Deterioration of the security situation along the Gaza Strip border (updated to August 17, 2020)

At the beginning of August 2020, after about six months of relative quiet, Hamas initiated a wave of violence from the Gaza Strip, renewing the use of its strategy of controlled violence against Israel. So far, the current wave of violence focuses mainly on the daily launching of IED and incendiary balloons. During the nights of August 15 and 16, 2020 the balloon launchings were accompanied by riots at the border fence. Balloon terrorism and the riots were waged by designated units of Hamas and the other terrorist organizations specializing in such patterns of violent activity.

Hezbollah’s response to the Beirut disaster (updated to August 9, 2020)

Following the explosion in Beirut (August 4, 2020), Hezbollah launched a media campaign centered on denying any connection to the explosion. Thus, Hezbollah (unusually) refrained from blaming Israel for the explosion because this might have strengthened the allegation that Hezbollah had chemicals or weapons at the port. Hezbollah has blamed senior figures in Lebanese governments since 2014 for the disaster. Hezbollah has demanded an internal Lebanese investigation, on the assumption that it would have control over the results, and has vehemently opposed an international investigation.

The Spread of COVID-19 in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip (Updated to August 10, 2020)

In the Palestinian Authority (PA) territories the trend towards flattening the COVID-19 curve continued. This past week 1,917 new cases were detected (similar to last week). According to the PA ministry of health, there are currently 6,153 active COVID-19 cases (as of August 9, 2020); 4,095 in the Hebron district, about 66% of the total number. Of the active cases, 14 patients are in ICUs and three are on ventilators. As of August 10, 2020, there have been 99 deaths, up from 87 last week. The total number of Palestinians infected with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic is 14,127, up from 12,210 last week

COVID-19 Infection in the East Jerusalem Neighborhoods: The exceptional case of Kafr ‘Aqab

Kafr 'Aqab is a large neighborhood northeast of Jerusalem on the Palestinian side of the Israeli security fence. The neighborhood belongs to the municipal territory of Jerusalem, and most of its inhabitants have the status of permanent residents of the State of Israel. About 40,000 of its inhabitants work in Israel in the Jerusalem neighborhoods on the Israeli side west of the security fence. Some work in the PA territories in the Ramallah region.

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.

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