The Islamic University of Gaza, A Hamas Stronghold, Has Been Supported by the EU for Years

The Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) is a radical Islamist academic institution which has been a Hamas stronghold since its founding. Generations of Hamas' military and political leadership grew out of the university, and Hamas holds political, ideological and military activities within its walls. The IUG has enjoyed EU support for many years, manifested by integrating the university into EU-funded projects and the exchanges of students and faculty, even though the EU regards Hamas as a terrorist organization. The EU support for the IUG is part of its support for Palestine, that is, the Palestinian Authority (PA).

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (September 9 – 15, 2020)

In the Gaza Strip Hamas is directing most of its attention and effort towards halting the rapid spread of Covid-19. The PA and Hamas criticized the Arab League for not condemning the UAE's normalization agreement with Israel, which left an opening for Bahrain (and other Arab states) to sign similar agreements. This past week al-Jazeera TV broadcast a program about the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades' [Hamas' military-terrorist wing's] military capabilities, in ITIC assessment at the request of Hamas.

The Spread of Covid-19 in Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria (Updated to September 14, 2020)

The sharp rise in the extent of Covid-19 infection continues. According to the ministry of health in Gaza, the real number of active cases is far higher because many people have not been tested. The Hamas administration continues the strict enforcement of preventive measures with an emphasis on the ban on gatherings, although with occasional exceptions. This past week 3,597 new Covid-19 cases were detected in Judea and Samaria. The number of active case has risen in all the Palestinian Authority (PA) districts. In east Jerusalem the slight decline in the number of new active cases continues, and the general trend is towards stability. The Palestinian terrorist organizations (especially Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad) expressed concern over the rise in the number of Palestinians in Israeli jails infected with Covid-19, and accused Israel of neglect (Palinfo, al-Mayadeen, September 8, 2020).

Initial Palestinian reactions to the “deal of the century” (Updated to February 2, 2020)

On January 28, 2020, Donald Trump, in the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, revealed his plan to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, called "Peace to Prosperity" (i.e., the "deal of the century"). The plan met with strong opposition and (as expected) led to a wave of Palestinian condemnations. The Palestinian Authority (PA) began making preparations for a diplomatic and media campaign to place obstacles in the path of the plan and to undermine its legitimacy.

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (November 26 – December 3, 2019)

On November 29, 2019, for the third consecutive week, the return march in the Gaza Strip was postponed. The Supreme Authority called on the Palestinians to participate in the return march events this coming Friday (December 6, 2019), whose theme will be "The march continues." Despite the postponement of the march events, several young Palestinian rioters gathered in the southern Gaza Strip and threw Molotov cocktails, IEDs and stones at IDF forces. A field hospital is currently being constructed by an American NGO in the northern Gaza Strip near the Erez Crossing. Its construction has been severely criticized, especially by Fatah.

Palestinian Authority reactions to sanctions imposed by US on senior ICC officials

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague is conducting an investigation into war crimes allegedly perpetrated by the American forces in Afghanistan. Due to this investigation, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that ICC General Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and Phakiso Mochochoko, the head of the ICC’s Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division, would be added to the US Department of the Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN).

Al-Aqsa Terrorism: The Role of Religious Motivation in Popular Terrorism

The Al-Aqsa in danger libel is deeply rooted in the days of the Grand Mufti Hajj Amin al-Husseini and dates back to the 1920s and 1930s. This libel has been intensified in recent decades and has been a highly effective religious trigger for motivating Popular Terrorism, and more often than not also for motivating organized terrorist attacks. The libel arouses strong feelings among the Muslim general public, both religious and nationalist, and it also creates a sense of unity among the Arabs of Israel and those of Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem.

Mahmoud Abbas’s address to the UN Security Council: Rhetoric versus reality

On February 11, 2020, Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas delivered an address before the UN Security Council as part of the PA’s diplomatic campaign against the Trump plan . Mahmoud Abbas’s address was softened and aimed mainly at Western ears: he avoided threatening to harm relations with Israel or dismantle the PA (threats that he and senior officials in the PA have made on several occasions).

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (July 31 – August 6, 2019)

On Friday, August 2, 2019, the return march in the Gaza Strip was held with about 6,000 participants (the average for the past weeks). Hamas security operatives were photographed removing young Palestinians from the region of the fence. On August 1, 2019, the day before the return march, a Palestinian crossed the security fence east of Khan Yunis. A committee met in the Palestinian Authority (PA) to implement Mahmoud Abbas's decision to stop acting in accordance with agreements signed with Israel.

The Palestinian Authority

The Palestinian Authority is a semi-autonomous entity which controls most of the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria. The Palestinian Authority was established in 1994 by virtue of agreements signed as part of the Oslo process between Israel and the PLO. Formally, the Palestinian Authority also controls the Gaza Strip, but in reality it lost control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007 when Hamas violently took control. Since Yasser Arafat’s death, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has headed the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinian Authority’s status under Yasser Arafat was severely damaged by the Palestinian terrorist campaign (the Al-Aqsa, or Second Intifada, 2000 until 2005). Israel asserted that it failed to function since it did not fight against terrorism and even played an active role in organizing and funding terrorist attacks against Israelis. Israel ended cooperation with it and most Palestinian Authority activities came to a standstill.

After the end of the Second Intifada, Arafat’s death and his succession by Abu Mazen, Israel changed its policy towards the Palestinian Authority and the relations between them improved. Today, the Palestinian Authority controls area A in Judea and Samaria and enjoys partial cooperation with Israel, mainly in terms of security and administration. In the territories under its control, the Palestinian Authority operates through its security services, in coordination with Israel, to maintain internal order and prevent terrorist attacks. At the same time, the Palestinian Authority supports “popular resistance” (popular terrorism), providing political and even practical backing to acts of violence taking place as part of this kind of terrorism.

Many countries around the world give the Palestinian Authority some sort of recognition as a political entity, although most of them do not recognize it as a sovereign state. Some of them formalized their diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority and promoted their representatives to the status of ambassadors. On November 29, 2012, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 67/19 by a large majority. The resolution granted the Palestinian Authority a status of an observer state, which is not a full member.