Death notice issued by Fatah in Halhul. Under the name of the stabber is a quote from his last Facebook post, written shortly before he carried out the stabbing attack. He wrote, "Turn your weapon towards our heads...if our legs tremble...it is a disgrace that we are men" (Facebook page of the Fatah movement in Halhul, February 7, 2018).
Announcement issued by Hamas' military wing about raising the alert level in its ranks after the events in the north (Palinfo Twitter account, February 10, 2018).
Cartoon predicting escalation in the Golan Heights. The Arabic reads, "Escalation...Golan" (Palinfo Twitter account, February 10, 2018).
Cartoon by Isma'il al-Bazam: the Gaza Strip as a pressure cooker (Facebook page of Isma'il al-Bazam, February 9, 2018)
Hamas rally in Gaza City (Palinfo Twitter account and al-Anadolu News, February 9, 2018).
Mahmoud Abbas meets with Vladimir Putin in Moscow (Wafa, February 12, 2018).
- This past week events focused on the attack of two Israeli soldiers (one female) who took a wrong turn and entered the Palestinian city of Jenin. They were attacked by hundreds of local residents who threw stones and various other objects at their vehicle. The soldiers were rescued by Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces who transferred them to IDF forces. Later, the PA security forces also returned the weapon taken from the soldiers. An IDF sources said that without the rapid response of the Palestinian security forces the two Israeli soldiers would have been lynched.
- This past week there were two stabbing attacks: a Palestinian went to the community of Karmei Tsur in Gush Etzion and stabbed a security guard in the arm. Another security guard shot and killed the Palestinian. This past week no rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip.
- The Israeli media reported that the Israel Security Agency revealed Hamas was transferring funds from Turkey to Hamas operatives in Judea and Samaria. The investigation also revealed Hamas had set up a company in Turkey that laundered funds for transfer to Judea and Samaria.
- The Gaza Strip economy continues to deteriorate. Sanitation workers in Gaza Strip hospitals went on strike because they had not been paid, disrupting the provision of medical aid. The director of the Shifaa medical center in Gaza City announced the cessation of medical services because of the strike.
Two IDF soldiers who mistakenly entered Jenin attacked
- On the afternoon of February 12, 2018, two Israeli soldiers, male and female, took a wrong turn and entered the city of Jenin. Palestinians who saw an Israeli military vehicle encircled it and hundreds of local residents attacked the vehicle with stones and other objects. The two soldiers were wounded, one seriously, and one of their weapons was taken. The soldiers were rescued by PA security forces, who transferred them to IDF forces at the Jalameh roadblock. The Palestinian security forces later returned the weapon that had been taken.
Right: The military vehicle that mistaken entered Jenin attacked by a Palestinian crowd (Facebook page of QudsN, February 12, 2018). Left: The military vehicle after the attack (Palinfo Twitter account, February 12, 2018).
- According to the results of the initial investigation, the two were driving from Shavei Shomron, northwest of Nablus, to Afula. They took a wrong turn and entered Jenin. According to an IDF source, without the rapid response of the PA security forces, the two would have been lynched.
- Immediately after the event a campaign was launched on the social networks calling for the documentation of the event by security cameras of stores in the area to be erased so the mob could not be identified. The Palestinian social networks, especially those affiliated with Hamas, represented the event as “an achievement of the resistance.” It was exploited for an attack on the PA security forces and their security coordination with Israel.
Palestinian operatives use the social networks to call for pictures taken by security cameras to be destroyed (Palinfo and QudsN Twitter accounts, February 12, 2018).
Terrorist attacks and attempted terrorist attacks
- Stabbing attack at the entrance to Karmei Tsur
- Before dawn on February 7, 2018, a Palestinian arrived at the entrance of the community of Karmei Tsur in Gush Etzion and stabbed a security guard in the arm. The guard was not seriously wounded. Another security guard, who was present at the time, shot and killed the stabber. Following the attack, IDF forces entered the village of Halhul and interrogated family members of the terrorist. Palestinians rioted and threw stones at the IDF forces. One of the rioters was detained.
- The Palestinian who carried out the attack was Hamze Yusuf N’aman al-Zama’ra, 19, from Halhul (near Hebron). He was detained in 2015 and spent 14 months in detention in Israel (Ma’an, February 7, 2018). The Fatah movement issued a death notice for him, writing that he was a Fatah operative (Facebook page of the Fatah movement in Halhul, February 7, 2018). Jamal Muheisen, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, paid a condolence call to the family (website of Fatah’s bureau of mobilization and organization, February 8, 2018). Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said in response to the death of Hamze al-Zama’ra that the Palestinian people were not about to carry out a “lone wave” of rage but rather an ongoing intifada intended to achieve their freedom (Dunia al-Watan, February 7, 2018).
- On February 8, 2018, a Palestinian went to Karmei Tsur (Gush Etzion region) and tried to stab Israeli drivers passing through. When he was unsuccessful he fled to the region of Halhul (near Hebron). As soon as the event was reported Israeli security forces searched the region and found the Palestinian in the village. He was detained and taken for interrogation.
Riots, clashes and popular terrorism
- This past week demonstrations and riots continued in Judea, Samaria, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Trump’s declaration about Jerusalem continued as the main trigger for the protests. They were joined by protests in the Gaza Strip over the humanitarian hardships and by activities in solidarity with Ahmed Jarar, who was one of the terrorists participating in the shooting attack in Havat Gilad (January 9, 2018) and has become a hero in the Palestinian street. In Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip the Palestinian terrorist organizations continued calling for an escalation of the “resistance” and for clashes with Israeli security forces (Filastin al-Yawm, February 6, 2018).
Right: Notice from Fatah’s Shabiba movement calling for a day of rage on “the shaheeds’ Friday” (Facebook page of Fatah, February 8, 2018). Left: Hamas in the Nablus district called for participation in the march for “loyalty to the shaheeds” (Paldf Twitter account, February 8, 2018).
- Friday, February 9, 2018, was declared a day of rage (“Friday of the shaheed Ahmed Jarar”). Despite the calls, response was relatively limited. Riots were held at a number of locations in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, some of which turned into clashes with Israeli security forces. The Palestinians reported a number of injured during the riots.
- The PA ministry of health in Ramallah reported that 44 Palestinians had sought medical attention at hospitals after clashes with IDF forces on February 9, 2018. The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that 265 Palestinians had been injured, most of them from inhaling tear gas (al-Quds and al-Anadolu News, February 9, 2018).
March held in Jenin to commemorate Ahmed Jarar. Left: Senior Fatah figure Sultan Abu al-E’inein gives a speech. In the center is Safi Qabha, minister for prisoners’ affairs in the de facto Hamas administration (jeningate and the Facebook page of Jenin al-Hadath, February 9, 2018).
- In the meantime this past week Palestinians continued throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. The Israeli security forces carried out counterterrorism activities throughout Judea and Samaria, detaining Palestinians suspected of terrorist activity. Weapons were seized. The most prominent events were the following:
- February 13, 2018 – A 17-year-old Palestinian went to the Salem crossing (near Jenin) with a pipe bomb. He was detained by the Israeli security forces at the crossing (Israel Police Force spokesperson’s unit, February 13, 2018).
- February 10, 2018 – Border Policemen detained a Palestinian armed with a knife near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. He was taken for interrogation (Facebook page of Red Alert, February 10, 2018).
- February 9, 2018 – Palestinians threw an IED at the Israeli security forces manning a roadblock near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. No casualties were reported. There was a search to find the terrorists (Facebook page of Red Alert, February 9, 2018).
- February 9, 2018 – Israeli security force lookouts in the village of Salem (east of Nablus) saw a suspicious individual going towards a military post. When they approached him he threw an IED at them. They responded by shooting into the air and detained him. Two other Palestinians accompanying him were also detained. (Facebook page of Red Alert, February 9, 2018).
- February 9, 2018 – Border Policemen detained a Palestinian at the entrance to the community of Hashmonaim (west of Ramallah). He was found to be in possession of a knife. He was taken for interrogation (Facebook page of Red Alert, February 9, 2018).
- February 8, 2018 – During an Israeli security force activity in south Mt. Hebron a Palestinian was detained on suspicion of throwing 24 Molotov cocktails at Israeli security forces. During searches, large quantities of weapons were found (Facebook page of Red Alert, February 8, 2018).
- February 7, 2018 – A Palestinian was detained at the entrance to the military court in Samaria. Border Policemen found an objective in his possession which was apparently a pipe bomb (Haaretz, February 7, 2018).
Significant terrorist attacks during the past year
Summary of terrorist attacks, January 2018
- In January 2018 there was a decrease in the number of terrorist attacks. During the month there was a total of 113 terrorist attacks, compared with 234 in December 2017. Most of the attacks (101) involved Molotov cocktails. There were nine attack involving IEDs, three shooting attacks and one vehicular attack.
- In Judea and Samaria there were 91 terrorist attacks (178 in December 2017), 22 in Jerusalem (56 in December 2017). No terrorist attacks were recorded inside the Green line. During January 2018 one Israeli was killed (in a shooting attack on January 9, 2018), and three operatives of the security forces were injured (one in Nablus on January 1, 2018, and two in the Jenin refugee camp, January 17, 2018).
Detention of activists who transferred funds from Turkey to Hamas operatives
- The Israel Security Agency exposed a Hamas transfer of funds to Judea and Samaria from Turkey. In the middle of January 2018 Cemil Tekeli, a Turkish citizen and assistant professor of law at the Istanbul Medeniyet University, was detained. After interrogation he was deported from Israel. The following week Dargham Jabarin, from Umm al-Fahm, an Arab city in the central part of Israel, was detained on suspicion of involvement in the transfer of funds from Turkey. During the past year he went to Turkey several times; while there he was recruited to the ranks of Hamas. Before his detention he transferred about €200,000 to Hamas operatives in Judea and Samaria, leaving the money in previously designated drop sites. He was found to have €91,000 in his possession.
- The two were recruited by Hamas operative Zaher Jabarin, who was deported to Turkey after having been released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal. Zaher Jabarin operates out of Hamas headquarters in Turkey under Saleh al-Arouri, and deals with directing and funding terrorist activities in Judea and Samaria. The investigation exposed a company established by Hamas in Turkey, which laundered funds collected for Hamas and transferred to Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip (Haaretz, February 13, 2018).
- The events in the northern part of Israel and the interception of the Israeli plane led to a wave of joyous reactions and solidarity among Palestinians, who emphasized that the most important thing was the interception of the plane. Hamas spokesmen said it was a “natural reaction” and encouraged a Syrian response to the so-called “Israeli aggression.” A spokesman for Hamas military-terrorist wing said the wing had raised its alert level to defend the Palestinian people and to respond to Israeli aggression (Twitter account of Abu Obeida, February 10, 2018). Other military wings of the terrorist organizations also reported raised alert levels.
- Some of the statements were the following:
- Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the interception of the Israeli plane was a “natural response” to Israel’s attack in Syria and Israel’s “continued aggression.” He claimed it was the right of every country and people to preserve their security in case of an Israeli attack (Palinfo, February 10, 2018).
- Usama Hamdan, responsible for Hamas’ external relations, said Israel’s “aggression” against Syria or Lebanon would not be ignored by Hamas’ military wing. He said the next campaign against Israel would be total and be waged on all fronts (alresala.net, February 10, 2018).
- Abu Obeida, spokesman for Hamas’ military-terrorist wing, said the interception of the Israel plane was “important, praiseworthy and heroic,” and a harsh blow to Israel’s air force. He added that “brave actions” of the same sort should be increased to curb “Israeli aggression” (al-Mayadeen, February 12, 2018).
- Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) spokesman Da’ud Shehab said the interception of the Israeli plane was a slap in the face for American and Israeli control in the region. He said it was significant because it proved that all the decision makers at the strategic level in Syria were prepared for a confrontation with Israel. He also said that the interception of the Israeli plane had raised the morale of the Palestinian people and the “resistance” [i.e., terrorist organizations] (al-Mayadeen, February 10, 2018).
- Abbas Zaki, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, said the response of Syria had restored the honor of the Arab nation vis-à-vis Israel. He said it was an opportunity for the countries supporting Israel rethink their policies regarding Israel. He also said he hoped that in the future there would be more attacks to send the message to Israel’s supporters that the honor of Jerusalem should not be harmed (al-Manar, February 10, 2018).
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
Clashes along the Gaza Strip border
- The Palestinian media reported on clashes between Palestinians and IDF forces near the border security fence in the eastern Gaza Strip on February 9, 2018. According to the reports, 27 Palestinians were wounded by IDF fire (Ma’an, February 9, 2018).
Clashes along the border security fence in the eastern Gaza Strip (Palinfo Twitter account, February 9, 2018; al-Istaqlal, February 10, 2018).
The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip
- On February 7, 2018, the Egyptians opened the Rafah crossing in both directions. After three days it was closed again on February 9, 2018, because of Egyptian army activity in the Sinai Peninsula (Safa, February 9, 2018). The crossing management reported that in addition to people, fuel trucks had entered the Gaza Strip. In addition, it was reported that for the first time Egypt allowed concrete and merchandise from Qatar to be imported into the Gaza Strip (Emad, February 8, 2018). So far no date for reopening the Rafah crossing has been announced.
- The Gazan electric company announced electricity would be supplied to the Gazans in cycles of four hours with electricity and an 12-hour hiatus. That is because the power lines from Egypt have been inactive for a number of days (Safa, February 12, 2018).
- Sanitation workers in the hospitals in the Gaza Strip announced they were renewing their strike because they had not been paid. Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the Hamas-controlled ministry of health, said the strike would result in the disruption of medical services (Shehab, February 11, 2018). Medhat Abbas, director of the Shifaa medical center, announced the cessation of medical services at the hospital due to the strike of the sanitation workers.
- Given the continuing crisis in the health system in the Gaza Strip, and after a conversation with Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, Tamim bin Ahmed, the emir of Qatar, ordered $9 million worth of aid sent immediately to the Gaza Strip. It will include medical equipment, food and fuel for hospital generators (Hamas website, February 8, 2018). Mahmoud al-A’madi, Qatari representative in the Gaza Strip, said he hoped Qatar’s contribution to the Gaza Strip would encourage other countries to send support (AP, February 10, 2018). Previously, Abdullah bin Zayed, the foreign minister of the UAE, announced a donation of $2 million to a UN program for providing electricity to the hospitals in the Gaza Strip.
Demonstrators burn Donald Trump in effigy to protest cuts in American support of UNRWA (Twitter account of QudsN, February 11, 2018).
Cartoon by Isma’il al-Bazam: the Gaza Strip as a pressure cooker (Facebook page of Isma’il al-Bazam, February 9, 2018)
Visit of Hamas and Fatah delegation in Egypt
- A delegation of senior Hamas figures led by Isma’il Haniyeh went to Egypt after having been invited to discuss reviving the internal Palestinian reconciliation. The delegation included members of Hamas’ political bureau, among them Khalil al-Haya, Rawhi Mushtaha and Fathi Hamad. Before the delegation left for Egypt, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said they would meet with senor Egyptian figures in an attempt to resolve the crisis in the Gaza Strip and motivate Egypt to complete the internal Palestinian reconciliation on the basis of agreements signed in 2011 and 2017 (Hamas website, February 9, 2018). Musa Abu Marzouq wrote on his Twitter account that the visit was very important in view of the sanctions imposed on the Gaza Strip, the suffering of families, the influence of the reconciliation and the Egypt’s key role in everything that happened (Twitter account of Musa Abu Marzouq, February 10, 2018)
- Azzam al-Ahmed, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee and responsible for the reconciliation portfolio in Fatah, heads the Fatah delegation in Cairo. He also held meetings with Abbas Kamel, acting head of Egyptian General Intelligence, and discussed the issues of the reconciliation. So far the two delegations have not met with each other (Dunia al-Watan, February 12, 2018).
Hamas rally to commemorate Ahmed Jarar
- Hamas held a rally in front of the Palestine mosque in Gaza City to commemorate Ahmed Jarar. Senior Hamas figure Musheir al-Masri gave a speech in which he said Jarar had proved that the younger generation in Judea and Samaria adhered to the tradition of jihad and Jerusalem, and that it was capable of “enforcing a new equation on Israel.” He added that the option of arrangement and negotiations had proved a failure, and that all the signs indicated that the option of jihad and “resistance” [i.e., terrorism] was the most efficient. He said they would not lay down their arms but would continue being loyal to “Jerusalem and the blood of the shaheeds” (Palinfo and al-Anadolu News, February 9, 2018).
The “great march of the return”
- The campaign continues in the Gaza Strip to organize protest marches to the Israeli border, and to attempt to break through the border security fence into Israeli territory. The Facebook page of “the great march of the return” posted a notice from one of the organizers of the march, who said that to ensure the success of the campaign there was no reason to rush into holding the marches, but rather to wait and recruit as many activists as possible from the Palestinian public. He said all the activities that would be carried out now along the Israeli-Palestinian border would be within the framework of public recruitment and heating up the atmosphere before the final date, which would be decided in accordance with the situation on the ground. He also called on all the participants to avoid friction with the IDF at this stage, and expressed hope that when the day came all the Palestinians would enlist to uproot the fence and realize the [so-called] “right of return” (Facebook page of “the great march of the return,” February 11, 2018) .
Visit of the Indian Prime Minister to the PA
- Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, visited the PA and met with Mahmoud Abbas. At a joint press conference held at the end of the visit, Mahmoud Abbas thanked Modi for accepting his invitation [to visit the PA] and said the visit signified the “depth of the historical relations between the two [countries].” Mahmoud Abbas said he relied on the role played by India as an international force and thanked India for supporting the Palestinians and for funding important projects. He also noted the importance of strengthening cooperation between the two countries in the fields of security and fighting terrorism (Palestinian TV, February 10, 2018).
- During the visit the PA signed four agreements with India worth $41,350,000, among them an agreement to build a hospital in Beit Sahour and three schools, one in Jenin, one in Tubas and one in Abu Dis. The Indian government will also fund equipment for the national printing office in Ramallah and will fund a center for strengthening Palestinian women (Wafa, February 10, 2018).
Right: Indian Prime Minister Modi meets with Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah (Wafa, February 10, 2018). Left: Visit of the Indian prime minister at the Yasser Arafat museum in Ramallah (Twitter account of Rami Hamdallah, February 10, 2018)
Mahmoud Abbas meets with Vladimir Putin
- Mahmoud Abbas paid a state visit to Russia and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. On the eve of his visit there were calls on the Palestinian social networks calling on Russia to increase its involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (quds.net, February 12, 2018). Nabil Shaath, advisor to Mahmoud Abbas for foreign and international relations, said the Palestinians would not oppose Russian recognition of west Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and east Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state. He also confirmed that the PA maintained contacts with the United States even after Trump’s declaration, but claimed the channels of communication were extremely limited. They dealt mainly with commercial permits and similar (commercial) issues, and that the PA avoided political ties with the United States (Sawa, February 12, 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. ↑
 According to data from the Israel Security Agency. Instances of stone-throwing are not included; instances of the throwing of Molotov cocktails are. ↑
 For further information, see the February 12, 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." ↑