Monthly Report - January 2021

CURRENT SITUATION

Due to the increasing number of Covid cases in Israel (approximately 8,000/day), the Government imposed a 2-week total lockdown at the beginning of the year. The lockdown was later extended to the whole month of January, with every movement between Palestine and Israel prohibited.
On January 24th Israel closed Ben Gurion airport, blocking all flights for people coming back to Israel from abroad. Land borders with Jordan and Egypt have been closed since January 26th. These restrictions caused protests: on January 26th in the town of Bnei Brak a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews protested violently against anti-Covid measures, setting a bus for public transport on fire.
In Palestine, lockdown has been prolonged until the end of January, so movement between the West Bank governorates is prohibited unless it is strictly necessary.
Meanwhile, Israel has continued its massive vaccination campaign, and now one third of the population is covered.

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Monthly Report - December 2020

CURRENT SITUATION

Israel started its Covid-19 vaccination campaign in December and, at the beginning of January, became the State with the highest rate of vaccinated population (10%). In fact, the vaccination campaign began in early December with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was shown on media receiving the first vaccine dose with some of his ministers.
Nevertheless, in mid-December a new lockdown was enforced in Israel, which will last until the first week of January: movement between towns and between Israel and Palestine is prohibited, only shops selling basic necessities will remain open.
In Palestine the first vaccine doses are expected for the beginning of January, even if no suitable infrastructure to deliver and store the vaccine has been set up. The Palestinian Authority declared they intend to give vaccine to the whole population in the shortest possible amount of time. According to the statement, new specific structures will be set up in the major towns, such as Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron. In mid-December a new full lockdown started (at first only in Hebron, Bethlehem, Tulkarem and Nablus Governatorates, but then it was extended to all Governatorates).

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Monthly Report – October 2020

CURRENT SITUATION

In the beginning of October, Israel reimposed a full national lockdown due to the second wave of Covid-19. The restrictions, which should have ended at the beginning of the month, lasted until October 18th, when a reopening phase started (implying the possibility to declare some cities as red areas). Among the measures included in the way out strategy, the reopening of religious sites in Jerusalem was planned. Although, legally Israelis still need specific reasons to leave their homes. This norm was considered as limiting the freedom to demonstrate. So, on October 3rd, a series of large demonstrations against Netanyahu were held throughout Israel. The decision to start reopening the country came after a significant decline in the number of new daily Coronavirus cases since June.
No lockdown was imposed in Palestine, but some restrictions were implemented to limit the movements in those areas where high number of Coronavirus cases were reported. At the end of October about 6,000 cases of Covid-19 were reported for a total of about 60,000 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
On October 18th, during a meeting in Bahrain between an Israeli government delegation and the Bahraini Foreign Minister, 7 memoranda were signed besides the agreement reached the previous month between the two countries. In particular, these memoranda provide for a greater economic and political cooperation.
On October 23rd Sudan signed a normalization agreement with Israel as well, becoming the fifth Arab country to officially recognize the State of Israel (along with Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Bahrain). The agreement was signed in front of a delegation from the United States, which welcomed this détente with pleasure. Hamas viewed the agreement as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause.

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Monthly Report - August 2020

CURRENT SITUATION

In Israel, the protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been going on for about ten weeks now, accusing him of corruption, fraud and abuse of power.
On August 13th, Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed the “Abraham Accords Peace Agreement: Treaty of Peace, Diplomatic Relations and Full Normalization Between the United Arab Emirates and the State of Israel”. These two countries established bilateral agreements concerning all relevant sectors ranging from investments and tourism to telecommunication and security. In exchange, Netanyahu put on hold the annexation of some parts of the West Bank. As a consequence, the President of the Palestinian Authority Abu Mazen withdrew the diplomatic representative in Abu Dhabi.
This agreement between the two countries underlines how much the Palestinian issue is being set aside and loosing importance within international geopolitics: if previously the necessary condition was the creation of a Palestinian State, now the promise not to proceed with the annexation of West Bank’s parts is sufficient.

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Monthly Report - February 2020

CURRENT SITUATION

In all of the West Bank, Palestinians have continued protesting against the "Deal of the Century". They are clarifying to the world that the proposal advanced by the Trump administration is not at all a deal, but more of a plan to allow Israel to illegally annex huge parts of the Palestinian territory, including the Jordan Valley. Israeli armed forces responded to the protests with arms, sonic bombs and tear gas: numerous wounded and some victims amongst the Palestinians.
Even outside Palestine, in Europe and in the US, numerous activists demonstrated against the American proposal. After many delays, the United Nations Office for Human Rights published a list, long awaited by the BDS movement, of 112 companies that work in the West Bank with Israeli settlements, which - along with the outposts - are illegal according to International Law.

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