Israeli security force activity in Nablus (Shehab website and Shehab Twitter account, April 3, 2023).
Interview with "Abu Jamal" (Bawabat al-Hadaf, March 29, 2023).
Palestinians wave Hamas flags (Shehab Twitter account, March 31, 2023).
Israelis on the Temple Mount (QudsN Twitter account, March 29, 2023).
PIJ terrorist operatives in a tunnel near the Gaza Strip border (Paltoday, April 1, 2023).
Hassan Haballah meets with Ashraf Dabour (al-'Ahad website, March 31, 2023).
Prayer held on the roof of Sheikh Khader Adnan's house in the village of Arabeh.
Gazans sling rocks at IDF soldiers in eastern Gaza (Filastin al-A'an, March 30, 2023).
Gazans sling rocks at IDF soldiers in eastern Gaza (Filastin al-A'an, March 30, 2023).
- This past week Palestinian terrorists carried out two attacks in Judea and Samaria. One was a vehicular ramming attack near Bayt Ummar (north of Hebron) carried out by an officer in the Palestinian National Security Services who was shot and killed; three IDF soldiers were wounded. The other was a drive-by attack: an IED was thrown from a moving vehicle at IDF forces southwest of Jenin. There was an incident in the Old City of Jerusalem which may have been a terrorist attack: a Bedouin from Hura in the Negev apparently tried to attack policemen; he was shot and killed. The Israeli security forces continued counterterrorism activities, detaining dozens of wanted terrorists and confiscating weapons. Two armed Palestinians were killed in Nablus in an exchange of fire with Israeli forces.
- According to reports, the second Friday of Ramadan attracted about 260,000 Muslim worshippers to the Temple Mount. The Palestinians were critical of the long waits at the entrances to Jerusalem. Hamas criticized Israel and the police who evacuated worshippers who wanted to stay in the Temple Mount compound overnight and issued a fatwa encouraging Muslims to remain. A Hamas operative was recently detained in Jerusalem after being recruited to attack Israeli police on the Temple Mount.
- The Gaza Strip remained relatively calm. An Israeli Air Force aircraft intercepted a UAV over the skies of the Gaza Strip. Reportedly, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) operatives are spending Ramadan in a tunnel near the border security fence as part of preparations “to repel any Israeli escalation.”
- The Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership continues meeting with foreign diplomats to ask for funding for infrastructure projects. The meetings were exploited to defame Israel for its activities against the Palestinians. The Palestinian security services in Jenin detained several wanted Palestinians, leading to confrontations.
- Land Day passed without particular incident. In Judea and Samaria no mass events were held after the PA announced it would be a normal work day, and for the most part the Palestinians simply posted to the media. A mass rally was held in the eastern part of Gaza City, after which many Palestinians went to the border security fence, and some tried to climb it.
Vehicular ramming attack
- On the evening of April 1, 2023, a Palestinian terrorist carried out a vehicular ramming attack near Bayt Ummar (north of Hebron). According to Israeli security, he drove his car into IDF soldiers securing the location. Three soldiers were injured, one critically. An IDF fighter at the site shot and killed the terrorist (Israeli media, April 1, 2023).
The scene of the vehicular ramming attack near Bayt Ummar (Raya website, April 1, 2023).
- The ministry of health in Ramallah reported the death of Muhammad Raad Naif Baradiya, 23 years old, from Surif (northwest of Hebron) (Wafa, April 1, 2023). He was a lieutenant in the Palestinian National Security Service (National Security Service Facebook page, April 1, 2023). His father is an officer in the military medical service (Fatah’s media information and cultural commission Facebook page, April 2, 2023). The Fatah branch in Hebron reported him as a Fatah operative (Ayman Alwan’s Facebook page, April 2, 2023).
Right: Muhammad Raad Naif Baradiya (National Security Service Facebook page, April 1, 2023). Left: The mourning notice issued by Fatah (@fateh_pal65 Twitter account, which representatives itself as an official Fatah page, April 1, 2023).
Notice praising Baradiya. The Arabic reads, “Blood in return for blood, and more in the future” (al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades (AAMB) Panthers’ Telegram channel, April 2, 2023).
- Hamas praised the terrorist attack, noting that the “young revolutionaries” would continue “defending” the Palestinians and the holy sites, and the revolution would not end until “victory and liberation.” Hamas called on the operatives of the PA’s security services to join the ranks of the “revolution” by escalating the “heroic actions” against Israel and the settlers (Hamas website, April 1, 2023). Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua sent condolences for the death of Muhammad Baradiya. He also criticized the PA’s security coordination with Israel and called for the defense of al-Aqsa mosque (Hamas website, April 1, 2023). Muhammad Hamada, Hamas spokesman for east Jerusalem affairs, claimed the vehicular ramming attack was the “natural response to the crimes of the occupation,” the most recent of which were the killing of “Dr.” Muhammad al-Assibi (see below) and the “attack” on the worshippers in al-Aqsa. He also said the “resistance” [anti-Israeli terrorism] would defend the Palestinian people and the holy sites, especially Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque (Shehab, April 1, 2023).
- The PIJ in Judea and Samaria called the attack the “natural response to the crimes of the occupation,” the most recent of which were the killing of Muhammad al-Assibi on the Temple Mount and the ongoing violation of al-Aqsa mosque. According to the PIJ, the attack sent a message of challenge and strength, stating the “resistance” was present and would continue to respond to “Israel’s crimes and the invasion of the holy sites by herds of settlers” (PIJ website, April 1, 2023).
- On the night of March 29, 2023, an IED was thrown from a passing vehicle at IDF fighters near a post northwest of Jenin. They shot at the vehicle. No Israeli casualties were reported (IDF spokesman, March 29, 2023).
Stabbing attack prevented at the al-Jib Crossing
- On March 29, 2023, during routine Border Police activities at the al-Jib Crossing (near Jerusalem ), a Palestinian was detained after not heeding orders to halt and refusing to cooperate with a security check. During the check a knife was found. The suspect, 27 years old and from the village of al-Jib, was detained and taken for interrogation (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, March 29, 2023).
The knife found in the Palestinian’s possession
(Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, March 29, 2023).
Critical Terrorist Attacks in Judea and Samaria since April 2021
- This past week the Israeli security forces continued intensive counterterrorism activities in Judea and Samaria, detaining Palestinians suspected of involvement in terrorism and confiscating large quantities of weapons. Their activities focused on Nablus, where on the morning of April 3, 2023, they operated to detain two Palestinians wanted for involvement in the shooting attack in Hawwara on March 25, 2023, in which two IDF soldiers were wounded. Armed Palestinians shot at the forces, who returned fire (Israeli media, April 3, 2023). The Palestinians reported the detention of Nidal Tabanja and Izz Tuqan, both from Nablus. The Lion’s Den network claimed its operatives shot at Israeli security forces and threw IEDs (QudsN Twitter account, April 3, 2023).
Israeli security force activity in Nablus
(Shehab website and Shehab Twitter account, April 3, 2023).
- Local sources in Nablus reported that two Palestinians, AAMB operatives, were killed in the exchange of fire. The governor of the Nablus district declared a strike in mourning (Ma’an, April 3, 2023). The two were:
- Muhammad al-Halaq, a released prisoner and wanted by the Israeli security forces. He was released from a PA jail a few days ago (QudsN Twitter account, April 3, 2023).
- Muhammad Abu Bakr, bodyguard of deputy Fatah chairman Mahmoud al-‘Aloul (Amad, April 3, 2023).
Right: Muhammad Abu Bakr. Left: Muhammad al-Halaq (al-Quds, April 3, 2023).
- The main incidents were the following:
- On March 30, 2023, during an activity in Qabatiya (south of Jenin), armed terrorists shot at the security forces, who return fire. A riot broke of during which Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails at the forces, who shot at a Palestinian who was identified while throwing a Molotov cocktail (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, March 30 2023).
- On March 29, 2023, during an activity to detain a wanted Palestinian in Bayt Rima (northwest of Ramallah), Palestinians rioted, burned tires and threw rocks at the forces, who responded with riot control measures. No IDF casualties were reported (IDF spokesman’s Twitter account, March 29, 2023).
Statement from the spokesman of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s (PFLP) military-terrorist wing
- In an interview with QudsN, “Abu Jamal,” spokesman for the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the PFLP’s military-terrorist wing, exposed its involvement in the two most recent terrorist attacks in Hawwara. He also said the Brigades were planning additional attacks. He admitted they were behind many attacks in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem but had not claimed responsibility because of the security situation and because they did not seek to show themselves. As for the Gaza Strip, he said the decision to begin an offensive in the Gaza Strip was national and would be conducted by the joint operations room of the Palestinian organizations. He said as soon as the “resistance,” the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades and the joint operations room felt the necessity to intervene, they would not hesitate to go out onto the battlefield (Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades website and Bawabat al-Hadaf, March 29, 2023).
Interview with “Abu Jamal” (Bawabat al-Hadaf, March 29, 2023).
Terrorist attack near the Temple Mount prevented
- The Israeli security forces prevented a shooting attack in Jerusalem by detaining Omar Abadin, 21 years old, from east Jerusalem, an activist in the Islamic Bloc (Hamas’ student cell) in Birzeit University. Interrogation revealed that several months ago he contacted an operative in Lebanon through a Facebook page. As their relation progressed they moved from Facebook to the Telegram channel. At one point he was asked to carry out a shooting attack or to place an IED. He was supposed to receive financial aid for the attack from Palestinians in the PA. He admitted he had agreed to shoot at a bus carrying Israeli police near the Temple Mount (Israeli Security Agency website, April 2, 2023).
Omar Abadin (Israeli Security Agency, April 2, 2023).
Israeli police attacked near the Temple Mount
- On the evening of March 31, 2023, a security incident led to tension, clashes and violence in the Old City of Jerusalem. A young Bedouin was shot and mortally wounded near the Chain Gate at the entrance to the al-Aqsa precinct, and later died. The police said in an announcement that during a security check the young man grabbed a policeman’s weapon and attacked him. The other police felt their lives were in danger and shot and killed the Bedouin. The police asserted it was a shooting attack which included the theft of a policeman’s weapon. The police also asserted that all the CCTVs in the area were examined but the incident itself was not documented. There was also no documentation on the body camera of the policeman who grappled with the attacker. On April 2, 2023, the Israel Police Force reported that traces of the attacker’s DNA had been found on the policeman’s gun (Israeli media, April 2, 2023).
- The Bedouin who was killed was Muhammad al-Assibi, 26 years old, a medical student from Hura in the Negev. His family claimed he had been trying to help a woman at the site at the time and had been shot for no reason. The event enraged Israeli Arab and Bedouin society and a general strike was called (Israeli media, March 31, 2023).
- In the wake of the event, before dawn on April 1, 2023, riots between police and Palestinians broke out in the Temple Mount compound and the alleys of the Old City. Following the riots the gates of the al-Aqsa mosque precinct and some of the gates to the Old City were closed and later reopened. Israeli security forces were sent to reinforce the area. Clashes were reported inside the al-Aqsa mosque precinct between Palestinians who had spent the night there and Israeli police forces (Shehab Twitter account, April 1, 2023).
Right: The scene of the incident on the Temple Mount (Shehab, April 1, 2023). Left: Muhammad al-Assibi (QudsN Facebook page, April 1, 2023).
- Palestinian and Israeli Arab sources accused Israel of killing him, claiming he had been “executed in cold blood.” Reactions were the following:
- Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, warned of dangerous “Israeli escalation” at al-Aqsa mosque and attacks against civilians in the courtyards, alleys and neighborhoods of east Jerusalem. He claimed the main objective of “Israel’s forced escalation” was to cause tension and violence during Ramadan, especially in light of the large number of “civilians” who came to pray at al-Aqsa every Friday. He also accused Israel of provocation and demanded the American government intervene and exert pressure on the government of Israel (Wafa, April 1, 2023).
- Ramzi Rabah, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, claimed the “crime of execution” was an attempt to limit the “great flow” of Palestinians to Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque. He claimed it was necessary to respond to Israel’s measures on several levels, including operating and strengthening the “popular resistance” [popular terrorism] and ending participation in summit meetings, such as those held at Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh (Sanad, April 1, 2023).
- Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem claimed it was part of the “religious war” waged by Israel against the Palestinians and their holy sites. He declared that the “blood of the martyr” would light ignite the escalation of the “struggle’ against Israel’s policy of “Judaization” and preserve the Palestinian-Arab-Islamic identity of al-Aqsa mosque (Hazem Qassem’s Telegram channel, April 1, 2023).
- The PIJ condemned the incident, claiming the “crime of execution” of “young doctor” Muhammad al-Assibi was “aggressive, dangerous escalation” whose objective was to “terrify” worshippers (Paltoday, March 31, 2023).
- The prayer of the second Friday of Ramadan on March 31, 2023, passed without exceptional incident. According to reports, about 260,000 came for the prayer. The Palestinian media reported that after the prayer worshippers waved Hamas flags and chanted slogans in support of the Palestinian “resistance” (Shehab Twitter account, March 31, 2023).
Right: The second Ramadan Friday prayer on the Temple Mount (Wafa, March 31, 2023). Left: Palestinians wave Hamas flags (Shehab Twitter account, March 31, 2023).
- Palestinians criticized the Israeli police who, they claimed, erected roadblocks and conducted overly-thorough searches of Palestinians entering from the PA territories, which created crowds at the crossings. Hussein al-Sheikh, PA minister of civilian affairs, said that Israel claimed it had instituted measures facilitate the entry of the Palestinians into Jerusalem during Ramadan, while in reality many Palestinians were forced to wait for hours to enter (Wafa and Hussein al-Sheikh’s Twitter account, March 31, 2023). Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said the “barriers” Israel had erected to “prevent the Palestinians from reaching al-Aqsa mosque” were a gross violation of international values, laws and norms (Hazem Qassem’s Telegram channel, March 31, 2023).
Right: Palestinians wait to enter Jerusalem. Left: Palestinians climb the border security fence terrorist reach the Temple Mount (Shehab Twitter account, March 31, 2023).
- In the meantime, reports continue of Israelis entering the Temple Mount compound. The Palestinian media publish videos and pictures showing Jews entering the Temple Mount and “holding ceremonies.” According to the Palestinian reports, the Israelis entered under Israeli police protection, which was recently increased and conducted more thorough security checks of Muslims (Wafa, March 29, 2023).
Israelis on the Temple Mount (QudsN Twitter account, March 29, 2023).
Palestinians warn of plans to slaughter paschal lambs on the Temple Mount
- Given reports that Jews were planning to slaughter “paschal lambs” on the Temple Mount during Passover, the Palestinians warned that they would consider such an action a declaration of war against Muslims, which could “ignite the entire Middle East.” Sheikh Omar al-Kaswani, director of al-Aqsa mosque, said the department of Islamic endowments, along with the Palestinian masses, would not allow the sacrifices to be held on the Temple Mount (al-Araby al-Jadeed, March 30, 2023). They said they following:
- Rawhi Fatouh, chairman of the Palestinian National Council, claimed the killing of Muhammad al-Assibi served as a prelude which would enable extremists to “hold ceremonies” during the Jewish holidays, and slaughter sacrificial animals at the request of the Jewish rabbis. He warned of the danger, claiming it crossed all the red lines, and would “ignite the region” (Wafa, April 1, 2023).
- Hatem Abd al-Qadr, member of the Fatah leadership and secretary general of the so-called “Muslim-Christian commission for the support of Jerusalem and the holy places” [subordinate to the chairman of Fatah’s Executive Committee], said the residents of Jerusalem would rally and not permit any attempt by settlers to enter al-Aqsa mosque and slaughter animals. He said the Israeli government would be responsible for the consequences (al-Araby al-Jadeed, March 30, 2023).
- Haroun Nasser al-Din, head of Hamas’ ministry of Jerusalem affairs, warned that the calls of extremist Israeli groups to sacrifice animals in front of al-Aqsa mosque were a declaration of war against the Palestinian holy sites and Arab-Muslim identity. He added that such actions would cross red lines and cause the situation to ignite and spin out of Israeli control (Palestine Online, April 2, 2023).
- Ahmed Abu Halbiya, a member of the Hamas leadership and chairman of the Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Committee in the Palestinian Legislative Council in the Gaza Strip, said the threat of slaughtering animals in al-Aqsa mosque would lead to “the explosion of a volcano of rage” from all Muslims. He added that al-Aqsa mosque was the exclusive property of Muslims and a “sacred right” excluding all other sectarian or religious groups. He called on the Palestinians in Jerusalem increase their presence in al-Aqsa both day and night until the end of Ramadan (Shehab, April 2, 2023).
- Ahmed al-Mudallal, a member of the PIJ’s Executive Committee, claimed that slaughtering animals in al-Aqsa was a “new aggression,” and Palestinians would definitely respond because it was a declaration of war against [Muslim] worshippers. He claimed a “resistance” presence existed in all the Palestinian arenas to defend al-Aqsa mosque (Sabaq24, April 2, 2023).
Right: Picture of practice for slaughtering the paschal lamb conducted by the “headquarters of the Temple organizations” at the foot of the Temple Mount. The Arabic reads, “The occupation ignites a religious war in al-Aqsa” (Twitter account of Malek Sharif al-Masri, April 2, 2023). Left: Cartoon by Gazan cartoonist Hashem Shamali, March 31, 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 April 2021
Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits since 2006
UAV intercepted in the skies over the Gaza Strip
- On the morning of April 3, 2023, Israeli Air Force planes intercepted an unidentified UAV in the skies over the Gaza Strip. The IDF spokesman reported it had been monitored until its interception (IDF spokesman, April 3, 2023). Hamas’ military-terrorist wing said that on April 3, 2023, during a training mission carried out by its air force [sic], an Israeli Air Force plane intercepted a Shehab UAV in the southern Gaza Strip. In response they launched surface-to-air missiles (Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades Telegram channel, April 3, 2023).
Threats against Israel
- On April 1, 2023, the Palestinian media published pictures of operatives of the Jerusalem Brigades, the PIJ’s military-terrorist wing, in a tunnel near the Gaza-Israel border during Ramadan. Their presence expressed the “resistance” operatives’ augmented preparedness in answer to the increase of “settler invasions” of al-Aqsa mosque (Paltoday, April 1, 2023).
PIJ terrorist operatives in a tunnel near the Gaza Strip border (Paltoday, April 1, 2023).
- “High-level Palestinian sources” were quoted as saying that all the organizations in the Gaza Strip and abroad were on alert because of “Israeli attempts to assassinate leadership figures.” According to the sources, a number of Arab states had transmitted security information defined as “dangerous” to the Palestinian organizations to warn them of suspicious measures taken by Israel and attempts to “escalate” by killing a prominent commander in the Gaza Strip or abroad, which would lead to a response. The “sources” claimed that the coming days would be particularly “explosive” in light of the exposure of the [alleged] Israeli plan (al-Ra’i al-Yawm, March 30, 2023).
- Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, issued a press release for Ramadan in Doha, warning of the consequences of “Israel’s violations in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, its [organized killings] and invasions of al-Aqsa mosque.” He claimed they were at a historic point in time which could help them march towards liberation and “the struggle against the plans of the Israeli government,” and had reached the point of no return in the conflict with Israel. He said Hamas was following three courses: escalating the confrontation with Israel by means of continuing the “resistance” and developing [military-terrorist] capabilities in the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria; uniting the Palestinians internally around the “resistance;” and constructing strong strategic alliances in support of the Palestinian issue (Hamas website, April 2, 2023).
Hamas fatwa encouraging Muslims not to leave the Temple Mount
- On March 20, 2023, the Hamas-affiliated Commission of Religious Authorities in “Palestine” issued a fatwa dealing with Muslims remaining in al-Aqsa mosque day and night for the sake of Allah, in light of Israel’s [alleged] intention to “invade” the mosque during Ramadan. According to the fatwa, staying in the mosque “in the shadow of the occupation and in preparation to repel the Zionist invasions” incorporated a number of important religious duties, among them rabat, jihad, remaining in al-Aqsa mosque for the sake of Allah, etc. According to the fatwa, one of the most important religious duties for Muslims in “Palestine” was to strive to reach al-Aqsa mosque to perform rabat and keep the site continually occupied by Muslims, which was the way to repel the damage and “aggression” against it, or at least to moderate their influence. In addition, it was necessary to offer all possible help to those performing religious duties, whether materially, bringing them to the mosque and providing them with fast-breaking meals or media support (website of the Commission of Religious Authorities in “Palestine” in the “Palestinian dispersal,” March 20, 2023).
Meetings with foreign diplomats
- The Palestinian leadership continues meeting with foreign diplomats, mainly with the objective of advancing projects in the PA. The meetings are also exploited to defame, demonize and criticize Israel:
- On March 30, 2023, PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh met with Jeyhun Bayramov, the foreign minister of Azerbaijan. Also present was Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki. Shtayyeh noted the importance of closer bilateral cooperation in a number of areas, among them the exchanges of students, businessmen and investors (Wafa, March 30, 2023).
- On March 29, 2023, Shtayyeh met with Odile Renaud-Basso, the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. They discussed aid for funding projects and investments in solar energy and infrastructure. Shtayyeh noted the importance of low-interest loans given by the European Bank for development projects to encourage investment and for the recovery of the Palestinian economy. He said that despite the decline in international support for the PA, Israel’s ongoing deductions from the tax funds it collects for the PA and the corona epidemic, the Palestinian economy had recovered and was growing (Wafa, March 29, 2023). In recent years the European Bank has given the Palestinian private sector loans totaling €85 million (about $93 million) (Ma’an, April 1, 2023).
- On March 27, 2023, Jibril al-Rajoub, secretary of Fatah’s Central Committee, met with Ahmet Rıza Demirer, the Turkish consul general in Jerusalem who serves as ambassador to the PA. Al-Rajoub briefed him on the Israel’s [alleged] “violations” against the Palestinians, which included killing, demolishing houses and expanding the settlements. The Turkish representative expressed his country’s support for the Palestinians and the establishment of a Palestinian state in accordance with international resolutions. He also praised Turkish-Palestinian relations and thanked the PA for the response teams it sent to Turkey at the beginning of February 2023 to locate the missing and wounded following the earthquake (Jibril al-Rajoub’s Facebook page, March 27, 2023).
Hezbollah figure meets with PA and Fatah representatives in Lebanon
- On March 31, 2023, Hassan Haballah, responsible for Palestinian relations in Hezbollah, met with Ashraf Dabour, PA ambassador to Lebanon, and Fatah secretary Fathi Abu al-Aradat. They discussed regional and international developments, especially those related to the Palestinian issue. They called for cooperation and coordination between Lebanese and Palestinian national and Islamic forces. They also noted the importance of the agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which in their eyes was a victory for the Palestinian issue because it gave priority to cooperation over “the regional conflicts ignited by Israel” (al-Alam, March 31, 2023).
Hassan Haballah meets with Ashraf Dabour (al-‘Ahad website, March 31, 2023).
Change in the law regarding the service of the head of Palestinian general intelligence
- On March 28, 2023, Mahmoud Abbas issued a “presidential” edict changing Article 4 of Palestinian general intelligence law Number 17 for 2005. According to the change, the head of Palestinian general intelligence will have the status of minister and the authority of the head of a government ministry, and therefore the ability to intervene in government policy, influence the distribution of annual budgets and propose laws. He will be appointed, and relieved of his post, by Mahmoud Abbas, regardless of his age (Ma’an, March 28, 2023). The change in the law was authorized by Mahmoud Abbas in January 2023. It cancelled two articles of the previous law which limited the age of the head of Palestinian general intelligence to 60 and his term of office to three years, with the possibility of extending it for another year.
- In effect, the edict strengthens the position of Majed Faraj, who was appointed head of Palestinian general intelligence in 2009 and has already celebrated his 61st birthday, and allows him to continue at his post until the end of the Mahmoud Abbas era (al-Araby al-Jadeed, March 28, 2023). In addition, the edict makes Faraj a political personage as well as head of security, and makes it possible for him to transfer funds to Palestinian general intelligence.
- Ahmed Bahar, a member of the Hamas leadership and currently deputy chairman of the Legislative Council, harshly criticized Mahmoud Abbas’ decision, noting that his term of office had ended, yet nevertheless he continued issuing decisions and laws, none of which had legal validity. He also noted that the exclusive authority to issue and change laws belonged to the Legislative Council (Shehab, March 29, 2023).
PA detains wanted men in Jenin
- The PA security services detained several wanted men in Jenin. In response, armed Palestinians shot at the service operatives and threw IEDs at the offices of the Jenin district governor. According to reports, following the gunfire, operatives of the PA security services deployed in the streets of Jenin (Safa and Shehab, March 29, 2023). Later, one of the detainees, a commander in the Jerusalem Brigades, the PIJ’s military-terrorist wing, was released. Wafaa Afif Zakarna, a member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council in Jenin, harshly criticized the [PIJ’s] Jenin Battalion and the wanted commander the PA tried to detain. She wrote on WhatsApp that if she were the governor of Jenin district, she would have “attacked the Jenin Battalion with tanks.” She called for Jenin Battalion operatives to be captured and killed (al-Shahed website, March 29, 2023).
Video of the deployment of Palestinian security services in Jenin (Safa, March 29, 2023).
The PA continues inciting violence and terrorism
- In the shadow of recent incidents and the attacks in Judea and Samaria, the official PA newspaper, al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, continues publishing hate-propaganda cartoons which are liable to incite Palestinians to carry out more attacks against the IDF and settlers in Judea and Samaria.
Right: After a house burned in Sinjil because of an electrical fault, the cartoon shows a settler setting it on fire (al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, March 28, 2023). Left: Stores closed in Hawwara by the IDF after a shooting attack (al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, March 29, 2023).
Explosion in Bitunia
- On March 28, 2023, there was an explosion in a carpentry workshop in Bitunia, west of Ramallah. Mahmoud Ziyad al-Tawil, from the village of Abu Kush, north of Ramallah, was killed. Palestinian Civil Defense said in a press release that the explosion caused a fire and a Civil Defense team arriving at the site found a critically injured worker who later died. Civil Defense, the police and the Preventive security services opened investigations into the incident (al-Araby al-Jadeed, March 29, 2023). A similar explosion occurred in the same carpentry workshop in June 2022.
- Talal Dweikat, spokesman for the PA security services, said they were particularly interested in the circumstances of the explosion. He said that during 2022 they had confiscated explosives at the same location. He also warned people who stored such materials of the great danger they presented to the lives of innocent civilians, adding that the security services would continue their investigation to prevent the repeat of such incidents and would take legal measures against those behind them (Wafa, March 28, 2023).
- After the explosion, the PA security services began carrying out detentions. They raided the home of Ahmed Harish, a released prisoner affiliated with Hamas. As he was not at home they detained his father and brother. Ahmed Harish was detained on June 7, 2022, after the previous explosion at the same carpentry workshop, and released on November 9, 2022, after spending more than five months in jail. The security services also raided the home of his father-in-law, Mufeid Zaloum, also a released prisoner, to exert pressure on Harish to turn himself in. Harish’s sister, journalist Asmaa Harish, received a summons from the security services to present herself for interrogation. Also detained was Manzar Rahiv, a released prisoner, who owned the carpentry workshop and was detained after the previous explosion and released in November 2022. Sources claimed that after his release he sold the carpentry workshop (Safa and Shehab, March 28, 2023; al-Araby al-Jadeed, March 29, 2023).
The result of the explosion in the carpentry workshop in Bitunia (Right: Facebook page of the Raya FM radio station, March 28, 2023. Left: Nadaa al-Watan website Twitter account, March 29, 2023).
- Following the explosion in June 2022, the PA security services detained 19 Palestinians, among them Ahmed Harish and his brother, and others whose numbers were on the contact list of the carpentry workshop’s owner, who was also detained. All the detainees and released prisoners were affiliated with Hamas. Official Palestinian sources did not provide clarification regarding the connection between the explosion and the detainees, but websites affiliated with the security services and the PA reported their involvement in planning “activities” against targets in the PA territories, and also published pictures and maps found in the homes of Ahmed and his brother. Six of the detainees remained in custody and began a hunger strike after claiming they had been tortured. The case against them became a criminal case and all were released on bail without being charged. Deliberations are ongoing (aljazeera.net, June 19, 2022; al-Araby al-Jadeed, November 10. 2022).
The condition of Sheikh Khader Adnan leads to threats against Israel
- On the night of February 4, 2023, Sheikh Khader Adnan, a member of the PIJ leadership in Judea and Samaria, was detained in his home in the village of Arabeh, and has since been on a hunger strike. As part of solidarity activities carried out on his behalf, on the night of March 28, 2023, a tarawih prayer was held at his house in Arabeh, led by Muhammad al-An, also a member of the PIJ leadership and in the past imprisoned in Israel. According to Muhammad al-An, Khader Adnan is not alone, because the entire “resistance” stands behind him, and it is running out of patience and has surprises that may surprise Israel. He said Israel would be responsible for any attack or danger to his life (QudsN Twitter account, March 29, 2023).
Right: Prayer held on the roof of Sheikh Khader Adnan’s house in the village of Arabeh. Left: Muhammad al-An threatens Israel (QudsN Twitter account, March 29, 2023).
Land Day events – overview
- Land Day, marked by Palestinians every year on March 30, passed without particular incident. No mass events were held in the PA territories and the call, issued by the Islamic and national forces to escalate the “popular resistance” [popular terrorism] at the friction points with the IDF, went largely unanswered. The PA leadership focused on issuing announcements and declarations. The weekly riots at the traditional locations were exploited for Land Day. PA government spokesman Ibrahim Melhem said that in accordance with government decisions Land Day would be an ordinary work day (albawaba24 website, March 28, 2023). The main rally in the Gaza Strip was held in Gaza City. After the rally a large number of Palestinians tried to approach the border security fence and even climb it. IDF forces used teargas to disperse them.
Land Day in Judea and Samaria
- On March 30, 2023, the PA radio and TV authority held designated open programing for Land Day. PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh was interviewed and complained about Israeli aggression against the land, which he claimed was a daily event, and the increase in the number of settlements and the Judaization of the Palestinian territory in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. He claimed the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu was extremely aggressive against the Palestinian people and their land, and that Israel’s plans were based on “settlements, killing and escalation” (Chinese news agency Xinhua in Arabic, March 30, 2023).
- Ahmed Abu Houli, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee and head of its department of refugee affairs, called for an increase in the “popular resistance” [popular terrorism] against the settlements and Israel.
- A ceremony was held in the Jenin refugee camp with the theme of “Unity of the refugee camps,” and attended by Atta Abu Armila, secretary of the Jenin district Fatah branch, and representatives of various refugee camps: al-Bakaa in Jordan, al-Yarmouk in Syria, Nahar al-Barad in Lebanon and Jabalia in the Gaza Strip; the representatives participated via Skype. The spokesmen said the message of Land Day was “the unity of the Palestinian map according to which the Palestinians were one people and united in Judea and Samaria, the Gaza Strip, the Galilee and Triangle and the dispersal” (Wafa, March 30, 2023). According to reports, IDF forces used force to disperse a Land Day march in Hawwara organized by the “National Committee for Population Resistance” in the Nablus district, and detained one of the participants (Wafa, March 31, 2023). Clashes were reported between residents of the village of Bayta south of Nablus and IDF forces after a march in the town protesting the Eviatar outpost (Shehab, March 31, 2023).
Land Day in the Gaza Strip
- The central rally in the Gaza Strip was held in the Malka return camp in the eastern part of Gaza City. Khaled al-Batash, coordinator of the Islamic and national forces in the Gaza Strip, gave a speech in which he claimed the Palestinians had no choice but to unite the arenas of “resistance” and confrontation, and that the sword of Jerusalem would not return to its sheath until the “return” and “liberation.” He claimed the path to “liberation” passed through rifle barrels and the unity of the trench and the rifle. He warned Israel of the “rage of the Palestinian revolution and resistance.” He also warned Israel against attempting to erase the “historic cities” in Israel, and “choke” and Judaize them completely for the sake of the Zionist narrative (Paltoday, March 30 2023).
Right: The event in the eastern part of Gaza City. Left: Khaled al-Batash (Facebook page of “Palestine” al-‘An – Muhammad al-Khatib, March 30, 2023).
- After the rally a large number of Palestinians moved towards the security fence. Some of them tried to climb it. According to reports, IDF soldiers fired live ammunition and teargas canisters at the Palestinians and one Palestinian who inhaled teargas was evacuated to a hospital. Others who inhaled teargas were treated at the site (Quds Press and al-Hadath, March 30, 2023). Wafa reported five wounded, three by live ammunition and two by teargas canisters, and 100 who had inhaled teargas (Wafa, March 30, 2023).
Gazans near the border security fence (Usama al-Kahlout’s Facebook page, March 30, 2023).
Gazans sling rocks at IDF soldiers in eastern Gaza (Filastin al-A’an, March 30, 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:
- April 2, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli minibus near Khirbet al-Musbah (west of Ramallah). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- April 2, 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.
- March 30, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near the village of Malek (northeast of Ramallah). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- March 30, 2023: Rocks were thrown at an Israeli vehicle in Hawwara (south of Nablus). No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- March 30, 2023: A Molotov cocktail was thrown at an Israeli vehicle near al-Aroub (north of Hebron) No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
 Israeli Arab Land Day is marked annually on March 30 in commemoration of the riots near Karmiel in the northern part of the country in 1976 which protested the Israeli government's appropriation of land. The date, which is symbolic and expresses the protest of Israeli Arabs, was taken over by the Palestinian terrorist organizations. The first return march along the Gaza Strip border was held on March 30, 2018. ↑
 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. ↑
 The attack on March 19, 2023, by terrorist operative Leith Nadim Nasser, and the attack on March 25, 2023, for which the PFLP's military-terrorist wing claimed responsibility. ↑
 Rabat: maintaining a forward guard in a place where Islam is under threat. Regarding the Temple Mount, the term is used to describe the Muslims who stay and pray on the Temple Mount, thereby opposing a Jewish-Israeli presence at the site. ↑
 The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is a London-based international financial institution established in 1991. It is owned in partnership with 67 states and two organizations, the European Investment Bank and the EU. Its primary objective was to provide aid for the economic reconstruction and development of countries in Eastern Europe and help them transition to a market economy. As time passed the bank extended its area of operations to North Africa and the Middle East, and today their aid is described as given to countries "committed to the principles of democracy" [sic]. ↑
 The Israel Police carried out an investigation and found that the house had no been torched, rather the fire had been caused by an electrical fault. ↑
 A voluntary prayer said at night during Ramadan after the regular night prayer, which is the fifth and last compulsory prayer of the day. ↑
 A concentration of Israeli Arab towns and villages adjacent to the Green Line, located in the eastern Sharon plain among the Samarian foothills (Wikipedia). ↑
 Information and pictures from Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria unless otherwise noted. ↑