Thursday, October 25, 2018

Along Gaza’s border, Israeli firefighters put out a large fire in Kissufim Forest that was reportedly sparked by an incendiary balloon flown from Gaza. In the evening, an Israeli aircraft conducts a retaliatory air strike on a Hamas site near Khan Yunis, causing no injuries or damage. In the West Bank, IDF troops conduct raids in Dahaysha refugee camp near Bethlehem overnight, arresting 1 Palestinian and sparking clashes; 3 Palestinians are injured. They also arrest 3 Palestinians during raids in and around Tulkarm and patrol near Hebron. Israeli forces deliver stop-work orders to several Bedouin homes and barns under construction near Jericho. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces shoot and injure 11 Palestinians during clashes sparked by an arrest raid in Abu Dis. They also arrest 8 Palestinians during late-night raids in Ras al-Amud and the Old City. (MNA, MNA, WAFA 10/25; MNA 10/26; PCHR 11/1)

Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman says that Egypt and the UN have requested that Israel give them one more chance to de-escalate the situation in the context of the ongoing talks on a potential Israel-Hamas cease-fire agreement. He says that they are asking Israel to ease restrictions on Gaza in exchange for Hamas imposing limitations on resistance activities along the border fence. (JP, MNA 10/25)

The Israeli government approves the construction of more than 20,000 new housing units for Israeli settlers in Ma’ale Adumim, a settlement east of Jerusalem. The move comes in the context of a new agreement signed by Israel’s Construction and Housing Ministry and the Ma’ale Adumim Municipality. Also in that context, the government permits the immediate construction of 470 previously approved housing units. “In addition to the new housing units, public and educational institutions will also be established, and will include synagogues, schools, parks, community centers and sports arenas,” says Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Gallant. “We must continue to establish [our] hold on the Jerusalem area.” (IHY, MNA 10/28; FMEP 11/2)

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi insists that the Jordanian government is still committed to its 1994 peace treaty with Israel, despite King Abdullah’s 10/21 decision not to renew 2 annexes therein “We acted within the provisions of the peace treaty,” he says. “This is an indication of our commitment to the peace treaty. There has never been a question of our solid commitment to the treaty.” (EI, JP, REU, TOI, YA 10/25)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara fly to Oman to meet with Sultan Qaboos bin Said. Because Oman and Israel have no formal diplomatic ties, the visit is seen as an indication of a growing relationship between Israel and Oman. After Netanyahu meets with the sultan, his office states that they discussed ways to achieve “peace and stability in the Middle East” and that the visit marks a “significant step in implementing the policy outlined by Prime Minister Netanyahu on deepening relations with the states of the region while leveraging Israel’s advantages in security, technology and economic matters.” (AP, JP, NYT, REU 10/26; HA 10/27)