Sunday, August 16, 2020

In the West Bank, Israel delivered demolition notices for 1 residential tent and 1 animal barn in Atuf. Israeli forces razed Palestinian-owned agricultural lands southeast of Tulkarm. Israeli forces also shot and injured 1 Palestinian man trying to enter Israel for work near Tulkarm. 2 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Bethlehem. In East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities banned PA governor of Jerusalem Adnan Ghaith from entering the West Bank for 6 months. Governor Ghaith was summoned by Israeli forces earlier in the day. 1 Palestinian was arrested during a raid in Issawiyya. In Gaza, Israeli forces fired missiles at Gaza after incendiary balloons from Gaza sparked fires in southern Israel. Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz ordered the entire Gaza fishing zone closed as collective punishment for incendiary balloons and rockets sent toward Israel. 1 Palestinian man was also seriously injured after coming in contact with an Israeli unexploded ordnance near al-Zaytun. Palestinian officials said that Gaza’s only power plant would stop producing power from 8/18 due to Israel’s embargo on fuel going to Gaza. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire on Palestinian fishermen 1.5 nautical miles off Gaza City and Khan Yunis; no injuries were reported. (AJ, HA, HA, PCHR, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 8/16; PCHR 8/19)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas spoke with French president Emmanuel Macron. President Macron said that the 2 spoke about resumption of peace negotiations. (HA, WAFA 8/16)

Israel and the UAE began direct talks to arrange the details of establishing full diplomatic relations. The 2 countries and the U.S. announced on 8/13 that the UAE would normalize ties with Israel. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview that the U.S. had asked him to suspend annexation of parts of the West Bank in exchange for normalization with the UAE. He further stated that he had no choice in the matter and that annexation was still part of the U.S administration’s peace plan. In an interview with Haaretz, UAE director of strategic communications of the ministry of foreign affairs Hend Al Otaiba said that the UAE and Israel are working toward exchanging ambassadors. When asked about if the embassy would be located in Jerusalem, Al Otaiba answered, “We’re bound by international resolutions as well as an Arab position that wants an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.” The PA ambassador to the UAE arrived in Ramallah after being withdrawn because of the UAE-Israel deal. (HA, HA 8/16; HA, HA, 8/17)