Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Palestinian and Israeli negotiators agree on an open-ended cease-fire deal, which PA Pres. Abbas confirms in a brief televised address. The agreement contains 3 points: Israel will permit humanitarian aid and construction material to enter Gaza; Israel will restore the fishing zone from 3 to 6 naut. mi. away from the shore, and gradually extend it to 12 by the end of 2014; and indirect negotiations will continue within 1 mo. in Cairo to deal with the remaining disputes, including Hamas’s demand for sea and airports in Gaza, and the release of recently rearrested prisoners who were released in the Shalit deal. Additionally, talks between Palestinian officials and Egyptian authorities are scheduled to take place soon with the goal of opening the Rafah crossing permanently. Israeli PM Netanyahu agrees to the cease-fire deal without putting it to a vote in the security cabinet, a move reportedly opposed by Economy Minister Naftali Bennett. Haaretz reports that over half of the security cabinet would have voted against the deal. (AFP, AJ, AP, HA, JP, MNA, NYT, WP 8/26)

In the Gaza Strip, the IDF continues its assault and armed Palestinian groups continue firing projectiles into Israel until the new ceasefire goes into effect in the evening. The Israeli air force hits approximately 32 targets, while IDF troops stationed along the border fence open fire on 3 occasions, 2 with artillery and 1 with live ammunition. Six Palestinians die in the attacks, and dozens are injured. Among the targets in Gaza is the so-called Italian building, a 13-story residential and commercial complex. Though the building is mostly empty at the time of the Israeli strikes, its destruction leaves around 70 families homeless. Prior to the cease-fire, the armed Palestinian groups launch more than 180 projectiles into Israel, killing 2 Israelis and wounding 5. In the West Bank, 7 Israeli settlers attack a Palestinian nr. Jerusalem with knives and stones, leaving him unconscious. The IDF conducts house searches and raids in Nablus, 3 villages nr. Hebron, 3 villages nr. Ramallah, Jenin, 1 village nr. Jenin, and Tulkarm, arresting 17; patrols in 2 villages nr. Hebron and 2 villages nr. Salfit. In East Jerusalem, dozens of Palestinians gather in Bayt Hanina, al-Tur, and Wadi al-Juz to celebrate the cease-fire announcement and Israeli security forces disperse the celebrations with waste water, sound bombs, and tear gas. One Palestinian is arrested in Wadi al-Juz. (MNA, REU, YA 8/26; HA 8/27; PCHR 8/28)