Friday, February 1, 2019

Approximately 10,000 Palestinians gather along Gaza’s border to continue the Great March of Return. IDF troops violently disperse them near Rafah, Jabaliya refugee camp, Gaza City, Khan Yunis, and al-Bureij refugee camp; at least 32 Palestinians are injured. Also along Gaza’s border, Israeli forces conduct a limited incursion to level land near Khan Yunis. In the West Bank, IDF troops violently disperse Palestinians, Israelis, and international activists at Friday protests against the Israeli occupation in 2 villages near Ramallah (Bil‘in and al-Mughayyir) and Kafr Qaddum near Qalqilya; 21 Palestinians are injured. They also patrol near Hebron and Qalqilya. Israeli settlers assault a group of Palestinian minors walking near Ramallah, lightly injuring 1. In East Jerusalem, a Palestinian demolishes parts of his own Jabal Mukabir home to avoid paying Israeli demolition fees. (AP, HA, MNA, MNA, MNA, MNA, TOI, WAFA, WAFA 2/1; MNA, TOI 2/2; PCHR 2/7)

In a meeting with Egyptian intelligence officials and UN special coordinator Nickolay Mladenov, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh reportedly agrees to put a stop to the recent cross-border violence in Gaza in exchange for the Egyptian authorities permanently re-opening the Rafah border crossing in both directions. Haniyeh does not comment on the report, but later calls the meeting “unprecedented.” (TOI, YA 2/2)

A U.S. official confirms that USAID has ended all its aid programs in the West Bank and Gaza as of today. U.S. support for the PA security forces (PASF) also ends today, following the PA’s decision not to accept the new conditions on U.S. aid, which were codified in the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act of 2018 (see *S. 2946 of 5/24/18 at That law would have required that the Palestinians open themselves up to lawsuits from individual U.S. citizens in exchange for continued support for the PASF, which has in recent years amounted to approximately $60 million annually. Both Israeli and PA officials have indicated that they expect PASF-IDF security coordination to continue in some form despite the cut in U.S. aid. (JP, MNA, MNA 2/1)

An EU spokesperson criticizes the recent Israeli decision not to renew the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), saying that it “risks further deteriorating the already fragile situation on the ground.” Separately, the five countries who contributed members to the TIPH—Norway, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey—release a joint statement criticizing Israel’s decision, “strongly object[ing] to any claims that TIPH acted against Israel.” A UN spokesperson says that UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres “hopes that an agreement can be found by the parties to preserve the TIPH’s long-standing and valuable contribution to conflict prevention and the protection of Palestinians in Hebron.” (HA, TOI, WAFA 2/2; AP, MNA, TOI 2/3)