Thursday, August 13, 2020

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers set fire to a tractor and wrote racist graffiti in ‘Urif and slashed tires on several vehicles and wrote racist graffiti on buildings in Yasuf. Israeli settlers also threw stones and paint at an Israeli border police vehicle near the Yitzhar settlement. Israeli settlers also set fire to Palestinian agricultural lands in Asira; subsequently, local Palestinians and Israeli forces clashed in the area, leading to tear-gas related injuries. Israeli forces also razed land east of Tulkarm. Separately, Israeli forces injured 3 Palestinians using rubber-coated bullets as they were seeking to enter Israel via the separation wall near Far‘un. 20 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Ramallah, Hizma, Bethlehem, Salfit, Nablus, Tulkarm, and Jenin. In East Jerusalem, 1 Palestinian family demolished part of their house built to accommodate their disabled son in Sur Bahir. 4 Palestinians were arrested, including 3 during late-night raids in Issawiyya and the Old City, and 1 Waqf guard at the Haram al-Sharif compound. In Gaza, Israel fired missiles at Gaza City, Bayt Hanun, and Dayr al-Balah, causing damage; incendiary balloons were launched from Gaza toward Israel, sparking fires. 1 unexploded Israeli shell was found at an UNRWA school west of Gaza City. Israel announced that it would stop all imports of fuel into Gaza as collective punishment for incendiary balloons landing in Israel. (AJ, REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 8/13; HA, HA 8/14; PCHR 8/16; PCHR 8/17; PCHR 8/19)

Russia announced that it would open trade representation offices in Bethlehem, Hebron, and Nablus. (WAFA 8/13)

U.S. president Donald Trump announced that Israel and the UAE had agreed to establish full diplomatic ties and that Israel, as part of the agreement, had decided to suspend annexation of parts of the West Bank. In a joint statement from the 3 parties, it said that “Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the President’s Vision for Peace and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world.” Later, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that annexation is “still on the table” and a promise he is committed to. Subsequently, President Trump said, “Israel agreed not to annex parts of the West Bank. It is more than taking it off the table—they agreed not to do it. This is a very smart concession by Israel. It is off the table now.” U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman later said that annexation is “off the table now but it’s not off the table permanently. You can’t have peace and annexation at the same time.” PA president Mahmoud Abbas called the deal a “betrayal of Jerusalem, al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian cause.” The PA also recalled its ambassador to the UAE. Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said of the deal: “[t]his announcement is a reward for the Israeli occupation’s crimes . . . The normalization is a stabbing in the back of our people.” U.S. officials also said that Bahrain and Oman are likely to soon normalize relations with Israel. (HA, HA, HA, HA, REU, REU, REU, REU, WAFA, WAFA 8/13; AJ, AJ, REU, REU, REU 8/14; HA 8/15; REU 8/16; AJ 8/17)