Friday, October 26, 2018

Thousands of Palestinians gather along Gaza’s border fence to continue the Great March of Return. IDF troops violently disperse protestors near Jabaliya refugee camp, Rafah, and Gaza City; 5 Palestinians are killed and at least 200 are injured. The killings bring the death toll stemming from the Great March of Return to 184. Hours after the protests conclude, unidentified Palestinians launch 34 rockets from Gaza into southern Israel; 17 are intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system and the rest land in open areas, causing no damage or injuries. The Israeli Air Force then conducts a wave of air strikes across Gaza, targeting more than 90 sites and causing extensive damage to many buildings, including a hospital in Gaza City. In the West Bank, IDF troops violently disperse Friday protests against the Israeli occupation and the settlements in Kafr Qaddum near Qalqilya, central Hebron, and 2 villages near Ramallah (Bil‘in and al-Mazra‘a); 2 Palestinians are killed, 8 are injured, and 1 is arrested. Three Israeli soldiers are also injured in the clashes today. IDF troops also assault and arrest 1 Palestinian, arrest 3 others, and issue 1 arrest summons during late-night raids near Tulkarm, Bethlehem, Hebron; and patrol near Hebron and Qalqilya. (EI, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, TOI, TOI, WAFA 10/26; MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, TOI, WAFA, YA 10/27; HA 11/29; PCHR 11/1)

Hours before the protests, killings, and air strikes in Gaza, Al-Hayat reports that the Egyptian officials who have been shuttling back and forth between Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza over the past 2 weeks have brokered an understanding between Hamas and the Israeli government. Hamas reportedly agreed to end all violence along the border, including acts of violence perpetrated during Great March of Return protests and all incendiary balloon and kite attacks, in exchange for Israel lifting certain restrictions on Gaza. Separately, Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman says he is “hopeful” that this coming weekend will pass without major clashes along Gaza’s border fence.  He also says that he will need to see a month of calm before implementing any more major changes. “We need to see what happens at least until the end of 11/2018, and then we can reach conclusions one way or another.” (AH, HA, JP, MNA, TOI, TOI 10/26)