The weapons and equipment found in the possession of the four terrorists (IDF spokesman, August 10, 2019).
Mass prayer in the return camp in eastern Khan Yunis.
Khalil al-Haya, a member of Hamas' political bureau, during an Eid al-Adha event (Supreme National Authority Facebook page, August 11, 2019).
Documenting the incendiary balloons launched at the Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip on August 11, 2019 (Sons of al-Zawari in Rafah Facebook page, August 11, 2019).
The vehicle used by the suspected in the killing of Dvir Soreq (IDF spokesman, August 8, 2019).
Detention of two Palestinians suspected of carrying out the stabbing attack.
Mahmoud Abbas visits the Jilazoun refugee camp (Wafa, August 10, 2019).
Mahmoud Abbas visits the Jilazoun refugee camp (Wafa, August 10, 2019).
Clashes on the Temple Mount (QudsN Facebook page, August 11, 2019).
Clashes on the Temple Mount (QudsN Facebook page, August 11, 2019).
- This past week events focused on the fatal stabling attack in Gush Etzion of Dvir Soreq, an IDF soldier and yeshiva student. Two Palestinians suspected of the stabbing attack were detained in the village of Beit Kahel, in the Hebron area (about six miles from the site of the attack). According to the Israeli media, interrogation indicated they apparently acted alone and the attack was not premeditated. Hamas spokesmen praised the “heroic attack” and called for the continuation of the “popular struggle” and the intifada against Israel. Senior Palestinian Authority figures did not comment on the attack.
- On August 11, 2019, the date of both the Jewish Tisha B’Av and the Muslim Eid al-Adha, thousands of Muslims rioted near the Mughrabi Gate on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, throwing stones, chairs and other objects at Israeli policemen. Behind the riots were calls from Palestinian figures, including Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor for religious affairs, to defend al-Aqsa mosque and prevent Jews from visiting the Temple Mount compound. Following the riots the police closed the Temple Mount compound to Jews. When the situation became calm the police allowed them to visit, but when the riots recommenced they were kept out again.
- In the Gaza Strip there were a number of attempts to penetrate into Israeli territory, two of them carried out by armed terrorists. The main attempt was the penetration of four terrorists armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, an RPG launcher and grenades. The large quantity of weapons and equipment they had in their possession indicated they were planning to carry out a major attac k against IDF soldiers or Israeli civilians. The attack was apparently premeditated and the terrorists were planning to spend an extended period of time on the ground. The Palestinian media reported that the four were Salafist operatives who had been expelled from Hamas’ military wing three months previously. However, Hamas spokesmen condemned Israel, claiming the planned attack was the response of “angry young men” to the “crimes” perpetrated by Israel,
- Attempts by Palestinians, some of them armed, to penetrate into Israeli territory have recently become commonplace. In ITIC assessment, so far the penetration attempts do not indicate a change in Hamas policy. However, they may express a decline in Hamas’ motivation, and possibility in its ability, to prevent them. In the background of the penetration attempts is popular sympathy (expressed on the social networks) for those killed while attempting to enter Israeli territory. In addition, criticism has been voiced (mainly by Hamas’ rivals) of the effectiveness of the return marches and the need to find an alternative mode of action.
Prevention of penetrations into Israeli territory
Prevention of penetration of a squad of four armed terrorist operatives.
- Before dawn on August 10, 2019 an IDF observation post identified four armed figures approaching the security fence in the central Gaza Strip (east of the Deir al-Balah refugee camp). After one of them crossed the fence IDF forces were rushed to the site. They opened fire, killing the four terrorists. During the clash a hand grenade was thrown at the IDF soldiers. No casualties were reported. The Palestinian media reported that [in response] the IDF attacked two posts of the “defenders of the borders” east of Deir al-Balah and shot flares (Palinfo Twitter account, August 10, 2019).
- The four terrorists wore improvised uniforms and were armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, an RPG launcher and grenades. They had equipment for cutting through the security fence and food which included energy bars and dates. They also came equipped with a first aid kit (IDF spokesman, August 10, 2019). Their weapons and equipment indicated they were planning a major attack against either IDF soldiers or Israeli civilians and were planning to spend an extended period of time on the ground.
The weapons and equipment found in the possession of the four terrorists
(IDF spokesman, August 10, 2019).
- There were contradictory media reports about the terrorists’ identities and places of origin. According to the initial version (in ITIC assessment, unreliable), reported by the Amad website, they were Hamas operatives following a Palestinian Salafist who carried IEDs and tried to break through the security fence east of Deir al-Balah. The version later issued was updated to claim that all four terrorists were Salafists who had been expelled from Hamas’ military wing three months previously. Their names were also given (Amad, August 10, 2019).
Right: Two of the terrorists who carried out the attack: Abdallah al-Hamayda (Abu Musab) (left) and Ahmed al-Adini (Facebook page of Ahmed al-Adini, April 17, 2019). Left: Rashad al-Badini (Almaghazinew Facebook page, August 10, 2019).
Right: Abdallah al-Ghomri, from his Facebook page, February 6, 2019. Left: Abdallah al-Ghomri (right) and Ahmed al-Adini (Facebook page of Ziyad al-Arabin Hanjuri, August 10, 2019).
- In the Gaza Strip, Israel was criticized for killing the terrorists:
- Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the event reflected Palestinian anger at Israel’s actions in al-Aqsa mosque, Wadi al-Hums and Issawiya. He called the killing of the Palestinians a “new crime,” one in a long series against the Palestinian people (alresala.net, August 10, 2019).
- Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua said the [Israeli] “occupation” had carried out a new attack, this one against a group of young men who were angry at Israel’s continuing crimes, organized terrorism and the ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip. He said the “occupation’s” continuing crimes, its aggression and the oppressive siege of the Gaza Strip would cause “angry young men” and rebels to continue their individual responses (Palinfo, August 10, 2019; Dunia al-Watan, August 10, 2019).
- The information office of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) said that Israel’s terrorism would not destroy the increasing anger among the [Gaza Strip] residents and that the “Zionist occupation” was solely and fully responsible for the consequences of its aggression and crimes (PIJ website, August 10, 2019).
- On the social networks Gazans expressed considerable sympathy for the terrorists who had been killed. There was also criticism for the organizations which refused to give them official recognition. Social network users who identified with Hamas linked the event to the difficult conditions in the Gaza Strip. Some also predicted that such acts would occur more frequently in the near future. For example, Muhammad Radwan, who works for al-Aqsa TV, tweeted that “I am completely certain that if the siege of the Gaza Strip continues, there will be more individual activities carried out by young Gazans.”
Prevention of penetration of armed terrorist
- Before dawn on August 11, 2019, IDF observation posts identified an armed terrorist approaching the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip. He shot at the IDF force rushed to the site. The soldiers returned fire, killing him. During the event IDF tanks fired at Hamas posts in the area (IDF spokesman, August 11, 2019). The Palestinian media reported that “resistance” observation posts were attacked east of Beit Hanoun (Shabakat Quds Twitter account, August 11, 2019).
- The Palestinian media reported that the terrorist was Marwan Khaled Abd al-Ghani Nasser, 26, from Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip (Gaza al-A’an, August 11, 2019). Reportedly, he was an operative in the Hamas force that controlled the area (arabi21, August 11, 2019). The social networks reported he was an operative in Hamas military wing and that his father, Khaled Nasser, until his death, was an operative in Hamas’ military wing. Marwan Nasser’s body was buried with a green headband of Hamas’ military wing (Facebook page of journalist Hassan Aslih, August 11, 2019; Ghaza al-A’an Twitter account, August 11, 2019).
Right: Terrorist operative Marwan Nasser. Left: The body of Marwan Nasser with a green Hamas headband (Facebook page of journalist Hassan Aslih, August 11, 2019).
- On August 12, 2019, IDF forces detained a Palestinian who crossed the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip. He had a knife in his possession, and was taken for interrogation (IDF spokesman, August 13, 2019).
- On August 12, 2019, an IDF force identified two drones in the sky over the border fence. After a short time they returned to the Gaza Strip (Maariv, August 13, 2019).
Cancellation of the return march of August 9, 2019
- On August 9, 2019, the return march was not held. That was because the Supreme National Authority of the Great Return March decided to enable the residents of the Gaza Strip to prepare for Eid al-Adha instead. Despite the cancellation of the return march, there were a number of small gatherings of several dozen Palestinians at various locations. Palestinian sources reported that two Palestinians were wounded by IDF fire east of Khan Yunis (Amama Twitter account, August 9, 2019). Instead of the return march, Palestinians gathered at the five return camps to hold prayers for Eid al-Adha.
- The continuation of the return marches has been a topic of discussion over the past few weeks, mainly on the social networks. Opponents of Hamas and supporters of Fatah have been strongly critical of the marches and their outcomes. In the meantime, voices have been heard calling to replace the marches with a military confrontation with Israel.
Payment of return march participants
- Hamas gave gifts for Eid al-Adha to 3000 Palestinians who had been wounded in the return marches, especially those who had lost limbs (alresala.net, August 10, 2019).
- In the meantime, the social networks reported that on August 10, 2019, emergency support of 200 shekels (about $55) for Eid al-Adha would be paid by Yahya al-Sinwar to operatives of the Night Harassment Units and a network calling itself the “revolutionaries of the return marches.” The money will be distributed at a branch of the National Islamic Bank in the al-Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City (Facebook page of photographer Mazen Qadih, August 10, 2019; Facebook page of the “young revolutionaries in the Gaza Strip,” August 10, 2019).
- In the wake of the announcement, some people on the social networks complained they had paid for their return march activities with their own money, and nevertheless their names were not on the lists and they did not receive support. They claimed the money went to people close [to Hamas] who had not participated in the return marches at all (Facebook pages of photographer Mazen Qadih and of the wounded of the return marches, August 10, 2019, and of the young revolutionaries in the Gaza Strip, August 11, 2019).
- This past week a number of incendiary balloons were launched into Israeli territory:
- On August 7, 2019, two fires broke out in the western Negev. Investigators reported they had apparently been caused by incendiary balloons launched from the Gaza Strip.
- On August 11, 2019, a fire broke out in the western Negev, caused by an incendiary balloon launched from the Gaza Strip. The Sons of al-Zawari in Rafah balloon-launching unit issued a video documenting the launching of an incendiary balloon into Israeli territory in retaliation for the events at al-Aqsa mosque (see below) (Sons of al-Zawari in Rafah Facebook page, August 11, 2019).
- The Popular Resistance Committees’ Ahfad al-Nasser network claimed that on August 12, 2019, its operatives had launched 35 IED balloons and 50 incendiary balloons at the Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip in retaliation for the events at al-Aqsa mosque. The announcement included a threat to continue launching balloons: “If [Israel] returns to its evil ways we will also return, and we have many more [possibilities]” (Ahfad al-Nasser Facebook page, August 13, 2019).
Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israel
- This past week no rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory.
- On August 8, 2019, it was reported that the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip fired a test rocket towards the sea as part of the development of their military capabilities (Amad, August 8, 2019).
Monthly Distribution of Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire since January 2018
Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits
Stabbing attack near Migdal Oz (Gush Etzion)
- In the early morning hours of August 8, 2019, the body of a young Israeli was found at the side of the road leading to the community of Migdal Oz (in Gush Etzion). He had been stabbed repeatedly. He was Dvir Soreq, a 19-year-old IDF soldier who lived in the community of Ofra. According to the initial investigation, he got off a bus from Jerusalem at the bus stop near the southern entrance to Ofra at around 0830. He walked along the road in the direction of Migdal Oz. Terrorists followed him in a vehicle and then ambushed him. One of them got out of the vehicle and stabbed him, and then they drove away (IDF spokesman and Israeli newspapers, August 8, 2019).
Corporal Dvir Soreq, stabbed to death in Gush Etzion
(IDF spokesman, August 8, 2019).
Detention of the killers
- Reinforced IDF units searched the area for the killers. Palestinian operatives used the social networks to call on residents of the Hebron and Bethlehem regions to erase the security cameras in their stores and houses to prevent the Israeli security forces from locating the perpetrators (Shabakat Quds, August 8, 2019).
- On the evening of August 10, 2019, two Palestinians suspected of having carried out the attack were detained in the village of Beit Kahel (in the Hebron region, about six miles from the site of the attack). A vehicle suspected of having been used in the attack was found and impounded. During the detention of the two about 100 Palestinians rioted and threw stones at the Israeli security forces. They responded with crowd-dispersal measures (IDF spokesman and spokesman for the Israel Police Force media unit, August 10, 2019).
- The two Palestinians who were detained are cousins from Beit Kahel: Nasir Saleh Khalil Asafra, 24, a known Hamas operative, and Qassem ‘Araf Khalil Asafra, 30 (spokesman for the Israel Police Force media unit, August 10, 2019). Detained with them were Qassem Asafra’s wife and another relative, both suspected of aiding the two killers (Israel Security Agency, Haaretz, August 10, 2019).
- The Israeli media reported that interrogation of the two suspects reinforced the conclusion that they operated alone. Israeli security sources are also of the opinion that their behavior after the murder indicated that the attack was not premeditated but rather carried out on the spur of the moment when they saw Dvir Soreq walking alone (Haaretz, August 12, 2019).
Palestinian reactions to the stabbing attack
- Sources in Hamas, the PIJ and other organizations applauded the attack. Many of them exploited it to reiterate their calls to the Palestinian Authority (PA) to end its security coordination with Israel. On the social network people also welcomed the attack. Official PA sources have not commented so far.
- Two days after the attack (August 10, 2019) Mahmoud Abbas visited the Jilazoun refugee camp north of Ramallah, accompanied by Muhammad Shtayyeh, PA prime minister, and other senior PA figures. Mahmoud Abbas said that the Palestinians would not agree to have their shaheeds referred to as “terrorists.” He said that all their money [i.e., the support they get from the PA] would be returned to them because shaheeds, the wounded and the prisoners were sacred.
- Other reactions were the following:
- Hamas praised those who carried out the “heroic attack” and claimed the “resistance” was deeply rooted in the West Bank. Hamas called on the PA and its security forces to end their security coordination with Israel, begin a real and practical resistance on the ground and direct the Palestinian people to a popular struggle with the objective of establishing a Palestinian state (Hamas website, August 8, 2019).
- Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem praised the attack, calling it a response to Israel’s attempts to annex the West Bank. It proved, he said, Israel’s failure to stop the “resistance.” He also claimed the attack showed that the revolution and intifada continued, and that young insurgents will not stop their struggle until they throw off [the yoke of] the occupation and scatter the settlements (Shehab Twitter account, August 8, 2019).
- PIJ spokesman Da’ud Shehab called the attack a response to the [so-called] “crimes” Israel carries out against the Palestinians. The most recent one, he said, was the destruction of the houses in Wadi al-Hums. He said the PIJ supported every attack against Israel and that all the settlers and soldiers were legitimate targets for the “Palestinian resistance” and the Palestinian people in the struggle against Israel (Filastin al-Yawm, August 8, 2019).
Other events on the ground
Clashes on the Temple Mount
- August 11, 2019 was both the fast day of Tisha B’Av for the Jews and the beginning of Eid al-Adha for the Muslims, days on which people of both religions intended to go to the Temple Mount. Police presence was reinforced to deal with possible clashes.
- In ITIC assessment, the Muslim waqf made advance preparations to keep Jews from entering the Temple Mount compound. The waqf council called on Muslims to go en masse to pray in al-Aqsa mosque. It also instructed all the other mosques in Jerusalem to close their doors to encourage all worshippers to gather in al-Aqsa. The hour of the morning prayer was changed to 0730, the hour planned for the Jews to visit the Temple Mount.
- In the meantime, Palestinian spokesmen warned that the Jews were coming to the Temple Mount:
- Fatah spokesman Usama al-Qawasmeh called on the Palestinian people to increase their attendance at the prayers in al-Aqsa and in the surrounding streets to stress its importance, to defend its identity and to respond to the calls of the “settlers” [i.e., Jews] to reach the mosque. He said the Palestinians were prepared to continue the struggle and to escalate the “popular resistance” [i.e., popular terrorism] against Israel (Wafa, August 9, 2019).
- Mahmoud al-Habash, advisor to Mahmoud Abbas for religious affairs, said the “settlers’ ” [i.e., Jews’] intention to go to al-Aqsa mosque with a police escort was liable to ignite the entire region. He added that no one would be immune to the consequences of the “crime.” He said the Palestinian leadership, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, was monitoring the developments in Jerusalem with anger and concern, and would defend the mosque (Wafa, August 9, 2019).
- Senior Hamas figure Bassem Na’im said the “settlers’ ” [i.e., Jews’] plan to enter al-Aqsa mosque on Eid al-Adha with a police escort was “obvious aggression” against the Muslim holy places. He warned that such a step was liable to ignite the situation in Jerusalem and demanded that the international community act to stop it before things went out of control (Hamas website, August 9, 2019)
- Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem called on all those who were able, to go to Jerusalem and participate in the “struggle against the ‘settlers’ [i.e., Jews] trying to break into [al-Aqsa] mosque.” He said that the Palestinian people would continue its struggle against Israel and would enforce its will and policies on Israel (Filastin al-Yawm, August 11, 2019)
- Nabil Abu Sayif, senior figure in the Jerusalem and prisoners department of the Popular Resistance Movement, called on the Palestinians to escalate the intifada against Israel in response to the calls of the “settlers” [i.e. Jews] to go to al-Aqsa mosque. He stressed that Israel’s determination to harm al-Aqsa mosque was a religious war that would ignite the entire region. He called on the residents [of Judea and Samaria] to carry out their religious duty to pray in [al-Aqsa] mosque and carry out defensive activities to prevent the “settlers” [i.e., Jews] from reaching the mosque (Safa, August 9, 2019).
- By the early morning hours tens of thousands of Muslims had arrived at the Temple Mount. At one point thousands gathered near the Mughrabi Gate. They chanted slogans and threw stones, chairs and other objects at the police. The commander of the police forces gave the order to disperse the rioters, using crowd control measures (Israel Police Force media unit, August 11, 2019). Al-Aqsa mosque was then closed. Given the density of the crowd and worries about clashes, the police decided not to allow the Jews to visit the Temple Mount compound at the designated time. Two hours later, when the situation had calmed down, the police allowed Jewish worshippers to enter. The Muslims rioted again and the police removed the group of Jews and again forbade their visit (Israel Police Force media unit, August 11, 2019).
- The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that about 60 injured Palestinians were evacuated to hospitals (Palinfo Twitter account, August 11, 2019). Among those injured were Abd al-Azim Salhab, head of the waqf council, and Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem. According to Adnan al-Husseini, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, who was also injured, about 100 Palestinians were injured (al-Mayadeen Twitter account, August 11, 2019). Four policemen were injured. A short time after the riots a young Jewish man was wounded in the Old City of Jerusalem, apparently by a bottle thrown at him (Magen David Adom spokesman’s unit, August 11, 2019).
Reactions to the clashes on the Temple Mount
- The activities of the Israel police to end the clashes were strongly criticized by the Palestinians, who called for international intervention. Many people on the social networks called for the current path of “resistance” to be abandoned and for the adoption of a “violent resistance.” Many expressed anger at the Palestinian leadership for what they called making do solely with formal statements.
- Some of the reactions were the following:
- The PA foreign ministry called on the international community and the Arab world to defend al-Aqsa mosque from the plots against it. The ministry called on the international community and the relevant UN agencies, headed by UNESCO, to act against Israel’s “crimes” (Wafa, August 11, 2019).
- The Palestinian National Council condemned the injuries to the worshippers in al-Aqsa mosque caused by the Israeli security forces, and praised the “firm stance of the residents of Jerusalem in the face of Israel’s use of force.” The council called on all the Arab and Islamic parliaments to take responsibility for al-Aqsa mosque and the other holy places, and to exert pressure on their governments to implement decisions dealing with Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque (Wafa, August 11, 2019).
- Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, condemned the “storming of IDF forces” into al-Aqsa mosque and the “aggression” against the worshippers, accusing Israel of all responsibility (Wafa, August 11, 2019).
- Palestinian government spokesman Ibrahim Milhem condemned the Israeli police for protecting the “settlers” [i.e. Jews] who [allegedly] stormed al-Aqsa mosque and the police “aggression” against the [Muslim] worshippers. He called on the UN Security Council to take immediate steps to protect the Palestinian people (Sawa, August 11, 2019).
- Fatah spokesman Usama al-Qawasmeh said the masses of people who went to al-Aqsa mosque sent the message that Jerusalem and al-Aqsa were a red line. He praised the Palestinian people in Jerusalem who had gone to pray and said the Palestinians were always prepared to defend the holy places (Wafa, August 11, 2019).
- Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, said the events at al-Aqsa mosque again exposed the essence of the religious aspect of the conflict. He called for an end [of the PA’s] security coordination with Israel, for the concept of an arrangement to be abandoned, for putting an end to all forms of normalization and for strengthening the “resistance” (Sawa, August 11, 2019).
Right: “Dozens of Jerusalemites injured following their resistance to the break-in into al-Aqsa mosque.” The cartoon appeared on the Facebook page of Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem. He wrote, “Our people, standing guard in Jerusalem, have again proved that the Arab-Palestinian identity of the city cannot be changed” (Facebook page of Hazem Qassem, August 11, 2019). Left: “At your orders, al-Aqsa” (Facebook page of Gazan cartoonist Iyad al-Bazam, August 11, 2019).
- The PIJ called for the “resistance” to be escalated and for an intifada against Israel to answer its aggression. It called for an emergency meeting of the Palestinian organizations to formulate a strategy to deal with Israel (Filastin al-Yawm, August 11, 2019).
Prevention of major attack
- The Israeli security forces recently prevented a major attack that was supposed to be carried out in Jerusalem. The planned attack was prevented following the exposure, during recent weeks, of a number of terrorist squads in Judea and Samaria that were handed by operatives of Hamas’ military wing in the Gaza Strip. The operatives in Judea and Samaria were instructed to establish squads, recruit operatives and purchase weapons for attacks. During the investigation a squad operating in the Hebron region was exposed. In June 2019 Thamer Rajah Rajbi, a student at the Hebron Polytechnic University, was detained. He was a known Islamic bloc activist (the Islamic bloc is Hamas’ student organization).
- At the time of his detention Thamer Rajah Rajbi surrendered an IED weighing 3 kilos (6.6 pounds). It was covered with pieces of metal to increase the impact of the explosion. The IED had been prepared for use in a mass-casualty killing attack. Investigation revealed that Thamer Rajbi had been recruited by Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip by means of the Internet, and he received detailed instructions for purchasing the components necessary for producing IEDs and explosives. He also recruited students he was acquainted with (Israel Security Agency, August 6, 2019).
Significant terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria since June 2017
Distribution of meat for Eid al-Adha, funded by Turkey
- The ministry of Muslim endowments in the Gaza Strip began the distribution of meat for Eid al-Adha to 10,000 families. The distribution was handled by charitable associations subordinate to the ministry. The project was funded, for the sixth consecutive year, by the Turkie Diyanet Foundation and the Presidency of Religious Affairs in Turkey (website of the ministry of Muslim endowments in the Gaza Strip, August 12, 2019; Ma’an, August 12, 2019)
- Volunteers of a Turkish organization called Bring Life to Gaza distributed meat to 1,300 families in the Gaza Strip. Ramadan Asliya, the representative of the organization in the Gaza Strip, said the project was funded by donations from the Turkish people (al-Andalou News, August 12, 2019, Ramadan Aslih’s Facebook page, August 21, 2019). Muhammad al-Sharfa, responsible for information in the Turkish IHH office in Gaza, said that since August 12, 2019, the organization had distributed meat for Eid al-Adha to 6,500 families in the Gaza Strip (al-Andalou News, August 13, 2019)
Hamas delegation visits Iran
- According to additional information about the visit of the Hamas delegation to Iran, additional details about the meeting have been exposed (the Hezbollah-affiliated newspaper al-Akhbar, Lebanon, August 10, 2019):
- On July 22, 2019, the delegation of the Hamas leadership met with Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. After the media personnel left the room, they were joined by Qassem Soleimani, commander of the IRGC’s Qods Force.
- At the meeting Hamas representatives told the senior Iranian officials about the development of Hamas’ military wing and the weapons it needed.
- The participants at the meeting stressed the importance and the unity of the “axis of resistance.” The principles of “the unity of the fronts” and “common fate” were officially confirmed, and became part of the “axis of resistance’s” policies. As to the Gaza Strip front, a senior Hamas figure said that if Israel carries out a limited “aggression” against the Gaza Strip Hamas will deal with it by itself. However if Israel tries to destroy the “resistance,” the other members of the axis will join the battle.
- During Operation Protective Edge the members of the “axis” were in daily communication with the organizations in the Gaza Strip to monitor the situation on the ground. The leaders of the organizations were informed that the members of the “axis” were prepared to open another front at any time if the “resistance” in Gaza felt it was about to be defeated. The various [Palestinian] organizations answered at the time that they were not yet in need of support.
Senior Hamas operative detained in Egypt
- Palestinian sources reported that the Egyptian authorities had detained Sami Salim Saleh, a Hamas operative and a senior member of security forces who was an operative in the Hamas police force in the Gaza Strip. According to a Hamas source quoted by the Lebanese al-Mudun, in addition to his roles in security he was also one of the decision-makers in Hamas’ military wing (al-Mudun, August 6, 2019). Sami Salim Saleh was detained on August 4, 2019, at the international airport in Cairo, when he arrived from Turkey after receiving medical treatment. Reportedly, the Hamas leadership was in high-level contact with the Egyptian authorities in order to effect his release and return to the Gaza Strip (qudspress.com, August 5, 2019). On August 8, 2019, the Egyptian authorities released Sami Salim Saleh. Yahya al-Sinwar, head of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, was also present at the reception held for his in the Gaza Strip (Amad, August 8, 2019).
Strike of Gaza Strip prisoners
- The association of released prisoners reported that Fatah prisoners from the Gaza Strip imprisoned in Israeli jails had started a hunger strike to protest the PA’s cutting their salaries by 50%, and stopping the payments of the salaries of many prisoners from other organizations. The prisoners demand salaries equivalent to those of prisoners from Judea and Samaria (Dunia al-Watan, August 6, 2019).
PA political activity
- The PA foreign ministry announced that Mahmoud Abbas had instructed Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki to present a comprehensive claim to the International Criminal Court in The Hague about the Jewish settlements. Mahmoud Abbas also instructed him to ask Riyadh Mansour, the PA representative to the UN, to act quickly with the UN secretary general and the council of Arab and Islamic ambassadors to decide on the necessary steps for struggling against the settlement project announced by Israel (Wafa, August 9, 2019).
- The following day Riyadh Mansour reported he had met with Arab partners and asked them to exert pressure on the Security Council and the UN secretary general to take a clear stand regarding construction in the settlements. He said effort had to be invested in diplomatic activities around the globe to direct attention to Israel’s acts (Palestinian TV, August 9, 2019).
 The fast and day of mourning commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples. ↑
 The Muslim Feast of the Sacrifice. ↑
 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. ↑