing information about Hamas’ terrorist tunnels in the northern Gaza Strip. He had been imprisoned in a Hamas internal security forces’ jail (Ma’an, Sama News, January 29, yea).
 Hamas police deployed near the Gaza Strip border (Sama News, January 29, 2022).    The escaped prisoner, Abd al-Karim Abu Awda (Ma'an, January 29, 2022).
Right: The escaped prisoner, Abd al-Karim Abu Awda (Ma’an, January 29, 2022). Left: Hamas police deployed near the Gaza Strip border (Sama News, January 29, 2022).
Condemnation of Israeli President Herzog’s visit to the UAE
  • On January 30, 2022, Israeli President Yitzhak Herzog paid a state visit to the UAE and met with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed. The Palestinian media gave extensive coverage to the visit, which included flying the Israeli flag, playing Israel’s national anthem and the UAE security forces’ saluting the Israel flag (Shehab Twitter account, Ma’an, January 31, 2022).
  • The PA-affiliated media did not relate to the visit. Hamas and the PIJ condemned the visit. Hamas emphasized its condemnation of normalization with Israel, claiming that such visits encouraged Israel to continue its [alleged] “crimes” (Hamas Telegram channel, January 30, 2022). The PIJ also condemned the visit, claiming Abu Dhabi had polluted Arab land and carried out an act of heresy. (Filastin al-Yawm, January 30, 2022).
Rebuilding the Gaza Strip
  • This past week the Palestinian media published pictures of clearing the rubble of the Johara Building in Gaza City, which was attacked in Operation Guardian of the Walls (al-Risalah Twitter account, January 26, 2022).
Removing the rubble of the Johara Building in Gaza City (al-Risalah Twitter account, January 26, 2022).    Removing the rubble of the Johara Building in Gaza City (al-Risalah Twitter account, January 26, 2022).
Removing the rubble of the Johara Building in Gaza City (al-Risalah Twitter account, January 26, 2022).
PA-United States relations
  • On January 31, 2022, Mahmoud Abbas spoke on the phone with Antony Blinken, the American secretary of state. Abbas explained to Blinken that it was necessary to halt Israel’s unilateral actions which, he claimed, undermined the two-state solution and the possibly of having a genuine political process. According to Palestinian sources, Blinken, speaking for President Biden, said the United States was committed to the two-state solution and related to the importance of creating a political horizon. Blinken also said the American administration was aware of the PA’s political and economic difficulties, and reiterated the administration’s promise to reopen the American consulate in east Jerusalem. Blinken promised to report the PA’s difficulties and challenges to the American president and to contact all the relevant groups (Wafa, January 31, 2022).
  • Before the call, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas’ office, said the Palestinian leadership maintained contacts with the United States administration but President Biden had not yet kept his promises regarding reopening the American consulate in east Jerusalem and reopening the PLO legation in Washington (Wafa, January 30, 2022).
Muhammad Shtayyeh will participate in the African Union (AU) summit meeting
  • PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh, speaking at the weekly Palestinian government meeting, said that next week he would go to the African Union summit meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, representing Mahmoud Abbas. He said one of the most important topics that would be under discussing was to cancel Israel’s observer status in the African Union (Muhammad Shtayyeh’s Facebook page, January 31, 2022). Note: Israel received observer status in the African Union in July 2021. Several Union members, especially South Africa, asked to appeal the status and the issue will be reopened for discussing at the meeting, held on February 5 and 6, 2022.
International activity regarding the demolishing of buildings in east Jerusalem
  • Ahmed al-Ruweidhi, advisor to Mahmoud Abbas for Jerusalem affairs, reported that Palestinian leaders led by Mahmoud Abbas were holding contacts with a variety of international groups to exert pressure on Israel to stop the “demolition of houses and eviction of residents from east Jerusalem.” He claimed Israel had recently increased razing houses in east Jerusalem to create a new demographic situation with the Arabs of east Jerusalem as the minority. He claimed Israel was planning “to destroy 22,000 houses in Jerusalem, 250 of them in the coming days” (Wafa, January 27, 2022).
Palestinian response to the Amnesty report
  • On February 1, 2022, Amnesty international’s British branch issued a harsh report about Israel entitled “Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians: a cruel system of domination and a crime against humanity.” The report elaborates Israel’s [alleged] “oppression and domination” of the Palestinian people. The Israeli foreign ministry rejected the report in its entirety, calling it “false, biased and anti-Semitic” (Israeli foreign ministry website, January 31, 2022).
  • The Palestinians welcomed the report:
    • The PA foreign ministry claimed the report offered more “proof” that Israel was an “apartheid” regime and that it had to be brought to legal account. According to the foreign ministry, steps had to be taken against Israel, including sanctions (Wafa, February 1, 2022).
    • Hamas issued an official announcement claiming the report exposed the [alleged] “cruelty” of the “occupation” against the Palestinians at every level. Hamas also claimed that Israel’s campaign against Amnesty and its report were another Israel effort to “erase the truth” and “facts” and change world opinion. Hamas called on all the human rights organizations around the world to expose Israel’s [alleged] actions against the Palestinians (alresala.net, February 1, 2022).
    • Mustafa Barghouti, secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative movement, said all the countries of the world had to impose sanctions on Israel, including banning and cancelling investments in the country. He expressed sorrow that some Arab states had normalized relations with the [allegedly] “apartheid” regime (Ma’an, January 31, 2022).
Request for release of Palestinian prisoners
  • The Israeli media, quoting Palestinian sources, reported that during Mahmoud Abbas’ meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on December 29, 2022, Mahmoud Abbas asked Gantz to release Palestinian prisoners as an Israeli gesture to the PA. According to the sources, the prisoners in question were 25 old Fatah operatives who had been in jail in Israel since before the Oslo Accords. Gantz said the request would be examined (Ynet, January 30, 2022).
  • Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for the office of Mahmoud Abbas, said Mahmoud Abbas’ request for the release of prisoners was not a secret, rather it was the official position of the PA and supported by the Palestinian leadership. He said the request was raised at every meeting with senior Israeli or American officials (Wafa, January 30, 2022).
Difficulties surrounding the PLO Revolutionary Council meeting
  • The meeting of the PLO’s Revolutionary Council, which is supposed to be held in Ramallah on February 6, 2022, may be cancelled. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) announced they would not to attend because of what they called Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas’ “policy of trampling [the opposition].” The crisis worsened when the Fatah movement condemned the two organizations for “abandoning their national responsibility,” and announced the meeting would be held as planned. Fatah spokesman Iyad Nasr said the PLO was the body representing the Palestinian people and that abandoning the meeting was a blow to Palestinian unity and the “struggle” against Israel (Ma’an, January 27, 2022). Note: At the upcoming meeting members are expected to confirm the appointment of Hussein al-Sheikh as a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee to replace the late Saeb Erekat, after his appointment was confirmed by Fatah’s Central Committee.
  • On January 31, 2022, the Palestinian organizations in the Gaza Strip met in preparation for the PLO meeting. The general sentiment was that the Revolutionary Council meeting would deepen the Palestinian schism. A call was also issued to implement the decisions made at the previous Revolutionary Council meeting about not recognizing the State of Israel (Shehab Twitter account, January 31, 2022).
  • Hamas, which is not a Revolutionary Council member, is monitoring the events. The Hamas-affiliated media outlets and social networks are waging a campaign to prevent the PLO meeting. Their main claim is that a meeting without the agreement of all the organizations and without the participation of Hamas and the PIJ would be “illegal” [sic]. The Hamas-affiliated media aired harsh statements from the heads of the PFLP and DFLP and criticism of the Palestinian leadership. Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua said the Fatah movement’s “trampling [of opposition opinions]” damaged the elected Palestinian institutions and a Revolutionary Council meeting without the agreement of all the organizations was a “grab for power” by the Palestinian leadership (Shehab, January 26, 2022). One of Hamas’ media outlets issued the results of an “investigation” that “proved” holding a meeting of the Revolutionary Council without all the organizations would be “illegal” (al-Risalah, January 30, 2022).
  • Ahmed al-Mudallal, senior PIJ figure, said his organization refused to participate in the conference because it would be held based on a unilateral decision made by Mahmoud Abbas and also because the PIJ was not a PLO member. He added that the meeting would only deepen the internal Palestinian schism, and what was necessary now was a national Palestinian program to “struggle” against Israel and an internal Palestinian reorganization (Shehab Twitter account, January 31, 2022).
 Mahmoud Abbas and other Fatah leaders try to take control of the PLO, hashtag, #kidnappingthePLO (Palestinian cartoonists' Facebook page, January 30, 2022).  Ahmed al-Mudallal, senior PIJ figure, interviewed by the Shehab website (Shehab Twitter account, January 31, 2022).
Right: Ahmed al-Mudallal, senior PIJ figure, interviewed by the Shehab website (Shehab Twitter account, January 31, 2022). Left: Mahmoud Abbas and other Fatah leaders try to take control of the PLO, hashtag, #kidnappingthePLO (Palestinian cartoonists’ Facebook page, January 30, 2022).
Propaganda attacking Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett
  •  After the recent meetings held by senior Palestinian figures with minister in the government of Israel (Mahmoud Abbas met with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Hussein al-Sheikh with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid), there were reports in the Israeli media about Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s refusal to meet with Mahmoud Abbas. In response, on January 31, 2022, al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, the PA’s official newspaper, published a cartoon with the caption, “the Bennet [coronavirus] variant” (al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, January 31, 2022).
Naftali Bennett likened to the coronavirus (al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, January 31, 2022).
Naftali Bennett likened to the coronavirus (al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, January 31, 2022).
 Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett refuses to meet with Mahmoud Abbas (Palestinian cartoonists' Facebook page, January 30, 2022).  Mahmoud Abbas piggy-back on Hussein al-Sheikh try to catch Yair Lapid (Palestinian cartoonists' Facebook page, January 26, 2022).
Right: Mahmoud Abbas piggy-back on Hussein al-Sheikh try to catch Yair Lapid (Palestinian cartoonists’ Facebook page, January 26, 2022). Left: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett refuses to meet with Mahmoud Abbas (Palestinian cartoonists’ Facebook page, January 30, 2022).
Judea and Samaria
  • This past week there was a sharp rise in the number of active coronavirus cases. According to data from the ministry of health in Ramallah, on January 31, 2022, there were 29,513 active cases, up from 10,804 on January 24, 2022. Of the 19,704 tests administered, 5,415 were positive, a positive rate of about 27%. There were 79 Palestinians in ICUs, 23 of them on ventilators. So far 3,078 Palestinians have died of coronavirus-related causes (ministry of health in Ramallah Facebook page, January 31, 2022).
  • Dr. Kamal al-Shakhra, spokesman for the ministry of health in Ramallah, said the daily average of new cases was 15,000 and the rate of positive test results fluctuated between 30% and 40% (in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip together) he said the two main underlying reasons were the cold winter weather and the lack of compliance with public health guidelines. He expressed concern over the increase in the number of hospitalizations, noting that coronavirus patients in hospitals today were either partially vaccinated of not vaccinated at all (Ma’an, January 30, 2022).
  • In light of the rise in the rate of infection Mai al-Kayla, PA minister of health, led a discussion with several senior figures in the PA public health system. She said the graph of infection was rising sharply and the only way to prevent the spread of infection was vaccination and strict compliance with public health guidelines. She added that Mahmoud Abbas had instructed that the public be provided with everything necessary to eradicate the infection. During the meeting Mai al-Kayla blamed Israel for what she called the waging of a “financial siege” against the PA, which influenced the capabilities of Palestinian institutions (ministry of health in Ramallah Facebook page, January 29, 2022).
   
Mai al-Kayla, PA minister of health, heads the discussion (ministry of health in Ramallah Facebook page, January 29, 2022).
  • At the January 31, 2022 PA government meeting, Muhammad Shtayyeh called on all Palestinians who had not been vaccinated to go get vaccinated, and those who had only received two doses to go get the third (Muhammad Shtayyeh’s Facebook page, January 31, 2022).
The rise in the rate of infection (al-Quds, January 30, 2022)
The rise in the rate of infection (al-Quds, January 30, 2022)
The Gaza Strip
  • On February 1, 2022, the ministry of health in Gaza reported 13,789 active cases in the Gaza Strip, up from 4,306 on January 25, 2022. Of the 5,499 tests administered during the 24 hours between December 31 and February 1, 2022, 2,549 new cases were detected, a 46% positive rate. So far 1,765 Gazans have died of coronavirus-related causes, up from 1,744 on January 25, 2022. There are 118 hospitalized Gazans, 49 in serious or critical condition. So far 587,795 Gazans have been vaccinated, up from 574,746 on January 25, 2022 (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, February 1, 2022).

[1] All information and reports are from Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria unless otherwise noted.
[2] A significant attack is defined by the ITIC as involving shooting, stabbing, a vehicular attack, the use of IEDs, or a combination of the above. Stones and Molotov cocktails thrown by Palestinians are not included