In a dramatic move, the Trump administration has reportedly decided to end all funding to UNRWA. The UN agency responsible for Palestinian humanitarian assistance. According to reports, the decision to cut all aid to UN’s Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees was made at a meeting earlier this month between Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
In a surprising move, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz addressed in a letter to US President Donald Trump his rejection of the proposed peace plan for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. As such, King Salman informed President Trump that Saudi Arabia cannot support the ‘Deal of the Century’ if there is no mention of a settlement on the status of East Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital and the right of return of refugees.
On Saturday July 14th, Israeli Security Forces (ISF) launched its most severe airstrike campaign against the Gaza Strip since the war of 2014 (i.e. Operation Protective Edge) after militants allegedly fired over 200 rockets and other projectiles towards Israeli controlled areas. Sirens reportedly went off in southern parts of Israel, including Sha’ar HaNegev, Sdot Negev, Hof Ashkelon and Eshkol Regional Councils. As such, due to a high state of tensions, Israeli authorities closed public beaches and restricted gatherings of large groups in those areas.
Residents of Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria have been shaken, quite literally, during the past week by a series of earthquakes and aftershocks beginning in Jordan on Wednesday, July 4, and most recently experienced in Israel on Monday, July 9. Seismic activities are not abnormal for the area, occurring primarily in the Great Rift Valley, which extends from northern Syria to Mozambique. The area lies on the Dead Sea Transform fault system, a boundary that separates two major plate systems.
Gaza’s sole power plant was shut-down on April 17th, as the fuel reserves were consumed. Debates are still ongoing between PA and Hamas on fuel tax exemption and revenue collection from electricity consumers. According to the ICRC, Gaza is on the verge of a “systemic collapse”.
The Palestinian Authority has been paying the Israeli Authorities to supply Gaza with electricity until April in which the PA declared payments will stop, while in May, the Israeli Authorities reduced the electricity provided to Gaza.
Tension that started in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in mid-September 2015, intensified in October and was portrayed by pervasive clashes with ISF, along with almost daily attacks on Israelis. As the graph indicates, in comparison with October 2016, Palestinian death toll was significantly higher in October 2015. 64 Palestinians were killed, while in 2016, 9 Palestinians were killed. The Israeli death toll in 2015 was also higher as 10 Israelis were killed as opposed to 3 in 2016.