Reactions to the targeted killing of Taleb Sami Abdallah, commander of Hezbollah’s al-Nasr unit

On June 12, 2024, Hezbollah announced the death of Sami Taleb Abdallah, aka al-Hajj Abu Taleb, in an Israeli airstrike on a building in the town of Jwayya in south Lebanon. Three other Hezbollah operatives were killed in the attack. The IDF spokesperson confirmed that the Israeli Air Force had attacked Abdallah, who since 2016 had been in command of Hezbollah's al-Nasr unit, which operates in the eastern sector of south Lebanon; The Hezbollah announcement of his death referred to Abdallah as "the shaheed commander", an expression of his senior position. Hezbollah also published photos and videos of Abdallah, showing him with Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah and the commanders of the Iranian Qods Force; The Hezbollah-affiliated media called the killing of Abdallah a "brutal and severe blow" to the organization. However, senior Hezbollah figures claimed his death would not change its commitment to "support" the Palestinians in the current conflict, adding that the organization would intensify its fighting against Israel; Hezbollah's response to the killing of Abdallah was a sharp increase in the attacks on Israeli territory, which lasted for several days. According to Hezbollah, part of its response was the most extensive attack it had carried out so far, including the launch of 30 UAVs and 150 rockets at IDF headquarters and bases in the Galilee and the Golan Heights. Two IDF soldiers and two civilians were injured and widespread fires broke out in Israel's northern region.

The Palestinian Authority

The Palestinian Authority is a semi-autonomous entity which controls most of the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria. The Palestinian Authority was established in 1994 by virtue of agreements signed as part of the Oslo process between Israel and the PLO. Formally, the Palestinian Authority also controls the Gaza Strip, but in reality it lost control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007 when Hamas violently took control. Since Yasser Arafat’s death, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has headed the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinian Authority’s status under Yasser Arafat was severely damaged by the Palestinian terrorist campaign (the Al-Aqsa, or Second Intifada, 2000 until 2005). Israel asserted that it failed to function since it did not fight against terrorism and even played an active role in organizing and funding terrorist attacks against Israelis. Israel ended cooperation with it and most Palestinian Authority activities came to a standstill.

After the end of the Second Intifada, Arafat’s death and his succession by Abu Mazen, Israel changed its policy towards the Palestinian Authority and the relations between them improved. Today, the Palestinian Authority controls area A in Judea and Samaria and enjoys partial cooperation with Israel, mainly in terms of security and administration. In the territories under its control, the Palestinian Authority operates through its security services, in coordination with Israel, to maintain internal order and prevent terrorist attacks. At the same time, the Palestinian Authority supports “popular resistance” (popular terrorism), providing political and even practical backing to acts of violence taking place as part of this kind of terrorism.

Many countries around the world give the Palestinian Authority some sort of recognition as a political entity, although most of them do not recognize it as a sovereign state. Some of them formalized their diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority and promoted their representatives to the status of ambassadors. On November 29, 2012, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 67/19 by a large majority. The resolution granted the Palestinian Authority a status of an observer state, which is not a full member.