The weekly riot in the village of Bayta (Wafa, October 1, 2021).
The body of Zayud, wrapped for burial in a PIJ flag (Filastin al-Yawm, September 30, 2021).
The body of Muhammad Amer wrapped for burial in the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades flag (Twitter account of Ashraf Amara, September 30, 2021).
The Hamas leadership welcomes Isma'il Haniyeh when he arrives in Cairo (Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, October 3, 2021).
Egyptians rebuilding roads in the Gaza Strip (Safa Facebook page, September 23, 2021).
Egyptians rebuilding roads in the Gaza Strip (Safa Facebook page, September 23, 2021).
- Judea and Samaria: Between September 13 and October 5, 2021, there were three stabbing attacks, two of them in east Jerusalem. The Israeli security forces carried out counterterrorism activities in several locations in Judea and Samaria, during which two Israel soldiers were severely injured, a number of Palestinians were killed and several were detained; weapons were also confiscated. According to Israeli security sources, a terrorist attack in an Israeli city was prevented. The two remaining Palestinian fugitives who escaped from the Gilboa prison were captured in Jenin.
- The Gaza Strip: On September 12, 2021, a rocket was fired at the Israeli communities near the border; since then the Gaza Strip has been relatively quiet. A delegation of the Hamas leadership went to Cairo for talks concerning rebuilding the Gaza Strip, the lull and internal Hamas issues. Rebuilding the Gaza Strip has begun. On September 13, 2021, the distribution began of the funds from Qatar for needy families, carried out through a UN mechanism. Another installment of funds from Qatar is expected in the near future.
- The Palestinian Authority (PA): On September 24, 2021, Mahmoud Abbas gave a prerecorded speech to the UN General Assembly. He claimed they had reached a crossroads and delivered Israel an ultimatum to withdraw from the Palestinians territories within a year, including east Jerusalem. He said during the year the PA would be willing to discuss all the unresolved issues regarding a permanent solution. He threated that if Israel did not withdraw, all options were on the table for the Palestinians, including an appeal to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Hamas was critical of the speech, which it claimed did not meet the challenges facing the Palestinian cause.
- Palestinian public opinion poll: On September 21, 2021, Khalil Shaqaqi’s Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR), issued the main findings of its third quarter public opinion poll. The results were influenced by the atmosphere created by the escape of Palestinian terrorist operative prisoners from the Gilboa prison and the search conducted for them. According to the poll, if elections were held today for the position of PA chairman, Mahmoud Abbas would get 34% of the vote and Isma’il Haniyeh 56%. Regarding the best way to end the [so-called] “Israeli occupation,” 48% were in favor of “armed activity” [i.e., terrorism], 28% were in favor of negotiations and 19% were in favor of “peaceful popular protest.”
- The coronavirus: In Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip the number of active cases and hospitalized patients declined.
Attacks and attempted attacks
Attempted terrorist attack in east Jerusalem
- On September 30, 2021, a Palestinian woman went to the Chain Gate on the western flank of the Old City of Jerusalem. She aroused the suspicions of the police and Border Police fighters stations at the site and they interrogated her. She took out a knife and tried to stab the policemen; she was shot and killed (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, September 30, 2021). Investigation revealed that the Palestinian woman had arrived in the Old City the day before and slept in a hostel. The Palestinian media reported she was Israa Khazimia, 30, married with children, from Qabatiya, south of Jenin. Her friends described her as an outstanding student studying at the al-Quds Open University and well-versed in the subject of the Palestinian prisoners (QudsN Twitter account, September 30, 2021).
Stabbing attack near the Central Bus Station in west Jerusalem
- On the afternoon of September 13, 2021, there was a stabbing attack near the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem. A Palestinian went to Jaffa Road, near the bus station, walked into a store, took out a knife and stabbed two civilians, wounding them. A Border Policewoman who witnessed the incident shot and wounded the terrorist. He was Bassel Shwarmra, 17, from a village near Hebron. Investigation revealed he and a relative had taken a taxi from Hebron to Jerusalem; he did not have a permit to enter Israeli territory. The two parted company near the Damascus Gate, and the terrorist took the light railway to the Central Bus Station, where he carried out the attack.
- Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua claimed the Palestinian people had begun its “freedom intifada” with clashes in Judea and Samaria and demonstrations in the Gaza Strip, held in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails (Hamas’ Telegram channel, September 13, 2021). Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) spokesman Da’ud Shehab called it a “reflection of the rage” of the Palestinian people, and that Israel (“the occupation”) would pay for its arrogance (PIJ Twitter account, September 13, 2021).
Attempted stabbing attack at the Gush Etzion Junction
- On September 13, 2021, a Palestinian attempted to carry out a stabbing attack at the Gush Etzion Junction. He was shot and wounded, and evacuated to a hospital. No Israeli casualties were reported.
Clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli security forces
- On the night of September 19, 2021, Israeli security forces entered Jenin. After they had isolated and encircled a building they captured the two remaining fugitive terrorists of the six who had escaped from the Gilboa prison. The two did not offer resistance. Two of the terrorists’ associates were also detained. As the Israeli security forces exited Jenin, local residents rioted, throwing rocks and IEDs, and shooting at the soldiers (IDF spokesman, September 19, 2021).
- On September 24, 2021, Muhammad Khabeisa, a Palestinian from the village of Bayta, south of Nablus, was killed during the weekly riot; riots have been held near the village for the past few months to protest the evacuated Eviatar outpost. The event is under investigation because the IDF claims it is uncertain he was killed by Israeli gunfire. Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, claimed the clashes between Palestinians and IDF forces in Bayta and the death of Muhammad Khabeisa proved the Palestinians had not accepted the legitimacy of Israel’s (“the occupation”) presence on Palestinian land. He added that the “resistance” [i.e., terrorism and violence] was the strategic choice for liberating the Palestinians and the shortest way to expel Israel (Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades website, September 25, 2021).
The weekly riot in the village of Bayta (Wafa, October 1, 2021).
- On September 26, 2021, as part of ongoing intelligence and operational activities, the Israeli security forces detained wanted Hamas terrorist operatives in five locations in Judea and Samaria. At least five terrorist operatives were killed and several others were wounded. Several operatives were detained and weapons were confiscated.
- There was an exchange of fire in the yard of a house during the Israeli security force activities in the village of Burqin, and an IDF officer and soldier were critically wounded. A terrorist operative was detained and weapons were confiscated. A short time later Border Police fighters operating in Burqin were shot at and returned fire. A Palestinian who carried out a drive-by shooting was also detained (IDF spokesman, September 26, 2021). According to IDF Chief of Staff General Aviv Kokhavi, the security forces prevented terrorist attacks that could have otherwise been carried out in Israel’s large cities (IDF spokesman, September 26,2021).
Confiscated weapons (IDF spokesman, September 26, 2021).
- The Palestinian terrorist organizations issued declarations and threats, warning of a “military” escalation. Mahmoud Abbas’ office issued a statement accusing Israel of responsibility for the “crime” that led to the killing of five “residents,” and demanded the international community make Israel account for its crimes. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, appealed to the UN Security Council to end its silence (Wafa, September 25, 2021). The Palestinian foreign ministry claimed the “slaughter” [allegedly] carried out [by Israel] served Israel’s colonialist agenda and was deliberate escalation to “shuffle the cards” and [change] priorities (Dunia al-Watan, September 26, 2021).
- PIJ military-terrorist wing-spokesman Abu Hamza said PIJ operatives had fought “bravely” against Israel during the action in Jenin and caused the enemy significance damage (PIJ Telegram channel, September 25, 2021). Hamas’ military-terrorist wing said in a statement that one of the Palestinians killed, Ahmed Zaharan, was a field commander, and two others, Zakaria Badwan and Mahmoud Hamidan, were military wing operatives. Hamas noted that the blood of martyrs was not shed in vain and that the Palestinian people, headed by the Hamas leadership, and its sons would continue to spearhead the struggle. Hamas issued a call to its operatives to escalate the “resistance” activities against Israel at all the friction points, claiming that only the option of “resistance” could preserve the rights of the Palestinian people (al-Jazeera, September 26, 2021). Saleh al-‘Arouri, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, claimed the blood of martyrs was not shed in vain and threatened that its price would be the liberation of “Palestine” and al-Aqsa mosque (Filastin al-A’an, September 25, 2021).
Usama Yasser Sabah, 22, from the village of Burqin, PIJ terrorist operative. Right: Armed with two assault rifles. Left: His body wrapped for burial in a PIJ flag (Sama News, September 26, 2021).
Hamas mourning notice for the three terrorist operatives (Nabez website, September 26 2021).
- On September 27, 2021, dozens of Palestinians rioted against the Israeli security forces in Nablus after several hundred Jewish worshippers entered the Tomb of Joseph to pray. The Palestinians threw IEDs and rocks and shot at the Israeli security forces, who returned fire. Two Border Police fighters were superficially wounded. The Tomb building was damaged by Molotov cocktails (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, September 27, 2021).
- Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem praised the Palestinians who had clashed with the IDF forces in Nablus and wounded soldiers. He stated that the young Palestinians rioting in the streets of Judea and Samaria proved themselves a reservoir of strength for the revolution [sic] (Hazem Qassem’s Twitter account, September 26, 2021). PIJ spokesman Da’ud Shehab claimed the “resistance” was escalating in the cities, refugee camps and villages, and would deter Israel (PIJ Telegram channel, September 26, 2021).
- On September 29, 2021, Israeli security forces operated against a number of targets in the village of Burqin, southwest of Jenin, to detain suspects and locate weapons. A firefight developed during which a terrorist operative shot at the Israeli forces. The soldiers returned his fire, killing him (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, September 29, 2021). The Palestinian media reported the death of Alaa Nasser Zayud, 22, from the village of Silat al-Harithiya, killed in an exchange of fire with IDF forces. The PIJ’s military-terrorist wing issued a mourning notice for him, claiming he was one of its operatives. (Ma’an, September 30, 2021).
Right: Alaa Zayud, armed with an assault rifle (Facebook page of Sair, September 30, 2021). Left: The body of Zayud, wrapped for burial in a PIJ flag (Filastin al-Yawm, September 30, 2021).
- The PIJ said they would continue their intifada and “resistance” (Jerusalem Brigades website, September 30, 2021). In Burqin the PIJ organized a march of hundreds of its operatives, who shouted anti-Israeli slogans and called for the abduction of IDF soldiers (PIJ website, September 30, 2021). Palestinians who attended the funeral called on the terrorist organizations and the military-terrorist wings to react quickly to avenge his death.
Settlers clash with Palestinians
- On September 28, 2021, several dozen settlers from Havat Maon and the Avigail outpost went to a village south of Hebron, and threw rocks at Palestinians, causing property damage. In response Palestinians threw rocks back at the settlers. A three year-old Palestinian boy was hit with a rock and is in a hospital in serious condition. IDF and police forces arrived at the site; a soldier was hit by a rock. The site where the incident took place has been a bone of contention between settlers and local Palestinian residents.
Rocks, Molotov cocktails and other events
- In Judea and Samaria Palestinians continued throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails, mainly at Israeli vehicles driving on the roads. The more prominent events were the following:
- October 3, 2021: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus in east Jerusalem. No casualties were reported. The front windshield of the bus was damaged. A 16 year-old Palestinian boy was detained on suspicion of having thrown the rocks and was taken for questioning (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, October 3, 2021).
- October 3, 2021: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus between Anatot and Hizma (east of Jerusalem). The bus driver was wounded by flying glass.
- October 2, 2021: A Palestinian riding a motorcycle threw an IED at an IDF post between the Reihan crossing and Hermesh (west of Jenin), riding off in the direction of Ya’bed. No casualties or damage were reported.
- October 1, 2021: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus near Anata (northeast of Jerusalem). No casualties were reported; the bus was damaged.
- September 29, 2021: Rocks and a Molotov cocktail were thrown at an IDF force between Kiryat Arba and Hebron. A soldier was superficially wounded.
- September 29, 2021: A 17 year-old Palestinian was detained by Border Police fighters near the Cave of the Patriarchs. He had a knife in his possession.
- September 28, 2021: Border Police fighters raided a house in the Bethlehem region. The owner of the house, 27 years old, was suspected of manufacturing pipe bombs, and taken for interrogation.
- September 25, 2021: Molotov cocktails were thrown at an IDF force between Beit Fajjar and Migdal Oz (south of Bethlehem). No casualties or damage were reported.
- September 23, 2021: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus and vehicle in the area of Sinjil (northeast of Ramallah). No casualties were reported. The bus and vehicle were damaged.
- September 22, 2021: An IDF force detained a Palestinian at the Jinsafut Junction (near Qalqilya) who had a knife in his possession.
- September 22, 2021: During a police activity in the a-Tor neighborhood in east Jerusalem, rocks were thrown and fireworks shot at the forces. A suspect from east Jerusalem was detained (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, September 22, 2021)
- September 17, 2021: Border Police fighters secured a march of about 200 Palestinians in the Beituniya region near the security fence. Towards the end of the march dozens of Palestinians threw rocks and various objects at the Israeli security forces. Three Palestinians were detained (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, September 17, 2021).
- September 14, 2021: A Molotov cocktail was thrown at an IDF post between Kiryat Arba and Hebron. No casualties or damage were reported.
- September 14, 2021: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus on the Gush Etzion-Hebron road south of Karmei Tsur. No casualties were reported. The windshield of the bus was damaged.
- September 14, 2021: Rocks were thrown at an IDF post in al-Fawwar, southwest of Hebron. No casualties or damage were reported.
- September 13, 2021: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus in the Hizma region. One person was superficially injured; the front windshield was damaged.
- September 13, 2021: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus on the Gush Etzion-Hebron road between Bayt Ummar and Karmei Tsur. No casualties or damage were reported.
- September 13, 2021: Two Molotov cocktails were thrown at an Israeli bus near the Azzun Junction. No casualties or damage were reported.
Significant Terrorist Attacks in Judea and Samaria since January 2020
Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israel
- On September 12, 2021, a rocket was fired at the Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip border for the third consecutive day. In response the Israeli Air Force attacked Hamas terrorist targets. The Palestinian media reported an attack on a Hamas military-terrorist wing post and on other posts in the Rafah region (Shehab Twitter account, September 13, 2021).
Monthly Distribution of Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire since January 2020
Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits
Attempts to infiltrate Israeli territory
- On October 2, 2021, IDF fighters detained two suspects who tried to cross the border security fence from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. They were carrying a bag with hand grenades, and were taken for interrogation (IDF spokesman, October 2, 2021).
- On September 30, 2021, IDF surveillance identified three suspicious Palestinians approaching the border security fence in the northern Gaza Strip. One was seen digging under the fence with a bag nearby. The forces shot and killed him. The incident is under investigation (IDF spokesman, September 30, 2021).
- The Palestinian media reported the Palestinian who was shot and killed was Muhammad Amer, 40, married and father of seven, from the al-Bureij refugee camp (Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, September 30, 2021). He was reported as working in the al-Bureij municipality and had gone to catch birds near the fence (YouTube, September 30, 2021). His body was wrapped for burial in a green flag of Hamas’ military-terrorist wing (Twitter account of Ashraf Amara, September 30, 2021). Hamas posted a mourning notice on its website, claiming he made his living by catching birds (Hamas website, September 30, 2021).
The body of Muhammad Amer wrapped for burial in the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades flag
(Twitter account of Ashraf Amara, September 30, 2021).
- The joint operations room of the terrorist operatives in the Gaza Strip warned Israel that the “crime” of “executing Muhammad Amer” near the border security fence in eastern al-Bureij crossed all the red lines, adding that Israel’s “violence” would have dire consequences and lead to an explosion (the joint operations room Telegram channel, September 30, 2021).
Hamas delegation visits Cairo
- A delegation of the Hamas leadership, led by Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, and Yahya al-Sinwar, head of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, left the Gaza Strip on October 3, 2021, for talks in Cairo with high-ranking Egyptian officials, including Abbas Kamel, head of Egyptian General Intelligence. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum claimed the talks would deal with issues such as exchanging prisoners and captives, and the internal Palestinian reconciliation. According to a Palestinian source, the entire Hamas leadership, from the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria and “abroad” arrived in Cairo to discuss internal Hamas matters (Filastin, October 2, 2021)..
Right: The Hamas leadership in Cairo (Palinfo Twitter account, October 3, 2021). Left: The Hamas leadership welcomes Isma’il Haniyeh when he arrives in Cairo (Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, October 3, 2021).
The funds from Qatar
- On September 13, 2021, the distribution of the funds from Qatar began for needy families. They were distributed through a UN mechanism. The media in the Gaza Strip reported the funds would be distributed at a large number of locations. Hamas criticized the PA’s withdrawal from the agreement to transfer the Qatari funds paid to Hamas employees. An editorial in al-Risalah claimed the PA had again gotten its hands on international aid to “stab Gaza in the back,” this time by using the funds donated by Qatar, making sure they did not reach the Gaza Strip (al-Risalah, September 13, 2021).
Rebuilding the Gaza Strip
- On September 23, 2021, according to reports, Egypt began rebuilding the Gaza Strip. Egyptian contractors and workers began reconstructing the foundations of the al-Rashid promenade on the beach in the northern Gaza Strip. A Hamas spokesman reported that additional Egyptian teams were supposed to arrive and would begin working to rebuild other sites (Sawa, Dunia al-Watan, September 23, 2021).
- Interviewed by al-Arabia TV on September 13, 2021, PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh claimed the situation in the Gaza Strip was “catastrophic” in every sense, including the quality of the water, power outages, the hardships of the local residents, and other issues. He said the PA, as the official authority representing the Palestinian people, should be responsible for and entrusted with rebuilding the Gaza Strip, as had been agreed upon with Egypt, Qatar and the international community, and that rebuilding demanded lifting the siege and opening the crossings.
Hamas political bureau member reports on the government’s financial hardships
- Meeting with the workers’ union in the Gaza Strip, Abbas al-Da’alis, a member of Hamas’ political bureau and who also chairs the committee monitoring the work of the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, said the difficult financial situation the government finds itself in will influence the date and extent of the payment of October 2021 salaries. The situation is the result of the decline in income, increase in expenditures in the wake of Operation Guardian of the Walls, and not receiving the Qatari funds to pay the salaries of Hamas employees (al-Quds, September 29, 2021).
Hamas collects taxes from the least able to pay
(Iyad al-Buzum’s Facebook page, September 24, 2021).
Opposition to UNRWA-United States agreement
- The organizations in the Gaza Strip object to the agreement signed in July 2021 between UNRWA and the United States. The monitoring committee of the national and Islamic forces announced its strong opposition to the agreement and to the steps taken to make UNRWA withdraw from the agreement signed in July. The agreement would make it possible to restore the United States’ financial aid to the agency, which was cut off during the previous American administration. Senior PIJ figure Khader Habib called the agreement “a plot hatched in secret” whose objective was to destroy the Palestinian cause and the refugees. He claimed the agreement contained many articles harmful to UNRWA activity, the most dangerous of which was the security agreement (al-Quds al-Arabi, September 20, 2021).
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) response to statement from Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps
- On September 29, 2021, the PIJ issued a response to a statement from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, according to which Qassem Soleimani had formed six armies beyond Iran’s borders for the defense of Iran (Hezbollah, the PIJ, Hamas, the Popular Mobilization, the Syrian army and the Houthis). The PIJ, which is supported by Iran, stated that the “resistance” of the Palestinian people had existed since the initiation of the “Zionist project” and was not linked to any other goal. The PIJ also said that the alliance between the PIJ and Iran had as its objectives to confront Israel (“the Zionist entity”) and “resistance,” noting Iran stood on the front lines against the Zionist enemy (PIJ Telegram channel, September 29, 2021).
Rally to mark the 16th anniversary of Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip
- On September 12, 2021, a rally was held to mark the 16th anniversary of Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian organizations at the rally emphasized that the disengagement was a great achievement for the Palestinians, and that it was undertaken thanks to the “Palestinian resistance” against Israel (Safa, September 12, 2021).
Cartoons celebrating Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip
(Palestinian cartoon Facebook page, September 12, 2021).
Hamas presence removed from Sudan
- According to a Reuters article, after the fall of Omar al-Bashir in 2019, the Sudanese government gradually took control of at least a dozen companies and assets which the authorities stated had ties to Hamas. That enabled Sudan to achieve a rapprochement with the West and be removed from the list of terrorism-supporting states. Sudanese and Palestinian commentators quoted in the article said that the action caused Hamas to lose a base in a foreign country where its operatives could live, raise money and send weapons and funds from Iran to the Gaza Strip. Among the assets confiscated were fast food restaurants, hotels, real estate and construction projects, a TV station and farmlands. It was also reported that individuals associated with Hamas had to leave Sudan and move to Turkey, leaving 80% of their investments behind (Reuters, September 23, 2021).
- Hamas spokesmen denied the report. Sami Abu Zuhri denied the report, although he admitted that a number of steps had been taken which weakened Hamas’ presence in Sudan and limited its ties to the country. Hazem Qassem said Hamas had no investments nor any problem with anyone or anything in Sudan (BBC in Arabic, September 23, 2021). Abd al-Latif al-Qanua stressed that there was no hostility between Hamas and Sudan (Sawa, September 23, 2021). Hussein al-Sheikh, chairman of the PA’s authority of civilian affairs, called on the Sudanese authorities to transfer the funds which had been confiscated from Hamas to the PA government, and especially to the residents of the Gaza Strip who were under “siege” and needed the money (Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, September 25, 2021).
Cartoon mocking Hussein al-Sheikh following his demand that Sudan turn over the funds it confiscated to the PA (Palestinian cartoon Facebook page, September 25, 2021).
- Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, held a telephone conversation with the foreign minister of the Taliban government in Afghanistan. He said he hoped the Taliban would help the Palestinians liberate Jerusalem. He also said that the Palestinian cause had to be mentioned in statements from the Taliban’s foreign ministry (Hamas website, October 2, 2021).
Mahmoud Abbas’ speech before the UN General Assembly
- On September 24, 2021, Mahmoud Abbas gave a prerecorded speech before the UN General Assembly, where he said the Palestinians were at a crossroads, and the situation had become “intolerable” and could not continue. Mahmoud Abbas said the following (Wafa, September 24, 2021):
- He issued Israel an ultimatum, giving it a year to withdraw from the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, including east Jerusalem. He claimed that during the year the PA was willing to discuss all the unresolved issues regarding a permanent solution, including drawing borders according to the International Quartet and international resolutions. He threatened that if the ultimatum were not met all options were open to the Palestinians, including an appeal to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a ruling on the legality of the “occupation,” which all sides involved would have to implement.
- He accused the current and former governments of Israel of “fleeing from” a political solution based on the idea of the two-state solution by implementing alternative economic and political projects which, he claimed, were unilateral and did not achieve security or stability, but rather interfered with efforts to reach a genuine peace and created the current situation of a racist state.
- He claimed Israel had to be punished for its violations of international law, stressing that Israel considers itself a democratic country but acts as though it is above the law.
- He claimed the international community and the UN had failed, because they did not take Israel to task but rather allowed it to act above the law. Some of the states, he said, did not recognize Israel as an “occupying, racist” state and were proud they shared common values.
- He protested what he claimed were “double standards” which on the one hand demanded the PA present its school curricula to ensure they did not contain incitement to hatred or encourage violence, but did not demand the same thing from Israel, which [allegedly] incited its public against the Palestinians.
- He wondered why the Palestinians had to provide explanations for taking care of the families of shaheeds and prisoners who were [allegedly] “victims of the occupation and its criminal actions.” He promised they would continue the practice until all the prisoners were released.
- He attacked the attempt to create an economic discourse instead of a political one, and indirectly the trust-building measures promoted by the American administration between the PA and Israel.
- Hamas was critical of the speech. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said it included clear and sincere recognition of Mahmoud Abbas’ helplessness and failure to achieve any benefit from the Oslo Accords. He said the speech did not meet the challenges facing the Palestinian cause (Hamas Telegram channel, September 25, 2021). In al-Risalah Fawzi Barhoum wrote that Mahmoud Abbas gave a speech admitting his failure and continuing his policy of begging, whining and sighing, renewing the gamble of the tired recycling of overused terminology.
Right: Mahmoud Abbas’ recorded speech at the UN General Assembly (Mahmoud Abbas’ Facebook page, September 24, 2021). Left: Cartoon mocking Mahmoud Abbas after his threats against Israel (Palestinian cartoon Facebook page, September 29, 2021).
Mahmoud Abbas meets with Hady Amr
- Mahmoud Abbas met in his office in Ramallah with Hady Amr, deputy assistant secretary for Israeli and Palestinian affairs in the American State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. He stressed the need to stop Israel’s actions against the Palestinian people and the importance of implementing what he had discussed with President Biden during their last meeting (Wafa, October 4, 2021).
Palestinian responses to programs proposed by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid for the Gaza Strip
- At a meeting of the Israeli Institute for Counter-Terrorism Policy, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid presented a plan for resolving the situation in the Gaza Strip; the PA and Hamas criticized the plan. At the weekly government meeting PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said a genuinely serious political plan of action was necessary, one which would rely on international legitimacy and law, end the “occupation,” lift the “siege” of the Gaza Strip and stop [alleged Israeli] “aggression” against the Palestinian territories (al-Arabiya, September 14, 2021).
- Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said Israel did not understand the “truth” of the Palestinian people and was condescending enough to think that a few economic solutions could replace the goals of the Palestinian people, which were “liberation and the [so-called] right of return.” He also said the proposed solutions proved the inability of Israel and its institutions to cope with the situation in the Gaza Strip, especially after Operation Guardian of the Walls (al-Hadath, September 13, 2021). Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua said that such plans would not undermine the Palestinian stance or inflict damage on the “resistance” (i.e., the terrorist organizations) (Sawa, September 13, 2021).
Palestinian responses to statements made by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett
- PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said Naftali Bennett’s “three no-policy,” that is, no to meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, no to negotiations and no to a Palestinian state, indicated that the plan of his government was only to strengthen the settlements, take control of more land, prevent the Palestinian people’s access to natural resources and erode the geographic base of the Palestinian state. He claimed the statements made by Bennett made it necessary for the international community to take a serious stance, especially those states calling for and believing in the two-state solution. Therefore, the significance of what Bennett said meant the continuation of the systematic destruction of the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state, making a new evaluation of the situation was necessary (Muhammad Shtayyeh’s Facebook page, September 20, 2021).
Palestinian response to Yair Lapid’s visit to Bahrain
- On September 30, 2021, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid visited Bahrain, where he met with the king and opened the Israeli embassy. Fatah and Hamas criticized the visit. Muneir al-Jaghoub, head of Fatah’s information bureau, said Foreign Minister Lapid went to Bahrain with an olive branch drawn on the wing of his plane and the Arabic word for “peace” in his mouth, but how could there be peace without the rights of the Palestinians. He said “Palestine” and Palestinian sovereignty in east Jerusalem were the way to peace (Muneir al-Jaghoub’s Twitter account, September 30 2021).
- Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem called Bahrain’s action a “national crime” and an extension of the sin of signing normalization agreements. He called on all the forces of the Islamic nation to make their voices heard and to protest normalization with Israel, which serves only the interests of the Zionists and their colonial narrative (Hazem Qassem’s Telegram channel, al-Risalah, September 30, 2021).
The issue of the Palestinian prisoners
- On September 19, 2021, the two remaining Palestinian terrorist fugitives of the six who escaped from the Gilboa prison were recaptured in a hideout in Jenin. The fugitives did not offer resistance. After their capture the Palestinian media widely covered statements from Hamas operatives regarding a prisoner exchange deal with Israel. They said the six ex-fugitives would be on Hamas’ list of demands in every negotiation with Israel.
- Saleh al-‘Arouri, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, said the release of the prisoners could be achieved with a prisoner exchange deal. He said they were committed to the release of the six prisoners who had escaped from the Gilboa prison, as promised by Abu Obeida, spokesman for Hamas’ military wing. Al-‘Arouri said Israel asked Egypt, Germany, Turkey and Qatar to intervene in such a deal but Hamas would give nothing without getting something in return (al-Aqsa, September 24, 2021).
- The Palestinian prisoners’ club said the Palestinian prisoners in every jail in Israel had agreed on a plan for gradually increasing the “struggle” to end the measures implemented against PIJ prisoners. The plan would include disobeying prison rules. Implementing more measures would depend on the response of the prison authorities to their demands (Wafa, October 3, 2021). The following day the prisoners’ club said that in response to the “escalation” by the prison authorities, the prisoners were planning to take various actions to demonstrate their solidarity with the PIJ prisoners, who were separated and sent to different prisons. According to reports, there are plans for protests in the prison yards (Quds, October 4, 2021). Hamas warned that Israel’s measures against the prisoners could lead to an “explosion” in the territories and stop the progress towards a lull and talks about a prisoner and captive exchange deal (al-Akhbar, October 5, 2021).
- On September 22, 2021, the funeral of Hussein Musalma was held. He had been imprisoned for 19 years after having recruited suicide bombers, and, ill with cancer, released after his condition worsened. During the funeral a general strike was declared in Bethlehem. The Palestinian terrorist organizations blamed Israel for his death, claiming it was caused by neglect and medical malpractice. Hamas accused Israel of torture and malpractice (Hamas Telegram channel, September 22, 2021).
- Interviewed by al-Arabiya on September 13, 2021, Muhammad Shtayyeh spoke about how Palestinian society related to the issue of the prisoners, which he said was relevant to every Palestinian family. He said that since 1967 there had been “a million” [sic] Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. He said every Palestinian prisoner aspired to freedom, noting that Palestinian terrorist Karim Yunes had had been in prison for more than 35 years and members of Fatah’s Central Committee for more than ten. He said the State of Israel was fully responsible for the lives of the prisoners, and noted that the issue of the prisoners was one of the three topics the PA had transferred to the International Criminal Court for action.
Public opinion poll
- On September 21, 2021, Khalil Shaqaqi’s Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR), issued the main findings of its third quarter public opinion poll, which had been carried out between September 15 and 18, 2021, in which 1,270 Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip participated. Some of the findings were the following:
- Regarding “the Jerusalem confrontations and the war between Hamas and Israel,” 71% believe that Hamas came out a winner in its last war with Israel; two thirds believe that the launching of rockets by Hamas at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv came in defense of Jerusalem and al Aqsa Mosque; and 45% believe that Hamas is more deserving of representing and leading the Palestinian people; only 19% believe Fatah under the leadership of Abbas is more deserving.
- Regarding Palestinian elections, 73% demand the holding of presidential and legislative elections, but 56% do not think such elections will take place soon; in presidential elections between Abbas and Isma’il Haniyeh, the former receives 34% of the vote and the later 56%; if the elections were between Marwan Barghouti and Haniyeh, the former receives 55% and the latter 39%; satisfaction with the performance of president Abbas stands at 24% and demand for his resignation stands at 78%; and if new parliamentary elections were to take place today, Hamas would receive 37% of the popular vote and Fatah 32%.
- Regarding the Palestinian-Israeli Peace process, support for the two-state solution drops to 36% and opposition rises to 62%; 73% do not believe that a Palestinian state will be created alongside Israel during the next five years; about half of the public believe that armed struggle is the most effective means for ending the occupation, only 28% think negotiations are the most effective means; 44% attribute the low levels of popular participation in non-violent confrontations to the absence of public trust in the PA leadership and the political parties; 54% are in favor of a return to an armed intifada, 27% are in favor of abandoning the two-state solution and the adoption of the one-state solution; 39% are in favor of resuming negotiations with Israel under the sponsorship of the [International] Quartet; and a majority of 56% looks positively at confidence building measures that aim at improving living conditions.
Judea and Samaria
- There has been a significant decline in the number of active cases in Judea and Samaria. According to statistics issued on October 5, 2021, there are currently 5,605 active cases (down from 11,377 on September 12, 2021), 71 patients in ICUs, 15 of whom are on ventilators, and there have been 2,750 coronavirus-related deaths. So far 857,662 Palestinians have been vaccinated twice. The epicenter of coronavirus infection is still the Nablus district (ministry of health in Ramallah Facebook page, October 5, 2021).
The mutating coronavirus and the difficulties in dealing with its spread
(al-Quds, September 19, 2021).
- Dr. Ghassan Mustakalem, chairman of the association of importers of drugs and medical equipment in the PA, said the PA’s debt to Palestinian drug companies stood at 660 million shekels (about $204 million), compared with 450 million (about $125 million) a year ago. He said the Palestinian minister of the treasury promised to provide them with 10 million shekels a month (about $31 million), which is not sufficient and will not cover the debt (al-Fajjar TV, October 4, 2021).
The Gaza Strip
- Dr. Yusuf al-Aqqad, director of the European Hospital in Khan Yunis, reported that the number of coronavirus patients in the hospital was stable, and that the infection curve in the Gaza Strip had begun to flatten (Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, October 3, 2021).
- According to the ministry of health in Gaza on October 5, 2021, there are 17,892 active cases in the Gaza Strip (down from 19,302 on September 12, 2021). Of the 3,504 tests administered between October 4 and 5, 2021, 1,018 were positive (about 29%). There have been 1,422 coronavirus-related deaths, up from 1,220 on September 12, 2021. There are 337 coronavirus patients in hospitals, 212 of them in serious or critical condition. So far 428,860 Gazans have been vaccinated, 34% of the target audience (up from 349,523 on September 12, 2021) (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, October 5, 2021).
A new coronavirus ward opened in the European Hospital in eastern Khan Yunis
(Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, September 16, 2021).
- Mai al-Kayla, PA minister of health, said a truck carrying drugs and medical equipment from the PA ministry of health’s warehouse in Nablus was being sent to the Gaza Strip, its contents worth $12.7 million (Wafa, September 14, 2021). On September 26, 2021, the ministry of health in Ramallah reported it had sent 300,000 doses of vaccine to the Gaza Strip, bringing the total number of vaccines to half a million (ministry of health in Ramallah Facebook page, September 26, 2021).
 Ahmed Zaharan was a high-ranking Hamas terrorist operative from the village of Bidu and wanted by Israel. He was detained by Israel eight times and was imprisoned for a total of six years. His brother, Zaharan Zaharan, was also a Hamas terrorist operative and involved in the abduction of IDF soldier Nahshon Waxman. Zaharan Zaharan was killed by Israel in 1998 (QudsN website, September 26, 2021). ↑
 Zakaria Badwan, from Bidu, was a released prisoner. He was imprisoned by Israel for three and a half years. His family claimed he had left the house to bring food to his friend Ahmed Zaharan, who was hiding in Bayt Anan, and found himself in the middle of the IDF operation (QudsN Twitter account, September 26, 2021). ↑
 Mahmoud Hamidan, 27, from Bidu, was a Hamas terrorist operative. He was released from an Israeli jail in June 2021 after having served a sentence of seven years. His aunt said they were proud of him for dying as a shaheed (Wafa, September 26, 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, stabbing, a vehicular attack, the use of IEDs, or a combination of the above. Stones and Molotov cocktails thrown by Palestinians are not included. ↑
 On July 14, 2021, UNRWA director Philippe Lazzarini signed a new agreement with the American government regarding the restoration of American aid to the agency. According to the agreement, in return for financial aid the United States, UNRWA will make sure its employees maintain neutrality and are not members of terrorist organizations, its institutions will be used for exclusively humanitarian objectives, it will improve its financial transparency and ensure that the contents of its textbooks do not include incitement or calls for terrorism. ↑
 https://www.pcpsr.org/sites/default/files/Poll%2081%20English%20full%20text_Sept2021.pdf ↑