News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (March 23 – April 6, 2021)

Coronavirus: In the Gaza Strip the number of active cases spiked significantly this past week, and a lockdown is being considered. In Judea and Samaria there was a significant decrease in coronavirus infection, although hospital occupancy is still high. Terrorist attacks: On March 23, 2021 (election day in Israel) a medium-range rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip at Beersheba, the largest city in Israel's south. The PA: Election preparations continue. The slates of the contending factions for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) have been closed. PA budget, 2021: The PA announced it will continue paying prisoners and released prisoners, transferring the funds through post office bank branches in Judea and Samaria and through the department of prisoners and released prisoners' affairs in the Gaza Strip.

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (March 17 – 22, 2021)

Coronavirus: In Judea and Samaria the number of active cases continues to rise. The ministry of health in Ramallah also noted a rise in hospital occupancy and in serious and critical cases. The Palestinian Authority (PA) announced the lockdown would be extended to April 3, 2021. Vaccinating Palestinians has begun and social media users have criticized its lack of transparency. Terrorist attacks: The Gaza Strip has been relatively quiet. The Gaza Strip: Following an appeal from the families of the three fishermen who were killed off the Khan Yunis shore, Mahmoud Abbas declared them shaheeds (Wafa, March 17, 2021). That may mean they will be eligible for monthly payments from PA. The PA: Preparations for the elections continue.

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (March 10 – 16, 2021)

Coronavirus: In the Gaza Strip there was a moderate increase in the number of active cases. Vaccines donated by the UAE and with the personal involvement of Muhammad Dahlan arrived and Gazans are being vaccinated. In Judea and Samaria the number of active cases continues rising. Terrorist attacks: The Gaza Strip has been relatively quiet. In Judea and Samaria Palestinians continue throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israel vehicles and communities. The Gaza Strip: The ministry of the interior in Gaza announced that according to the results of the investigation into the explosion on the fishing boat off the Khan Yunis coast on March 7, 2021, which killed three fisherman, Israel was responsible for the deaths. Yahya al-Sinwar won a close race in Hamas' internal elections and will serve as head of Hamas' political bureau for four more years.

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.

Interviewed by Palestinian TV, Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki revealed the Palestinians’ relations with the office of the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor and their plans for the future

Two interviews given by senior Palestinian figures shed more light on the special relationship between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatou Bensouda, the International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor, on the active preparations the Palestinians are making with the chief prosecutor to advance the investigation, on their enthusiasm for the historic dimensions of the decision and on how they relate to the role of the Americans in the campaign against Israel, including the possibility of bringing American entities which support Israel to trial.

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (March 3 –9, 2021)

Coronavirus: In the Gaza Strip there was a slight rise in the number of active cases. Public health figures are concerned that a variant might enter for which they have do not have the ability to test. In Judea and Samaria coronavirus infections continue to spread. Terrorist attacks: There were two stabbing attacks, one targeting a civilian living in the Ephraim Farms and the other targeting IDF forces operating in the Tubas region. The Gaza Strip: On March 7, 2021, Hamas' military wing fired a number of rockets from the central Gaza Strip towards the sea. The International Criminal Court (ICC): The Palestinians were very pleased that the ICC's chief prosecutor decided to initiate an investigation of Israel. In Palestinian perspective the decision was a historic achievement in the Palestinian struggle against Israel. Incitement: The Palestinian media continue anti-Israeli incitement and glorifying terrorists.

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.