Palestinians riot in the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp (Rafat Darawsheh's Twitter account, February 4, 2023).
The house surrounded by the IDF forces (Wafa, February 4, 2023).
IDF attack in Gaza City (@na101q8 Twitter account, February 2, 2023).
The PIJ delegation in Cairo (PIJ website, February 7, 2023).
Protests in Beit Lahia (Fatah's media information and cultural commission Facebook page, February 3, 2023).
Protests in Beit Lahia (Fatah's media information and cultural commission Facebook page, February 3, 2023).
Antony Blinken's meeting with Mahmoud Abbas (Mahmoud Abbas' Facebook page, January 31, 2023).
Antony Blinken shakes hands with Mahmoud Abbas (Antony Blinken's Twitter account, January 31, 2023).
Mahmoud Abbas meets with the heads of Egyptian and Jordanian General Intelligence (Mahmoud Abbas' Facebook page, January 31, 2023).
Mahmoud Abbas and Muhammad Shtayyeh attend the signing of the agreement for EU financial aid for the PA (Mahmoud Abbas' Facebook page, February 2, 2023).
- This past week Palestinian terrorists carried out three attacks in Judea and Samaria: at attempt to attack IDF soldiers near Hawwara, no Israeli casualties reported; a vehicular ramming attack at the Tapuah Junction, two IDF soldiers injured; and a shooting attack targeting an IDF post near Jenin, no Israeli casualties reported. Israeli security forces continued counterterrorism activity, concentrating their efforts in the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp near Jericho. During the two-day activity five Hamas terrorist operatives were killed; two of them had been involved in the shooting attack at the Almog Junction (January 28, 2023). Palestinians were detained in Jenin, among them high-ranking Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) operatives, one of whom was planning a showcase terrorist attack inside Israel.
- This past week 11 rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians claimed they were a reaction to the measures taken by the Israeli prison service against women prisoners in Israeli jails who celebrated when seven Israelis were killed in Neve Yaakov in Jerusalem. In response to the rocket fire the Israeli Air Force attacked Hamas terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip. Egyptian General Intelligence officials met with the PIJ leadership in an attempt to prevent further escalation. A Hamas delegation headed by Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, is expected to arrive in Cairo in the near future.
- The Palestinian Authority (PA) continues intensive “diplomatic” activities in an effort to exert international pressure on Israel to stop its “activities against the Palestinians,” including a meeting between Mahmoud Abbas and Antony Blinken. The Palestinian foreign minister said this year their objective would be for 155 UN member states to recognize “Palestine.” On February 12, 2023, Mahmoud Abbas is expected to attend the Jerusalem Conference of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union in Cairo.
- The EU signed a financial aid agreement with the PA totaling €296 million for 2022. In the meantime, Palestinians strongly condemned Israel for deducting a double amount from the tax returns it collects for the Palestinians. The Palestinian leadership warned the PA’s financial crisis would worsen as a result.
Attempted attack near Hawwara
- On February 3, 2023 a Palestinian exited his vehicle in Samaria and began walking towards an IDF posit near the Samaria Brigade headquarters, south of Nablus. IDF fighters at the post initiated procedure for detaining a suspect, which including calls to halt and firing into the air. The Palestinian continued towards them and tried to attack. He was shot and killed (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, February 3, 2023).
- The Palestinian media reported he was Abdallah Samih Ahmed Qalalweh, 26 years old, from the village of al-Judeida, south of Jenin (Wafa, February 3, 2023). Fatah’s media information and cultural commission issued a mourning notice for Qalalweh, claiming him as a Fatah operative (Fatah’s media information and cultural commission Facebook page, February 3, 2023). According to reports, for three years he worked as a security guard at al-Istiqlal University (the Palestinian academy for security studies), and after that for the PA land registry. Members of his family work for PA institutions: his brothers work in the security services, the commission for public sector workers, the local government bureau, the central statistics office and Palestinian TV. His wife works for the ministry of the economy (Facebook page of Khaled Abu Dia’a, February 3, 2023; Osama Ghanim’s Twitter account, February 4, 2023). The PA held a full military funeral for him (Fatah’s media information and cultural commission Facebook page, February 4, 2023).
Right: Qalalweh in uniform (Osama Ghanim’s Twitter account, February 4, 2023). Left: The military funeral held for him (Fatah’s media information and cultural commission Facebook page, February 4, 2023).
- PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh claimed Israel’s “ongoing killings” continued without consideration for international law. He warned of the consequences of the “crimes” and said Israel was “fully responsible” [for the situation on the ground]. Fatah issued a statement claiming “Qalalweh’s execution” was another of the “fascist occupation’s crimes” against the Palestinian people, alleging it was a “deliberate murder” which exposed the “criminal terrorist tendencies” of Israel and its army, which had no consideration for international law (Wafa, February 3, 2023). Hamas said in a notice that they mourned Qalalweh’s death, adding that “shedding the pure blood of the shaheeds” would only fuel the intifada (Hamas Telegram channel, February 3, 2023). The PIJ claimed the “escalation” of the “murders” would ignite the flames further [sic] and that the government of Israel would bear the consequences (PIJ Telegram channel, February 3, 2023).
Shots fired at IDF post
- On the night of February 2, 2023, a shot was fired at an IDF post near Jenin. One of the buildings was hit and a shell casing was found. No casualties were reported. IDF forces initiated a search of the area (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, February 2, 2023).
Vehicular ramming attack at the Tapuah Junction
- On the evening of January 31, 2023, a Palestinian drove a van to the Tapuah Junction, south of Nablus, where he rammed into a group of people standing at the bus stop, and then drove away. Two IDF fighters were injured (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, January 31, 2023). Several hours later the driver turned himself in to the security forces. He was 21 years old, from Nablus, and claimed it was an “accident” caused by fog (Israeli media, January 31, 2023). The IDF relates to it as an attack.
- Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua praised the “heroic” attack, claiming it as a “resistance” act [terrorist attack] in response to the “crimes and aggression of the occupation” against the Palestinian people. He claimed the attack was carried out at the same time as the Israel’s “aggression” in the jails in order to show the capability and preparedness of the “resistance” [terrorist operatives] to “defend the prisoners” (Hamas Telegram channel, January 31, 2023).
Significant Terrorist Attacks in Judea and Samaria since November 2020
- This past week the Israeli security forces continued intensive counterterrorism activities in Judea and Samaria, focusing on the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp near Jericho, where the Israeli security forces operated to detain the squad of Palestinian terrorist operatives who carried out the shooting attack at the Almog Junction on January 28, 2023:
- Since the attack on January 28, 2023, the Israeli security forces have monitored the Jericho area, erected roadblocks around the city and checked Palestinians leaving the city. On February 4, 2023, as Israeli security forces entered the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp, armed Palestinians shot at them and mobs of masked Palestinians rioted, further incited by calls from the mosque loudspeakers. Palestinians went out into the streets and threw rocks and other objects at IDF vehicles. The wanted Palestinians barricaded themselves inside and refused to surrender, and members of the squad were not apprehended (IDF spokesman, February 4. 2023). The Palestinian media reported 13 Palestinians had been wounded, three of them seriously. The director of the Palestinian prisoners’ club in Jericho reported nine Palestinians had been detained, seven of whom were later released (Wafa, February 4, 2023).
Right:. The house surrounded by the IDF forces (Wafa, February 4, 2023). Left: Palestinians riot in the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp (Rafat Darawsheh’s Twitter account, February 4, 2023).
- The events in Jericho, usually considered a quiet security area, were widely covered by the media and social networks, which published reports headlined, “Israeli Army Admits Failure.” The reports stressed the part played by Hamas and a new local network calling itself the Aqabat Jabr Refugee Camp Battalion, part of Hamas’ military-terrorist wing, declared itself as joining Hamas “equation” with Israel.
- On February 6, 2023, the Israeli security forces continued their search in the refugee camp for the terrorists who carried out the shooting attack at the Almog Junction. They focused on the storage area where the terrorists were hiding and a gunfight developed between the forces and armed Palestinians. Five Palestinians were killed, including two who had carried out the shooting attack.
- Jihad Abu al-Assal, governor of the Jericho district, announced the deaths of five Palestinians, stating their bodies were being held by Israel (Wafa, February 8, 2023). The five belonged to the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades’ Aqabat Jabr Refugee Camp Battalion (Bassam al-Maqati’s Facebook page, February 6, 2023). Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua confirmed the five were Hamas military operatives (Hamas website, February 6, 2023). The Palestinians condemned their deaths.
Notice issued by the Jericho municipality for the deaths of the five Palestinian terrorists (Jericho municipality Facebook page, February 6, 2023).
- On February 2, 2023, Israeli security forces operating in the Jenin refugee camp detained Amir Qarawi, 22 years old, a PIJ terrorist operative who headed a squad apparently planning a showcase terrorist attack inside Israel. The detention was calm and without gunfire (Israel Police Force Twitter account and the Israeli media, February 2, 2023).
Amir Qarawi (Jenin.tv2022 Facebook page, February 2, 2023).
- On the night of February 4, 2023, Israeli security forces detained wanted Palestinians in the Jenin area (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, February 5, 2023). The Palestinian media reported a number of detentions, among them Sheikh Khader Adnan, a released prisoner and PIJ leader in Judea and Samaria; and Abd al-Latif Sabar Khalifa and Khaled Walid Ghawadreh, both al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades (AAMB) terrorist operatives (Wafa and Daffa_media Telegram channel, February 5, 2023). As soon as he was detained, Adnan announced he was beginning a hunger strike. It was also reported that Israeli security forces raided the house of Maher al-Akhras, a released prisoner and PIJ leader in Judea and Samaria (Daffa_media Telegram channel, February 5, 2023).
- The PIJ issued an announcement claiming the detention of its leaders and operatives was a “desperate Zionist attempt” to “influence the will of the Palestinians and the firm, determined stance of the ‘jihad fighters.'” According to the announcement, the detentions of Adnan, Ghawadreh and the others reflected the Israeli government’s confusion and the pressure it was under in the wake of the “escalation of the Palestinian uprising” in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. The announcement added that the detentions would not “extinguish the flame of the intifada” and would only intensify the Palestinians’ firm stance and desire to continue the jihad [terrorist attacks] (PIJ website, February 5, 2023).
Right: Khaled Ghawadreh (Facebook page of his father, Walid Nawaf Ghawadreh, February 5, 2023). Left: Khaled Ghawadreh armed and wearing an AAMB headband (Saher Zawtya’s Facebook page, February 5, 2023).
- On the morning of February 7, 2023, Israeli security forces operated in Nablus to detain wanted Palestinians. During the activity shots were fired at the forces and rocks, IEDs and Molotov cocktails were thrown at them. They returned fire, shooting at the armed Palestinian who was attacking them (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, February 7, 2023). The ministry of health in Ramallah reported the death of Hamze Amjad al-Ashqar, 17 years old, from the Askar refugee camp in Nablus (Wafa, February 7, 2023). The Lion’s Den network issued a mourning notice for al-Ashqar, the “shaheed of Nablus” (Lion’s Den Telegram channel, February 7, 2023).
Right: Hamze Amjad al-Ashqar, picture from his Facebook page, October 18, 2022). Left: His headband reads, “Bilal Zaghal [squads]” (Aya N Mansour’s Facebook page, February 7, 2023).
- Hamas issued a mourning notice warning Israel (“the occupation”) that Palestinian blood was “important” and that Israel’s “crimes” and escalation would not deter the Palestinians and their “brave resistance” [terrorist attacks] (Hamas website, February 7, 2023). The PIJ said in an announcement that the “cold-blooded killings,” which were increasing daily, would not give Israel security and stability on “Palestinian land,” and that the blood of the shaheeds, which was shed every day in every arena, would be the fuel for further confrontations [attacks] (PIJ website, February 7, 2023).
Preventing terrorist attacks
Prevention of attack in Israel planned in the Gaza Strip
- The Israeli security forces detained two Israeli citizens for questioning. They were Muhammad Amin Muslah, 24 years old, and Muhammad Fayad Muhameid, 28 years old, from the village of Muawiya (in the Wadi Ara area, northcentral Israel). Interrogation revealed that Muhammad Amin Muslah had been recruited by Hamas terrorist operatives in the Gaza Strip to detonate a bomb in Israel on election day in November 2022. He enlisted a friend for assistance. The contacts between the sides ended when they could not agree on a target. The Israeli Arabs wanted to attack IDF soldiers and their handlers in the Gaza Strip wanted them to attack civilians. They then planned to steal weapons from IDF soldiers, equipped themselves with a Carlo improvised machine gun and collected information about bus stops in their region where soldiers gathered (Israeli Security Agency spokesman’s unit, February 3, 2023).
The two Israeli Arabs detained on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack
(Israeli Security Agency spokesman’s unit, February 3, 2023).
Prevention of a terrorist attack in Israel planned in Lebanon
- It was recently cleared for publication that the Israeli Security Agency had exposed an attack planned in Lebanon by “Abu Ghassan,” a Palestinian living in Lebanon with contacts in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, and who in the past was a Hezbollah operative. The attack was prevented when two residents of east Jerusalem, who carried Israeli ID cards, were detained. They were in contact with Abu Ghassan, who tried to use them to carry out the attack. He instructed them to collect intelligence and photograph sites in Israel, especially in Jerusalem. Interrogation revealed that Abu Ghassan used the social networks, especially TikTok, to locate potential Palestinians he could handle in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem. Initially the connection focused on personal issues and general information, such as the overall situation and confrontations in Jerusalem. Later, as part of Hezbollah’s customary recruitment process, they continued their conversations on the Telegram channel, where ostensibly innocent requests were issued for taking pictures and making videos of sites in Israel which could potentially be targets for terrorist attacks. As time passed the connection between them became stronger and Abu Ghassan instructed the Palestinians to carry out terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians (Israeli Security Agency spokesman’s unit, February 2, 2023).
Protest of female Palestinian prisoners
- After the deadly shooting attack in Neve Yaakov in Jerusalem on January 27, 2023, in which seven Israeli civilians were killed, female Palestinian prisoners in the Damon Prison celebrated. In response the Israel Prison Service punished some them with solitary confinement (Israeli media, February 1, 2023).
- The prisoners then issued a recorded message asking for help. On February 1, 2023, AsraMedia posted a section of the recording in which a prisoner begged the Palestinian terrorist organizations for support (AsraMedia Twitter account and Shehab, February 1, 2023). A prisoner named Meisoun al-Jabali told her mother that the prison administration had closed the wing in which she and the other prisoners were held for two days and they were punished. Yasmin Shaaban, the female prisoners’ representative, was put in solitary confinement, all the electric appliances were taken from their cells, and they were forbidden to enter the yard or contact their families (aljazeera.net, February 1, 2023).
- The PA commission for prisoners and released prisoners reported that the prison service “raided” the women’s wing, carried out “provocative searches” of their cells, confiscated electric appliances and closed the wing for a week (Facebook page of the PA commission for prisoners and released prisoners, January 29, 2023). On January 31, 2023, the commission reported that the women prisoners had protested and set fire to their cells, and that the guards [allegedly] “responded with violence.” The commission also reported that the events caused tension in all the prisons, and that prisoners threatened to stab guards (Facebook page of the PA commission for prisoners and released prisoners, January 31, 2023).
- The activities of the Prison Service against the women prisoners led to a wave of reactions, including firing rockets at Israel:
- Fatah spokesman Monther al-Hayak said the “attack” on the prisoners was “criminal” and “proved the arrogance of the occupation” and its intention to “kill the patriotic spirit” of the prisoners, both male and female, because Israel still deluded itself into thinking it could break the prisoners’ will. He said they stood behind the prisoners in the coming battle to prevent [the implementing of] Ben-Gvir and the Prison Service’s plans (Telegram channel of the Fatah’s media information and cultural commission, Awda January 31, 2023).
- The Fatah movement warned Israel of the consequences of its “oppressive measures” taken against the Palestinian prisoners, stressing that the prisoners were not alone in their “struggle” (Telegram channel of the Fatah’s media information and cultural commission, Awda, January 31, 2023).
- Hamas said in a statement that the “escalation of the occupation forces” and Prison Service’s “attacks on the prisoners,” the most recent of which was the attack on the female prisoners in the Damon Prison, was a crime that would not go without a response, and the increasing confrontation in the prisons would not be conducted only by the prisoners (Hamas website, January 31, 2023).
- Fatma Sharab, head of the Hamas women’s movement, said it was forbidden to keep silent regarding the “barbaric punishments” of the female prisoners, and that a “respectable, free resistance which refuses to accept humiliation stands behind them.” She called on the human rights organizations and international institutions, especially the UN’s Human Rights Council, and the Red Cross, to do something to stop the “crime” and to prosecute the leaders of Israel as “war criminals” [sic] (Hamas website, January 31, 2023).
- Jamal Alian, holder of the PIJ’s prisoners’ file, threatened Israel would pay for its “attack” on the female prisoners, adding that defending themselves by setting fire to their cells [sic] proved the prisoners were still “resisting” strongly. He claimed the prisoners’ threat of escalation showed they were in good condition and could overcome the “Zionist imprisoner” and chalk up new achievements and victories over the “plots” of the national security minister to attack the prisons, the female prisoners and their families (Paltoday, January 31, 2023).
The Arabic reads, “The female prisoners are a red line”
(Palestinian prisoners’ information office Twitter account, February 1, 2023).
Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israel
- On the evening of February 1, 2023, a rocket was fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip and intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system (IDF Twitter account, February 1, 2023). In response IDF planes attacked a site for the preparation and storage of chemicals used by Hamas to manufacture rockets, as well as a site for the manufacture of weapons in the central Gaza Strip (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, February 2, 2023).
- The Palestinian media reported that the targets attacked were a post of the 13th battalion of the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military-terrorist wing, in the al-Maghazi refugee camp and the Badr post in the southwestern part of Gaza City. Before the attack warning missiles were fired at the posts. No casualties were reported but damage was reported to the buildings near the posts. It was also reported that the “Palestinian resistance” [terrorist organizations] fired rockets at the Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip and anti-aircraft missiles at the Israeli planes (Shehab and al-Andalou News, February 2, 2023). The Israeli media reported the IDF confirmed that on the night of February 1, 2023, 12 rockets were fired, 11 falling in open areas and one inside the Gaza Strip (Israeli Kan News website, February 2, 2023).
- The military-terrorist wing of the Palestinian Mujahideen/al-Mujahideen Brigades said in a statement that its aerial defense unit fired a surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft weapons at the planes, and fired machineguns at the Nahal Oz post (al-Mujahideen Battalions’ website, February 2, 2023). Hamas’ military-terrorist wing also claimed responsibility for firing surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft weapons at the planes (Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades website, February 2, 2023).
- The National Resistance Battalions (the Shaheed Omar al-Qassam Forces), the military-terrorist of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said in a statement that in response to the IDF attack its operatives had fired a battery of rockets at the Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip (Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine Telegram channel, February 2, 2023). A PIJ source claimed it had informed the Egyptian mediators that the organization had no connection to the rocket fire (Sama, February 2, 2023).
Hamas sites attacked by IDF planes (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, February 2, 2023).
IDF attack in Gaza City (@na101q8 Twitter account, February 2, 2023).
Monthly Distribution of Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire since February 2021
Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits
PIJ delegation visits Cairo
- A PIJ delegation headed by Ziyad al-Nakhalah and other members of the organization’s leadership from the Gaza Strip and abroad paid a three-day visit to Cairo. They met with Abbas Kamal, head of Egyptian General Intelligence and other senior Egyptian officials, to discuss the escalation in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem and political developments. The delegates stressed their position on responses to Israel’s “aggression” against the Palestinians and their land, as well as the need for contacts to continue and for bilateral relations to be strengthened. They thanked the Egyptians for their efforts and their position on uniting Palestinian ranks (PIJ website, February 7, 2023).
The PIJ delegation in Cairo (PIJ website, February 7, 2023).
- Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem reported that Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, had been formally invited to visit Egypt during the week (al-Andalou News, February 2, 2023). Spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua said a Hamas delegation headed by Isma’il Haniyeh would arrive in Cairo in the middle of the week (palsawa, February 5, 2023).
Condemnation of relations between Israel and Sudan
- On February 2, 2023, after an official visit by the Israeli foreign minister in Sudan, it was reported that Israel and Sudan would sign a peace agreement by the end of the year. The announcement led to a wave of condemnation.
- Hamas said it condemned the decision of the Sudanese leadership to normalize relations with Israel (“the Zionist occupation”). Hamas claimed the announcement issued by the Sudanese foreign ministry was aligned with the “escalation of the fascist occupation and its crimes against our Palestinian people.” Hamas called on the Sudanese leadership to abandon its mistaken path, which would only serve the agenda of the “occupation” (Hamas Telegram channel, February 2, 2023). In the past Hamas transported weapons to the Gaza Strip through Sudan and the Hamas leadership invested in the country, including in its real estate.
- PIJ spokesman Tareq Salami condemned the reception of Eli Cohen, “the Zionist extremist foreign minister” and his meeting with the chairman of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan. He claimed the normalization in Sudan’s relations with Israel represented only the Council’s  members and that the people [of Sudan] rejected all forms of relations with the “Zionist occupation” (PIJ Telegram channel, February 2, 2023).
- In the meantime Chad President Mahamat Déby arrived in Israel for the inauguration of relations between the two countries and the opening of the Chad embassy. Hamas condemned the opening of the embassy, claiming it was [an] inappropriate [action] for an African country that opposed imperialism (aljazeera.net, February 2, 2023).
Protests in Beit Lahia against the Hamas administration
- On February 1, 2023, a general strike was declared in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip and local residents held demonstrations to protest the decision of Hamas’ “government” monitoring committee to transfer some of Beit Lahia’s land to the municipality of Beit Hanoun and al-Nasr. After the decision was made public on January 31, 2023, the Beit Lahia municipality held an emergency meeting, after which it reported it rejected the decision and did not recognize it. The municipality said it would use all legal and administrative measures to cancel the decision.
- Salameh Maarouf, head of the Hamas “government” information office, said the decision to transfer land did not mean forfeiture of ownership, but rather a geographical designation that influenced the administrative partition in accordance with public interest. He said the government lands belonged to the land authority, and civilians did not have the right to oppose the decision regarding the new administrative partition (Bawabat al-Hadaf, February 2, 2023; independentarabia website, February 4, 2023).
Protests in Beit Lahia (Fatah’s media information and cultural commission Facebook page, February 3, 2023).
Palestinian “diplomatic activities” against Israel
- The PA continues its “diplomatic activities” in an effort to have international pressure exerted on Israel. At the epicenter was Mahmoud Abbas’ meeting with Antony Blinken, the American Secretary of State. During the meeting Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of destroying the two-state solution and called for Israel to end all its unilateral actions which he alleged violated signed agreements and international law. He claimed the Palestinians would not agree to the continuation of the “occupation” and regional security would no longer be strong if the [Islamic] holy sites were “desecrated.” He said they were prepared to work with the American administration and the international community to renew a political discourse (Mahmoud Abbas’ Facebook page, January 31, 2023).
- Antony Blinken stressed the United States’ commitment to support the Palestinians and the two-state solution. He added that Israel and the Palestinians were entitled to the same degree of freedom, security and prosperity (Antony Blinken’s Twitter account, January 31, 2023). He promised Mahmoud Abbas he would transfer $50 million to UNRWA (American State Department website, January 31, 2023).
Right: Antony Blinken shakes hands with Mahmoud Abbas (Antony Blinken’s Twitter account, January 31, 2023). Left: Antony Blinken’s meeting with Mahmoud Abbas (Mahmoud Abbas’ Facebook page, January 31, 2023).
- Before the meeting Mahmoud Abbas met with Abbas Kamal, the head of Egyptian General Intelligence, and Ahmed Husni, head of Jordanian General Intelligence. They brought letters of support for Mahmoud Abbas from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and King Abdallah II of Jordan. Both supported Mahmoud Abbas, “Palestine” and the Palestinians, and stressed the need to preserve regional security and stability. Mahmoud Abbas stressed the importance of continuing tripartite coordination and thanked Egypt and Jordan for standing with the Palestinians (Mahmoud Abbas’ Facebook page, January 31, 2023).
Mahmoud Abbas meets with the heads of Egyptian and Jordanian General Intelligence (Mahmoud Abbas’ Facebook page, January 31, 2023).
- On February 1, 2023, Muhammad Shtayyeh met with Lars Klingbell, head of the German Social Democratic Party. Shtayyeh warned of what he claimed were Israel’s unilateral steps which, he alleged, were liable to draw the region into disaster. He asked Germany and Europe to exert pressure on Israel (Muhammad Shtayyeh’s Facebook page, February 1, 2023).
- Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian delegate to the UN, sent three identical letters to the UN Secretary General, the presiding president of the UN Security Council, and the president of the General Assembly. The letter dealt with Israel’s “escalation and aggression” against the Palestinian people. He also claimed Israel provided protection for the [alleged] “crimes of the settlers” and acted to increase the arms they held in violation of international law. He called on the international community to intervene immediately to stop Israel’s [alleged] violations and to protect the Palestinian people (Wafa, January 31, 2023).
Right: Cartoon protesting the visit of American Secretary of State. The Arabic reads, “American aid for Israeli crimes.” Left: Warning of an explosion (al-Quds al-Arabi, January 30 and February 1, 2023).
Mahmoud Abbas meets with the heads of the Palestinian security services
- Mahmoud Abbas met in Ramallah with the heads of the Palestinian security services to discuss recent developments and the security situation. He said the Palestinian leadership was taking a number of steps, among them appealing to the International Criminal Court and stopping security coordination with Israel, and stressing that the “peaceful popular resistance” [popular terrorism] had to continue. He also issued instructions that the Palestinian security services play their role by upholding the law and guarding public security (Wafa, February 5, 2023).
Agreement signed for EU aid for the PA for 2022
- On February 2, 2023, Mahmoud Abbas attending the signing of an agreement for financial aid from the EU for 2022. The agreement included the transfer of €296 million (about $317 million), €198 million (about $212 million) for the PA government to fund various projects, and the rest, €98 million (about $105 million), for UNRWA. The agreement was signed by Shukri Bishara, Palestinian minister of finance, and the EU representative in the PA. Mahmoud Abbas thanked the EU for the financial aid which, he claimed, contributed to regional stability and security. He condemned violence and terrorism and noted the PA’s commitment to signed agreements (Mahmoud Abbas’ Facebook page, February 2, 2023).
Mahmoud Abbas and Muhammad Shtayyeh attend the signing of the agreement for EU financial aid for the PA (Mahmoud Abbas’ Facebook page, February 2, 2023).
Reactions to the double deductions from tax funds Israel collects for the PA
- On February 2, 2023, Betzalel Smotrich, Israeli minister of finance, announced that on February 1, 2023, he had authorized deducting double the amount of money the PA gives the families of terrorists, and said Israel would deduct 100 million shekels from the tax funds it collects for the PA, and would transfer an additional 200,000 shekels in reparations to the families of Israeli victims of terrorism, according to an Israeli court decision (Betzalel Smotrich’s Twitter account, February 2, 2023).
- In response, PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh issued a condemnation, calling it a measure that would worsen the PA’s financial crisis. He stressed the PA government’s commitment to implementing agreements signed with unions and associations to pay their salaries regularly. He called on the UN, the United States and the EU to intervene urgently to stop the unilateral actions taken by Israel, to prevent new deductions and to return to the Palestinian treasury all the money illegally deducted in violation of agreements signed between Israel and the PA (Wafa, February 3, 2023). Other condemnations included the following:
- Abd al-Rahman Biyatneh, spokesman for the Palestinian ministry of finance, said in a statement that Israel’s February tax fund deductions were unprecedented. He claimed the measure was arbitrary and illegal, and for more than a year it had kept the PA government from being able to pay its employees their full salaries (PA ministry of finance Facebook page, February 2, 2023).
- Ahmed Majdalani, PA minister of social development, called the double deduction the continuation of “the illegal theft” of Palestinian tax funds in violation of signed agreements. He also warned that the deduction would influence the Palestinian government’s ability to meet its commitments regarding salaries and social obligations (Chinese news agency Xinhua, February 2, 2023).
- Hamas spokesman Jihad Tahe called it a “desperate attempt to undermine the Palestinians’ firm stance.” He called on the PA not to surrender to Israel’s blackmail and threats but rather to continue the firm stance of the families of shaheeds and prisoners, because it was a question of a “national moral issue” concerning those who had given their lives for the sake of Jerusalem and “Palestine” (Hamas website, February 2, 2023).
The PA tries to get support for upgrading its UN status
- Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki was interviewed by the Russian Sputnik News Agency. He said he expected that in 2023 nine more countries would recognize a Palestinian state, seven or eight from Western Europe and one from an African state he was planning to visit during the next two weeks. He added that their target this year would be for 155 UN member states to recognize a Palestinian state. A decade ago the PA had asked the UN for recognition as a member state but was refused because the United States did not agree and posed difficulties. In 2012 the PA received observer status, which is not membership, and after 138 states voted in favor, nine, among them the United States and Israel, voted against, and 41 abstained, he said (Sputnik, February 6, 2023).
Conference of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union to be held Cairo
- Mahmoud al-Habash, Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor for religious affairs and Islamic relations, told correspondents in Ramallah that on February 12, 2023, a conference would be held “in support of Jerusalem” in Cairo by the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, which would be attended by Mahmoud Abbas. The Union is one of the results of the Arab summit meeting held in Algeria in November 2022, where it was decided to have the Arab League convene a conference devoted to supporting Jerusalem, attended by the relevant Arab-Muslim countries. He said Mahmoud Abbas would head the conference and give a speech elaborating the Palestinians’ demands for support for the essential sectors of Jerusalem to strengthen the firm stance of the city and its residents. He said the Palestinians would object to any courses of action or any measures Israel would try to take to change the historical and/or legal status of al-Aqsa mosque and the Islamic holy sites (Chinese news agency Xinhua, February 4, 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, although this past week there were slightly fewer incidents. Prominent this past week were events in the Jericho area, which was a focal point for IDF activity. The more prominent were the following:
- February 6, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle in Hawwara (south of Nablus). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- February 6, 2023: Rocks were thrown from a passing car at an Israeli vehicle between the Ramin and Einav Junctions (southwest of Tulkarm). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- February 5, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus near the settlement of Homesh (northwest of Nablus). The bus driver was injured and the bus was damaged.
- February 5, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus south of Ofra (northeast of Ramallah). No casualties were reported; the bus was damaged.
- February 4, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near the settlement of Yitav (northwest of Jericho). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- February 3, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus between Uja and Yitav (north of Jericho). No casualties were reported; the bus was damaged.
- February 2, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle between the settlements of Brukhin and Alei Zahav (west of Salfit). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- February 2, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus in Hawwara. No casualties were reported; the bus was damaged.
- February 1, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus and other vehicle west of Beit Horon (west of Ramallah). No casualties were reported; vehicles were damaged.
- January 31, 2023: Rocks were thrown at Israeli vehicles in Hawwara. No casualties were reported; vehicles were damaged.
 A significant 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. ↑
 The full report on the events in Jerusalem will be issued separately. ↑
 On January 28, 2023, armed Palestinians drove to a restaurant at the Almog Junction in the Jordan Valley, fired one bullet and drove away. ↑
 Bilal Zaghal was a Fatah operative in the Askar refugee camp who was killed on October 5, 2022. He was al-Ashqar's friend, and after Zaghal's death al-Ashqar posted a picture of the two of them to his Facebook page. ↑
 Twenty-nine female Palestinian terrorist prisoners are serving terms in the prison. ↑
 AsraMedia is a website based in the Gaza Strip which representatives the leadership committee of Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails. ↑
 The Mujahideen Battalions are a network which began operating at the beginning of the second intifada in 2000 as part of Fatah's AAMB military-terrorist wing. After AAMB founder Jihad al-Amarin was killed and the AAMB splintered, the network founder, Omar Atiya Abu Shariyah, decided to call it the Mujahideen Battalions of the AAMB. Its name was changed in 2006 to the Mujahideen Battalion, and when other operatives joined the network its name was changed against to the Mujahideen Battalions. Today they are the military-terrorist wing of the Palestinian Mujahideen movement, headed by Assad Atiya Abu Shariyah, the original founder's brother. The network operates in the Gaza Strip. ↑
 Information and pictures from Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria unless otherwise noted. ↑