News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (September 4-10, 2019)

On Friday, September 6, 2019, the 73rd return march was held in the Gaza Strip. The march was particularly violent, and two Palestinians were killed. Following their deaths five rockets were fired at the Sderot region from the Gaza Strip. A Palestinian youth carried out a stabbing attack in the village of Azoun (near Qalqilya), wounding two Israelis, a father and son. On September 8, 2019, Bassem al-Saeh, a Palestinian prisoner who had been suffering from a terminal disease for a number of years, died in an Israeli prison. Senior Palestinian figures and spokesmen in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip accused Israel and the Israeli prison service of responsibility for his death, claiming he died because of medical negligence.

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (August 28 – September 3, 2019)

This past week a rocket was fired at Israel, falling in the Gaza Strip. In response Israeli Air Force aircraft attacked a Hamas post in the northern Gaza Strip. On Friday, August 30, 2019, the 72nd return march was held. About 6,000 Palestinians participated in the events, gathering at the five return camps. On the night of August 27, 2019, there were two explosions in the Gaza Strip near Hamas police roadblocks. The explosions killed three policemen. The Palestinian Authority (PA) is acting to end the division of Palestinian territory into Areas A, B and C. At 1600 hours on September 1, 2019, anti-tank missiles were fired at an IDF post and vehicle near the community of Avivim on Israel's northern border. No casualties were reported. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the attack, adding that the squad firing the missiles was named for the two Hezbollah operatives killed in the attack on Aqrabeh in Syria.

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (August 21 – 27, 2019)

Serious terrorist attacks continue in Judea and Samaria. At the center of events this past week was the IED attack on a father and his two children visiting a natural spring near the community of Dolev, northwest of Jerusalem. The 17-year-old daughter was killed and the father and son were critically injured. In the Gaza Strip violence continues, threatening to lead to escalation rather than a lull. About 9,200 Palestinians participated in the weekly return march in the Gaza Strip, more than in recent weeks. This past week the Palestinian Authority (PA) agreed to accept refunds from Israel from the tax on oil.

Palestinian terrorists from the Gaza Strip continue attempting to penetrate into Israeli territory. Such attempts are not part of official Hamas policy but are publicly praised and encouraged after the fact.

On August 17, 2019, IDF observation posts identified five suspects approaching the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip. At least one of them was armed. IDF forces were rushed to the site. An IDF tank and helicopter shot at the suspects before they could cross the security fence (IDF spokesman, August 17, 2019). The attempted penetration came two days after four rockets were launched at Israel in two separate incidents (August 16 and 17, 2019).

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (July 17 – 23 , 2019)

On Friday, July 19, 2019, the return march in the Gaza Strip was held with about 6,500 participants. The scope of incendiary and IED balloons launched into Israeli territory continued to decrease, but the launchings continue. A Hamas delegation headed by Saleh al-'Arouri, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, visited Tehran. This past week Hamas' summer camps began, supervised by its military wing.

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (August 14 –20, 2019)

Events this past week focused on the stabbing attack in the Old City of Jerusalem and the vehicular attack in Gush Etzion. Three people were injured, a policeman (in Jerusalem) and two civilians (in Gush Etzion). In the Gaza Strip terrorist operatives continue their attempts to penetrate into Israeli territory. This past week four rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory in two separate attacks on consecutive days.

Do the attempted penetrations of armed terrorists into Israel from the Gaza Strip reflect a change in Hamas policy?

Since the beginning of August 2019 armed terrorist operatives from the Gaza Strip have made three attempts to penetrate into Israeli territory (See Appendix). Attempts to penetrate into Israel are made almost every week, but in ITIC assessment the most recent were exceptional. First, because of their high frequency, and second, because all the terrorists were armed operatives who belonged (or still belong) to Hamas' military wing.

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (July 31 – August 6, 2019)

On Friday, August 2, 2019, the return march in the Gaza Strip was held with about 6,000 participants (the average for the past weeks). Hamas security operatives were photographed removing young Palestinians from the region of the fence. On August 1, 2019, the day before the return march, a Palestinian crossed the security fence east of Khan Yunis. A committee met in the Palestinian Authority (PA) to implement Mahmoud Abbas's decision to stop acting in accordance with agreements signed with Israel.

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (September 19 – 26, 2017)

This past week there was a shooting attack near Har Adar, an Israeli community west of Jerusalem. The terrorist killed three Israelis and seriously wounded another. Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have not condemned the attack so far. A delegation of senior Hamas figures headed by Musa Abu Marzouq visited Moscow and met with Russian officials.

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.