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Pulse on Palestine: 10 Major Developments with Our Neighbors

Updated: Aug 20, 2020

As a tour guide of Israel, I often get asked about the Palestinians as well as Israel's relationship with them. Well, here are some notable things happening on the other side of the fence/line/barrier/tracks...

  1. The Temple Mount is now open again post-Corona and Ramadan/Eid-al-Fitr, albeit with a number of restrictions. Along the same vein, the Palestinian Authority has now opened up their territory following 2 months of lockdown. It was rather successful as [only] 3 people were killed by the virus.

  2. Not only are coronavirus restrictions ending but apparently so is the Palestinians agreements with Israel and the United States as well as their security cooperation with Israel. Of course this is the 19th time Palestinian Authority President [albeit in his 14th year of a 4-year term] Mahmoud Abbas has threatened this and it is not so easy to do in reality which is why Israel and the Palestinian Authority still have to play ball together despite the fact that the Oslo process, which was only supposed to take 5 years or so, is now in two decades worth of extra innings. That being said, if the new Israeli government does go ahead with annexing parts of the post-1967 territories, it will be a game-changer in more ways than one. Speaking of the Palestinian Authority Security forces, here is a breakdown of the various forces that they employ.

  3. Something I've always stressed is that terror groups only function with local support. The way to gain local support, when you are in a failed or failing state, is to provide services that the state is not providing, notably in health care and education. Hamas, Hizbullah, PFLP, they all follow the same playbook. On top of that, you can then promote your charity work as a cover for your more nefarious agenda, which is why for years Europeans have not banned the political/social wings of Hizbullah for example (though in the past few months Germany and other have finally started this process). Unfortunately, terror groups are part and parcel of the Palestinian society. And so naturally, they were able to use the corona crisis to enlist funds from the West - and then divert them for other uses.

  4. So Israel has been complaining for 25 years about the Palestinian education system and the books they are using. It is hard to imagine peace happening when 57% of the population is under the age of 25 and have all been educated in an educational system which does not promote peace [as have a good deal of the next age bracket]. If you want peace you need to educate your children with that as a goal. In the last few years, some of the global funders of this travesty have been waking up to the reality, but there is a difference between criticizing and acting.

  5. The Palestinian Authority is continuing to pay salaries to convicted terrorists (the more people they killed, the more money they get) - despite their European funders trying to stop their funding going to these. Of course more money to one place frees up money to give to others. In any case, with a little bit of fuzzy math it's not too hard to move things around. But sometimes you get caught...

  6. Truly fascinating is that Palestinian support for the "prisoners'" payments has gone down - from 57% to 32% - and that was back in February before the economic impact of the coronavirus. Of course for their leadership, this is a holy endeavor. In the meantime, Israel has handed over the money from VAT payments that it withholds from the Palestinian Authority (an amount comensurate with their payments to terrorists), due to the current economic situation.

  7. Hamas in Gaza arrested a peace activist for setting up a Zoom call with Israelis and charged him with "holding a normalization activity." If we can't even talk, how can we ever hope to have peace here. Unfortunately when it comes to Hamas, that is essentially the idea. Sadly it was a former researcher for Amnesty International who reported on him to Hamas [whom international aid agencies are hiring and working with is a common problem as they don't know the lay of the land themselves]. Perhaps that's why it took a month for Amnesty to acknowledge that he was a prisoner of conscience. As of May 7 he was still in jail.

  8. Speaking of Hamas, ever wonder where all the money goes to in Gaza? There are hundreds of millionaires there, but they don't make their money off of creating beachfront hotels. Nope, it's from robbing their own people - and then of course blaming Israel for their poverty.

  9. A [right-wing] Israeli-NGO is decrying the destruction of part of a Hasmonean (Maccabean) fortress by the Palestinian Authority. The fortress is located in Area B in the West Bank/Judea & Samaria or Occupied/Disputed/Liberated territories (depending on your politics). This means that the Palestinian Authority has civilian control whereas Israel retains security control. One of our general issues is that the Jewish historical past was not along the coast where 70% of the country lives today, but rather in the hill country including the territories administered since 1967. The Palestinians are eager to deny the Jewish historical connection to the land as in their eyes might legitimate Jewish/Israeli rights to the land. This unfortunately leads to incidents like this one.

  10. A member of the Palestinian national soccer team, who also holds Israeli citizenship, accepted an offer to play for an Israeli club team. He was then kicked off the Palestinian team.

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