Documentation of Israeli Air Force attacks (QudsN Facebook page, June 3, 2018).
Children present near riots in the central Gaza Strip (Shehab Facebook page, June 1, 2018).
Razan Ashraf al-Najar working as a paramedic on June 1, 2018 (the Turkish newspaper Star, June 2, 2018).
Senior Hamas figures at the "great return march" on June 1. 2018. Left to right: Khalil al-Haya, Rawhi Mustaha and Isma'il Radwan (Palinfo Twitter account, June 2, 2018).
Gazan families break the Ramadan fast on the beach (al-Araby al-Jadeed, June 1; Palinfo Twitter account, June 3, 2018).
e Huriya, expected to arrive in Brighton on the afternoon of June 5, 2018 (Facebook page of Zaher Birawi, June 5, 2018).
Press conference held in the Gaza Strip by Adham Abu Salmiya (Watania, May 29, 2018).
A kite with a Kuwaiti flag (Shehab Facebook page, June 1, 2018).
- This past week events focused on two rounds of rocket fire attacking Israel, during which more than 150 rockets and mortar shells were fired, a quantity unprecedented since Operation Protective Edge. The first round was initiated by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in retaliation for the death of three of its operatives, and was joined by Hamas. The second round was apparently carried out by a Fatah faction, in ITIC assessment while Hamas turned a blind eye.
- At the same time, the violent “popular” activities continue, including damage to the security fence, attempts to penetrate Israeli territory and destroy equipment. Incendiary kites continue causing extensive damage to crops in the western Negev and to local forests and nature reserves. The Israeli prime minister announced he would instruct Israel’s National Security Council to deduct the cost of the damages to the farmers from the tax money collected by Israel and paid to the Palestinian Authority (PA). This past week a kite was flown into Israel carrying an IED. It fell near the fence in the Kerem Shalom area. The IED did not explode.
- The Naksa Day events on June 5 did not attract many participants and there were no exceptional events, with the exception of the continuing flying of incendiary kites. The kites caused nine simultaneous fires in the communities near the Gaza Strip (Ynet, June 5, 2018). The reason for the poor attendance is that Hamas decided to unite Naksa Day events with those of the mass march (the so-called “million man march to Jerusalem”) scheduled for June 8, 2018, the last Friday of Ramadan (the day marking Quds Day, initiated by Iran and held every year to show support for Jerusalem and the Palestinians).
Rounds of rocket and mortar shell fire
- This past week there were two rounds of rocket and mortar shell fire:
- The first round was on May 29-30, 2018. Most of the fire was carried out by the PIJ and joined by Hamas operatives. More than 150 rockets and mortar shells were fired, a quantity unprecedented since Operation Protective Edge (2014). The round ended with an informal ceasefire following Egyptian contacts with Hamas and the PIJ.
- The second round, more limited in scope, lasted from June 2 to the morning of June 3, 2018. A number of rockets and mortar shells were fired at the communities near the Gaza Strip, apparently by a Fatah faction (a number of Fatah factions issued claims of responsibility). The rockets and mortar shells were fired while Hamas turned a blind eye. So far, Hamas has shown it can effectively enforce its rocket and mortar shell fire policy on the other terrorist organizations if it so chooses. During the rounds of shelling four Israelis were injured by shrapnel (three of them IDF soldiers). Property damage was also reported.
Claim of responsibility issued by the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade/al-Karama Army, a faction apparently affiliated with Muhammad Dahlan (al-Karama Army Facebook page, June 4, 2018).
- IDF forces responded with a series of attacks, mostly from the air, hitting dozens of Hamas and PIJ targets in the compounds of their military wings. Among the targets hit were headquarters, sites for the manufacture of weapons, training camps and sites belonging to Hamas’ naval force (IDF spokesman, June 3, 2018). No casualties were reported. During the attacks the IDF destroyed a Hamas tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip near the Kerem Shalom crossing. The tunnel was intended for two purposes: to smuggle weapons and merchandise between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, and to penetrate into Israeli territory. The IDF spokesman reported it was the tenth Gaza Strip tunnel the IDF had neutralized since October 2017, and the second in the Kerem Shalom area (IDF spokesman, May 29, 2018).
Right: The tunnel destroyed on May 29, 2018. Left: The locations of tunnels neutralized by the IDF since October 2017 (IDF website, May 30, 2018).
Monthly Distribution of Rocket Hits in Israel since January 2018
* Minimal number of rockets and mortar shells. At this stage the ITIC cannot distinguish between rocket fire and mortar shell fire.
Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits
* Estimated number of rockets and mortar shells fired during the second round of escalation.
Vehicular attack prevented
- On June 2, 2018, an IDF force prevented a vehicular attack near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. A Palestinian driving a small tractor tried to run over an officer and soldier. The force instituted procedures for detaining a suspect. The driver did not halt, turned around and tried to run over civilians who were at the site. A soldier shot and killed him. No casualties were reported. The terrorist was Rami Sabarne, 35, from Bayt Ummar, north of Hebron (IDF spokesman, June 2, 2018). The National and Islamic Forces of Bayt Ummar announced a day of mourning and called for a general strike (Ma’an, June 3, 2018).
Significant terrorist attacks during the past year 
Seizure of Hamas propaganda materials
- On June 3, 2018, during an Israeli security force activity in Hebron and nearby villages, the forces located propaganda materials, including flags, hats and pictures of Hamas operatives (IDF spokesman, June 4, 2018).
Exposure of a terrorist squad planning to assassinate senior Israeli figures
- The three operatives belonged to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and were detained at an early planning stage during the collection of intelligence. No weapons were found in their possession. One of them, 30 years old from the Shuafat refugee camp (east Jerusalem), had an Israeli ID card, and had been imprisoned in Israel for terrorist activities. Interrogation revealed he had planned to carry out the attacks following instructions from terrorist operatives abroad, among them an operative in Syria (Israel Security Agency information unit, June 5, 2018).
The events of Friday, June 1, 2018
- On June 1, 2018, the third Friday of Ramadan, about 10,000 Palestinians participated in the riots and demonstrations at a number of locations along the border (compared with about 5,000 the previous week). During the riots, terrorist operatives shot at an IDF force, threw hand grenades, IEDs and Molotov cocktails. They also sabotaged the fence and security installations at a number of sites along the fence. During the riots light arms were fired at an IDF military vehicle. In addition, a Palestinian was seen crossing the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip, placing a hand grenade, which exploded, and returning to the Gaza Strip (IDF spokesman, June 2, 2018).
Children near the border fence (Shehab Facebook page, June 1, 2018).
Attacks carried out during and after riots
- Under cover of the riots, and after them, there were several terrorist events, including attempts to attack IDF soldiers and cross the security fence into Israeli territory:
- June 4, 2018 – An IDF force prevented two Palestinians from crossing into Israeli territory and sabotaging the security fence east of Khan Yunis. The two were found to be in possession of an axe. The force shot and killed one of the terrorists. The Palestinian media reported he was Ramzi Muhammad Salem al-Najar, 29, and that the IDF was holding his body. According to his friends, al-Najar was a relative and neighbor of Razan Ashraf Najar. She was killed on June 1, 2018, and that since her death he had spoken of his desire for revenge. They also said he and a group of young Gazans had managed to cross both the first and second fences, but when they reached the main fence an IDF force opened fire at them (al-Hadath and the Shehab Agency, June 4, 2018). The eastern Khan Yunis Fatah branch issued a death notice for him (Facebook page of the Muhammad Abu Ali Fatah branch in eastern Khan Yunis, June 4, 2018).
Right: Axe found in the possession of the terrorist operatives (IDF Twitter account, June 4, 2018). Left: Ramzi al-Najar cuts through the security fence (Facebook page of the Muhammad Abu Ali Fatah branch in eastern Khan Yunis, June 4, 2018).
Pictures of Ramzi al-Najar posted on June 4, 2018, to the Facebook page of his friend, Mus’ab al-Kasas Abu Wadi’, who represented himself as in charge of the “tire-burning unit” in Khan Yunis (at left in the left-hand picture).
- June 3, 2018 – A number of Palestinians cut through the fence in the southern Gaza Strip and set fire to nearby containers. The containers were the property of the Israeli contractors building the barrier. The Palestinians escaped back into the Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported. Security installations were damaged.
- June 1, 2018 – An IDF force identified two Palestinians approaching the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip, having come from the al-Bureij refugee camp. The force fired shots to drive them away and they fled. The Palestinians reported two Gazans had been wounded (Facebook page of Red Alert, June 1, 2018).
- On May 31, 2018, a fire broke out in the community of Kissufim, caused by an incendiary kite. On June 1, 2018, fires broke out in a number of communities near the Gaza Strip, among them Beeri, Nahal Oz, Kfar Aza and Mefalsim. The Carmia nature preserve in the western Negev burned to the ground. On June 3, 2018, a fire broke out in the region of the community of Niram, and later one in Or Haner, both in the western Negev. The fires led to the closing of the main highway in the area, and train service to the southern city of Sderot was suspended. There were kite-caused fires in the region of Nahal Oz and Yad Mordechai (Facebook page of Red Alert, June 3, 2018). On the morning of June 5, 2018, a giant fire broke out near the Sapir College in Sderot after an incendiary kite landed in a nearby field (Ynet, June 5, 2018).
- According to Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, about 600 incendiary kites have been flown towards Israel. So far about 400 have been intercepted by the IDF and 200 reached Israeli territory. About 2.25 thousand acres of crops and forests have been burned, causing millions of shekels worth of damages (Haaretz, June 5, 2018).
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would instruct the Israeli National Security Council to deduct the damages to the farmers near the Gaza Strip from the tax funds Israel collects for the PA. The PA criticized the decision. Yusuf al-Mahmoud, spokesman for the Palestinian national consensus government, said the tax funds were Palestinian money, as determined by agreements, and Israel had to collect them and turn them over to the PA treasury in their entirety. He said any deviation from the agreement was “theft and cowardly aggression” (Palestinian TV, June 4, 2018).
Palestinian “return march” casualties
- During the riots in the region east of Khan Yunis Razan Ashraf al-Najar, 21, from eastern Khan Yunis, was killed. She was a paramedic who had helped evacuate wounded Gazans from the riots during in recent weeks (Twitter account of the spokesman for the ministry of health in the Gaza Strip, June 1, 2018). The IDF is investigating the circumstances of her death. Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the Hamas-controlled ministry of health in the Gaza Strip, reported that about 100 Palestinians had been wounded, 40 of them, he claimed, by IDF fire (Facebook page of Ashraf al-Qidra, June 1, 2018).
- The death of Razan Ashraf al-Najar was widely condemned. Senior Hamas figure Fawzi Barhoum claimed [the shedding of] her blood was enough to make the world see the extent of the organized terrorism the Palestinian people were exposed to from the “trinity of global terrorism,” Netanyahu, Trump and Haley. The PA minister of health issued a statement calling her death a “war crime” (website of the PA ministry of health, June 1, 2018). Mahmoud Abbas, PA chairman, telephoned her father, offered his condolences, and said any harm done to medical teams was clear proof of the need for the international protection of the Palestinians (Wafa, June 2, 2018).
- The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) reported that Razan Ashraf al-Najar had been a member of the “Association of the Communities of Women’s Action,” a union of DFLP women’s groups. It issued a death notice for her. According to the notice, her mother, Sabarin al-Najar, said she was a member of the DFLP’s central leadership (Facebook page of the Association, June 3, 2018). Her funeral was held in the town of Khirbat I’khza’a. Khaled al-Batash senior PIJ figure and chairman of the so-called “high authority of the return march and breaking the siege,” said the protest would continue simultaneously along two lines: the “non-violent return marches” and a response from the “Palestinian resistance” [i.e., the terrorist organizations] (al-Istaqlal and Palinfo, June 2, 2018).
- Fatah accused Hamas of attacking the mourning tent erected by the family in Khirbat I’khza’a (Fatah Facebook page, June 3, 2018). Her father told the media that the family was affiliated with Fatah and condemned Hamas’ conduct (Dunia al-Watan, June 4, 2018).
Right: Death notice issued by the DFLP for Razan Ashraf al-Najar (Facebook page of the “Association of the Committees of Women’s Action” in the Gaza Strip, June 3, 2018). Left: Razan al-Najar with a so-called “key of return”, inscribed with the hashtag “#I_return” (Facebook page of the Association, June 1, 2018).
- Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the ministry of health, said the Gaza Strip lacked medical equipment that would cost $19.5 million. He said that during the Fridays of the “marches” about 280 wounded Palestinians were brought to the hospitals every hour. That, he said, was in comparison to the nine wounded Palestinians brought to the hospitals [every hour] during Operation Protective Edge. He said in a post on his Facebook page that since March 30, 2018, 123 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli fire and 13,672 had been wounded (Facebook page of Ashraf al-Qidra, June 3, 2018)
Statements from senior Hamas figure Khalil al-Haya
- Senior Hamas and PIJ figures continue speaking in favor of the marches and the popular activities accompanying them. Khalil al-Haya, a member of Hamas’ political bureau in the Gaza Strip, said in an interview that Hamas would use all the means at the disposal of the “resistance” to defend the Palestinian people. He added that “the armed resistance is the shield for the Palestinians of the non-violent return marches.” On another occasion, meeting with mukhtars and elders of the clans in the Gaza Strip, he said he was satisfied with the achievements of the “return marches” which, he claimed are a “nightmare for Israel” and created “new equations.” He called for active participation in upcoming Friday march (Shehab, June 3, 2018).
Mass march this coming Friday, June 8, 2018
The supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip
- On May 29, 2018, Israel’s electric company announced that because of the rocket damage to the facilities maintaining the Gaza Strip, equipment was damaged and three of the power lines providing electricity to the southern Gaza Strip are inoperative. According to the initial evaluation of the damage, it will take a number of days to repair the equipment before regular electrical power can be restored (Twitter account of Israel’s electric company, May 29, 2018). In the wake of the announcement, the electric company in the Gaza Strip announced that only one unit of the Gaza Strip power plant would operate (Amar, May 30, 2018). As of June 4, 2018, electricity is provided to the Gaza Strip in cycles of four hours with electricity with a 16-hour hiatus (pssawa.com, June 4, 2018).
The flotilla to the Gaza Strip
- Nasser al-Suheili, an Arab journalist living in Damascus and currently aboard the al-Awda, reported that on May 31, 2018, the boats of the flotilla docked in Amsterdam. He said Dutch security personnel boarded one of the boats three times to examine the names of the passengers. He added that Amsterdam was one of the stations where the passengers aboard the boats changed places (al-Araby al-Jadeed, May 31, 2018). The al-Awda is supposed to sail to the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel, anchor there for a few hours and from there continue to the French port of La Rochelle on the Bay of Biscay (Facebook page of Zaher Birawi, May 31, 2018). It will remain there until June 11, 2018 (website of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, June 4, 2018).
- The Huriya will sail to Brighton, England, which it was expected to reach on June 5, and remain there until June 8 (Facebook page of Zaher Birawi, May 31, 2018). From there it will continue to northern Spain (Facebook page of Zaher Birawi, June 5, 2018).
The Huriya, expected to arrive in Brighton on the afternoon of June 5, 2018 (Facebook page of Zaher Birawi, June 5, 2018).
The Palestinian boat
- On May 29, 2018, a boat organized by Hamas set sail from the port of Gaza, part of the “Freedom Flotilla” campaign. The boat sailed toward Cyprus with 17 passengers aboard, among them ill and disabled Gazans. At a distance of about 15 miles from the Gaza Strip an Israeli Navy force took control of the boat. The force met no resistance and no exceptional incidents occurred. During interrogation the captain of the boat confessed that he had received payment for his participation in the voyage. He was photographed displaying the money he received from the organizing committee to take the ship to sea.
- The IDF brought a team of medical professionals to treat the sick and disabled passengers. The boat was towed to the southern Israeli port of Ashdod (IDF spokesman, May 31, 2018). Somewhat later, the 17 passengers were released and taken back to the Gaza Strip. A festive reception was held for them in the port of Gaza, attended by senior Hamas and PIJ figures.
- Adham Abu Salmiya, spokesman for the authority for breaking the siege of the Gaza Strip, held a press conference where he said that in the coming days they would announce the date for the sailing of the second “Freedom Boat” from the port of Gaza. He appealed to Palestinians wanting to participate in the voyage to register at the ministry of the interior’s office in the port. He said the first boat had been halted at a distance of 14 nautical miles from the Gaza Strip, and that it was the first Palestinian boat to reach such a distance since 1993 (Shehab, May 29, 2018).
PA responses to the American veto in the UN Security Council
- On the night of June 1, 2018 the American representative to the UN vetoed two proposed Kuwaiti resolutions condemning Israel and protecting Palestinian civilians. The proposed American counter-resolution calling for the condemnation of Hamas did not receive the necessary majority and was also rejected.
- Senior Palestinian figures condemned the American veto. Nabil Shath reported that Mahmoud Abbas had instructed senior PA figures to seek the support of the countries of Asia, Europe and Africa for a Palestinian appeal to the UN General Assembly called “united for the sake of peace” (al-Araby al-Jadeed, June 3, 2018). Riyadh Mansour, Palestinian representative to the UN, held an emergency meeting of the Council of Arab Ministers, after which there was an extended meeting of the Islamic states to discuss measures to be taken, including legal measures (Dunia al-Watan, June 4, 2018).
Protest against the Argentina-Israel friendship soccer game
- Dozens of Palestinians protested in front of the Argentinean legation in Ramallah against the Israel-Argentina soccer game. According to Jibril Rajoub, chairman of the Palestinian soccer association, Israel’s determination to hold the game in Jerusalem proves it is being used as a political tool by Israel in a way that violates international law and FIFA rules. He threatened that if Argentinean star player Lionel Messi played in the game, a Palestinian, Arab and international campaign against him would be initiated (al-Quds, June 3, 2018).
Jibril Rajoub at a rally in front of the Argentinean legation in Ramallah protesting the Israel-Argentina friendship soccer game (al-Watan YouTube channel, June 3, 2018).
 For further information, see the June 4, 2018 bulletin "The Escalation in the Gaza Strip: What Next?" ↑
 Senior Hamas figure Musa Abu Marzouq said Hamas had not suggested or accepted any proposal for a long-term ceasefire with Israel ("the occupation"). However, he claimed Hamas had received verbal proposals for easing the "siege," and Egypt had promised to open the Rafah crossing and increase the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip (al-Risalah, June 2, 2018). ↑
 The statistics do not include mortar shell fire or rockets which misfired and fell inside the Gaza Strip. ↑
 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. ↑