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.

COVID-19 numbers continue to surge in the Palestinian Authority, while the number of cases in the Gaza Strip remains low (Updated to July 20, 2020)

The surge in active COVID-19 cases in Judea and Samaria continues, part of the second wave of the disease. According to reports from the Palestinian ministry of health, there are 6,650 active cases, up from 5,121 a week ago. The ministry of health reported that ten patients are in the ICU and four are on ventilators (as of July 19, 2020). There are 4,810 active cases in the Hebron district, 73% of the overall number. Sixty-five Palestinians have died, most of them in the Hebron district (as of July 20, 2020). The number of cases in east Jerusalem has also spiked, with 1,332 active cases, up from 632 last week, and up from 160 at the beginning of July.

Increased violations of public health guidelines and protests against Palestinian Authority during the second coronavirus wave

Since early March the Palestinian Authority (PA) has struggled with the spread of coronavirus cases and the ensuing economic difficulties. The PA, which was satisfied with its response to the first wave of COVID-19, now finds itself unsuccessfully trying to halt the surge of new infections. In an attempt to halt the spread of the virus during the second wave the PA increased the severity of its preventive measures, both general and specific. Paradoxically, despite the surge in the number of active cases, seriously ill Palestinians and deaths, during the second wave there has been an increase in the violation of public health guidelines and preventive measures ordered by the prime minister and the public health system.

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