Wednesday, August 15, 2018

After a meeting of the Israeli security cabinet, an Egypt- and UN-backed cease-fire between Israel and Hamas goes into effect. It is reportedly based on the principles of the cease-fire deal that halted Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza, and it provides for a cessation of all hostilities. The Israeli cabinet reportedly approved the agreement in principle on 8/12 and only met today to review the details one last time. Earlier, Israeli DM Lieberman announced the reopening of the Kerem Shalom border crossing (effectively lifting the last of the restrictions the Israeli authorities imposed on 7/9) and the expansion of the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast to nine nautical miles, up from as few as three at the peak of the Israeli crackdown. “The opening of the Kerem Shalom crossing, after four days of quiet, is intended to indicate to the population in Gaza that maintaining quiet is first and foremost an interest for Gaza’s residents,” he says. (EI, HA, JP, MNA, TOI, WAFA, YA 8/15; AHR, MNA, TOI 8/16)

Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Bayt Lahiya and Dayr al-Balah, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, Israeli settlers assault a Palestinian farmer outside Salfit, preventing him from working his land. They also break into a Palestinian home in central Hebron and violently attack 2 Palestinian minors; there are no reported injuries. IDF troops conduct raids in central Hebron, sparking clashes with stone-throwing Palestinian minors; 1 Palestinian is injured. They arrest 5 Palestinians and issue 1 arrest summons during further raids near Jericho, Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Qalqilya; and patrol in and around Hebron and Qalqilya. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian residential building under construction in Issawiyya. They also detain 9 Palestinian women at Haram al-Sharif for undisclosed reasons (8 are released later in the day and banned from the sanctuary for 15 days); and arrest 4 Palestinians and issue 1 arrest summons during late-night raids in Silwan, Ras al-Amud, Sur Bahir, and the Old City. (MNA, WAFA 8/15; MNA, PCHR 8/16; PCHR 8/30)

The Palestinian Central Council convenes in Ramallah for its 29th regular meeting. The PLO body discusses a variety of issues related to statehood, including the stalled national reconciliation process, and plans to meet again on 8/16. In a speech kicking off the meetings, PA president Abbas says that Hamas is not serious about reconciliation. “Hamas principally does not have intentions to achieve reconciliation,” he says. Abbas also criticizes the Trump administration’s peace efforts and reiterates that he wants to unify the West Bank and Gaza with “one government, one law, and one legitimate force without militias.” (TOI, WAFA 8/15)

The Israel Land Authority (ILA) publishes tenders for the construction of 602 new housing units in the Ramat Shlomo settlement of East Jerusalem. The 603 units are part of a larger development plan that dates back to 2010. The ILA separately reaches a $380 million agreement with the Jerusalem Municipality for a series of development projects across the city, including 20,000 new housing units. The Jerusalem City Council is expected to approve the plan next week. (HA, YA 8/15)