mourning notice issued by the Fatah branch in the al-Faraa refugee camp (Facebook page of Fateh on al-Faraa, February 14, 2023).
The military funeral held in Nablus for Mahmoud al-Aidi (Palestinian security services Facebook page, February 14, 2023).
Blocking streets in Issawiya (Shehab Twitter account, February 19, 2023).
Ghazi Hamad, and standing behind, him, Issam Yusuf, welcoming the delegation.
Muhammad Shtayyeh and the Iraqi prime minister (Wafa, February 16, 2023).
Muhammad Shtayyeh at the African Union Summit Meeting in Addis Ababa (Muhammad Shtayyeh's Facebook page, February 18, 2023).
Muhammad Shtayyeh visits the exhibition (Muhammad Shtayyeh's Facebook page, February 14, 2023).
Muhammad Shtayyeh visits the exhibition (Muhammad Shtayyeh's Facebook page, February 14, 2023).
- This past week Palestinians carried out five terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria: a stabbing attack at the Shuafat Crossing, where a Border Police fighter was killed; a vehicular ramming attack in Shuafat, no Israeli casualties reported; a stabbing attack in the Old City of Jerusalem, two Israelis wounded; and two shooting attacks, one in Tulkarm and the other in the settlement of Homesh, no Israeli casualties reported. Two of the attacking Palestinians were aged 13 and 14. The Israeli security forces continued counterterrorism activities, detaining dozens of wanted terrorists. The Palestinian Authority (PA) security services detained two terrorist operatives in Nablus. On February 19, “civil disobedience” began in several east Jerusalem neighborhoods, where Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces, rioted and blocked roads to protest Israel’s activities in east Jerusalem.
- The Gaza Strip remained relatively quiet. A number of demonstrations were held along the border. “Miles of Smiles” medical aid entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Crossing and was transferred to the Hamas administration. The PA ambassador to Lebanon met with Saleh al-‘Arouri, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau.
- The Palestinians continue their political campaign against Israel. The Palestinian efforts to have a resolution against Israel passed in the Security Council failed following pressure from the United States. The United States, trying to prevent further escalation in the region, offered promises to Mahmoud Abbas, which led to condemnation from Palestinian sources, mainly from Hamas.
Shots fired near Tulkarm
- On the night of February 19, 2023, shots were fired near Tulkarm. No casualties were reported. IDF forces searched the area and found a number of empty shell casings (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, February 19, 2023).
Shots fired at the entrance to the settlement of Homesh
- On the night of February 14, 2023, shots were fired at an IDF post at the entrance to the settlement of Homesh (southwest of Nablus). No casualties were reported. IDF forces searched the area and found a number of empty shell casings (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, February 14, 2023).
Vehicular ramming attack in Shuafat
- On the evening of February 13, 2023, Border Police forces carried out detentions in Shuafat. During the activity a vehicle sped towards the forces and according to suspicions, tried to ram into them. In response the fighters shot at he vehicle. The driver was wounded and evacuated to Israel for medical treatment (Israel Police Force Facebook page, February 13, 2023). The driver was Rami Mahmoud Hamouda, 35 years old, from the Shuafat refugee camp (silwanic.net website, February 15, 2023).
Right: The vehicle used in the suspected attack (silwanic.net website, February 13, 2023). Left: Rami Hamouda taken for medical treatment (silwanic.net website, February 15, 2023).
Stabbing attack at the Shuafat Crossing
- On the evening of February 13, 2023, a Border Police fighter and civilian security guard conducted a routine security check of a bus at the Shuafat Crossing near the Shuafat refugee camp. During the check a child armed with a knife stabbed the Border Police fighter. The security guard shot at the child, who was wounded, and the Border Police fighter was mistakenly killed (Israel Police Force Facebook page, February 13, 2023). The stabber was Muhammad Bassel Fathi Zalbani, 13 years old, from the Shuafat refugee camp (Radio al-Aqsa and the Israeli media, February 13, 2023).
The scene of the attack (Israel Police Force Facebook page, February 13, 2023).
Stabbing attack in the Old City of Jerusalem
- Stabbing attack in the Old City of Jerusalem: On February 13, 2023, a young Israeli man walking on a street in the Old City of Jerusalem was stabbed in the back by a Palestinian child armed with a knife. The victim was evacuated to a hospital for medical treatment. The child threw the knife on the ground and ran away. Israeli security forces were dispatched to the site, conducted a search and shortly thereafter apprehended Jaffar Matour, 14 years old, from Shuafat, who was hiding on the Temple Mount (Israel Police Force Facebook page, February 13, 2023).
Right: The scene of the attack. Left: The detention of the 14 year-old stabber
(Israel Police Force Facebook page, February 13, 2023).
Reactions to the terrorist attacks in Jerusalem
- Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua claimed the “heroic attacks” in Jerusalem came in response to the decision made by the Israeli Cabinet to legalize outposts. He claimed “the conduct of the occupation government and its fascist decisions against the Palestinians” would turn the earth into “fire burning under the Zionists’ feet.” He called for the intensification of “resistance” [terrorist attacks] against Israel (Hamas website, February 13, 2023). PIJ spokesman Tareq Izz al-Din praised the “heroic attacks,” claiming they came in response to the “crimes of the occupation and its terrorist measures against the Palestinians.” He said Palestinians who carried out attacks in Jerusalem were “strengthening the struggle [terrorism] for the sake of Jerusalem” (Paltoday, February 12, 2023).
Critical Terrorist Attacks in Judea and Samaria since February 2021
- This past week the Israeli security forces continued intensive counterterrorism activities in Judea and Samaria, detaining Palestinians suspected of involvement in terrorist activities and confiscating large quantities of weapons:
Activity in the al-Faraa refugee camp
- On February 14, 2023, Israeli security forces operated in the al-Faraa refugee camp (Nablus region) to detain Palestinians suspected of terrorist activities. The forces identified a Palestinian approaching them carrying a gas canister which they suspected was an IED, and shot at him (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, February 14, 2023).
- The PA ministry of health in Ramallah reported the death of Mahmoud Majed Muhammad al-Aidi, 17 years old (Wafa, February 14, 2023). The Palestinian social networks posted documentation of his final moments, showing him carrying a gas canister which was apparently booby-trapped (Jenin.tv2022 Facebook page, February 16, 2023). Al-Aidi was a Fatah operative (Fateh On al-Faraa Facebook page, February 14, 2023). He was given a military funeral (Palestinian security services Facebook page, February 14, 2023). Mahmoud Abbas called his father to offer condolences (Wafa, February 15, 2023).
Right: Mahmoud al-Aidi (Facebook page of Yasser Haj Hassan, February 14, 2023). Left: mourning notice issued by the Fatah branch in the al-Faraa refugee camp (Facebook page of Fateh on al-Faraa, February 14, 2023).
Right: Mahmoud al-Aidi carrying a gas canister (Jenin.tv2022 Facebook page, February 16, 2023). Left: The military funeral held in Nablus for Mahmoud al-Aidi (Palestinian security services Facebook page, February 14, 2023).
- In the meantime, the PA preventive security forces operating in Nablus detained Muhammad al-Dabik and Naif Abu Shamat, two Lion’s Den operatives wanted by Israel, and confiscated their vehicle and equipment. In protest Palestinians set fire to tires and blocked a number of streets in Nablus (Safa and Shehab, February 17, 2023).
Right: Naif Abu Shamat (left) and Muhammad al-Dabik (right) (al-Shahed website, February 17, 2023). Left: Tires burning in Nablus to protest the detentions (@abufadi1960 Twitter account, February 19, 2023).
Palestinian shot by the IDF dies in a hospital
- The director of the government hospital in Yatta (near Hebron) announced the death of Haroun Rasmi Yusuf Abu Aram, 27 years old, who was shot and critically wounded by IDF soldiers in Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron, on January 1, 2021 (Wafa, February 14, 2023). The Israeli media reported he was shot and wounded during a clash with Israeli security forces south of Hebron (Ynet, January 1, 2021). Mahmoud Abbas called his father to offer condolences (Wafa, February 15, 2023).
- The PA foreign ministry strongly condemned both deaths, calling them an “integral part of the daily list of Palestinian killings” authorized by Israel’s political leadership. The ministry said Israel was fully and directly responsible for “war crimes and crimes against humanity,” and demanded an active international and American position to force Israel (“the country of the occupation”) to stop its “escalation.” It also called on the International Criminal Court to complete its investigations and issue summons for the “perpetrators of the [alleged]”crimes” (PA foreign ministry website, February 14, 2023).
- Hamas issued a mourning notice for the deaths of the two and called for Palestinians to continue enlisting to repel the “occupation’s barbaric aggression” and to stand united against escalation throughout the Palestinian land [sic], especially in Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque, under attack by “Judaization” (Hamas website, February 14, 2023).
- The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Judea and Samaria issued a mourning notice stating that the escalation in the “premeditated murders” on Palestinian land under the aegis of the “fascist” Israeli government would not deter the Palestinians from continuing their course of action. According to the notice, “resistance fighters” [terrorist operatives] would avenge the blood [shed] and continue until “freedom” [the obliteration of the State of Israel] (PIJ website, February 14, 2023).
- The ministry of health in Ramallah announced the death of Muntaser Muhammad Dhib al-Shwa, 16 years old, from the Balata refugee camp in Nablus, who died after having been wounded during a clash with Israeli security forces in the Balata refugee camp on February 8, 2023 (Ma’an, February 20, 2023). Fatah in the Balata refugee camp issued a mourning notice claiming him as one of its operatives (Awda Telegram channel of Fatah’s media information and cultural commission, February 20, 2023).
The mourning notice issued by Fatah (Awda Telegram channel of Fatah’s media information and cultural commission, February 20, 2023).
Palestinians riot in east Jerusalem
- Following the terrorist attacks in east Jerusalem, Israeli security forces operated in east Jerusalem neighborhoods, erecting roadblocks and detaining Palestinians suspected of terrorist activities. In addition, the Jerusalem municipality recently took action against illegal construction. As a result, on February 19, 2023, the “National Islamic Forces” in east Jerusalem declared “civil disobedience.” They declared a general strike, blocked streets leading to the Shuafat Crossing, prevented workers from entering Israel and did not pay taxes to the Jerusalem municipality (Ma’an and Shehab, February 19, 2023).
- Before dawn on February 19, 2023, Palestinians began rioting, placing heavy objects, tires, Dumpsters and containers to block the roads in several east Jerusalem neighborhoods, including Issawiya, Shuafat, Jabal Mukaber, Silwan and the town of Anata. Police forces, with the aid of the Jerusalem municipality, reopened the roads (Israeli media, February 19, 2023).
- Palestinian spokesmen called on the general public to support “civil disobedience;” despite the call, in reality the response and participation in public disturbances was relatively poor:
- Ahmed al-Ruwaidi, Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor for Jerusalem affairs, stated the Palestinians had the right to defend their existence, and “civil disobedience” sent messages to Israel, the international community (which had to take responsibility and provide the Palestinians with protection) and the Arab world to implement decisions regarding Jerusalem (Wafa, February 19, 2023).
- Muhammad Hamada, Hamas spokesman for Jerusalem affairs, said “civil disobedience” was an important step and they called on the Palestinian people to unite against the “Zionist occupation.” He claimed it was a response to the decision of the Israel government, the most recent of which was accelerating the rate of demolishing Palestinian houses (Hamas Telegram channel, February 19, 2023).
- Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem called for support for the Palestinians’ campaign in Jerusalem. He claimed recent statements by Israeli minister of national security Itamar Ben-Gvir again confirmed that the “fascist” government was planning to escalate, implement all its “aggressive plans and racist policy,” and showed its disregard for international law. He said that necessitated increasing “resistance” activity [anti-Israel violence and terrorism] and supporting the Palestinians in their campaign in Jerusalem (Hamas website, February 19, 2023).
- The Jerusalem-al-Aqsa committee in the Palestinian Legislative Council in the Gaza Strip praised the “brave decision” of the residents of Jerusalem to undertake “civil disobedience,” expressed its admiration for the commitment of Jerusalem’s residents to the “disobedience,” and claimed it was a “legitimate form of resistance” to Israel and its “aggression.” According to the committee, “civil disobedience” would be precursor of a general conflagration in Jerusalem if Israel continued its activities (Shehab, February 19, 2023).
Right: Blocking streets in Issawiya (Shehab Twitter account, February 19, 2023). Left: Blocking a road in Jabal Mukaber (silwanic.net website, February 19, 2023).
House of Palestinian terrorist demolished in Hebron
- On the morning of February 16, 2023, IDF forces operating in Hebron demolished the upper floor of the house where Muhammad Kamal al-Jaabari lived, the Hamas terrorist operative who, on October 29, 2022, carried out a shooting attack near Kiryat Arba, killing one Israeli and wounding two (Israeli media, IDF spokesman, February 16, 2023).
- The Palestinian media reported that the four-story house was home to six families, with a total population of about 50 members of the terrorist’s extended family. The building and surrounding structures were evacuated and the top floor, where the al-Jaabari core family lived, was demolished in two stages by the IDF (Wafa, February 16, 2023). Before the activity a call was issued to local residents to clash with IDF forces and pour oil on the roads to disrupt them. According to reports a clash developed near the terrorist’s house and the rioters burned tires (qudsnet.com, February 16, 2023).
- Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua claimed the demolition of the house of “a heroic resistance fighter” [terrorist operative] was a “barbaric crime.” He added that Israeli government policies would not stop the intifada expanding in every arena. He called for the escalation of “resistance” [terrorist attacks] in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem to avenge the blood of the shaheeds (Hamas Telegram channel, February 16, 2023). Tareq Izz al-Din, PIJ spokesman for Judea and Samaria affairs, condemned the demolition of the upper story of the house, alleging it was a “crime against humanity.” He said it showed the IDF’s failure to stop the “resistance” [terrorist organizations] and their activities (Jerusalem Brigades website, February 16, 2023).
Right: The upper story of the al-Jaabari house in Hebron before it was demolished. Left: During the demolition (Twitter account of the al-Aqsa satellite station, February 16, 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 February 2021
Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits
Demonstrations near the border security fence
- Reportedly, on February 17, 2023, dozens of Palestinians demonstrated near the border security fence east of Gaza City and east of the al-Bureij refugee camp to protest Israel’s measures against the Palestinian prisoners and the residents of east Jerusalem. During the demonstrations they set tires on fire. According to reports, IDF soldiers shot rubber bullets and teargas canisters at the demonstrators. The Palestinian media issued contradictory reports. The Shehab news agency reported two wounded in the eastern part of Gaza City, and one east of the al-Bureij refugee camp who was taken to the hospital in Deir al-Balah. Wafa reported one Palestinian had been wounded by live fire, three by rubber bullets and others by inhaling teargas. According to other reports, a Palestinian in al-Bureij was wounded by a rubber bullet and a Palestinian or Palestinians inhaled teargas in Gaza City (Shehab, Wafa, Bawabat al-Hadaf and Paltoday, February 17, 2023). No pictures of the alleged events were published, possibly because Hamas was not interested in too much publicity.
The Palestinian ambassador to Lebanon meets with Saleh al-‘Arouri
- Ashraf Dabour, the PA ambassador to Lebanon, met with Saleh al-‘Arouri, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau. Also present at the meeting were Fathi al-Aradat, Fatah secretary, and Zaher Jabarin, a member of Hamas’ political bureau and holder of the prisoners portfolio. They discussed Israel’s activities in Jerusalem and ways to deal with them. They called on the international community to intervene immediately to stop Israel, which they claimed was violating international law, and noted the importance of strengthening national unity (Dunia al-Watan, February 16, 2023).
A “Miles of Smiles” delegation visits the Gaza Strip
- Issam Yusuf, coordinator of the “Miles of Smiles” Convoy campaign, reported that on February 15, 2023, a convoy bringing medical aid had entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Crossing. The convoy brought medicine and medical equipment donated by various countries. The delegation was composed of six participants representing Jordan, Malaysia, Britain, Belgium and Sweden. Yusuf praised the permission granted by the Egyptian authorities allowing the convoy to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Crossing (al-Andalou News, February 15, 2023). Ghazi Hamad, deputy minister for social development in the Gaza Strip, welcomed the delegation, which accompanied the 41st “Miles of Smiles” convoy (Safa, February 15, 2023).
Right: Ghazi Hamad, and standing behind, him, Issam Yusuf, welcoming the delegation. Left: Wheelchairs brought by the convoy (Safa, February 15, 2023).
The contractors’ union in the Gaza Strip vs. UNRWA
- On January 23, 2023, the contractors’ association in the Gaza Strip declared it would boycott tenders for projects issued by UNRWA. On February 19, 2023, a press conference was held in front of UNRWA headquarters where the association announced it was intensifying its measures, and as of February 21, 2023, construction companies in the Gaza Strip would strike and stop all work on UNRWA projects. They also said that in the near future they would take additional steps and if UNRWA did not meet their demands, on May 15, 2023, they would stop all work. The association was protesting what it claimed were UNRWA’s delays in meeting their demands, which included tax refunds and compensation for losses incurred because of the coronavirus crisis (Palestine Online, January 23, yea; al-Ayam, February 20, 2023).
Denial of attempted killing of PIJ leader Akram al-Ajouri in Syria
- A Syrian army source reported that at 22 minutes after midnight, Syrian time, on February 19, 2023, Israel attacked a number of targets in and around Damascus, including residential neighborhoods. Reportedly, five people were killed, one of them a Syrian soldier, and 15 were wounded, some of them seriously. Damage to property was also reported (Syrian News Agency, February 19, 2023).
- The Palestinian social networks reported that one of the targets was Akram al-Ajouri, a PIJ leader who lives in Syria. Tahaqouq, the Palestinian Center for Monitoring Information contacted Da’ud Shehab, in charge of the PIJ’s “information” office. He denied the report and said that Israel had not attacked PIJ sites, offices or other targets in Syria (Tahaqouq website, February 19, 2023).
- Ahsan Ataya, PIJ representative in Lebanon, also denied the report (al-Mayadeen TV Breaking News Twitter account, February 19, 2023). Khaled al-Batash, a member of the PIJ’s political bureau, said Israel’s repeated attacks on Syria and other Arab states were liable to herald targeted killings of “resistance” leaders [high-ranking terrorists] in Damascus, Lebanon or the Gaza Strip, and threatened that any attempt at targeted killings, especially of Abu Ahmed al-Ajouri, the commander the organization’s military wing, would mean a strong immediate response (Paltoday, February 19, 2023).
The PA’s political campaign against Israel
- This past week the PA leadership continued its “diplomatic” activity against Israel:
- PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh participated in the Munich Security Conference, held annually since 1963. On the sidelines of the conference he met with a number of government heads and senior officials, among them Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani, the Iraqi prime minister. The two discussed the possibility of an Iraqi-Palestinian conference and widening trade relations between their countries (Wafa, February 16, 2023). He also met with the German deputy chancellor and the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Norway and Switzerland (Muhammad Shtayyeh’s Facebook page, February 17, 2023).
Muhammad Shtayyeh and the Iraqi prime minister (Wafa, February 16, 2023).
- On February 18, 2023, Muhammad Shtayyeh attended the African Union Summit Meeting held in Addis Ababa. He gave a speech on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, claiming that the invitation to attend the meeting was a message that Africa supported the Palestinians’ rights. He said the Palestinians were dealing with the last instance of colonialism in the world, whose crowning jewel was the new Israeli government, which called on Israelis to bear arms to make it easier to kill and which passed racist laws to make it easier to take land and settlements to create a racist regime [sic] (Wafa, February 18, 2023).
Muhammad Shtayyeh at the African Union Summit Meeting in Addis Ababa (Muhammad Shtayyeh’s Facebook page, February 18, 2023).
- Hussein al-Sheikh, general secretary of the PLO’s Executive Committee, met with Diane Corner, the British consul in Jerusalem. He emphasized the need to stop Israel’s “unilateral measures” and the need for a political horizon which would lead to a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders (Hussein al-Sheikh’s Twitter account, February 16, 2023). Several days later Mahmoud Abbas met with Richard Moore, head of MI6, who was visiting Ramallah (Mahmoud Abbas’ Facebook page, February 20, 2023).
Security Council resolution condemning Israel and the settlements
- As part of the PA’s anti-Israel campaign, working through the UAE the PA appealed to the UN Security Council to discuss the settlements. A meting was supposed to be held on February 20, 2023, when Security Council members would vote on a resolution demanding Israel “immediately and completely stop all settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territories.”
- The day before the meeting, February 19, 2023, the UAE announced that on February 20, 2023, it would not call for a vote on a resolution formulated in coordination with the Palestinians. The UAE sent a memorandum stating it would make do with a presidential declaration that would have a consensus. Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian delegate to the UN, confirmed the information, noting that they had reached an agreement with the Security Council members to keep the international front stable and strong, and that on February 20 the Security Council would present a presidential declaration that would be confirmed by the Security Council and receive a number (Dunia al-Watan, February 19, 2023).
- On February 20, 2023, the was a formal discussion of the Middle East and the Palestinian cause were discussed. No vote was held and a formal statement was issued noting that the Security Council had expressed deep concern at Israel’s announcement in Jerusalem regarding continuing construction and the expansion of the settlements, adding that continuing the activity in the settlements endangered the chance of reaching a solution based on two states (Reuters, February 20, 2023).
- According to al-Ayam, quoting “diplomatic sources,” the change occurred because the United States suggested to the Palestinians and Israel that Israel stop its “unilateral measures” in the Palestinian territories for a number of months (construction in the settlements, destroying houses, etc.) and the Palestinians would delay their request that the Security Council condemn the settlements. According to the “sources,” Antony Blinken, the American secretary of state, relayed the suggestion to both Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In return for delaying the request the Americans promised to support the publication of the presidential declaration.
- The suggestion was condemned by the Palestinians, especially those who oppose the PA. Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said it was conduct outside the national consensus and freely provided Israel with a service to improve its image in the international community. He added that the PA activity did not reflect the Palestinians’ position and the Palestinians would continue their campaign (Hamas website, February 19, 2023).
Reactions to the decision of the Israeli Cabinet to legalize nine outposts
- On February 13, 2023, the Israeli Political-Security Cabinet voted to legalize nine outposts in Judea and Samaria immediately and to promote the process to legalize others. The decision infuriated the PA. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, said Israel’s unilateral measures challenged American and Arab efforts, and provoked the Palestinian people.
- Hussein al-Sheikh and the PA foreign ministry issued a statement calling the decision “an overt [act of] war that demands international intervention.” The foreign ministry claimed the decision crossed all the red lines for conducting the conflict, and disregarded the efforts made to halt escalation (Wafa, February 13, 2023). Ramzi Rabah, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, said the decision was the precursor of a joint right-wing government plan for settlement and annexation, and more dangerous measures would be taken in the near future, including turning the settlers into an army of reserve soldiers with weapons, ready and prepared to take control of Palestinian lands (al-Ghad, February 14, 2023).
Exhibition documenting the settlements
- On February 14, 2023, the Yasser Arafat museum in Ramallah held a ceremony launching an exhibition documenting the extensive construction in the settlements in Judea and Samaria. Muhammad Shtayyeh, who participated in the ceremony, claimed the exhibition documented “the crimes of the settlements” starting in 1967 and that the information and documents presented would be added to those the PA had presented to the International Criminal Court as part of the file dealing with the settlements in Judea and Samaria. He also watched a video of the burning of the Dawabshe family house.
- According to Muhammad Shtayyeh, the objective of the settlements is to destroy the two-state solution, and their existence violates international law by taking control of land and moving Palestinian civilians from place to place. He also claimed the settlements caused economic damages estimated at $4.3 billion annually. He said the Palestinians were planning to hold international activities and appeal again to the Security Council to force Israel to stop taking unilateral measures and end construction in the settlements. They also plan to “struggle against the geographic and demographic war Israel is waging [sic] against the Palestinians,” and against its “distortion of the Palestinian narrative” (Muhammad Shtayyeh’s Facebook page, February 14, 2023).
Muhammad Shtayyeh visits the exhibition
(Muhammad Shtayyeh’s Facebook page, February 14, 2023).
Reactions to the removal of the Israeli delegation from the African Union Conference
- An Israeli delegation headed by the foreign ministry’s deputy director for Africa participated in the African Union Summit Meeting in Addis Ababa. The objections of the delegation from South Africa and Algeria to an Israeli presence caused the Israeli delegate to be removed. Muhammad Shtayyeh was in the room at the time. The excuse given by spokesperson for the African Union chairman was that the Israeli ambassador to Ethiopia was the duly accredited person who had been invited, and it not a deputy director from the foreign ministry (aljazeera.net, February 18, 2023). Israel has observer status at in the African Union, a decision protested by a number of Union members and which led to appointing a committee to study the issue.
- Palestinians rejoiced that the Israeli delegation had been expelled. Hamas spokesman Jihad Taha expressed esteem for the African Union’s position supporting the Palestinian cause and the Palestinians’ rights. He called on all the African nations to isolate Israel (“the Zionist entity”) and remove it from the African Union (Hamas website, February 18, 2023).
Palestinian cartoons. Right: Facebook page of cartoonist Alaa’ al-Laqta, February 19, 2023. Left: The Arabic reads, “Israel expelled from the African Summit” (Muhammad Sabaana’s Facebook page, February 18, 2023).
“The African Summit” (al-Quds al-Arabi, February 20, 2023).
Reactions to the law stripping terrorists of Israeli citizenship
- On February 15, 2023, the Israeli Knesset passed a law making it possible to strip the citizenship or permanent resident status of an Israeli citizen or resident convicted of a crime violating loyalty to the State of Israel, or sentenced to jail for violating it, or who was proved to have received money from the PA for such crimes (Israeli media, February 15, 2023). Palestinian sources condemned the law, claiming it was racist and would harm the Palestinian population, and called on the international community to intervene:
- Muhammad Shtayyeh warned of the law’s disastrous consequences, claiming it was racist and a gross violation of international and humanitarian law [sic]. He called on the UN, the United States and the EU to condemn the law and exert pressure on Israel. He warned it was inherently dangerous because it would cause the slow expulsion of Palestinians who “resisted the occupation and its systematic policies of persecution, racism and ethnic cleansings [i.e., terrorist operatives]” (Wafa, February 15, 2023).
- Rawhi Fatouh, chairman of the Palestinian National Council, said the law would lead to “mass expulsions” under false pretenses, which would threaten anyone who wasn’t Jewish. He claimed it would lead to more “crimes and attacks” against non-Jews. He demanded the international community take full responsibility for the “historic injustice” done to the Palestinians, silence in the face of “Israel’s crimes” and its ignoring ever resolution regarding the Palestinian cause (Wafa, February 15, 2023).
- Hamas issued a statement claiming the law was the continuation of the violations of Palestinian rights and a policy of openly expelling Palestinians by force, which necessitated international and UN action against Israel’s racist laws and punishing Israel (Hamas website, February 15, 2023).
Palestinian prisoners’ protest
- Tension has grown and Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have increased their threats to use strong measures to protest the steps taken by Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s national security minister. The new protest was the result of the minister’s decision to reduce the hours during which security prisoners could take showers. In two wings of the Nafha Prison protests were held and prisoners threatened to escalate their struggle against the Israel Prison Service, which would peak, they claimed, during [the Muslim religious month of] Ramadan [which begins on March 22, 2023] (Israeli media, February 14, 2023). The PA commission for prisoners and released prisoners and the Palestinian prisoners’ club said in a statement that beginning on the morning of February 14 they would begin disobedience as part of the program declared by the prisoners’ emergency committee. Steps would later be taken in all the prisons. The first steps would be refusal to wear prison uniforms and disrupting security checks (Facebook page of the commission for prisoners and released prisoners, February 13, 2023).
- On February 19, 2023, the prisoners’ emergency committee issued another announcement, according to which the prisoners’ protest would bear the title “Volcano of freedom or death as martyrs.” The announcement called on Palestinians in all “arenas” to support the prisoners in any way possible, and for February 24, 2023, to be a “day of rage” in Jerusalem to support the Palestinian prisoners (Facebook page of the commission for prisoners and released prisoners, February 19, 2023).
- The PA foreign ministry strongly condemned the Israeli measures and claimed the Israeli government was fully responsible for escalation inside and outside the prisons. According to a report, Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki intended to present the issue to the upcoming meeting of the UN Human Rights Council (Wafa, February 14, 2023).
Palestinian cartoons protest measures taken against prisoners
(al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, February 18 and 19, 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:
- February 20, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus near Azoun (east of Qalqilya). The driver was injured by flying glass; the windshield was shattered.
Bus windshield shattered by rocks thrown near Azoun.
- February 19, 2023: A Molotov cocktail was thrown at an Israeli bus near al-Aroub (northeast of Hebron). No casualties were reported; the bus was damaged.
- February 19, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus and other vehicles near the Ma’aleh Shomron Junction (east of Qalqilya”. No casualties were reported; vehicles were damaged.
Windshield shattered by rocks thrown near the Ma’aleh Shomron Junction.
- February 16, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near Bayt Ummar (north of Hebron). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- February 15, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle between the settlements of Yakir and Revava (northwest of Salfit). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- February 15, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle between the settlements of Homesh and Shavei Shomron (northwest of Nablus). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- February 14, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle between Bayt Ummar and the Karmei Tsur Junction (north of Hebron). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- February 14, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus between Hizma and Anatot (northeast of Jerusalem). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- February 14, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle southeast of Bethlehem. No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- February 14, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus between the settlements of Yitzhar and Havat Gilad (southwest of Nablus). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- February 14, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle in Uja (north of Jericho). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
 For further information about the involvement of children and adolescents in terrorism see the February 20, 2023 report, "Children in the Service of Palestinian Terrorism: Security tensions, incitement in the social networks and favorable public reactions may influence more children to carry out terrorist attacks." ↑
 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. ↑
 On July 31, 2015, a young Jewish boy threw a Molotov cocktail at a Palestinian house in the village of Duma, causing a fire that killed a Palestinian couple and their toddler son. The killer was caught and tried, and is currently serving three consecutive life terms plus 20 years in an Israeli prison. ↑
 Information and pictures from Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria unless otherwise noted. ↑