Spotlight on Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (August 9-15, 2023)

A Tulkarm Battalion representative delivers a eulogy (al-Fajar TV in Tulkarm YouTube channel, August 11, 2023).

A Tulkarm Battalion representative delivers a eulogy (al-Fajar TV in Tulkarm YouTube channel, August 11, 2023).

The funeral held in the Tulkarm refugee camp (al-Ghad, August 11, 2023)

The funeral held in the Tulkarm refugee camp (al-Ghad, August 11, 2023)

Amir Khalifa (alresala.net, August 10, 2023)

Amir Khalifa (alresala.net, August 10, 2023)

Musa Abu Marzouq during the interview (al-Ghad TV, August 8, 2023).

Musa Abu Marzouq during the interview (al-Ghad TV, August 8, 2023).

The summit meeting in Egypt (Wafa, August 14, 2023)

The summit meeting in Egypt (Wafa, August 14, 2023)

The Saudi Arabian ambassador to Jordan presents his credentials to Mahmoud Abbas' advisor Mahmoud Abbas (Wafa, August 12, 2023).

The Saudi Arabian ambassador to Jordan presents his credentials to Mahmoud Abbas' advisor Mahmoud Abbas (Wafa, August 12, 2023).

  • This past week Palestinians carried out five terrorist attacks; there were no Israeli casualties. Shots were fired at an IDF post near Ya’bad (west of Jenin) on three different occasions, shots were fired at an Israeli bus north of Ramallah, and there was an attempted stabbing attack west of Ramallah. The Israeli security forces continued their counterterrorism activities, focusing on Jericho, Tulkarm and Nablus; four Palestinians were killed. The Israeli Security Agency recently exposed two terrorist squads, one a Hamas squad from Bidu (north-northwest of Jerusalem) which planned the abduction of an IDF soldier and shooting attacks, and the other a terrorist cell in northern Samaria directed by a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist operative in Lebanon. This week the seventh attempt was made to launch a rocket at the settlement of Shaked.
  • The Gaza Strip remains relatively quiet. On a recent visit to the Gaza Strip, senior Hamas figure Musa Abu Marzouq said the most recent meeting of the Palestinian organizations’ leadership in Egypt had not yielded results. Responding to the Syrian president, who said he did not intend to develop relations with Hamas or reopen a Hamas office in Syria, Abu Marzouq claimed Hamas would reopen its office in Damascus in the near future. He also met with other senior Hamas figures and briefed them on the Hamas administration’s difficult financial situation. The chairman of the Palestinian Energy Commission in Ramallah blamed the Hamas administration for the Gaza Strip’s electricity crisis.
  • A summit meeting was held in Egypt attended by Mahmoud Abbas, the president of Egypt and the king of Jordan, promising full support for the Palestinian issue. In an unprecedented step, Saudi Arabia appointed its ambassador to Jordan as a non-resident ambassador to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and consul general in Jerusalem. Mahmoud Abbas ousted several district governors in the PA territories and the Gaza Strip. The PA prime minister continues slandering Israel to visitors from foreign countries. At a PA ministry of education ceremony Muhammad Shtayyeh said the PA would not change the [anti-Israel propaganda] contents of its textbooks.
  • The ministry of health in Ramallah reported about a hundred patients with the new EG5 corona variant. The ministry claimed there was no need to panic because its medical teams were prepared to deal with it.
Shots fired at an IDF post
  • This past week Palestinians shot at an IDF post near the village of Ya’bad (west of Jenin) on three different occasions. No casualties or damage to the position were reported:
    • On the evening of August 14, 2023, shots was fired at the post. IDF soldiers returned fire and searched the area (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, August 14, 2023).
    • On the night of August 13, 2023, shots were fired at the post. IDF soldiers returned fire at the village. Suspects were pursued in the village and shell casings were found near the mosque (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account August 13, 2023).
    • On the morning of August 11, 2023, shots were fired at the post from a passing vehicle. IDF soldiers responded with gunfire. Suspects were pursued and several shell casings were found (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, August 11, 2023).
Stabbing attack
  • On the evening of August 10, 2023, a Palestinian drove his vehicle to the bus stop in Nili Square (west of Ramallah). He got out of the vehicle holding a knife, ran towards two women at the bus stop and tried to stab them. Immediately afterwards, he threw the knife away, got into his vehicle and fled the scene. IDF forces searched the area for him. There were no casualties (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, August 10, 2023).
The Palestinian terrorist's knife (IDF spokesman's Twitter account, August 10, 2023).
The Palestinian terrorist’s knife (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, August 10, 2023).
Shots fired at an Israeli bus
  • On the afternoon of August 8, 2023, shots were fired at an Israeli bus near the village of Umm Safa (north of Ramallah). According to the bus driver, it was a drive-by shooting. No damage or casualties were reported. Several shell casings were found at the site. IDF forces searched the area for the shooters (Israeli media, August 8, 2023).
Critical Terrorist Attacks in Judea and Samaria since November 2020[1]

Critical Terrorist Attacks in Judea and Samaria since November 2020

Rocket fired at the settlement of Shaked
  • On August 15, 2023, the al-Ayash Battalion in western Jenin, apparently affiliated with Hamas’ military-terrorist wing, claimed its operatives had launched [another] Qassam 1 rocket at the settlement of Shaked, west of Jenin. According to the announcement, the rocket had been launched in response to “Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians, to avenge the blood of the shaheeds,” and as part of the ongoing process of developing [rockets]. The announcement added that despite the complex security circumstances, lack of means, and the many security constraints, the al-Ayash Battalion remained determined to turn Judea and Samaria into hell for Israel (“the sons of monkeys and pigs”). Shortly after the claim had been made, a video was issued of preparations for the launch, noting that the launch itself had not been not documented because of the “difficult security situation” (Telegram channel of the al-Ayash Battalion in western Jenin, August 15, 2023).[2] The Palestinian organizations in Jenin issued a denial of the rocket launch and claimed the video harmed “the resistance” [terrorist organizations] and gave Israel a legitimate reason to attack Jenin. It was the seventh rocket launching from the Jenin region in recent weeks.
Pictures from the video. A launcher is photographed with a note reading, "al-Ayash Battalion; rocket fire at the Shaked settlement near Jenin using a Qassam 1 rocket; Tuesday, August 15, 2023 (the Muslim calendar date is also given); the next one will be bigger; the [West] Bank defends Jerusalem" (Telegram channel of the al- Ayash Battalion in western Jenin, August 15, 2023)
Pictures from the video. A launcher is photographed with a note reading, “al-Ayash Battalion; rocket fire at the Shaked settlement near Jenin using a Qassam 1 rocket; Tuesday, August 15, 2023 (the Muslim calendar date is also given); the next one will be bigger; the [West] Bank defends Jerusalem” (Telegram channel of the al- Ayash Battalion in western Jenin, August 15, 2023)
  • The IDF spokesman confirmed that a rocket launch had been attempted and failed. IDF forces located the remains of the rocket and the launcher and are trying to find those responsible (IDF spokesman, August 15, 2023).
  • This past week the Israeli security forces continued intensive counterterrorism activities in Judea and Samaria, focusing on Tulkarm, Nablus and the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp in Jericho. Four Palestinians were killed, Palestinians suspected of involvement in terrorist activity were detained and weapons were seized.
Aqabat Jabr refugee camp
  • On the morning of August 15, 2023, Israeli security forces operated in the Aqabat Jaber refugee camp near Jericho to detain wanted Palestinians. Riots broke out during the activity and armed Palestinians shot at the soldiers, who returned fire (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, August 15, 2023).
  • The Palestinian media reported the death of Qusay Suleiman al-Waliji, 16 years old, from Jericho, and Muhammad Rabhi Najoum, 25 years old, a Jericho Battalion operative from the Aqabat Jaber refugee camp. The director of the Jericho prisoner’s club added that Israeli security forces had detained Muhammad Nasr Abu al-Assal, 20 years old, at his home (Wafa, August 15, 2023).
  • The Jericho Battalion of the Jerusalem Brigades, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s (PIJ) military-terrorist wing, reported that in response to the IDF’s entrance into the camp and to avenge the shaheeds’ deaths, its operatives had confronted the security forces and shot at them and at the settlement of Vered Jericho as well (Daffa_media Telegram channel [the PIJ Telegram channel in Judea and Samaria], August 15, 2023). Palestinian flags were waved at the funeral held for Muhammad Najoum and Palestinian and Fatah flags were waved at the funeral held for Qusay Omar al-Waliji (Facebook page of the journalist Alaa Al-Rimawi, August 15, 2023).
Qusay al-Waliji (right) and Muhammad Najoum (left) (Wafa, August 15, 2023)
Qusay al-Waliji (right) and Muhammad Najoum (left) (Wafa, August 15, 2023)
Tulkarm refugee camp
  • Before dawn August 11, 2023, IDF forces operated in the Tulkarm refugee camp. During the activity riots broke out and Palestinians threw rocks and shot fireworks. When shots were fired at the forces they responded by firing at a group of armed men (Israeli media, August 11, 2023). The Palestinians reported one dead and four wounded. The fatality was Mahmoud Jihad Jarad, 23 years old, from the Tulkarm refugee camp. According to reports, he was an al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades (AAMB) operative.
Mahmoud Jarad (Faleh Odeh's Facebook page, August 11, 2023)
Mahmoud Jarad (Faleh Odeh’s Facebook page, August 11, 2023)
  • Fatah claimed Mahmoud Jarad as one of its operatives (Fatah’s media information and cultural commission’s Telegram channel, August 11, 2023). The AAMB’s Tulkarm Battalion – Rapid Response Squads network issued a mourning notice for him. It did not specifically claim him as one of its operatives, but a picture of him was attached showing him in uniform with an AAMB logo (Telegram channel of the Tulkarm Battalion – Rapid Response Squads, August 11, 2023). Operatives of network also attended his funeral and eulogized him (al-Fajar TV in Tulkarm YouTube channel, August 11, 2023). His funeral was held in the Tulkarm refugee camp and attended by dozens of armed operatives who fired into the air; his body was wrapped for burial in a Palestinian flag and anti-Israeli slogans and demands for retribution were chanted (Ma’an, August 11, 2023).
Another Tulkarm Battalion mourning notice (Telegram channel of the Tulkarm Battalion, August 11, 2023)     Mourning notice showing Mahmoud Jarad wearing a
Right: Mourning notice showing Mahmoud Jarad wearing a uniform with an AAMB badge (Telegram channel of the Tulkarm Battalion, August 11, 2023). Left: Another Tulkarm Battalion mourning notice (Telegram channel of the Tulkarm Battalion, August 11, 2023)
The funeral held in the Tulkarm refugee camp (al-Ghad, August 11, 2023)    A Tulkarm Battalion representative delivers a eulogy (al-Fajar TV in Tulkarm YouTube channel, August 11, 2023).
Right: A Tulkarm Battalion representative delivers a eulogy (al-Fajar TV in Tulkarm YouTube channel, August 11, 2023). Left: The funeral held in the Tulkarm refugee camp (al-Ghad, August 11, 2023)
Nablus
  • On the morning of August 10, 2023, IDF forces operated near Nablus. During the activity shots were fired at the forces and they returned fire (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, Israeli media, August 10, 2023).
  • The ministry of health in Ramallah reported the death of Amir Ahmed Muhammad Khalifa, 27 years old, from the al-Ayn refugee camp in Nablus (ministry of health in Ramallah Facebook page, August 10, 2023). He was a senior AAMB terrorist operative (aljazeera.net, August 10, 2023). According to his brother, for the past two years Amir had been wanted by Israeli security forces and several attempts had been made to kill him. He added the Amir was single and had chosen to devote himself to the path of “resistance” [terrorism] instead of getting married. The PA security forces prevented the funeral procession from passing through downtown Nablus by shooting at participants, who were forced to change their route (Palinfo, August 10, 2023).
  • Hamas and the PIJ issued mourning notices emphasizing that the “resistance” continued in Judea and Samaria (Palestine, August 10, 2023).
Amir Khalifa (alresala.net, August 10, 2023)
Amir Khalifa (alresala.net, August 10, 2023)
Exposure of Hamas terrorist squad
  • The Israeli security forces exposed a network of Hamas operatives who planned to carry out attacks, including abducting a soldier, shooting at IDF forces and attacking them with IEDs. Last month nine Palestinians were detained in the village of Bidu (northwest of Jerusalem). Interrogation revealed that the network operations were compartmentalized for maximum secrecy. To abduct a soldier they prepared explosives and IEDs and mapped an escape route, carrying out surveillance to gather intelligence about the routine of the soldiers’ activities in the Bidu area. They also prepared a place to hide an abducted soldier. Interrogation also revealed they had learned to manufacture explosives independently and set up a makeshift laboratory in a civilian house. Raw materials for the manufacture of explosives, fireworks, improvised Carlo machine guns, and other tools used to manufacture IEDs were seized. Maps for planning terrorist attacks were also found (Israeli Security Agency, August 14, 2023).
Weapons and equipment of the Hamas squad (Israeli Security Agency, August 14, 2023)
Weapons and equipment of the Hamas squad (Israeli Security Agency, August 14, 2023)
Exposure of a terrorist cell directed by a terrorist operative from Lebanon
  • The Israeli Security Agency reported it had recently exposed a terrorist network in northern Samaria which planned to carry out shooting attacks. The network was directed by Ilam Kaabi, a PFLP terrorist operative in Lebanon. Originally from Nablus, he was released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal in 2011, deported to the Gaza Strip and currently resides in Lebanon. He recruited operatives in Samaria, some of whom were his relatives. Two operatives were detained and two M-16 assault rifles were seized. The detained operatives were Murad Kaabi, from the Balata refugee camp in Nablus, related to Ilam Kaabi, who was instructed to carry out shooting attacks; and Khaled Abu al-Hija, from Jenin, who was recruited to head a unit which would operate in the Jenin area (Israeli Security Agency, 8 August 2023).
Murad Kaabi (right) and Khaled Abu al-Hija (left) (Israeli Security Agency, August 8, 2023)
Murad Kaabi (right) and Khaled Abu al-Hija (left) (Israeli Security Agency, August 8, 2023)
Preventing arms smuggling
  • On August 12, 2023, security inspectors detained a suspicious Palestinian vehicle at the Trans-Samaria Crossing (east of Qalqilya). An inspection revealed a handgun, bullets and magazines hidden inside packages of snacks (Israeli Ministry of Defense Facebook page, August 12, 2023).
The weapons found in packages of snacks (Israeli Ministry of Defense Facebook page, August 12, 2023).     The weapons found in packages of snacks (Israeli Ministry of Defense Facebook page, August 12, 2023).
The weapons found in packages of snacks (Israeli Ministry of Defense Facebook page, August 12, 2023).
PA security force activity
  • General Muhammad Salama, who commands general security in Jenin, reported that PA security forces operating in the town of Sanur (southwest of Jenin), had detained several wanted persons, located a lathe used to manufacture weapons and confiscated a large quantity of weapons and ammunition. He called on the Palestinian public to cooperate with the security establishment to create a safe environment for children in the Jenin district (PA security forces Facebook page, the al-Shahad website, August 14, 2023).
Right: The lathe found in Sanur. Center and left: The confiscated weapons (PA security forces Facebook page, August 14, 2023)
Right: The lathe found in Sanur. Center and left: The confiscated weapons (PA security forces Facebook page, August 14, 2023)
Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israel
  • This past week no rocket or mortar shell hits were identified in Israeli territory.
Monthly Distribution of Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire since September 2021

Monthly Distribution of Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire since September 2021

Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits since 2006

Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits since 2006

Smuggling of quadcopters into the Gaza Strip prevented
  • On August 9, 2023, security inspectors at the Erez Crossing found ten quadcopters hidden in a black bag concealed in a minibus en route to the Gaza Strip. They were intended for gathering intelligence and were apparently being smuggled into Gaza for one of the terrorist organizations (Israeli Ministry of Defense Facebook page, August 9, 2023).
The drones captured at the Erez Crossing (Israeli Ministry of Defense Facebook page, August 9, 2023).      The drones captured at the Erez Crossing (Israeli Ministry of Defense Facebook page, August 9, 2023).
The drones captured at the Erez Crossing (Israeli Ministry of Defense Facebook page, August 9, 2023).
Israeli UAV falls in the Gaza Strip
  • The Israeli media reported that a technical malfunction caused an Israeli security UAV to fall in the al-Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City (Israeli media, August 14, 2023). Hamas’ military-terrorist wing announced it had taken control of an Orbiter K1 UAV on a patrol mission in the airspace of eastern Gaza City, published photos of the vehicle and documented its fall (Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades website, August 15, 2023).
The Israel UAV as it falls (Shehab Twitter account, August 14, 2023)     : A UAV (Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades website, August 15, 2023).
Right: A UAV (Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades website, August 15, 2023). Left: The Israel UAV as it falls (Shehab Twitter account, August 14, 2023)
Aftermath of the Palestinian organizations’ leadership in Egypt
  • As part of monitoring and implementing the results of Palestinian organizations’ leadership meeting in El-Alamein, Egypt, on July 30, 2023, Mahmoud Abbas spoke on the phone with Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau. They discussed expediting the establishment of a monitoring committee to deal with all aspects of the Palestinian issue, as had been decided at the end of the meeting (Wafa, August 13, 2023). Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of the Hamas political bureau and head of Hamas’ international relations, told an interviewer that the meeting in Cairo did not produce specific results and no topic or issue had been discussed. He also remarked that Hamas had gone to the meeting with no expectations of results (al-Ghad TV, August 8, 2023).
Musa Abu Marzouq during the interview (al-Ghad TV, August 8, 2023).
Musa Abu Marzouq during the interview (al-Ghad TV, August 8, 2023).
Hamas-Syria relations
  • During an interview, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called Hamas “treacherous and hypocritical” and stated he had no intention of developing relations with it or reopening the Hamas office in Syria. That caused concern among senior Hamas figures, but Musa Abu Marzouq claimed Hamas would soon re-open its office in Damascus, manned by a Hamas representative. He also claimed they were in contact with senior figures in Iraq to arrange for visit by a Hamas delegation (Shehab website, August 14, 2023).
Hassan Nasrallah meets with Ziyad al-Nakhalah
  • Hassan Nasrallah, secretary general of Hezbollah, met in Lebanon with Ziyad al-Nakhalah, PIJ secretary general, and his deputy Muhammad al-Hindi. According to reports, they discussed recent developments and events in “Palestine” and Lebanon, and the threats and opportunities open to the “axis of resistance” [Iran, Hezbollah and the Palestinian terrorist organizations] in the prevailing circumstances (Radio al-Nur, August 13, 2023).
Hassan Nasrallah meets with PIJ leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah and Muhammad al-Hindi (Ma'an, August 13, 2023)
Hassan Nasrallah meets with PIJ leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah and Muhammad al-Hindi (Ma’an, August 13, 2023)
Musa Abu Marzouq visits the Gaza Strip
  • Senior Hamas figure Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of the Hamas political bureau, paid a visit to the Gaza Strip and was received by the movement leadership (Mansour Riyan’s Twitter account, August 2, 2023). While in Gaza he met with Assam al-Dalis, the chairman of the Hamas administration oversight committee, to discuss efforts to break the “siege” on the Gaza Strip (Safa, August 10, 2023)
  • The Sada News website reported that Musa Abu Marzouq became angry during a meeting with the leadership of Hamas, including Yahya al-Sinwar, head of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, regarding the cuts made to the salaries of public sector workers in the Gaza Strip. Abu Marzouq demanded that they continue paying the salaries without cuts and discuss the possibility of pay raises.
Abu Marzouq with Musheir al-Masri and other members of the Hamas leadership (Musheir al-Masri's Twitter account, August 4, 2023)    Abu Marzouq with Musheir al-Masri and other members of the Hamas leadership (Musheir al-Masri's Twitter account, August 4, 2023)
Abu Marzouq with Musheir al-Masri and other members of the Hamas leadership (Musheir al-Masri’s Twitter account, August 4, 2023)
  • While in Gaza Abu Marzouq gave an interview to al-Ghad TV. Asked why Hamas had not joined the PIJ in the clashes in Gaza and Jenin, he answered that battles were not waged according to personal desires or for the sake of partial goals, and an entire nation could not be dragged into an unwanted campaign. Undoubtedly, all Palestinians supported the “resistance” [anti-Israeli terrorism] and confrontation with Israel, but Hamas had understandings and strategies with the other organizations, especially the PIJ. Any decision, he said, regarding a campaign should come from common understandings, so that everyone prepared, planned and conducted a calculated campaign, united in joint understandings of time, place and manner. The Palestinians, he said, should not be dragged into a battle for which they would later have to pay the price (al-Ghad TV website, August 8, 2023).
The PA blames Hamas for the electricity crisis in Gaza
  • Zafer Milhem, chairman of the Palestinian Energy Commission in Ramallah, accused Hamas of disrupting the project to convert the power plant in Gaza from industrial fuel to natural gas, which, he said could significantly increase its ability to produce electricity from 80-90 megawatts to 140. He said the [Hamas-controlled] electric company in the Gaza Strip did not allow the EU to complete its audit or monitor the financing of the $8 million-project. Furthermore, he claimed the electric company in Gaza transferred the funds it collected from local residents to Hamas, which opposed transferring them to the PA’s ministry of finance (Wafa, August 10, 2023).
  • On another occasion, Milhem said the PA had invested large sums to improve the electricity grid in the Gaza Strip to reduce its dependence on Israel. He said the cost of electricity projects in the Gaza Strip for 2023 was estimated at $45.5 million (al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, August 13, 2023).
The summit meeting in Egypt
  • On August 14, 2023, a summit meeting was held in El-Alamein, Egypt, attended by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and the King of Jordan, Abdullah the Second, to discuss the Palestinian issue. They discussed the latest developments, ways to deal with the actions of the Israeli government, and efforts to break the deadlock in the peace process. El-Sisi and King Abdullah said they fully supported Mahmoud Abbas’ efforts to protect all the Palestinians’ interests. They also emphasized the importance of Israel’s releasing the tax revenues it collects for the Palestinians and condemned Israel’s [alleged] “continued escalation” and “violation of the status quo in the holy sites” (Petra Agency, August 14, 2023).
  • At the end of the meeting a statement was issued emphasizing the priority they gave to international and Arab sources of legal authority for settling the Palestinian issue. Most important was the need for a clear timetable to end the “Israeli occupation;” the restoration of all the Palestinians’ legitimate rights, including the right to self-determination and establishing an independent and sovereign state with the June 4, 1967 borders and east Jerusalem as its capital; resolving of the issue of Palestinian refugees in accordance with international decisions; and realizing the two-state solution in accordance with “the sources of authority” (Petra Agency, August 14, 2023).
The summit meeting in Egypt (Wafa, August 14, 2023)    The summit meeting in Egypt (Wafa, August 14, 2023)
The summit meeting in Egypt (Wafa, August 14, 2023)
New Saudi Arabian ambassador
  • On August 12, 2023, at the Palestinian embassy in Amman, Nayef al-Sudairi, the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Jordan, presented his credentials to Majdi al-Khaldi, Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor on international affairs. He announced that in addition to his position as ambassador Jordan, he had also been appointed as a non-resident ambassador to the PA and as the Saudi Arabian consul general in Jerusalem. It was the first time Saudi Arabia had appointed a representative to the PA. Al-Khaldi congratulated the Saudi ambassador and called it an important step towards strengthening bilateral ties. On behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, he also thanked Saudi Arabia for its constant support of the Palestinian issue in all international courts (Wafa, August 12, 2023).
A Palestinian cartoon thanking Saudi Arabia for supporting the Palestinians in their "struggle" against Israel (al-Quds, August 14, 2023)  The Saudi Arabian ambassador to Jordan presents his credentials to Mahmoud Abbas' advisor Mahmoud Abbas (Wafa, August 12, 2023).
Right: The Saudi Arabian ambassador to Jordan presents his credentials to Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor Mahmoud Abbas (Wafa, August 12, 2023). Left: A Palestinian cartoon thanking Saudi Arabia for supporting the Palestinians in their “struggle” against Israel (al-Quds, August 14, 2023)
  • At the weekly cabinet meeting, PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh welcomed Nayef al-Sudairi’s appointment, saying it had important political implications and proof of Saudi Arabian support for the Palestinian policy in the “struggle” against Israel (Wafa, August 14, 2023).
  • The PA foreign ministry welcomed Saudi Arabia’s decision, saying its timing showed Saudi Arabia viewed the Palestinian issue as one of the foundations of its foreign policy on Arab, Islamic and international levels (Wafa, August 13, 2023).
  • Interviewed by London-based daily al-Sharq al-Awsat, Nayef al-Sudairi said his appointment represented Saudi Arabia’s support for the Palestinians and it would broaden bilateral relations. He added that Saudi Arabia was one of the countries providing the PA with political, financial and moral support and supporting the rights of the Palestinians (al-Sharq al-Awsat, August 13, 2023).
Mahmoud Abbas ousts governors of districts in PA territories and the Gaza Strip
  • On August 10, 2023, Mahmoud Abbas issued a “presidential” decree ordering 12 governors in the PA territories and the Gaza Strip to retire. Among them were the governors of Jenin, Nablus, Qalqilya, Tulkarm, Bethlehem, Hebron, Tubas and Jericho; and the governors of the northern Gaza Strip, Gaza City, Khan Yunis and Rafah. He also issued a “presidential” decree ordering the establishment of a “presidential” committee of several of senior members to select candidates for the now-vacant positions and submit recommendations to make it easier for him to decide on the final appointments (Wafa, August 10, 2023). The ousted governors said they were surprised to receive the news from the media and were puzzled (Ma’an, August 10, 2023).
The meeting of the PA Prime Minister with academics from the USA
  • PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh met with academics and students from a number of universities and colleges in the United States. He reviewed the Palestinian version of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, stressing Israel’s [alleged] conduct towards the Palestinians and the destruction of the two-state solution. He claimed Israel was doing everything it could to take over Palestinian lands, impose a “direct military occupation” and construct an infrastructure to preserve its “imperialism.” He also said the Palestinians planned to fight Israel’s measures by internationalizing the Palestinian issue, establishing “popular resistance through peaceful means” [popular terrorism] and a gradual disengagement from the “Israeli occupation” by increasing and strengthening the national product and appealing to the Arab world (Wafa, August 8, 2023).
A cartoon criticizing the aid and support that the United States provides to Israel and the IDF (al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, August 9, 2023)   Muhammad Shtayyeh meets with American academics and students (Wafa, August 8, 2023).
Right: Muhammad Shtayyeh meets with American academics and students (Wafa, August 8, 2023). Left: A cartoon criticizing the aid and support that the United States provides to Israel and the IDF (al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, August 9, 2023)
  • On August 8, 2023, Muhammad Shtayyeh met in Ramallah with Kerstin Gerling, the new representative of the International Monetary Fund in the PA and the Gaza Strip. He claimed the “Israeli occupation” was the main obstacle to development and economic growth. He also claimed Israel systematically worked to destroy the idea of the two-state solution and to permanently establish the “colonial relationship” the “Israeli occupation” had imposed on them. He repeated his claim that the current Israeli government threatened regional stability, especially in view of the escalation of its [alleged] attempts to cause the PA to collapse and its increased construction in the settlements. He called on the IMF to institute a mechanism to monitor the recommendations of its reports and to reexamine the issue of PA membership in the fund (Muhammad Shtayyeh’s Facebook page and Wafa, August 8, 2023).
The Palestinian foreign ministry is preparing a file about the killing of the Palestinian in Burqa
  • The PA foreign ministry reported it was currently preparing a file about the killing of Qusay Maatan[3] to submit to the International Criminal Court in The Hague (ICC). The ministry criticized the Israeli justice system, which released the Israeli who shot him, and condemned the support and protection granted to the Israeli settlers (PA foreign ministry Facebook page, August 10, 2023).
The Authority refuses to change the curriculum
  • On August 9, 2023, PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh and several government ministers participated in a ceremony held by the PA ministry of education to recognize outstanding students and parents of families whose children had been killed during the year. He condemned Israel’s conduct towards the Palestinians and also referred to the Palestinian education system, which operated under difficult circumstances. He underscored that despite the pressures exerted on them, the Palestinian curriculum would continue to be “national” [biased with anti-Israeli propaganda] and not a single letter in their textbooks would be changed. They would continue to be loyal to the shaheeds, the prisoners, the refugees and Jerusalem whether the donor countries paid them or not. A picture of Ramzi Fateh Hamad from Silwad[4] was shown at the ceremony and his father went up on stage and had his picture taken with the Palestinian prime minister (Wafa, August 9, 2023).
Muhammad Shtayyeh and Ramzi Hamad's father (red hat) (Wafa, August 9, 2023)
Muhammad Shtayyeh and Ramzi Hamad’s father (red hat) (Wafa, August 9, 2023)
New corona virus variant EG.5 discovered in the PA territories
  • Dr. Kamal al-Shahrah, the PA deputy minister of health, reported they were monitoring the spread of a new corona virus variant, EG.5, as well as W.H.O. data (ministry of health in Ramallah Facebook, August 13, 2023). During an interview he said that so far between 50 and100 patients had been found with the new variant. Most of them had only mild symptoms and no deaths had been recorded. Some patients were admitted to hospitals. He said there was no need to panic and the ministry’s [medical] staff was prepared to deal with the new variant. He also said the ministry would issue appropriate instructions for the new school year (Wafa, August 13, 2023).
Rocks, Molotov cocktails and other attacks
  • In Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem Palestinians continued throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles driving on the roads. The more prominent events were the following:[5]
    • August 14, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near the settlement of Havat Gilad (east of Qalqilya). No casualties or damage were reported.
    • August 14, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near Luban al-Sharkia (northeast of Ramallah). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
    • August 13, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near Turmus Aya (northeast of Ramallah). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
    • August 13, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle at the Shufa Junction (southeast of Tulkarm). Two Israelis were wounded by flying glass. The vehicle was damaged.
    • August 12, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near Azzun (east of Qalqilya). No casualties or damage were reported.
    • August 11, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near al-Khader (west of Bethlehem). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
    • August 10, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle in Huja (east of Qalqilya). One Israeli was wounded by flying glass. The vehicle was damaged.
    • August 9, 2023: Four Molotov cocktails were thrown at an IDF post near Birzeit (north of Ramallah). No casualties or damage were reported.
    • August 9, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an IDF force near the settlement of Migdalim (southeast of Nablus). No casualties or damage were reported.
    • August 8, 2023: A Molotov cocktail was thrown at an Israeli vehicle near Ofra (northeast of Ramallah). No casualties or damage were reported.
    • August 8, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near Sinjil (northeast of Ramallah). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
    • August 8, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near a junction west of Hebron. No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
    • August 8, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near the Efrat Junction (southwest of Bethlehem). No casualties or damage were reported.

[1] A critical attack is defined by the ITIC as involving shooting, stabbing, a vehicular attack, the use of IEDs, or a combination of the above. Stones and Molotov cocktails thrown by Palestinians are not included.
[2] For further information, see the ITIC July 30, 2023 report, "Israel attacked by rockets fired from Judea and Samaria: analysis and significance."
[3] A Burqa resident who was shot by an Israeli settler during a confrontation on August 4, 2023.
[4] On August 7, 2023, Ramzi Fathi Hamad, 17 years old from Silwad (northeast of Ramallah) died of his wounds after having been shot several days earlier. According to the IDF, he was shot after throwing Molotov cocktails at the guard post at the entrance to Ofra (Israeli media, August 7, 2023). His body was wrapped for burial in a Hamas flag, which also issued a mourning notice for him.
[5] Information and pictures from Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria unless otherwise noted.