The security situation in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque was elevated since July 14th 2017, when Israeli forces closed Al-Aqsa Mosque for two days after armed clashes erupted between three Palestinians and Israeli police in Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound 0.35 km SE of the Old City / Jerusalem. Which led to the death of the three Palestinians and two Israeli police officers.
Gaza’s sole power plant was shut-down on April 17th, as the fuel reserves were consumed. Debates are still ongoing between PA and Hamas on fuel tax exemption and revenue collection from electricity consumers. According to the ICRC, Gaza is on the verge of a “systemic collapse”.
The Palestinian Authority has been paying the Israeli Authorities to supply Gaza with electricity until April in which the PA declared payments will stop, while in May, the Israeli Authorities reduced the electricity provided to Gaza.
The Security threat level in Egypt has been increasing since 2011, as the Egyptian Army has waged a war against Wilayat Sinai (Sinai Province). The militant group previously known as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis pledged their allegiance to the Islamic state in 2014, since then they have been known as Wilayat Sinai. A state of emergency has been in effect in North Sinai since October 2014, where Wilayat Sinai largely resides and operates.
On April 17th 2017, about 1500 Palestinian prisoners started an open-ended hunger strike, while the Israeli Prison Service conscated the belongings of all prisoners on hunger strike including clothes, electronic devices, and salt which is essential to prisoners on hunger strike as it raises the blood pressure, prevents their stomachs from rotting and helps keep them balanced.
Tension and security situation that started in late 2015 continued throughout 2016. The Palestinian uprising that started in October 2015 was mainly characterized by lone-wolf attacks carried out by individuals non-aligned with Palestinian factions. Over 60% of attacks reported were conducted by individual Palestinians not backed by political parties, 23% belonged to a specific party but conducted individually without an order or coordination from the party’s leadership, and less than 17% of the attacks were carried out by individuals who were backed by a specific party.
Tension that started in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in mid-September 2015, intensified in October and was portrayed by pervasive clashes with ISF, along with almost daily attacks on Israelis. As the graph indicates, in comparison with October 2016, Palestinian death toll was significantly higher in October 2015. 64 Palestinians were killed, while in 2016, 9 Palestinians were killed. The Israeli death toll in 2015 was also higher as 10 Israelis were killed as opposed to 3 in 2016.
Assessment of Recent Security Developments in Palestine
After the latest wave of violence witnessed in Nablus, on August 18th, between PA security forces and unknown gunmen resulted in the death of two PA security members and two Palestinian gunmen, it has become essential to evaluate the issue of lawlessness and its effects on the Palestinian community, and the overall security situation.
One of the most debated scenarios relating to potential security complications in the Palestinian and Israeli controlled areas is the rise of the so-called “Salaﬁ Jihadists”. This phenomenon has become especially signiﬁcant given the vacuum in leadership within the Palestinian political arena. A salaﬁsts movement is an approach to Political Islam, it was ﬁrst developed by Imam Hanbal, and involves a new interpretation and understanding of Islamic teachings based on the principles articulated by the Prophet Mohammed and his companions.