The Spread of COVID-19 in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip (Updated to August 3, 2020)

The rate of COVID-19 infection in the Palestinian Authority (PA) territories continues to stabilize, although it is too early to say the surge of the second wave has ended. This past week 1,824 new cases were detected, thus, according to the PA ministry of health, the total number of active cases stands at 6,812 (as of August 2, 2020). Of them 4,221 (62% of the total number) are in the Hebron district. Seven patients are in ICUs, two of them on ventilators. As of August 3, 2020, 87 Palestinians have died, up from 79 a week ago. The total number of cases of COVID-19 is now 12,210 (up from 10,386 a week ago).

Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, reiterated Hamas’ position that military buildup and the campaign against Israel are its top priorities, even at the expense of the economic development and welfare of the local population

On July 27, 2020, Isma'il Haniyeh, head of Hamas' political bureau, was interviewed by the Qatari daily newspaper Lusail. He claimed that as part of the "deal of the century" Hamas had been offered $15 billion to construct a sea port and an airport, and for other economic projects. He added that the objective was to turn the Gaza Strip into a separate, thriving territory (a kind of Middle Eastern Singapore). However, he said, Hamas had rejected the offer.

An ISIS large-scale attack in the northern Sinai Peninsula demonstrates well the improvement in its operational capabilities and the weakness of the Egyptian security forces

On July 21, 2020, ISIS carried out a large-scale combined attack against an Egyptian army camp near the village of Rabi’a, west of Bir al-Abd (near the coastal highway, about 30 km from the Suez Canal). According to ISIS’s claim of responsibility (which is in line with Arab media reports), 40 members of the Egyptian security forces were killed, and over 60 were wounded.

The Spread of COVID-19 in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip (Updated to July 27, 2020)

According to a report from the Palestinian Authority (PA) ministry of health in Ramallah, the number of active COVID-19 cases in Judea and Samaria surged to 7,372 (as of July 22, 2020), when it began to level off (although it is too early to say the surge of the second wave has ended). Of the active cases, 4,074 are in the Hebron district, and account for 61% of the total number. So far there have been 79 deaths, most of them in the Hebron district (as of July 22, 2020).

The Palestinian Authority is disappointed because the ICC recessed for the summer without deciding about its authority to investigate Israel. The PA is working to accelerate the publication of the decision, anticipating that it will favor the Palestinians

On July 17, 2020, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague began its summer recess of three weeks without issuing a decision as to the ICC's authority to initiate an investigation of Israel's so-called "war crimes." Senior Palestinian figures were disappointed by the lack of a decision. The PA foreign minister represented the delay as the ICC's surrender to American and Israeli pressure, adding that the ICC has sufficient proof to initiate an investigation of the settlements and Israel's [alleged] "aggression" in the Gaza Strip.

ISIS’s current strategy: Relinquishing territorial control and focusing on intensifying local activity in the various provinces, mainly in Iraq

ISIS’s activity in the past year has been marked by efforts to recover from two severe blows that it suffered (the collapse of the Islamic State and the killing of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi). These blows damaged its military and financial capabilities, eroded the “ISIS brand” which had been cultivated for years, and forced it into a process of changing its operating methods and the goals that it had set for itself.

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