- This past week the Palestinians continued to demonstrate a high level of violence at the “return march” and the days afterwards. The main manifestations of the violence were throwing IEDs and hand grenades, launching IED balloons, daily penetrations into Israeli territory and activities of the night harassment units. In addition, three rockets were fired into Israeli territory. In response Israeli Air Force aircraft attacked Hamas targets.
- In the meantime, Egypt continued its efforts to bring calm and to formulate an arrangement acceptable to Israel and Hamas. Palestinian sources (including a senior Hamas figure) said that the understandings have to include the lifting of the “siege,” extending the range of fishing waters, a solution for the electricity crisis and projects for reconstructing the Gaza Strip infrastructure. The Hamas organ reported that Israel demanded the Palestinians distance themselves from the border, stop launching balloons and put an end to the mini-flotillas.
- Hamas and the other organizations are planning a variety of activities for Saturday, March 30, 2019 (the first anniversary of the “return marches”). So far they have not publicized what the activities will include but it can be assumed there may be a high level of violence. (Note: the march will take place a few days before the April 9, 2019 general elections in Israel).
- Popular terrorism continues in Judea and Samaria. This past week a stabbing attack was prevented, a shooting attack was carried out and stones, Molotov cocktails and a pipe bomb were thrown at Israeli vehicles on the roads in Judea and Samaria.
- The Palestinian media reported that Mahmoud Abbas appointed Dr. Muhammad Ashtiya, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, as the new Palestinian prime minister. (Dr. Ashtiya is a politician and an economist. He comes from the region of Nablus. He taught at Bir Zeit University and was minister of housing and public works in the Palestinian Authority (PA) government. In the past he headed the Palestinian economic delegation to talks with Israel. His background in economics may help him deal with the PA’s financial difficulties, following its refusal to accept monthly tax revenues from Israel.)
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