Thursday, August 19, 2021

In the West Bank, Israeli forces violently dispersed Palestinian protesters in Beita, injuring 2 with rubber-coated bullets. Israeli forces also leveled agricultural land near Bethlehem. 13 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Shufa, Dheisheh refugee camp, al-Khader, Beit Fajjar, ‘Anata, and Dura. In East Jerusalem, 1 Palestinian was arrested during a house raid in al-Tur. In West Jerusalem, 5 Jewish Israelis attacked 1 Palestinian man, stabbing and beating him while he was on his way home after work. Off the coast of Gaza, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen within 3 nautical miles west of al-Sudaniyya; no injuries were reported. (WAFA 8/19; MEMO, MEMO 8/20; PCHR 8/26; TOI 8/29)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas spoke to South African president Cyril Ramaphosa, thanking him for his support of Palestine. South Africa has been 1 of the most vocal opponents of the African Union decision to readmit Israel as an observer state on 7/22. (WAFA 8/19)

PA prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh met with UN special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland in Ramallah. Prime Minister Shtayyeh stressed that all aid to Palestine must go through the PA. Later, Qatar announced that an agreement to transfer Qatari aid to Palestinian families had been made and that the process does not involve the PA. The agreement that will remain in effect until the end of 2021 will see some 100,000 Palestinian families in Gaza receiving a monthly stipend of $100 from Qatar, which will be transferred to banks in Gaza via a UN bank account in New York. The UN World Food Programme provides ATM cards to the Palestinians in Gaza for the aid and Israel will approve the list of Palestinian families eligible. Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz said a separate mechanism would be set up for Palestinians in the West Bank where the PA will distribute funds. Haaretz sources said that part of the reason the PA was circumvented in the process of providing aid to Gaza was due to the possible legal procedures against the PA if aid money was provided to people affiliated with Hamas. Hamas later praised the agreement. (HA 8/17; AJ, ALM, AP, HA, NYT, REU, WAFA 8/19; AJ, HA, JP, MEE, MEMO 8/20)

Israel’s foreign and alternate prime minister, Yair Lapid, told Israeli Channel 11 that there will not be a 2-state solution during the current government. Foreign Minister Lapid said that a 2-state solution is his preferred outcome, but that there is not any agreement for it within the current government. (JP 8/20)

Israeli forces used Lebanese air space to attack areas surrounding Damascus and Homs in Syria, allegedly killing 8, including 4 civilians. Lebanese defense minister Zeina Akar condemned Israel for violating its air space and flying at low altitudes. (AJ, AP, HA, TOI 8/19; MEE 8/20)

A shipment of Iranian fuel embarked toward Lebanon after a group of Shiite businessmen with help from Hezbollah bought the fuel. Lebanon has suffered a severe fuel shortage in recent months as its economy continues to deteriorate. Lebanese president Michel Aoun said that the U.S. will help Lebanon with its fuel shortage by providing electricity through Egyptian natural gas via Jordan and Syria. (AJ, AP, HA, MEMO, REU, REU 8/19; HA, MEMO 8/20)