Following the official start of de facto annexation of the West Bank by Israel, Palestinians witnessed a series of events that affect their lives and compound their suffering. Even though the Israeli government appears to have suspended the intended annexation due to internal tensions, 389 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank were demolished or appropriated between March and August 2020. This number, at an average of 65 structures per month, constitutes the highest average destruction rate in four years.
With COVID-19 cases rising in the region, including in the West Bank, the fear of an uncontrollable spread in besieged Gaza became a reality. The sudden spike in the number of infections outside quarantine facilities in Gaza indicates community transmission, and comes at a time of increased hostilities between Hamas and the Israeli military. In response to the escalation between Hamas and Israel, the Israeli authorities reduced the size of the fishing zone and halted the entry of most goods into Gaza, including of fuel, which led to shutting down the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) and triggered power cuts for up to 20 hours a day. The 25,592 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Gaza by 7 December 2020 and the already dire living conditions of its population indicate quickly deteriorating circumstances, in particular with regards to the healthcare facilities; added to that are polluted water and limited availability of electricity, which are all reasons for grave concern for the besieged population. Furthermore, Israel announced that its vaccination campaign will cover Jewish settlers living in the West Bank but excludes millions of Palestinians under its occupation.