News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (April 17– April 30, 2019)

Display about the Palestinian [terrorist] prisoners during the return march events in eastern Jabalia. The Palestinian at the left plays the part of Marwan Barghouti (Supreme National Authority Facebook page, April 20, 2019).

Display about the Palestinian [terrorist] prisoners during the return march events in eastern Jabalia. The Palestinian at the left plays the part of Marwan Barghouti (Supreme National Authority Facebook page, April 20, 2019).

Display about the Palestinian [terrorist] prisoners during the return march events in eastern Jabalia. The Palestinian at the left plays the part of Marwan Barghouti (Supreme National Authority Facebook page, April 20, 2019).

Display about the Palestinian [terrorist] prisoners during the return march events in eastern Jabalia. The Palestinian at the left plays the part of Marwan Barghouti (Supreme National Authority Facebook page, April 20, 2019).

Palestinian demonstrators at the return camp in eastern Khan Yunis. The Arabic reads,

Palestinian demonstrators at the return camp in eastern Khan Yunis. The Arabic reads, "Death to America and Israel" (Supreme National Authority Facebook page, April 26, 2019).

Palestinian demonstrators at the return camp in eastern Khan Yunis. The Arabic reads,

Palestinian demonstrators at the return camp in eastern Khan Yunis. The Arabic reads, "Death to America and Israel" (Supreme National Authority Facebook page, April 26, 2019).

Incendiary balloons prepared by the Sons of al-Zouari in eastern Khan Yunis (Unit's Facebook page, April 29, 2019).

Incendiary balloons prepared by the Sons of al-Zouari in eastern Khan Yunis (Unit's Facebook page, April 29, 2019).

Saleh al-'Arouri meet with the Iranian parliament member (IRNA in Arabic, April 19, 2019).

Saleh al-'Arouri meet with the Iranian parliament member (IRNA in Arabic, April 19, 2019).

The conference in Gaza chaired by Isma'il Haniyeh (Twitter account of the al-Ra'i Agency established by the Hamas government, April 27, 2019).

The conference in Gaza chaired by Isma'il Haniyeh (Twitter account of the al-Ra'i Agency established by the Hamas government, April 27, 2019).

Mahmoud Abbas at the meeting of the Arab League foreign ministers (Mahmoud Abbas' Facebook page, April 21, 2019).

Mahmoud Abbas at the meeting of the Arab League foreign ministers (Mahmoud Abbas' Facebook page, April 21, 2019).

  • In the Gaza Strip, 6,000 to 7,000 Palestinians participated in the Friday return marches of April 19 and 26, gathering at the five usual sites. The level of violence continued to be relatively low, although there were a number of attempts to cross the border fence and instances of IEDs thrown at IDF forces.
  • On April 28, 2019, a rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory. It fell into the sea. In response Israel decreased the fishing zone off the Gaza Strip coast and restricted it to three nautical miles. According to the IDF spokesman, the rocket was deliberately fired by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) from the northern Gaza Strip in an attempt to sabotage the attempts to reach a lull.
  • Senior Hamas figures continued to threaten Israel with a renewal of violence if Israel did not implement the understandings reached. Operatives in the incendiary balloon-launching and Night Harassment units also threatened to return to their former activities (including burning fields near the Gaza Strip during the reaping season) if Israel did not fulfill the conditions of the understandings.
  • In Judea and Samaria, a stabbing attack targeting Border Police fighter was prevented. It took place near the Tapuah Junction, close to Ariel. The terrorist was shot and killed. Both Fatah and Hamas issued mourning notices for the terrorist.
  • The Israel Security Agency reported that a terrorist network was recently exposed in Judea and Samaria. Its operatives planned to carry out a car bomb attack close to the date of Israel’s elections. During interrogation one of the operatives said that he had been recruited by Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip for “military activity” and had agreed to become a suicide bomber.
The return marches of April 19 and 26, 2019
  • On Friday April 19, 2019, the 55th return march was held. Its slogan was “Palestinian Prisoner’s Day.” About 6,000 Palestinians participated in the events held at the usual five sites. The level of violence was relatively low. A spokesman for the ministry of health reported 46 Palestinians were injured. Senior figures from Hamas and the other terrorist organizations participated in the events and spoke about the need for national unity. In addition to the march, on April 23, 2019, a rally was organized by the Supreme National Authority of the Great Return March in front of the UN offices in Gaza City, calling for the “siege” of the Gaza Strip to be lifted.
Notices issued by the Supreme National Authority for Friday, April 19, 2019. The theme of the march was "Palestinian Prisoner's Day" (Supreme National Authority Facebook page, April 19, 2018).    Notices issued by the Supreme National Authority for Friday, April 19, 2019. The theme of the march was "Palestinian Prisoner's Day" (Supreme National Authority Facebook page, April 19, 2018).
Notices issued by the Supreme National Authority for Friday, April 19, 2019. The theme of the march was “Palestinian Prisoner’s Day” (Supreme National Authority Facebook page, April 19, 2018).
  • On Friday April 26, 2019, the 56th return march was held. Its theme was “National unity and an end to the [internal Palestinian] schism.” The number of participants was again relatively low (about 7,000), and they gathered at the five usual sites. The level of violence was also relatively low, although there were a number of attempts to cross the security fence and IEDs were thrown at IDF forces. At the end of the activities the Supreme National Authority called for all the Palestinians to participate in the activities of the Friday, May 3, 2019 march, whose slogan will be “The Golan [Heights] is Arab and Syrian” (al-Aqsa TV, April 26, 2019).
  • The Supreme National Authority stressed that the marches would continue in their current popular, “non-violent” format, until the objectives of the marches had been realized. That included the lifting of the “siege” on the Gaza Strip, the realization of the [so-called] “right of return,” and causing the “deal of the century” to fail. The Authority warned Israel not to delay in implementing the understandings that were recently reached (Sawt al-Aqsa, April 28, 2019).
Night Harassment Units
  • During the past two weeks the balloon-launching and Night Harassment units operated at a low level. However, they again threatened they would return to their previous activities if Israel did not fulfill the conditions of the understandings for a lull. The Facebook page of the Sons of al-Zouari units threatened Israel. It said that if Israel did not commit to implementing the understandings for a lull reached through Egyptian and international mediation by the end of the week, they would return to using all the “violent methods invented” along the Gaza Strip border (Sons of al-Zouari Facebook page, April 25, 2019). They also announced that on April 27, 2019, they had had caused “only” eight fires, and threatened to increase the number (Sons of al-Zouari Facebook page, April 27, 2019).
  • On April 28, 2019, the Sons of al-Zouari unit in Rafah said they had begun the preparation of 100 incendiary kites for launching into Israel. They threatened Israel that if it did not meet its commitments to the agreements they would increase their activities, and would set fire to the fields near the Gaza Strip border during the reaping season (Sons of al-Zouari unit in Rafah Facebook page, April 28, 2019).
Frames for incendiary kites prepared by the Sons of al-Zouari Units in Rafah (Unit's Facebook page, April 28, 2019).   Incendiary balloons prepared by the Sons of al-Zouari in eastern Khan Yunis (Unit's Facebook page, April 29, 2019).
Right: Incendiary balloons prepared by the Sons of al-Zouari in eastern Khan Yunis (Unit’s Facebook page, April 29, 2019). Left: Frames for incendiary kites prepared by the Sons of al-Zouari Units in Rafah (Unit’s Facebook page, April 28, 2019).
  • On the ground there were only isolated incidents: on April 19, 2019, several balloons were launched from the Gaza Strip but were not found inside Israeli territory. On the morning of April 19, 2019, a suspicious object was found on the southern region of the Ashqelon beach, apparently an IED balloon. It is not known when it was launched (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, April 19, 2019). On April 28, 2019, a fire broke out near a community in the western Negev. It is being investigated as caused by incendiary balloons (Red Alert Facebook page, April 28, 2019).
Appeals to Israel regarding a lull
  • During and after the Friday marches, senior figures in Hamas and other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip made statements about the understandings for a lull with Israel. Some of them revealed some of the understandings, accused Israel of delaying their implementation, called for more pressure to be exerted on Israel and threatened escalation:
    • Isma’il Radwan, senior Hamas figure and a member of the Supreme National Authority, claimed there were understandings about the issue of the prisoners. He said understandings about the fishing zone had already been implemented. Understandings about the industrial zone and a power plant were expected to be implemented in the near future (Sawt al-Aqsa, April 28, 2019). On another occasion, he said that the understandings reached through the return marches were about humanitarian issues without political or security concessions on the part of Hamas. He said the Egyptians were monitoring the implementation of the understandings, and some of the steps had already been taken (al-Aqsa, April 26, 2019).
    • Mahmoud al-Zahar, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said Hamas had ways to pressure Israel into implementing the understandings. He said they included its activities against IDF soldiers and the civilians living near the Gaza Strip border by threatening the security of the region. He also said that the return marches were the primary means of exerting pressure (Sawa, April 25, 2019).
    • Musheir al-Masri, spokesman for the Hamas faction in the Palestinian Legislative Council, said Hamas was in contact with Egypt to have it exert pressure on Israel to fully implement the understandings. He said Israel had only partially implemented the understandings. He threatened that Israeli would pay a price for continuing not to implement its understandings (Filastin al-Yawm, April 29, 2019).
    • Talal Abu Zarifa, a member of the political bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), said Israel had no interest in implementing the understandings. He said Israel had to commit itself to fulfilling all the understandings by the end of the week. Otherwise, he said, the Supreme National Authority would return to using all the means of “popular resistance” that had been frozen, including incendiary balloons and increasing the scope of the marches. He said the extension the organizations gave Israel to carry out the understandings were compatible with the Egyptians’ timetable (Dunia al-Watan, April 27, 2019).
Preparations for May 15 (Nakba Day)
  • The Supreme National Authority called on the Palestinian public to prepare for the events of Nakba Day (May 15, 2019). In addition to the events planned for the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the Authority called for a general strike. They asked that during the events the theme of the “right of return” of the Palestinian refugees be stressed (Sawa, April 22, 2019). A group calling itself the “supreme national committee for marking Nakba Day” held a meeting in Gaza City on April 24, 2019. The meeting was chaired by Ahmed Abu Houli, head of the PLO’s department of refugees’ affairs. He said they had decided to establish a subcommittee to deal with various programs for Nakba Day (Dunia al-Watan, April 24, 2019).
  • Senior Hamas figure Isma’il Radwan called on the Fatah movement for greater participation in the return marches, especially on Nakba Day, which had been declared a national day in Palestinian history. He called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to organize marches against Israel and the “settlement project,” and said all “resistance” options were open to the Palestinians, including armed “resistance” (al-Aqsa interview, April 26, 2019).
Rocket and mortar shell fire
  • On April 20, 2019, a rocket launch was identified from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli territory (for the first time in three weeks). The rocket fell inside the Gaza Strip.
  • On April 28, 2019, a rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip at Israel. It fell into the sea a number of kilometers from the Israeli coast. In response to the rocket fire Israel decreased the fishing zone off the Gaza Strip coast and restricted it to three nautical miles (after the zone had recently been extended as part of the understandings). According to the IDF spokesman, the rocket was deliberately launched by the PIJ from the region of al-Atatra in the northern Gaza Strip with the intention of sabotaging the attempts to implement the understanding. The IDF spokesman said that the attempts to sabotage the lull are led by Bahaa Abu al-‘Atta, PIJ commander of the northern Gaza Strip, operating under instructions from Ziyad al-Nakhalah, who heads the organization (IDF spokesman, April 30, 2019).
Monthly Distribution of Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire since January 2018

Monthly Distribution of Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire since January 2018

Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits

Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits

Shots fired from the Gaza Strip at IDF forces
  • On April 19, 2019, shots were fired from the Gaza Strip at IDF soldiers near the security fence. In response Israeli Air Force aircraft and IDF tanks attacked two Hamas posts in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesman, April 19, 2019).
Stabbing attack prevented
  • On April 20, 2019, a Palestinian aroused the suspicions of Border Police fighters at a post in the Tapuah Junction area near Ariel. He fled and they chased him. One of the Border Police fighter tried to block his path and the Palestinian took out a knife and tried to stab him. The Border Police fighter shot and fatally wounded him (Israeli media, April 20, 2019).
  • the Palestinian ministry of health reported that the stabber was Omar Awni Abd al-Karim Yunes, 20, from the town of Saniriya, southeast of Qalqilya. He died in the hospital (Wafa, April 27, 2019).
  • Before he left to carry out the attack he posted to his Facebook page, “Jihad, victory or death” (Facebook page of Awni Yunes, April 20, 2019). The Fatah branch in Qalqilya issued a mourning notice for the death of “its son the shaheed, the hero” (official Fatah Facebook page, April 28, 2019). At the same time, Hamas in Qalqilya issued a mourning notice for him (ramalah times Twitter account, April 27, 2019).

Awni Yunes' last Facebook page post (Awni Yunes; Facebook page, April 20, 2019).
Awni Yunes’ last Facebook page post
(Awni Yunes; Facebook page, April 20, 2019).

Mourning notice issued by Hamas in the Qalqilya district (ramalah times Twitter account, April 27, 2019).    Mourning notice issued by Fatah for Awni Yunes (official Fatah Facebook page, April 28, 2019).
Right: Mourning notice issued by Fatah for Awni Yunes (official Fatah Facebook page, April 28, 2019). Left: Mourning notice issued by Hamas in the Qalqilya district (ramalah times Twitter account, April 27, 2019).
Other events on the ground
  • In Judea and Samaria Palestinians continued throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli security forces and civilian targets. Israeli security forces carried out counterterrorism activities throughout Judea and Samaria, detaining Palestinians suspected of terrorist activity, and seizing military grade and improvised weapons. The more prominent events were the following:
    • April 29, 2019 – The Israeli security forces confiscated a lathe for the manufacture of IEDs and hand grenades in the village of Bayt Ghour al-Tahta (Ramallah region). During searches carried out by the security forces in a village in western Samaria weapons were found, including an M-16 assault rifle (IDF spokesman, April 30, 2019).
    • April 28, 2019 – A Molotov cocktail was thrown at Israeli security forces in the Abu Sneineh neighborhood of Hebron. No casualties or damage were reported (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, April 28, 2019)
    • April 24, 2019 – Molotov cocktails were thrown at vehicles on the Jerusalem-Gush Etzion road near the al-Khadr Junction. No casualties or damage were reported (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, April 24, 2019).
    • April 24, 2019 – Stones were thrown at a bus on the Hebron-Gush Etzion road. No casualties were reported; the windshield of the bus was damaged (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, April 24, 2019).
    • April 23, 2019 – Two Molotov cocktails were thrown at a vehicle near the al-Aroub refugee camp (Hebron region). No casualties were reported; the front windshield of the vehicle was damaged (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, April 23, 2019).
    • April 23, 2019 – A Molotov cocktail was thrown at a vehicle on the Hebron-Gush Etzion road near Bayt Umar. No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, April 23, 2019).
Significant terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria since July 2017[1]

Significant terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria since July 2017

Hamas car bomb attack prevented

The Israeli security forces recently exposed a terrorist network in Judea and Samaria recruited by Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip. The network planned to detonate a car bomb close to the date of the Israeli elections (April 9, 2019) (Israel Security Agency, April 28, 2019). On March 31, 2019, Yahya Abu Dayah, 23, from the village of al-Zaim (east of Jerusalem) was detained. During interrogation he revealed that he was in Internet contact with senior Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip and they had recruited him to carry out “military activities.” He had agreed to become a suicide bomber.

  • Dayah’s Hamas handlers instructed him to buy a vehicle and rent a warehouse where he could prepare a car bomb. He was also instructed to locate a site for the attack in the region of Ma’aleh Adumim with a large concentration of buses, civilians and IDF soldiers. He followed their instructions, carried out surveillance and reported to his handlers in the Gaza Strip, who immediately chose the site for the attack. He was also instructed to video a living will in the name of Hamas’ military wing. Abu Dayah planned to video himself reading a will while wearing a Hamas military wing ribbon, and to that end he bought a tripod.
Houses of terrorists demolished
  • On April 17, 2019, the Israeli security forces demolished the house of Saleh al-Barghouti in the village of Kobar (north of Ramallah). Saleh al-Barghouti, accompanied by his brother, carried out a shooting attack near Ofra on December 9, 2018 (IDF spokesman Twitter account, April 17, 2019).
Demolishing the house of Palestinian terrorist Saleh al-Barghouti in the village of Kobar (Palinfo Twitter account, April 17, 2019).   Demolishing the house of Palestinian terrorist Saleh al-Barghouti in the village of Kobar (Palinfo Twitter account, April 17, 2019).
Demolishing the house of Palestinian terrorist Saleh al-Barghouti in the village of Kobar (Palinfo Twitter account, April 17, 2019).
  • On April 19, 2019, the Israeli security forces demolished two apartments in Hebron that belonged to Arafat Irfa’iya, convicted of murdering Ori Ansbach in Jerusalem on February 7, 2019. He lived in one apartment with his family and was renovating the other for the future (IDF spokesman, April 19, 2019)
  • On April 24, 2019, the Israeli security forces demolished the house of Omar Amin Abu Layla in the village of al-Zawiya. On March 17, 2019, Omar Layla carried out shooting and stabbing attacks at the Ariel bus stop and the Gitai Avisar Junction, killing an Israeli civilian and an IDF soldier (IDF spokesman, April 24, 2019).Hamas condemned the demolishing of the terrorist’s house and said the “resistance” in the West Bank would remain strong (Hamas website, April 24, 2019). The Fatah movement in Salfit said it would rebuild the terrorist’s house. A tract of land was bought and is already being leveled in preparation for laying the foundations. According to reports, the building will be completed within four months, and in the meantime the family will live in temporary housing (Wafa, April 24, 2019).
Preparing the area for building the new house (official Fatah Facebook page, April 24, 2019).    The secretary of the Fatah branch in Salfit announces the rebuilding of the house of the terrorist's family.
Right: The secretary of the Fatah branch in Salfit announces the rebuilding of the house of the terrorist’s family. Left: Preparing the area for building the new house (official Fatah Facebook page, April 24, 2019).
The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip

The supply of electricity

  • The Japanese government transferred $3.5 million to the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) to help the Palestinians. Half of the money will fund the reconstruction of the electric grid in the Gaza Strip. The project will also support medical and social service projects in the Gaza Strip (Wafa, April 23, 2019).
  • Issam Abu Dakka, a member of the DFLP’s Central Committee, said that some of the projects in the Gaza Strip, such as establishing industrial zones and electricity, are conditioned on PA agreement. He said there were Qatari and Israeli commitments regarding electricity and that there were currently consultations with Qatari involvement about supplying gas for a power plant (Dunia al-Watan, April 23, 2019).

The supply of medicines

  • Issam Yusuf, head of the so-called “global authority for supporting Gaza,” said that on April 22, 2019, a shipment of medicines had arrived in the Gaza Strip, a donation from an institution in Indonesia. He said it was the first shipment, worth $100,000, part of the “Miles of Smiles” convoys. He said more medicine would arrive in the near future (Dunia al-Watan, April 22, 2019)

Distribution of support for Ramadan to needy families in the Gaza Strip

  • Ahmed al-Kurd, chairman of the association of charitable associations in the Gaza Strip, announced that on the first day of Ramadan packages of food, coupons and financial aid would be distributed to the most needy families in the Gaza Strip (Ramadan is expected to begin on the evening of May 5, 2019). He said the cost of each food package would be about $30-$35. The families will be chosen through a database of the charitable associations in the Gaza Strip. Kurd said they had appealed to charitable institutions around the world to donate to the charitable associations in the Gaza Strip, and received promises of funds covering 20% of the total sum of aid they hope for. He added that the charitable associations can provide support for 100,000 families in the Gaza Strip, and said he hoped they could help double the number when the donation came from Qatar (Palestine Online, April 28, 2019).
Hamas activity against the “deal of the century”
  • Jared Kushner, senior advisor the American president, said the United States would reveal the “deal of the century” at the end of Ramadan, i.e., in June 2019 (Reuters, April 23, 2019).
  • Following the announcement, on April 27, 2019, Hamas held a meeting of all the organizations in the Gaza Strip. The meeting was initiated and chaired by Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, and its theme was “united against the deal of the century.” The objective of the meeting was to formulate a joint document protesting the deal (Sawa, April 26, 2019). Salah al-Bardawil, a member of the Hamas’ political bureau, said preparations were being made to form a supreme national authority to cope with the “deal of the century.” It would be composed of members from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and from the Islamic and Arab world (Safa, April 26, 2019). Various sources, mainly within Fatah, expressed their opposition to the establishment of a body that they claimed would be “parallel to the PLO” (Wafa, April 25, 2019).
The conference in Gaza chaired by Isma'il Haniyeh (Twitter account of the al-Ra'i Agency established by the Hamas government, April 27, 2019).    The conference in Gaza chaired by Isma'il Haniyeh (Twitter account of the al-Ra'i Agency established by the Hamas government, April 27, 2019).
The conference in Gaza chaired by Isma’il Haniyeh (Twitter account of the al-Ra’i Agency established by the Hamas government, April 27, 2019).
  • Isma’il Haniyeh gave a speech stressing the need to formulate a national strategy against the deal by renewing Palestinian unity, and even called for a meeting with the Fatah leadership. Senior figures from other terrorist organizations, such as PIJ and the DFLP, supported Haniyeh in their own speeches. The main points of Haniyeh’s speech were the following (al-Aqsa, April 27, 2019).
  • According to Haniyeh, the United States and Israel are trying to carry out an unprecedented attempt to politically erase the Palestinian issue. The “deal of the century” is trying to turn the Palestinians and the countries supporting them, especially Iran, into the main enemies of the Arab world instead of Israel. Haniyeh repeated Hamas’ positions: it rejects any attempt to erase the “right of return” or to consider the settlements as part of Israel. He stressed that Hamas does not recognize Israel.
    • According to Haniyeh, the continuation of the internal Palestinian schism supports the success of the “deal of the century,” and there are Israeli and American attempts to deepen it with political propaganda. Haniyeh declared there would be no Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and there would be no Palestinian state without the Gaza Strip. He said Hamas was prepared to meet with all the organizations, including Fatah, to discuss the restoration of national unity. Hamas, he said, does not reject a meeting with the Fatah leadership, led by Mahmoud Abbas.
    • Haniyeh praised the return marches, the struggle in Jerusalem and the “victory” of the prisoners over the prison administration. He said they had monitored the prisoners’ protest and supported it with practical measures. He also said the issue of the prisoners would be on the table in the negotiations for a lull in the Gaza Strip.
Senior Hamas and PIJ figures meet with a member of the Iranian parliament
  • A delegation of the Iranian-Palestinian parliamentary friendship group, headed by Amir Khajasta, a member of the Iranian parliament, visited Lebanon on April 18 and 19. During the visit the members of the delegation met with Ziyad al-Nakhalah, PIJ secretary general, and with Saleh al-‘Arouri, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau (Twitter account of the Iranian ambassador to Lebanon, April 22, 2019). Meeting with Saleh al-‘Arouri, the Iranian representative stressed Iran’s full support for the Palestinian organizations. Saleh al-‘Arouri praised Iran’s support for the Palestinians and the “resistance” [i.e., the terrorist organizations]. He said Iran, its leadership, parliament and all its military institutions, especially the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, had always given the Palestinians all the support they could. Saleh al-‘Arouri also said that the reason for America’s hostility to Iran was its support of the Palestinian struggle (IRNA in Arabic, April 19, 2019).
Statements by Mahmoud Abbas

Meeting of the Arab League foreign ministers

  • On April 21, 2019, the Arab League held an emergency meeting of its foreign ministers to discuss recent developments in the Palestinian territories. Mahmoud Abbas gave a speech in which he discussed the challenges and problems the PA has to contend with. He asked the members of the Arab League to give the PA their political support, and also to operate “an economic safety net” to deal with the PA’s financial hardships.

 Mahmoud Abbas at the meeting of the Arab League foreign ministers (Mahmoud Abbas' Facebook page, April 21, 2019).
Mahmoud Abbas at the meeting of the Arab League foreign ministers
(Mahmoud Abbas’ Facebook page, April 21, 2019).

  • The following are some of the subjects Mahmoud Abbas related to in his speech:
    • The United States: The PA ended its ties to the United States in light of the American administration’s relocating its embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
    • Israel: The Israeli prime minister does not believe in peace between Israel and the Palestinians. According to Mahmoud Abbas, Israel violated the Oslo Accords and all the other agreements it had signed, including the Paris Protocol. The PA, on the other hand, continues to abide by the agreements.
    • Reconciliation with Hamas: After Egypt reported to Fatah that Hamas was interested in a reconciliation, Hamas tried to assassinate PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Majed Faraj, the head of Palestinian general intelligence, when they visited the Gaza Strip. Mahmoud Abbas claimed Israel supported the continuation of the internal Palestinian schism by transferring funds to Hamas.

PA government meeting

  • On April 29, 2019, Mahmoud Abbas gave an exceptional speech at the government meeting in Ramallah, in which he related primarily to the PA’s difficult economic situation. He praised the current government for performing its functions while dealing with Israel’s economic sanctions, and stressed that the Palestinians would not, at any cost, agree to receive only part of its tax revenues if funds for the families of the shaheeds had been deducted. He said that for Ramadan, 60% of the PA employees’ salaries would be paid. He asked them to be patient, and promised for compensate them later on.
  • Mahmoud Abbas said he had decided to appeal to the international community regarding the American violations of the agreements between the United States and the Palestinians. He noted the relocation of the American embassy and the “deal of the century.” He made it clear he had left the door open if Congress changed its mind about designating the PLO as a terrorist organization. He also expressed satisfaction with the position of the European Union, which calls for a two-state solution. He said it was a withdrawal from the European “inventions” which are called Zionism and Israel.

Mahmoud Abbas at the PA government meeting in Ramallah (Wafa, April 29, 2019).
Mahmoud Abbas at the PA government meeting in Ramallah
(Wafa, April 29, 2019).

Prisoner’s Day events

  • April 17, 2019 was Palestinian Prisoner’s Day, marked in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip with a series of events which included support rallies and marches in solidarity with the terrorist prisoners in Israeli jails. During the events, what was referred to as the “victory of the prisoners” was marked (i.e., the end of the hunger strike on April 15, 2019, after an agreement had been reached). Spokesmen from all the terrorist organizations stressed that the issue of the prisoners was at the top of the national priority list (Palestinian media, April 17, 2019).
  • On the eve of Prisoner’s Day, despite the PA’s financial crisis following Mahmoud Abbas’ refusal to accept tax revenues from Israel, Mahmoud Abbas posted a notice to his Facebook page, again stressing that even if only once cent remained in the PA treasury, they would pay it to the families of the shaheeds and prisoners (Mahmoud Abbas’ Facebook page, April 17, 2019).

Mahmoud Abbas: "Even if only one cent remains, the Palestinians will pay it to the families of the shaheeds and prisoners" (Mahmoud Abbas' Facebook page, April 17, 2019).
Mahmoud Abbas: “Even if only one cent remains, the Palestinians will pay it to the families of the shaheeds and prisoners” (Mahmoud Abbas’ Facebook page, April 17, 2019).

[1] A significant attack is defined by the ITIC as involving shooting, a vehicular attack, the use of IEDs, or a combination of the above. Stones and Molotov cocktails thrown by Palestinians are not included.