The Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades enforce preventive measures in Gaza (Palinfo Twitter account, September 6, 2020).
Gazan fishermen return to work (Facebook page of the ministry of agriculture in Gaza, September 2, 2020).
Gazan fishermen return to work (Facebook page of the ministry of agriculture in Gaza, September 2, 2020).
Khalil al-Haya interviewed by al-Aqsa TV (Shehab, September 1, 2020).
The distribution of the funds from Qatar (Facebook page of journalist Hani al-She’ar, September 8, 2020).
Haniyeh at the Sabra and Shatila cemetery (Palinfo, September 4, 2020).
- Since understandings for a lull were reached on the night of August 31, 2020, the Gaza Strip has been quiet. In the meantime, the activity at the Kerem Shalom Crossing has been renewed, including the delivery of fuel and construction materials, and the fishing zone was restored to 15 nautical miles off the Gaza Strip coast. Khalil al-Haya, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said “It was a simple tactical round in which we used [IED and incendiary] balloons and forced the Israelis [the “occupation”] to return to the previous understandings…” He claimed Israel had been given two months to carry out the previous understandings and the projects that had been agreed on.
- In Judea and Samaria popular terrorism continued. This past week a combined ramming-attempted stabbing attack was carried out at the Tapuah Junction in Samaria (wounding an IDF soldier and Israeli policeman). A stabbing attack was attempted at the Ariel Junction. However, despite many calls from senior Palestinian figures to escalate popular terrorism (the so-called “popular resistance”), and given the Israeli-UAE normalization agreement, during the past month there has been no significant increase in popular terrorism attacks beyond the usual isolated attacks (after seven attacks were carried out in May 2020).
- This past week the Israeli Security Agency detained an Israeli citizen with an Israeli Bedouin mother and a Gazan father, suspected of having been recruited by the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing. He was instructed to place an IED at a bus stop at a major intersection in the center of Israel. In addition, the Israel and Palestinian media reported that this past week the IDF and Israeli Security Agency carried out extensive detentions in Judea and Samaria, focusing on the Hebron and Bethlehem regions. Among the Palestinians detained were released prisoners and senior Hamas terrorist operatives.
- In the political arena:
- Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, headed a Hamas delegation visit to Lebanon. They met with senior Lebanese officials and paid a visit to the Ayn al-Hilweh refugee camp (where he claimed “rockets and guns will chase Israel out of the land of Palestine”). They also met with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. A Hezbollah announcement stressed the might of the [so-called] “resistance axis” and the closeness of Hezbollah-Hamas relations.
- Fourteen Palestinian organizations held a joint online meeting in Beirut and Ramallah. They decided to appoint three committees: one to discuss the development of the “popular resistance” [i.e., popular terrorism], one to reconstruct the PLO and one to end the internal Palestinian schism. Hamas agreed to adopt the “popular resistance” as a common denominator for a strategy with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA), but stressed that military “resistance” [i.e., institutionalized military terrorism] had to be given top priority.
The Gaza Strip 
- On September 8, 2020, the ministry of health in Gaza announced that 118 new active cases had been detected within the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of active cases to 1171 (1141 inside the Gaza Strip and 30 who returned to Gaza from abroad). So far there have been nine deaths (eight inside the Gaza Strip and one woman who returned from abroad) (Facebook page of the ministry of health’s medical committee to combat the Covid-19 crisis, September 8, 2020).
- Given the extensive spread of Covid-19 inside the Gaza Strip, operatives of Hamas’ military wing (the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades) have also begun to enforce preventive measures. The military wing announced it would use all its capabilities to combat Covid-19. The announcement also expressed the military wing’s esteem for the efforts made by the security forces and medical teams, and called on local residents to strictly follow the directives of the ministries of health and the interior (Palestine Online, September 6, 2020).
The Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades enforce preventive measures in Gaza
(Palinfo Twitter account, September 6, 2020).
Judea and Samaria
- This past week the number of active cases rose in the PA territories, but nevertheless there is a trend towards stabilizing the extent of the infection. As of September 8, 2020, the number of active case stood at 8,223. Most of them (3,256) are in the Hebron district. Thirty active cases are hospitalized in ICUs, with three on ventilators. As of September 8, 2020, there were 206 deaths (25 in the east Jerusalem neighborhoods).
Attack at the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip prevented
- On the night of September 2, 2020, an IDF force observed a Palestinian approaching the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip. The soldiers who detained him found an IED and a knife nearby. He was taken for interrogation (IDF Twitter account, September 3, 2020).
IED and knife found near the Palestinian who approached the security fence
(IDF Twitter account, sep3, 2020).
Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israel
- This past week no rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory.
Monthly Distribution of Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire
Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits
Combined attack at the Tapuah Junction (September 2, 2020)
- The Palestinian who carried out the attack was Muhammad Jabr Suleiman Khaidar al-Bitawi, 22, from the town of Bayta, who lived in Nablus and was a student at al-Najah University in Nablus. His motives for carrying out the attack were apparently personal (he had been deeply affected by the death of his father, Dr. Jabr al-Bitawi, who taught at al-Najah University) (QudsN, September 2, 2020).
CCTV footage shows the terrorist’s vehicle arrive and hit the soldier and policeman
(Shehab Twitter account, September 2, 2020).
Right: Muhammad Khaidar al-Bitawi (Facebook page of Khaidar al-Bitawi, August 3, 2020). Left: The terrorist’s knife (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, September 2, 2020).
- As usual, the PA and Fatah did not condemn the terrorist attack (ramming and stabbing attacks are considered legitimate parts of the “popular resistance”). The Palestinian media covered the event by giving the bare facts and stressing that “Israel claims it was a terrorist attack.” Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) welcomed the ramming attack, and one spokesman called for turning such attacks into daily events (Twitter account of Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem, September 2, 2020; Dunia al-Watan, September 2, 2020).
Attempted stabbing attack at the Ariel Junction
- On September 6, 2020 a Palestinian terrorist armed with a knife attempted to stab IDF soldiers. He then tried to escape. Policemen who were summoned joined the soldiers in chasing him, finding him hiding behind some bushes. The soldiers activated procedures for detaining suspects and when the terrorist did not surrender, shots were fired at his legs, wounding him (IDF Twitter account, IDF spokesman, September 6, 2020).
Exposure of Israeli citizen handled by Hamas
- Mahmoud Miqdad is an Israeli citizen; he is 30 years old. His mother is an Israeli Bedouin and his father is a Gazan who lives in Segev Shalom, a Bedouin town southeast of Beersheba. Mahmoud Miqdad is married to a Gazan woman and divides his time between Segev Shalom in the Negev and Rafah in the Gaza Strip, frequently passing through the Erez Crossing. Nine family members and acquaintances were detained with him, most of them from Segev Shalom (Israeli Security Agency information unit website, September 7, 2020).
- The Israeli Security Agency interrogation revealed that Mahmoud Miqdad agreed to cooperate with Hamas at the end of 2019. He collected intelligence information and carried out surveillance of various sites inside Israel, including the locations of Iron Dome aerial defense systems. In recent months he stayed in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas taught him how to assemble IEDs and use them to attack inside Israel. He entered Israel in June 2020, purchased ammunition and began assembling an IED. He also began looking for a suitable place to carry out the attack, eventually choosing a bus stop at the Bilu Junction, a major intersection in the center of Israel near the city of Rehovot. Throughout the period he remained in covert contact with his handlers in the Gaza Strip.
Right: Mahmoud Miqdad, suspected of being recruited by Hamas’ military wing to carry out an IED attack in Israel. Left: The IED (Israeli Security Agency information unit website, September 7, 2020).
- In Judea and Samaria Palestinians continued throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. The more prominent events were the following:
- September 7, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle south of Qalqilya. No casualties were reported; the front windshield of the vehicle was damaged.
- September 7, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle northeast of Ramallah. No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- September 6, 2020: Stones were thrown at two civilian Israeli buses northeast of Hebron. No casualties were reported; the front windshield of one of the buses was damaged.
- September 6, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle south of Nablus. No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- September 5, 2020: Molotov cocktails were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle south of Nablus. No casualties were reported.
- September 5, 2020: An Israeli policeman was injured when stones were thrown at his patrol car northeast of Ramallah.
- September 4, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle southwest of Nablus. No casualties were reported.
- September 3, 2020: Three Molotov cocktails were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle south of Beit El. No casualties were reported.
- September 3, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle northeast of Modi’in Illit. No casualties were reported.
- September 2, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle south of Bethlehem. No casualties were reported; the front windshield of the vehicle was damaged.
Significant terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria since January 2019
Extensive detentions in Judea and Samaria
- The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club said more than 50 Palestinians had been detained, most of them from the Hebron district, in the largest Israeli activity since the beginning of the year. Forty-five Palestinians were detained in the Hebron district, most of them released prisoners. Senior Hamas figure Abd al-Khalq al-Natshe was detained in the city of Hebron. Twenty-two Palestinians were detained in the town of Dura, nine of them released prisoners. Among those detained were Naif al-Rajoub, a Hamas-faction member of the Legislative Council; his brother, released prisoner Yasir al-Rajoub; and released prisoner Osama Shahin, director of the Palestine Center for Studies. In the town of al-Zahariya one of the Palestinians detained was Muhammad al-Tal, a Hamas-faction member of the Legislative Council (Wafa, September 8, 2020; Asramedia website, September 8, 2020).
After the lull understandings
Since the lull understandings went into effect (the night of August 31, 2020) the Gaza Strip has been quiet. On August 31, 2020, the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced that the Kerem Shalom Crossing would resume activity on September 1, 2020, including the transfer of fuel and construction materials to the Gaza Strip, and the restoration of the fishing zone to 15 nautical miles (Facebook page of the COGAT in Arabic, August 31, 2020).
Transferring cement to the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom Crossing
(al-Ra’i news agency Twitter account, September 2, 2020).
Gazan fishermen return to work
(Facebook page of the ministry of agriculture in Gaza, September 2, 2020).
Senior Hamas figure Khalil al-Haya summarized the most recent escalation
- Khalil al-Haya, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, summarized the most recent escalation in an interview with al-Aqsa TV. His main points were the following (Shehab Facebook page, September 1, 2020):
- In view of Israel’s delays Hamas was forced to enter a new round of “activity” to exert pressure on Israel (“the occupation”). Pressure was exerted with [IED and incendiary] balloons and Israel responded by bombarding posts, especially those belonging to Hamas military wing. If the events had progressed further Hamas would have entered “a new round of confrontation, during which we would have pounded Tel Aviv and turned it into a ghost town.”
- Al-Haya praised Qatar and elaborated on its donations of money. He said Hamas had demanded double the amount of the most recent donation to be able to combat the Covid-19 crisis. He said the Qataris were prepared to double the amount of the usual donation. In addition to the money Qatar paid for fuel for the power plant, it donated $17 million for other projects (salaries for public sector employees, temporary employment for the unemployed, money for needy families). On the other hand, he claimed, Israel had been stubborn until the last minute.
- He added that Israel eventually agreed to let the Qataris double the donation for the current month. That meant, he said, in addition to the money paid for fuel for the power plant, more than $30 million for other projects. Israel also agreed to implement all the previous understandings, especially regarding electricity, water, commerce, industry, exports and workers and businessmen. Al-Haya added that Israel would have to formulate the mechanisms necessary for implementing the understandings.
- Asked why the Qatari-mediated negotiations with Israel about the time necessary for implementing previously agreed-on understandings had taken so long, he answered that Hamas had talked about three weeks, but in the end agreed to give Israel two months. Hamas, he claimed, would monitor Israel’s conduct and if necessary, “we are prepared for more rounds of [IED and incendiary] balloons and other measures.”
- In summation al-Haya said that Hamas had not paid a political price to Israel. “What we did was confirm a policy we and all the factions agreed on. We made a new agreement, but it was simply a tactical round where we used [IED and incendiary] balloons and forced the occupation to return to the former understandings…“
Aid for the Gaza Strip from Qatar
- Mohammed al-Emadi, chairman of Qatar’s National Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, said Qatar had decided to double the money it would give the Gaza Strip this month. He said Qatar had decided to allot $7 million for those who had been harmed by the coronavirus in addition to the usual $10 million for needy families. He added that Qatar would continue providing for all the needs of the Gazans living in quarantine centers, as it had done since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis (palsawa, September 1, 2020).
- On another occasion, interviewed by al-Arabi TV, which broadcasts from London, al-Emadi said that this past month Qatar had paid $34 million to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip. As to the amount of the donations in the coming months, he said the issue would be examined. He said he had met with the chairman of the Israeli fuel company to provide the Gaza Strip with natural gas, which would be cheaper than providing electricity. He added that materials designated as double-use materials would be delivered to the Gaza Strip, and Israel would permit the entrance of 7,000 workers. However, Hamas’ Covid-19 preventive measures at the crossings prevent the entrance of workers.
- While in Gaza al-Emadi met with Walid Sa’ad Sa’il, chairman of the board of directors of the Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) and with the relevant people on the Israeli side to discuss the gas pipe project for the Gaza Strip power plant. He said the project would be carried out in coordination with the EU and the International Quartet, and it was expected to be completed within two years. He said in the meantime Qatar would continue paying for the power plant’s fuel (Qatar’s National Committee website, September 2, 2020).
- Al-Emadi said that on September 8, 2020, the National Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, in collaboration with the Qatari Development Fund, would begin paying $100 per household to 100,000 needy families in Gaza, and later to 70,000 needy families who had been harmed by the Covid-19 crisis Qatar’s National Committee website, September 6, 2020). Hamas’ media bureau in Gaza said the distribution of the funds to the needy families would last until September 10, 2020 (Facebook page of the media bureau in Gaza, September 8, 2020).
Isma’il Haniyeh visits Lebanon
- Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, arrived in Lebanon on September 1, 2020, accompanied by Maher Salah, responsible for Hamas activities abroad; Izzat al-Rishq, head of Hamas’ bureau of Arab and Islamic relations; and Husam Badran, head of Hamas’ office of national relations.
- Isma’il Haniyeh and the Hamas delegation met with senior Lebanese officials (including Hasan Diab, the prime minister of the interim government, and Nabih Berri speaker of the Lebanese parliament), and with representatives of the various Palestinian terrorist organizations.
- At a visit to the Sabra and Shatila cemetery, Haniyeh claimed rockets and guns would chase Israel out of the land of Palestine (Hamas website, September 4, 2020). At the Ayn al-Hilweh refugee camp, Haniyeh claimed the [terrorist] organizations in the Gaza Strip had rockets which could bombard Tel Aviv and beyond (al-Mayadeen TV website, September 6, 2020; Palinfo, September 7, 2020).
Haniyeh at the Sabra and Shatila cemetery (Palinfo, September 4, 2020).
- On September 6, 2020, Haniyeh and the Hamas delegation met with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Hezbollah said in an announcement that they had discussed the dangers threatening the Palestinian cause, especially the “deal of the century” and the Arab plans for formal normalization of relations with Israel. Hezbollah stressed the might of the “resistance axis” and the closeness of Hezbollah-Hamas relations (al-Andalou News, September 6, 2020).
Right: Hassan Nasrallah meets with Isma’il Haniyeh (al-Mayadeen TV website, September 6, 2020). Left: Hassan Nasrallah meets with the Hamas delegation.
Meeting of the Palestinian organization’s leadership
- Mahmoud Abbas’ speech opened the meeting. He noted it was a very sensitive time because of the plots to destroy the Palestinian cause, alongside steps taken by a number of Arab states to normalize relations with Israel. He expressed his objections to Trump’s “deal of the century” and his support for national unity to combat Israel with the [allegedly] “non-violent popular resistance.” He said a national leadership had to be formed to lead the “popular resistance.” He repeated his call to end the internal Palestinian schism and to achieve the general reconciliation of the various organizations (Palestinian TV, September 3, 2020).
- Isma’il Haniyeh called for internal Palestinian reconciliation and stressed that Hamas believed a joint strategy of resistance [i.e., all forms of terrorism] had to be adopted to defend the Palestinian cause. He called for a “comprehensive resistance” of military, popular, political, media, legal and human rights activity, with priority given to military resistance [i.e., institutionalized military terrorism].
Right: The online meeting in Beirut of the leaders of the Palestinian organizations (Hamas website, September 3, 2020). Left: The online meeting in Ramallah (Wafa, September 3, 2020).
The PA fights illegal weapons and anarchy in the Palestinian street
- On September 2, 2020, Mahmoud Abbas decided to update two Palestinian laws and to increase their punitive capabilities. One law was passed in 1998 and deals with the possession, use, trade, smuggling and manufacture of illegal arms. The law will be changed to increase punishment and fines will be charged for violations. The other was a law passed in 2018 and deals with crime and the exploitation of the Internet (Mahmoud Abbas’ Facebook page, September 2, 2020). The laws are being changed because of the increase in gunfire and the number of deaths in the Palestinian street in recent weeks.
- On September, 2, 2020, PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh met in Ramallah with the regional Fatah secretaries of Fatah’s bureau of mobilization and organization. He said the government was determined to enforce the law and increase punishment for anyone who broke it using an illegal weapon. Jamal al-Muheisen, head of Fatah’s bureau mobilization and organization, said there was no immunity for illegal weapons, which were used to create chaos. He said the use of illegal weapons did not serve the Palestinians’ interests.
Right: Mahmoud Abbas signs the changes of the laws increasing punishment (Mahmoud Abbas’ Facebook page, September 2, 2020). Left: PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh begins the meeting in Ramallah of the regional secretaries of Fatah’s bureau of mobilization and organization (Wafa, September 2, 2020).
- On September 5, 2020, Muhammad Shtayyeh met with the members of the security committee of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council. He said he would not permit a return to public anarchy and he would fight everything that harmed public safety. He also said he would not permit gunfire at weddings or other events (Muhammad Shtayyeh’s Facebook page, September 5, 2020).
 For further information, see the September 7, 2020 bulletin, “The Spread of Covid-19 in Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria” ↑
 All information and reports are from Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria unless otherwise noted. ↑
 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. ↑