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News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict April 18 – 23, 2013

Written by ITIC

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Weekly Update Review of the Ongoing Conflict between Israel and the Palestinians

This past week sporadic rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel's western Negev continued. A Salafist jihad terrorist in the Gaza Strip declared "the jihad will not stop" despite pressure exerted by Hamas and Egypt. The rocket fire and the defiant statements made by a Salafist jihadist challenge the security and ideology of Hamas, which wants, in our assessment, to preserve the lull in the fighting achieved at the end of Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012.

Palestinian Prisoner Day was marked in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip without exceptional incident. During March 2013 terrorist squads were exposed in Judea and Samaria; they planned to attack Israeli civilian and military targets. The exposure again illustrated the efforts made by the terrorist organizations, especially Hamas, to promote terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria, with the increasing involvement of operatives released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal.

Israel's South

Sporadic rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory continues:

At 23:30 hours on the night of April 18 two rocket hits were identified. The rockets exploded in an open area. There were no casualties and no damage was reported.

During the night of April 20 a rocket hit was identified in the western Negev. There were no casualties and no damage was reported.

We have no information regarding the identity of those launching the rockets this past week. In our assessment, most of the rockets were recently fired by rogue networks, mainly those affiliated with the global jihad. Their attacks present a security and ideological challenge to Hamas, which considers itself bound by the lull in the fighting achieved at the end of Operation Pillar of Defense.[1]

Judea and Samaria

Palestinians some of them masked confront Israeli Border GuardsPalestinians, some of them masked, confront Israeli Border Guards at the weekly riot in the village of Qadoum [west of Nablus] held as part of the violent protests in the vicinity of the security fence(Wafa News Agency, April 19, 2013)

Terrorist Squads Exposed in Judea and Samaria

Overview

Detention of Nablus Resident Handled from the Gaza Strip

Detention of Nablus Residents Handled from the Gaza Strip

Exposure of East Jerusalem Squad Planning to Abduct and Murder a Jew

The Palestinian Prisoners

 Palestinian Prisoner Day Events

A rally in Qalqiliya marking Palestinian Prisoner DayLeft: A rally in Qalqiliya marking Palestinian Prisoner Day (Wafa News Agency, April 17, 2013). Right: Torches are lit in Bethlehem to show solidarity with Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel (Wafa News Agency, April 22, 2013).

Internationalizing the Issue of the Prisoners

Arrangement for the Release of Hunger-Striking Palestinian Terrorist

amer Issawis name written on Israeli currency and eurosamer Issawis name written on Israeli currency and euros

Developments in the Gaza Strip

 Defiant Statements from Salafist Operative in the Gaza Strip

Abu al-Inaa' al-Ansari, a senior Salafist activist in the Gaza Strip, told a journalist that "the jihad will not stop," despite the pressure and threats exerted on the Salafists. He said that the Salafists [in the Gaza Strip] would continue their jihad, ignoring the position of Hamas and Egypt. He emphasized that the Salafist jihad groups were not bound by the lull agreement reached at the end of Operation Pillar of Defense. He accused Egypt and Hamas of coordinating a fight against the Salafists. He said that 30 Salafist operatives were currently detained in the Gaza Strip by Hamas, and that most of the detentions had been carried out on orders from Egypt. He also claimed that some of the Salafist operatives had been interrogated in the Gaza Strip by Egyptian security officers (Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, April 18, 2013).

The remarks made by al-Ansari are another example of the tension existing between Hamas and the Salafist jihad groups in the Gaza Strip. The tension has been caused by the rocket fire attacking Israel carried out by the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, which was accompanied by several public announcements challenging Hamas.

Ismail Haniya Visits Qatar

Ismail Haniya, head of the de-facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, paid a visit to Qatar. On April 21 he met with the heir to the Qatari throne, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamed; among the subjects they discussed was the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip. The sheikh reportedly donated $11 million to the construction of a courthouse in Gaza City in addition to other Qatari aid to the Gaza Strip (Filastin Al-'Aan, April 21, 2013).

 The Palestinian Authority

On April 20, 2013, Mahmoud Abbas paid a two-day visit to Turkey, during which he met with the Turkish president, prime minister and foreign minister (Al-Ayam, April 20, 2013). He also met with American Secretary of State John Kerry and Egyptian foreign minister Mohamed Amr (Wafa News Agency, April 21, 2013).

Mahmoud Abbas'visit to Turkey and the proposed visit of the Turkish prime minister to the Gaza Strip exposed Hamas-PA tensions. According to Ziyad al-Zaza, deputy Hamas prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas does not represent the Palestinian people or the PA because his term of office ended in 2009. Al-Zaza added that Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, had given a great amount of support and aid to the Palestinian people and that Hamas was ready to host him in the Gaza Strip in an appropriate manner (Filastin Al-'Aan, April 20, 2013). On the other hand, Yahya Rabah, a senior Fatah figure in the Gaza Strip, claimed that the objective of visits to the Gaza Strip by important figures in the past were only for propaganda and did nothing to help the general Palestinian population, did not lift the "siege" of the Gaza Strip and did not advance the internal Palestinian reconciliation (Paltoday website, April 20, 2013).

"Official Turkish sources" told the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that Erdogan did not intend to postpone his visit to the Gaza Strip, which is supposed to take place at the end of May 2013, because the date is close to the anniversary of the Mavi Marmara events. The same sources said that Mahmoud Abbas' claims were being taken into consideration and that Erdogan might also visit Ramallah (Filastin Al-'Aan, April 22, 2013).

Mahmoud Abbas meets Erdogan Turkish prime minister April 22 2013Mahmoud Abbas meets Erdogan, Turkish prime minister, April 22, 2013 (Wafa News Agency, April 23, 2013).

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[1]For further information see the April 18, 2013 bulletin "The Mujahideen Shura Council, a global jihad-affiliated organization based in the Gaza Strip, has recently become prominent for firing rockets and mortar shells into Israeli territory..."
[2]As of April 3, 2013. The statistics do not include mortar shell fire.
[3]The statistics do not include mortar shell fire.

The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) opened in 2002. It is part of the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC), a national site dedicated to the memory of fallen of the Israeli intelligence community. The ITIC is located near Gelilot, north of Tel Aviv, and is directed by (Col. Ret.) Dr. Reuven Erlich. The objective of the ITIC is to collect, study and disseminate information about terrorism.

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