Monday, December 31, 2018

In the West Bank, Israeli forces uproot 50 olive trees and demolish a Palestinian agricultural structure outside Yatta near Hebron. IDF troops arrest 3 Palestinians during a late-night raid near Hebron; and patrol near Ramallah, Hebron, Tulkarm, and Qalqilya. An Israeli settler driver rams his vehicle into a herd of Palestinian sheep near Ramallah, killing 12 and injuring 18 others. Along Gaza’s border, IDF troops open fire on Palestinian farmlands near Dayr al-Balah and al-Maghazi refugee camp, causing no damage. They also fire on Palestinian shepherds near Rafah for a 4th day in a row, causing no injuries. (MNA, WAFA, WAFA 12/31; PCHR 1/3)

At a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the Trump administration is unlikely to circulate its long-awaited Palestinian-Israeli peace plan before Israel’s elections on 4/9. “In their estimation elections are the time when it will have the least chance of succeeding,” he says. (AX, JP 12/31)

A Fatah spokesperson accuses Hamas of arresting 500 Fatah activists and officials in Gaza as Fatah’s Gaza branch prepares for celebrations marking the party’s 54th anniversary. The Hamas-run Interior Ministry in Gaza rejects the accusation, claiming that only 38 Fatah leaders have been summoned “to maintain order.” Later, Hamas security forces in Gaza prevent Fatah activists from symbolically lighting a torch at an anniversary celebration. (AP, JP, TOI, WP 12/31)