Protection of Civilians Report | 1 - 14 January 2019
A Palestinian woman and a Palestinian boy were killed by Israeli forces during the Friday demonstrations near the perimeter fence in Gaza, and 528 others were injured. The woman, 44-years-old, was shot with live ammunition and killed, while the child, 13-years-old, was hit by a tear gas canister in the head and injured, both while participating in a demonstration east of Gaza city on 11 January; the boy succumbed to his wounds three days later. These incidents bring the number of child fatalities during the Gaza protests since March 2018 to 36, and female fatalities to three. Also, on 13 January, a Palestinian man died of wounds sustained during protests in late October. Of the people injured during the reporting period, 292 were hospitalized, including 67 of them hit by live ammunition; the rest were treated in the field, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza. One Israeli soldier was also injured by stones thrown by Palestinian protestors.
On at least 27 occasions outside of the “Great March of Return” events, Israeli forces opened warning fire in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and at sea in Gaza, resulting in the injury of three farmers. On two separate incidents, Israeli naval forces detained four fishermen for a short time and confiscated two boats. On four other occasions, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried our land-levelling and excavation operations in the vicinity of the perimeter fence.
On 6 January, balloons loaded with an explosive device were launched from Gaza and landed in southern Israel. The device exploded while being neutralized by Israeli forces, resulting in no casualties or damage. Following that, Israeli forces carried out a number of airstrikes in Gaza targeting military facilities, with no casualties reported.
In the West Bank, 138 Palestinians, including at least 29 children, were injured by Israeli forces during multiple protests and clashes. Three-quarters of these injuries (98) occurred during clashes triggered by search and arrest operations in Al Bireh and Ramallah cities. Overall, Israeli forces conducted 175 such operations, an two per cent increase compared to the 2018 bi-weekly average. Another 31 injuries were recorded during the protests against access restrictions and settlement expansion on Palestinian land in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya), Ras Karkar and Al Mughayyir (both in Ramallah). Of the total number of injuries, ten were caused by live ammunition, 59 by rubber bullets and 57 as a result of tear-gas inhalation or direct hits by tear gas canisters, which required medical treatment.
Two Palestinians, a man and a woman, were shot and injured by Israeli forces in two separate incidents, reportedly after they attempted to stab soldiers; no Israelis were injured. The incidents occurred on 7 and 11 January at Za'tara checkpoint (Nablus) and at the entrance of Giv’at Ha’avot settlement in the H2 area of Hebron city. The two suspected perpetrators were arrested.
Thirteen Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized on grounds of lack of building permits, displacing ten Palestinians and otherwise affecting over 100 others. In the Area C herding community of As Simiya (Hebron), the Israeli authorities seized, for the second time, three tents serving as a school for 45 students, installed to replace a school, which was not yet operational, demolished in December 2018. A residential caravan and a latrine provided as humanitarian assistance in response to previous demolitions were also seized in the herding community of Imreiha (Jenin). Also in Area C, six structures were demolished in Beit Iksa village (Jerusalem). In East Jerusalem, one Palestinian house was demolished on the Jerusalem side of Qalandiya village, and residents were forced to demolish an extension of a house in Jabal al Mukabbir.
A Palestinian refugee family is at heightened risk of forced eviction from its home in East Jerusalem, following an Israeli court ruling in favor of a settler organization claiming ownership over the land. The home is located in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, where the family moved in with UN support in the 1950s. Some 3,500 Israeli settlers currently live in Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem, after taking control of properties with the support of the Israeli authorities. Over 800 Palestinians in these areas have pending eviction cases filed by settler organizations.
Clashes between Israeli forces and settlers, which occurred during the evacuation of a settlement outpost in the Ramallah area, resulted in the injury of 24 policemen and three settlers. The incident occurred on 3 January in the Amona outpost, which was partially rebuilt after its evacuation and demolition in early 2017, which followed an Israeli court ruling that determined that the land is privately owned by Palestinians. Despite that, the land owners have never been allowed to access their land again.
Three Palestinians were injured and more than 1,000 trees and 11 vehicles were vandalized or damaged in attacks by Israeli settlers. An 11 years-old Palestinian boy was shot with live ammunition an injured by Israeli soldiers during clashes that erupted following a raid by Israeli settlers into Urif village (Nablus). In two separate incidents in the Hebron governorate, Israeli settlers unleashed a dog injuring a Palestinian man (in Khirbet Um al Imad), and physically assaulted and injured another man in Massafer Yatta. In ten separate incidents, according to community sources, Israeli settlers vandalized at least 1,030 olive and other types of trees in the villages of Battir (Bethlehem); Ash Shuyukh, At Tuwani, Tarqumiya and the H2 area of Hebron (all in Hebron); Turmus’ayya (Ramallah); Wadi Qana and Deir Istiya (Salfit); and Burqa (Nablus). Five incidents of stone-throwing by Israeli settlers at Palestinians resulted in damage to 11 vehicles, but no injuries.
Four Israeli settlers, including a woman, were injured, and at least eight vehicles were damaged, during several stone-throwing and one shooting incident by Palestinians, according to Israeli media reports. The stone-throwing incidents took place on roads near Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jerusalem and Jericho. An Israeli bus driver was injured with glass shrapnel, reportedly after Palestinians opened fire towards the bus as it was travelling on Road 466, near Beit El settlement (Ramallah).
Two main routes into Ramallah city were partially reopened, after being blocked for nearly a month. On 11 January, the ‘DCO checkpoint’, the main entrance to the city from the east, was partially opened in one direction (exit from Ramallah) for some categories of Palestinians. On 14 January, a gate blocking the main route into Ramallah from the west (Deir Ibzi’ gate) was reopened. These and other routes into Ramallah were closed on 6 and 13 December 2018, in the latter case following a Palestinian shooting attack in the area that killed two Israeli soldiers.
On 2 January, the Israel authorities expanded the permissible fishing zone to 12 nautical miles along part of Gaza’s coast, in the middle area. Access along the northern and southern areas remain limited to six miles. This the first time since 2002 that fishermen are allowed to reach such a distance. The expansion is expected to increase the volume and quality of the fishing catch.
In Gaza, clashes erupted between the Hamas police and Fatah activists. The incident occurred on 1 January during an event commemorating the anniversary of the Fatah movement. Human Rights groups reported that dozens of Fatah affiliated people were summoned by the Hamas security forces.
The Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt was opened for 4 days in both directions and another 5 days in one direction (entering Gaza only). The latter partial opening followed the Palestinian Authority’s decision on 7 January to withdrew its personnel from the crossing following a rise in tensions with Hamas. A total of 1,781 people entered Gaza and 990 exited. The crossing has been almost continuously open, five days a week, since 12 May 2018.