News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (May 20 – 26, 2020)

Palestinian security forces help disinfect the mosques in Jericho in preparation for their reopening (Fatah Facebook page, May 25, 2020).

Palestinian security forces help disinfect the mosques in Jericho in preparation for their reopening (Fatah Facebook page, May 25, 2020).

Hamas police prevent Palestinians from entering the port of Gaza and one of the public squares in Gaza City (Twitter account of the ministry of the interior in Gaza, May 24, 2020)

Hamas police prevent Palestinians from entering the port of Gaza and one of the public squares in Gaza City (Twitter account of the ministry of the interior in Gaza, May 24, 2020)

Crowds on the Khan Yunis beach (Facebook page of journalist Hasan Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, May 25, 2020).

Crowds on the Khan Yunis beach (Facebook page of journalist Hasan Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, May 25, 2020).

Visits to shaheeds' families (Paltoday, May 24, 2020).

Visits to shaheeds' families (Paltoday, May 24, 2020).

Demonstration held by operatives of the recruitment unit of the northern Gaza Strip brigade of the Jerusalem Brigades. They are treading on American and Israeli flags (Jerusalem Brigades website, May 23, 2020).

Demonstration held by operatives of the recruitment unit of the northern Gaza Strip brigade of the Jerusalem Brigades. They are treading on American and Israeli flags (Jerusalem Brigades website, May 23, 2020).

Meeting of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah (Wafa, May 19, 2020).

Meeting of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah (Wafa, May 19, 2020).

Meeting of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah (Wafa, May 19, 2020).

Meeting of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah (Wafa, May 19, 2020).

Saleh al-'Arouri interviewed by the Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese al-Mayadeen TV (al-Mayadeen's YouTube channel, May 21, 2020).

Saleh al-'Arouri interviewed by the Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese al-Mayadeen TV (al-Mayadeen's YouTube channel, May 21, 2020).

  • In Judea and Samaria the scope of popular terrorism attacks and attempted attacks continues trending upward. This past week a Palestinian attempted to stab a Border Police fighter near the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem. In the Gaza Strip there were reports of IED and incendiary balloons launched into Israeli territory, after three months without balloon attacks. However, the launches may not indicate a formal Hamas leadership decision to renew the attacks, but rather local initiatives of networks which in the past specialized in launching balloons.
  • In Global Jerusalem Day events, which were also marked in the Gaza Strip, the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leaderships praised Iran’s contribution to the [terrorist] organizations and their “armed resistance.” They said Iran provided them with weapons, guidance, and financial and technological support. Ziyad al-Nakhalah, PIJ leader, praised the contribution of [the late] Qassem Soleimani to the Palestinians’ military activities.
  • The main event in the political arena was Mahmoud Abbas’ announcement that in view of Israel’s intention to annex parts of Judea and Samaria, the Palestinian Authority (PA) considered itself released from all agreements and understandings with Israel and the United States, including security agreements. Following the announcement, PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh instructed the PA security forces to immediately terminate security coordination with Israel and the United States, and issued instructions to terminate civilian coordination as well, including medical treatment for patients from Gaza in PA hospitals.
  • At this stage it is unclear how the Palestinians will turn theory into practice. Terminating security coordination is liable to create a variety of problems and difficulties in the daily interaction between Israel and the Palestinians. For example, clashes between Palestinians and IDF forces, damage to the effective prevention of threats from Hamas (targeting both Israel and the PA), a blow to the civilian services provided to Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, a disruption of the passage of Palestinian workers to Israel, and problems for the return to Israel of civilians who mistakenly cross into PA territory. In ITIC assessment, all of the above are liable to undermine the relative stability Judea and Samaria have enjoyed until now and to create a new phase in Israeli-Palestinian relations.
  • In the meantime the PA has begun intense political activity with the international community: Mahmoud Abbas called for imposing sanctions on Israel to prevent it from annexing PA territories. He also said the PA was working to promote legal measures against Israel in international courts because of its [so-called alleged] “crimes” against the Palestinian people.”
Judea and Samaria[1]
  • On May 26, 2020, Mai al-Kayla, PA minister of health, said there had been no change in the number of COVID-19 cases in Judea and Samaria, and it stood at 368. The number of active cases has declined to 19. All the active cases are in the Hebron district with the exception of one case near Jerusalem. PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said that in view of the waning of the danger from COVID-19 and the decrease in the number of cases, the PA could now begin relaxing restrictions to enable a gradual return to normal life (Palestinian TV, May 25, 2020).
Renewal of prayers in the mosques on the morning of May 26, 2020.   Palestinian security forces help disinfect the mosques in Jericho in preparation for their reopening (Fatah Facebook page, May 25, 2020).
Right: Palestinian security forces help disinfect the mosques in Jericho in preparation for their reopening (Fatah Facebook page, May 25, 2020). Left: Renewal of prayers in the mosques on the morning of May 26, 2020.
The Gaza Strip[2]
  • The number of COVID-19 cases in Gaza currently stands at 58, 39 of them active cases. One death, of a 77-year-old woman, has been reported. During Eid al-Fitr no tests were conducted to detect the virus (al-Ra’i news agency, May 24, 2020; Dunia al-Watan, May 25, 2020). During Eid al-Fitr the Hamas police were deployed in public places to prevent gatherings (Paltoday channel website, May 23, 2020).
Hamas police prevent Palestinians from entering the port of Gaza and one of the public squares in Gaza City (Twitter account of the ministry of the interior in Gaza, May 24, 2020)    Hamas police prevent Palestinians from entering the port of Gaza and one of the public squares in Gaza City (Twitter account of the ministry of the interior in Gaza, May 24, 2020)
Hamas police prevent Palestinians from entering the port of Gaza and one of the public squares in Gaza City (Twitter account of the ministry of the interior in Gaza, May 24, 2020)
Crowds on the Khan Yunis beach (Facebook page of journalist Hasan Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, May 25, 2020).   Crowds on the Khan Yunis beach (Facebook page of journalist Hasan Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, May 25, 2020).
Crowds on the Khan Yunis beach (Facebook page of journalist Hasan Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, May 25, 2020).
Rocket and mortar shell fire into Israel
  • This past week no rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory. On May 22, 2020 it was reported that Hamas’ military wing fired six rockets towards the sea as part of developing its military capabilities in preparation for a future confrontation with Israel (Amad, May 22, 2020).
Monthly Distribution of Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire

Monthly Distribution of Rocket and Mortar Shell Fire

Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits

Annual Distribution of Rocket Hits

Launching IED and incendiary balloons
  • On May 25, 2020, a number of reports were issued about launching IED and incendiary balloons into Israeli territory, after a fairly long period of relative quiet. Reports included the launching of a cluster of incendiary balloons east of Khan Yunis and the launching of IED balloon clusters from the northern Gaza Strip (Facebook page of journalist Hassan Aslih, May 25, 2020; Twitter account of the Palestine al-Hadath news agency, May 25, 2020).
  • The Ahfad al-Nasser units, a Resistance Committees’ network, said its operatives had launched three clusters of IED and incendiary balloons from the northern Gaza Strip. The balloons were allegedly launched as a message to Israel (“the Zionist enemy”) to hurry up and deliver medical equipment to the Gaza Strip for the fight against COVID-19. Israel was given a 72-hour ultimatum for delivering to the Gaza Strip everything necessary to fight the disease, and if it did not, they threatened they would “turn the region near the Gaza Strip into a place it will be impossible to live in, and our fire will burn it all” (Facebook page of Abu Malek, who represents himself as the Ahfad al-Nasser spokesman, May 25, 2020).
  • A short time later another network issued a similar announcement: the Sons of al-Zawari in eastern Khan Yunis said they had launched clusters of IED and incendiary balloons from eastern Khan Yunis as a message to Israel (“the Zionist enemy”) to hurry up and deliver medical equipment to the Gaza Strip to fight COVID-19. The announcement gave Israel an ultimatum of 48 hours (Facebook page of the Sons of al-Zawari in eastern Khan Yunis, May 25, 2020).

In the middle of February 2020 Hamas decided to stop launching IED and incendiary balloons in return for a set of Egyptian-Israeli measures to ease the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. During the intervening three months no IED and incendiary balloons were launched. In ITIC assessment, so far Hamas has not made a formal decision made to renew the launchings, but rather there have been local initiatives taken by networks in the northern and southern Gaza Strip.

 

Attempted stabbing attacks
  • On May 25, 2020, two attempted stabbing attacks targeted Israeli security force fighters, one during a local clash between Palestinians and Israelis, and the other a deliberate attack:
    • Following friction between a number of Palestinians and a resident of the Israeli community of Amihai (north of Ramallah), IDF forces were summoned to separate the sides. When they arrived a Palestinian attempted to stab one of the soldiers using a sharp tool. The soldiers opened fire, and two wounded Palestinians fled from the site (IDF spokesman, May 25, 2020). The PA foreign ministry condemned what it referred to as “attacks by armed settlers against Palestinians and their property” while under the protection of Israeli forces (Wafa, May 25, 2020).
    • Near the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood in Jerusalem a Palestinian attempted a stabbing attack. The Palestinian approached a Border Police observation post near Armon Hanatziv carrying a box cutter and a can of tear gas, shouting “Allahu akbar.” The Border Police fighters shot and wounded him (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, May 25, 2020). According to reports, the Palestinian who attempted the attack was Awad Yunis Bashir from Jabel Mukaber (Facebook page of Wadi Qadoum al-A’an, May 25, 2020; Facebook page of almukaber.net, May 25, 2020).
The box cutter found in Palestinian's possession (Israel Police Force spokesman's unit, May 25, 2020).   The scene of the attempted attack (Israel Police Force Twitter account, May 25, 2020).
Right: The scene of the attempted attack (Israel Police Force Twitter account, May 25, 2020). Left: The box cutter found in Palestinian’s possession (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, May 25, 2020).
Stones and Molotov cocktails thrown at Israeli vehicles
  • In Judea and Samaria Palestinians continued throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles. The more prominent incidents were the following:
    • May 25, 2020 – Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli bus east of Hebron. No casualties were reported (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, May 25, 2020).
    • May 24, 2020 – Stones were thrown at civilian Israeli vehicles northeast of Bethlehem. No casualties were reported; a windshield was damaged (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, May 24, 2020).
    • May 24, 2020 – Stones were thrown in the Yitzhar region (southwest of Nablus). No casualties were reported (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, May 24, 2020).
    • May 22, 2020 – Stones were thrown at a civilian Israeli vehicle northwest of Ramallah (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, May 22 2020).
    • May 21, 2020 – Stones were thrown on the road east of Alfei Menashe. No casualties were reported (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, May 21, 2020).
    • May 21, 2020 – A woman driving in the Yitzhar region (southwest of Nablus) reported that her rear windshield was shattered, apparently by a stone (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, May 21, 2020).
    • May 20, 2020 – Molotov cocktails were thrown at civilian Israeli buses southwest of Hebron. No casualties were reported (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, May 20 2020).
    • May 20, 2020 – A bottle of paint was thrown at an Israeli school bus southeast of Bethlehem. No casualties were reported; the bus was damaged (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, May 20, 2020).
    • May 20, 2020 – Stones were thrown at a junction in Mt. Hebron. no casualties were reported (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, May 20, 2020).
    • May 19, 2020 – A bottle of pain was thrown at a civilian Israeli bus north of Hebron. No casualties were reported; the bus was damaged (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, May 19, 2020).

Bottle of paint thrown at the vehicle The (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, May 19, 2020).
Bottle of paint thrown at the vehicle The
(Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, May 19, 2020).

Significant terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria since January 2019[3]

Significant terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria since January 2019

Israel’s supreme court cancels the destruction of a terrorist’s house
  • The Israeli supreme court accepted the appeal of the family of Palestinian terrorist Muhammad Atawneh, the commander of the squad that murdered Dvir Shoreq in August 2019.[4] The family asked for the second floor of the house, where his wife and children live, not to be destroyed. The family claimed that since the wife and children live there it would not be seen as deterrence but rather as punishment for the family, who had not been involved in the attack. The judges also said that the period that had passed between the attack and the intention to destroy the house cast doubt on the effect of deterrence its destruction would have (Israeli media, May 25, 2020).
Global Jerusalem Day events

On May 22, 2020, the last Friday of the Muslim religious month of Ramadan, the Muslim world marked Global Jerusalem Day.[5] This year Jerusalem Day was overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. As opposed to previous years, no mass events were held and the day was marked primarily by speeches and interviews in the media and social networks. The main themes were Israel’s intention to annex parts of Judea and Samaria and objections to Trump’s “deal of the century.” As in every year, the issue of the struggle against Israel was stressed. Iran opened an Internet site in several languages for people who wanted to join virtual demonstrations (ISNA, May 22, 2020). Jerusalem Day was also marked in the Gaza Strip. Hamas organized an online campaign called “Jerusalem – the path of the shaheeds,” and scores of operatives went to the Palestine Stadium in Gaza City where senior Hamas figures gave speeches.

An activity organized by Hamas in the Palestine Stadium (Facebook page of photojournalist Anas al-Sharif, May 21, 2020).    A sign in Gaza City for Global Jerusalem Day (Paltoday, May 20, 2020).
Right: A sign in Gaza City for Global Jerusalem Day (Paltoday, May 20, 2020). Left: An activity organized by Hamas in the Palestine Stadium (Facebook page of photojournalist Anas al-Sharif, May 21, 2020).
  • Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, and Ziyad al-Nakhalah, PIJ leader, were among the speakers at a festive program where leaders of the “resistance axis” [i.e., the terrorist organizations] gave speeches for Jerusalem Day. Isma’il Haniyeh said the “resistance” was at the center of Palestinian strategy, with an emphasis on “armed resistance” [i.e., terrorism]. He praised everyone who took part in the “resistance” and especially Iran, which, he said, did not hesitate to give the “resistance” financial, military and technological support (al-Aqsa, May 20, 2020).
  •  PIJ leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah gave a speech in which he said a new battle was starting against the “deal of the century” and its ramifications. He said the “deal of the century” was the worst deal since the Balfour Declaration. He also said the Gaza Strip, with all its forces, was the center of the struggle against Israel (al-Mayadeen, May 21, 2020). For Jerusalem Day, operatives of the Jerusalem Brigades, the PIJ’s military wing, visited the families of the organization’s shaheeds. They also held a military display and went to the grave of Bahaa Abu al-Atta (Filastin al-Yawm, May 23, 2020).
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader boasts of ties with Iran
  • Ziyad al-Nakhalah, PIJ leader, said in an interview that the organization’s ties with the Iranian Qods Force had existed for a long time even before Qassem Soleimani was put in charge of it. He said that without a doubt, Soleimani had played a large role in supporting and strengthening the “resistance.” Soleimani followed the issues personally, he said, including [Palestinian terrorist] operatives who went for military training. He said Soleimani had personally overseen the delivery of weapons to the Gaza Strip and to that end customarily visited various countries. He added that Soleimani had turned the Palestinian “resistance” from military groups into a strong army with every weapon and every capability (Filastin al-Yawm, May 21, 2020).
  • During an interview with al-Nujaba TV[6] Ziyad al-Nakhalah praised the activities of Qassem Soleimani regarding the Palestinian cause. He claimed thousands of Palestinians had trained at bases supervised by Soleimani, including Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip who had gone for training and later returned. As proof, he added that six months ago the Egyptians had detained operatives [i.e., PIJ terrorist operatives] in Cairo and that al-Nakhalah himself had gone to Cairo in an attempt to release them. He claimed Soleimani had never set foot in “Palestine” but had monitored both training and the rocket development (al-Nujaba, May 21, 2020).
Hamas and PIJ praise Israel’s May 2000 withdrawal from Lebanon
  • On May 25, 2020, the “resistance and liberation” holiday was marked in Lebanon for the 20th anniversary of the IDF’s withdrawal from south Lebanon. There were motorcades of vehicles and motorcycles which drove to the Israeli border. Senior Hamas and PIJ figures said the Israeli withdrawal from every site would only be achieved by the “resistance:”
  • Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said the Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon, which was preceded by the withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip, was proof that the restoration of territories from Israel would only be achieved by a general “resistance.” He said the withdrawal from Lebanon came only after continual battles with the Lebanese people and the “resistance” in Lebanon (Filastin al-Yawm, May 25, 2020).
  • The PIJ said the “victory of the resistance” in Lebanon had been a serious turning point which deepened Israel’s existential crisis. The PIJ praised its brothers in Lebanon and stressed that the “resistance” was the choice of the Palestinian people for the restoration of its country and that there was no [worthwhile] path other than strengthening the “resistance” and developing its capabilities (Sawa, May 25, 2020).
Mahmoud Abbas announces the termination of agreements with Israel

On May 19, 2020, the Palestinian leadership held a meeting to deal with the annexation plan attributed to Israel. After the meeting Mahmoud Abbas gave a speech to announce the Palestinian response to the Israeli plan. He said that in light of the intention of the Israeli government to annex parts of the West Bank, as of now the PA considered itself released from all agreements and understandings with Israel and the United States, including security coordination.

  • Mahmoud Abbas added that the PA was still obliged to pay the prisoners and that it had been decided to complete the signing of requests to join international organizations which the PA had not yet joined. He called on the international community to impose sanctions on Israel to prevent it from imposing its sovereignty on the Palestinian territories. However, he added, the PA was still committed to the two-state solution and willing to accept third-party mediation. He also said that the PA was working to take legal steps against Israel in international institutions and courts for Israel’s [alleged] “crimes” against the Palestinian people (Wafa, May 19, 2020).

 The Arabic reads, "Honoring agreements [by] burying them..." According to a saying in the Muslim tradition, "The dead are honored by their burial" (Fatah Facebook page, May 22, 2020).
The Arabic reads, “Honoring agreements [by] burying them…” According to a saying in the Muslim tradition, “The dead are honored by their burial” (Fatah Facebook page, May 22, 2020).

  • Following the leadership’s decision, an emergency meeting was held by the PA government where PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh instructed all the government ministries to immediately take practical steps to implement the decision regarding Israel and the United States (Wafa, May 20, 2020). Shtayyeh later met with the heads of the security forces to discuss ways to implement Mahmoud Abbas’ decision regarding the termination of security coordination with Israel and the United States. He said the leadership’s decision had gone into effect and all the security forces, ministries and institutions had begun implementing it (Wafa, May 21, 2020).
  • Asked during an interview what influence terminating agreements with Israel would have on Gaza, Shtayyeh answered that from now on all Gazans needing medical care would be treated inside the Gaza Strip, including oncology patients who until now had been treated in hospitals in Jerusalem. Drugs will be sent to the Gaza Strip by the W.H.O. or the Red Cross or the UN. He said that in the coming days a program would be formulated for delivering goods to the Gaza Strip, noting that in any case commercial relations with Gaza were managed by the private sector, and merchandise would be sent even if taxes had to be paid (Palestinian TV, May 25, 2020).
Termination of security coordination with Israel
  • The decision that received far more attention was the termination of security coordination with Israel. PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh held a meeting with the commanders of the PA security forces where he told them about the complete termination of security coordination with Israel in all areas. He said if necessary they could appeal to the Red Cross and avoid contacts with Israeli officers. In the meantime it was decided to terminate the civilian coordination of the local councils in the various districts and the government ministries. Shtayyeh instructed all the government ministries to implement the decisions of the Palestinian leadership regarding relations with Israel and the American administration, as soon as possible (Ramallah News, May 22, 2020).
  • Adnan al-Damiri, spokesman for the PA security forces, said that since Mahmoud Abbas’ announcement no type of contact had been made with the Israeli side, not even regarding everyday issues (al-Araby al-Jadeed, May 22, 2020). Regarding the practical implementation of the decision, “a knowledgeable Palestinian source” reported that the Palestinian security forces had ended all channels of security coordination with Israel (al-Quds, May 21, 2020). A different Palestinian source reported that the civilian affairs authority had officially stopped all contacts with Israel as of May 21, 2020 (Sawa, May 22, 2020). Eyewitnesses reported that the Palestinian security forces had withdrawn from the villages in north and east Jerusalem which were in Area B according to the Oslo Accords (al-Andalou News, May 22, 2020).
  • Sayid Yaqin, a senior Fatah figure and deputy minister of Jerusalem affairs, confirmed that the Palestinian security forces in northwest Jerusalem, about 100 operatives, had withdrawn. Sami Abu Ghalia, a senior figure in Fatah’s Jerusalem branch, reported that 150 security force operatives had withdrawn from al-E’izariya and Abu Dis. He said their withdrawal was due to Mahmoud Abbas’ decision to terminate security coordination (al-Araby al-Jadeed, May 21, 2020).
  • The Bayt Iksa municipality announced it had received an announcement from the PA stating that in accordance with Mahmoud Abbas’ decision, as of now the municipality was forbidden to cooperate with the Israeli roadblock located at the entrance to the city. The municipality announced it was committed to the leadership’s decision and would not deal with [security] coordination as of the minute the announcement had been received (Facebook page of the Bayt Iksa municipality, May 22, 2020).
Diplomatic activity
  • Along with the announcement terminating the agreements with Israel, the Palestinians continued their extensive diplomatic activity to enlist international support.
  • On May 21, 2020, Mahmoud Abbas contacted a number of people, among them Antonito Guterres, the UN secretary general, and Turkish President Erdogan. He explained the reasons for his decision to terminate the agreements with Israel.
  • Muhammad Shtayyeh spoke with Nikolay Mladenov, the UN special envoy to the Middle East. They discussed the struggle against the Israeli threat to annex parts of the West Bank. They also related to the meeting the International Quartet is supposed to hold to discuss the matter (Wafa, May 21, 2020). Joined by Riyad al-Maliki, Palestinian foreign minister, he also spoke with EU representatives. Shtayyeh updated them about developments and the results of the leadership’s decision to stop acting in accordance with agreements signed with Israel. He called on the countries of the EU to lead an effort to form an international committee for the sake of Palestine and to prevent Israel from implementing its annexation plans (Wafa, May 21, 2020).
  •  Saeb Erekat, secretary of the PLO’s Executive Committee, held a video conference with the heads of the EU delegations to discuss the decisions Mahmoud Abbas made at the meeting of the Palestinian leadership. Erekat demanded they take concrete steps to prevent Israel from annexing the West Bank (Saeb Erekat’s Twitter account, May 22, 2020).

Saeb Erekat holds a video conference with the heads of the delegations (Saeb Erekat's Twitter account, May 22, 2020).
Saeb Erekat holds a video conference with the heads of the delegations
(Saeb Erekat’s Twitter account, May 22, 2020).

Hamas and PIJ reactions
  • Hamas and the PIJ welcomed the PA’s decision, but also wondered if this time Mahmoud Abbas would put the threat into practice:
  • Saleh al-‘Arouri, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, said Hamas welcomed the PA’s decision, but also said this was not the first time the PA had announced such a decision and not implemented it. He said he hoped that all the collaboration and coordination with Israel would end, and that all the Palestinians could march towards a united fate to “resist” Israel. He said he also hoped the “resistance” would escalate until the defeat of Israel (al-Mayadeen, May 22, 2020).
  • Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Mahmoud Abbas’ declaration made it necessary to quickly formulate a national Palestinian plan based on the path of “resistance,” unity and cooperation. He said a temporary leadership had to meet quickly to formulate a national strategy and national program (al-Ghad, May 20, 2020).
  • Musheir al-Masri, spokesman for the Hamas faction in the Legislative Council, said there was a need for a comprehensive strategy of the entire Arab nation that would support the “resistance” project, whose top priority was an armed struggle. He said that was because an armed struggle was the strategy that had best proved itself and was what would determine deterrence in a struggle with Israel.
  • Ziyad al-Nakhalah, PIJ leader, related to the issue in a speech he gave for Global Jerusalem Day. He called Mahmoud Abbas’ declaration “a gunshot into the air,” calling it useless, without influence and disappointing because it did not point in the direction of a campaign against Israel. He said the Palestinians’ problem was the lack of a common vision regarding the way to wage the struggle against Israel. He added that the reason for the [internal Palestinian] schism and lack of vision was that the PLO had chosen a peace plan and agreements with Israel (al-Mayadeen, May 22, 2020).

Infographic posted to Hamas' Safa website listing ten previous decisions made by Mahmoud Abbas about terminating security coordination. It wonders if this time the 11th decision will be implemented (Safa Twitter account, May 20, 2020).
Infographic posted to Hamas’ Safa website listing ten previous decisions made by Mahmoud Abbas about terminating security coordination. It wonders if this time the 11th decision will be implemented (Safa Twitter account, May 20, 2020).

[1] For further information see the May 25, 2020 bulletin, "The Fight Against COVID-19 in the Palestinian Authority (Updated to May 25, 2020)."
[2] For further information see the May 245, 2020 bulletin, "The Fight Against COVID-19 in Gaza Strip (Updated to May 24, 2020)."

[3] 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.

[4] Dvir Shoreq was stabbed to death on August 8, 2019, near Migdal Oz in Gush Etzion.

[5] Global Jerusalem Day events have been held on the last Friday of Ramadan every year since 1979, according to a decision of the Ayatollah Khomeini and the government of Iran. The objective of the events is to show the support of Iran and the Muslim world for the Palestinian cause, the so-called "liberation of Jerusalem," and traditionally, also give a stage to extreme anti-Israeli and anti-American incitement and propaganda. In recent years Jerusalem Day events have also been marked in Western countries as part of the delegitimization campaign being waged against Israel.

[6] Al-Nujaba, the Movement of the Noble Ones, is a Shi'ite militia in Iraq handled by Iran and with a presence in the Gaza Strip. For further information, see the bulletin see the May 21, 2020 bulletin, "The Nujaba Movement, an Iraqi Shiite militia handled by Iran, also operates in the Gaza Strip."