Ahmed Bahar, deputy chairman of the Legislative Council, speaks at the "return camp" in Khan Yunis (Facebook page of the Legislative Council in the Gaza Strip, November 23, 2018).
Isma'il Haniyeh, chairman of Hamas' general political bureau, and Yahya al-Sinwar, head of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, hold a working meeting in the Gaza Strip on November 22, 2018 (Shehab Agency Twitter account, November 22, 2018).
Isma'il Haniyeh, head of Hamas' political bureau speaking via video conference at the International Islamic Unity Convention in Tehran (al-Alam TV website, November 24, 2018).
Students drilling in a high school in Rafah (national security forces' Facebook page, November 22, 2018).
- The past week Hamas continued to supervise reducing the level of violence at the weekly events (the “return march,” the mini-flotilla and the demonstration in the northern Gaza Strip). There were no exceptional clashes with the IDF and no use was made of incendiary kites and balloons. Hamas’ objective was to ensure the continuation of the talks for an arrangement and an internal Palestinian reconciliation (this past week a delegation of senior Hamas figures held talks in Cairo).
- Before the talks in Cairo, Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, was interviewed by the al-Andalou News Agency. He presented the main concepts for the talks in Cairo. He said they would focus on “humanitarian understandings” (which he elaborated) in return for avoiding violence in the marches (such as launching incendiary balloons, throwing fireworks and crossing the border). However, he said, the marches would not come to an end and would continue until “the siege is completely lifted.” He threatened that if Israel withdrew from the understandings the Palestinians would respond with all the means at their disposal.
- Events in Judea and Samaria focused on a vehicular attack north of Hebron (a form of popular terrorism). Three IDF soldiers were wounded, one seriously and two slightly. Palestinians continued throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles, especially on the Gush Etzion-Hebron road.
- The Israel Security Agency reported that in September 2018 a Hamas network was exposed. The network planned to carry out attacks in Israel. To that end, Hamas’ military wing recruited operatives in Judea and Samaria and taught them to make IEDs. To transmit messages to operatives in Judea and Samaria, Hamas used residents of the Gaza Strip who had permits to enter Israel for life-saving medical treatment (a modus operandi familiar from the past).
The “return march” of November 23, 2018
- According to a spokesman for the ministry of health in the Gaza Strip, during the “return march” of November 23, 2018, 14 Palestinians were wounded by IDF fire (Ashraf al-Qidra’s Facebook page, November 23, 2018). The Supreme National Authority of the Great Return March announced that the events of the “return march” on November 30, 2018, would have as their slogan “the Friday of solidarity with the Palestinian people” (Ma’an, November 23, 2018).
- The main points in the statements made by Hamas operatives were the following:
- Ahmed Bahar, deputy chairman of the Legislative Council, said the “resistance” united the Palestinians, while security coordination [a hint at the Palestinian Authority] divided them. He added that the “resistance” would continue to follow the “return marches” and protect them. He said the resistance would continue implementing its new equation, “blood in return for blood, a rocket in return for a rocket, and quiet in return for quiet.” He added that the resistance had the right to continue making preparations to defend the Palestinians and the holy places (i.e., to continue its military buildup) (Filastin Online, November 24, 2018).
- Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said the continuing Palestinian participation in the “return marches” proved their determination to achieve the marches’ objectives, the first of which was to break the siege of the Gaza Strip. He said the participants in the “return marches” had proved the “option of resistance” [i.e., the option of terrorism] was able to unite all the Palestinians for the sake of achieving the goals of freedom and “return” [of the Palestinian refugees to the territory of the State of Israel] (Hamas movement website, November 23, 2018).
The weekly mini-flotilla
- On Monday, November 26, 2018, Hamas held its weekly mini-flotilla in the northern Gaza Strip. As usual it was accompanied by a demonstration near the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip, with the participation of hundreds of Palestinians. No exceptional events were reported. During the event Palestinians launched balloons with pictures of Palestinians who had been killed during the “return marches” (Palinfo Twitter account, November 26, 2018). According to the ministry of health in the Gaza Strip, three Palestinians were wounded by IDF fire (Ashraf al-Qidra’s Facebook page and Palinfo, November 26, 2018).
The mini-flotilla and its accompanying demonstration. During the demonstration balloons were launched with pictures of Palestinian shaheeds (Facebook page of the PFLP’s information unit in the northern Gaza Strip, November 26, 2018).
- This past week no rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory.
Rocket and mortar shell fire during and between the recent rounds of escalation
Monthly Distribution of Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire since January 20181,130 rockets and mortar shells since May 2018
Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits
Vehicular attack at a junction north of Hebron
- A Palestinian terrorist hit three IDF soldiers with his van near the al-Aroub Junction north of Hebron. One was seriously wounded and two were slightly wounded. The soldiers shot and killed the terrorist (IDF website, November 26, 2018). The terrorist was Ramzi Abu Yabbes, 32, a male nurse from the Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem. Hamas praised the attack and issued a notice mourning the death of its “shaheed hero” (Palinfo Twitter account, November 26, 2018).
Right: The Hamas notice mourning its “shaheed hero” Ramzi Abu Yabbes. Left: The scene of the attack near the al-Aroub Junction north of Hebron (Palinfo Twitter account, November 26, 2018)
Events on the ground
- Israeli security forces carried out counterterrorism activities throughout Judea and Samaria. This past week as well Palestinians continued throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israel vehicles, especially on the Gush Etzion-Hebron road. The more prominent events were the following:
- November 23, 2018 – Palestinians threw stones at Israeli vehicles north of Hebron. They also threw stones at Israeli vehicles near the community of Na’aleh, north of Modi’in. No casualties were reported (Red Alert Facebook page, November 23, 2018).
- November 23, 2018 – The Israeli security forces detained two 17-year-old Palestinians near the Qalqilya Crossing. Found in their possession were two Molotov cocktails, which they planned to throw at the soldiers at the crossing (Red Alert Facebook page, November 23, 2018).
- November 22, 2018 – Palestinians threw stones at an Israeli bus near Bayt Umar, north of Hebron. No casualties were reported; the bus was damaged (Red Alert Facebook page, November 23, 2018).
- November 22, 2018 – Palestinians threw stones at Israeli vehicles near Karmei Tzur, north of Hebron. No casualties were reported (Red Alert Facebook page, November 23, 2018).
Hamas terrorist attacks prevented by the Israel Security Agency
- According to a report from the Israel Security Agency, in September 2018 a Hamas network was exposed. It planned to carry out mass casualty attacks inside Israel. To achieve their objectives, Hamas’ military wing in the Gaza Strip recruited operatives in Judea and Samaria, taught them how to prepare and place IEDs, and to locate places and identify figures in Israel as targets for attacks. Hamas used residents of the Gaza Strip whose entrance into Israel had been authorized for life-saving medical treatments to transmit messages and instructions to operatives. The network was exposed with the detention of Awis Rajoub, from the town of Dura (near Hebron), who had begun carrying out the missions he received form Hamas’ military wing. The activity of the Gaza Strip residents who left for Israel to receive medical treatment was coordinated and directed by Muhammad Abu Kweik, a Hamas military wing operative in the Gaza Strip (Israel Security Agency website, November 22, 2018).
Significant terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria during the past year 
Talks in Cairo about the arrangement and the internal Palestinian reconciliation
- For talks for an arrangement and an internal Palestinian reconciliation, on November 21, 2018 a Hamas delegation headed by Saleh al-‘Arouri, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, arrived in Cairo. On November 24, 2018, the talks ended and the delegation returned to the Gaza Strip.
- On the eve of the visit to Egypt, Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of the Hamas political bureau, was interviewed by the al-Andalou News Agency, and presented the Hamas’ main concepts for the talks in Cairo. He said the following:
- The discussions in Cairo would deal with “humanitarian understandings,” without signed agreements. The understandings included putting an end to the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip “and are connected to quiet, with no political commitments.”
- The understandings would deal with “the absence of violence at the return marches, such as incendiary balloons, fireworks and crossing the border.” However that was not to be conditioned on ending the marches. He said the Gaza Strip would witness a series of steps: “the opening of the crossings; the entrance of merchandise to supply the needs of the population; the export of products; the increase in the range of fishing waters; the employment of workers and university graduates; payment of the salaries of the workers in the public sector; a solution for the problem of electricity through supplying fuel for the power plant; and finding a solutions for the water problem.” He said that the marches would continue until the “siege” of the Gaza Strip had been completely lifted. He said that if Israel retreated from the understandings, the Palestinians would respond with all the means in their possession.
- Musa Abu Marzouq added that large projects would be carried out in the Gaza Strip to prevent it from becoming a place where it is impossible to live. However, he stressed that the understandings about a lull in the Gaza Strip did not limit the “weapons of the resistance” and would not prevent a response of the “Palestinian resistance” [i.e., terrorist organizations] in case of a gross violation in the West Bank (al-Andalou News, November 21 and 22, 2018).
Saleh al-Arouri (fourth from left), deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, with the Hamas delegation he headed that went to Cairo for talks with Egyptian General Intelligence. The picture was taken before the delegation left the Gaza Strip (Badran’s Facebook page, November 22, 2018).
Hamas delegation leaves the Gaza Strip for a round of visits abroad
- A delegation from the “change and reform” faction, the Hamas faction in the Palestinian Legislative Council, left the Gaza Strip on November 21, 2018, to tour a number of Arab and Muslim countries in order to enlist support for the Palestinian cause. The delegation was headed by the faction speaker, Mahmoud al-Zahar, and its members included Marwan Abu Ras, the deputy faction speaker; Musheir al-Masri, the faction speaker, and Muhammad Faraj al-Ghoul, the faction secretary (the faction website and Palinfo, November 21, 2018).
- A Hamas source reported that the Egyptians agreed to the trip. The subject had been raised four months ago at meetings between Hamas and Egyptian Intelligence, and the Egyptians agreed in principle without setting a date for the delegation’s departure. However, recent events in the Gaza Strip and Hamas’ renewal of its request after the most recent round of escalation caused the Egyptians to agree to the trip. The delegation will visit Turkey, Iran, Lebanon, South Africa, Algeria and Morocco (al-Akhbar, Lebanon, November 22, 2018).
Hamas presents a front of “business as usual” for the relationship between Haniyeh and al-Sinwar
- On November 22, 2018, Hamas-affiliated news sites posted pictures of Isma’il Haniyeh, chairman of Hamas general political bureau, and Yahya al-Sinwar, head of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, holding work meetings in the Gaza Strip (Shehab Agency Twitter account, November 22, 2018). Posting the pictures may have come as a response to reports in the Israeli media about differences of opinion and a lack of communications between the two.
Isma’il Haniyeh’s speech at the Islamic Unity Convention in Tehran
- Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, gave a speech via video conference to the participants of the International Islamic Unity Convention in Tehran. Haniyeh called on all the participants to support the Hamas movement which, he said, stood firm against the “Zionist enemy,” so it could defend Jerusalem, “the symbol of Islam.” He claimed Israel was the common enemy of the Islamic states and called on the countries of the world to isolate Israel, punish it for its crimes against the Palestinian people, boycott it and cut off relations. He claimed the weapons of the Hamas movement united the Palestinian people because they were aimed at the “Zionist enemy,” the common enemy of all Palestinians. He stressed that Hamas would cooperate with anyone who helped it reach its goals (al-Mayadeen TV, Lebanon, November 24, 2018).
Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau speaking via video conference at the International Islamic Unity Convention in Tehran (al-Alam TV website, November 24, 2018).
Hamas continues its campaign to raise money for a new al-Aqsa TV building in Gaza City
- Hamas’ al-Aqsa TV continues its campaign to raise money for a new building to replace the one completely destroyed during the most recent round of escalation. According to an al-Aqsa announcement, money can donated via a telephone conversation, by email.
- Ihab al-Ghussein, a former spokesman for the Hamas government, who participated in the press conference launching the campaign, wrote on November 20 that since the beginning of the campaign the greatest number of donations had come from Algeria, and in second place, Morocco (Ihab al-Ghussein’s Facebook page, November 20, 2018). So far the sum total of the donations has not been made public.
Right: The al-Aqsa TV notice asking for donations to rebuild its building (al-Aqsa TV Twitter account, November 23, 2018). Left: Cartoon supporting the campaign (alresala.net, November 26, 2018)
Hamas continues giving military training to adolescents in government schools in the Gaza Strip
- Hamas continues giving military training to adolescents in government schools in the Gaza Strip with the instruction and supervision of officers in its national security forces. The program is called al-Futuwwa (“youth/heroism”), and participants have military instruction in school, drills, weapons training and shooting practice (national security forces’ Facebook page, November 22, 2018).
The al-Futuwwa program in high schools in the central Gaza Strip and in western Khan Yunis: adolescent boys listen to military lectures about the skills of using weapons, and have practical experience as well (national security forces’ Facebook page, November 24, 2018).
Israel struggles against PA subversion in east Jerusalem
- On the night of November 25, 2018, the Israeli security forces detained 32 residents of east Jerusalem, holders of Israeli identify cards. According to the police, they served in the Palestinian security forces. All the detainees were taken for interrogation. Searches of their houses found military equipment, ammunition, uniforms and documents of the Palestinian police force (Israel Police Force Facebook page, November 26, 2018). The Israeli media reported that after the detentions the police stated that it would “deal severely and uncompromisingly with residents and Israeli citizen who worked for the PA and other terrorist bodies against the law and against the sovereignty, governance and security of the citizens of the State of Israel” (Israeli Channel 7, November 26, 2018).
Items found during detentions in east Jerusalem, including Palestinian police uniforms, money, a document of an operative in the Palestinian preventive security apparatus and ammunition (Israel Police Force, November 26, 2018).
- Earlier, on November 25, 2018 during the day, the Israel Police Force redetained Adnan al-Ghait, governor of the PA Jerusalem district, in his home in the Silwan neighborhood of east Jerusalem. According to the warrant for his detention, he was “party to the detention of Israeli residents by the PA, a danger to the security of the State of Israel and its residents” (Ynet, November 26, 2018).
Adnan al-Ghait, government of the PA Jerusalem district (Ma’an, November 25, 2018).
- The main Palestinian responses to the detentions were the following:
- Fatah claimed Israel’s activity against the detainees would not break their determination to continue their struggle for the sake of Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque. Fatah also sent blessings to its activists who had been detained and strengthened the firm stance of the residents of east Jerusalem ()Ma’an, November 26, 2018) .
- Muneir al-Jaghoub, head of Fatah’s information bureau in its bureau of organization and mobilization, said the detentions would not keep Fatah from continuing its struggle against Israeli policy to Judaize Jerusalem, expel its residents and isolate it from its Palestinian surroundings. He added that Fatah would continue to struggle against the [so-called Israeli] “occupation” and its supporters, and against those who sold land [to Jews]. The Fatah movement called for a mass march to be held to protest the occupation, in the city and to the roadblocks that divided Jerusalem from the other parts of Palestine, and to intensify the popular struggle against the “occupation” (official Fatah Facebook page, November 26, 2018).
- Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem, condemned the measures taken by the “oppressors” of the “occupation” regime against the “national figures” in Jerusalem, including the detention of al-Ghait. He said the measures are part of a policy to exert pressure on the senior figures of Jerusalem to keep them from speaking out against the “expansionist plots of Israel to Judaize” Jerusalem and the holy places. He called on the international community to act quickly to keep Israel from enacting its decisions and to take steps to punish it (Wafa, November 25, 2018).
 The statistics do not include rockets that fell inside the Gaza Strip. ↑
 In the past the Israel Security Agency exposed a number of cases in which Hamas exploited residents of the Gaza Strip, who for humanitarian reasons were allowed to leave the Gaza Strip for Israel, to transfer funds and explosives to Hamas operatives in Judea and Samaria. ↑
 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. ↑