Written by The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
This past week terrorist events focused on two attacks against Israeli targets, one in New Delhi, India, and the other in Tbilisi, Georgia. They were carried out simultaneously, the day after the anniversary of the death of Imad Mughniyeh, a senior Hezbollah operative killed on February 12, 2008. The Israeli prime minister accused Iran and Hezbollah of responsibility for the attacks, following those in Azerbaijan and Thailand.
Left: Ismail Haniya and Iranian President Ahmadinejad. Right: Ismail Haniya and Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei
(Hamasinfo.net, February 12, 2012).
Ismail Haniya's second round of visits to Arab-Muslim countries was highlighted by his tour of Iran, where he met with the Iranian leadership. He repeatedly stated that Hamas would never recognize the State of Israel, that the movement sought to establish a Palestinian state on all of Palestine and that the "resistance" (i.e., the path of terrorism) was the Palestinian people's strategy of choice. Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei said that Iran stood beside the "resistance" and called for it to continue
Simultaneous Terrorist Attacks against Israeli Targets
On February 13, 2012 a double simultaneous terrorist attack was carried out against two Israeli diplomatic targets abroad. In our assessment, the date was chosen because of its proximity to the anniversary of the death of Imad Mughniyeh, the senior Hezbollah operational officer, killed on February 12, 2008.
Initial information about the two attacks is the following:
New Delhi, India: At around 1500 hours a man riding a motorcycle followed the car of an Israeli Ministry of Defense representative and when it stopped at a red light, attached a bomb to its right side. In the car were the local driver and the wife of the Israeli Ministry of Defense representative, who was on her way to pick up her children from school. She was seriously wounded. An initial investigation revealed that the bomb was relatively small and composed of sophisticated explosives; its effects were felt throughout the immediate area.
Tbilisi, Georgia: A Georgian employee of the Israeli embassy driving an embassy car felt the car was dragging something behind it. Upon examination he found an explosive device which had partially detached itself from its moorings and was being dragged along the road. He alerted the police, whose demolition experts neutralized the bomb.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset that Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah, were behind both attacks. He said that "In recent months we have witnessed several attempts to attack Israeli citizens...in several countries, including Azerbaijan [and] Thailand...Iran and its proxy Hizbullah were behind all of [them]...Iran is behind these attacks, it is the largest exporter of terrorism in the world..." (ITIC emphasis).1
The Iranians denied all the Israeli accusations. Javad Jahangirzadeh, a member of the Iranian Majlis' national security and foreign policy committee, said that Israel's accusations were based entirely on its fear of Iran. He said the attempted attack on the Israeli embassy in Georgia and the attack in New Delhi were result of "the world's revulsion with Zionism" (Mehr News Agency, February 13, 2012).
Important Terrorism Events Israel's South
This past week two rocket hits were identified in Israel territory. They fell in open areas in the western Negev. One of the rockets damaged a number of structures and caused a power outage.
Rockets and Mortar Shells Fired into Israeli Territory 2
Rocket Fire -- Monthly Distribution
Mortar Shell Fire -- Monthly Distribution
Israeli Air Force Attacks
In response to the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, on the night of February 11 Israeli aircraft attacked several tunnels used for terrorist purposes in the central and southern Gaza Strip. They also attacked a site in the northern Gaza Strip where weapons were manufactured (IDF Spokesman, February 12, 2012). The Palestinian media reported that the attacks killed one Palestinian and wounded three others (The PIJ's Paltoday website, Safa News Agency and the Alresalah.net website, February 11, 2012).
Judea and Samaria
The Situation on the Ground
This past week the IDF carried out routine counterterrorist activities, detaining Palestinians suspected of terrorist activities and confiscating weapons. Rioting continued, and stones were thrown at civilian Israeli vehicles and at Israeli security forces. There were no casualties and no damage was done.
Hamas' Political Activity
Ismail Haniya's Second Round of Visits to Arab-Muslim Countries
This week Ismail Haniya, head of the de-facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, completed his second round of visits to Arab-Muslim countries. The tour included Iran and the Gulf States. Beforehand, the Arab media reported that pressure was being exerted on Haniya not to visit Iran because of its support for Bashar Assad's Syrian regime.
Iran, February 10-12
Ismail Haniya spent three days in Iran, from February 10 to February 12. He met with Supreme Leader Khamenei, the Iranian president Ahmadinejad, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, and other senior officials (Alresalah.net website, February 11, 2012).
Khamenei said that Iran stood beside the "resistance" [i.e., the path of terrorism] and the Palestinian people, and stressed that the "resistance" had to continue. He said that Yasser Arafat had been very popular during the years of "resistance," but when he abandoned the "resistance" he was ostracized by the people of the Middle East. He added that the "resistance" was why people supported the Palestinians, and that Iran would continue supporting them (Al-Alam, February 11, 2012).3
On various occasions in Iran Ismail Haniya noted that Iran had been a partner in every Palestinian victory and expressed his estimation for the support Iran gave to the Palestinian cause. He said Hamas was guided by three strategic principles: The "resistance" [i.e., terrorism], which was the Palestinians' strategic choice; the establishment of a Palestinian state "from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea [i.e., the destruction of the State of Israel] and the exploitation of all the resources of the Arab-Muslim world to "liberate" the Palestinian lands (IRNA, February 12, 2012).
In a speech given on the occasion of the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Ismail Haniya said that Hamas would never recognize Israel. He stressed that that the Palestinian people would continue the "resistance" [i.e., the path of terrorism] until the "liberation" of the Palestinian lands, Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa mosque, and until the Palestinian refugees were returned to their lands and houses. He also said that the "resistance" and jihad were the strategy chosen by the Arab nation and they would lead to the "liberation" of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa mosque and "Palestine" (Al-Manar TV, February 11, 2012).
Ismail Haniya speaks in Iran (Hamasinfo.net, February 12, 2012).
Kuwait, February 7
On February 7, before he went to Iran, Ismail Haniya visited Kuwait, where he met with the Kuwaiti emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah. The heir to the throne and the prime minister were also present. Taher al-Nunu, spokesman for the de-facto Hamas administration, said in an announcement that Haniya informed them of the latest developments in the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation and of details of the agreement signed between them. He also raised the issue of the so-called "Judaization" of Jerusalem and the so-called Israeli "siege" of the Gaza Strip. The Kuwaiti emir was reported as saying that he was prepared to contribute to rebuilding the infrastructure of the Gaza Strip (Safa News Agency, February 8, 2012).
The Gulf States, February 13
From Iran Haniya continued to the UAE, where he met with UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayedand the Abu Dhabi prime minister and vice president. According to Hamas spokesman Taher al-Nunu, they discussed the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation and the issues of Jerusalem and the Palestinian prisoners (Alresalah.net website, February 13, 2012).
Ismail Haniya and Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed
(Hamas' Palestine-info website, February 13, 2012)
Within Hamas criticism of the so-called Doha agreement continues; according to it, Mahmoud Abbas will head the interim Palestinian government. Dissenters include:
Mahmoud al-Zahar, a member of Hamas' political bureau who opposed the Doha agreement, said it was a mistake to appoint Mahmoud Abbas to head the government and that Hamas had not been consulted. He said that in his opinion the issue should be reevaluated (The PIJ's Paltoday website, February 12, 2012).
Ismail al-Shaqer, chairman of the Hamas faction in the Palestinian Legislative Council, said in a press release that he opposed the Doha agreement because of what he called a violation of the fundamental law of the Palestinian Authority, according to which there was a separation between the institutions of the presidency and the prime minister (Al-Hayat, February 8, 2012).
Despite their criticism, Hamas officials made it clear that the movement could not retreat from what it had agreed to and that all the movement's members were bound by Khaled Mashaal's position (Chinese News Agency, February 12, 2012). Izzat al-Rishq, of Hamas' political bureau, denied that there were differences of opinion between the movement leaders regarding the Doha announcement, claiming that the step had received the support of both the internal and external movement leaders (Hamasinfo.net, February 8, 2012).
The Peace Process
Mahmoud Abbas Relates to Negotiations with Israel
Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority, gave the opening speech at a meeting of the Arab League's monitoring committee held in Cairo. He focused on the internal Palestinian reconciliation and on negotiations with Israel. Some of his themes were the following (BBC, February 12, 2012):
Negotiations with Israel: He said that Israel had not offered any proposals that could be built upon. He said that the Palestinians could not accept the suggestions offered by Israel and the International Quartet during the last round of talks.
The settlements: The settlements, he said, were a matter of principle which could not be ignored because most of Jerusalem had become an Israeli settlement. He added that he planned to send a letter about the issue to the Israeli prime minister in which he would condition the continuation of negotiations on a cessation of construction in the settlements and the release of the Palestinian [terrorists] in Israeli jails.
Recognition of Israel as a Jewish state: He rejected the possibility of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state because that would, he claimed, have dire consequences. He said that it was sufficient that in the Oslo Accords the Palestinians had recognized the State of Israel, and claimed that the insistence on recognizing it as a Jewish state was intended to prevent the return of the Palestinian refugees.
Appeal to the Security Council: He said that the Palestinian Authority was going to appeal to the UN Security Council again and to the General Assembly because the International Quartet could not do anything.
Miles of Smiles Convoy
The Miles of Smiles 9 convoy entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing on February 6. The convoy, whose 200 participants hold various citizenships, brought food and medical equipment. They also brought close to 2 million Egyptian liras (about $331,500) in cash. Mahmoud Deif, head of the government committee to break the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip, said that the objective of the visit was to enlist Arab support to lift the five year-old siege (Alresalah.net website, February 7, 2012).
Propaganda Events Planned for March 30, 2012
The organizations in the Middle East and around the globe belonging to the campaign to delegitimize Israel chose March 30 ("Land Day") as the date for a number of concurrent propaganda events:
The World March to Jerusalem: Preparations continue for the World March to Jerusalem. On February 13 various organizations in Britain held a meeting. Dr. Hafez Karmi, head to the Palestine Forum in Britain, said that the meeting was in preparation for a general European conference which would be held in London on February 21. In addition, the organizers are also planning to hold a mass demonstration in front of the Israeli embassy in London (WM2J website, February 11, 2012).
The "March of the Return" from Lebanon to Israel: According to reports from Lebanon, preparations are being made for a mass march of Palestinians to the Israeli-Lebanese border. To complete the preparations, committees were set up in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon to organize and supervise the march. The Palestinian organizations are represented in the committees.Munir al-Maqdah, Fatah commander in Lebanon, is responsible for coordinations (Al-Markazia, February 11, 2012). According to the organizers, the march will be similar to the one organized on Nakba Day in 2011.4 Munir al-Maqdah said that anyone who killed a [Lebanese] civilian along the Israeli border would [himself] be killed, and that a "third intifada" was likely to break out on Land Day because all the possibilities for achieving Palestinian rights were open, including an armed "struggle" (PNN website, February 6, 2012).
BDS global day of action initiated by the BNC (the BDS National Committee): The BNC is a Palestinian-directed committee based in Ramallah which orchestrates the global BDS campaign. It posted an announcement on its website promoting BDS and calling for activists around the world to participate in a variety of activities on March 30, 2012, to express their solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people and the boycott of Israel.
A call for an international day of "activity" (BDS website, February 13, 2012)
The "Israeli Apartheid Week"
Between February 20 and March 10 Israeli "apartheid" weeks are planned, with events to be held in various locations in the Middle East, the Palestinian Authority, the United States and South Africa. This is the eighth consecutive year of Israeli "apartheid" weeks, whose objective is to promote a boycott of Israel by comparing it to the apartheid regime in South Africa.
2 The statistics do not include rockets and mortar shells fired which fell inside the Gaza Strip. As of February 14, 2012.
3 Fatah was quick to repudiate and condemn Khamenei's remarks about Yasser Arafat. A spokesman for the movement issued a statement criticizing both Khamenei's remarks and Haniya's silence regarding them (Ma'an News Agency, February 13, 2012).
3 On the morning of May 11, 2002, two Palestinian terrorists placed an IED near a group of civilians in the Old City in Beersheba and fled the scene. A technical fault prevented the IED from exploding fully. Eighteen civilians were injured. Israeli security forces captured one of the terrorists, and pursued and captured the second.
4 During the demonstration, which was held in Maroun al-Ras, violent confrontations broke out between groups of demonstrators who reached the fence along the Israeli-Lebanese border and IDF soldiers. About ten demonstrators were killed and dozens were wounded (some of them by gunfire from the Lebanese army, which also tried to contain the event and prevent the demonstrators from entering Israeli territory).