Monday, August 24, 2020

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers set up a caravan on Palestinian-owned land in Bil‘in. Israeli forces forced the village of Sabastiyya to remove a newly installed flagpole carrying a Palestinian flag; the flagpole was installed at a site frequently toured by Israeli settlers. 10 Palestinians were arrested during raids in and around Tulkarm, Bethlehem, Ramallah, and al-‘Arub refugee camp. In East Jerusalem, 6 Palestinians were arrested, including 1 during a raid in the Old City, and 5 at 1 of the gates to the Haram al-Sharif compound. In Gaza, Israeli forces fired missiles at southern Gaza, causing damage in Khan Yunis and east of Rafah; incendiary balloons were sent toward Israel, causing fires; 1 Palestinian-owned house in Abasan sustained severe damage. Israeli forces also opened fire on agricultural lands; no injuries were reported. 4 people from the same family also tested positive for the COVID-19 virus in the 1st instance of community spread of the virus in Gaza; prior positive tests have only occurred in quarantine facilities. 4 Palestinians died in an explosion in a house east of Gaza City; the reason for the explosion remained unclear. (AJ, HA, REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 8/24; AJ, HA, WAFA 8/25; +972 8/26; PCHR 8/27)

U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo landed in Israel for meetings with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi. Secretary Pompeo is expected to travel to Sudan, Bahrain, and the UAE to talk with senior officials about, among other subjects, normalizing ties with Israel. (REU 8/22; AJ, HA 8/24)