Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Israeli drones bomb a group of Palestinians allegedly launching incendiary kites and balloons into southern Israel near al-Bureij refugee camp; there are no reported injuries. On the other side of the border fence, Israeli firefighters put out 2 fires allegedly sparked by such attacks. This marks the first instance of Palestinians launching such incendiary devices into Israel since 10/25. Also along Gaza’s border, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian minors approaching the border fence near Dayr al-Balah; 1 Palestinian is injured. Off Gaza’s coast, Israeli naval forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats near Jabaliya refugee camp, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, Israeli forces deliver a stop-work order to a Palestinian home and 3 makeshift residential structures under construction near Salfit. They also demolish 2 Palestinian residential structures in Yatta near Hebron and confiscate 2 tractors from Palestinian agricultural land near Tubas. IDF troops arrest 12 Palestinians during raids in and around Ramallah, Jenin, Hebron, and Bethlehem; and patrol near Jenin, Nablus, and Hebron. Israeli settlers assault and injure 2 Palestinians and smash the windows of a Palestinian store in central Hebron. Palestinian witnesses say that the settlers assaulted the first Palestinian after he objected to their loud music and use of foul language. (MNA, MNA, MNA, TOI, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/31; PCHR, WAFA 11/1)

The Palestinian and Israeli press reports that Israel has agreed to allow Qatar to transfer money to Hamas to pay the salaries of the civil servants working for its government, in Gaza. It’s unclear if Israel has agreed in principle or if an agreement has been signed. Separately, Palestinian sources say that significant progress has been made in the Egypt-mediated talks toward a long-term cease-fire between Hamas and Israel. They don’t offer details, but they point to recent trust-building steps taken by both sides, including Israel’s decision to allow transfers of diesel fuel into Gaza for the area’s sole power plant and Hamas’s efforts to limit the violence at the ongoing Great March of Return protests. (HA, YA 10/31)

Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman announces that he has ordered Gaza’s fishing zone expanded to 6 nautical miles off the northern coast and 9 nautical miles off the southern coast. Lieberman reduced the fishing zone to 3 nautical miles on 10/17 after rocket fire from Gaza. Sources in the defense minister’s office say that the move comes in the context of the Israeli government’s efforts to maintain calm along Gaza’s border fence. (AS, YA 10/31)