Bulldozer razes the house of the terrorist in the village of Rujeib (IDF spokesman's website, November 2, 2020).
The ruins of the house (Rujeib Facebook page, November 2, 2020).
Mahmoud al-'Alul visits the ruins of the house.
A Fatah delegation sits with the family near the ruins of the house. Few masks, no social distancing (Rujeib Facebook page, November 2, 2020).
Palestinian security forces in the Balata refugee camp (Facebook page of Balata al-Hadath, November 2, 2020).
Hamas banner reading, "Only the prophet of Allah" with an X over the picture of the French president. It was hung on the wall of the French cultural center in Gaza City (Twitter account of al-Andalou News photographer Ali Jadallah, October 28, 2020).
Protest rally in Ramallah. Masks, no social distancing (Wafa, November 2, 2020).
A demonstrator sits with his feet on a picture of French President Macron at a demonstration in Khan Yunis (Twitter account of photojournalist Ashraf Abu Amra, October 30 2020).
- In the Gaza Strip the number of new Covid-19 cases continues rising sharply. Senior figures in the Hamas administration have stated that the situation is under control, but warn that a continued rise in cases might make “drastic measures” necessary, one of which could be a complete lockdown of the Gaza Strip. In Judea and Samaria as well the number of active cases continues to rise. So far the Palestinian Authority (PA) has instituted only localized preventive measures (through the district governors) and has not yet imposed a full lockdown.
- This past week the Gaza Strip was relatively quiet. A Hamas delegation returning from Egypt said that months of the lull along the border with Israel are about to end because Israel has not met the understandings agreed on (ending the [so-called] “siege” and “beginning infrastructure projects”). On the other hand, on November 4, 2020, the distribution of the Qatari funds for 100,000 needy families is supposed to begin ($100 per family), which is expected to have a calming, if temporary, influence.
- In Judea And Samaria Palestinians continue throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles, with increasing frequency. The Israeli security forces detained several Palestinians who threw Molotov cocktails.
- Israeli security forces demolished the house of the Palestinian terrorist operative who stabbed an Israeli civilian to death in Petah Tikva, in central Israel. Several hours after the house had been razed a Fatah delegation, headed by organization leaders, paid a visit to the home of the terrorist’s family. They told the family that Mahmoud Abbas had instructed a new house be constructed. The PA consistently rebuilds the houses of terrorists demolished by Israel in order to challenge the message of deterrence Israel wants to send.
- This past week operatives of Fatah’s militant faction, the Tanzim, clashed with operatives of the Palestinian security forces in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus. Dozens of Palestinians were injured during the riots and a senior Tanzim operative was killed, one of Muhammad Dahlan’s supporters. In ITIC assessment, it was a localized event which at this point does not challenge the PA’s governance in Judea and Samaria.
- In the PA and Gaza Strip protest demonstrations were held after French President Emmanuel Macron spoke out against Islamic terrorism and Islamist separatism. Demonstrators burned his picture and called on Palestinians and the Arab countries to boycott French merchandise and recall their ambassadors to France.
- Salama Maarouf, chairman of the government media bureau in Gaza, warned that the Gaza Strip could cross the red line in the spread of the disease determined by the ministry of health in Gaza (which gave the “acceptable” highest number as 300 per day). Maarouf again called on local residents to follow public health guidelines and employ preventive measures to prevent a return to a complete lockdown of the Gaza Strip (Shehab news agency, November 2, 2020).
- The heads of the ministries of health and the interior met with town and refugee camp elders and social activists in areas designated red. According to Tawfiq Abu Na’im, deputy minister of the interior, the meetings were held to end the deliberate neglect of many local residents for health directives (website of the ministry of the interior in Gaza, November 2, 2020).
Judea and Samaria
- At the beginning of the weekly government meeting PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said the extent of the infection was stable but the numbers were high. However, he claimed, the situation was under control. He called on the Palestinian public to follow all public health guidelines, to practice social distancing, avoid gatherings and wear masks to keep lockdowns from being imposed again (Muhammad Shtayyeh’s Facebook page, November 2, 2020).
Infection of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails
- Security prisoners in a jail in the northeastern part of the country were found to be infected with Covid-19. According to Israeli sources, 65 prisoners tested positive; all of them were asymptomatic (as of November 3, 2020).The PA’s Authority for Prisoners and Released Prisoners claimed 73 prisoners were infected, and that the prison head closed the site and cancelled all visits (Wafa, November 3, 2020).
- The Authority for Prisoners and Released Prisoners claimed that following the outbreak of Covid-19 in one of the jails, prisoners in other detention facility announced “escalation measures,” such as hunger strikes (Authority for Prisoners and Released Prisoners Facebook page, November 2, 2020). Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem claimed it revealed that prisoners are being neglected, part of what he called “Israel’s deliberate policy of doing harm.” He said the Israeli government and prisoners authorities were responsible for the lives and welfare of the prisoners, and called on international agencies to exert pressure on Israel to release them (Hamas website, November 2, 2020).
Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israel
- This past week no rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory.
Monthly Distribution of Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire
Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits
IED balloon launched into western Negev
- On November 1, 2020, police demolitions experts were summoned to examine a suspicious balloon that landed in the western Negev. Examination revealed that the balloon had what could have been and IED attached to it. No casualties or damage were reported (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, November 1, 2020).
- During a routine activity of IDF fighters near the Jalameh Crossing (near Jenin), the soldiers identified Palestinians throwing an IED from a passing vehicle. The soldiers blocked the road to stop the vehicle and then shot at the Palestinians who had thrown the IED (IDF spokesman, October 30 2020). The media reported that one of the wounded Palestinians was the son of Zakariya Zubeidi, who had formerly commanded Fatah’s military wing in Jenin. Zakariya Zubeidi is currently imprisoned in Israel for carrying out a shooting attack (Ynet, October 30, 2020).
- Border Police fighters raided two houses in Jenin and detained two wanted Palestinians, both in their twenties. They are suspected of having carried out terrorist activities and planning a shooting attack at a “security crossing.” A search of the houses revealed two improvised Carlo machine guns, as well as clubs and slingshots. The suspects were taken for interrogation (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, October 29, 2020).
Weapons found in the homes of the two suspects
(Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, October 29, 2020)
- Border Police fighters operating in the Shuafat refugee camp saw a youth throwing Molotov cocktails at a security post at the entrance to the camp. They chased and apprehended him (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, October 28, 2020).
The suspect caught on a security camera throwing a Molotov cocktail
(Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, October 28, 2020).
- On October 30, 2020, Border Police fighters detained three Palestinian youths who went to the entrance of a Border Police post near Bethlehem carrying Molotov cocktails (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, October 30, 2020).
Molotov cocktails seized from three Palestinians at the entrance to a Border Police base in the Bethlehem region (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, October 30, 2020).
- In Judea and Samaria Palestinians continued throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles on the roads in Judea and Samaria. The more prominent events were the following:
- November 2, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle east of Ariel. No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged.
- November 2, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle southwest of Nablus. No casualties or damage were reported.
- November 2, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli bus southwest of Hebron. No casualties were reported.
- November 2, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle northeast of Ramallah. No casualties were reported.
- November 1, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle south of Hebron. A woman went into shock.
- November 1, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle northeast of Ramallah. No casualties were reported.
- November 1, 2020: Molotov cocktails were thrown at a civilian Israeli bus west of Hebron. No casualties were reported.
- November 1, 2020: Molotov cocktails were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle north of Modi’in Illit. No casualties were reported.
- October 29, 2020: Palestinians used a laser beam to dazzle a civilian Israeli bus driver on the road near Hebron. No casualties or damage were reported.
- October 29, 2020: Three Molotov cocktails were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle west of Nablus. One landed on the road. No casualties or damage were reported.
- October 29, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli bus northwest of Ariel. The bus driver’s arm was slightly injured by flying glass. The bus was damaged.
- October 27, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle west of Ramallah. No casualties were reported. The vehicle was damaged.
- October 27, 2020: Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle northeast of Ramallah. No casualties were reported. The vehicle was damaged.
Significant terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria since January 2019
Destruction of terrorist’s house
- On the night of November 1, 2020, the Israeli security forces demolished the house of Palestinian terrorist Khalil Dweikat in the village of Rujeib (east of Nablus) after the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the family’s appeal. On August 28, 2020, Khalil Dweikat stabbed an Israeli civilian to death at a main junction in the center of the country. During the destruction of the house riots broke out (IDF spokesman’s website, November 2, 2020).
- Several hours after the house had been demolished a Fatah delegation came to visit the family. The delegation was headed by Mahmoud al-‘Alul, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee and in charge of Fatah’s bureau of mobilization and organization in Judea and Samaria. He told the family that Mahmoud Abbas ordered that the house be rebuilt, claiming that any house demolished would be rebuilt (Sawa, November 2, 2020).
Distribution of aid to needy families
- According to Palestinian sources, on October 29, 2020, money from Qatar was brought into the Gaza Strip through the Erez Crossing after Israel authorized its entrance (Dunia al-Watan, October 29, 2020). Mohammed al-Emadi, chairman of Qatar’s National Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, said the distribution of funds to needy families would begin on November 4, 2020, at branches of the post office bank. He said 100,000 families would each receive $100 (website of Qatar’s National Committee, October 31, 2020).
- The ministry of welfare in Gaza announced the distribution of 23,300 food packages to needy families as part of a project funded by the World Food Program (Dunia al-Watan, November 2, 2020).
Opening the Rafah Crossing
- The ministry of the interior in Gaza announced the Rafah Crossing would open in both directions between November 2 and 5, 2020 (ministry of the interior in Gaza website, November 1, 2020). On November 2, 2020, 685 Palestinians left the Gaza Strip and 131 entered (ministry of the interior in Gaza website, November 3, 2020).
- Before the crossing opened the ministry of health in Gaza announced that from now on people entering will have to bring proof of having been given a PCR test to detect Covid-19 48 hours before their return. They will then be permitted to return directly to their homes, and will have to follow public health guidelines and take preventive measures. Palestinians returning without having taken a PRC test will be tested at the crossing, after which they will be allowed to go home to await the results (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, October 29, 2020).
Hamas delegation visits Egypt
- The Hamas delegation to Egypt ended its visit after a series of meetings with senior Egyptian government officials (Hamas website, October 28, 2020). “Egyptian sources” said the meetings had practical outcomes which residents of the Gaza Strip would begin to sense in the coming days. One was the opening of the Rafah Crossing, which will remain open almost permanently. Egypt also intends to send a medical aid delegation to Gaza. According to reports, Egypt stressed to Hamas the need to completely exclude Turkey from all matters regarding the Palestinian cause dealt with by Egypt (al-Araby al-Jadeed, October 29, 2020).
- Khalil al-Haya, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said the members of the delegation were satisfied with the meetings. He said the two months they had given Israel were about to end (apparently referring to two months of a lull). He added that Israel had to understand that Hamas would not agree to a continuation of the [so-called Israeli] siege of the Gaza Strip. He said one of Egypt’s main roles was to make Israel responsive to the needs of the Palestinian people (al-Aqsa, October 28, 2020).
- Relating to the same issue, the Hezbollah-affiliated al-Mayadeen TV channel in Lebanon reported that the two months given to Israel to act according to the lull understandings had ended without Israel’s having begun the “strategic infrastructure projects” it committed to. Senior Hamas figure Isma’il Radwan contacts were being made with Egypt, Qatar and the UN to force Israel to honor the understandings. He added that the Palestinian people had the right to use all means necessary to force Israel to respond to the understandings regarding the lifting of the “siege” of the Gaza Strip (al-Mayadeen, November 1, 2020). The daily newspaper al-Akhbar reported that Egypt had asked the Hamas delegation to abstain from escalation in the Palestinian arena until after the elections in the United States. Egypt also warned that Israel could confront Hamas with a series of targeted killings of its senior figures (al-Akhbar, November 2, 2020).
Interview with senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) figure
- Muhammad al-Hindi, head of the PIJ’s political bureau, called Israel a “terrorist state” whose objective was to control the region and force its surrender. He said there was no chance for negotiating with Israel for the two-state solution and that the Arab peace initiative had ended. He also said that the unity of the Palestinian position had to be translated into genuine unity and a joint stance against Israel. He added that the “popular resistance” [i.e., popular terrorism] against Israel was an issue that all the Palestinian organizations agreed on, and claimed that they all agreed to begin with popular resistance and gradually move into a comprehensive confrontation with Israel (Filastin al-Yawm, October 31, 2020)
The internal Palestinian reconciliation
- The internal Palestinian reconciliation still faces difficulties and obstacles. A Palestinian source reported differences of opinion between Fatah and Hamas, because, among other reasons, of the issue of setting a date for Palestinian elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council and “presidency.” Hamas also demands the PA lift the sanctions it imposed on the Gaza Strip and pay the salaries of its representatives in the PLC. It was also reported that while in Egypt the Hamas delegation did not contact the Fatah representatives, and that the talks were postponed until after the elections in the United States.
- Sabri Sidam, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, said they were waiting for final answers from Hamas to a number of issues. Mahmoud al-Zahar, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said there is no real reconciliation, and everything is a political game. He said Fatah-Hamas relations were hostile and could not be rehabilitated by meetings in various world capitals and by speeches given by the organizations’ leaders (al-Alam, October 27, 2020).
The economic situation in the PA
Paying salaries and the issue of the tax revenues
- Amjad Ghanem, secretary of the Palestinian government, said that the government is making efforts to solve the problem of the tax revenues Israel owes the Palestinians and that a solution is not far off. He said he hoped the PA would accept the funds during the coming month and would then be able to pay the full salaries of government employees (Filastin al-Yawm, November 1, 2020).
- A short time later Amjad Ghanem denied statements attributed to him, claiming that all reports about finding a solution for the transfer of the tax revenues from Israel in the near future were incorrect. He said the reasons the Palestinians refused to accept the money were still valid. He added that the money belonged to the Palestinians and therefore they had the right to receive it without “Israeli blackmail” (Wafa, November 1, 2020).
- Abd al-Rahman Bayatna, spokesman for the Palestinian ministry of the treasury, said that in order to pay the October salaries of government employees the PA took $444 million in loans from three banks (al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, October 27, 2020).
- The EU gave the PA €10 million to help pay the September pensions of civil service workers. Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, the EU representative in the PA territories, said the support given by the EU to the Palestinians over the years was intended to help the Palestinians establish a sovereign state, adding that the EU would continue its support (Wafa, November 1, 2020).
Enforcing the order regarding the payment of prisoners’ salaries
- Israel announced that the order Israel issued against the banks where security prisoners had accounts would go into effect after December 30, 2020, with no further delay. The order exposes the banks in the PA to sanctions and legal action as long as the accounts are active and used to pay the prisoners’ salaries. In response, Jordanian banks operating in the PA territories announced that if the order went into effect they would close the prisoners’ accounts.
- Recently, following the issuing of the order, the PA government authorized the establishment of a government banking institution that would serve as an alternative channel for transferring funds to prisoners and the families of shaheeds. The institution is a work in progress and will be called “the independent bank for development and investment;” the date of its opening has not yet been announced.
Internal Palestinian clashes in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus
- On October 31, 2020, Fatah Tanzim operatives clashed with the Palestinian security forces in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus. Dozens of Palestinians were wounded and Hathem Abu Riziq, a senior Tanzim operative and a supporter of Muhammad Dahlan was killed, apparently by an IED that exploded in his hands (Palinfo, Filastin al-Yawm, October 31, 2020). After the clash Palestinian security forces deployed on the refugee camp’s main street. The situation is currently stable but all the schools are still closed (Facebook page of Balata al-Hadath, November 3, 2020). In ITIC assessment the event was local and so far does not appear to challenge the PA’s governance in Judea and Samaria.
- The popular services committee in the Balata refugee camp sent an urgent call to Mahmoud Abbas, asking him to stop the exchanges of fire in the refugee camp in order to keep innocent people from being killed (Facebook page of the media center in the Balata refugee camp, October 31, 2020).
Fatah operative Hathem Abu Riziq, affiliated with the Muhammad Dahlan camp in the Balata refugee camp (Facebook page of Balata al-Hadath, November 2 and 3, 2020).
Right: Palestinian security forces deploy on the main street of the Balata refugee camp (Facebook page of Balata al-Hadath, November 3, 2020). Left: Palestinian security forces in the Balata refugee camp (Facebook page of Balata al-Hadath, November 2, 2020).
Palestinian responses to the removal of limitations on Israel-United States cooperation agreements in Judea and Samaria
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and David Friedman, the American ambassador to Israel, signed an agreement for scientific cooperation between Israel and the United States. The agreement will make it possible, for the first time, to transfer funds for research and development to universities and other facilities in Judea and Samaria, thereby lifting the American academic boycott of Judea and Samaria (Globes, an Israeli business newspaper, October 28, 2020). In Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip the agreement was criticized. At the weekly government meeting PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh condemned the agreement (Wafa, November 2, 2020). Fatah’s department of communications and culture said the agreement violated international law, and called on the international community to condemn the agreement and refuse to honor it (Wafa, October 28, 2020).
Palestinian responses to Israel intention to increase supervision and enforcement in Area C
- The Israeli media reported that the Israeli prime minister’s office was working to set up a system of inspectors, similar to enforcement agencies in the Civil Administration, that will document and gather information about illegal Palestinian construction in Area C. The project will be funded by money transferred from the national budget to the ministry of rural development for “the struggle for Area C.” The role of the inspectors will be to create “intelligence files” for every region, document the building violations therein and transmit the information to the relevant offices in the Civil Administration. The operative arm of the system of inspectors will work through the ministry of rural development (Ynet, October 30, 2018).
- In response to the report, Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, said that establishing such a body was part of Israel’s annexation plan. He called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to accelerate implementing the practical steps involve in bringing Israel to trial, stressing that the only measure that would stop the “crimes of settlement” was trying the leaders of the Israeli “occupation” in the ICC as [alleged] war criminals. He added that the practical response to Israel’s [alleged] “racist, fascist” decisions was escalating the “popular resistance” [i.e., popular terrorism], establishing popular committees to defend the Palestinians’ security and property and strengthening the firm stance of local residents (Wafa, November 1, 2020).
Responses to statements made by the president of France
- In the PA and Gaza Strip French President Emmanuel Macron was strongly criticized for his statements against Islamic terrorism and Islamist separatism. In response the High Islamic Authority in Jerusalem declared October 30, 2020 (the day when the birthday of the prophet Muhammad is marked) a day of rage. Thousands of Muslims demonstrated at al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem when, during the Friday sermon Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, al-Aqsa’s sermonizer, condemned Macron’s remarks. He said the president of France had declared his hostility to all the Muslims all over the globe. Hamas called on all Palestinians everywhere to participate in an international boycott of French merchandise (Hamas website, October 20, 2020).
- Anti-France demonstrations and rallies were held throughout Judea and Samaria. Demonstrations were held in the Gaza Strip, including one in front of the French Cultural Center in Gaza City (al-Aqsa, October 28, 2020). Marchers chanted anti-Macron slogans, burned pictures of him and called for a boycott of French merchandise.
- During a rally in Khan Yunis, senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Raqab said the Palestinians would not allow Macron to cross red lines. He called on the Arab and Muslim states to boycott French merchandise and to recall their ambassadors. Fathi Hamad, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, warned Macron and called on the Arab and Islamic states to boycott French merchandise.
Protests and demonstrations on the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration
- In Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip Palestinians marked the 103rd anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, calling on Britain, as they do every year, to correct its “historic mistake.” Protest demonstrations and rallies were held to mark the day but were not widely attended. PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh called on Britain to recognize an independent Palestinian state with borders determined by international decision (Wafa, not 2, 2020). Senior Fatah figures made similar statements, stressing that Britain had to apologize to the Palestinian people and bear the responsibility for the suffering caused by the Declaration.
Right: Protest rally in Ramallah. Masks, no social distancing (Wafa, November 2, 2020). Left: Cartoon appearing in the Palestinian daily newspaper al-Quds (al-Quds, November 3, 2020).
- Hamas said in a statement that the Balfour Declaration was a “false declaration” that robbed the Palestinian people of their rights, and called Britain responsible. Hamas also stated that the “resistance” [i.e., terrorism], in all its forms, both the popular and the armed resistance, would remain a legitimate choice. Hamas claimed the “resistance” had proved itself as the correct course and Hamas would not reject it (Hamas website, November 2, 2020).
Right: Event held by the popular committee for refugee affairs in the Jabalia refugee camp to mark the 193rd anniversary of the Balfour Declaration (committee Facebook page, November 2, 2020). Left: The Arab rulers who signed normalization agreements with Israel represented as the reincarnation of Lord Balfour (Palinfo Twitter account, November 2, 2020).
 A rival of Mahmoud Abbas for Fatah leadership. ↑
 All information and reports are from Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria unless otherwise noted. ↑
 A significant attack is defined by the ITIC as involving shooting, a vehicular attack, the use of IEDs, or a combination of the above. Stones and Molotov cocktails thrown by Palestinians are not included. ↑
 For further information, see the October 31, 2019 bulletin, "The Palestinian Authority employs a policy of rebuilding the houses of terrorists demolished by Israel: the case of Islam Abu Hamid." ↑
 For further information, see the October 1, 2020 bulletin, "The Palestinian Authority continues preparations for founding a bank which will enable it to transfer funds to terrorist prisoners and the families of shaheeds." ↑