Protection of Civilians Report | 11-24 September 2018
Nine Palestinians, including three children, were killed by Israeli forces during events related to the ‘Great March of Return’ in the Gaza Strip, and another 829 were injured. Four of the fatalities, including three men and one boy, were killed during demonstrations that took place on Friday 14 and 21 September near the fence, which have witnessed a significant increase in the overall number of participants. The other Palestinian fatalities were recorded during additional events that have begun to take place on a regular basis, including night demonstrations near the fence (a man and a boy killed); attempts to break the naval blockade (one male fatality); and demonstrations near the Erez passenger crossing with Israel (one male fatality). Another 16-year-old boy died of wounds sustained during a previous demonstration in early August (not included in the total). Of the people injured during the reporting period, 629 were hospitalized, including 261 people (41 per cent) hit by live ammunition and the rest were treated in the field, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza. From the total number of injuries, there were 97 children, of which, 59 were hit with live ammunition, and six women, including three hit with live ammunition.
Additionally, during the 14 September demonstrations an Israeli soldier was injured and an UNRWA school damaged. According to Israeli sources, Palestinians threw a number of Molotov cocktails and two hand grenades at Israeli forces deployed at the fence, injuring one soldier. Israeli forces fired a tank shell at an area east of Khan Younis that hit the wall of an UNRWA school, damaging two classrooms; no injuries were reported, but classes were suspended for one day.
Another two Palestinians, including a 16-year-old child were killed during an Israeli airstrike targeting a group of Palestinians who approached the security fence at night. The incident occurred on 17 September, northeast of Khan Younis. For cumulative casualty figures and breakdowns since the beginning of the demonstrations, see here.
In at least 33 incidents outside the context of demonstrations, Israeli forces opened fire in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and at sea areas, off the coast of Gaza. No casualties were reported, but the work of farmers and fishermen was disrupted. In two separate incidents; three fishermen and one boy were detained, the latter, reportedly as he was attempting to infiltrate into Israel. Additionally, on four occasions, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried out land-levelling and excavation operations near the perimeter fence.
A Palestinian alleged perpetrator and an Israeli settler killed in two reported stabbing attacks in the West Bank. On 16 September, a 17-year-old Palestinian boy stabbed and killed an Israeli settler at the Gush Etzion junction (Hebron), and was subsequently shot and injured and then arrested by Israeli forces. On a separate incident on 18 September, a 26-year-old Palestinian man was shot and killed by Israeli forces after he reportedly attempted to stab an Israeli man, following a confrontation in East Jerusalem; no Israeli injuries were reported. The body of the latter has been withheld by the Israeli authorities, along with the bodies of at least another 16 killed in similar incidents in previous months. Since the beginning of 2018, seven Israelis and seven Palestinian perpetrators and alleged perpetrators have been killed during Palestinian attacks and alleged attacks.
Also in the West Bank, 103 Palestinians, including 56 children, were injured by Israeli forces in multiple incidents. Fourteen of the injuries, including two children, were reported during demonstrations in Ras Karkar (Ramallah), against the construction of a new settler road on privately-owned Palestinian land; during the weekly demonstrations against settlement expansion and access restrictions in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya), and against the Barrier and settlement expansion in Bil’in (Ramallah). For the second successive week, in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city, Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters into the yard of a school, injuring 49 children and one teacher. According to Israeli sources, this followed the throwing of stones from the school compound at Israeli forces. Another 19 Palestinians were injured in three incidents of clashes with Israeli forces, following the entrance of Israelis to religious sites in the West Bank.
On 18 September, a 24-year-old Palestinian man died in Israeli custody after being allegedly beaten during his arrest. The arrest took place earlier that day, at his home in Beit Rima village (Ramallah). The findings of an autopsy carried out by the Israeli authorities are yet to be officially released. Overall, Israeli forces conducted 132 search operations across the West Bank, six of which triggered clashes, resulting in fifteen of the above injuries. A total of 128 Palestinians, including 15 children were arrested. The Hebron governorate recorded the highest number of operations.
Citing the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, the Israeli authorities demolished or forced people to demolish ten structures in Area C and East Jerusalem. Five of the targeted structures were built by activists in solidarity with the Bedouin community of Khan al Ahmar- Abu al Helu, at risk of mass demolitions and forcible transfer (see below) and four structures were in Rantis village (Ramallah), all of which were non-residential. In East Jerusalem, a Palestinian family was forced to self-demolished an extension to their home, displacing four children. At least eight additional structures, in three communities in Area C were issued demolition and stop-work orders on similar grounds.
On 23 September, the Israeli authorities officially warned the residents of Khan al Ahmar-Abu al Helu community that they must self-demolish their homes and other structures by 1 October, otherwise the authorities will do so. The warning follows a final ruling by the Israeli High Court of Justice on 5 September allowing the demolitions to proceed. The warning also notifies residents that the authorities will provide assistance to those abiding by the order, including transportation to a relocation site. In the meantime, on 14 September, the authorities blocked the main dirt road leading to the community, triggering clashes with activists, and, on 21 September, denied access of a mobile health clinic to the community.
Nine attacks by Israeli settlers and other Israelis resulted in three Palestinian injuries and damage to Palestinian property. In the H2 area of Hebron city, Israeli settlers assaulted with pepper spray an 11-year-old Palestinian boy playing near his home. Another two Palestinians were stoned and injured by Israeli settlers near Jamma’in village (Salfit). Some 200 olive trees were reportedly vandalized by Israeli settlers in three separate incidents in At Tuwani (Hebron) and Al Mania (Bethlehem). In another four separate incidents in Khallet Sakariya (Bethlehem) and Jalud (Nablus), Israeli settlers vandalized Palestinian vehicles, including the spraying of “price tag” graffiti and puncturing the tires of five vehicles. Settler violence has been on the rise since the beginning of 2018, with a weekly average of five attacks resulting in injuries or property damage, compared with an average of three in 2017 and two in 2016.
On at least four occasions, Palestinians threw stones at Israeli-plated vehicles in the West Bank near Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Ramallah, causing damage to at least four private vehicles, according to Israeli sources; one Israeli settler was injured in one of these incidents in Jerusalem.
The Israeli authorities announced the closure of the Erez passenger crossing with the Gaza Strip between 24 September and 2 October, on the occasion of the Jewish holidays. This will affect all Palestinians holding permits, except emergency cases.
The Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt opened in both directions for nine days, and in one direction (into Gaza) only for one day. A total of 1,946 were allowed to enter Gaza and another 2,966 people exited.