Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., March 3, 2024)

An al-Jazeera TV presenter describes the activity of the IDF forces in the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City (right) and in the west and north of Khan Yunis (left) (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, March 2, 2024)

An al-Jazeera TV presenter describes the activity of the IDF forces in the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City (right) and in the west and north of Khan Yunis (left) (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, March 2, 2024)

Hisham Zaqout reports from Rafah (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, March 3, 2024)

Hisham Zaqout reports from Rafah (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, March 3, 2024)

IDF forces in the central Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, March 1, 2024)

IDF forces in the central Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, March 1, 2024)

IDF forces in the central Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, March 1, 2024)

IDF forces in the central Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, March 1, 2024)

The airlift (QudsN X account, March 2, 2024)

The airlift (QudsN X account, March 2, 2024)

The vehicle before the attack.

The vehicle before the attack.

The scene of the shooting attack at the gas station at the entrance to Eli (IDF spokesperson’s X account, February 29, 2024)

The scene of the shooting attack at the gas station at the entrance to Eli (IDF spokesperson’s X account, February 29, 2024)

Prayer on the Temple Mount (Safa X account, March 1, 2024)

Prayer on the Temple Mount (Safa X account, March 1, 2024)

The solidarity rally in Sana’a (Yahya Saria's X account, March 1, 2024)

The solidarity rally in Sana’a (Yahya Saria's X account, March 1, 2024)

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry speaking at the GCC meeting (al-Hadath, March 3, 2024)

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry speaking at the GCC meeting (al-Hadath, March 3, 2024)

Riyadh al-Maliki at the Antalya Diplomatic Forum (Facebook page of the Palestinian foreign ministry, March 2, 2024)

Riyadh al-Maliki at the Antalya Diplomatic Forum (Facebook page of the Palestinian foreign ministry, March 2, 2024)

Northern Arena, Israeli Casualties, Rocket Fire

Overview[1]
  • The southern arena: On March 3, 2024, the IDF forces launched a large-scale attack in western Khan Yunis. It began with an aerial attack on approximately 50 terrorist targets, after which the forces stormed and attacked terrorist targets and armed squads on the ground. Over the weekend they continued operating in previous and new areas. They also operated in the Abasan area east of Khan Yunis, near the Israeli border. Rockets were launched at Israel for three consecutive days including Hatzerim Airbase; the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) claimed responsible for two of the attacks.
  • According to unofficial data, since October 7, 2023, approximately 1,500 Israeli civilians and security personnel have been killed, 585 of them soldiers and officers; 130 civilian and military hostages are still being held by the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip; 123 hostages have been released.
  • Negotiations for a hostage deal: The Hamas delegation arrived in Cairo to continue talks for a ceasefire and hostage deal. Hamas insisted that the temporary cease-fire become permanent and the IDF withdraw from the Strip. Hamas refused Israel’s request for a list of the hostages, adding there was a window of opportunity for a deal which would close at the beginning of Ramadan on March 11, 2024.
  • The Gaza Strip: In cooperation with Jordan, an American plane airlifted humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. Some people in the Gaza Strip were critical, claiming the supplies were insufficient, did not reach the right recipients and made UNRWA’s role redundant. Arab and international officials continue to allege Israel killed Gazans during the distribution of humanitarian aid near Gaza City. They called on the international community to conduct an investigation and provide protection for the Palestinians.
  • The northern arena: Over the weekend Hezbollah claimed responsibility for 20 attacks against Israel. In response, the IDF carried out airstrikes and fired artillery at Hezbollah targets. Three operatives of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Imam Hossein Division were killed in a targeted aerial attack on the Naqourah road,.
  • Syria: A building in the city of Baniyas in the Tartus Governate was attacked. Three people were killed, one of them a military advisor to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and two were apparently Hezbollah operatives.
  • Judea and Samaria: Two terrorist attacks were carried out; one was a shooting attack at the Eli gas station (between Nablus and Ramallah) in which two people were killed. The shooter was an investigating officer in the Palestinian police force with the rank of captain. Another attack was carried out in Dahariya in Area A (south of Mount Hebron). An Israeli citizen who had gone for medical treatment was stabbed and superficially injured.
  • The pro-Iranian militias: The Houthis attacked another a ship in the Red Sea. United States and EU coalition military forces attacked Houthi targets. According to reports, the British cargo ship attacked on February 18, 2024, sank.
  • A third diplomatic meeting dealing with the war in the Gaza Strip was held in Turkey under the auspices of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki represented the Palestinian Authority (PA). Russia initiated a meeting in Moscow attended by representatives of the Palestinian “organizations.” The summary announcement of the meeting detailed ten points on which the organizations had agreed; further meetings will be held in the future.
The Southern Arena
  • On the morning of March 3, 2024, Palestinian media reported that the focal points of the IDF attacks in the Gaza Strip were the following: in the northern Gaza Strip there were airstrikes in the Jabaliya refugee camp and the Saftawi neighborhood, north of Gaza City. In Gaza City, the IDF attacked in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood (southwest Gaza City) and [allegedly] continued shooting at residents awaiting the arrival of humanitarian aid on al-Rashid Street (in the west of the city). In the central Gaza Strip the IDF attacked in the west of the Nuseirat refugee camp and in eastern Deir al-Balah. In Khan Yunis the IDF carried out 20 attacks in the north of the city. According to reports, IDF forces entered from the Qarara area, in the east of Khan Yunis, and advanced towards the Hamad neighborhood in the west of the city. In Rafah, the IDF attacked in the al-Salam neighborhood (east) and the Tel al-Sultan neighborhood (west), as well as near the Egyptian border (Ma’an, March 3, 2024 ).
An al-Jazeera TV presenter describes the activity of the IDF forces in the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City (right) and in the west and north of Khan Yunis (left) (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, March 2, 2024)     An al-Jazeera TV presenter describes the activity of the IDF forces in the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City (right) and in the west and north of Khan Yunis (left) (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, March 2, 2024)
An al-Jazeera TV presenter describes the activity of the IDF forces in the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City (right) and in the west and north of Khan Yunis (left) (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, March 2, 2024)
  • The southern Gaza Strip: On March 3, 2024, the IDF launched a massive attack in western Khan Yunis. It began with an Israeli Air Force fighter jet and artillery force attack. Approximately 50 terrorist targets were attacked, including underground facilities, military buildings, anti-tank firing positions, booby-trapped buildings and the assembly points of armed terrorists who posed a threat to the forces. After the airstrike, the forces stormed and attacked terrorist targets and armed terrorist squads (IDF spokesperson, March 3, 2023).
Attacks in Khan Yunis (IDF spokesperson, March 3, 2024)    Attacks in Khan Yunis (IDF spokesperson, March 3, 2024)
Attacks in Khan Yunis (IDF spokesperson, March 3, 2024)
  • Palestinian media reported on the IDF activity in the Hamad neighborhood, north of Khan Yunis, stating IDF tanks were surrounding the neighborhood and the forces were calling on the residents to evacuate to safer areas (QudsN X account, March 3, 2024). Hisham Zaqout, a correspondent for al-Jazeera TV in Rafah, reported that the IDF was carrying out massive attacks around Khan Yunis, especially in the west of the city, and that IDF forces had reentered the Hamad neighborhood (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, March 3, 2024).
IDF tanks in the Hamad neighborhood in northern Khan Yunis (Shehab X account, March 3, 2024)
IDF tanks in the Hamad neighborhood in northern Khan Yunis (Shehab X account, March 3, 2024)
  • Over the weekend the forces continued operating in previous and new areas. They raided the houses of senior Hamas terrorists, locating large quantities of weapons. A weapons warehouse was also found. The forces clashed with dozens of armed terrorists who ambushed the forces in the heart of residential neighborhoods, fighting the terrorists in face-to-face battles with aerial support. Dozens of armed terrorists were detained while hiding in a school (IDF spokesperson, March 1-2, 2024). IDF fighters arrived at a compound belonging to Yahya al-Sinwar and found weapons. In a raid on another compound, a large quantity of military equipment, Hamas uniforms, vests, submachine guns, binoculars, a laptop and ammunition were found (IDF spokesperson, March 2, 2024).
  • Meanwhile, the forces operated in the areas of Greater and Lesser Abasan to the east of Khan Yunis, about two kilometers (a little over a mile) from the Israeli border. The operation began with attacks on dozens of targets above and below the ground and searches of terrorists’ houses, which revealed a hideout containing anti-tank missiles, drones, sniper rifles, Kalashnikov rifles, grenades, explosives and RPGs. The activity was carried out amid clashes with armed terrorist squads (IDF spokesperson, March 1, 2024).
Weapons found by IDF forces (IDF spokesperson, March 1, 2024)
Weapons found by IDF forces (IDF spokesperson, March 1, 2024)    
  • In the Rafah area, IDF forces attacked PIJ terrorist operatives near a hospital. The attack was carried out with precision to prevent damage to the hospital (IDF spokesperson, March 2, 2024). On March 3, 2024, Hisham Zaqout, a correspondent for al-Jazeera TV in Rafah, reported massive and unprecedented IDF attacks in Rafah. He claimed 30 deaths had been recorded so far and civil defense forces were continuing rescue operations (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, March 3, 2024).
Hisham Zaqout reports from Rafah (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, March 3, 2024)
Hisham Zaqout reports from Rafah (al-Jazeera YouTube channel, March 3, 2024)
Israeli Air Force attack on a post in the Yibna refugee camp in Rafah (QudsN X account, March 2, 2024)      Israeli Air Force attack in the al-Shu'outh neighborhood in Rafah, near the Egyptian border (Shehab X account, March 2, 2024).
Right: Israeli Air Force attack in the al-Shu’outh neighborhood in Rafah, near the Egyptian border (Shehab X account, March 2, 2024). Left: Israeli Air Force attack on a post in the Yibna refugee camp in Rafah (QudsN X account, March 2, 2024)
  • The central Gaza Strip: IDF forces killed several terrorist squads attempting to attack them, and located weapons (IDF spokesperson, March 2, 2024).
IDF forces in the central Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, March 1, 2024)     IDF forces in the central Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, March 1, 2024)
IDF forces in the central Gaza Strip (IDF spokesperson, March 1, 2024)
Rocket fire from the Gaza Strip
  • Over the weekend there were three rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip:
    • On the afternoon of February 29, 2024, rockets were launched at the cities, towns and villages surrounding the Gaza Strip, including Sderot. In response, Israeli Air Force aircraft attacked the area from which the rockets were launched, as well as several other targets, including a tunnel shaft and military buildings used by Hamas (IDF spokesperson, March 1, 2024). Later, ground forces in the central Gaza Strip directed Israeli Air Force aircraft to attack the terrorist facility from which the launches had been carried out (IDF spokesperson, March 2, 2024).
    • On the evening March 1, 2024, rockets were launched from the northern Gaza Strip at the western Lakish area, the southern industrial zone in Ashqelon, and the towns and villages surrounding the Gaza Strip, including Zikim. The Jerusalem Brigades, the PIJ’s military-terrorist wing, reported that at 9 p.m., the hour when the PIJ under the command of Bahaa Abu al-Atta used to launch rockets, they had fired rocket barrages towards Ashqelon and the towns and villages surrounding the Gaza Strip (Paltoday Telegram channel, March 1, 2024). In response, Israeli Air Force aircraft directed by ground forces attacked the area from which the launch was carried out as well as other targets, including launch pits and Hamas terrorist facilities (IDF spokesperson, March 2, 2024).
    • On March 2 at 7:44 p.m., rockets were fired at the area surrounding the Gaza Strip, including Be’eri, the central Negev area, and Hatzerim. The Jerusalem Brigades claimed responsibility for launching a barrage of rockets at Hatzerim and the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip (Paltoday Telegram channel, March 2, 2024).
Israeli casualties
  • According to unofficial data, since October 7, 2023, approximately 1,500 Israeli people have been killed. According to the IDF spokesperson, 585 of them are soldiers and officers (245 since the start of the ground maneuver on 27 October, 2023); 130 civilian and military hostages are still being held by the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip; 123 hostages have been released.
The issue of the hostages and a ceasefire agreement
  • A Hamas delegation led by Khalil al-Haya, a member of the Hamas political bureau, arrived in Cairo for another round of talks on a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip (Reuters, March 3, 2024).
  • A “senior source in Hamas” said the beginning of Ramadan (March 11) was the final date agreed upon by the [terrorist] organizations to continue negotiations, adding that Hamas would inform the mediators that talks in Cairo would be the last opportunity before Ramadan. According to the source, either an agreement would be reached or the door would close and everyone would be left to their fate, especially with the “escalation” in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. He stated that Hamas and the “resistance” [terrorist organizations] would not provide information about the hostages they were holding unless the suffering of the Gazans was relieved and unless a comprehensive ceasefire was implemented. He said that as far as the negotiations were concerned, everything had to have a price, Hamas had made its demands and Israel had to meet them to free its hostages and save those who were still alive (al-Araby al-Jadeed, March 3, 2024).
  • A “senior Hamas member” said Hamas would respond to the ceasefire proposal during the meetings in Cairo, and claimed that if Israel responded [positively] to Hamas’ demands, the road to an agreement could be paved in the coming hours. He claimed Hamas had adopted “flexibility” that would end the war, lead to [an IDF] military withdrawal and the return of the residents (al-Sharq channel X account, March 3, 2024).
  • In preparation for the resumption of negotiations, two “Egyptian security sources” and a “senior Hamas member” reported that Hamas insisted on its demand that the temporary truce had to be the beginning of a process to end the war. According to the Egyptian sources, Hamas had received guarantees that the conditions for a permanent ceasefire would be determined in the second and third stages of the agreement. They added that they agreed on the duration of the initial pause, a phase that is expected to last about six weeks. Hamas has not yet responded to a request to comment on the guarantees or whether they are sufficient to move forward with a six-week ceasefire (Reuters, March 3, 2024).
  • A “senior Palestinian figure” involved in the mediation efforts said a gap in positions still existed regarding the end of the war and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip. The two Egyptian sources stated that the completion of the deal still required an agreement on the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the northern Gaza Strip and the return of the residents (swissinfo website, March 3, 2024).
  • Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas member, reiterated Hamas’ position yet again, stating that any negotiation which did not begin with a ceasefire, the introduction of aid, and the beginning of the reconstruction of the Strip, could not be taken seriously. He claimed the delegation had gone to Cairo to discuss its conditions and not provide answers. In response an American senior official’s March 2 statement quoted by the news agencies, that there was progress and Israel had agreed to a certain extent to a six-week ceasefire deal, and now the ball was in Hamas’ court, Hamdan claimed it was part of the [alleged] “deception” perpetrated by the United States government and the obverse of the military attack, in which the United States was a full partner. According to Hamdan, it expressed the lack of seriousness on the part of the United States and Israel to reach a permanent ceasefire, and what was delaying the ceasefire was the continued American support for Israeli “aggression,” and Israel’s continued “procrastination” in the hope of achieving one of its goals. He added that Israel did not want a ceasefire and wanted to continue fighting, and therefore was only talking about a temporary truce. Hamdan claimed Hamas was making “every possible effort” to end the “aggression” against the Gaza Strip, and hoped to achieve that goal in the current round of talks (al-Arabi TV YouTube channel, March 3, 2024).

שבל ם ןם

The Gaza Strip
Palestinian casualties
  • The Hamas-controlled ministry of health in the Gaza Strip reported at 10:15 a.m., March 3, 2024, that during the past day 90 Gazans had been killed and 177 wounded, bringing the number of dead since the beginning of the war to 30,410 and the number of wounded to 71,700 (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, March 3, 2024).
  • Husam Abd al-Ghafar, spokesman for the Egyptian ministry of health, reported that more than 3,000 Gazans were being treated in hospitals in Egypt, all of whom were in serious condition. He said that of the 48,000 Palestinians who had passed through the Rafah Crossing between the beginning of the war and February 23, 2024, 42,000 had been given medical examinations. He noted that in addition to the hospitalized wounded, close to a 1000 wounded Gazans had been transferred to other countries for treatment. He said the severity of the injuries required long hospital stays and that 60% of the injured were children and women (Wafa, March 1, 2024).
Aid for the Gaza Strip
  • Mohamed al-Khulaifi, minister of state at the Qatari foreign ministry, met in New York with Martin Griffith, the UN coordinator for humanitarian affairs. They discussed the UN mechanism for accelerating the introduction of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip and the need to strengthen efforts to reach a ceasefire (Qatari foreign ministry website, March 2, 2024).
  • American President Joe Biden said the transfer of aid to the Gaza Strip was insufficient and announced America’s intention to airlift supplies. He also said they were trying to reach a ceasefire to allow more aid to be brought in (Reuters, March 1, 2024). On March 2, 2024, the Central Command of the United States Army (CENTCOM) announced that with the Jordanian Air Force they had dropped humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, including more than 38,000 meals, and were potentially planning additional missions (Southern Command X account, March 2, 2024).
 The airlift (QudsN X account, March 2, 2024)    Loading the plane (CENTCOM X account, March 2, 2024).
Right: Loading the plane (CENTCOM X account, March 2, 2024). Left: The airlift (QudsN X account, March 2, 2024)
  • The airlift was also criticized:
    • Mahmoud Abu Salama, a correspondent from the northern Gaza Strip, said the aid airlifted in was insufficient and hardly met the requirements of a small neighborhood in Gaza City. He called for bringing more aid into the Strip through the crossings (Shehab X account, March 2, 2024).
    • The department of refugee affairs and the [so-called] “right of return” of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) noted UNRWA’s role and responsibility for transporting and transferring aid to all areas of the Gaza Strip, including the Gaza District and the northern Gaza Strip. According to the PFLP, airlifting humanitarian aid weakened UNRWA, which had capabilities, equipment, expertise and personnel teams, especially in light of the randomness and limited scope of the airlift operations, which did not guarantee the aid would reach all the Gazans. According to the department, those who could coordinate the airlift could also coordinate the entry of UNRWA vehicles and convoys, and the international authorities’ ignoring UNRWA had political aspects that supported Israel’s intentions to stop UNRWA’s activities in the Gaza Strip (Popular Front Telegram channel, March 2, 2024).
    • Ihsan Ataya, a member of the PIJ’s political bureau and the head of the organization’s Arab and international relations department, said the airlift of humanitarian aid was carried out with Israel’s approval and its objective was “to humiliate the Palestinian people.” He added that the aid was intended to cause controversy among the Palestinians and said the aid should preserve the Palestinian people’s dignity (al-Mayadeen TV website, February 29, 2024).
Allegations of IDF attack on Gazans near Gaza City, continued
  • Following the IDF spokesperson’s statement regarding the details of the incident in al-Nabulsi Square in the northern Gaza Strip, Hamas claimed it was an attempt to avoid responsibility for the [alleged] “massacre” of more than 110 civilians who were waiting to receive aid. Hamas claimed that the “evidence” provided by the ministry of health in the Gaza Strip “confirmed” that the IDF had shot civilians in the upper body with intent to kill. In addition, Hamas claimed, there was “evidence” that the IDF forces were not in danger, and called for international legal proceedings (Hamas Telegram channel, February 29, 2024).
  • Arab and other international parties also responded to the events:
    • The Egyptian foreign ministry claimed that Israel’s [alleged] injury to Palestinian civilians who were waiting for humanitarian aid trucks to arrive was a “shameful crime and a violation of international law.” Egypt called on the international bodies and the Security Council to bear the moral and legal responsibility for ending the war (Egyptian foreign ministry X account, February 29, 2024).
    • The Jordanian foreign ministry condemned the [alleged] “brutal injury” to civilians. The ministry again called on the international community and the UN Security Council to provide protection for the Palestinians and claimed the [alleged] incident was a blatant violation of international law (Jordanian foreign ministry X account, February 29, 2024).
    • The Saudi foreign ministry renewed its demand for the international community to take steps that would oblige Israel to “respect humanitarian law” and open humanitarian corridors (Saudi News Agency, February 29, 2024).
    • The UAE, Qatar, Syria and Iraq also strongly condemned the [alleged] “massacre” which they claimed Israel had carried out of civilians who were waiting for aid in the Gaza Strip. The Qatari foreign ministry said the international community had to take responsibility and oblige Israel to obey international law, and demanded urgent international action to stop the [alleged] “aggression” (Ma’an news agency, al-Jazeera, SANA and the Iraqi news agency, February 29, 2024).
    • Volker Turk, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said that all parties in the conflict between Israel and Hamas had committed clear violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws, including war crimes. He called for an investigation and the prosecution of those responsible (UN website, February 29, 2024).
    • The members of the UN Security Council expressed deep concern and sent condolences to the families of the victims. They stated that all necessary measures had to be taken to protect residents and civilian infrastructure, the laws of international humanitarian law had to be complied with and the civilian population should not be deprived of basic services necessary for its survival. Israel had to leave the border crossings are open to facilitate aid shipments to the Gaza Strip (X account of the Swiss Mission to the UN, March 3, 2024).
    • Joseph Borrell, the EU foreign minister, said that the [alleged] Israeli shooting of more than a 100 desperate civilians trying to reach food was unjustified, and they were requesting an international investigation that would provide a clearer picture of the incident. He added that Israel had to take responsibility, comply with the rules of international law and adhere to the rules for distributing humanitarian aid to the civilian population, adding that non-stop fighting and complete disregard for the laws could lead to complete chaos (EU website, March 3, 2024).
The issue of “the day after”
  • Following Israel’s idea to appoint local tribal chiefs to be responsible for the northern Gaza Strip instead of the Hamas administration, and an Israeli attempt to promote the idea that armed groups of local residents would secure the aid trucks to prevent their looting, according to reports Israel has begun taking steps on the ground to implement the ideas. “Sources” stated that the office of the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) had contacted tribal leaders in the Gaza Strip who were originally in conflict with Hamas, and noted that many rejected Israel’s proposal to establish armed groups to protect specific areas. However, one large tribe did agree to the proposal, and another is still negotiating. “Hamas sources” said that the movement was fully informed about the ongoing contacts and was monitoring violations committed by armed men to cause chaos, sabotage and incitement. According to the sources, the Hamas leadership would settle accounts with them, and they would pay the price for their actions (al-Sharq al-Awsat, March 2, 2024).
Hamas-China relations
  • Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, met with the Chinese ambassador in Qatar and discussed developments related to the situation in the Gaza Strip, ways to stop the war and bring in aid. Haniyeh expressed his support for bilateral Hamas-Chinese relations and praised the role that China played in the Security Council and the UN, and in sending humanitarian aid to the Strip (Telegram channel of Haniya’s media information office, February 29, 2024).

Call for terrorist attacks during Ramadan

  • Abu Hamza, spokesman for PIJ’s military wing, said they were calling for the “occupation” to be plagued by “terror and anxiety” during Ramadan. He claimed “the day after” in the Gaza Strip would be determined by the “resistance” [terrorist organizations] alone. He also called for making the first day of Ramadan an international day of support for the Gaza Strip and for mobilization “in all arenas” (PIJ media information unit, March 2, 2024).

שבל ם ןם

The Northern Arena
Hezbollah attacks
  • During the weekend of February 29 – March 2, 2024, Hezbollah claimed responsibility for 20 attacks using anti-tank missiles, Katyusha, Falaq 1 and Burkan rockets, whose warheads weigh between 300 and 500 kilograms (between 660 and 1,100 pounds) and UAVs (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, February 29 – March 3, 2024).
  • On the afternoon of March 1, 2024, Hezbollah claimed responsibility for attacking a group of soldiers in the Mayan Baruch area using a suicide UAV, which, according to the claim, crashed and caused a direct hit (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, March 1, 2024).
  • On March 1, 2024, Hezbollah announced the interception of an Israeli UAV in the Wadi al-Aziyyah area (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, March 1, 2024). The al-Nur network reported an Israeli drone had crashed in south Lebanon and was handed over to the Lebanese Army for inspection (Radio al-Nur, March 1, 2024).
The Israeli drone (Radio al-Nur, March 1, 2024)
The Israeli drone (Radio al-Nur, March 1, 2024)
IDF response
  • In response to Hezbollah’s attacks, the IDF forces carried out airstrikes and fired artillery at Hezbollah targets in south Lebanon. Among the targets were terrorist facilities, military buildings and Hezbollah terrorist squads. The attacks focused on Ramyeh, Aita al-Sha’ab, Jabal Blat and Labouneh (IDF spokesperson March 1, 2024).
Attacks on Balida(IDF spokesperson, February 29, March 1, 2024)     Attacking Hezbollah targets in Jabal Blat.
Right: Attacking Hezbollah targets in Jabal Blat. Left: Attacks on Balida(IDF spokesperson, February 29, March 1, 2024)
  Attack on Ramyeh (Right: Ali Shoeib's X account, March 2, 2024. Center and left: Mariam Issa's X account, March 2, 2024)
Attack on Ramyeh (Right: Ali Shoeib’s X account, March 2, 2024. Center and left: Mariam Issa’s X account, March 2, 2024)
Attack in Aita al-Sha'ab (Amalia Nabil's X account , March 1, 2024)      Attack in Balida (al-Jadeed News X account, March 2, 2024).
Right: Attack in Balida (al-Jadeed News X account, March 2, 2024). Left: Attack in Aita al-Sha’ab (Amalia Nabil’s X account , March 1, 2024)
  • On March 2, 2024, the Lebanese recorded Israeli warplanes flying at low altitude over the Dahiyah al-Janoubia Hezbollah stronghold in south Beirut (Sawt Beirut International X account, March 2, 2024).
An Israeli F-15 plane flies over the Dahiyah al-Janoubia (Sawt Beirut International X account, March 2, 2024)
An Israeli F-15 plane flies over the Dahiyah al-Janoubia
(Sawt Beirut International X account, March 2, 2024)
Targeted killing
  • According to reports, on March 2, 2024, a UAV attacked a vehicle driving on the main road of al-Naqourah. It was the first attack since the beginning of the war on the coastal road between Tyre and Rosh Hanikra, which is considered a safe area because of the movement of UNIFIL forces (al-Akhbar Telegram channel, March 2, 2024). The Sky News network reported “from initial information” that three people were killed in an Israeli attack on a vehicle in Naqourah (Sky News, March 2, 2024). According to a different report, one of those killed was a Hezbollah commander and the other two were Hezbollah operatives (Fahd’s X account, March 2, 2024). The IDF spokesperson reported that an aircraft attacked a vehicle containing a number of terrorists who had launched rockets at Israel. The terrorists belonged to the Imam Hossein Division, which is part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and operates in the service of Hezbollah (IDF spokesperson, March 2, 2024).
 Attack on the vehicles (IDF spokesperson, March 2, 2024)     The vehicle before the attack.
Right: The vehicle before the attack. Left: Attack on the vehicles
(IDF spokesperson, March 2, 2024)
The remains of the vehicles (Fouad Khreiss' X account, March 2, 2024)    Attack on a vehicle in al-Naqourah (Fatma Fatuni's, March 2, 2024).
Right: Attack on a vehicle in al-Naqourah (Fatma Fatuni’s, March 2, 2024). Left: The remains of the vehicles (Fouad Khreiss’ X account, March 2, 2024)
Hezbollah casualties
  • Hezbollah reported the death of ten operatives, all from south Lebanon (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, February 29 – March 2, 2024):
    • Mahmoud Ali Hamoud, aka Abu Hadi, born in 1986 in Kafra.
    • Ali Abdel Rahman Jum’ah, aka Danial, born in 2001 in Kafr Kila and a resident of Deb’aal.
    • Abd Allah Hassan Assal, aka Mathlum, born in 1986 in Deb’aal.
    • Ali Muhammad Shalhoub, aka Shehab, born in 1993 in Qana.
    • Muhammad Ali Ghabris, aka Karbala, born in 1994 in Teirdaba.
    • Mustafa Hussein Salman, aka Al-hurr, born in 1998 in Majdal Zoun.
    • Ali Abd al-Nabi Qassem, aka Saraj, born in 1993 in Mahrounah.
    • Farouq Muhammad Harb, aka Zulfiqar, born in 1986 in al-Hallousiyyeh.
    • Abbas Ahmed Khalil, aka Abu Ahmed Sajd, born in 1988 in al-Samma’iyah.
    • Hussein Muhammad Bedoui, aka Husseini, born in 1985 in Deir Qanoun Ras al-‘Ayn.
Hezbollah casualties (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, February 29 - March 2, 2024)
Hezbollah casualties (Hezbollah combat information Telegram channel, February 29 – March 2, 2024)
Statements by senior Hezbollah operative
  • Ali Da’moush, a senior Hezbollah operative, said that if Israel started a large-scale war in Lebanon, the failure awaiting it would be greater than the “previous times.” He stated that Hezbollah would continue to respond to Israeli attacks with all its force and in a manner suited to each attack and target, and that it would continue the “conflict” until the “aggression” against the Gaza Strip ended, regardless of the number of victims (al-‘Ahed, March 1, 2024).
The Lebanese army
  • Joseph Aoun, commander of the Lebanese army, met in Italy with the commanders of the armies of Italy, France, Spain, Germany and the UK to discuss support for the Lebanese army (X account of the Lebanese army, March 1, 2024).
UNIFIL
  • According to reports there was a confrontation between civilians and a UNIFIL force from the Malaysian Battalion who drove into the Hay al-Salam area, in the southern Dahiyah in Beirut, an area not within the mandate of the UNIFIL force’s activity. They were handed over to the Lebanese army and claimed their navigation system had malfunctioned (al-Mayadeen, March 1, 2024).
  • The deputy director of UNIFIL’s media information bureau stated that a UNIFIL vehicle on a routine patrol in the direction Beirut found itself “on an unplanned route.” She also reported that UNIFIL soldiers had been detained by local residents and were later released. She noted that in addition to the freedom of movement in UNIFIL’s area of activity, the organization’s personnel enjoyed freedom of movement and the agreement of the Lebanese government to move throughout the country for administrative and logistical reasons, a matter that she says was “necessary for implementing Resolution 1701” [sic] (al-Akhbar Telegram channel, March 1, 2024).
The Lebanese government
  • Najib Mikati, Lebanon’s interim prime minister, met with Martin Simpson, senior defense advisor of the UK for Middle East affairs, to discuss efforts to calm the situation in the region and adopt diplomatic solutions (Lebanese prime minister’s X account, February 29, 2024). Simpson also met in Lebanon with Maurice Salim, the Lebanese minister of defense, and with Joseph Aoun, commander of the Lebanese army (al-Nashra, February 29, 2024).
  • Najib Mikati said that even if a halt was reached in the military operations in the Gaza Strip, he believed they had weeks of negotiations ahead of them before they could reach long-term stability in south Lebanon. He added that he was certain that as soon as Israel stopped its actions against Lebanon, Hezbollah would not act and would not respond. He noted that a deal to stop the military operation in Gaza was on the horizon and could be implemented as early as next week (Reuters, February 29, 2024).
  • In an interview, Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib said the Lebanese government was holding consultations with Hezbollah and that they were binding. He claimed any Israeli attack on Lebanese soil would not “be a picnic” and would lead to a regional war. He stressed that they wanted peace on the borders but were ready for war if it was forced upon them. He also said they wanted a full solution to their border with Israel, not half-solutions, and that France had come up with good ideas on the issue they were examining and intended to respond to soon (al-Jazeera, March 1, 2024).
  • Nabih Berri, speaker of the Lebanese parliament, said that since the beginning of the current confrontation with Israel, Hezbollah had not exceeded the rules of warfare, since it directed its attacks against military sites only, while Israel was stepping up its attacks in Lebanon and targeting civilians and civilian institutions. Berri said Lebanon did not want war, but Israel was dragging the entire country into one, not just Hezbollah (al-Joumhouria, February 29, 2024).
Palestinians in Lebanon
  • On March 1, 2024, the Ummah Movement (Harakat al-Ummah) held a solidarity activity with the Palestinians at the mosque of the Islamic Da’wa College in Beirut, with the participation of Ali Abu Shaheen, a member of the PIJ’s political bureau, who was also presented as the person in charge of the organization’s Lebanese arena. In his speech, he said the “resistance” still stood firm and caused losses to Israel. He added that on the political front, the political leadership was holding out in the face of all pressures. He called on all Arab and Islamic countries and free people around the world not to sit idly by in the face of the massacre of Palestinians, and not to settle for declarations (Lebanese al-Watania News Agency, March 1, 2024; Iranian Taghrib News Agency, March 2, 2024).
Ali Abu Shahin speaking at the event (the Ummah Movement X account, March 2, 2024)
Ali Abu Shahin speaking at the event (the Ummah Movement X account, March 2, 2024)
Syria
  • On March 1, 2024, three explosions were reported in the city of Baniyas in Tartus Governorate. It was claimed that it was apparently an Israeli attack. Subsequently, it was reported that the attack targeted a building where three senior Iranian officials were staying (al-Hadath, March 1, 2024). Various Twitter accounts posted photos of the damage caused by the attack and attributed it to Israel. It should be emphasized that the reports about the attack were not published in media affiliated with the Syrian regime.
  • Iran confirmed that Reza Zarei, a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), was killed in the Israeli attack in Baniyas. Reportedly, Zarei had previously served in the IRGC’s navy (official channel for shaheeds in Iran, March 1, 2024). Iran’s Tasnim News Agency announced the death of Reza Zarei, a military advisor to the IRGC in Syria, who was killed in the attack in Baniyas (Tasnim, March 1, 2024). The Saberin News Telegram channel in Persian claimed that in addition to Zarei, two Hezbollah operatives had been killed in the attack (Saberin News, March 1, 2024). Sky News in Arabic reported that an Iranian and two other people had been killed in the attack, without associating them with Hezbollah (Sky News, March 1, 2024).
Reza Zarei, advisor to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (Tasnim News Agency, March 1, 2024)
Reza Zarei, advisor to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (Tasnim News Agency, March 1, 2024)

שבל ם ןם

Israel, Judea and Samaria
Terrorist attacks
  • On the afternoon of February 29, 2024, a Palestinian in a stolen vehicle with Israeli license plates arrived at the gas station at the entrance to the community of Eli armed with a rifle. He shot and killed two Israeli civilians. An IDF reserve officer shot and killed him (Israeli media, February 29, 2024).
  • The terrorist was reportedly Muhammed Yousef Diab Manasra, 31 years old, from the Qalandia refugee camp. He served as an investigating officer in the Palestinian police with the rank of captain. Fatah in the Qalandia refugee camp issued a notice mourning his death (aljazeera.net, March 1, 2024). Manasra had served two prison sentences in Israel and was released from Ofer Prison in 2019 (Israeli media, February 29, 2024). Following the attack, Israeli security forces raided his home in the Qalandia refugee camp to map the site in preparation for its demolition (IDF spokesperson, March 1, 2024).
  • Hamas issued an announcement praising the “heroic operation in the settlement of Eli” carried out by the heroic shaheed Muhammed Yousef Diab Manasra from the Qalandia refugee camp, an officer in the Palestinian police. Hamas called on the Palestinian public in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, and on members of the Palestinian security services to follow in his footsteps and aim their weapons at the “criminal Zionists’ chests” (Hamas Telegram channel, February 29, 2024).
The scene of the shooting attack at the gas station at the entrance to Eli (IDF spokesperson’s X account, February 29, 2024)
The scene of the shooting attack at the gas station at the entrance to Eli
(IDF spokesperson’s X account, February 29, 2024)
 Fatah mourning notice (aljazeera.net, March 1, 2024)    Muhammed Manasra, investigation officer in the Palestinian Police.
Right: Muhammed Manasra, investigation officer in the Palestinian Police. Left: Fatah mourning notice (aljazeera.net, March 1, 2024)
  • On the evening of March 2, 2024, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli civilian who had entered al-Dhahariya in Area A (south Hebron Hills) for dental treatment. The Israeli civilian sustained moderate injuries and evacuated independently to the Meitar crossing, from where he was transferred to Israel for further medical treatment (Israeli media, March 2, 2024). In the evening, the Israeli security forces detained the terrorist, and he was taken for questioning by security officials (IDF spokesperson’s X account, March 2, 2024). Entry of Israelis into Area A is prohibited in accordance with the order of the head of the IDF Central Command.
Counterterrorism activities
  • The Israeli security forces continued their counterterrorism activities in Judea and Samaria. The Palestinian media reported that in the past day, the Israeli security forces had detained 12 Palestinians, and that the detentions were carried out in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Nablus (Wafa.ps, March 3, 2024).
Activity of the PA’s security services
  • On the evening of March 2, 2024, PA security service operatives raided a shop in the al-Hadaf neighborhood on the outskirts of the Jenin refugee camp to detain Qais al-Saadi, a senior member of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, who has been wanted by Israel for two years. Qais al-Saadi, who previously served six years in prison in Israel, was present at the store but managed to escape. The PA service operatives shot at him, superficially wounding him in the leg. As a result, violent clashes broke out between armed operatives and members of the Palestinian security services, which spread to other areas as well. Dozens of armed operatives opened fire at the Muqata’a in Jenin (al-Araby al-Jadeed, March 3, 2024; Ultra Palestine website, March 3, 2024).

Qais al-Saadi after being wounded (Marwa Suleiman's X account, March 2, 2024)
Qais al-Saadi after being wounded (Marwa Suleiman’s X account, March 2, 2024)
  • Hamas issued a statement strongly condemning the attempted arrest and expressing its total opposition to the unpatriotic behavior, especially after the conference in Moscow (see below), which stressed the unity of the national ranks and support for the “resistance” against Israel (Palestine Online, March 3, 2024).
Prayers on the Temple Mount
  • The Palestinian department of religious endowments (waqf) in Jerusalem estimated the number of worshippers at Friday prayers on the Temple Mount on March 1, 2024, at about 20,000 Muslims (Anadolu News, March 1, 2024).
Prayer on the Temple Mount (Safa X account, March 1, 2024)
Prayer on the Temple Mount (Safa X account, March 1, 2024)
Expressions of solidarity with the Gaza Strip
  • On March 1, 2024, after Friday prayers, a march was held in Ramallah and al-Bireh in support of the Gaza Strip and the “resistance” attended by dozens of Palestinians. They chanted slogans of support for the “resistance,” and praise for Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq. They also called for the Rafah Crossing to be opened for the entry of aid (al-Araby al-Jadeed, March 2, 2024). A Hamas-initiated march was held in Tulkarm (Hurriya News, March 1, 2024).
 March in Tulkarm (Filastin al-Yawm TV X account, March 1, 2024)    March in Ramallah (Arabi Post X account, March 1, 2024).
Right: March in Ramallah (Arabi Post X account, March 1, 2024). Left: March in Tulkarm (Filastin al-Yawm TV X account, March 1, 2024)
Palestinian Authority (PA)
  • Mahmoud Abbas, PA chairman, held two meetings in his office in Ramallah, one with Sigrid Kaag, the UN senior humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator for Gaza, and the other with Samantha Power, head of the American Agency for International Development (USAID). Abbas briefed them on the latest developments, stressing the need to transfer humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip (Wafa, February 29, 2024).
  • Following Norway’s announcement that it had agreed to the outline for transferring the withheld tax revenues to the PA, it announced that the PA had received NIS 407 million (about $114 million) and would receive the remainder in the coming days  (Reuters, February 29, 2024).

שבל ם ןם

Iran
  • Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, speaking at the summit of heads of state of gas exporters held in Algeria on March 2, 2024, said the nations of the world had to support the Palestinian people in all possible ways. He said the establishment of the “Zionist regime” had been a “colonial project” designed to maintain Western control and influence in the region. He added that if the United States and the EU really wanted to stop the war in the Gaza Strip, they should stop supporting Israel. He called for the expulsion of Israel from the UN, adding that the “resistance” [terrorist] activities of Hamas, the PIJ, Hezbollah and the Houthis against “Zionist aggression” were admirable (Tasnim, March 2, 2024). During his visit to Algeria, Raisi met with Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to discuss developments in the Gaza Strip and the economic relations between several countries in the region and Israel (ISNA, March 2, 2024).
  • During his visit to Algeria, President Raisi also met with his Iraqi counterpart, Abdel Latif Rashid. Raisi criticized the failure of several Arab and Islamic countries to fulfill their obligations to the Palestinian cause, saying that severing commercial and economic relations with the “Zionist entity” was a practical solution to stop the “crimes of the Zionists” (Tasnim, March 3, 2024).
  • Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Iranian foreign minister, spoke with Mohammad bin Abdulrahman bin Jassem Al Thani, Qatari foreign minister and prime minister, to discuss efforts for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and sending humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip (Tasnim, February 29, 2024).
Pro-Iranian militias
Iraq
  • “Sources” in Iraq revealed that the armed militias had provided guarantees to the Iraqi government not to violate the ceasefire with the United States and stressed that the quiet would continue until an agreement between Iraq and the United States regarding the end of the international coalition presence in the country was formally reached. According to a senior Iraqi official, the government provided guarantees to those militias that the presence of the international coalition forces would be stopped and obtained guarantees from the armed militias not to violate the ceasefire so that it would not affect the dialogue with the United States. It was also reported that militia operatives were following the work of the Iraqi-American Military Committee and waiting for its report, and that the current situation was very calming and there were no signs of escalation (al-Araby al-Jadeed, March 2, 2024).
Yemen
  • Houthi activity: The United States Central Command (CENTCOM) reported that on March 1, 2024, at 9:46 p.m., the Houthis fired an anti-ship ballistic missile from Yemen toward the Red Sea, and that no vessels were hit or damaged (CENTCOM X account, March 2, 2024).The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) reported an attack on a ship in the Red Sea 15 nautical miles west of the port of al-Mokha in Yemen, and said the crew had anchored the ship and had been evacuated by the military authorities (UKMTO X account, March 2, 2024).
  • Activity against the Houthis: CENTCOM reported that on March 1, 2024, at around 11:40 a.m., its forces attacked a Houthi surface-to-air missile that was ready to be launched towards the Red Sea and posed a threat to American planes in the region (CENTCOM X account, March 2, 2024). The Houthis reported that “the United States and Britain attacked the al-Salif and al-Durayhimi districts in Yemen’s al-Hudaydah Governorate” (al-Masirah, February 29, 2024). The Italian defense ministry reported that the Duilio warship had shot down a Houthi UAV flying towards it, as part of the European Union’s naval mission to help protect international shipping in the Red Sea from Houthi attacks (Reuters, March 2, 2024).
  • Houthi leader Abd al-Malik al-Houthi said in a speech that they would continue to prevent ships from reaching Israel via Bab al-Mandeb until the “aggression” against the Gaza Strip was stopped and the siege lifted. He said that so far, they had attacked 54 ships with 384 missiles, and that it was very rare for a ship destined for Israel to pass through Bab al-Mandeb. He also said that it was the United States that was harming international shipping (al-Mayadeen, February 29, 2024).
  • CENTCOM confirmed that the British cargo ship Rubymar, flying the Belize flag, had sunk in the Red Sea after being hit by a Houthi ballistic missile two weeks ago (February 18, 2024). It was also reported that the ship was carrying about 21,000 tons of ammonium fertilizer, which poses a great danger to the environment, and that in the event of a ship’s sinking, the material will become an underwater threat for other ships passing through the area (CENTCOM X account, March 3, 2024).
  • On March 1, 2024, the Houthis in Sana’a organized a rally in solidarity with the Gaza Strip (Houthi armed forces spokesman Yahya Saria’s X account, March 1, 2024).
The solidarity rally in Sana’a (Yahya Saria's X account, March 1, 2024)
The solidarity rally in Sana’a (Yahya Saria’s X account, March 1, 2024)
The Arab Arena
Egypt
  • Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi spoke by phone with American President Joe Biden. They discussed the joint efforts of Egypt, Qatar and the United States to achieve a humanitarian pause in the Gaza Strip, reach a ceasefire and a hostage deal, and send humanitarian aid. El-Sisi stressed that an immediate and permanent ceasefire had to be reached. Biden noted that he appreciated the joint efforts to reach calm and expressed his particular appreciation for “the Egyptian efforts.” They also stressed that the expansion of the conflict in the region had to be avoided (Egyptian presidential website, February 29, 2024).
  • Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said at a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that the war in the Gaza Strip had political, security and humanitarian implications that affected the entire region and global security. According to him, if there was no stability and security, it would lead to greater extremism in the region, and therefore the two-state solution had to be implemented (al-Hadath, March 3, 2024).
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry speaking at the GCC meeting (al-Hadath, March 3, 2024)
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry speaking at the GCC meeting
(al-Hadath, March 3, 2024)
Kuwait
  • The Kuwaiti court which is the country’s highest judicial instance designed Lebanese Hezbollah as a prohibited and criminal organization by law. The court determined that it was an armed group planning to destroy Kuwait’s basic rules to create a large Iranian republic. It was also determined that Hezbollah was an organization that believed in the Iranian revolution and its principles and aspired to spread it in Kuwait (al-Sharq al-Awsat, March 1, 2024).
The International Arena
UNRWA
  • Josep Borrell, EU foreign minister, announced the transfer of €50 million to UNRWA at the request of many EU countries. Borrell noted that it was the first phase of the transfer of funds and that the European Union recognized UNRWA as an irreplaceable entity (Josep Borrell’s X account, March 2, 2024).
Turkey
  • In Antalya, Turkey, the third Diplomatic Forum was held under the auspices of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The forum was attended by 29 heads of state and 60 foreign ministers. This year’s focus was the war in the Gaza Strip. Riyadh al-Maliki, PA foreign minister, represented the PA. He said that peace, security and stability in the Middle East could not be achieved without guaranteeing the rights of the Palestinians. According to him, before Israel rushed to achieve peace agreements with other countries, it first had to start with the Palestinians. He also said that imposing international sanctions on Israel would help place obstacles in its way and make it difficult for Israel to commit “crimes” against the Gaza Strip.
Riyadh al-Maliki at the Antalya Diplomatic Forum (Facebook page of the Palestinian foreign ministry, March 2, 2024)
Riyadh al-Maliki at the Antalya Diplomatic Forum (Facebook page of the Palestinian foreign ministry, March 2, 2024)
  • On the sidelines of the forum, Riyadh al-Maliki held a number of meetings, including a meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein, with whom he discussed the latest developments, including the [alleged] “Israeli crime” in al-Nabulsi Square in the Gaza Strip (PA foreign ministry Telegram channel, March 2, 2024). He also met with Abdallah Bou Habib, Lebanon’s foreign minister. They discussed the situation in the Gaza Strip and the “consequences of Israeli aggression” (PA foreign ministry Telegram channel, March 2, 2024). He also met with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (Wafa, March 2, 2024).
  • Abdallah Bou Habib, Lebanese foreign minister, warned that a war in Lebanon would be serious and would turn into a regional war. He said Israel should not underestimate Hezbollah’s power. He noted that to achieve peace, Israel had to withdraw from the Lebanese occupied territories (al-Jazeera Mubasher, March 2, 2024).
Russia
  • A meeting of representatives of the Palestinian organizations initiated by Russia was held in Moscow. The meeting was attended by Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, Musa Abu Marzouq and Hussam Badran, members of Hamas’ political bureau, and Ihsan Ataya, a member of the PIJ’s political bureau and head of the PIJ’s department of Arab and international relations.
Meeting of the Palestinian factions in Moscow (al-Mayadeen TV website, February 29, 2024)
Meeting of the Palestinian factions in Moscow (al-Mayadeen TV website, February 29, 2024)
  • Azzam al-Ahmad, a senior Fatah figure, said their differences of opinion were very small in relation to what connected them (Erem News, February 29, 2024). Bassam al-Salehi, secretary-general of the Palestinian People’s Party, said that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had stressed Russia’s support for the rights of the Palestinian people to establish an independent state within the 1967 borders (Anadolu News, February 29, 2024).
  • After the end of their meeting in Moscow, the Palestinian organizations issued a concluding statement including ten points on which the organizations reached agreements during the meeting. Among the points mentioned: the need to deal with Israeli aggression, thwarting attempts to uproot Palestinians from their territories, lifting the siege, withdrawing IDF forces from the Gaza Strip and other occupied areas, and full support for prisoners in prisons and prioritizing efforts to release them. It was also stated that the meeting had been positive and that it was agreed to hold additional meetings in the future to reach comprehensive national unity. The organizations expressed their appreciation to Russia for hosting the meeting and for its support for the Palestinian cause (Hamas Telegram channel, March 1, 2024).
  • On the sidelines of the organizations’ meeting in Moscow, the Hamas delegation met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov to discuss the meetings and the positive results achieved by the organizations in the unification of the Palestinian ranks. The delegation also briefed him on the course of the fighting in the Gaza Strip and the harm done to the Palestinians (Hamas Telegram channel, March 1, 2024).
  • Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said they demanded Russia play a role in the conflict. He said they would schedule another meeting of the organizations to determine who had the authority to form the government. On the subject of the hostages, he said a ceasefire had to be reached first in order to prepare lists of hostages in the Gaza Strip (Sputnik, March 2, 2024). Ihsan Ataya, a member of the PIJ’s political bureau, said in an interview after the conference that talks of the PIJ joining the PLO were premature because there were many obstacles that had to be overcome and dealt with, especially since the rebuilding of the PLO required efforts so that it could absorb organizations that rejected the Oslo Accords and believed in the armed struggle as a way to liberate Palestine (Sputnik website in Arabic, March 2, 2024).

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