The Palestinian Authority and Hamas Blame Israel for the Spread of Coronavirus (Updated to March 26, 2020)

Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas have been particularly worried about the spread of the virus from Israel (despite the fact that the first cases of the coronavirus, and some later ones, came from people who arrived in the PA territories from abroad, not from Israel).

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (March 18 – 24, 2020)

Quiet continues along the Gaza Strip border due to Hamas' focusing its efforts and attention on dealing with coronavirus. In Judea and Samaria an IDF force killed a Palestinian from Ni'lin who was throwing rocks at Israeli vehicles. It was reported that rocks were found in his vehicle ready for throwing. The "routine" throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles, including buses, on the roads in Judea and Samaria continues.

The Palestinians and the Spread of Coronavirus

Another Palestinian was found to have coronavirus, a woman who returned from the United States. The number of Palestinians coronavirus patients has risen to 60, 58 in Judea and Samaria and two in the Gaza Strip (no change). So far 17 Palestinians have been discharged from hospitals.

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 (PA) and Hamas policy on the entrance of Palestinian workers into Israel in the shadow of the coronavirus

According to the Facebook page of the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), every day about 73,000 workers enter Israel from Judea and Samaria. Most of them work in construction, with a minority in other sectors (health, agriculture, care-giving,

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (March 11 – 17, 2020)

This past week the Gaza Strip was quiet, with attention focused on dealing with the coronavirus. In Judea and Samaria an Israeli vehicle was the target of a shooting attack west of Ramallah (no casualties were reported). The Supreme National Authority for the Return Marches and the Struggle Against the Deal of the Century continues holding meetings in preparation for planned renewal of the return marches on March 30, 2020.

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.