Security camera video documenting the attack (Facebook page of the Israel Police Force, August 12, 2017).
Fadwa Hamada, the Palestinian woman who carried out the stabbing attack (Palinfo Twitter account, August 12, 2017).
Israeli vehicles damaged by stones thrown by Palestinians near the village of Husan, west of Bethlehem (Palinfo Twitter account, August 13, 2017).
Palestinians clash with IDF security forces along the Israel-Gaza Strip border (Paldf Twitter account, August 12, 2017).
Palestinians clash with IDF security forces along the Israel-Gaza Strip border (Paldf Twitter account, August 12, 2017).
Gazan pilgrims attend a festive celebration before leaving for Mecca through the Rafah crossing (Facebook page of the ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip, August 13, 2017).
Khalil al-Haya during an interview with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad-affiliated Paltoday TV station (Facebook page of Paltoday TV, August 14, 2017).
Members of the PA's ministry of education present Mahmoud Abbas with the new textbooks (Wafa, August 12, 2017).
- This past week there was a stabbing attack at the Nablus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem and an attempted stabbing attack near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. The Israeli security forces overcame and detained the attackers. A rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip, landing in the region of the southern Israeli coastal city of Ashqelon. There were no casualties and no damage was reported. In response Israeli Air Force aircraft attacked Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.
- Eyal Zamir, commander of the IDF’s Southern Command, held a press briefing near Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip. He said Israel would accelerate the construction of a barrier along the Gazan border. Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan said in response that Hamas would not allow Israel to destroy its attack tunnels because he claimed the Palestinians had the “legal right” to defend themselves. He claimed the tunnels were necessary as long as Israel remained in the Palestinian territories.
- On August 9, 2017 there was an attempted stabbing attack near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. A Palestinian armed with a knife approached the Border Policemen securing the site. They overcame, disarmed and detained him. There were no casualties.
The knife found in the possession of the Palestinian detained near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron
(Palinfo Twitter account, August 9, 2017).
- On August 12, 2017 a stabbing attack was carried out close to the light railway station near the Nablus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. A Palestinian woman armed with a knife stabbed a man in the shoulder. The man, a resident of east Jerusalem, was wounded. The woman was detained at the scene of the attack. The Palestinian media reported she was Fadwa Hamada, 30, mother of four (another Palestinian website reported her as mother of six). She was from Sur Bahr in east Jerusalem (Ma’an and silwanik.net, August 12, 2017).
Left: Security camera video documenting the attack (Facebook page of the Israel Police Force, August 12, 2017).
Right: Fadwa Hamada, the Palestinian woman who carried out the stabbing attack (Palinfo Twitter account, August 12, 2017).
Riots, Clashes and Popular Terrorism
- This past week Palestinians continued throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. The Israeli security forces continued counterterrorism activities throughout Judea and Samaria, detaining Palestinians suspected of terrorist activity. Weapons and objects used in riots were seized. The more prominent occurrences were the following:
- August 15, 2017 – Palestinians threw a pipe bomb at Israeli security forces operating in Jenin. There were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, August 15, 2017).
- August 14, 2017 – Palestinians threw stones at Israeli security forces operating near Jericho, wounding one IDF soldier. (Facebook page of Red Alert, August 14, 2017).
- August 14, 2017 – The Jerusalem judiciary handed down indictments for three residents of east Jerusalem who planned to carry out a combined terrorist attack. According to the indictment, between March and July 2017 (when they were captured) the three held meetings where they discussed plans to shoot at Israeli vehicles and place IEDs on the Nablus detour road. They also participated in several riots and threw stones at Israeli security forces (Nana10, August 14, 2017).
- August 10, 2017 – In a joint Israeli security forces operation five Palestinians from Hebron were detained en route to carry out a terrorist attack. They were detained in al-E’izariya in east Jerusalem. According to the initial investigation, they left Hebron on the morning of August 10, 2017, leaving wills in which they detailed their intention to carry out a terrorist attack inside Israeli territory. They five had many weapons in their possession (Nana10, August 10, 2017).
- August 9, 2017 – Palestinians shot at Israeli security forces operating to detain wanted terrorists in the Dheisheh refugee camp, near Bethlehem. One IDF soldier was seriously wounded and evacuated for medical treatment (Ynet, August 9, 2017).
Significant Terrorist Attacks in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem since September 2015
Rocket Fire Attacking Israel
- On August 8, 2017, a rocket hit was identified in Israeli territory in an open area in the region of the Israeli coastal city of Ashqelon. There were no casualties.
Monthly Distribution of Rocket Hits in Israel since January 2016
*Six of the rockets fired in February 2017 were launched from the Sinai Peninsula at Israeli territory, apparently by ISIS’s Sinai Province.
** The rocket fired in April was launched from the Sinai Peninsula by ISIS’s Sinai Province.
Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits in Israel’s South
- In response to the rocket fire Israeli Air Force aircraft attacked two Hamas targets in the northern Gaza Strip. The Palestinian media reported that the “Badr Force Post” and the “Filastin Post” of the Hamas force that engages in routine security activities along the border in Beit Lahia had been attacked (Samaa News, and the Paldf Twitter account, August 9, 2017).
- Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called Israel’s attack “serious trespassing,” and said Israel would be responsible for the consequences. He claimed it was unacceptable for the Gaza Strip to be a “testing ground” for Israel’s weapons (Palinfo, August 9, 2017). Fatah spokesman Hazem Abu Shanab claimed the attack was “inconsistent” with the lull in the region (Wafa, August 9, 2017).
Clashes along the Gaza Strip Border
- On August 11, 2017, several hundred rioters clashed with Israeli security forces at four locations along the Israel-Gaza Strip border: east of Jabalia, east of Gaza City, east of the al-Bureij refugee camp and east of Khan Yunis. Four rioters were wounded by Israeli security force fire. A spokesman for the ministry of health in the Gaza Strip reported that a 16 year-old had a critical head wound, caused by a tear-gas canister. Another youth was seriously wounded by a shot to the leg; the shooting occurred east of the al-Bureij refugee camp (Palinfo, August 11, 2017).
The Rafah Crossing
- On August 14, 2017, the Rafah crossing was opened to allow pilgrims to leave the Gaza Strip for Mecca. About 800 left on the first day. In the coming days the total number of pilgrims leaving for Mecca is expected to reach 2,500 (Wafa, August 14, 2017).
- Before the crossing opened, Mahmoud al-Zahar, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said Hamas was instituting many measures to relieve the siege of the Gaza Strip. He claimed the Rafah crossing was expected to open in the coming days not only for pilgrims but for ordinary civilians and for commerce (Dunia al-Watan, August 11, 2017).
The Energy Crisis
The public relations administration of the Gazan electricity company said no timetable could be given for the provision of electricity. That was because of an ongoing problem with the Egyptian lines which had lasted for more than a month. He reported that the flow of electricity in the Gaza Strip stood at 94 megawatts (70 megawatts from Israel and 24 megawatts produced by the Gaza Strip’s power plant, where only one unit is operative). To provide electricity for all the residents of the Gaza Strip to have electricity, it is necessary to produce 600 megawatts (Palinfo, August 13, 2017).
Left: Cartoon illustrating the inability of Hamas’ administrative committee to govern the Gaza Strip (Facebook page of Isma’il al-Bazam, August 10, 2017). Right: Cartoon by Isma’il al-Bazam depicting the suffering of the Gazans caused by the measures taken by Mahmoud Abbas against the Gaza Strip (black sleeve) and the determination of Hamas’ administrative committee to continue its activities (green sleeve) (Facebook page of Isma’il al-Bazam, August 12, 2017).
Israel Constructs a Barrier along the Border with the Gaza Strip
General Eyal Zamir, commander of the IDF’s Southern Command, held a press briefing at the Israel-Gaza Strip border. He said Israel would accelerate the construction of a barrier along the Gaza Strip border. He said it would be tens of meters deep and would have sensors capable of detecting the digging of tunnels. In addition, he said, a breakwater would be built on an artificial tongue of land equipped with a high fence and sensor systems. He estimated the construction of the barrier was liable to lead to a renewed confrontation with Hamas, and it had the potential for future escalation.
- During the briefing he revealed an example of the increase in Hamas’ tunnel-building project, which has been ongoing since Operation Protective Edge. He gave information about two attack-tunnel shafts which had been constructed in the northern Gaza Strip during the past two years, about a kilometer (about 0.6 miles) from the Israeli border. Both tunnels were located under houses on the outskirts of Beit Hanoun and the Shati refugee camp (where Isma’il Haniyeh lives). One tunnel is located under a six-story building. It has a parking facility connected to the entrance shaft of a network of Hamas tunnels. The other tunnel is under the house of Hamas operative ‘Imad Hamad, and his extended family.
Aerial photographs revealed by the head of the IDF’s Southern Command illustrating the tunnel shafts under houses in the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesman, August 10, 2017).
- According to General Zamir, Israel’s plan to build a barrier and destroy the terrorists’ tunnels enraged the senior Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) figures and spokesmen:
- Hamas spokesman Isma’il Radwan said Hamas would not permit the destruction of its tunnels, which were meant to be used to fight Israel, because the Palestinian people had the “legal right” to defend themselves. He said the tunnels were necessary as long as Israel remained in the Palestinian territories. He also claimed Hamas would overcome the wall and that it would not be an obstacle (Dunia al-Watan, August 14, 2017).
- Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said the “resistance” [i.e., terrorist organizations] in the Gaza Strip would continue to control everything that could be used to defend the Palestinian people from Israel’s attacks. He claimed Hamas did not seek escalation but was not afraid of confrontations. He also claimed the “resistance” would confront Israel with courage (RT in Arabic, August 10, 2017). Regarding the aerial photographs displayed by General Zamir, he denied the validity of the Israeli pictures showing the locations of tunnels under houses in Gaza City. He said they were part of a series of Israeli lies intended to lower the morale of the Palestinian people. He called on the media not to cooperate with “Israel’s lies,” and demanded the international institutions do their duty and expose Israel’s intentions and plots against the Palestinians (Hamas website, August 14, 2017).
- Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanu’ said Israel would bear the consequences of building a concrete wall along the Gaza Strip border. He said its construction was illegal and its objective was to intensify the siege on the Gaza Strip. According to al-Qanu’, it will not give Israel security, because “resistance” is a right anchored in law, and Hamas has the right to every type of weapon (al-Anadolu News, August 15, 2017).
- Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the aerial photographs published by Israel were false. He said Israel was propagating lies intended to destroy Hamas’ reputation, and that Israel was using them as an excuse to kill thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip (al-Arabiya al-Hadath, August 10, 2017).
- Senior Hamas figure Salah al-Bardawil said the measures Israel was taking on the Gazan border, including the decision to build a very expensive wall, were “empty messages” meant for the Israeli people. He said such steps could not lead to a war. He said the high cost of building the wall was an attempt to convince the Israeli public to pay taxes for the sake of its security (Palinfo, August 10, 2017).
- Senior PIJ figure Ahmed al-Mudallal said the tunnels were a means of fighting and self defense, and that using them as a pretext for a new war or to intensify the siege of the Gaza Strip would have serious consequences. He added that the “resistance” would not sit idly by while Israel tried to destroy the tunnels with a fence and concrete wall. He said the “resistance” would respond at the appropriate time, and that could ignite a new war (al-Khaleej Online, August 13, 2017).
The Political Program of Hamas’ Military Wing
- The Anadolu News Agency quoted a senior source in Hamas as saying that the leadership of Hamas’ military wing had given the political leadership a proposal for dealing with the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. The main points of the plan were that Hamas would give up its roles of administration and rule over the Gaza Strip; authority for security on the ground and issues regarding Israel would remain in the hands of Hamas’ military wing; and the ministry of the interior’s security forces would be responsible only for civilian affairs (al-Anadolu News, August 10, 2017).
Responses from Hamas
- Salah al-Bardawil, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, denied the report, claiming it was false and that Hamas would not leave a political vacuum in the Gaza Strip. He said the reports were lies that Hamas political bureau knew nothing about (Dunia al-Watan, August 11, 2017). However, a source within Hamas confirmed the veracity of the report (al-Mayadeen, August 11, 2017). Reportedly, after the initiative had been leaked, the head of Hamas’ information department instructed the head of al-Aqsa TV to air an open broadcast to deal with the issue. Most of the participants confirmed the initiative was genuine, that the military wing had in fact proposed the idea three months previously and it was now being leaked by and in coordination with Yahya al-Sinwar, head of Hamas’ political bureau in the Gaza Strip (Amad, August 13, 2017).
- Khalil al-Haya, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, also confirmed the existence of such a proposal. He said that despite the fact that the military wing dealt with “resistance,” far from the civilian and political lives of the Gaza Strip, as part of the population it also suffered because of crises that influenced the “resistance.” Therefore the military wing proposed to give up its responsibility and allow the international community, Israel and all other forces to take responsibility for the population of the Gaza Strip. He said the proposal was on the table, waiting for a decision from the Hamas movement leadership. He said it was an internal matter and that it was up to the Hamas leadership to decide whether to accept or reject the proposal (Facebook page of the Paltoday channel August 14, 2017).
- Fatah related to the proposal as “not serious.” Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, called it empty suggestions tossed into the air (Dunia al-Watan, August 11, 2017). Fatah spokesman Usama al-Qawasmeh said the demand of Hamas’ military wing that the leadership leave a security and political vacuum in the Gaza Strip was a political ploy intended as a bargaining chip (Dunia al-Watan, August 11, 2017).
Hamas Delegation to Egypt
- On August 11, 2017, an 18-member delegation left the Gaza Strip for Egypt. It included Salah al-Bardawil and Rawhi Mushtaha, members of Hamas’ political bureau; supporters of Muhammad Dahlan from the ranks of Fatah in the Gaza Strip; Palestinian Islamic Jihad representatives headed by Khaled al-Batash; Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil, the chairman of the Gaza Strip’s energy committee and others. They went to Egypt to meet with the “mutual guarantee committee.” According to ‘Issam Abu Daqqa, a member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), the mutual guarantee committee has been meeting for four years and is social and humanitarian in nature (Dunia al-Watan, August 12, 2017).
- At the same time, Hamas spokesman Khazem Qassem reported that on August 11, 2017, a Hamas delegation visited Cairo to follow up on the understandings reached with Egypt a number of weeks ago. He said the delegation and the Egyptians had discussed ways to mitigate the influence of the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip and the steps taken by the Palestinian Authority regarding the Gaza Strip. He also said the delegation was accompanied by professionals headed by Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil, chairman of the energy authority (Shehab, August 12, 2017).
- While in Egypt the members of the Gazan delegation met with members of a delegation from the UAE. It was agreed that a grant of $15 million a month would be allotted for vital projects in the Gaza Strip (al-Quds al-Arabi, August 14, 2017).
Security Coordination with Israel
- Senior figures in the PA said Mahmoud Abbas adhered to his decision to close all channels of communication with Israel, even though the Temple Mount crisis has ended. The PLO’s Executive Committee issued a statement after a meeting chaired by Mahmoud Abbas. It stressed the need to continue implementing the decision of the Central Council to limit connections with Israel (Wafa, August 12, 2017).
- Senior Palestinian figures reported that Mahmoud Abbas had proposed a number of conditions for a restoration of security coordination with Israel. Among them were restoring the pre-2000 status quo (i.e., before the second intifada); dismantling the Israeli civilian administration and turning all of its authority over to the PA; an examination of all the documents agreed upon between Israel and the Palestinians, including their security and economic appendices; and expanding the authority of the PA in areas B and C (al-Sharq al-Awsat, August 9, 2017).
New Textbooks in the PA Education System
- Mahmoud Abbas met with a delegation from the PA’s ministry of education and higher education, headed by its minister, Sabri Sidam. He was presented with the first copies of the new textbooks published for the new curriculum for grades 5 through 11. Sidam said that hundreds of educational teams had worked “day and night” to finish the project on time. Its objective, he said, had been to formulate a modern Palestinian curriculum in line with the most modern international educational systems (Wafa, August 12, 2017).
 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.
 The statistics do not include mortar shell fire or rockets which misfired and fell inside the Gaza Strip.