Demonstration in front of UNRWA offices in the Jabalia refugee camp protesting UNRWA's budget cuts (Facebook pages of QudsN and al-Anadolu News, March 1, 2018).
Cartoon warning of an approaching explosion, caused by the situation in the Gaza Strip. The Arabic reads, "The continuing [strangulation of the Gaza Strip] warns of an upcoming explosion (Palinfo Twitter account, February 28, 2018).
Isma'il Haniyeh and the Hamas delegation arrive in the Gaza Strip (Palinfo Twitter account, February 28, 2018).
Isma'il Haniyeh meets with representatives of the Palestinian organizations in the Gaza Strip (Twitter accounts of Palinfo and Hamas, March 5, 2018).
Isma'il Haniyeh meets with representatives of the Palestinian organizations in the Gaza Strip (Twitter accounts of Palinfo and Hamas, March 5, 2018).
Pictures included in an appeal for Nazi concentration camp suits (Facebook page of "the great march of the return," February 25, 2018).
The national consensus government authorizes the PA's budget for 2018 (Facebook page of Rami Hamdallah, February 27, 2018)
- In the northern Israeli city of Acre a vehicular attack was carried out by an Israeli Arab whose motive, according to the Israel Police Force, was nationalistic. Four people were wounded; three of them belonged to the Israeli security forces. Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) praised the attack.
- In Judea, Samaria, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip clashes and riots continued, although with relatively low intensity. In the southern Gaza Strip an IED was neutralized, apparently placed at the same time as the IED that exploded on February 17, 2018 and injured four IDF soldiers.
- In the Gaza Strip preparations continue for the “the great march of the return,” in which Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are supposed to march to the border with Israel. Calls were recently heard to hold the march close to Land Day, March 30, 2018. The organizers said they intended to recruit about a hundred thousand participants, and claimed the event would be “non-violent.” Hamas announced its support for the march and said its operatives would participate.
Vehicular attack in the northern Israeli city of Acre
- On March 4, 2018, four people were deliberately run over in a vehicular attack, two of them IDF soldiers, one a Border Policeman, and one a civilian. The driver hit one and kept driving, hitting three more as he approached the central bus station. Although injured, the Border Policeman shot and seriously wounded the driver. In Israel Police Force assessment, based on the findings at the scene, the event was a vehicular attack carried out for nationalistic reasons. The driver was an Israeli Arab from the northern Arab city of Shfar’am.
Vehicular attack in Acre. Right: A few seconds before the IDF soldier is attacked. Left: The car throws the soldier into the air (Facebook page of QudsN, March 4, 2018).
- Hamas welcomed the vehicular attack and said it proved the adherence of the Palestinian people to the “resistance” and the struggle against the occupation. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Hamas had not yet settled its account with Israel and would not as long as Israel continued its crimes. He called on the Palestinian people and organizations to participate in the “resistance” and the Jerusalem intifada, improve the means they used and end the “occupation” (Hamas website, March 4, 2018).
- The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) praised the attack and said it was the right of the Palestinian people to continue “resistance action against the occupation” that harmed the Palestinian land and holy sites (Filastin al-Yawm, March 4, 2018).
Demonstrations, clashes and riots
- During the past week demonstrations and riots continued in Judea, Samaria, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Attendance at the riots continues to decrease, and there were only several hundred demonstrators. On Friday, March 2, 2018, there were riots at a number of focal points in Judea and Samaria, among them Hebron, al-Bireh, Qaddum and Bethlehem. An IDF officer was wounded by a stone thrown during a clash in Hebron. During clashes in the village of al-Walaja (southwest of Jerusalem), one of the Israeli policemen fell and a rioter kicked him in the head (Facebook page of Red Alert, March 2, 2018).
- Along the Gaza Strip border Palestinians rioted at a number of locations near the security fence. They burned tires and threw stones and Molotov cocktails at IDF forces. An IDF force returned fire. Reportedly, 16 Palestinians were injured in clashes at locations near the border: two on the Palestinian side of the Erez crossing, five in the eastern part of Jabalia, one in eastern part of Gaza City, one in the central Gaza Strip, and seven in the eastern part of Khan Yunis (Ma’an, March 2, 2018).
Clashes along the Gaza Strip border (Twitter account and Facebook page of QudsN, March 2, 2018).
- On March 2, 2018 a rally was held in Bila’in to mark the 13th anniversary of the “popular resistance to the fence in Bila’in.” Palestinian and foreign activists participated. They left the center of the town and went to the “traditional” points of friction with the Israeli security forces. They set up a sign with the number 13 and pictures from past events. One of the demonstrators had an effigy of Donald Trump, holding it with a noose around its neck (al-Ghad YouTube channel, March 2, 2018).
Right: At a demonstration in Bila’in, one of the demonstrators has an effigy of Donald Trump and is holding the noose arounds its neck (al-Ghad YouTube channel, March 2, 2018). Left: Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces in Bila’in (al-Watan YouTube channel, March 2, 2018).
- 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 weapons. The more prominent events were the following:
- March 5, 2018 – During an Israeli security force activity in Jenin the forces were shot at. No casualties or damage were reported. The forces returned fire and searched for the source of the gunfire (Facebook page of Red Alert, March 5, 2018).
- March 5, 2018 – Stones were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near the Azoun Junction in Samaria. No casualties or damage were reported (Facebook page of Red Alert, March 5, 2018).
- March 4, 2018 – Four Molotov cocktails were thrown at vehicles on the cross-Benyamin highway near Neveh Tsuf. No casualties were reported. The vehicles were damaged (Facebook page of Red Alert, March 4, 2018).
- March 4, 2018 – Stones were thrown at a vehicle near the Yitzhar Junction in Samaria. No casualties or damage were reported (Facebook page of Red Alert, March 4, 2018).
- March 4, 2018 – A Palestinian threw stones and a bottle of paint at a must at the Aroub Junction in Gush Etzion. An IDF force detained him for interrogation (Facebook page of Red Alert, March 4, 2018).
- March 3, 2018 – Terrorists threw two Molotov cocktails on the road near Ariel, in Samaria. No casualties were reported (Facebook page of Red Alert, March 3, 2018).
- March 2, 2018 – Palestinians threw stones at Israeli security forces near Azoun in Samaria. No casualties were reported (Facebook page of Red Alert, March 2, 2018).
- March 1, 2018 – A Molotov cocktail was thrown at a bus near Karmei Tsur in Gush Etzion. No casualties were reported (Facebook page of Red Alert, March 1, 2018).
Significant terrorist attacks during the past year 
Rocket Fire Attacking Israel
- This past week no rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory.
Monthly Distribution of Rocket Hits in Israel since January 2016
* The statistics do not include mortar shell fire or rockets which misfired and fell inside the Gaza Strip.
** Six of the rockets fired in February 2017 were launched from the Sinai Peninsula at Israeli territory, apparently by ISIS’s Sinai Province. In April a rocket was launched from the Sinai Peninsula by ISIS’s Sinai Province. In October 2017 two rockets were fired from the northern Sinai Peninsula by ISIS’s Sinai Province. They fell in an open area in the western Negev.
Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits
IED neutralized on the Israel-Gaza Strip border
- On March 1, 2018, IDF forces neutralized an IED placed on the border security fence in the southern Gaza Strip. According to the IDF spokesperson, the IED was placed about two and a half weeks ago, during the Palestinian demonstrations near the fence. It was apparently placed at the same time as the IED that exploded on February 17, 2018, injuring four IDF soldiers.
- The Palestinian media reported that Palestinians had dismantled parts of the border security fence and a gate leading to an Israeli post near a neighborhood of in ‘Abasan al-Kabira (east of Khan Yunis). One of the Palestinian waved a Palestinian flag and others took parts of the fence with them. According to one of the participants, they approached the fence hidden in the smoke of tires they brought with them and set on fire. He claimed they did not belong to any organization (al-Ayn website and Palinfo, March 5, 2018).
- On March 4, 2018, an Palestinian approached the border security fence in the southern Gaza Strip. An IDF force fired warning shots. According to the IDF, the Palestinian fled. A spokesman for the ministry of health in the Gaza Strip reported that Muhammad ‘Atta Abu Jam’a 59, had been shot to death by IDF forces in the eastern part of Ikhza’a, east of Khan Yunis (Filastin al-Yawm, March 3, 2018). The IDF announced it would investigate the event. The funeral of Abu Jam’a was exploited by senior Hamas and PIJ figures to again blame Israel and reiterate their commitment to the struggle against it. The Fatah movement in the eastern part of Khan Yunis announced Abu Jam’a had been one of its activists (Palinfo, March 2; website of Fatah in the Gaza Strip, March 3, 2018).
UNRWA’s financial difficulties and donations for economic projects
- Amal al-Batash, deputy chairman of the UNRWA staff union in the Gaza Strip, said the new school year would not begin at UNRWA institutions unless funding was found to bridge the economic gap caused by the American cut in the agency’s budget (Shehab, March 5, 2018).
- Adnan Abu Hasna, UNRWA media advisor, said the al-Aqsa Foundation had decided to donate a million dollars to finance fuel for hospitals, sewage pumping plants and the Gaza Strip infrastructure. The money will be transferred through the Islamic Development Bank. According to UNRWA, the money will be made available soon (Dunia al-Watan, March 4, 2018). Abdallah Abu Samhadana, governor of the refugee camps in the central Gaza Strip, said France had promised to donate €10 million to build a desalination plant in the Gaza Strip. He said the project would cost $600 million, and Arab financial funds had expressed a willingness to provide half the sum. Contributions will also be received from the EU (Filastin al-Yawm, March 4, 2018).
March held by members of the UNRWA staff union in the Gaza Strip and students at UNRWA schools in the Khan Yunis district protesting the American decision to cut its funding for the agency (Twitter account of Radio Sawt al-Aqsa, February 27, 2018).
The Rafah crossing
- This past week the Rafah crossing was closed. Diab Allouh, PA ambassador to Egypt, said he had no information about opening the Rafah crossing during the coming week (Filastin al-Yawm, March 2, 2018). However, last week Egypt authorized the entrance of trucks bringing merchandise and fuel into the Gaza Strip. On March 1, 2018, three trucks carrying fuel entered the Gaza Strip (Filastin al-Yawm, March 1, 2018). On March 4, 2018, Egypt authorized the passage of a number of trucks carrying building materials and fuel (Ma’an, March 4, 2018). Merchandise from the Gaza Strip entered Egypt through the Salah al-Din gate (Twitter account of Amama, March 4, 2018).
- Fatah spokesman Usama al-Qawasmeh said the Rafah crossing was closed now because of the security situation in the Sinai Peninsula. However, he said, Egypt had promised the Palestinian leadership that it would soon be open permanently in both directions (Dunia al-Watan, March 3, 2018). Hamas spokesman Husam Badran said that during meetings held by the Hamas delegation with Egyptian figures in Cairo, ways were discussed to lift the siege of the Gaza Strip and improve the lives of the Gazans (Shehab, March 3, 2018).
Supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip
- According to recent reports, electricity is supplied to the Gaza Strip in cycles of four hours of power with a 12-hour hiatus, because the power lines from Egypt are not yet functional (Sama, March 1, 2018). “Stable” electricity is currently provided by one generator in the Gaza Strip power plant, thanks fuel from Egypt (Ma’an, March 2, 2018).
- Khalil al-Haya, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said the Egyptian leadership had promised the Palestinian delegation that the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip would be enlarged, and that Egypt had also promised to increase the amount of aid entering the Gaza Strip and improve the infrastructure on the other side of the border (al-Aqsa, March 1, 2018).
Hamas delegation returns to the Gaza Strip from Egypt
- A Hamas delegation led by Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, returned to the Gaza Strip from Egypt through the Rafah crossing. The delegation had been in Egypt for about three weeks (since February 9, 2018). Reports from Gaza summarized the visit as a great disappointment, bringing as proof the fact that Haniyeh did not hold a press conference when he returned to report the results of the visit (al-Araby al-Jadeed March 3, 2018; al-Akhbar in Lebanon, March 2, 2018).
- According to members of the delegation, representatives of Egyptian General Intelligence pressured them to agree to transfer the collection of taxes and security in the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian national consensus government “with nothing in return.” That would be done without genuine guarantees that the PA would commit itself to lifting the sanctions on the Gaza Strip or at least solve the problem of the employees. It was reported that that Egyptian delegation visiting the Gaza Strip at the same time tried to exert similar pressure (al-Akhbar, March 3, 2018).
- Returning to the Gaza Strip, Isma’il Haniyeh called a meeting of the heads of the organizations and updated them on the talks in Egypt. Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Haniyeh warned of an “explosion” in the Gaza Strip because of the humanitarian situation. He also called on the Palestinians to prepare themselves for “the great march of the return” in which the entire world would say that “no one can revoke the right of return” (see below) (Palinfo, March 5, 2018).
Isma’il Haniyeh meets with representatives of the Palestinian organizations in the Gaza Strip (Twitter accounts of Palinfo and Hamas, March 5, 2018).
Statements from senior Hamas figures about the security situation in the Gaza Strip
- Khalil al-Haya, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said Hamas did not want either escalation or war, but nevertheless, the Palestinian people had to defend themselves against the occupation and rise up against it. He said the continual deterioration of the situation demanded the “resistance” take measures to change the situation and improve the daily lives of the Gazans. He warned that the pressure currently exerted on the Gaza Strip was liable to lead to an explosion (al-Aqsa, March 1, 2018).
- Izzat al-Rishq, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said in an interview that Hamas was not seeking escalation or war. However, he said, the operatives of Hamas’ military wing always had their fingers on the trigger, and that their slogan was “if you revert [to your old behavior], so will we.” al-Rishq threatened that if Israel behaved stupidly and attacked the Gaza Strip, all the organizations, led by Hamas, would defend the Palestinian people. He said Hamas had a fully-prepared plan for liberation from the occupation, and the means for a firm stance against the enemy (al-Quds, March 1, 2018).
Security coordination with the Palestinian national consensus government
- Tawfiq Abu Na’im, deputy minister of the interior and responsible for Hamas’ security forces, said his ministry sent Rami Hamdallah, both prime minister of the national consensus government and minister of the interior, a daily report dealing with the security situation and the ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip. He said security was one of the most advanced issues of the internal Palestinian reconciliation and that his ministry collaborated with Egypt on a daily basis to secure their common border. He also said that the suggestion had been raised to consider the policemen and the civil defense forces as serving in the civil apparatuses of the national consensus government (Safa, March 5, 2018).
“The great march of the return”
Preparations are continuing for “the great march of the return,” during which the residents of the Gaza Strip are supposed to march to the border with Israel. Calls were recently heard to hold the march on Land Day (March 30, 2018). Ahmed Abu Artima, a political activist in the Gaza Strip, recently published a video with details about the preparations. He said the objective of the event was to send a message to the world about the Palestinians’ “right of return.” The plan was to recruit about a hundred thousand participants. He said the march would not be violent and there was no plan to clash with IDF forces. He said the marchers would not actually reach the border security fence but stand at a distance of about 700 meters (a little less than half a mile) from it. He also said the activities would take place around Land Day (March 30) and would continue (Facebook page of Ahmed Abu Artima, March 30, 2018)
- According to information on the Facebook page of “the great march of the return,” the organizers need clothing like the striped suits worn by the inmates of the Nazi concentration camps. Anyone who could provide such suits, or sew them, was asked to contact the march’s coordinating committee (Facebook page of “the great march of the return,” February 25, 2018).
- Khalil al-Haya, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said Hamas supported the march and its operatives would participate in it, because it “shows the genuine desire of the Palestinian people (al-Aqsa, March 1, 2018) .
Where is Yahya al-Sinwar?
- The London-based newspaper al-Hayat published an article about the ongoing silence of Yahya al-Sinwar, head of Hamas’ political bureau in the Gaza Strip. According to the article, for the past month Yahya al-Sinwar has not appeared in public, participated in public activities, made statements to the media or held meetings. That is in contrast to the recent past, when he often participated in meetings and held press conferences. The article also noted that al-Sinwar was not a member of the Hamas delegation that had gone to Egypt for three weeks. According to the article, al-Sinwar’s “disappearance” is caused by the fact that he is angry at of the delays in implementing the internal Palestinian reconciliation.
- People close to Yahya al-Sinwar or have met him have often said his intentions to close the Palestinian ranks are are genuine and sincere, and that he intends to have the military wings [of the terrorist organizations] form the core of a Palestinian national army that will work to liberate Palestine. They add that Hamas operatives, who endorsed his decisions and steps towards reconciliation, have become more and more convinced that the Fatah movement made him appear to having sold illusions to his movement and the Palestinian street, or at least as not having succeeded in achieving anything for them (al-Hayat, March 4, 2018).
- Gazan political commentator Mustafa al-Sawwaf (who was the first editor of the Hamas daily Felesteen) rejected the conclusions of the media. He called al-Sinwar a great leader who is greatly respected within the Hamas movement. However, claimed al-Sawwaf, it is his nature to distance himself from the media. Al-Sawwaf added that if talk about al-Sinwar’s isolation were true, he would not have met with the Egyptian security delegation (February 26, 2018).
The PA budget
- At its February 27, 2018, weekly meeting headed by Rami Hamdallah, the Palestinian national consensus government authorized the PA general budget for for 2018. It stands at $5 billion, with an income of $3.8 billion. Mahmoud Abbas gave final authorization (Wafa, March 4, 2018). Sources in Hamas criticized the PA and Mahmoud Abbas for passing the budget without presenting it to the Palestinian Legislative Council, as demanded by the PA’s founding law (website of Palinfo, March 4, 2018).
The national consensus government authorizes the PA’s budget for 2018 (Facebook page of Rami Hamdallah, February 27, 2018)
Convention of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council
- On March 1, 2018, Fatah’s Revolutionary Council convened in the presidential building in Ramallah. Recent developments were discussed, especially the American decision to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem. Mahmoud Abbas gave a speech behind closed doors. The closing announcement of the Revolutionary Council reiterated Fatah’s position in favor of escalating the “popular resistance” [i.e., popular terrorism]. It stressed that the government’s policy was aimed at gaining support for the “popular resistance,” especially in areas where the border security fence and the settlements “threatened” the Palestinian people. The Council called for laws forbidding Palestinians to work in the settlements, buy and sell settlement-made products, and ordering them to boycott Israeli merchandise. There was also a call to demonstrate objection to the Trump decisions concerning Jerusalem and the budget cuts to UNRWA (Wafa, March 4, 2018).
The PA seeks increased foreign support for east Jerusalem
- Rami Hamdallah, prime minister of the national consensus government, met in is office with Ahmed al-Ruwaydi, representative of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the PA. Hamdallah praised the organization’s activity and asked for increased support for Jerusalem, especially for housing, to “support the firm stance of the residents of east Jerusalem in the city” (Wafa, March 4, 2018). In the past Ahmed al-Ruwaydi was the director of the Jerusalem department in Mahmoud Abbas’ office and lives in east Jerusalem. As part of his job he hosts many international delegations in east Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount. He is active in Palestinian public diplomacy and is interviewed by many media outlets, speaking mainly against Israel’s activities in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount.
Visit of Palestinian minister of education to east Jerusalem prevented
- Gilad Erdan, Israel’s minister of internal security, prevented a formal visit by Sabri Sidam, the Palestinian minister of education, to east Jerusalem, following intelligence information from the Jerusalem police. Sabri Sidam planned to visit the Terra Santa school (a private Christian school) in east Jerusalem, give a speech and be interviewed by the media (Ynet, February 26, 2018).
- The Palestinian media reported that Israel prevented the visit of the ministers of education and tourism to east Jerusalem, both of whom planned to participate in inaugurating the recently-renovated Terra Santa school. According to a joint statement issued by the Palestinian ministries of education and tourism, “Israel’s hysteria will not prevent them ministries from fulfilling their roles regarding Jerusalem” (al-Quds, February 26, 2018).
- In response to Israel’s refusal, Sabri Sidam said that Israel had “opened the gates of hell” against Palestinian education, and that the Palestinian government would not sit idly by without response to the Israeli attack. He said his ministry again reminded everyone of the fatwa (issued by Sheikh Muhammad Hussein on September 20, 2017) that forbade teaching the Israeli curriculum. Sidam claimed that Israel’s attempt to “distort” Palestinians textbooks was a severe blow to humanitarian rights. He said that since the beginning of the current school year and even beforehand, Israel had agitated against the Palestinian curriculums. He added that the world had to stand against Israel and its attempt to “distort Palestinian geography and history” (Dunia al-Watan, February 28, 2018).
PA activity in solidarity with security prisoners
- The Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, in collaboration with the Palestinian ministry of endowments, the al-Izariya municipality (in east Jerusalem) and the Jerusalem branch of the Fatah movement inaugurated the “flower garden of the prisoners of freedom” in the school yard of the Dar al-Itam institution in al-Izariya on International Women’s Day. The ceremony was attended by Adnan al-Husseini, governor for the PA’s district of Jerusalem, Layla Ghanem, governor of the Ramallah-al-Bireh district, Issa Qaraqe, chairman of the PA Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, the head of the al-Izariya municipality, and the father of Ahed Tamimi. Speeches were given praising the “sacrifice” of the Palestinian prisoners (Facebook page of the PA Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, March 4, 2018; Facebook page of Layla Ghanem, March 1, 2018).
Right: Unveiling of a sign in the garden (Facebook page of the PA Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, March 4, 2018; Facebook page of Layla Ghanem, March 1, 2018). Left: Ahed Tamimi’s father plants a sapling in the garden in honor of his daughter (official Fatah Facebook page, March 3, 2018).
 A significant attack is defined by the ITIC as involving shooting, a vehicular attack, the use of IEDs, shooting, or a combination of the above. Stones and Molotov cocktails thrown by Palestinians are not included. ↑
 The Salah al-Din Gate is a side crossing which was formerly an IDF post. It is under Hamas control (al-Hayat, February 23, 2018). ↑
 For further information, see the February 11, 2018 bulletin, "Recent Hamas-led campaign for mass popular marches to the Israeli border. The objective is to create Arab and international pressure to resolve the Gaza Strip's economic hardship and to challenge Israel." ↑
 Fatah's Revolutionary Council is a kind of intermediary body between the Central Committee and the General Conference. It has 75 members, some of them chosen by the General Conference, some directly by the chairman. ↑
 For further information, see the February 5, 2018 bulletin, "The Palestinian Authority, senior Palestinian religious leaders and local figures in east Jerusalem are waging a campaign to keep the Israeli curriculum out of east Jerusalem schools." ↑