News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (July 29 – August 4, 2020)

This past week a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. It targeted the southern city of Sderot. In Judea and Samaria no significant popular terrorism attacks were carried out, but the daily throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles continued. At the weekly Palestinian government meeting PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh announced that the PA stood by the termination of its relations with Israel and its refusal to accept tax revenues. In Judea and Samaria the number of active COVID-19 cases stands at 5,993 (as of August 3, 2020), most of them in the Hebron district.

COVID-19 Infection in the East Jerusalem Neighborhoods: The exceptional case of Kafr ‘Aqab

Kafr 'Aqab is a large neighborhood northeast of Jerusalem on the Palestinian side of the Israeli security fence. The neighborhood belongs to the municipal territory of Jerusalem, and most of its inhabitants have the status of permanent residents of the State of Israel. About 40,000 of its inhabitants work in Israel in the Jerusalem neighborhoods on the Israeli side west of the security fence. Some work in the PA territories in the Ramallah region.

The Spread of COVID-19 in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip (Updated to August 3, 2020)

The rate of COVID-19 infection in the Palestinian Authority (PA) territories continues to stabilize, although it is too early to say the surge of the second wave has ended. This past week 1,824 new cases were detected, thus, according to the PA ministry of health, the total number of active cases stands at 6,812 (as of August 2, 2020). Of them 4,221 (62% of the total number) are in the Hebron district. Seven patients are in ICUs, two of them on ventilators. As of August 3, 2020, 87 Palestinians have died, up from 79 a week ago. The total number of cases of COVID-19 is now 12,210 (up from 10,386 a week ago).

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.

Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, reiterated Hamas’ position that military buildup and the campaign against Israel are its top priorities, even at the expense of the economic development and welfare of the local population

On July 27, 2020, Isma'il Haniyeh, head of Hamas' political bureau, was interviewed by the Qatari daily newspaper Lusail. He claimed that as part of the "deal of the century" Hamas had been offered $15 billion to construct a sea port and an airport, and for other economic projects. He added that the objective was to turn the Gaza Strip into a separate, thriving territory (a kind of Middle Eastern Singapore). However, he said, Hamas had rejected the offer.

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (July 22 – 28, 2020)

This past week the Gaza Strip remained relatively quiet. In Judea and Samaria a mosque was set on fire and Hebrew graffiti were written on the walls. Isma'il Haniyeh, head of Hamas' political bureau, said that as part of the "deal of the century" Hamas had been offered $15 billion for the construction of a sea port, and airport and other economic projects.

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.