The Palestinian Authority (PA)

Spotlight on Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (March 19-26, 2024)

IDF forces continued operating in the Gaza Strip in Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, In the central Gaza Strip. The forces also operated in the Khan Yunis region, west of the city and in the Qarara area. Despite Israeli flexibility regarding the Palestinian prisoners and the return of the displaced persons to the northern Gaza Strip, Hamas announced its rejection of the latest United States offer. As a result, Israel announced that the Israeli delegation in Qatar would return to Israel. Hamas and the PIJ claim that so far there have been no "positive responses" from Israel and that Israel's answer does not meet their demands. The UN Security Council has passed a resolution calling for a ceasefire and the unconditional release of all hostages Operations to introduce humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip continue. The prayer of the second Friday of Ramadan on the Temple Mount was relatively quiet. Reportedly, 120 thousand worshipers came to pray.Four terrorist attacks were carried out this past week. An IDF soldier was killed in an attack at the Parsa Junction (west of Ramallah). PA figures continue their activities to end the war in the Gaza Strip. Mahmoud Abbas again accused Israel of stealing Palestinian water sources and not bringing humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. A public opinion poll indicated a strengthening of trust in Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
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The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research quarterly public opinion poll shows a certain decline in support for Hamas and the “armed resistance”

On March 20, 2024, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR), headed by Dr. Khalil Shikaki, published the main findings of the quarterly survey of the opinions of the residents of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. It was the second survey conducted by the institute during the war in the Gaza Strip. Several conclusions arose from the survey findings: A decrease was recorded both in Judea and Samaria and in the Gaza Strip in the level of support for Hamas and the "armed resistance" . Some of the answers showed trust in Hamas was gaining strength in the Gaza Strip. 70% of the respondents living in shelters in the Gaza Strip reported that the distribution of food was affected by political affiliation and carried out unfairly. Regarding the effect of the war on the internal Palestinian balance of power, the survey indicated a significant change.
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Appointment of New Palestinian Authority District Governors

On August 10, 2023, Mahmoud Abbas announced the enforced retirement of most of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Gaza Strip district governors, with three exceptions. Only on March 3, 2024, about seven months after the announcement, did an official round of appointments of eight new district governors begin, ending on March 10, 2024, after they were sworn in at Mahmoud Abbas' office in Ramallah.An examination of the new district governors reveals the following: Unlike previous years, this time Mahmoud Abbas appointed local people who were familiar with and had connections to the territory and the population. All eight governors are veteran Fatah members who belong to the movement's "middle generation" Some of them served or still serve in senior positions within Fatah.Appointing governors who are familiar with the district and its issues and have and good relations with the local residents is intended to strengthen the PA's control and improve its position and image.
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Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., March 13, 2024)

IDF forces continued operating in the neighborhoods of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, and in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. Given the stalemated negotiations for a ceasefire and hostage deal, international parties have made different suggestions to promote a deal in the immediate future. According to reports, the Hamas delegation will soon leave for another round of talks in Cairo. Senior Hamas members stated that despite the offers they received, they adhered to their demands. The United States Army's Central Command announced the departure of four vessels to the Middle East carrying equipment and supplies to establish a temporary pier in the Gaza Strip. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for 11 attacks. An operative in Hamas' military-terrorist wing Lebanon was eliminated in an aerial attack near Tyre. A 15 year-old boy carried out a stabbing attack at the Tunnel Checkpoint, wounding two security personnel. A stabbing attack was attempted in the settlement of Givat Ronen south of Nablus. Mahmoud Abbas has chosen Muhammad Mustafa to serve as the PA's next prime minister.. A source in the Iraqi resistance" said they would continue their military operations during Ramadan. The Houthis launched a ballistic missile at an American destroyer in the Red Sea.
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Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., March 12, 2024)

The IDF forces continued their activity in the southern Gaza Strip, mainly in the Hamad neighborhood in the northwest of Khan Yunis and in the neighborhoods to the east of the city. In the central and northern Gaza Strip, the forces took action mainly against armed operatives and rocket launchers. Hamas officials reported that no progress had been made and blamed Israel for causing attempts to reach an agreement before Ramadan to fail. Arab sources stated that the pier under construction for the delivery humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip was insufficient and that aid should also be brought in in additional ways. Senior sources in the Gaza Strip claimed the issue of the pier "was suspicious" and there were problems that had to be solved before its operation. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for eight attacks during the past day. On the night of March 11, 2024, Israeli Air Force fighter jets attacked two Hezbollah aerial force compounds in the Beqa'a region. In response, Hezbollah launched about 70 rockets at Israel. Israeli security forces killed a terrorist operative in the village of Zeita near Tulkarm, who was en route to carry out a suicide bombing attack in Tel Aviv. A rifle and an IED prepared for detonation were found in his possession. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed its operatives had launched a UAV at Ben Gurion Airport; the launch was videoed and distributed by the "resistance." The Houthis reported attacking another ship in the Red Sea. The Security Council convened to discuss the sexual assaults during the October 7, 2023 terrorist attack and massacre, following the report written by the UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict.A cell of three Palestinians was detained, apparently with connections to the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Judea and Samaria, which planned to carry out terrorist attacks. One of the detainees is wanted by Israel.
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Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., March 11, 2024)

The IDF forces continued their activity in the southern Gaza Strip in Khan Yunis' Hamad neighborhood. In the central Gaza Strip, the forces operated mainly against armed terrorist squads. Naval fighters in the northern Gaza Strip directed a combat helicopter to attack and destroy a vessel used by the terrorist organizations. After the Hamas delegation left Cairo, senior Hamas members stated that there was no specific date for its return to the talks. They denied reports that communications had been suspended between the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip and the "external" leadership and reiterated their demands. Airlifts of humanitarian aid from various countries continue. Israel's attempts for cooperation from clan heads in the Gaza Strip have allegedly failed. Hamas also warned against such attempts, calling them "treason." Isma'il Haniyeh, head of Hamas' political bureau, gave a speech for Ramadan in which he reiterated Hamas demands for a hostage deal. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for ten attacks, including two rocket barrages targeting the Meron and Hermon areas, allegedly Hezbollah's response to IDF attacks on Lebanese civilians. Four UAVs were launched simultaneously at a single target. The Israeli security forces operated in the Nur Shams, Tulkarm and Qalqilya refugee camps.
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