The Coronavirus in the Palestinian Authority (PA) Territories and the Gaza Strip (Updated to March 22, 2020)

So far 57 people in the PA have been diagnosed with coronavirus, 17 of whom recovered. Two people in the Gaza Strip, Palestinians who returned from Pakistan, have also been diagnosed. As of March 22, 2020, the PA prime minister imposed a closure on the PA territories, with a few exceptions. In the Gaza Strip the Hamas administration took a variety of steps to prevent gatherings but so far no overall closure has been imposed. Most of the Hamas administration's efforts are invested in quarantining Palestinians entering the Gaza Strip and constructing quarantine facilities in preparation for the threat of a spread of the virus.

Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas policy on the entrance of Palestinian workers into Israel in the shadow of the coronavirus

According to the Facebook page of the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), every day about 73,000 workers enter Israel from Judea and Samaria. Most of them work in construction, with a minority in other sectors (health, agriculture, care-giving,

The Martyrs Foundation – Palestinian Branch: a Hezbollah foundation operating in Lebanon, used as a channel for transferring Iranian financial support to families of Palestinian shaheeds

The Martyrs Foundation – Palestinian Branch (hereinafter: the Palestinian Martyrs Foundation) was established in 1993 by Hezbollah’s Martyrs Foundation as a branch of the Iranian Martyrs Foundation . Its purpose is to support the families of Palestinian shaheeds and cater to their needs in the social, educational and medical spheres.

Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, again related to Hamas’ perception of the prospects for a lull arrangement

On March 3, 2020, Isma'il Haniyeh, head of Hamas' political bureau, was interviewed by the Hezbollah-affiliated al-Mayadeen TV channel in Lebanon. Some of the topics he related to were Hamas's perception of a lull arrangement, Hamas' military buildup, Hamas' position on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's (PIJ) attacks and a long-term lull arrangement which would require Hamas to disarm.

The Most Recent Round of Escalation from the Perspective of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad

On February 23-24, 2020, there was another round of escalation in the Gaza Strip, the tenth since the return marches began (March 30, 2018). The latest round, like the one before it, was initiated and conducted by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) without Hamas participation. During the round the PIJ fired 113 rockets and mortar shells at the Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip and the southern Israeli cities of Sderot and Ashqelon. In response the IDF attacked PIJ targets in the Gaza Strip and Syria.

The Tenth Round of Escalation in the Gaza Strip: What Next?

On February 23 and 24, 2020, there was another significant round of escalation in the Gaza Strip, the tenth since the beginning of the return marches (March 30, 2018). It was instigated by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in retaliation for the IDF's killing of one of its operatives who was placing an IED near the border security fence and the subsequent removal of his body with an IDF bulldozer.

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