Gazan rioters pull at and yank barbed wire along the security fence in eastern al-Bureij (QudsN Twitter account, October 12, 2018).
Gazan rioters clash with IDF forces on the shore (Facebook page of photographer Anas Jamal al-Sharif, October 15, 2018).
Senior Hamas figures at a "return camp" in the northern Gaza Strip during the weekly mini-flotilla (Facebook page of the Palestinian Legislative Council in the Gaza Strip, October 15, 2018).
Senior Hamas figures at a "return camp" in the northern Gaza Strip during the weekly mini-flotilla (Facebook page of the Palestinian Legislative Council in the Gaza Strip, October 15, 2018).
Elias Saleh Yassin at the funeral of Ai'sha al-Bari, killed by stones thrown near the Tapuah Junction (Palinfo Twitter account, October 15, 2018).
- This past week events in Judea and Samaria focused on two stabbing attacks: one near Nablus (an IDF soldier was seriously wounded; the attacker escaped and was later apprehended); and the other near Ariel (the attacker was shot and killed). In another event a Palestinian woman was killed near the Tapuah Junction in Samaria when stones were thrown at her car. The Palestinians claim the stones were thrown by Israelis. An investigation is being conducted.
- In the Gaza Strip the level of violence remains high. A group of about 20 Palestinians tried forcibly to penetrate into Israeli territory during the “return march” on Friday, October 12. Four of them approached an IDF post and were shot and killed. There has also been an increase in arson terrorism. In response the Israeli defense minister decided to ban the entrance of diesel fuel from Israel into the Gaza Strip. Hamas leaders repeatedly call on the general population to continue participating in the riots and to intensify them.
- This past week IDF forces exposed a tunnel in the central Gaza Strip penetrating into Israeli territory. It was to be used for terrorist attacks inside Israel. It had a number of branches and was built using various construction methods. It was the 15th tunnel neutralized by IDF forces since October 2017.
“Return march” events
- On Friday, October 12, 2018 “return march” events were again held along the Gaza Strip border, for the 29th time since they marches began on March 30, 2018. About 15,000 Gazan rioters participated (about 5,000 fewer than the previous Friday). The level of violence remained particularly high with extensive use made of hand grenades and IEDs. There was also a rise in the number of attempts to cross the security fence and an increase in arson terrorism. Four rioters who crossed into Israeli territory and approached an IDF post were shot and killed.
- So far, the terrorist organizations, led by Hamas, apparently have no intention of putting an end to the riots. The leaders of the organizations repeatedly call on the public to continue and increase their participation. There has also been an increase in the tactics and degree of boldness employed, institutionalized by the terrorist organizations through the establishment of new groups which systematically clash with IDF soldiers.
- In response to the forcible entrances of rioters into Israeli territory and the high level of violence during the riots, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman decided to ban the entrance of diesel fuel and cooking gas into the Gaza Strip, beginning on October 14, 2018. At the start of the government meeting on October 14, 2018, the Israeli prime minister called on Hamas to put an end to the riots, threatening painful reprisals. The defense minister also warned of a tough Israeli response, but said that before a war all other options had to be exhausted (Ynet, October 14, 2018).
Attempt to sabotage the fence
- On October 15, 2018, two Gazans approached the border security fence in the security forces and placed an IED near it. The device exploded and damaged the fence. No casualties were reported. In response Israeli Air Force aircraft attacked a Hamas post in the southern Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, October 15, 2018).
- On October 15, 2018, the 12th “lift the siege” mini-flotilla was held. Twenty-five small boats set sail from the Beit Lahia shore in the northern Gaza Strip (Palinfo, October 15, 2018). The boats did not cross Israel’s naval border. At the same time several thousand Gazan rioters gathered on the beach and clashed with IDF forces. During the riot IEDs were thrown at IDF soldiers. No casualties were reported (Israel Today, October 16, 2018). A spokesman for the ministry of health in the Gaza Strip claimed 32 Gazans had been wounded by IDF fire north of Beit Lahia. Several dozen others were wounded by shrapnel and tear gas inhalation, and were treated at the scene (Facebook page of Ashraf al-Qidra, October 15, 2018).
Right: The area of the mini-flotilla (Paldf Twitter account, October 15, 2018). Left: Gazans gather on the shore during the mini-flotilla (Facebook page of photographer Anas Jamal al-Sharif, October 15, 2018).
- Senior Hamas figures also participated in the activities, and stated that the marches and mini-flotillas would continue and escalate, and called on the Palestinian public to take an active part:
- Hamas spokesman Musheir al-Masri said the [so-called] “peaceful” Palestinian “resistance” [i.e., the violent events] would continue and that the “return marches” would continue and escalate over time. He called on the Palestinian people to struggle “against the Zionist enemy” with every means at their disposal. He also said that the threats of the Israeli defense minister and the Palestinian Authority (PA) had no effect and that “fuel and dollars” would not end the marches. He said that the only thing that would end the marches was the end of the “siege” (al-Aqsa TV, October 15, 2018).
- Ahmed Bahar, deputy chairman of the Legislative Council, said the “return marches” would continue and escalate in every way until the complete lifting of the “siege.” He also said the Gazans’ patience would not last much longer and they would use every means at their disposal (Dunia al-Watan and the Facebook page of the Palestinian Legislative Council in the Gaza Strip, October 15, 2018).
- Fathi Hamad, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said the ‘”return marches” would continue until the “siege” was broken. He said the “siege” hurt the Gazans, but escalating the situation (“an explosion”) would hurt everyone (Palsawa, October 15, 2018).
- Alongside the escalation in the violence along the Gaza Strip border, there has been an increase in the number of incendiary kites and balloons launched into Israeli territory, including balloons with IEDs attached to them. This past week they set an average of ten fires a day. Dozens of incendiary kites and balloons were launched during the riots on Friday, setting six fires in the communities near the Gaza Strip.
- On October 14, 2018, incendiary balloons caused several fires in Israeli territory, including one in a greenhouse just to the north of the Gaza Strip border, causing extensive damage, one in a nature preserve and one in an avocado grove. A balloon with an attached IED landed on an electrical cable near a community close to the Gaza Strip.
- On October 16, 2018, two IEDs were identified and neutralized in the western Negev. They were attached to a cluster of balloons (spokesman for a western Negev local council, October 16, 2018).
- In response to the arson terrorism attacks, Israeli Air Force (IAF) aircraft attacked a squad of balloon launchers. On October 14, 2018, the IAF attacked a squad in the northern Gaza Strip near Beit Hanoun. The Palestinian media reported that one Gazan had been injured (Palinfo Twitter account, October 14, 2018). On October 16, 2018, the IAF attacked a squad of balloon launchers in the northern Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, October 16, 2018).
Rocket and mortar shell fire
- 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 2018
Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits
Exposure of a Hamas tunnel penetrating into Israeli territory
- IDF forces exposed a tunnel penetrating into Israeli territory in the Khan Yunis region. It was exposed as part of ongoing IDF efforts to locate and neutralize tunnels, and was destroyed by IDF engineers inside Israeli territory. Until its destruction the tunnel had been monitored by the IDF. It was intended to be used for terrorist attacks inside Israel. According to IDF sources, the tunnel had many branches and had been built using various construction methods and materials. It was connected to the Gaza Strip telephone and electrical networks (IDF spokesperson, October 11, 2018). It was the 15th tunnel neutralized by the IDF since October 2017.
The Gaza Strip tunnel exposed and neutralized by the IDF (IDF spokesperson, October 11, 2018).
Attacks and attempted attacks
Stabbing attack near Nablus
- On October 11, 2018, a Palestinian went to a bus stop near Hawwara, south of Nablus. He stabbed in IDF reserve soldier who was standing there, wounding him seriously. As he fled soldiers passing by tried to overcome him but were unsuccessful and shot at him as he ran, but he escaped. An Israeli civilian woman was wounded by shrapnel. On the night of October 12, 2018 Israeli security forces apprehended the terrorist (IDF spokesperson, October 12, 2018).
The knife used by the terrorist and the scene of the attack (Shehab website, October 11. 2018).
- The Palestinian media reported the attacker was Mu’az Ahmed al-Haj Ali, 19, from the village of Jammaa’in, south of Nablus (Palinfo, Twitter account, October 12, 2018). Before he left home to carry out the attack he posted his “last will” to his Facebook page, asking for forgiveness from his parents and brothers. He hinted the attack was revenge for the killing of his friend Ahmed Abd al-Jaber Salim (Paldf Twitter account, October 12, 2018).
Right: Mu’az Ahmed al-Haj Ali, 19, from the village of Jammaa’in south of Nablus (Palinfo, Twitter account, October 12, 2018). Left: His “last will,” posted to his Facebook page (Paldf Twitter account, October 12, 2018).
- Hamas welcomed the attack, calling it “the response of the Palestinian people” to Israel’s activities against them and the failure of Israeli security (Hamas website, October 11, 2018).
Palestinian woman killed by stones
- On October 13, 2018, stones were thrown at a vehicle near the Tapuah Junction in Samaria, killing a Palestinian woman who was in the car with her husband. Israeli police forces called to the scene initiated an investigation into the identity of the assailants. The investigation is being carried out by the Israeli security authorities and a gag order has been placed on it. The woman was Ai’sha al-Rabi, 47, from the village of Biddya, west of Qalqilya. The Palestinians claim the stones were thrown by Israelis.
- During the funeral calls were heard for revenge. Mahmoud Abbas declared her a shaheed and denounced her death, which, he claimed was carried out by “settlers protected by the forces of the occupation.” He spoke to her husband and father by phone to offer his condolences, saying it was a “terrible crime” which would not go unpunished (Mahmoud Abbas’ Facebook page, October 13, 2018).
Right: Ai’sha al-Rabi, 47, from the village of Biddya. Left: The vehicle hit by stones near the Tapuah Junction in Samaria (Palsawa website, October 14, 2018).
Right: Video of Ai’sha al-Rabi’s husband receiving a condolence call from Mahmoud Abbas (Facebook page of the Biddya municipality, October 13, 2018). Left: Palestinian consensus government prime minister Rami Hamdallah pays a condolence call to to Ai’sha al-Rabi’s husband (Wafa, October 14, 2018).
Stabbing attack at a junction in near Ariel
- A Palestinian went to the bus stop at a junction near Ariel), which was secured by Israeli security forces. He ran towards the soldiers standing at the bus stop and tried to stab one of them. He was shot and killed (IDF spokesperson, October 15, 2018).
- The Palestinian media reported he was Elias Saleh Yassin, 22, from the village of Biddya, west of Qalqilya (Paldf Twitter account, October 15, 2018). The Fatah movement in Salfit issued a death notice for him (Biddya municipality Facebook page, October 13, 2018). Social network users claimed he carried out the attack in revenge for the death of Ai’sha al-Rabi, who came from his village. She was killed when stones were thrown at the car she was in near the Tapuah Junction on October 13, 2018. The Palestinian media published pictures of her funeral showing Elias Saleh Yassin carrying her body (Palinfo Twitter account, October 15, 2018).
Right: Elias Saleh Yassin, from the village of Biddya (Paldf Twitter account, October 15, 2018). Left: Elias Saleh Yassin at the funeral of Ai’sha al-Bari, killed by stones thrown near the Tapuah Junction (Palinfo Twitter account, October 15, 2018).
The death notice issued by the Fatah movement in Salfit for Elias Saleh Yassin (Biddya municipality Facebook page, October 13, 2018).
Significant terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria during the past year 
The Rafah Crossing
- Fifty-one trucks from Egypt carrying merchandise including cooking gas, cement and other equipment entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Crossing (Filastin al-Yawm, October 10, 2018). Travelers continue using the crossing (official website of the ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip, October 10, 2018). On October 12, 2018, Egypt closed the crossing for two days, reopening it on October 14, 2018 (al-Masry al-Youm, October 14, 2018).
Aide for the Gaza Strip from Qatar
- The Qatari foreign ministry said in a statement that according to instructions from the Emir of Qatar, the Qatari Development Fund would donate $150 million to the Gaza Strip to improve the humanitarian situation. The UN Development Program will oversee the distribution of the funds (Dunia al-Watan, October 10, 2018).
- Note: On October 9, 2018, Israel authorized the delivery of fuel to the Gaza Strip after Qatar paid for it. The arrangement ended when, following riots in the Gaza Strip, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman banned the delivery of diesel fuel and cooking gas into the Gaza Strip beginning October 14, 2018.
Qatar and the UN surmount Mahmoud Abbas to help the Gaza Strip (Facebook page of cartoonist Isma’il al-Bazam, October 13, 2018).
- On October 7, 2018, an internet campaign was launched in Doha, the capital of Qatar, called “Gaza has the right to live.” The campaign is overseen by Qatar’s Regulatory Authority for Charitable Activities, with the participation of the Qatari Red Crescent and other charitable associations. The campaign’s objective is to collect ten million Qatari riyals (about $2.65 million) to cover payment for the urgent needs of the Gazan population in the fields of health, education, welfare, water and sanitation, and economic growth (website of campaign, October 8, 2018).
Launching the campaign in Qatar to raise funds for the Gazans (website of Qatar Charity, October 8, 2018).
Statements from senior Hamas figures about the “return marches” and a possible arrangement
- Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, speaking in Turkey before a conference of the Global Coalition in Support of Jerusalem and Palestine, said the issue of Jerusalem and the Palestinian cause were in the interests of the entire Muslim nation. He presented Hamas’ strategy, which included “a comprehensive resistance project” against the [so-called Israeli] occupation. He also said action had to be taken to lift the siege of the Gaza Strip. He claimed Hamas was working to reach an understanding with many entities, among them Egypt, Qatar and the UN, to create a lull in exchange for lifting the siege. He added the arrangement could not be linked to any kind of political arrangement or cause a separation between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (al-Aqsa, October 12, 2018).
- In an interview with al-Aqsa TV, Essam Aldalis, chairman of Hamas’ political department, said the achievements of the “return marches” were the following:
- Concerned lest a military confrontation occur, Israel gave the UN authority to receive the funds donated by Qatar to the Gaza Strip for fuel for the Gaza Strip. He said that in that way Israel had “foiled” Mahmoud Abbas’ attempts to sabotage the transfer of the funds.
- Egypt was keeping the Rafah Crossing permanently open. Moreover, during the most recent visit of a Hamas delegation to Cairo, Egypt had promised to further facilitate the situation at the crossing and increase the number of people allowed through every day.
- Israel had decided to open the Kerem Shalom and other crossings and to make it possible for merchandise to enter the Gaza Strip, after it customarily closed the crossings from time to time.
- The UN had begun acting according to instructions from America to keep the events in the Gaza Strip from turning into a military confrontation. He claimed that Nikolay Mladenov and senior UN personnel had asked for quiet in the Gaza Strip during their visits. He claimed they had not demanded an end to the marches but only to stop launching balloons and approaching the fence.
The Gaza Strip on the brink of an explosion. The Arabic reads, “There is no sound louder than an explosion” (Facebook page of Isma’il al-Bazam, October 14, 2018).
Meeting of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council
- From October 12 to 14, 2018, Fatah’s Revolutionary Council held a conference in Ramallah. Its objective was to formulate recommendations for the PLO’s Central Council that is supposed to meet on October 28, 2018. Mahmoud Abbas gave a speech in which he stressed the importance of the Central Council meeting, which, he said, would deal with determining relations with the American administration, liberation from the “occupation,” relations with Hamas and its collaboration with Israeli-American projects to sabotage the Palestinian national project. He stressed his concern for [the welfare of] the Gazans and said the Palestinians would continue to fulfill their commitment to the shaheeds and prisoners and their families, regardless of whatever pressure was exerted (Wafa, October 14, 2018).
- At the end of the conference the Revolutionary Council unanimously decided to recommend to the Central Committee that the PA Legislative Council be disbanded (a step directly aimed at Hamas) and that general elections be held within a year. They also decided that at the upcoming meeting they would formulate a way to gradually liberate the PA from the “occupation” and intensify the “popular resistance” [i.e., popular terrorism]. The Council called on all its participants to choose struggle with Israel over disagreement and internal arguments (Wafa, October 14, 2018).
- Hamas criticized the decision to disband the Legislative Council, considering it a step taken against Hamas which would have a majority in the Council representatives.
- Ahmed Bahar, deputy chairman of the Legislative Council and representing Hamas, attacked the decision, saying all decisions made by Mahmoud Abbas regarding the disbanding of the Council had no legal standing because the Council was independent. He said disbanding it was a poor attempt to further [Trump’s] “deal of the century.” He called for putting a halt to Mahmoud Abbas’ illegal measures against the Legislative Council (Dunia al-Watan, October 14, 2018).
- Mahmoud al-Zahar, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said no organization could cancel the existence of the Legislative Council because according to law it would exist until elections to a new Council replaced it. He said the Palestinian National Council and Fatah’s Central Council were not relevant bodies because they were composed of representatives who had been appointed by Mahmoud Abbas, not elected (Shehab, October 14, 2018).
PA activity in international organizations
- At a meeting of UNESCO’s Executive Council held in Paris on October 10, 2018, the resolutions proposed by “Palestine” were unanimously adopted, among them a resolution to protect and preserve traditions, culture and education in the territories of the Palestinian state, including east Jerusalem. In addition, according to the resolutions, the “crimes Israel commits” have to be exposed, especially those against Palestinian heritage and cultural sites, especially in the Old City of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount compound, the Church of the Nativity, the Cave of the Patriarchs, and in the Gaza Strip. Riyadh al-Maliki, Palestinian foreign minister, thanked the states that, he said, work to protect the rights of the Palestinian people (Dunia al-Watan, October 10, 2018).
- Shawan Jabarin, a member of the national committee for monitoring legal claims lodged with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, claimed the Court was monitoring the “executions [of Gazans]” carried out by Israel along the eastern border of the Gaza Strip, and was collecting evidence. He added that the national committee had provided him with the necessary information and that it would be presented to the Court as a comprehensive report. He said there were indications that the Court might begin an active investigation before the end of 2018 (Wafa, October 13, 2018).
PLO offices in Washington closed
- On October 11, 2018, dozens of Palestinian and pro-Palestinian activists held a rally in front of the PLO’s offices in Washington to protest their final closing, in accordance with instructions from Donald Trump. During the rally the PLO plaque was removed from the wall. The Palestinian flag was left flying because the building is privately owned and does not belong to the government (Ma’an, October 11, 2018). Husam Zomlot, who until recently was the PA representative in the United States, was appointed by Mahmoud Abbas to represent the PA in Britain (Husam Zomlot’s Facebook page, October 1, 2018).
The final closing of the PLO offices in Washington. The Palestinian flag remained(QudsN Facebook page, October 11, 2018).
 On the morning of October 17, 2018, two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory. One hit a home in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, causing extensive damage to the house. The other fell in the sea off the coast of central Israel. ↑
 For further information, see the October 14, 2018 bulletin, "Summary of Events on the Israel-Gaza Border." ↑
 The statistics do not include rockets that fell inside the Gaza Strip. ↑
 Ahmed Abd al-Ja'ber Salim was killed on January 15, 2018, in a clash with IDF forces near the security fence in Jayus, northeast of Qalqilya. ↑
 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. ↑
 Shawan Rateb Abdallah Jabarin, originally from the village of Sayeir, near Hebron, is a lawyer. After studying law in Ireland he was elected head of al-Haq, which conducts lawfare against Israel. Since 2010 he has been a part time lecturer at Bir Zeit University. According to several reports in the past he was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Today he denies membership in the organization. ↑