Thursday, October 15, 2020

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers set up caravans on Palestinian-owned land in the northern part of the Jordan Valley. Israeli forces handed stop-work orders for 7 houses south of Hebron. Israeli forces also seized 1 bulldozer and 1 truck near Tubas. 12 Palestinians were arrested during raids in and around Bethlehem, Ramallah, Nablus, Qalqilya, and Salfit. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces raided Shu‘fat, firing tear gas at Palestinians. 12 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in Issawiyya; during the raids, clashes ensued between Palestinians and Israeli forces; tear-gas related injuries were reported. (WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/15; PCHR 10/22)

Israel’s civil administration’s supreme planning council approved 3,071 new settler units in 19 different settlements throughout the West Bank. On 10/14, the same planning council approved 1,877 settler units, making the total of 4,948 settler units for the 2 days combined. According to Peace Now, 2020 has surpassed all other years in approved settler units since Peace Now began counting in 2012. The total amount of settler units approved in 2020 is 12,159. The UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process Nickolay Mladenov condemned Israel’s settlement expansion, as did the UK, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy in a joint statement. (AJ, HA, PCN, WAFA 10/15; AJ, HA, WAFA, WAFA 10/16; WAFA 10/17)

The Saudi foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud said during an event with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy that “the only thing that can deliver lasting peace and lasting stability is an agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis,” suggesting that Saudi Arabia is not close to normalizing relations with Israel. He also said that Saudi Arabia does not have an opinion about other countries that normalize relations with Israel as the UAE and Bahrain have done. U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo had said 1 day earlier during a press conference with Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan that “[w]e hope that Saudi Arabia will consider normalizing its relationships as well. We want to thank them for the assistance they’ve had in the success of the Abraham Accords [the normalization deals made with Bahrain and UAE] so far.” (AJ, HA, REU 10/14; REU 10/15)

The PA received 2 grants from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and Al Aqsa Fund of the Islamic Development Bank, amounting to $11 million for hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza. (WAFA 10/15)