Teams from the Palestinian ministry of health operating in Halhul (north of Hebron) after the town was locked down when eight COVID-19 cases were detected (Palestinian TV Facebook page, June 8, 2018).
Teams from the Palestinian ministry of health operating in Halhul (north of Hebron) after the town was locked down when eight COVID-19 cases were detected (Palestinian TV Facebook page, June 8, 2018).
The damage done to the front windshield of the vehicle by the knife (Jordan Valley security, June 9, 2020).
Ziyad al-Nakhalah stands next to Ramadan Shalah's body in the al-Akram mosque in Damascus (Shehab Twitter account, June 7, 2020).
(Jerusalem Brigades website, June 7, 2020).
(Jerusalem Brigades website, June 7, 2020).
Memorial prayer for Ramadan Shalah in the al-Om'ari mosque. Nafez Azzam, a member of the PIJ's political bureau, delivers a speech. In the audience are members of the PIJ's political bureau, as well as Rawhi Mushtaha and Khalil al-Haya, members of Hamas' political bureau, and senior figures from other Palestinian organizations (Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, June 7, 2020).
The rally in Gaza (QAWEIM website of the Resistance Committees, June 7, 2020).
Muhammad Shtayyeh meets in his office in Ramallah with the Norwegian envoy to the peace process (Wafa, June 5, 2020).
Protest against Israel's annexation intentions (Wafa, June 8, 2020). On the sign at the left is a cartoon from al-Hayat al-Jadeeda equating the actions of IDF soldiers in the Palestinian territories with the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota.
- The Gaza Strip remains relatively quiet. In Judea and Samaria a stabbing attack was prevented at the Hashmonaim Crossing (near Modi’in). Throughout Judea and Samaria stones and Molotov cocktails were thrown at civilian Israeli vehicles on the roads. The Israeli security forces detained the Palestinian who threw a rock from the roof of his house, killing an IDF fighter on the night of May 12, 2020.
- The Palestinian Authority (PA) continues its intensive activity to recruit support to prevent Israel from annexing territory in Judea and Samaria. Most of the activity is directed at European countries, the moderate Arab states (Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan) and various international institutions.
- In the meantime PA institutions are trying to find solutions for the problems that will be created by the PA decision to end security and civilian coordination with Israel. That includes dealing with the return to Israel of Israeli civilians who enter the PA territories by mistake; delivering medical aid to the Gaza Strip through the Red Cross; transmitting information through an intermediary regarding a terrorist operative already in Israeli territory without direct contact with the Israeli security services (New York Times interview with Hussein al-Sheikh, June 8, 2020); finding alternatives to the transfer of tax revenues to the PA from Israel and dealing with the economic difficulties resulting from stopping the transfers; examining ways to manage the PA territories and preserving public order and personal security. In ITIC assessment, the process of finding alternatives has only begun.
Judea and Samaria
- The number of active cases of COVID-19 in Judea and Samaria currently stands at 39 (as of June 9, 2020). Of them, 17 are in the Hebron district, 16 in the Qalqilya district, four in the Jenin district, one in the Jericho district and one in a village near Jerusalem. Since June 8, 2020, two additional active cases have been detected, one in the Jericho district and one in the town of Dharariya, south of Hebron. The total number of COVID-19 cases in Judea and Samaria since the outbreak of the disease is 404. In addition, a case was detected in the Shuafat refugee camp in east Jerusalem.
- Mahmoud Abbas ordered the state of emergency to be extended by 30 days (until the beginning of July). PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said the renewal of the state of emergency did not mean a lockdown, but rather that the PA would continue its precautionary measures in accordance with the edict issued by Mahmoud Abbas. He warned local residents that if they did not observe the instructions the virus could spread again, and if the situation worsened a lockdown would be reimposed. He said that when the PA declared a general lockdown it was to prevent the spread of the virus, even at the cost of economic damage. He praised the PA’s activity regarding the handling of the virus, saying the measures taken to prevent its spread had been effective. He said the PA was currently working to revive the economy and compensate the sectors that had been adversely affected (Palestinian TV, June 8, 2020).
- The number of cases in the Gaza Strip currently stands at 70. Of them 28 cases are active (as of June 9, 2020) and quarantined in the hospital at the Rafah Crossing; last week there were 42 active cases. Forty-one Gazans have recovered and of them 14 have been discharged to their homes and 27 are still in the quarantine center at the Rafah Crossing. Hamas’ handling of the pandemic continues to keep the virus under control and its rate of infection is trending downward.
- In the Gaza Strip more restrictions have been relaxed while preserving the enforcement of guidelines and preventive measures. In the meantime preparations are being made to receive more Gazan residents from Egypt through the Rafah Crossing, bringing all of them to quarantine centers immediately to prevent an internal spread of the virus.
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
Balloons launched into Israel carrying pictures of senior terrorist organization shaheeds
- The information and media center of the Movement of the Noble Ones (al-Nujaba) in Iran announced that after Israel (“the Zionist entity”) declared its intention to annex [PA] territories, operatives of the Movement of the Noble Ones legation in Palestine had launched balloons from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. Pictures of terrorist organization (“resistance”) leaders who had become shaheeds were attached to the balloons. They included Qassem Soleimani (commander of the Iranian Qods Force), Imad Mughnieh (Hezbollah), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandas (the Popular Mobilization in Iraq), Bahaa Abu al-Atta (the Palestinian Islamic Jihad) and Ahmed al-Jaabari (Hamas). According to the announcement, the balloons were sent as a warning to Israel and to stress that the path of the “resistance” shaheeds would continue until the “liberation of Jerusalem” (website of the information and media center of the Movement of the Noble Ones in Iran, June 6, 2020).
- The Movement of the Noble Ones is an Iraqi Shi’ite militia operated by the Iranian Qods Force, established in 2013 by Sheikh Akram al-Ka’abi. Recently (May 4, 2020) it became known that the Movement had a presence in the Gaza Strip. In ITIC assessment, the balloons were launched as propaganda to aggrandize the “resistance axis” and the support it receives from Iran.
Balloons carrying pictures of shaheeds from the various terrorist organizations. The inscription on the pictures reads, “The information bureau of the Movement of the Noble Ones in Palestine” (website of the information and media center of the Movement of the Noble Ones in Iran, June 6, 2020).
Detention of young Gazans who tried to enter Israeli territory
- Hamas’ security forces detained four young Gazans near the Kissufim military post who tried to infiltrate into Israeli territory. Reportedly, the four were taken for interrogation (Amad, June 3, 2020).
Attempted stabbing attack
- On June 3, 2020, a Palestinian holding a knife arrived at the Hashmonaim Crossing (near Modi’in). Approaching the guards, he threw the knife at them. The guards ordered him to halt and subdued him. No casualties were reported (Israeli media, June 3, 2020).
Stones and Molotov cocktails thrown at Israeli vehicles
- In Judea and Samaria Palestinians continued throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at civilian Israeli vehicles. The more notable events were the following:
- June 8, 2020 – A knife was thrown at a vehicle carrying children in the Jordan Valley north of Jericho. No casualties were reported; the front windshield of the vehicle was damaged (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, June 8, 2020).
- June 8, 2020 – Stones were thrown at an Israeli vehicle south of Bethlehem. . No casualties were reported; the front windshield of the vehicle was damaged (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, June 9, 2020).
- June 7, 2020 – Molotov cocktails were thrown northeast of Ramallah, causing a fire (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, June 7, 2020).
- June 4, 2020 – Molotov cocktails were thrown at an Israeli vehicle near Ariel. Stones were thrown near Nablus. No casualties were reported (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, June 4, 2020).
- June 4, 2020 – During an Israeli security force activity northwest of Hebron two Palestinians were detained on suspicion of possessing pipe bombs (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, June 4, 2020).
- June 4, 2020 – Stones were thrown at an Israeli bus north of Hebron. No casualties were reported (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, June 4, 2020).
- June 3, 2020 – Stones were thrown at an Israeli vehicle on the Modi’in-Jerusalem road. No casualties were reported; the vehicle was damaged (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, June 3, 2020).
- June 3, 2020 – Stones were thrown at an Israeli vehicle on the Gush Etzion-Hebron road (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, June 3, 2020).
- June 3, 2020 – Three tires were set on fire on the road northeast of Ramallah (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, June 3, 2020).
Significant terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria since January 2019
Capture of Palestinian who threw a stone that killed an IDF soldier
- The Israeli security forces detained a Palestinian suspected of throwing a rock from the roof of his house on the night of May 12, 2020, causing the death of an IDF fighter (Israel Security Agency, June 7, 2020). According to the IDF spokesman, the suspect was detained by the Israeli security forces immediately after the incident (IDF spokesman, June 7, 2020). The Palestinian media reported the detainee was Nazmi Abu Bakr, 49, from Ya’bed, married and father of eight, who supported himself and his family by raising chickens (al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, June 7, 2020).
Nazmi Abu Bakr
(Israel Security Agency, June 7, 2020).
The Jordanian authorities detained a squad planning terrorist attacks in Israel
- A “Jordanian judicial source” revealed that five Jordanians are currently being tried in Jordan for planning terrorist attacks against Israeli targets in Judea and Samaria, including suicide bombings. They also planned attacks on buses, trains and other targets using IEDs and explosive belts. The Jordanian intelligence services exposed the plot in February 2020 and the conspirators are current being tried in the Jordanian State Security Court. According to the indictment, one suspect visited the Gaza Strip during 2007, where he learned how to manufacture explosive belts and IEDs. In 2010 he returned to Jordan and in 2017 recruited the four detainees with whom he planned the attacks (al-Arabiya, June 3, 2020).
Isma’il Haniyeh does not plan to return to Gaza
- Hamas sources reported that Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, is planning to remain outside the Gaza Strip at least until the Hamas elections, which are supposed to be held in April 2021. According to the sources, he will seek reelection as head of Hamas’ political bureau, which will keep him outside the Gaza Strip for another term. The sources said he was currently in Doha and in contact with the Hamas leadership both inside and outside the Gaza Strip. With the renewal of air travel, Haniyeh plans to visit South Africa, Lebanon and possibly other countries (al-Quds, June 6, 2020).
Ramadan Shalah, former Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader, dies
- The PIJ made efforts to bring Ramadan Shalah’s body to the Gaza Strip for burial. Reportedly, the organization asked Egypt to allow them to bring his body to Gaza, and both Mahmoud Abbas and Isma’il Haniyeh spoke with Egyptian authorities about obtaining permission. After it became apparent that their efforts were in vain, the PIJ said in a statement that the family had requested he be buried in the al-Shuhadaa [“martyrs”] cemetery in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, next to PIJ founder Fathi Shqaqi (al-Akhbar, June 8, 2020).
Right: Ziyad al-Nakhalah stands next to Ramadan Shalah’s body in the al-Akram mosque in Damascus (Shehab Twitter account, June 7, 2020). Left: Floral arrangement sent by Mahmoud Abbas (PBCnewschannel Facebook page, June 8, 2020).
- The Jerusalem Brigades, the PIJ’s military wing, held a display of hundreds of armed terrorist operatives to commemorate Ramadan Shalah. The operatives gathered at the al-Saraya Square in the center of Gaza City and from there marched to a mourning tent in the al-Katiba Square in the western part of the city (Jerusalem Brigades website, June 7, 2020.
Various expressions of condolence
- Mahmoud Abbas issued a statement saying that “with the death of Shalah we lost a superior patriotic personality” (Wafa, June 6, 2020). The PLO’s Executive Committee issued a notice of condolence saying that the loss, especially at this time, should push the Palestinians towards determination and a strong stance in the leadership of the PLO, the Palestinians’ only legitimate representative.
- Senior Iranian figures, headed by Iranian leader Ali Khamenei, sent condolence telegrams. Esmail Ghaani, commander of the IRGC’s Qods Force, sent a condolence telegram to Ziyad al-Nakhalah, calling on the PIJ to continue the path of Ramadan Shalah until the final objective had been achieved, “the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem.” He stressed that like Qassem Soleimani, he would continue to stand beside all forces waging jihad, and would take steps to strengthen the [so-called] “resistance axis” (IRNA in Arabic, June 8, 2020). Hezbollah also issued a mourning notice, saying that “with the death of Shalah we lost a superior personality from the peak of the resistance in the modern era…” (PIJ website, June 7, 2020).
- A mourning tent was open in Gaza City for three days. Yahya al-Sinwar, head of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, paid a visit to the tent (al-Aqsa, June 8, 2020). Mourning tents were also erected in Judea and Samaria, including in Jenin (at the Mosque of the Shaheed in the Jenin refugee camp), Tulkarm, Hebron and other locations (Filastin al-Yawm, June 8, 2020).
Right: Memorial prayer for Ramadan Shalah in the al-Om’ari mosque. Nafez Azzam, a member of the PIJ’s political bureau, delivers a speech. In the audience are members of the PIJ’s political bureau, as well as Rawhi Mushtaha and Khalil al-Haya, members of Hamas’ political bureau, and senior figures from other Palestinian organizations (Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, June 7, 2020). Left: A mock funeral for Ramadan Shalah held in Gaza by operatives of the PIJ’s military wing (Jerusalem Brigades website, June 7, 2020).
Memorial rally in Gaza for the founder of the Resistance Committees
- The Resistance Committees held a rally to mark the 14th anniversary of the targeted killing of organization founder Jamal Abu Samhadana and to express opposition to Israel’s intentions to annex parts of Judea and Samaria. The rally was held in the Square of the Unknown Soldier in Gaza City with the participation of senior Palestinian terrorist organization figures (QAWEIM website of the Resistance Committees, June 7, 2020). In pictures of the rally operatives of the Ahfad al-Nasser network can be seen launching balloons with pictures of organization leaders who were killed.
Naksa Day events
- Naksa Day was marked in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip (June 5, commemorating the Arab defeat in the Six Day War) with demonstrations, rallies and popular marches. The events were exploited primarily to protest Israel’s intention to annex parts of Judea and Samaria, and were relatively quiet. The Fatah movement said in a statement that the Palestinian people, which had been fighting the “settlement project,” for more than a century, would never allow Israel’s annexation plan [to succeed]. The Palestinian people, according to the statement, would continue the “struggle” and the “resistance” until the [so-called Israeli] occupation had been driven out (Wafa, June 4, 2020).
- Senior PA figures marked Naksa Day with a call for Israel to abandon its annexation plan. Saeb Erekat, secretary of the PLO’s Executive Committee, said the history of the long “imperialist occupation” of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem had to motivate the international community to translate opposition to the annexation plans into practical measures. He said that the escalation of the “popular resistance” [i.e., popular terrorism] and the continuing “national struggle” were the way to achieve an independent Palestinian state (Wafa, June 5, 2020). Riyad al-Maliki, Palestinian foreign minister, issued a statement calling on the international community to take responsibility and keep Israel from carrying out its annexation plans (Wafa, June 5, 2020).
Right: The march in Hebron (Facebook page of Hebron’s deputy mayor, June 5, 2020). Left: Rally in Gaza (al-Araby al-Jadeed, June 4, 2020).
- Hamas said in an statement that strengthening the “resistance” [i.e., terrorism] was the only way to cancel the consequences of the naksa (Sawa, June 5, 2020). Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, said that the current Naksa Day was being marked under the shadow of the strategic threat of Israel’s annexation of West Bank territory. He said the Palestinians had to formulate a “struggle strategy” that would include an announcement of the end of the Oslo Accords and a translation of the PA’s announcement renouncing the agreements into action on the ground, as well as making it possible for an armed “resistance” to operate in the West Bank (al-Jazeera, June 4, 2020).
Ongoing PA campaign against Israel’s annexation intentions
- In the international arena the PA continued its diplomatic activity to undermine Israel’s annexation plans. Senior Palestinian figures held meetings with heads of states and international organizations. In a speech to a meeting of donor states, PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh called on the PA’s international partners to take a united stand and support resistance to the annexation by exerting international economic pressure on Israel (Wafa, Sawa, June 2, 2020).
- The following are some of the meetings and consultations held by senior PA figures:
- PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh met with James Cleverly, the British Minister of State for the Middle East. He said Britain had to do everything it could to translate [into action] its position against the annexation to serve as an example for other countries (Muhammad Shtayyeh’s Facebook page, June 4, 2020). He also met in his office in Ramallah with the Norwegian envoy to the peace process.
- Saeb Erekat, secretary of the PLO’s Executive Committee, reported he had consulted with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, and appreciated their position on the Palestinian cause (Saeb Erekat’s Twitter account, June 4, 2020). He also met with Nikolay Mladenov, the UN envoy to the Middle East, Sergey Vershinin, the Russian deputy foreign minister, and Susanna Terstal, EU envoy to the peace process (Saeb Erekat’s Twitter account, June 5, 2020).
- Riyad Mansour, PA representative to the UN, sent communiqués to the UN Secretary General and the presidents of the UN Security Council and General Assembly, warning that eliminating the Palestinians’ rights would cause the situation to deteriorate (Wafa, June 4, 2020).
- Adnan al-Dameiri, spokesman for the PA’s security forces, said that the decision to end security coordination meant the full, final dissolution of all connection with Israel. He said there was now no connection with Israel and the mechanisms had blocked all possibility of creating a connection with Israel. He said that if an Israel citizen entered Palestinian territory they would transfer him to an international institution, such as the Red Cross, and would not return him directly to Israel, as had been the custom till now. He also said that since the decision to end security coordination he had blocked all telephone calls from his Israeli colleagues (al-Araby, June 5, 2020).
- On the other hand, Hussein al-Sheikh, chairman of civilian affairs in the PA, told the New York Times that the Palestinian security forces would continue fighting terrorism. He said that even without security coordination, the PA would detain Palestinians who planned to attack Israelis. He said that if they had information about a terrorist who was already inside Israel they would give the information to Israel through an intermediary. He said the annexation meant that relations with Israel could not be restored and that the PA would retreat more and more from responsibility, and that Israel would have to take full responsibility as an occupying power, as it had before the Oslo Accords (New York Times, June 8, 2020).
The tax revenues
- After having received tax revenues from Israel for the past two months, the PA decided to not accept the revenues collected by Israel for the month of May. According to Hussein al-Sheikh, chairman of the PA authority for civilian affairs, the refusal to accept the money is in accordance with the decision of the Palestinian leadership to renounce all agreements and understandings with the government of Israel (Hussein al-Sheikh’s Twitter account, June 3, 2020). He said Internet users had mixed reactions. Some praised the decision, some expressed worry over the payment of the salaries of PA employees, and some stressed that the funds belonged to the Palestinians, and did not understand the decision to refuse them, asking what the solutions was and what alternatives the PA proposed (Facebook page of Hussein al-Sheikh, June 3, 2020).
Post from the Facebook page of Hussein al-Sheikh stressing the decision not to accept tax revenues from Israel (Facebook page of Hussein al-Sheikh, June 3, 2020).
- Ibrahim Melhem, PA government spokesman, said the [PA] government refused [to surrender] to “Israeli blackmail” and the conditions the Palestinian government would have to meet to receive the tax revenues for May, one of which was the restoration of agreements with Israel (Wafa, June 3, 2020). Regarding the tax revenues, Muhammad Shtayyeh said that agreeing to receive the money in return for reversing the Palestinian decision would be “a betrayal of the Palestinian public’s principles” (Palestinian TV, June 8, 2020).
- Given the refusal to accept the tax revenues, which make up a substantial part of the PA’s budget, sources in the PA government reported it had decided an austerity program to save money on the salaries of officials and make no new appointments or promotions; the program will be in force until further notice. At this time the ministry of the treasury does not have a date for paying officials their May 2020 salaries, and the government may be forced to take a loan to pay them. The PA is examining ways of transferring funds to the ministry of the treasury, possibly through the World Bank. The ministry said it might take a short time until they are released from Israel’s control of the Palestinian economy (al-Akhbar, June 5, 2020).
Examining ways to organize for the morning after
- Senior PA figures are examining ways to organize for the morning after the end of agreements with Israel. According to Nabil Sha’ath, advisor to Mahmoud Abbas, the decision to renounce all agreements with Israel necessitates a detailed working plan for the coming era, especially regarding everything related to ending security and civilian coordination. He said they needed a new economic program to develop and be able to rely on the Palestinian economy, and not have to rely on the Israeli economy (Dunia al-Watan, June 4, 2020).
- Azzam al-Ahmed, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, said that a committee had been appointed of representatives of the government, the PLO, Fatah and the security forces, to find a way to administer the territories after the agreements had been repealed (Palestinian TV, June 2, 2020). On another occasion he said that following the end of security and civilian coordination with Israel, the Palestinian government had held discussions with the Red Cross about to provide for the needs of the Palestinians and send medical aid to the Gaza Strip (Dunia al-Watan, June 4, 2020).
- In light of the end of security coordination with Israel and the exit of Palestinian security force operatives from Area B, there are now reports of Palestinian intentions to establish local committees to preserve public order and the personal security of local residents. Ghassan Daghlas, in charge of “resistance” to the settlements in the northern West Bank, said that they were planning to reestablish the guard committees, based on the local emergency committees established for the fight against the coronavirus (Voice of Palestine, June 2, 2020).
Protests, so far without massive response
- In the meantime, protests continue against Israel’s annexation intentions, although without massive response from the Palestinian public. A few hundred Palestinians, among them Mahmoud al-‘Alul, deputy Fatah chairman, participated in a march held in Ramallah to protest Israel’s annexation plan. According to Salah al-Khawaja, coordinator of “the popular committees for resistance and the struggle against the fence and settlements,” the protests will continue until July 1, 2020, the date Israel declared it would annex the territories (Dunia al-Watan, June 8, 2020).
Protest against Israel’s annexation intentions (Wafa, June 8, 2020). On the sign at the left is a cartoon from al-Hayat al-Jadeeda equating the actions of IDF soldiers in the Palestinian territories with the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota.
- Ali al-Qadi, president of “the general union of the Palestinian dispersal,” said preparations for marches to protest the annexation will begin on June 20, 2020 in a number of European countries. He said letters had been sent regarding the marches to the EU foreign ministers (Sawa, June 8, 2020).
 For further information, see the June 8, 2020, bulletin "The fight against COVID-19 in the Palestinian Authority (PA) (Updated to June 8, 2020)." ↑
 For further information see the June 7, 2020, bulletin "The fight against COVID-19 in the Gaza Strip (Updated to June 7, 2020)." ↑
 Deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization, a pro-Iranian Shi'ite militia in Iraq. He was killed along with Qassem Soleimani. ↑
 For further information, see the May 21, 2020 bulletin, " The Nujaba Movement, an Iraqi Shiite militia handled by Iran, also operates in the Gaza Strip." ↑
 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. ↑
 Akram al-Rajoub, governor of the Jenin district, denied reports in the Israeli media that the PA security forces had prevented an attack against the IDF planned to be carried out in the Jenin district. He emphasized that they were fully committed to the Palestinian decision to end the agreements signed with Israel (Sawa, June 7, 2020). ↑