Spotlight on Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (May 18-24, 2022)

Palestinian notices for the Flag March. The terrorist operatives in the Gaza Strip called the march

Palestinian notices for the Flag March. The terrorist operatives in the Gaza Strip called the march "playing with fire" (al-Khamsa website, May 23, 2022).

Isma'il Haniyeh gives a speech (Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, May 22, 2022).

Isma'il Haniyeh gives a speech (Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, May 22, 2022).

The rally in Gaza City.

The rally in Gaza City.

Riyad al-Maliki meets with the Dutch foreign minister (Wopke Hoekstra's Facebook page, May 18, 2022).

Riyad al-Maliki meets with the Dutch foreign minister (Wopke Hoekstra's Facebook page, May 18, 2022).

Muhammad Shtayyeh meets with the Dutch foreign minister (Muhammad Shtayyeh's Facebook page, May 18, 2022).

Muhammad Shtayyeh meets with the Dutch foreign minister (Muhammad Shtayyeh's Facebook page, May 18, 2022).

Victory rally held by the Hamas faction at Birzeit University (QudsN Twitter account, May 19, 2022).

Victory rally held by the Hamas faction at Birzeit University (QudsN Twitter account, May 19, 2022).

Palestinians march in Hebron to protest Israel's construction and development work at the Cave of the Patriarchs (Wafa Facebook page, May 23, 2022).

Palestinians march in Hebron to protest Israel's construction and development work at the Cave of the Patriarchs (Wafa Facebook page, May 23, 2022).

  • This past week Israeli security forces continued counterterrorism activities in Judea and Samaria. Several dozen Palestinians suspected of involvement in terrorist activity were detained and large quantities of weapons were seized. The Jenin region continues as the main arena for clashes. A young Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist operative was killed. Throughout Judea and Samaria, Palestinians continued throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails. The clashes have been widely covered by the Palestinian media and social networks.
  • Given the problems related to the Flag March of May 29, 2022, which is planned to pass through the Damascus Gate and east Jerusalem, and the ruling of an Israeli magistrate’s court authorizing Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, the Palestinians are threatening to ignite and escalate violence in Jerusalem; the march was the motivating factor behind Operation Guardian of the Walls (May 2021).
  • The Gaza Strip marked the first anniversary of Operation Guardian of the Walls. Isma’il Haniyeh gave a speech listing the Palestinian “achievements” of the operation. He claimed they resulted in a change of strategy, moving the battle zone to Israeli territory, removing geographical barriers and uniting Palestinians inside and outside the Palestinian territories.
  • Mohammed al-Emadi, chairman of Qatar’s National Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, arrived in the Gaza Strip for a visit and the distribution other installment of Qatari money. Senior figures have complained about the delays in rebuilding the Gaza Strip, and have criticized UNRWA and the donor countries.
  • The Palestinian Authority (PA) continues its preoccupation with the death of al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh. The PA foreign ministry condemned the IDF’s refusal to begin a criminal investigation, adding that the file regarding her death had been given to the office of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
  • The Hamas faction in Birzeit University won 28 of the student council’s 51 seats in the recent election. It was not the first time the faction had won a majority of seats but it was the first time it had won such a large majority. The student council elections are generally an indication of public opinion and in the past have been a guide to estimating public support for the various terrorist organizations. The student council victory is liable to encourage young Palestinians affiliated with Hamas to increase their public presence and initiate a higher level of violence against the Israeli security forces.
Counterterrorism activities
  •  This past week Israeli security forces operated in a number of locations in Judea and Samaria, detaining several dozen Palestinians suspected of terrorist activity (IDF spokesman). The Jenin region continues as the main arena for violent clashes, which are widely reported by the Palestinian media and social networks, and are liable to incite more young Palestinians to violence.
Weapons seized in Hebron (IDF spokesman, May 20 and 24, 2022).    Weapons seized in Hebron (IDF spokesman, May 20 and 24, 2022).
Weapons seized in Hebron (IDF spokesman, May 20 and 24, 2022).
  • The PA’s foreign ministry and Mahmoud Abbas’ office warned that the IDF’s repeated “invasions” of Judea and Samaria, especially Jenin, were liable to lead to an “explosion.” The foreign ministry claimed the IDF’s activities were clear proof that Israel was currently being led by a government of the settlements and settlers. The Palestinians claimed the statement made by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on May 17, 2022, about the freedom of action given to the IDF and the Israeli police to conduct counterterrorism activities, was an incitement to attack the Palestinian people and carry out “executions without trial” (Wafa, May 17, 2022).
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist operative killed
  • On May 21, 2022, a Palestinian was killed while rioting against Israeli security forces in the Jenin region. The Palestinian media reported he was Amjad Walid al-Fayed, 17, from the Jenin refugee camp. A funeral was held for him in the Jenin refugee camp, attended by armed masked men, and his body was wrapped for burial in a PIJ flag (Ma’an, Shehab, May 21, 2022). His father called for the “resistance” [i.e., terrorist attacks] against Israel to continue (Shehab Twitter account, May 21, 2022). A general strike was called in Jenin in solidarity and mourning for Amjad al-Fayed (QudsN Twitter account, May 21, 2022).
The funeral held for al-Fayed in the Jenin refugee camp. His body was wrapped for burial in a PIJ flag (Shehab Twitter account, May 21, 2022).  al-Fayed armed with a rifle (Paldf Twitter account, May 21, 2022).
Right: al-Fayed armed with a rifle (Paldf Twitter account, May 21, 2022). Left: The funeral held for al-Fayed in the Jenin refugee camp. His body was wrapped for burial in a PIJ flag (Shehab Twitter account, May 21, 2022).
  • PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said Israel continued committing “crimes” against the Palestinian people, the most recent of which was the killing of Amjad al-Fayed and the wounding of another Palestinian. He warned of serious repercussions and called on the international community to condemn Israel’s actions and force it to accept responsibility (Sawa, May 21, 2022).
  • Hamas said in an announcement that al-Fayed’s death was a “cold-blooded assassination” (Hamas website, May 21, 2022). The PIJ said in a statement that every day the Jenin refugee camp proved its “continuing firm stance against the occupation” (Paltoday, May 21, 2022).
  • The al-Quds Brigade of the Jenin Battalion said it was “proud of the shaheed Amjad Walid al-Fayed” who was killed in a clash with the “occupation forces.” According to the announcement, the “heroes” had escalated the “resistance,” dealt a strong blow to the soldiers of the “occupation” and to the settlers in every confrontation site. The al-Quds Brigade called for the course of jihad and “resistance” to continue until the liberation of “Palestine” and the holy sites. It also claimed the “occupation” would pay for its “ongoing crimes” against the Palestinian people (Filastin al-Yawm, May 21, 2022).
Smuggling of ammunition prevented
  • On May 20, 2022, Israeli Crossings Authority security inspectors at the Reihan Crossing prevented 4,000 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition from being smuggled from Israel into northern Samaria. Two Israeli civilians from the Wadi Ara arrived at the Reihan Crossing and aroused the inspectors’ suspicions. An examination of their vehicle revealed four cases of IDF ammunition with hundreds of packages of bullets, totaling 4,000 rounds. The ammunition was confiscated and the suspects were taken for interrogation (Israeli ministry of defense spokesman’s unit, May 20, 2022).
 The ammunition seized at the Reihan Crossing (Israeli foreign ministry spokesman's unit, May 20, 2022).     The ammunition seized at the Reihan Crossing (Israeli foreign ministry spokesman's unit, May 20, 2022).
The ammunition seized at the Reihan Crossing (Israeli foreign ministry spokesman’s unit, May 20, 2022).
Terrorist cell exposed
  • An Israeli security forces investigation conducted at the beginning of April 2022 uncovered a terrorist cell of east Jerusalem residents who planned to carry out various types of terrorist attacks against Israeli targets, including the shooting of Israeli public figures, among them Israeli Knesset member Itamar Ben Gvir. They also planned to abduct IDF soldiers for use in prisoner exchange deals. They purchased a quadcopter which they planned to arm and use to attack the light railway in Jerusalem. The operatives were going hide in Hebron or Jenin after the attacks. The cell was headed by Rashid Rishq, a Hamas terrorist operative from east Jerusalem, who, along with a Hamas operative from the Abu Tor neighborhood, also planned a shooting or suicide bombing attack in Jerusalem (Israeli Security Agency spokesman’s unit, May 24, 2022).
  • In the meantime Rashid Rishq set up a network of terrorist operatives who objective was to cause riots in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount during Ramadan. Those enlisted were provided with Hamas flyers and flags, acquired gas and stun grenades and were going to enter the Temple Mount compound and confront Israeli security forces or Jews who arrived at the site. They were indicted by the Jerusalem district prosecutor’s office (Israeli ministry of justice spokesman’s unit, May 24, 2022).
Significant Terrorist Attacks in Judea and Samaria since January 2020[1]

Significant Terrorist Attacks in Judea and Samaria since January 2020

Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque
  • On May 29, 2022, the Flag March is supposed to be held in east Jerusalem, as it is every year when Israel celebrates Jerusalem Day. Its route passes through the Damascus Gate and the Old City. Despite the tension surrounding Jerusalem, the Israeli minister of internal security decided to allow the march through the Damascus Gate and the Muslim quarter of east Jerusalem. The decision was widely criticized by the Palestinians. in addition, Jewish groups announced their intention to enter the Temple Mount compound on Jerusalem Day, and the Jerusalem magistrate’s court ruling allows Jews to pray there. The Palestinian terrorist organizations issued threats and warnings of the consequences that would result from the Flag March and the presence of Jews on the Temple Mount.
  • Mahmoud Abbas’ office warned against allowing the Flag March to take place and condemned the magistrate’s court’s decision. According to the announcement, it was a violation of the status quo in Jerusalem and challenged international law. He called on the American administration to intervene to stop the march, and on the Palestinian people to confront “the attacks” (Wafa, May 22, 2022).
  • The PA foreign ministry condemned what it called the “ongoing incitement of extremist Jewish groups” whose objective was to enlist a large number of participants to “storm al-Aqsa mosque and destroy the Old City” in preparation for Jerusalem Day, part of their plan to Judaize Jerusalem and place in under Israeli sovereignty. The ministry warned of the “dangerous consequences” of such actions and called on the international community to end its silence, which encouraged the groups to carry out “aggression” against Jerusalem (Wafa, May 22, 2022).
  • Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the Mufti of Jerusalem and the PA, claimed the Israeli decision to allow the march to take place in east Jerusalem was another “racists provocation” threatening the Middle East. He called on the Arab-Muslim nation to defend al-Aqsa mosque, and on the entire Palestinian population to go urgently to the mosque and defend it, warning Israel of the consequences of its provocations (Wafa, May 23, 2022).
  • Mahmoud al-Habash, a Sharia court judge and Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor for religious affairs, condemned the Jerusalem magistrate court’s decision, claiming it was liable to ignite a religious war that would spread around the globe. He claimed the area of the Temple Mount was exclusively Muslim and belonged only to the Muslims (Ma’an, May 22, 2022). Fadi al-Hidmi, PA minister for Jerusalem affairs, claimed it was a unilateral action because no Israeli court had jurisdiction in the “1967 territories” or over al-Aqsa mosque (Wafa, May 23, 2022).
  • The Palestinian terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, through the mediators, warned Israel that the court decision was “playing with fire” and that holding the march would have serious repercussions. They claimed they would not permit the Flag March to be held in Jerusalem along the predetermined route and would not allow the red lines that had been drawn in May 2021 to be crossed (al-Quds, May 19, 2022).
  • Hamas said in a statement that Israel’s determination to hold the Flag March in east Jerusalem was “pouring oil on the fire” and that Israel would be responsible for the consequences. Hamas warned Israel not to carry out its “foolish” plan or export its internal political crisis [to east Jerusalem]. Hamas called on the Palestinians to go to Jerusalem on the day of the march and prevent the settlers from defiling al-Aqsa mosque. Hamas also appealed to the Arab-Muslim countries to take responsibility for defending al-Aqsa mosque and for stopping “Zionist aggression” and the settlers’ provocations (Hamas Telegram channel, May 22, 2022). At a conference held to mark the anniversary of Operation Guardian of the Walls, Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, said the “resistance” [i.e., the terrorist organizations] and the Palestinian people in Jerusalem and the West Bank would never allow the march to be held in al-Aqsa [sic] (al-Aqsa TV, May 22, 2022).
  • Hamas’ media outlets aired a long video based mainly on Isma’il Haniyeh’s speech at the ceremony marking the anniversary of Operation Guardian of the Walls. It included an explicit threat to use violence in view of the “situation in al-Aqsa” and Israel’s intention to hold the Flag March. The video featured scenes of IDF forces and Israeli civilians being attacked.
  • Hamas spokesman Musheir al-Masri said that what Israel did not understand through the mediators would be made clear with rockets. He claimed the decision [to allow Jews on the Temple Mount] was the declaration of a religious war as part of Israel’s plan to Judaize Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque. He said the “resistance” had its finger on the trigger and was monitoring events (al-Jazeera, May 22, 2022).
  • Haroun Nasser al-Din, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, condemned the Israeli decision. He said Jerusalem and its heart, al-Aqsa mosque, were Islamic land [sic]. He called on the Arab-Muslim states to take responsibility, defend al-Aqsa mosque and take action to put an end to “Zionist aggression and the settlers’ provocations” (Hamas website, May 22, 2022).
A call issued on the social networks for young Palestinians gather at the Damascus Gate to demonstrate en masse against the march (Daffa News Twitter account, May 20, 2022).    Palestinian notices for the Flag March. The terrorist operatives in the Gaza Strip called the march "playing with fire" (al-Khamsa website, May 23, 2022).
Palestinian notices for the Flag March. Right: The terrorist operatives in the Gaza Strip called the march “playing with fire” (al-Khamsa website, May 23, 2022). Left: A call issued on the social networks for young Palestinians gather at the Damascus Gate to demonstrate en masse against the march (Daffa News Twitter account, May 20, 2022).
Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israel
  • This past week no rocket 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

Financial aid from Qatar and the ongoing rebuilding of the Gaza Strip
  • On May 19, 2022, Mohammed al-Emadi, chairman of Qatar’s National Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, arrived in the Gaza Strip. He was expected to meet with the Hamas leadership to discuss a number of issues and respond to several requests from Hamas (al-Ayam, May 19, 2022). During his visit another installment of Qatari financial aid will be distributed to Gazan residents (Filastin al-Yawm, May 19, 2022). According to al-Ayam, so far this year no Qatari funds have been distributed and Hamas is waiting for confirmation that the sum this year will be $30 million instead of the current $24 million (al-Ayam, May 18, 2022).
  • The Palestinian daily newspaper al-Ayam reported that Mohammed al-Emadi promised to fund the reconstruction of the al-Jalaa Building, which was destroyed during Operation Guardian of the Walls and where al-Jazeera and the AP had their offices. He agreed that the new building would be named after al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh (al-Ayam, May 23, 2022).
Mohammed al-Emadi at the al-Jazeera offices in Gaza City offers his condolences to the station's workers on the death of Shireen Abu Akleh (al-Masdar, May 19, 2022).
Mohammed al-Emadi at the al-Jazeera offices in Gaza City offers his condolences to the station’s workers on the death of Shireen Abu Akleh (al-Masdar, May 19, 2022).
  • There have been complaints in the Gaza Strip about delays in rebuilding. Salameh Maarouf, head of the information bureau in Gaza, said that despite promises from the donor countries regarding covering the costs of rebuilding the Gaza Strip, no significant plan for construction has been carried out and that as of today of the 1,700 buildings which had been destroyed, only a few dozen had been rebuilt. He also accused UNRWA, which, he claimed, was deliberately delaying the transfer of funds and had only recently, after pressure from local residents, transferred funds for the reconstruction of 700 buildings. He claimed the delays were meant to exert political pressure on the Gaza Strip and to worsen its humanitarian crisis (Fateh Voice, May 15, 2022).
  • Naji Sirhan, director of the ministry of public works and housing in the Gaza Strip, held a press conference where he said that so far 20% of the rebuilding of structures that had been totally destroyed had been completed and 70% of the structures that had been partially destroyed. He said that despite promises, rebuilding the Gaza Strip faced challenges, the foremost of which was the absence of donors to fund it. He called on all the donors to increase their efforts so that rebuilding could be completed (Palinfo, May 22, 2022). UNRWA said it had transferred $4 million for more than 200 homeowners whose houses had been totally destroyed, and that rebuilding would be completed by the end of the year (UNRWA News Facebook page, May 19, 2022). Senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Zahar accused UNRWA of not helping the Palestinians and called on the agency to provide more assistance (al-Andalou News, May 17, 2022).
  • “Palestinian terrorist organization sources” reported that in light of the mediators’ inability to end “Israel’s continuous attacks,” the organizations were considering changing their approach and examining alternatives to halt Israel’s “aggression” towards the Palestinians. The organizations were preparing for a battle to break the naval “siege” of the Gaza Strip through a series of activities, preparations for which would begin in the coming weeks. The “battle,” they claimed, would be similar to the battle waged by the Palestinian people along the Gaza Strip border during the return marches (al-Quds, May 19, 2022).
Hamas leadership delegation visits Qatar
  •  A delegation of the Hamas leadership, headed by Khalil al-Haya, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, met in Qatar with the ambassadors of several countries, including Turkey. They discussed Israel’s [alleged] “crimes” in al-Aqsa mosque and attempts to divide the mosque by time and space. The Turkish ambassador said his country supported and was committed to the Palestinian cause (Hamas website, May 21, 2022.
The Hamas delegation meets with the Turkish and Algerian ambassadors to Doha (al-Quds, May 22, 2022).
The Hamas delegation meets with the Turkish and Algerian ambassadors to Doha (al-Quds, May 22, 2022).
The Gaza Strip marks the first anniversary of Operation Guardian of the Walls
  • This past week the Palestinian terrorist organizations marked the first anniversary of Operation Guardian of the Walls, beginning with a rally in the northern Gaza Strip attended by several hundred people. The joint operations room issued an announcement claiming that during the operation the “resistance” had had the last word with its Kornet and al-Quds missiles, and had had the upper hand from beginning to end. According to the announcement, “Sword of Jerusalem” [i.e., Operation Guardian of the Walls] and Nakba Day stressed that the choice of jihad and “resistance” would continue as long as the “occupation” continued. The announcement claimed the activities of the “enemy” in the “occupied cities” in general and Jerusalem in particular, and the calls to “invade al-Aqsa mosque” during the Flag march, were the reasons [the terrorist organizations] remained firm and assertive. The “resistance” would continue to deploy and make plans at every level, and called on regional people and “resistance forces” to join it in its preparations (joint operations room Telegram channel, May 22, 2022).
  •   Hamas organized a rally for “Sword of Jerusalem [i.e., Operation Guardian of the Walls]: unity of the homeland and people,” where Isma’il Haniyeh listed the “achievements” which he said led to changes in strategy. He claimed it had been a complex, comprehensive operation with multi-dimensional results, and influenced not only the Palestinian cause but the international community as well. He said the “Palestinian resistance” had moved the fighting arena into Israeli territory and the strategic balance of force favored the Palestinians. He said the operation had removed geographical barriers inside “Palestine” and united Palestinians both inside and outside its borders. Today, he said, there were no barriers preventing the Palestinians from striking a direct blow, as had happened in the attacks recently carried out inside Israel. Then, he added, the barriers had been breached and security challenges overcome and “heroic actions” had been carried out inside the Zionist entity (al-Aqsa TV, May 22, 2022).
Isma'il Haniyeh gives a speech (Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, May 22, 2022).   The rally in Gaza City.
Right: The rally in Gaza City. Left: Isma’il Haniyeh gives a speech (Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, May 22, 2022).
  • PIJ leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah said the operation was a milestone in the history of the Palestinian people’s struggle in the war for Jerusalem, and in its aftermath the “resistance” had developed weapons it had not possessed previously. He also claimed that Jerusalem would be the capital of “Palestine” “for all eternity,” al-Aqsa mosque was the objective of their jihad, and they would not accept any Israel attempt to Judaize the city. He called on the “resistance” forces to unite to defend Jerusalem, saying prayers alone were insufficient (al-Aqsa, May 22, 2022).
Ziyad al-Nakhalah gives a speech (Jerusalem Brigades website, April 22, 2022).
Ziyad al-Nakhalah gives a speech (Jerusalem Brigades website, April 22, 2022).
  • Hamas and the PIJ took advantage of the events held for the anniversary Operation Guardian of the Walls to publicize documentation of Israeli targets along the Gaza Strip border. They claimed the photographs had been taken with a UAV that had entered Israel during the operation.
Reports that Israel intends to assassinate Hamas leaders
  • After information was published that Israel was planning to assassinate Hamas leaders, Taher al-Nunu, Isma’il Haniyeh’s media advisor, said Haniyeh sent communiqués to a number of regional leaders and countries warning them of Israel’s intention to renew its policy of targeted killings. On the list, according to Taher al-Nunu, were Yahya al-Sinwar, Saleh al-‘Arouri, Muhammad Deif and Zaher Jabarin. He warned of the consequences, adding that Haniyeh had asked the countries to which he had sent the communiqués to send the message to Israel (Shehab, May 18, 2022).
  • Senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Zahar claimed the deterrence created by the organizations in the Gaza Strip would prevent Israel from carrying out aggressive acts or attacking Palestinian leaders. He also said he doubted that Israel would kill Yahya al-Sinwar because generally Israel did not warn of its intentions, while this time it had issued warnings many times. He said the “resistance” was on alert in case Israel did take action and they were in contact with the mediators to ensure quiet in the Gaza Strip. They threatened that an attempt by Israel to violate the calm would be met with a strong reaction (al-Andalou News, May 17, 2022).
Hamas imposes taxes on goods imported form the PA territories
  • Hamas recently imposed a 17% tax on 24 products imported from the PA to the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom Crossing. They included mineral water, fruit juices, soft drinks and potato chips.
  • Sources in the PA claimed the decision angered local residents, merchants and civil rights organizations because it widened the internal Palestinian rift. Jamal Sirhan, director of the Independent Authority for Human Rights in Gaza, said the decision violated Palestinian law and called for those responsible to be brought to trial (Wafa, May 22, 2022). Fatah was also critical of the decision. Iyad Nasr, a member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council and its spokesman, said the tax was illegal and was an addition to Israel’s fight against the Palestinian economy, perpetuating the separation between the [Palestinian] regions. He called on civilian organizations and institutions in the Gaza Strip to act against Hamas in the matter (Wafa, May 23, 2022).
Diplomatic activity
  • Hussein al-Sheikh, PA minister of civilian affairs, paid a visit to Russia, where he met with Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and Mikhail Bogdanov, the deputy foreign minister. He said in a statement that they had discussed bilateral relations and the Palestinian cause (Hussein al-Sheikh’s Twitter account, May 17, 2022).
  • PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh met with Wopke Hoekstra, the Dutch foreign minister. Muhammad Shtayyeh told him that the situation in “Palestine” was complex because of Israel’s “escalation, killings and detentions,” the ongoing construction in the settlements and Israel’s daily entrances into the Temple Mount compound. Shtayyeh asked Holland and the EU to take action on the matter (Muhammad Shtayyeh’s Facebook page, May 18, 2022). Shtayyeh also called for pressure to be exerted on Israel for it to turn the bodies of Palestinians it held over to the PA, and to release the tax funds it collected for the PA and stop deducting them (Wafa, May 18, 2022).
  • According to the Israeli media, during his visit to Ramallah the Dutch foreign minister met with senior Palestinian figures and representatives of NGOs, including al-Haq, which in October 2021 designated Israel by a terrorist organization and outlawed (Israeli media, May 19, 2022).
Riyad al-Maliki meets with the Dutch foreign minister (Wopke Hoekstra's Facebook page, May 18, 2022).    Muhammad Shtayyeh meets with the Dutch foreign minister (Muhammad Shtayyeh's Facebook page, May 18, 2022).  
Right: Muhammad Shtayyeh meets with the Dutch foreign minister (Muhammad Shtayyeh’s Facebook page, May 18, 2022). Left: Riyad al-Maliki meets with the Dutch foreign minister (Wopke Hoekstra’s Facebook page, May 18, 2022).
  • Muhammad Shtayyeh went to Davos, Switzerland, to participate in the World Economic Forum. On the sidelines of the forum he expected to meet with a number of political figures, among them the Dutch prime minister, the Kuwaiti minister of the treasury and heads of various organizations (Wafa, May 22, 2022).
The death of Shireen Abu Akleh
  • The preoccupation with the death of al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh continues. According to the IDF, there is no plan to open a criminal investigation into her death because she was killed during an active combat situation (Haaretz, May 18, 2022). American Secretary of State Antony Blinken again called for a comprehensive, transparent investigation to determine who was responsible for the death (US State Department, May 11, 2022). Fifty-seven congressmen signed a letter calling on him and on FBI Director Christopher Wray to begin an investigation (ADC, May 13, 2022).
  • The PA foreign ministry condemned the IDF’s refusal to open an investigation and accused it of ignoring the dozens of statements and the incriminating evidence. The ministry assigned full, direct responsibility to the government of Israel for the reporter’s [alleged] “murder.” It warned of the repercussions of Israel’s [alleged] attempts to close the file, calling it “a new crime against Shireen” (PA foreign ministry Facebook page, May 20, 2022). Hussein al-Sheikh said the Palestinians welcomed the call from the American State Department to conduct and full, transparent investigation in light of Israel’s decision to close the file regarding an investigation (Hussein al-Sheikh’s Twitter account, May 21, 2022).
  • Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki said the Palestinians’ file on the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh had been given to the ICC two days previously. He also said the PA was sending monthly reports dealing with Israel’s [alleged] “violations and apartheid.” He added that the United States defended Israel and kept it from accepting responsibility for its [alleged] “crimes” (al-Andalou News, May 23, 2022).
ICC prosecutor’s initiative to strengthen engagement with civil society
  • Karim Khan, the ICC prosecutor, announced an initiative for deepening its partnership between his office, impacted communities and civil society, and noted the steps he would be taking. Among them were his intention to host two thematic roundtables with non-governmental organizations each year. He also intends to develop and publish “guidance materials for non-governmental organisations to support them in engaging with witnesses and survivors in a manner that preserves the integrity of potential testimony that could be relied on in criminal proceedings” (ICC website, May 13, 2022). Apparently Palestinian NGOs can participate in the initiative to promote the Palestinian cause in the ICC.
PA reaction to the removal of Kach from the United States’ list of foreign terrorist organizations
  • The United States decided to remove several organizations from its list of foreign terrorist organizations on their grounds that they were inactive. Among the organizations was Meir Kahana’s Kach movement.[2] In response Mahmoud Abbas’ office condemned the decision. According to the Palestinian announcement, the American administration continues to define the PLO as a terrorist organization while ignoring the actions of the “enemies of peace.” The announcement called on the American administration to reverse its decision and remove the PLO from its list of terrorist organizations (Wafa, May 21, 2022).
  • On May 24, 2022, Hussein al-Sheikh, PA minister of civilian affairs, announced the Palestinians had sent a formal request to the United States to remove the PLO from its list of foreign terrorist organizations. He said they were surprised at the unjust classification of an organization that belonged to a people living under “occupation” while the American administration had removed Kach from its list (Hussein al-Sheikh’s Twitter account, May 24, 2022).
Hamas faction wins Birzeit University student council elections
  • The Hamas faction won a significant majority of the seats in the election for the Birzeit University student council, 28 of 51 seats. The Fatah faction, “the slate of shaheed Yasser Arafat,” won only 18 seats. It was not the first time the Hamas faction had won the election, but it was the first time it had won by a significant majority. The faction held a victory rally attended by hundreds of students where Hamas flags were held and students wore green. The sign on the stage read, “The university of Yahya Ayash, the university of the shaheeds.”
      
Victory rally held by the Hamas faction at Birzeit University (QudsN Twitter account, May 19, 2022).
Protests following work for easier access to the Cave of the Patriarchs
  • The Palestinians continue to protest the work Israel is carrying out at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron to make the site more easily accessible to both Jewish and Muslim visitors. The PA foreign ministry called it “an act of Judaization” intended to change the site’s cultural, Islamic and historical identity. The ministry demanded the American administration exert pressure on Israel to stop “Judaizing” the Cave of the Patriarchs (Wafa, May 24, 2022).
  • Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the Mufti of Jerusalem and the PA, called the activity “a racist Jewish crime,” claiming Israel was planning to “change archaeological findings” and establish Israeli control over the site. He called on the countries of the world and international organizations to act to stop Israel’s activity at the site (Wafa, May 24, 2022).
Palestinians march in Hebron to protest Israel's construction and development work at the Cave of the Patriarchs (Wafa Facebook page, May 23, 2022).    Palestinians march in Hebron to protest Israel's construction and development work at the Cave of the Patriarchs (Wafa Facebook page, May 23, 2022).
Palestinians march in Hebron to protest Israel’s construction and development work at the Cave of the Patriarchs (Wafa Facebook page, May 23, 2022).
  • In Judea and Samaria Palestinians continued throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles driving on the roads. The more prominent attacks were the following:[3]
    • May 24, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near Alei Zahav, southeast of Qalqilya. No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
    • May 23, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli police patrol car near the Halhul Bridge, north of Hebron. No casualties or damage were reported.
    • May 23, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus in Arab Tekoa, southeast of Bethlehem. No casualties or damage were reported.
    • May 23, 2022: IDF fighters identified two Palestinians throwing rocks at Israeli vehicles on the road near Neria, northwest of Ramallah, endangering lives. The fighters instituted procedure for detaining suspects, including the use of live fire. One Palestinian was detained and taken for medical treatment (IDF spokesman, May 23, 2022).
    • May 23, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near Luban al-Sharqia, northeast of Ramallah. No casualties or damage were reported.
    •  May 22, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle between the Yakir Junction and Revava, southeast of Nablus. No casualties were reported; the window of the vehicle was damaged.
    • May 22, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli military vehicle north of Givat Assaf, east of Ramallah. No casualties or damage were reported.
    • May 22, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle north of Ofra, northeast of Ramallah. No casualties or damage were reported.
    • May 22, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle in Hawwara, south of Nablus. No casualties or damage were reported
    • May 22, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus south of the Ma’aleh Amos Junction, northeast of Hebron. No casualties were reported.
    • May 22, 2022: Rocks and a Molotov cocktail were thrown at an Israeli vehicle on the Jerusalem-Gush Etzion road. No casualties or damage were reported.
    • May 20, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near Bayt Ummar, north of Hebron. No casualties or damage were reported.
    • May 20, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near the Yakir Junction, southeast of Nablus. No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
    • May 20, 2022: Molotov cocktails were thrown on the roof of a house in the Jewish neighborhood of Hebron. No casualties or damage were reported.
    • May 19, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus carrying soldiers near Hawwara, south of Nablus. No casualties were reported
    • May 18, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle in the Jaba Surif area, northwest of Hebron. No casualties were reported; the windshield of the vehicle was damaged.
    • May 18, 2022: A Palestinian infiltrated the settlement of Havat Maon, southeast of Hebron. He was apprehended by a local resident. A search revealed he had a weapon in his possession.
    • May 18, 2022: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus in Hawwara, south of Nablus. No casualties were reported; the bus was damaged. Soldiers who detained a suspect at the site were attacked.

[1] 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
[2] Kach was a radical Orthodox Jewish, ultranationalist political party in Israel, existing from 1971 to 1994 (Wikipedia).
[3] Information and pictures from Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria unless otherwise noted.