News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (October 1 – 13, 2020)

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Disinfecting a mosque in Khan Yunis (Twitter account of photojournalist Ashraf Abu Amra, October 9, 2020).

Disinfecting a mosque in Khan Yunis (Twitter account of photojournalist Ashraf Abu Amra, October 9, 2020).

The early morning prayer at the al-Salaam mosque in Rafah (Facebook page of photojournalist Khidra al-Sharif, October 4, 2020).

The early morning prayer at the al-Salaam mosque in Rafah (Facebook page of photojournalist Khidra al-Sharif, October 4, 2020).

High school students go back to school in Khan Yunis (Twitter account of photojournalist Ashraf Abu Amra, October 10, 2020).

High school students go back to school in Khan Yunis (Twitter account of photojournalist Ashraf Abu Amra, October 10, 2020).

Schools reopen in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip (Beit Lahia municipality Facebook page, October 10, 2020).

Schools reopen in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip (Beit Lahia municipality Facebook page, October 10, 2020).

The market in the al-Shati refugee camp reopened on October 11, 2020 (Facebook page of the Covid-19 emergency committee in the Gaza district, October 11, 2020).

The market in the al-Shati refugee camp reopened on October 11, 2020 (Facebook page of the Covid-19 emergency committee in the Gaza district, October 11, 2020).

The market in the al-Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City reopened on October 8, 2020.

The market in the al-Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City reopened on October 8, 2020.

The consignment of folding beds (Facebook page of the W.H.O. office in the territories, October 11 and 9, 2020).

The consignment of folding beds (Facebook page of the W.H.O. office in the territories, October 11 and 9, 2020).

A consignment of swabs delivered to the Gaza Strip.
Muhammad Shtayyeh at an olive-picking event in Birzeit. Few masks and no social distancing (Muhammad Shtayyeh's Facebook page, October 11, 2020).

Muhammad Shtayyeh at an olive-picking event in Birzeit. Few masks and no social distancing (Muhammad Shtayyeh’s Facebook page, October 11, 2020).

A paint bottle hit the front windshield of a civilian Israeli vehicle, October 12, 2020.

A paint bottle hit the front windshield of a civilian Israeli vehicle, October 12, 2020.

Civilian Israeli vehicles damaged by stones and paint bottles, October 8, 2020.

Civilian Israeli vehicles damaged by stones and paint bottles, October 8, 2020.

Civilian Israeli vehicles damaged by stones and paint bottles, October 8, 2020.

Civilian Israeli vehicles damaged by stones and paint bottles, October 8, 2020.

  • The number of active Covid-19 cases in the Gaza Strip rose again, after it seemed that the spread of the disease had been halted. The number of active cases now stands at 1,722. Nevertheless, Hamas continues easing restrictions and is gradually allowing life to return to normal (reopening mosques, slowly reopening schools, and selectively reopening markets, stores and restaurants). However, harsh reprisals are taken against people who violate public health guidelines.
  • In Judea and Samaria, on the other hand, the trend towards a decline in the number of active cases continues, and it currently stands at 4,341 (as of October 12, 2020). According to PA reports, the number of active cases in east Jerusalem stands at 708, as of October 12, 2020, while the Jerusalem municipality reports 729 active cases, as of October 11, 2020. Two senior PLO figures, Saeb Erekat and Hanan Ashrawi, tested positive for the virus. Other senior PA figures complain of a lack of drugs and medical equipment, blaming Israel.
  • On October 5, 2020, a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory; otherwise, the Gaza Strip has been relatively quiet. A stabbing attack was prevented in Judea and Samaria. During the first half of October 2020, attacks carried out by Palestinians throwing stones and Molotov cocktails on the roads in Judea and Samaria increased. In one instance three Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails at an IDF force; the soldiers shot and killed one of them. He was an activist in Fatah’s student movement who in the past had been imprisoned in Israel.
  • The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) has threatened Israel because of Maher al-Akhras, a PIJ terrorist operative who has been on a hunger strike for almost 80 days. The threats, in which Hamas participates, include rocket fire.
  • Jibril Rajoub, secretary of Fatah’s Central Committee, continues promoting a internal Palestinian reconciliation, and to that end he met in Damascus and Beirut with operatives from the PIJ and other terrorist organizations. However, there is considerable skepticism regarding the possibility of a reconciliation. The most vocal negative opinion came from senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Zahar, who said no reconciliation would succeed, given the ideological differences between the sides. The PLO, he said, believes in the two-state solution, while Hamas and the PIJ do not.
The Situation in the Gaza Strip

Although it seemed that the spread of Covid-19 in the Gaza Strip had been halted, this past week the trend towards a rise in the number of active cases was renewed. On October 13, 2020, the number of active cases stood at 1,722, up from 1,332 on September 30, 2020. Since the beginning of October 1,227 new active cases have been detected. An additional five Gazans died, bringing the number of deaths from Covid-19 to 26. According to the district map issued by the ministry of health in Gaza, most of the northern Gaza Strip is a red area of infection, as are most of Gaza City, the al-Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip and the center of Khan Yunis.

Cumulative statistics of Covid-19 in in Gaza, by district (Twitter account in English of the ministry of health in Gaza, October 12, 2020).  Map of Covid-19 infection in the Gaza Strip, updated to October 12, 2020.
Right: Map of Covid-19 infection in the Gaza Strip, updated to October 12, 2020. Left: Cumulative statistics of Covid-19 in in Gaza, by district (Twitter account in English of the ministry of health in Gaza, October 12, 2020).
Easing lockdown conditions
  • Despite the renewed rise in the number of active cases, the Hamas administration continues gradually restoring life to normal, although with strict oversight of the extent of infection in every district. Before announcing the easing of restrictions, Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the ministry of health in the Gaza Strip, announced the division of the Gaza Strip into 250 districts which would provide control over the restrictions (Palinfo Twitter account, October 10, 2020). Tawfiq Abu Na’im, deputy minister of the interior, said the Gaza Strip would be divided into districts gradually and if the number of cases rose again restrictions would be reimposed (Filastin al-Yawm, October 5, 2020). The following were the most important measures taken:
    • On October 3, 2020, the ministry of Muslim endowments announced the mosques would reopen in the central Gaza Strip district, most of the Khan Yunis district and the Rafah district. They would be open only for prayers and subject to public health guidelines (al-Ra’i news agency, October 3, 2020). The ministry warned that any mosque where public health guidelines were not strictly followed would be closed (al-Ra’i news agency, October 5, 2020). On October 9, 2020, Friday prayers were renewed in every mosque in the Gaza Strip after a hiatus of about 40 days (alresala.net, October 9, 2020).
    • On October 10, 2020, about 30,000 high school students went back to school in most of the Gaza Strip (Palinfo Twitter account, October 10, 2020). The schools had been closed since August 24, 2020. Ziyad Thabet, deputy minister of education and culture in Gaza, said the reopening of schools would be gradual, determined by a series of indices. They included the public health guidelines followed by the schools, the extent of the spread of the virus, the absence of active cases among the students and staff, and the ability to control the epicenters of the spread of the disease (Filastin al-Yawm, October 4, 2020; Facebook page of the ministry of education in Gaza, October 5, 2020).
    • The Covid-19 emergency committees in the various districts announced the selective and cautious reopening of markets and stores (Dunia al-Watan, October 5, 2020; al-Ra’i news agency, October 8, 2020). The ministry of the interior held a meeting with representatives of restaurants, hotels and tourist services to discuss arrangements for reopening restaurants. It was decided that large restaurants would reopen on October 11, 2020, according to strict medical protocol and after completing internal safety arrangements.
    • Tawfiq Abu Na’im, deputy minister of the interior, said that on October 5, 2020, they began easing restrictions on movement and reducing the number of police and security force roadblocks. As for the curfew, he said it would continue for the foreseeable future and would be in force in every district (website of the ministry of the interior in Gaza, October 5, 2020).
  • Although restrictions are being eased, those who violate public health guidelines are dealt with harshly. Every day the ministry of the interior reports that the police unit for Covid-19 investigations detained dozens of Gazans who did not take preventive measures and violated the curfew. The police also disperse gatherings and have closed dozens of stores and businesses that violated the guidelines.
Aid for the Gaza Strip
  • International groups continue to donate medical equipment to help the Gaza Strip deal with the coronavirus.
  • The ministry of health in Gaza received ten ventilators from the Palestinian American Medical Association (PAMA); the ventilators were delivered to the European Hospital (Facebook page of the ministry of health in Gaza, October 11, 2020).
  • The W.H.O. delivered 14,000 swabs to the medical authorities in Gaza and 200 test kits (Facebook page of the W.H.O. office in the territories, October 1, 2020; Twitter account of Nikolay Mladenov, October 11, 2020). The W.H.O. also delivered 55 folding ICU beds (Facebook page of the W.H.O. office in the territories, October 9, 2020).
The Situation in Judea and Samaria

In Judea and Samaria the number of new active cases continues to decrease. Since the beginning of October 3,631 new cases were detected, and as of October 12, 2020, the number of active cases stood at 4,341, down from 6,519 on September 30, 2020. In the Hebron district as well, where there number of active cases has consistently been high, as of October 11, 2020, it was 1,015. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus 363 Palestinians have died in Judea and Samaria, and 68 in east Jerusalem. According to reports from the PA, 38 patients are in ICUs, five of them on ventilators. The number of active cases in east Jerusalem as of October 11, 2020, was 708, down from 1,100 on September 30, 2020. According to the Jerusalem municipality, as of October 11, 2020, the number of active cases in the east Jerusalem neighborhoods was 729.

  • At the beginning of the weekly government meeting, PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said the level of infection was stable but still high. He said they had begun to see greater public following of health guidelines, and they were preparing themselves for the coming months (Muhammad Shtayyeh’s Facebook page, October 12, 2020).
  • The Palestinian national epidemiological committee recommended to the minister of health not to open receptions venues yet, to prevent gatherings and not to hold the Friday prayers in the mosques. However, the committee recommended leaving the schools open even though 1,164 students and 560 staff members had been infected (Facebook page of the Palestinian minister of health, October 11, 2020).
  • Saeb Erekat, secretary of the PLO’s Executive Committee, reported he had tested positive for Covid-19. His symptoms are serious, the result of his having previously had a lung transplant, but his condition is “under control” (Saeb Erekat’s Twitter account, October 9, 2020). The Jordanian foreign minister wished him a speedy recovery and said King Abdallah had ordered Erekat be given every medical treatment he needed. Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, also reported she had tested positive for Covid-19.
Medical personnel and equipment
  • Senior PA figures continue complaining about the lack of drugs and medical equipment, and blaming Israel. For example, Mai al-Kayla, PA minister of health, announced a lack of testing equipment and blamed Israel for delaying delivery and the improper storage of 100,000 test kits meant for Judea and Samaria. Usama al-Najar, director of the PA ministry of health, said the situation was the result of delays by the companies providing the equipment caused by limitations Israel put in place after coordination between Israel and the PA terminated (al-Masdar, October 8, 2020).
  • During the weekly government meeting Muhammad Shtayyeh said the government would send 20,000 Covid-19 test kits to the Gaza Strip within two days. He also said the government would recruit hundreds of doctors, nurses and clerical staff to provide medical services. He said the PA had 437 ventilators (Wafa, Palestinian TV, October 7, 2020). A member of the ministry of health’s Covid-19 emergency committee said the ministry of health had recruited 400 new medical personnel who would begin working for the ministry of health in the coming days, including in the laboratories testing for Covid-19 (Ma’an, October 6, 2020).
  • Russia, South Korea, Germany and the W.H.O. sent medical equipment to the PA, including test kits which give results within 15 minutes (Facebook page of the ministry of health in Ramallah, October 1, 2020).
Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israel
  • On October 5, 2020 a rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. It fell in an open area. No casualties or damage were reported. In response IDF aircraft attacked a Hamas military post in the southern Gaza Strip (IDF spokesman, October 5, 2020).
Monthly Distribution of Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire

Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire

Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits

Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits

Attempts to cross the security fence into Israeli territory
  • On October 1, 2020, IDF forces identified two suspicious figures crossing the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip. The two threw a hand grenade which did not explode. The IDF forces arriving at the scene shot at the two and detained them. They had a knife, wire cutters and another hand grenade (IDF spokesman, October 1, 2020).
  • Palestinian sources reported that on September 30, 2020, Hamas’ security forces detained a Palestinian youth who tired to cross the security fence east of Rafah (Amad, October 1, 2020).
Stabbing attack prevented
  • On October 5, 2020, an Israeli policeman at a roadblock near Gush Etzion saw a Palestinian holding a knife coming towards him and shouted to him to halt. The Palestinian continued towards the policeman, who successfully overcame him. Investigation revealed the Palestinian, who was 19 years old and came from the Hebron region, had planned to carry out a stabbing attack (Judea and Samaria district police spokesman’s unit, October 5, 2020).
Palestinian who threw Molotov cocktails at IDF soldiers killed by IDF fire
  • During a routine activity of IDF forces northwest of Nablus, three Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails at the soldiers. The soldiers shot at them, killing one (IDF spokesman, October 5, 2020). The Palestinian media reported he was Samir Ahmed Abd al-Jalil Hamidi, 25, from Bayt Lid, east of Tulkarm. He was a physical education student and an activist in Fatah’s student movement at the Palestine Technical University – Kadoorie in Tulkarm (Wafa, October 6, 2020). In the past he had been imprisoned in Israel for three and a half years and was released two years ago (alnours.net, October 5, 2020; Palinfo, October 5, 2020).
Samir Hamidi (Right: Bayt Lid municipality Facebook page, October 5, 2020.    Samir Hamidi (Right: Bayt Lid municipality Facebook page, October 5, 2020.
Samir Hamidi (Right: Bayt Lid municipality Facebook page, October 5, 2020. Left: Facebook page of the Fatah branch in Tulkarm, October 5, 2020).
Stones and Molotov cocktails
  • During the first half of October the rise continued in the numbers of stones and Molotov cocktails thrown at Israeli vehicles on the roads in Judea and Samaria. There was an increase of events on the Gaza Strip-Hebron road. The more prominent events were the following:[1]
    • October 12, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle northwest of Nablus. No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
    • October 12, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian bus and a number of civilian Israeli vehicles north of Hebron. No casualties were reported; the front windshield of one of the vehicles was damaged.
    • October 12, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli bus southwest of Jenin. No casualties were reported.
    • October 12 , 2020: A paint bottle was thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle north of Hebron. No casualties were reported; the front windshield of the vehicle was damaged.
    • October 11 , 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle north of Hebron. No casualties were reported.
    • October 10, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle northwest of Ariel. No casualties were reported.
    • October 9, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle south of Nablus, and two Molotov cocktails were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle. No casualties were reported; the vehicles were damaged.
    • October 8, 2020: Stones and paint bottles were thrown at civilian Israeli vehicles south of Bethlehem. No casualties were reported; several vehicles were damaged.
    • October 8, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle northwest of Ramallah. No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
    • October 7, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli bus north of Hebron. No casualties were reported.
    • October 6, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli bus north of Hebron. No casualties were reported.
    • October 5, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle east of Ramallah. No casualties were reported; the front windshield of the vehicle was damaged.
    • October 5, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli bus and civilian Israeli vehicle north of Hebron. No casualties were reported.
    • October 4, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli bus southwest of Ariel. No casualties were reported.
    • October 3, 2020: Two Molotov cocktails were thrown at an IDF post southwest of Hebron. No casualties were reported.
    • October 1, 2020: Stones were thrown a number of civilian Israeli buses southwest of Bethlehem. No casualties were reported. One of the buses was damaged.
Significant terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria since January 2019[2]

Significant terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria since January 20

Aid for the Gaza Strip
  • Mohammed al-Emadi, chairman of Qatar’s National Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, announced that the distribution of Qatar’s donation of $100 to each of 100,000 needy Gazan families would begin on October 6, 2020 (Filastin al-Yawm, October 5, 2020). A representative of the ministry of labor in Gaza said that this time the donation would not include people harmed by the Covid-19 crisis (Sawa, October 6, 2020).
Distribution of funds from Qatar (website of the Qatar's National Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, October 6, 2020).    Distribution of funds from Qatar (website of the Qatar's National Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, October 6, 2020).
Distribution of funds from Qatar (website of the Qatar’s National Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, October 6, 2020).
  • Aziza al-Kahlut, spokesman for the ministry of welfare in Gaza, said the ministry had begun distributing the second installment of e-vouchers to 23,000 families. She said they had been provided by the World Food Program (Filastin al-Yawm, October 3, 2020).
Hamas delegation visits Moscow
  • On October 8, 2020, a delegation of senior Hamas figures, including Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of the Hamas political bureau, and Husam Badran, arrived in Moscow for a visit lasting several days. The delegation met with a number of senior Russian officials, among the Mikhail Bogdanov, deputy foreign minister and presidential envoy to the Middle East. The Russians expressed support for the internal Palestinian reconciliation, saying that a successful reconciliation would help advance a resolution of the conflict. The Russians also expressed willingness to host a meeting of all the Palestinian organizations. Reportedly, the meeting with the Hamas delegation was the first step towards a joint meeting of Hamas and Fatah with senior Russian government officials (al-Sharq al-Awsat, Hamas website, October 9, 2020).
Marking the anniversary of the founding of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
  • The PIJ marked its 33rd anniversary. The Hamas movement congratulated the PIJ and its leader, Ziyad al-Nakhalah, saying the organization played an important role in the liberation of Palestine. Hamas added that the military wings of both organizations, along with all the other organizations, were united in their struggle against Israel (Hamas website, October 5, 2020).
  • Abu Muhammad, a member of the military council of the Jerusalem Brigades, the PIJ’s military wing, claimed the military wing could inflict damage on Israel and would continue to develop its military capabilities (Filastin al-Yawm, October 6, 2020. Abu Hamza, spokesman for the PIJ’s military wing, wrote a threatening open letter to Israel in which he said that in the next battle Israel’s vital, sensitive sites would be targeted (Jerusalem Brigades website, October 6, 2020).
  • Ziyad al-Nakhalah, PIJ leader, gave an online speech at the conference held to mark the organization’s anniversary. Among his themes were the following (al-Mayadeen, October 6, 2020):
    • A threat to Israel: He noted the commitment of his organization to jihad and “resistance” ]i.e., terrorism] saying that thanks to the “resistance” the PIJ could attack Israel’s capital [i.e., Tel Aviv] and all its “settlements” [i.e., cities, towns and communities]. He also said that the PIJ had proved it could attain new achievements and that Israel’s targeted killings did not scare it.
    • The internal Palestinian reconciliation: The PIJ had participated in the meeting of the organizations’ leaders because it understood the will of the Palestinian people, but that did not mean they had abandoned their principles. He said the PIJ wanted to be part of the PLO but on the condition that the PLO would not recognize the State of Israel and would renege on all previous agreements signed with it. He also said they would participate in PLO elections if they were held separately from the Palestinian Legislative Council elections. He said that at the present time the “resistance” had to be the top priority (al-Mayadeen, October 6, 2020).
The issue of the tax revenues
  • Reports continue concerning attempts to resolve the issue of the tax revenues the PA refuses to accept from Israel. So far the reports have been denied:
    • The EU foreign minister told Mahmoud Abbas that the EU would not give the PA more support while the PA refused to accept the tax revenues from Israel. It was also reported that senior EU officials in France, Germany, Britain and Norway called on the Palestinians to accept the funds because the Palestinian reason for the refusal, the plan to impose Israeli law on Judea and Samaria, was no longer valid. Shadi Othman, EU spokesman in the PA, said the rumor that the EU intended to stop giving aid to the PA had no basis in fact. He said the aid would continue and that the tax revenues belonged to the Palestinians, who should accept them from Israel. He added that annual EU aid for the PA stood at €300 million (Dunia al-Watan, October 8, 2020). Ibrahim Melhem, PA government spokesman, denied the reports, saying the tax revenues were funds “Israel is trying to steal” (Wafa, October 7, 2020).
    • “A knowledgeable Palestinian source” reported that senior Palestinians met with senior Qatari officials in Doha where they discussed the possibility that Qatar would mediate the tax revenue issue in bilateral talks and that the PA expected Qatar would be able to settle the issue and bring the funds from Israel to the PA (Sawa, October 9, 2020). According to the London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat, the PA conditioned receipt of the funds on their being transferred through a third party and not by reducing the amount owed (al-Sharq al-Awsat, October 10, 2020). Hussein al-Sheikh, chairman of the PA’s civilian authority, denied the talks had been held (Hussein al-Sheikh’s Twitter account, October 9, 2020).
Closing the accounts of the families of terrorist prisoners
  • Qudri Abu Bakr, chairman of the authority of prisoners and released prisoners’ affairs, said one of the banks in the West Bank had closed the accounts of more than 90 families of prisoners and their payments had been returned to the ministry of the treasury. He added that the families had not received their salaries for the past two or three months, and PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh and the PA minister of the treasury had been informed to deal with the issue (alresala.net, October 3, 2020).[3]
Talks for the internal Palestinian reconciliation
  • After a meeting in Turkey, Jibril Rajoub, secretary of Fatah’s Central Committee, met with representatives of the Palestinian organizations to reach an overall agreement before meeting with the head of the organizations and issuing a presidential edict for designating election day. The Fatah delegation, headed by Jibril Rajoub, met in Damascus with representatives from the Democratic and Popular and Fronts for the Liberation of Palestine (Sawa, October 6, 2020).
  • On October 8, 2020, a Fatah delegation headed by Jibril Rajoub met in Beirut with PIJ leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah. Rajoub said Fatah was prepared for an internal Palestinian reconciliation and elections. Ziyad al-Nakhalah said achieving national unity was imperative for the establishment of a Palestinian state (Dunia al-Watan, October 8, 2020). Isma’il Haniyeh also spoke with Ziyad al-Nakhalah, both stressing their adherence of national unity and the end of the internal Palestinian schism (Hamas website, October 8, 2020).
Jibril Rajoub meets in Beirut with Ziyad al-Nakhalah and Muhammad al-Hindi, head of the PIJ's political bureau (Jibril Rajoub's Facebook page, October 6 and 8, 2020).  Jibril Rajoub and the Fatah delegation meet with the Syrian deputy foreign minister.
Right: Jibril Rajoub and the Fatah delegation meet with the Syrian deputy foreign minister. Left: Jibril Rajoub meets in Beirut with Ziyad al-Nakhalah and Muhammad al-Hindi, head of the PIJ’s political bureau (Jibril Rajoub’s Facebook page, October 6 and 8, 2020).
  • Criticism of the internal Palestinian reconciliation was also heard. Mahmoud al-Zahar, a member of Hamas political bureau, said the end of the internal Palestinian schism meant the end of the disagreement over ideologies. The PLO, he said believed in the two-state solution, while Hamas and the PIJ did not. He said no reconciliation would succeed as long as the political and ideological disagreement had not been resolved (Filastin al-Yawm, October 6, 2020).
Threats against Israel because of PIJ prisoners’ hunger strike
  • Maher al-Akhras, a PIJ terrorist operative and administrative detainee, who was detained by the Israeli security forces in July 2020, has been on a hunger strike for almost 80 days.[4] His health deteriorated and he was moved to an Israeli hospital. The PIJ, Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorist organizations call for his release and threaten they will attack Israel if anything happens to him.
Maher al-Akhras (PIJ website)
Maher al-Akhras (PIJ website)
  • The PIJ’s military wing published a video entitled “Our patience is running out” threatening Israel with rocket fire and putting responsibility for his health and welfare on Israel. Senior “political” figures in the terrorist organizations made similar comments: Jamal Alian, senior PIJ figure, claimed they were in contact with Egypt, Nikolay Mladenov (the UN special envoy to the Middle East) and human rights organizations for his release. He said if the efforts to release him were unsuccessful the “resistance” [i.e., the terrorist organizations] would deal with the issue and respond to any damage he incurred (Shabakat Quds al-Akhbariya, October 7, 2020). Senior PIJ figure Khaled al-Batash called on the Palestinians to confront Israel. He claimed that the more confrontations held at the traditional locations, the closer the prisoners would come to being released.
PIJ military wing video threatens Israel (Jerusalem Brigades website, October 10, 2020).    PIJ military wing video threatens Israel (Jerusalem Brigades website, October 10, 2020).
PIJ military wing video threatens Israel (Jerusalem Brigades website, October 10, 2020).
  • Other threats against Israel:
    • The PIJ’s balloon-launching Barak unit said that in light of the situation they regarded themselves as released from the lull agreement, and that the “settlements” [i.e., the Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip] could expect a new round of great tension. The stressed that “all the jihad fighter brothers in every location have all popular weapons, including IED and incendiary balloons, IEDs, hand grenades and attack UAVs at their disposal to bring about the release of prisoner Maher al-Akhras.” The Barak unit said it had sent its first warning with incendiary balloons with pictures of Maher al-Akhras, Ziyad al-Nakhalah and Bahaa Abu al-Atta (Canaan website, October 12, 2020).
Preparations for launching balloons (Twitter account of Muhammad Qriqa from Gaza, October 12, 2020).   Balloons with pictures of Maher al-Akhras (Canaan website, October 12, 2020).
Right: Balloons with pictures of Maher al-Akhras (Canaan website, October 12, 2020). Left: Preparations for launching balloons (Twitter account of Muhammad Qriqa from Gaza, October 12, 2020).
  • Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the prisoner Maher al-Akhras needed “popular resistance action” to end his suffering, adding that they demanded his release and were prepared for any scenario. He said Hamas would participate in any “resistance” action (Radio al-Aqsa, October 11, 2020). Khaled Mashaal, former head of the Hamas political bureau, held a telephone conversation of Maher al-Akhras’ wife. He told her that the Palestinian “resistance,” mainly the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, supported the prisoners in Israeli jails and had the means to force Israel to meet their demands in an “honorable deal” (Dunia al-Watan, October 13, 2020). Abu Mujahed, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, said the “resistance” was united in its response and that it would determine the price paid for harm to the prisoner (al-Mayadeen, October 11, 2020).
  • Rallies in support of Maher al-Akhras were held in the Gaza Strip, organized by the PIJ (PIJ website, October 10, 2020). The PIJ’s military wing held a rally where Israel was warned not to allow harm to come to al-Akhras, adding that if he died Israel would bear the consequences (Filastin al-Yawm, October 10, 2020). Qudri Abu Bakr, chairman of the authority of prisoners and released prisoners’ affairs, announced a series of protest activities for the West Bank and a rally in front of the offices of the Red Cross in Ramallah (Filastin al-Yawm, October 9, 2020).
PA aid for east Jerusalem hospitals, other institutions and businessmen
  • PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh met in his office with a delegation or representatives of the hospitals in east Jerusalem to discuss ways of helping them. He said the PA would transfer $1.2 million from the Arab Fund in Kuwait to three hospitals in east Jerusalem. He said they were proud of the hospitals, which were “national institutions,” and the PA would continue to transfer funds to them (Wafa, Muhammad Shtayyeh’s Facebook page, October 11, 2020). The money is part of the $5.7 million from the Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development in Kuwait, authorized by Muhammad Shtayyeh for a number of health, cultural, development and educational institutions and charitable organizations in Jerusalem (Wafa, October 11, 2020).
Muhammad Shtayyeh meets with a delegation from east Jerusalem hospitals
Muhammad Shtayyeh meets with a delegation from east Jerusalem hospitals
  • Amjad Ghanem, the Palestinian government secretary, interviewed by the Voice of Palestine Radio, said that in the coming two weeks the PA ministry of the treasury would transfer $1000 to each of 250 Palestinian businessmen in the Old City of east Jerusalem. He said the aid was part of a comprehensive Palestinian government program for 1,400 businessmen in east Jerusalem whose businesses were suffering because of the coronavirus (Wafa, October 13, 2020).

[1] All information and reports are from Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria unless otherwise noted.

[2] A significant attack is defined by the ITIC as involving shooting, a vehicular attack, the use of IEDs, or a combination of the above. Stones and Molotov cocktails thrown by Palestinians are not included.


[3] For further information, see the October 1, 2020 bulletin “The Palestinian Authority continues preparations for founding a bank which will enable it to transfer funds to terrorist prisoners and the families of shaheeds.”


[4] Maher Abd al-Latif Hassan al-Akhras is a PIJ terrorist operative from the village of Silat al-Harithiya, near Jenin (PIJ website). Al-Akhras, 49, married and father of six, was first detained in 1989, and his detention lasted seven months. He was detained again in 2004 for two years, and in 2009 for 16 months, and again in 2018 for 11 months. He was most recently detained on July 27, 2020, which turned into administrative detention. Since July 27, 2020, he has been on a hunger strike (Ma’an, October 11, 2020).



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