Signs condemning the "deal of the century" and the American Ambassador to Israel, and burning pictures of the ambassador at the return camp in eastern Gaza City (Supreme National Authority Facebook page, June 14, 2019).
Signs condemning the "deal of the century" and the American Ambassador to Israel, and burning pictures of the ambassador at the return camp in eastern Gaza City (Supreme National Authority Facebook page, June 14, 2019).
A rioter uses a crutch as a giant slingshot during return march events in eastern Khan Yunis (Supreme National Authority Facebook page, June 14, 2019).
Signs condemning American Ambassador Friedman at the return camp in eastern Khan Yunis (eastern Khan Yunis media unit, June 14, 2019).
Putting out a fire near the Gaza Strip border, set by incendiary balloons (Twitter account of Mu'ataz Abu Rida, June 14, 2019).
- On Friday, June 14, 2019, the return march was held as usual along the Israel-Gaza Strip border. The number of participants was relatively small (about 4,300) and the level of violence was relatively low (attempts to sabotage the security fence and cross the border into Israeli territory, throwing IEDs and hand grenades). In addition, this past week two rockets were launched at Israel. One hit a yeshiva in the southern city of Sderot. Hamas denied all involvement and announced it had detained two “rogue” operatives who were responsible for launching the rocket.
- Systematic arson terrorism continues, even after the money from Qatar was delivered to the Gaza Strip. This past week fires broke out near the Israeli communities close to the Gaza Strip, set by incendiary and IED balloons. The Sons of al-Zawari, the unit that launches the balloons, posted pictures of new explosive devices they had developed for attaching to balloons.
- The Qatari envoy entered the Gaza Strip with $25 million for distribution to needy families, funding UN projects and purchasing fuel from Israel for the Gaza Strip power plant. However, in the meantime, the distribution of the funds to needy families has been delayed by “technical difficulties,” but reportedly will be carried out within a number of days. With the funds safely delivered, during the past week Hamas’ rhetoric has become relatively calm, and Hamas sources said a new stage in implementing the understandings was about to begin, with the objective of improving everyday life in the Gaza Strip.
- The Palestinians continue to take action to disrupt the economic workshop in Bahrain. A series of protests has been announced for Judea and Samaria, the Gaza Strip and elsewhere on June 24 and 25, 2019. Reportedly, Fatah is planning a series of clashes in Judea and Samaria, which may lead to an escalation.
The return march of June 14, 2019
- On June 14, 2019, the return march was held with the theme “No! to the annexation of the West Bank.” Attendance was relatively low, with about 4,300 Palestinians participating and gathering at the five usual sites. Several hundred demonstrators approached the security fence. Rioters attempted to sabotage the security fence and cross the border, and threw IEDs and hand grenades. The ministry of health in the Gaza Strip reported that 46 wounded Palestinians were evacuated to hospitals for treatment (Ashraf al-Qidra’s Twitter account, June 14, 2019).
- Khalil al-Haya, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said that along with the mediators, they were monitoring the implementation of the understandings, and would not permit the Palestinian people to pay for internal disputes in Israel. The Supreme National Authority of the Great Return March announced that the return march of June 21, 2019 would have as its theme, “The land is not for sale,” in response to the economic workshop in Bahrain (Facebook page of Hitham al-Ashqar, a member of the central leadership of the Popular Resistance Movement and head of its media bureau, June 15, 2019).
Despite the declarations of implementing the understandings between Israel and the Gaza Strip, this past week systematic arson terrorism continued with the launching of incendiary and IED balloons. The launchings continue even after the delivery of the money from Qatar. Moreover, the Sons of al-Zawari, the unit that launches the balloons, posted pictures of what they claimed were some of the new explosive devices they had developed.
Pictures posted by the Sons of al-Zawari unit
(Facebook page of the Sons of al-Zawari in eastern Khan Yunis, June 15, 2019).
- The main arson terrorism events were the following:
- On the morning of June 18, 2019, a cluster of balloons landed in an Israeli community in the western Negev. A suspicious object was attached to them. A demolitions expert was summoned to the site.
- On the morning of June 17, 2019, a few hours after the money from Qatar had been delivered to the Gaza Strip, a cluster of balloons with a suspicious object attached was found outside an Israeli community in the western Negev. A demolitions expert was summoned to the site (western Negev spokesman’s unit, June 17, 2019). Later in the day it was reported that a fire had broken out in a tomato hothouse in one of the Israeli communities in the western Negev,
- On June 14, 2019, the Israel Fire and Rescue Services dealt with seven fires in the western Negev. According to a Fire and Rescue Services investigator, the fires were set by incendiary balloons (Fire and Rescue Services, southern district spokesman, June 14, 2019). Two additional balloons launched from the Gaza Strip carrying IEDs exploded in the air and did not cause damage (Ynet, June 14, 2019).
- On June 12, 2019, the Fire and Rescue Services dealt with six fires in the western Negev. According to a Fire and Rescue Services investigator, the fires were set by incendiary balloons (Fire and Rescue Services, southern district spokesman, June 13, 2019).
Right: A cluster of balloons attached to a suspicious object, found in an open area in the western Negev on June 17, 2019 (western Negev spokesman’s unit, June 17, 2019). Left: Putting out a fire near the Gaza Strip border, set by incendiary balloons (Twitter account of Mu’ataz Abu Rida, June 14, 2019).
- In response to the arson terrorism balloons, Israeli announced the fishing zone off the Gaza Strip coast would be decreased to six nautical miles. A short time later, when arson terrorism continued, Israel closed the fishing zone. Nevertheless, the balloon launchings continued and the Sons of al-Zawari continued threatening Israel and announcing their intention to escalate their activity. On June 18, 2019, the IDF announced the reopening of the fishing zone to ten nautical miles.
Fishing boats at sea after the fishing zone off the coast of the Gaza Strip was reopened to ten nautical miles (Twitter account of Mu’ataz Abu Rida, June 18, 2019).
The issue of the lull and the understandings
- With the delivery of the money from Qatar, Hamas announced a new stage was about to begin in the understandings and lull with Israel. Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said the implementation of the understandings had begun, with the objective of improving everyday life in the Gaza Strip. He stressed that the understandings had been achieved by the return marches. He said the new measures included support for needy families, improving the supply of electricity and water, strengthening exports and imports through the crossings and the establishment of projects to provide employment for graduates of educational institutions. He said the Qatari envoy played an important role in implementing the understandings (Dunia al-Watan, June 17, 2019).
- Before the delivery of the Qatari money, Nikolay Mladenov, the UN envoy to the Middle East peace process, met with Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, and other senior figures in the Gaza Strip. “Palestinian sources” reported that Haniyeh asked for pressure to be exerted on Israel to force it to carry out the lull understandings and to stop opening and closing the fishing zone. He also asked for pressure to be exerted on Israel regarding everything related to the delivery of goods into the Gaza Strip which were classified as double-purposed, and to ease the movement of merchants and individuals requiring medical care through the Erez Crossing. Mladenov stressed that there were contacts for the implementation of humanitarian projects and that Israel demonstrated the will to fulfill the understandings (al-Quds, June 14, 2019).
Isma’il Haniyeh (to the right of the flags) meets with Nikolay Mladenov. Next to Haniyeh are Khalil al-Haya and Rawhi Mushtaha, members of Hamas’ political bureau (Twitter account of the information department of Isma’il Haniyeh’s office, June 14, 2019).
- According to Khalil al-Haya, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, the message was delivered to Mladenov that Hamas was committed to the understandings to the same degree Israel was committed to them. Al-Haya rejected what he called “Israel’s use of events that happen here and there [i.e., rocket fire], and have no national support, as an excuse [not to implement the understandings].” However, he insisted that the return marches would continue (al-Ghad TV website, June 14, 2019).
- According to “accessible sources,” high-level figures in Egyptian General Intelligence dealing with the Palestinian issue, headed by Abbas Kamel, director of Egyptian General Intelligence, are in contact with senior figures in Israel, Fatah and Hamas. The objective of the contacts was to prevent a deterioration of the situation on the ground and to convince the sides not to use the opportunity to initiate an overall confrontation. The Egyptians said “a number of factors” in the Gaza Strip were responsible for the escalation. They added that Egypt had received promises from the Palestinian organization leaders that there would be no unplanned escalations during the return marches (al-Araby al-Jadeed, June 15, 2019).
- This past week two rockets were fired into Israeli territory:
- On June 14, 2019, a rocket was fired at Israel. It landed in the city of Sderot with a direct hit on a yeshiva. No casualties were reported because the building was empty at the time. The building itself was damaged. In response Israeli Air Force aircraft attacked terrorist infrastructures in the Gaza Strip, including a military compound of Hamas’ naval force (IDF spokesman, June 14, 2019). The Palestinian media reported that the new port northwest of Khan Yunis was attacked, as well as a military post in the eastern part of the al-Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City. No casualties were reported (Paltoday, June 14, 2019; Facebook page of journalist Muthana al-Najjar, June 14, 2019).
Right: The damage done to the yeshiva building (Facebook page of the Afiki Dat Yeshiva in Sderot, June 13, 2019). Left: Results of the attack on the port northwest of Khan Yunis (Facebook page of journalist Muthana al-Najjar, June 14, 2019).
- On June 13, 2019, a rocket was fired from the northern Gaza Strip and intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system. No casualties or damage were reported. In response to the rocket fire Israeli Air Force aircraft attacked an underground terrorist infrastructure in a Hamas military compound in the southern Gaza Strip (IDF spokesman, June 13, 2019). The Palestinian media claimed “agricultural areas” east of Rafah and in Gaza City had been attacked (Shabakat Quds, June 13, 2019).
- On June 16, 2019, Hamas announced it had detained two operatives responsible for firing the rocket on June 14, 2019. According to the announcement, they were operatives of the [so-called] “Defenders of al-Aqsa,” an extremist faction operating under the aegis of senior Hamas figure Fathi Hamad (i24 news, June 16, 2019).
- The “Palestinian sources” that exposed details of Nikolay Mladenov’s meeting with senior figures in the Gaza Strip reported that it had been made clear to him that Hamas was not connected to the two rockets recently fired from the Gaza Strip. According to the “sources,” Hamas is tracking the perpetrators and will not allow them to undermine the efforts made to establish and implement the lull understandings (al-Quds, June 14, 2019).
Monthly Distribution of Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire since January 2018
Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits
Prevention of smuggling double-purpose equipment into the Gaza Strip
- On June 12, 2019, the delivery of packages into the Gaza Strip containing double-purpose equipment was prevented at the Erez Crossing. The packages, ordered from Ali Express and Amazon, contained model planes, spare parts, cameras, auxiliary equipment for weapons, military face masks, laser equipment, an electromagnetic interference appliance and telescopic rifle sights (Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), June 13, 2019). It was the second time in the past month that the smuggling of double-purpose equipment into the Gaza Strip through the Erez Crossing was prevented (first time on May 15, 2019).
Some of the double-purpose equipment seized at the Erez Crossing
(COGAT Facebook page, June 16, 2019).
Events on the ground
- On June 13, 2019, Israeli police forces summoned to the region of the Almog Junction (the Dead Sea area) located a suspicion Palestinian. He was 30 years old, from Nablus, and armed with a knife. During initial interrogation he confessed he was planning to carry out a stabbing attack. He was detained for investigation (Israel Police Force’s media unit, June 13, 2019).
- In Judea and Samaria Palestinians continued throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli security forces and civilian targets. Israeli security forces carried out counterterrorism activities throughout Judea and Samaria, detaining Palestinians suspected of terrorist activity, confiscating funds used to finance terrorist activities, and seizing military grade and improvised weapons.
- Prominent events were the following:
- June 17, 2019 – Molotov cocktails were thrown at vehicles near the tunnel on the Jerusalem-Gush Etzion road. In addition, three Molotov cocktails were thrown near the village of Ni’lin (west of Ramallah). No casualties were reported (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, June 17, 2019).
- June 17, 2019 – In the village of Malik (northeast of Ramallah) tires were slashed and graffiti in Hebrew were spray-painted on a number of vehicles (Red Alert Facebook page, June 17, 2019).
- June 16, 2019 – During searches in the village of Eizariya (east of Jerusalem) IDF and Border Police soldiers seized a gun and a knife (IDF spokesman, June 16, 2019).
- June 16, 2019 – Molotov cocktails were thrown in the region of Sinjil (northeast of Ramallah), setting fire to a field of thorns. No casualties were reported (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, June 16, 2019).
- June 15, 2019 – Stones were thrown at an Israeli bus on the road between Hizma and Anatot (northeast of Jerusalem). No casualties were reported. The front windshield of the bus was damaged (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, June 15, 2019).
- June 14, 2019 – During the night a number of pipe bombs were thrown at the Jalameh Crossing (north of Jenin). No casualties or damage were reported. IDF soldiers detained a suspect. Another bomb was thrown on June 16, 2019 (IDF spokesman, June 14 and 16, 2019).
- June 13, 2019 – During Israeli security force searches in the village of Biddya (southwest of Nablus) a Kalashnikov assault rifle and ammunition were seized (IDF spokesman, June 13, 2019).
- June 13, 2019 – IDF soldiers identified a suspicious vehicle near the village of Ras Karkar (northwest of Ramallah). A search revealed an M-16 assault rifle (IDF spokesman, June 13, 2019).
Significant terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria since June 2017
The Qatari envoy brings more money into the Gaza Strip
- While in the Gaza Strip, Mohammed al-Emadi met with Hamas leaders Isma’il Haniyeh, Yahya al-Sinwar, Rawhi Mushtaha and Khalil al-Haya (Palinfo Twitter account, June 17, 2019). Taher al-Nunu, Haniyeh’s media advisor, said that at the meeting the Hamas leadership expressed its great appreciation and esteem for Qatar’s support for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He added that the Hamas leadership praised the Qatari foreign ministry, which refused to designate Hamas as a terrorist movement. At the meeting they discussed the details of the understandings achieved through Qatari, Egyptian and UN mediation. Al-Nunu said the Hamas leadership warned against the continuation of [Israel’s] delaying tactics, and stressed that Israel’s measures, including the closing of the sea to Gazan fishermen, put the understandings in jeopardy (Hamas website, June 17, 2019).
Right: Mohammed al-Emadi meets with the Hamas leadership (Palinfo Twitter account, June 17, 2019). Left: Professional visit of the members of the Qatari technical delegation (palsawa, June 17, 2019).
- The distribution of the money to needy families has been delayed. Sources reported the delay is caused by Israel’s decision to delete 5,000 names from the list of those entitled to receive funds, including Palestinians wounded during the return marches. According to the sources, Hamas objects to the removal of the names and therefore has not distributed the funds through post office branch banks in accordance with Israel’s conditions (Ma’an, al-Quds, June 17, 2019). Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi said the distribution of the funds was being delayed by [so-called] “technical difficulties” and that payment would soon begin at the post office branches in the Gaza Strip (Facebook page of the Qatar’s National Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, June 17, 2019).
Improvement in the water supply to the Gaza Strip
- The Israeli media reported that the Israeli water company Mekorot and the Israeli water authority were currently dealing with upgrading the pipeline providing water from Israel to the Gaza Strip. The project is being carried out opposite the central Gaza Strip at a cost of several million shekels. Once the pipes have been laid, they are supposed to be connected to the Gazan water system. That will make possible a greater, better monitored and more convenient supply of water for the Gaza Strip. Reportedly, the carrying out the project is unrelated the security situation or the talks for an arrangement. According to agreements, Israel is obliged to deliver ten million cubic meters of drinking water a year to the Gaza Strip, although in practice it delivers more (Ynet, June 17, 2019).
Saleh al-‘Arouri meets with the Iranian minister of intelligence
- A Hamas delegation headed by Saleh al-‘Arouri, deputy chairman of Hamas’ political bureau, met in Beirut with Mahmoud Alavi, the Iranian minister of intelligence. Also present were Husam Badran, a member of Hamas’ political bureau; Usama Hamdan and Ali Barake (the former Hamas representative in Lebanon), members of the ministry of Arab and Islamic relations; and Ahmed Abd al-Hadi, the current Hamas representative in Lebanon. They discussed ways to deal with the [so-called] threats against Iran issued by Israel and the United States (Hamas website, June 16, 2019). The need to continue meeting was stressed by both sides. Ahmed Abd al-Hadi said the meeting was held to consult about how to deal with the “deal of the century” (almayadeen.net, June 16, 2019).
Palestinian activity to disrupt the economic workshop in Bahrain and the “deal of the century”
- The Palestinians continue working to disrupt the economic workshop, part of the American president’s “deal of the century.” The workshop is supposed to be held in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, on June 25 and 26, 2019. According to the New York Times, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco have confirmed their participation (New York Times, June 11, 2019). In response a spokesman for the Palestinian government said that the government was sorry Egypt and Jordan had announced they would participated, and called on all countries not to attend. He thanked Lebanon, in the name of the Palestinian government, after the Lebanese foreign minister said Lebanon would not attend (Ibrahim Milhem’s Facebook page, June 12, 2019).
- As part of the protest, it was announced that a series of protest events would take place in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and elsewhere. Fatah’s bureau of mobilization and organization announced that on June 24, 2019 marches would be held throughout Judea and Samaria with the participation of the Palestinian organizations and civilian social activists, to protest the conference in Bahrain. In addition, on June 25, 2019, a general strike would be held (Fatah’s official Facebook page, June 15, 2019; the website of Fatah’s bureau of mobilization and organization, June 16, 2019). However, the following day it was announced that the general strike would be cancelled because matriculation exams would be held. However, it was reported that clashes would be escalated (Facebook page of Monir Jaghob, head of Fatah’s bureau of mobilization and organization, June 16, 2019).
- A new hashtag was launched on the social networks, “Down with the Bahrain conference.” “Senior Palestinian sources” said efforts were being made to hold an alternative conference in Beirut, concurrent with the economic workshop in Bahrain. A joint Palestinian position will be announced at the conference. To that end Azzam al-Ahmed, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, went to Lebanon and met with senior Lebanese government officials. The Fatah leadership is also planning to hold a conference in Ramallah at the same time (al-Nashra, June 17, 2019).
Notice from Hamas in Lebanon. The headline reads, “No! to the deal of the century; down with the conference in Bahrain” (Palinfo Facebook page, June 14, 2019).
- Additional Palestinian activities and declarations were the following:
- During an ad hoc meeting of the PLO’s Executive Committee to discuss the issue, Palestinian objection to the economic workshop in Bahrain was stressed. Also stressed was the importance of the “popular, public activities” that would be held at the same time as the workshop. The PLO’s Executive Committee called on the Arab states to adhere to the Arab peace initiative with no modifications or alterations, and to the decisions reached at the various summit meetings (Dunia al-Watan, June 13, 2019)
- At a meeting of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, Majed al-Fityani, secretary of the Revolutionary Council, said the Council had to lead the struggle against the “great plot ” against the Palestinians. He expressed his objection to the “deal of the century” and the economic workshop in Bahrain, and called for a boycott. He called on the Palestinians not to be satisfied with declarations of condemnation but to devote June 24-26 to Palestine and Jerusalem, and to express “resistance” (Wafa, June 12, 2019).
- According to Hussein al-Sheikh, minister of civil affairs in the PA, the objective of the economic workshop in Bahrain is to negate the source of authority of the peace process and to neutralize the Arab peace initiative. He said the Palestinians’ absence from the workshop will make it “a wedding without a groom.” However, he said the Palestinians expressed understanding for Bahrain and the Arab states that are supposed to participate in the workshop, because they are completely committed to achieving [the Palestinians’] rights in accordance with international decisions and Arab summit meetings (PNN, June 17, 2019).
- Khalil al-Haya, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, called on the organizations and the Palestinian public to go to the sites of friction with Israel on the dates of the economic workshop in Bahrain and show “popular resistance” to the advancement of the “deal of the century.” He also called for a general strike to be held on June 25, 2019, to protest the promotion of the “deal” (al-Aqsa, June 13, 2019).
Right: Notice posted to Fatah’s official Facebook page on June 17, 2019, reading, “No! to selling the Palestinian cause at the ridiculous conference #Down_with_the_Bahrain_conference.” Left: Cartoon by Isma’il al-Bezem protesting the economic workshop in Bahrain (Isma’il al-Bezem’s Facebook page, June 12, 2019).
The PA joins international organizations
- As part of Palestinian activity to join international organizations, Salah Abd al-Shafi, Palestinian representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the agency’s general director signed an inspection agreement in the name of “the state of Palestine.” According to al-Shafi, Palestine will continue to behave responsibly in the international arena. Note: In 2015 the PA joined the convention for preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.
The issue of the tax revenue from Israel
- At the PA government meeting on June 17, 2019, PA prime minister Muhammad Shtayyeh again expressed the refusal of the Palestinian leadership to receive the tax revenues from Israel after funds had been deducted. He also reiterated his opposition to designating the Palestinians in Israeli prisons as terrorists (the PA calls them “detainees”) (Wafa, June 17, 2019).
- Hussein al-Sheikh, PA minister of civil affairs, reiterated that the PA would pay the salaries of the families of shaheeds even at the cost of the PA’s collapse. He said the PA had appealed to the Arab states for support (PNN, June 17, 2019).
- The association of the families of shaheeds in the Gaza Strip, from whom the PA had deducted payment, announced that in the near future Iran would provide money for the families of the shaheeds and wounded. They said the money would be received after an SMS had been sent to the families with details of the payment. The distribution of the funds will be supervised by the Palestine Shaheed Institution. Reportedly, $651,000 will be distributed to 1,540 families ($200 for the family of an unmarried shaheed and $600 for the family of a married shaheed) (alresala.net, June 16, 2019).
 The Supreme National Authority issued a summary of the activities, calling it the Friday of "The West Bank will not become Jewish and we will defend it with out blood" (Facebook page of Hitham al-Ashqar, a member of the central leadership of the Popular Resistance Movement and head of its media bureau, June 15, 2019). ↑
 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. ↑
 The call for protest demonstrations in Judea and Samaria on June 14, 2019, did not motivate mass participation and a demonstration in Ramallah was attended by only a few dozen Palestinians. The activity planned for the village of Jibia was cancelled for lack of public interest. ↑