The funeral held for Amer Abu Zeitoun (Palestine Post Twitter account, January 5, 2023).
Amer Abu Zeitoun's body wrapped for burial in a Palestinian flag (Hashem Abu Shaqra's Twitter account, January 5, 2023).
Armed Palestinians at Abu Zeitoun's funeral (Hashem Abu Shaqra's Twitter account, January 5, 2023).
Lion's Den's terrorist operatives at the funeral (Basel Abu Hassan's Twitter account, January 5, 2023).
Old picture of Akram al-Ajouri with Jerusalem Brigades operatives who were killed by Israel (al-Jazeera website, January 6, 2023).
Jenin Battalion operatives at shooting practice and urban warfare training (al-Jazeera website, January 6, 2023).
Jenin Battalion operatives at shooting practice and urban warfare training (al-Jazeera website, January 6, 2023).
Walid al-Qutati at the memorial event (Safa, January 4, 2023).
Sayid al-Jerah in a Hamas terrorist organization uniform, complete with green headband (Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades Twitter account, January 3, 2023).
The emergency UN Security Council session (SwitzerlandUN Twitter account, January 5, 2023).
The reception held for Karim Yunes (Wafa, January 5, 2023).
- This past week Palestinian terrorists carried out two shooting attacks in Samaria. No Israeli casualties were reported. One attack targeted an IDF post near Jalameh (north of Jenin), and the other a civilian security guard in the community of Har Bracha (south of Nablus). Israeli police forces detained a Palestinian woman armed with a knife at the entrance to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. Palestinians continued throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles driving on the roads in Judea and Samaria. The Israeli security forces continued counterterrorism activities, detaining dozens of wanted terrorists and confiscating weapons. A Palestinian was killed in a clash with Israeli security forces in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus.
- The Gaza Strip remained relatively quiet, despite an unsuccessful rocket launch from central Gaza. According to reports, the Hamas forces detained the operatives who launched the rocket. The Palestinian organizations in the Gaza Strip held a memorial rally for the late Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Qods Force; speakers emphasized his contribution and support for the Palestinian “struggle.” A Hamas delegation headed by Khalil al-Haya will visit Syria.
- The Palestinian Authority (PA) strongly condemned the measures Israel’s political-security cabinet decided to take against the PA for its appeal to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. PA government members claimed they would continue their “diplomatic struggle” against Israel and threatened to prosecute Israel in international courts. In the meantime, the PA is working in the international arena to condemn Israeli minister Ben Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount, including a special UN Security Council session, which ended with official neither condemnation of Israel nor a resolution.
- After being imprisoned in an Israeli jail for 40 years for killing IDF soldier Abraham Bromberg in 1980, Karim Yunes, from the village of ‘Ara in north-central Israel, was released, the event was celebrated by the PA, Fatah and Hamas. A delegation of Fatah figures from the PA visited him in Israel. In response, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz revoked their entrance permits into Israel.
Shots fired at the IDF Jalameh post
- On the evening of January 6, 2023, shots were fired at the IDF Jalameh post (north of Jenin). An IDF force returned fire. No Israeli casualties were reported (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, January 6, 2023).
Shots fired at civilian security guard
- On January 5, 2023, shots were fired at a civilian security guard in the community of Har Brach (south of Nablus). The guard returned fire. No Israeli casualties were reported. A search of the area revealed several empty bullet casings (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, January 5, 2023).
Stabbing attack prevented
- On January 3, 2023, Border Police fighters at a check post near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron halted a young Palestinian woman who aroused their suspicions. She was found to be carrying a knife and was transferred to the Israeli security forces for interrogation (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, January 3, 2023).
The knife found in the possession of a young Palestinian woman at the Cave of the Patriarchs (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, January 3, 2023).
Significant Terrorist Attacks in Judea and Samaria since December 2020
- 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:
- On the morning of January 10, 2023, Israeli security forces operating in Nablus detained Wassim Zaher Adnan Astitiya, a resident of the al-Yasmina neighborhood in Nablus (a focal point for Lion’s Den network terrorist activity). He is a Lion’s Den operative who acts as an assistant to terrorist operatives (Israeli media, Wafa, Palestinian TV Facebook page, January 10, 2023). During the activity armed Palestinians shot at the forces. The al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades (AAMB), Fatah’s terrorist wing, claimed responsibility for the gunfire (@katibatbalata Telegram channel, January 10, 2023).
Right: IDF security force operation in Nablus (aldefaa1948 Facebook page, January 10, 2023). Left: Wassim Astitiya (left) with Lion’s Den founder Salah al-Azizi (nabuls_news Telegram channel, January 10, 2023).
- On January 8, 2023, Israeli security forces operated in Hebron and detained a Palestinian suspected of involvement in terrorist activities, and confiscated weapons, including two handguns, an M-16 and Kalashnikov assault rifles (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, January 8, 2023).
The weapons confiscated in Hebron (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, January 8, 2023).
- On January 8, 2023, the smuggling of handguns was prevented in two locations in eastern Israel (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, January 8, 2023).
- Twenty-two handguns were seized in the Jordan Valley and two Palestinians from Jericho were detained.
- Israeli security forces detained two Palestinians near Kibbutz Ashdot Yaakov (south of the Sea of Galilee) who had ten handguns in their possession.
Right: the guns seized in the Jordan Valley. Left: The guns seized near Kibbutz Ashdod Yaakov (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, January 8, 2023).
Palestinian killed in Israeli security force activity in the Balata refugee camp
- On January 5, 2023, Israeli security forces operated in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus to detain two wanted Palestinians. During the activity armed Palestinians shot at the forces, who returned fire (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, January 5, 2023). The Lion’s Den network claimed its operatives had clashed with Israeli security forces during the activity in the Balata refugee camp (Lion’s Den Telegram channel, January 5, 2023). The Nablus Battalion and the AAMB also claimed their operatives had clashed with Israeli security forces (Jerusalem Brigades’ Nablus Battalion and the AAMB Telegram channels, January 5, 2023).
- The ministry of health in Ramallah reported the death of Amer Abu Zeitoun, 16 years old, from the Balata refugee camp. Fatah issued a mourning notice claiming him as an organization operative (Fatah’s media information and culture commission’s Facebook page, January 5, 2023). The AAMB in the Balata refugee camp issued a mourning notice, claiming he was one of its operatives (@katibatalata Telegram channel, January 5, 2023). According to reports, he was a lookout, like his friend Mahdi Hashash, who was killed in similar circumstances two months previously. According to some of the sources, Abu Zeitoun sounded the alarm when IDF forces entered the camp. A “military” funeral was held for him, attended by many armed operatives. His body was wrapped for burial in a Fatah flag (Palestine Post Twitter account, January 5, 2023).
Right: Amer Abu Zeitoun (AAMB Panthers’ Telegram channel, January 5, 2023). Left: Mourning notice issued by Fatah (Wessam Masrea’s Twitter account, January 5, 2023).
Right: The funeral held for Amer Abu Zeitoun (Palestine Post Twitter account, January 5, 2023). Left: Amer Abu Zeitoun’s body wrapped for burial in a Palestinian flag (Hashem Abu Shaqra’s Twitter account, January 5, 2023).
Right: Armed Palestinians at Abu Zeitoun’s funeral (Hashem Abu Shaqra’s Twitter account, January 5, 2023). Left: Lion’s Den’s terrorist operatives at the funeral (Basel Abu Hassan’s Twitter account, January 5, 2023).
Activities of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s (PIJ) terrorist wing
- Al-Jazeera TV broadcast an episode of its program “More than meets the eye,” presented by Tamer Mushal, dealing with the activities of the Jerusalem Brigades, the PIJ’s terrorist wing in Jenin. Akram al-Ajouri, deputy PIJ secretary general and responsible for the movement’s “military” activity, gave an interview with his face hidden. He revealed new information about the PIJ’s activities in Judea and Samaria (al-Jazeera website, January 6, 2023):
- The objective of the attack on December 16, 2021 [in which Yehuda Diamant was killed] was to abduct an Israeli [to be used as a bargaining chip] to release Palestinian prisoners.
- There is close cooperation between armed Palestinians in Jenin and Nablus, and they assist one another.
- The program documented PIJ shooting practice, urban warfare training and the preparation of IEDs, with an impressive display of the Jerusalem Brigades’ arsenal. There was also an interview with a terrorist operative involved in gunfire near Nablus two months ago which killed an IDF soldier. He said they had emptied a magazine at the soldiers, who did not return fire.
- A terrorist operative calling himself Abu Palestine was also interviewed, represented as the Lion’s Den’s commander. He claimed his operatives did not want to clash with PA security services and asked the services to stop detaining them. He claimed they had been offered money to surrender themselves but refused. Somewhat later, according to reports, the PA security services detained Uday al-Azizi, who identified himself as Abu Palestine. Uday al-Azizi is the brother of Muhammad al-Azizi, who founded the Lion’s Den. His mother denied he had been detained (Shehab, January 8, 2023).
Right: Interview with Akram al-Ajouri. Left: Old picture of Akram al-Ajouri with Jerusalem Brigades operatives who were killed by Israel (al-Jazeera website, January 6, 2023).
Jenin Battalion operatives at shooting practice and urban warfare training
(al-Jazeera website, January 6, 2023).
- Fatah operatives used the Palestinian social networks to criticize the broadcast. They claimed that although his voice had been distorted and his face was blacked out, the program had exposed and endangered “military” operatives. They also protested that the part played by Fatah and its operatives in armed activity against IDF forces in recent months had not received sufficient air time.
Minister Ben-Gvir visits the Nafha Prison
- National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited the Nafha Prison in southern Israel to examine the prison’s conditions; he also he spoke with security prisoners. After the visit security prisoners announced a general enlistment for a mass confrontation to protest the measures the Israeli government was planning to take against them (al-Quds, January 5, 2023).
- Ben-Gvir’s visit to the prison was widely commented on by the Palestinians. According to the PA’s commission for prisoners and released prisoners, the visit was part of Ben-Gvir and the Israeli government’s (“evil”) plan to market a comprehensive program calling for the death penalty and the use of physical and psychological torture. The commission called on all the organizations dealing with prisoners’ affairs, the Palestinians, and the Arab-Muslim world, to rein in the Netanyahu government, including Ben-Gvir, and to end their “ongoing violations,” now and in the future (PA commission for prisoners and released prisoners website, January 6, 2023).
- Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua claimed the objective of the visit was “to oppress the prisoners and increase the strangle-hold” on them. He called it “provocation by the minister and dangerous escalation by the government,” which demanded a response (al-Aqsa, January 6, 2023).
Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israel
- On the evening of January 3, 2023, a rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip, falling inside the Strip. Sirens were not sounded in the Israeli communities near the border (IDF Twitter account, January 3, 2023).
- Ziyad Halabi, a reporter for al-Arabiya TV, wrote that an explosion was heard east of Deir al-Balah near the border security fence, apparently caused by a rocket launched from the central Gaza Strip (al-Arabiya New Flash and al-Arabiya TV Twitter accounts, January 3, 2023). News sources reported that the Hamas security forces detained the operatives who launched the rocket (Twitter account of Awda TV of Fatah’s media information and culture commission, January 3, 2023).
Monthly Distribution of Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire since January 2020
Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits
Memorial events of Qassem Soleimani
- On January 4, 2023, the Palestinian World Jerusalem Day committee held an event in the Gaza Strip to mark the third anniversary of the killing of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Qods Force. The event was attended by terrorist organization representatives. Walid al-Qutati, a member of the PIJ’s political bureau, gave a speech in which he said that the presence of “Palestine” in the heart of Iran was the “real reason” for the killing of Qassem Soleimani, who had been appointed to “resist” Israel (“the Zionist entity”) and American colonialism, and to help the Palestinian “resistance” [terrorist organizations] with money, weapons and information. He claimed Soleimani confirmed that in one of his letters to the Palestinian “resistance” leadership, when he wrote that Islamic Iran would not abandon “Palestine” regardless of how intense the pressure or the “siege.” Al-Qutati revealed that accompanied by several PIJ operatives, he had met Soleimani, and one of the things Soleimani kept repeating was “We are at your service and all our resources and capabilities are at your disposal. We are soldiers in the battle to liberate [sic] Jerusalem and Palestine, and we are with Palestine, its interests, its people and its resistance [terrorist organizations]” (Safa and the PIJ website, January 4, 2023).
- Muhammad al-Breem (Abu Mujahed), from the Popular Resistance Committees, gave a speech on behalf of the Palestine Committee for World Jerusalem Day. He said that thanks to Soleimani’s efforts the “axis of resistance” [Iran, the Palestinian terrorist organizations, Hezbollah] had become stronger and more experienced, advanced and developed. He added that the axis of “resistance,” of which Soleimani had been a part since its inception, was today a large army of well-trained “resistance” fighters [terrorist operatives], well-equipped and prepared to achieve a great victory over Israel. He said the “resistance” was capable of continuing the “battle for liberation” until “Palestine” had been liberated (Safa and the PIJ website, January 4, 2023).
Walid al-Qutati at the memorial event (Safa, January 4, 2023).
- An event was organized by Hezbollah and Palestinian organizations in the Imam Khomeini “Cultural Center” in Beirut, where a speech ( apparently pre-recorded) was given by Khaled al-Batash, a member of the PIJ’s political bureau. He said Soleimani had never retreated from his decision to defend the Palestinian cause and support the “resistance” with money and weapons. Khaled al-Batash called on the Arab states to follow in Iran’s footsteps and support the Palestinian cause (Palestine Online, January 6, 2023). At a different event in Beirut, PIJ leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah said Soleimani had extensive ties with all the “resistance” forces in and beyond “Palestine,” claiming that “Palestine” was his most important concern. Al-Nakhalah said Soleimani had made a tremendous effort to strengthen and develop the “resistance” to the point where it reached the height of attacking Tel Aviv with rockets delivered by Soleimani (PIJ website, January 5, 2023).
Hamas delegation expected to visit Syria
- On January 8, 2023, the London-based daily al-Sharq al-Awsat reported that according to an Arab source, a Hamas delegation, which would include Khalil al-Haya, deputy chairman of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, and senior Hamas figure Usama Hamdan, would visit Damascus the following week. The objective of the visit was to discuss the return of a permanent Hamas presence to Syria and arranging for further visits by senior Hamas figures to Damascus. The visit will be the first of a Hamas delegation to Damascus and the first official Hamas visit since the Hamas leadership left ten years ago. Khalil al-Haya and Usama Hamdan visited Damascus in October 2022 as part of a Palestinian delegation of representatives from other organizations who met with Syrian President Assad (al-Sharq al-Awsat, January 8, 2023).
Hamas response to an Israeli report about limiting Hamas activities in Turkey
- Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said the report in the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz about Turkey’s limiting the movement of the Hamas leadership within the country was a lie and part of an incitement campaign waged by the Israeli media against Hamas and its leadership. He claimed Hamas had good relations with Turkey and all the Arab-Muslim countries (Hamas website, January 9, 2023).
Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades operative with two jobs
- The Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ terrorist wing, announced the death of Sayid Isma’il Hassan Abdallah (al-Jerah), a field commander from the Jabalia refugee camp, who died of a heart attack at the age of 59 (Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades website, January 3, 2023). The military police in the Gaza Strip also issued a report offering condolences to the general commander of the national security forces in the Gaza Strip, General Abu Obeida al-Jerah, for the death of his brother, Brigadier General Sayid al-Jerah (Abu Muhammad), in charge of public relations for the general security forces (Facebook page of the “military” police in the Gaza Strip, January 3, 2023). On January 4, 2023, a funeral was held for him in the Jabalia refugee camp, attended by Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades operatives and the policemen he worked with (Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades website, January 4, 2023). It was another example of a Hamas terrorist operative who also works for its security forces.
Right: Sayid al-Jerah in a Hamas terrorist organization uniform, complete with green headband (Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades Twitter account, January 3, 2023). Left: Mourning notice issued by the Hamas military police in the Gaza Strip (military police Facebook page, January 3, 2023).
Palestinian reactions to the decision of Israel’s political-security cabinet
- In response to the Palestinian decision to wage political and court-of-law warfare against Israel, including an appeal to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Israel’s political-security cabinet authorized a series of measures to counter the PA (Israeli prime minister’s office Facebook page, January 6, 2023):
- Israel will transfer 139 million shekels (a little over $40 million) from the tax funds it collects for the PA, to implement the legal decision compensating the families of victims who were killed in Palestinian terrorist attacks (the Litvak file).
- The immediate deduction of PA payments from the tax funds to terrorists and their families in 2022.
- Freezing Palestinian construction plans in Area C.
- Revoking the special privileges received by Palestinian VIPS who lead the lawfare and political campaigns against Israel.
- Taking measures against the organizations in Judea and Samaria which promote terrorist or other hostile activities, including lawfare and political activities against Israel disguised as “humanitarian activity.”
- The Israeli cabinet’s decision was strongly criticized by the Palestinians. The PA leadership stressed they would continue their “diplomatic” activity against Israel despite the measures taken against them. Some claimed they had expected the measures:
- Mahmoud Abbas said the PA would assertively confront the serious violations carried out by the new Israeli government and extremist settler organizations, whether it was a matter of desecrating al-Aqsa mosque and the Islamic holy sites, or passing racist laws and undertaking projects which violated international law and signed agreements (Wafa, January 7, 2023).
- Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, said they condemned and rejected the steps the Israeli government had declared in response to the Palestinian measures in the UN. He claimed the rights of the Palestinians could not be haggled over and they would continue their political, diplomatic and court-related “struggle” [propaganda campaign and lawfare] until the end of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land with east Jerusalem as its capital. He called on the international community, and first of all the American administration, to take immediate action to put an end to Israel’s threats, which were liable to “draw the region into an explosion” (Wafa, January 6, 2023).
- PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh responded on his Facebook page, claiming that the continuing “Israeli theft” of Palestinian tax funds worsened the PA’s financial crisis and increased the national debt, and they would not be deterred from continuing their “political, diplomatic struggle” in international forums (Muhammad Shtayyeh’s Facebook page, January 6, 2023). He repeated what he said at the weekly PA government meeting, adding that the steps Israel was taking were nothing but a plan to cause the PA to collapse and push it to its financial limit. He claimed Israel’s deductions of Palestinian funds were illegal and violated agreements between the two sides (Wafa and Muhammad Shtayyeh’s Facebook page, January 9, 2023).
- Hussein al-Sheikh, general secretary of the PLO’s Executive Committee, claimed that all the measures declared by the Israeli government, especially the continuing “theft of Palestinian money,” would not deter them from their intention to prosecute the government of Israel in international institutions and forums and to denounce its policies against the Palestinians. He called on the international community to force the government of Israel to release the billions of shekels it had “stolen” (Hussein al-Sheikh’s Twitter account, January 6, 2023).
- Muhammad Shalaldeh, Palestinian minister of justice, claimed the measures taken by Israel against the Palestinians were violated international law and their objective was to retaliate against the Palestinians. He called for a UN resolution designating Israel as an apartheid country (Dunia al-Watan, January 7, 2023).
- The PA foreign ministry claimed the new measures as well as previous ones would not deter the Palestinians and their leadership from continuing their “struggle” and political, diplomatic and court-related steps to provide international protection for the Palestinians and put an end to Israel’s ongoing avoidance of responsibility, accountability and punishment. The ministry also called on the American administration to intervene to stop Netanyahu’s government from implementing its plans (PA foreign ministry website, January 6, 2023).
- The PA foreign ministry also condemned the decision revoking the special privileges of Palestinian VIPs leading the political-lawfare “struggle” against Israel, among them Riyad al-Maliki, Palestinian foreign minister; Ziyad Abu Omar, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee; and Riyad Mansour, PA representative to the UN (who, according to the foreign ministry claim, does not have VIP status).
- Hamas strongly condemned Israel’s “punishments,” especially the “theft” of more Palestinian money earmarked for the families of shaheeds and prisoners, and preventing Palestinians building on their own land. Hamas claimed it was “a crime and Zionist attack on the Palestinians’ natural rights” and an attempt by Israel to influence the UN resolution for ICJ prosecution. Hamas called on the PA not to surrender to threats and blackmail but to continue its steps against Israel in international courts (Hamas website, January 6, 2023).
Ongoing reactions to Itamar Ben-Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount
- The PA continued its international activities regarding the visit by Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s minister of national security, to the Temple Mount. Mahmoud Abbas instructed Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian delegate to the UN, to act to convene an immediate meeting of the Security Council (Wafa, January 3, 2023). On January 5, 2023, the Security Council held an emergency meeting to discuss the matter after China and the UAE, both Security Council members, issued the request. At the deliberations Riyad Mansour condemned Israel’s actions and demanded the Security Council take a strong stand. No resolution condemning Israel was passed but Security Council members, the United States among them, expressed concern and called on the both sides to preserve the status quo in the holy sites in Jerusalem and to avoid taking unilateral measures that could worsen the conflict (Sky News in Arabic, January 5, 2023).
The emergency UN Security Council session (SwitzerlandUN Twitter account, January 5, 2023).
- The session ended without a vote, but in any case the PA was satisfied. The PA foreign ministry praised the positions expressed by the Security Council members who objected to a change in status quo of the holy sites in Jerusalem. The foreign ministry called for those positions to be translated into action (PA foreign ministry Facebook page, January 6, 2023).
- Hussein al-Sheikh, general secretary of the PLO’s Executive Committee, claimed the deliberations in the Security Council had been clear and direct, and that a message had been sent to the government of Israel regarding the dangers inherent in its policies and activities at al-Aqsa mosque. He praised and expressed esteem for the UAE’s position and thanked it for the good way it represented the Arabs at the session (Hussein al-Sheikh’s Twitter account, January 6, 2023).
Right: The Netanyahu government is playing with fire (al-Quds, January 7, 2023). Left: “The situation is volatile” (al-Quds, January 4, 2023).
- On January 5, 2023, a meeting chaired by Mahmoud Abbas was held in Ramallah of the PLO’s Executive Committee to discuss ways of dealing with the policies of the new Israeli government. Mahmoud Abbas said the PA would exploit every legal avenue to confront the Israeli government, which had begun by “storming” al-Aqsa mosque. He also said the American administration stood behind the policies of the Israeli government. Regarding the visit of Ben-Gvir to the Temple Mount, Mahmoud Abbas claimed it had been condemned by “most of the countries around the globe” and demanded a reaction (Mahmoud Abbas’ Facebook page, January 5, 2023).
PLO Executive Committee meeting (Mahmoud Abbas’ Facebook page, January 5, 2023).
Jibril al-Rajoub visit Iraq
- Jibril al-Rajoub, secretary of Fatah’s Central Committee, the chairman of the Palestinian Council for Youth and Sport and chairman of the Palestinian Soccer Association, headed a Fatah delegation which arrived in Iraq for an official visit to participate in the Persian Gulf soccer championship, held in Basra (Wafa and Jibril al-Rajoub’s Facebook page, January 7, 2023).
- Jibril al-Rajoub used the visit to hold a number of political meetings at which he explained PA strategy to internationalize the conflict with Israel.
- On January 9, 2023, he met in Baghdad with Abdul Latif Rashid, the president of Iraq. He said the Palestinians were about to formulate a comprehensive national strategy to confront the Israeli government, and to join international institutions. Latif Rashid claimed Iraq was diligent in providing help to support the Palestinian cause, adding that the government of Iraq had increased its cooperation with the PA government (Wafa, January 9, 2023). Later on the same day Jibril al-Rajoub met with Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani, the Iraq prime minister.
- Jibril al-Rajoub and the delegation also met with Qais al-Khazali, the secretary general of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous), one of the pro-Iranian Iraqi militias. They discussed the need to provide an Arab security net to protect the Palestinian people and support their confrontation with the government of Israel, and to internationalize the Palestinian cause in a way that would serve the Palestinians legitimate aspirations for freedom and independence. Al-Khazali said Iraq was a safety valve for the Palestinian cause, and that the Iraqi parliament’s vote to outlaw normalization [of relations between Israel and Arab states] was the implementation of the will of all Iraqis (Jibril al-Rajoub’s Facebook page, January 9, 2023).
Right: Jibril al-Rajoub and the president of Iraq. Left: The delegation and the secretary general of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (Jibril al-Rajoub’s Facebook page, January 9, 2023).
Release of Palestinian terrorist operative Karim Yunes
- On January 5, 2023, Israel released Palestinian terrorist Karim Yunes from prison after he had been incarcerated for 40 years for the killing of Abraham Bromberg in 1980. Yunes is an Israeli Arab from the village of Ara in Wadi Ara in north central Israel, and is also a member of Fatah’s Central Committee. A mass reception was organized for him in Ara. He was carried on the shoulders of relatives and waved a Palestinian flag. A tent was erected in his honor to host visitors. Upon arrival he told representatives of the local media that if it became necessary he would sacrifice an additional 40 years for the sake of the Palestinian cause (Haaretz, January 5, 2023).
The reception held for Karim Yunes (Wafa, January 5, 2023).
- In a telephone call Mahmoud Abbas congratulated Karim Yunes on his release and called him a symbol of the Palestinians’ firm stance (Wafa, January 5, 2023). Muhammad Shtayyeh also congratulated him on his release and called on the international human rights organizations to intervene to secure the release of all the prisoners, especially the women, children and sick prisoners (Wafa, January 5, 2023). Fatah’s Central Committee congratulated him and said it saluted all the prisoners, men and women, mentioning the names of several prisoners in Israeli jails, and stressed the struggle for the freedom of “Palestine” and the release of all the prisoners (Fatah commission for media information and culture Facebook page, January 5, 2023).
- A delegation of senior Fatah figures went to visit Karim Yunes, among them deputy Fatah chairman Mahmoud al-‘Aloul, Azzam al-Ahmed and Rawhi Fatouh (Mahmoud al-‘Aloul’s Twitter account, January 7, 2023). In the wake of the visit Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant revoked their entrance permits (Israeli media, January 7 2023).
- Deputy Fatah chairman Mahmoud al-‘Aloul claimed he knew nothing about permits’ being revoked beyond what was in the media. However, he said, from the beginning they had expected that Israel would take exceptional measures and therefore they had sent messages to the international community warning it of what Israel would do. Hussein al-Sheikh, general secretary of the PLO’s Executive Committee, claimed that revoking the entrance permits and the special privileges enjoyed by members of Fatah’s Central Committee violated agreements between Israel and the Palestinians (Wafa, January 8, 2023).
The Fatah delegation visits Karim Yunes (Mahmoud al-‘Aloul’s Twitter account, January 7, 2023).
- Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, called Karim Yunes to congratulate him on his release. Zaher Jabarin, a member of Hamas’ political bureau and responsible for the bureau of Hamas shaheeds, wounded and prisoners, congratulated him and claimed that the release of the prisoners was the “resistance’s” top priority (Hamas website, January 5, 2023). PIJ spokesman Tareq Salami congratulated him and said his release strengthened the determination in the hearts of the “resistance” fighters [terrorist operatives] working for the sake of the prisoners’ freedom (PIJ website, January 5, 2023).
Hamas terrorist squads in Lebanon plan terrorist attacks against Israel
- A Lebanese security source revealed to the Beirut Observer news website that a squad of Hamas operatives in Lebanon was planning to carry out attacks against Israel from south Lebanon. According to the source, Lebanese security had officially told Hezbollah about the presence of the operatives, all of them Palestinians and all Hamas operatives operating in south Lebanon. According to the website, security personnel in Lebanon criticized Hezbollah for not dealing with the issue, because any attack on Israel at this time would put Lebanon in danger (Beirut Observer website, January 7, 2023).
- The Halas Hamas website, whose objective is to expose covert Hamas military-terrorist activity around the world, reported the following about the squad operatives:
- Samir Fawzi Fendi, 53 years old, lives in Lebanon. He is a Hamas military operative and has been a member of the Hamas movement for 30 years. He began his activity in Hamas’ security services and currently liaises between Hamas and the Ansar Allah movement, the political framework of the Shi’ite Houthi rebels in Yemen.
- Ahmed Hamdan Abdallah, who liaises between the Hamas headquarters in Judea and Samaria and Hezbollah.
- Nadim Muhammad Dawabshe, an important field operative in the Hamas in headquarters in Lebanon. He owns a construction company in Istanbul.
- Husan Farhat, an operative in the al-Shamali unit, which deals with recruiting and training terrorist operatives, and manufacturing rockets and UAVs (Persian Twitter account of Mahizadyaar@, January 7, 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:
- January 8, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near al-Mugheir (northeast of Ramallah). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- January 8, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle on the Nebi Elias bypass road (east of Qalqilya). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- January 8, 2023: A Molotov cocktail was thrown at an Israeli vehicle near al-Khader (west of Bethlehem). No casualties or damage were reported.
- January 8, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus in Hawwara (south of Nablus). No casualties were reported; the bus was damaged.
- January 7, 2023: Rocks were thrown at Israeli vehicles on the Husan bypass road near Beitar (west of Bethlehem). One person was injured and two vehicles were damaged.
- January 5, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli bus in Arab Teqoa (southeast of Bethlehem). No casualties were reported; the bus was damaged.
- January 5, 2023: Two masked Palestinians threw a rock and paint at an Israeli vehicle near Avnei Hefetz (southeast of Tulkarm). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- January 5, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near Einav (southeast of Tulkarm). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- January 5, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle in Hawwara. No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
The damage done to the Israeli vehicle in Hawwara
- January 5, 2023: Rocks were thrown at Israeli vehicles near Arab Teqoa (in the Gush Etzion area). One person was injured and an ambulance was damaged.
Windshield of Israeli vehicle damaged by a rock thrown in Gush Etzion
- January 4, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near the Te’enim Crossing (south of Tulkarm). One person was injured; the vehicle was damaged (Shehab Twitter account, January 5, 2023).
- January 4, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near Turmus Aya (northeast of Ramallah). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- January 4, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle between Azzun and the Ma’aleh Shomron Junction (east of Qalqilya). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was 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 ↑
 On October 11, 2022, Palestinian carried out a drive-by shooting targeting an IDF force near the settlement of Shavei Shomron which resulted in the death of an IDF soldier. The Lion's Den network claimed responsibility for the attack (al-Araby al-Jadeed, October 11, 2022). ↑
 Tax funds Israel charges the Palestinians and is supposed to return them to the PA according to the Oslo Accords. ↑
 A legal decision according to which the PA has to pay victims of Palestinian terrorism 130 million shekels (about $37.5 million). ↑
 Information and pictures from Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria unless otherwise noted. ↑