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.

During August 2020, the hostilities between the Gaza Strip and Israel increased. In addition, in the West Bank more than one hundred Palestinians, of which at least 15 minors, were injured by the Israeli forces in several violent episodes.
In the first weeks of August, particularly during the days of the Muslim festivity “Eid al-Adha”, tens of thousands West Bank Palestinians managed to freely enter Israel territories moving towards the old cities, the villages of origin and the beaches, taking advantage of some breaches in the Israeli separation barrier. The reasons behind this concession are still unknown and the Israeli authorities did not want to give any kind of explanation.
The demolition policy carries on in the South Hebron area, Bethlehem, Jenin, East Jerusalem and  in the zone destined for the expansion of the Ma’ale Adumim settlement by the Israeli government. Around 60 Palestinian properties were demolished or sequestered, displacing at least 130 Palestinian people.
More than 650 trees were damaged by Israeli settlers in the Nablus District, specifically in ‘Asira ash Shamaliya and Qaryut, as well as in the Hebron Governorate, specifically in the villages of Khirbet at Twamin and Sa’ir.
According to Israeli sources, several vehicles have been damaged by the stones thrown by some Palestinians who were passing through the West Bank streets, and a girl was injured.
As far as the COVID-19 pandemic is concerned, the situation in the Gaza Strip has drastically worsened in the month of August. The positive cases to COVID-19 increased up to 135 and one decease was registered. The situation is particularly dramatic as there are only 50 ventilators for 2 million of Gaza Strip residents. A further aggravating factor is the reduction in the access to electricity, which is now available only 4 hours a day.

SHARING, WORK AND NEWS ABOUT THE VOLUNTEERS

During the month there was an escalation of the Israeli settlers’ violence in the area. On August 22nd, around 400 olive trees have been found completely uprooted in the Tawamin village, not far from Susya settlement.
In the night of August 18th, some settlers from the Ma’on settlement destroyed a Palestinian shepherd’s tent in the Wadi al-Sawi land.
On August 14th, while returning home (situated in Tuba) from school (located in At-Tuwani), a Palestinian boy was chased by the settlers of the illegal outpost of Havat Ma’on. The settlers were wearing masks and they were armed with guns and wooden sticks.
On August 8th the Havat Ma’on settlers irrupted in the Sumud Freedom Camp in the Sarura village where they damaged the Camp properties by cutting the electric cables of the solar panels, stealing the same panels, destroying the water system and wrecking the inside of the cave.
The Israeli forces have not yet intervened to demolish the new outpost (illegal also in the eyes of the Israeli law), which has been built in the last months by the Ma’on settlers in the land of Umm Zeitouna, located very close to the village of Tuba.
The demolition policy carried out by Israel keeps on striking the South Hebron Hills. On August 11th, the Israeli Civil Administration confiscated construction material and tents in Susya, Maghayir Al Abeed and Al Fakheit. On August 6th, the Israeli Civil Administration demolished a house in Wadi Janish, nearby Susiya.
Another alarming event occurred on August 10th when a military turret was installed in the Humra Valley, closed to At-Tuwani. This turret implicates a military control of the route used by the village inhabitants to reach the fields in the nearby valleys.