August 29, 2021

In the West Bank, Israeli forces blocked a road between Hebron and Qalqas. In East Jerusalem, 1 Palestinian family demolished their own home in Jabel Mukaber, displacing 7 people. In Gaza, Israeli forces attacked 2 targets near Jabalia refugee camp, claiming it was responding to incendiary balloons sent from Gaza to Israel. Israeli forces also later violently dispersed Palestinian protesters near the Gaza fence, injuring 1 with live ammunition; 17 others were also injured by rubber-coated bullets and tear gas. (AA, AJ, AP, HA, HILL, JP, MEE, MEMO, WAFA, WAFA 8/29; MEMO, WAFA, WAFA 8/30; PCHR 9/2)

Egypt reopened the Rafah crossing in both directions. (MEMO 8/29)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas met with Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz in Ramallah. According to the Israeli defense ministry, the 2 talked about security policy, civilian and economic issues, and measures Israel will take to strengthen the PA economy. According to Gantz’s office, among the agreements made were granting residency rights to Palestinians living in the West Bank without legal status and Israel’s providing the PA with an advance of its tax income of $155 million. Gantz also said after the meeting, “the stronger the Palestinian Authority is, the weaker Hamas will be.” Sources close to Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett said that there was no diplomatic process between Israel and the PA and that there would not be 1 during his time as prime minister. A Palestinian official said that Abbas asked Israel to stop conducting operations in Area A and allow family reunifications as part of efforts to improve the PA-Israel relations. Later at a PLO executive committee meeting, President Abbas said that he had told Defense Minister Gantz that the PA position on peace is based on the Arab peace initiative, and that PA wants Israel to release long-term Palestinian prisoners, return the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israel, end settlement construction, and curb settler attacks. Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri called the meeting dangerous and disrespectful. Islamic Jihad also condemned the meeting. The meeting was the 1st between President Abbas and an Israeli government official since 2010. (MEE, REU 8/29; AJ, ALM, AP, F24, HA, HA, HA, JP, NBC, REU, REU, TOI, WAFA, WAFA 8/30; ALM, MEMO, MEMO, MEMO 8/31; MEMO 9/1; ALM, HA 9/2)

Axios reported that former U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro had joined the U.S. state department as a liaison between U.S. envoy on Iran Robert Malley and Israel. (AX 8/29; JP 8/30; ALM, MEMO 8/31)