Tuesday, December 22, 2020

In the West Bank, an Israeli settler rammed a Palestinian car at a checkpoint near Birzeit and was subsequently shot at by Israeli forces, believing the Israeli settler was trying to attack Israeli forces manning the checkpoint; no injuries occurred from the incident as the Israeli forces held fire when the settler identified himself as Jewish. Israeli settlers also threw stones at Palestinian vehicles driving near Awarta, Bayt ‘Aynun, and Tuqu‘, damaging several. Elsewhere, it was reported that 1 Israeli settler tried to run over 3 Palestinian children near Hebron; no injuries were reported. Israeli settlers also set up a caravan on Palestinian-owned land near Jenin. Israeli forces demolished 1 garage in al-‘Izzariya and notified the family of 1 Palestinian minor who was killed in East Jerusalem on 12/21 that their house would be punitively demolished. 1 Palestinian was arrested during a late-night raid in Dhariyya. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolished 1 car repair shop in Jabal Mukabir. In Gaza, Israeli forces opened fire at agricultural lands east of Jabaliya refugee camp; no injuries were reported. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen within 3 nautical miles west of Bayt Lahiya; no injuries were reported. (HA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 12/22; WAFA 12/23; PCHR 12/24)

The Israeli military said that it would increase its presence in the West Bank because it believes that tensions will rise as 1 Israeli settler was found dead, believed to have been killed over the weekend. Israeli officials said they had recorded 13 attacks on Palestinians and Palestinian property since the settler was found dead on 12/20. (HA 12/22)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas discussed the prospect of an internationally-held peace process conference with Russian president Vladimir Putin via phone. The 2 also discussed the PA’s purchase of the Russian made COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V. (ALM, Kremlin, WAFA 12/22)

The Israeli Knesset was dissolved as the governing coalition could not agree to a 2020 state budget, resulting in a 4th round of Israeli elections in less than 2 years on 23 March 2021. (AJ, AP, BBC, HA, HA, 12/22; AJ, HA, HA, LT 12/23)

Special advisor to U.S. president Donald Trump Jared Kushner led a delegation of U.S. and Israeli officials to Morocco to discuss the details in the Moroccan-Israeli normalization deal. The U.S.-Israeli delegation met with Moroccan king Mohammed VI in Rabat. Haaretz reported that Morocco does not want a signing ceremony like Bahrain and the UAE have had with Israel, as it considers the normalization deal a resumption of past diplomatic relations. (AJ, AP, HA, HA, REU 12/22)

The EU contributed $5.6 million to the UNRWA. (WAFA 12/22)