Monday, August 31, 2020

In the West Bank, Palestinians fended off Israeli settlers trying to seize their land in Birin. Israeli forces shot and injured 1 Palestinian using live ammunition near the separation wall north of Jenin. 5 Palestinians were arrested, including 4 during late-night raids in Nablus, Anata, Kisan, and Hebron; 1 was arrested by undercover Israeli forces while working at a gas station near Kafr Qaddum. In East Jerusalem, 2 Palestinians started demolishing their own homes to avoid exorbitant Israeli demolition fees. Israeli forces summoned 3 members of Fatah for interrogation in Silwan. (WAFA, WAFA 8/31; PCHR 9/3)

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar announced that Hamas and Israel had reached an understanding to de-escalate the conflict after nearly a month of daily attacks on Gaza and incendiary balloons launched toward Israel. The understanding was facilitated by Qatari mediators. As part of the de-escalation, the Kerem Shalom border crossing would be reopened on 9/1 and the fishing zone would be reopened up to 15 nautical miles. Sources in Hamas told Haaretz that Israel would allow Qatari aid to enter Gaza again, and that Qatar was granted approval by Israel to build a gas pipeline and operate a power station in Gaza. (AJ 8/31; HA 9/1)

A delegation of senior Israeli and U.S. officials arrived in the UAE to discuss the details of the UAE’s normalization deal with Israel. The delegation arrived in the UAE on an El Al plane flying directly from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi using Saudi Arabian airspace. In Israel, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a press conference that he would discuss sales of U.S. F-35s and other advanced weaponry to the UAE with U.S. president Donald Trump while stressing that U.S. sales of weapons to the UAE was not part of the normalization deal. In a joint statement released by the 3 parties, the language between the English and Arabic releases differed on Israel’s commitment not to annex parts of the West Bank as part of the normalization deal. In the Arabic version it said the agreement had “stopped” Israel’s plans while the English said it had led to “the suspension of Israel’s plans to extend sovereignty.” (HA, REU 8/31; AJ 9/1; REU 9/2)

Syrian officials said that Israel fired missiles at military installments south of Damascus, killing 2 Syrian soldiers and wounding 7. The London-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights later said that the number of deaths was 10, most of them foreign. (HA 8/31; HA 9/1)

A former Lebanese ambassador to Germany Mustapha Adib was announced as the new prime minister of Lebanon after the government resigned earlier this month. The announcement came as French president Emmanuel Macron was en route for Beirut. Reuters reported that Adib was President Macron’s preferred choice. (AJ, HA 8/31)