The Fight Against COVID-19 in the Gaza Strip (Updated to May 31, 2020)

This past week six new cases of COVID-19 were detected in the Gaza Strip, bringing the total number to 61, of which 42 are active. All the cases entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Crossing. In ITIC assessment Hamas's fight against the coronavirus is under control. According to a website based in London, the number of cases and deaths in the Gaza Strip is far larger that what has been reported. So far the information has not been verified.

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

In Judea and Samaria the scope of popular terrorism attacks and attempted attacks continues trending upward. 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." 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.

The Fight Against COVID-19 in the Palestinian Authority (PA) (Updated to May 25, 2020)

Over the past several days there has been no change in the number of coronavirus cases in Judea and Samaria. For Eid al-Fitr the PA announced a series of preventive measures and a general lockdown during the two-day holiday. Before Eid al-Fitr about 30,000 Palestinians working in Israel returned to the PA territories. Thus, the fight against COVID-19 has so far been successful, allowing the PA to turn most of its attention to its political, legal and media campaign against what it considers Israel's intention to annex parts of Judea and Samaria.

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.

The Fight Against COVID-19 in the Gaza Strip (Updated to May 24, 2020)

This past week 35 new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in the Gaza Strip, all of them Gazans returning through the Rafah Crossing. The total number of COVID-19 cases in the Gaza Strip now stands at 55, 39 of them active. This past week the first COVID-19 death was recorded in Gaza, a woman in her 70s.

The Nujaba Movement, an Iraqi Shiite militia handled by Iran, also operates in the Gaza Strip

The Nujaba Movement is an Iraqi Shiite militia handled by the Iranian Qods Force. It was established in 2013 by Sheikh Akram al-Ka’abi, who has had a close connection with Iran since the time he was fighting against the American forces in Iraq.

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.