Protection of Civilians Report | 15 - 28 January 2019
On 30 January, a Palestinian girl (aged 16) was shot and killed by Israeli forces, reportedly after she attempted to stab a soldier at a checkpoint, east of Jerusalem.
On 29 January, after a three-week closure for exiting passengers, the Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing, between Gaza and Egypt, opened exceptionally to allow the exit of urgent cases.
Three Palestinians, including a child, were shot and killed by Israeli forces in three separate incidents in the West Bank. On 21 January, soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man at the Huwwara checkpoint (Nablus), reportedly after he attempted to stab a soldier; his body is still being withheld by Israeli forces. On 25 January, a 16-year-old boy was shot and killed, and another one injured, near Silwad village (Ramallah). According to Israeli sources the boys were throwing stones at Israeli vehicles when shot, while Palestinian sources indicated that they were playing. The same day, in East Jerusalem, the Israeli police opened fire and killed the driver of a vehicle suspected as stolen, reportedly after the driver, a 37-year old Palestinian man, did not abide by an order to stop. These incidents bring to 11 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank since the start of December 2018.
Israeli settlers shot and killed a Palestinian man, and injured another nine, after settlers attacked the village of Al Mughayyir, near Ramallah. On 26 January, armed Israeli settlers from the Adei Ad settlement outpost raided the village triggering clashes with residents, during which a 38-year-old Palestinian was shot in the back and killed, and another 15 Palestinians were injured. Nine of the injuries were caused by settlers and another six by Israeli forces that arrived to the site and clashed with the residents. According to media reports, Adei Ad settlers have claimed that earlier that day Palestinians stabbed a resident of the outpost and tried to drag him to the village. The Israeli authorities opened an investigation. In recent years, Al Mughayyir has been the target of systematic attacks and harassment originating from nearby settlements outposts, which were established without official Israeli authorization or building permits, but are protected and provided with services by the Israeli authorities.
Another four attacks by Israeli settlers resulted in Palestinian injuries or damage to Palestinian property. Two of the incidents involved the vandalizing of 50 olive trees, in Al Mughayyir (18 January) and in Surif village in Hebron (19 January). Additionally, three Palestinians, including a boy, were injured in stone-throwing incidents by settlers in the Old City of Hebron and in a farming area near Jibiya village (Ramallah). In 2018, OCHA recorded 280 incidents where Israeli settlers killed or injured Palestinians or damaged Palestinian property, including over 8,000 trees, marking a 77 per cent increase in the number of incidents compared with 2017.
Overall, 115 Palestinians, including ten children, were injured by Israeli forces in multiple clashes in West Bank towns and villages. Almost half of the injuries (52) occurred during clashes triggered by the entry of a large group of Israelis, accompanied by soldiers, to Nablus city, to visit a religious site (Joseph’s Tomb). Another 20 Palestinians were injured during search and arrest operations in Abu Dis town (Jerusalem), Balata refugee camp and Tell village (both in Nablus). Overall, Israeli forces conducted around 150 such operations, of which, 42 resulted in clashes. Two of the weekly protests against settler activities in Ras Karkar and Al Mughayyir villages (Ramallah) resulted in another ten injuries. Two other weekly protests, held in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem against the imminent eviction of a Palestinian family from its home, ended without injuries. Of total injuries during the period, 46 per cent were caused by physical assault, 34 per cent by tear gas inhalation requiring medical treatment, and the remaining by rubber bullets (12 per cent) and live ammunition (2 per cent).
150 Palestinian inmates and six members of Israeli forces were injured in clashes that took place in the Israeli prison of Ofer (Ramallah). The incident took place on 21 January, after Israeli forces raided the prison to search for mobile phones and other banned items and clashed with the prisoners. The number of Palestinian injuries was reported by the Palestinian prisoners’ club and Palestinian media outlets, while Israeli injuries were reported by Israeli media.
In the Gaza Strip, the ongoing ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations near the fence resulted in one Palestinian fatality and 703 injuries. On 25 January, a Palestinian man was shot and killed with live ammunition east of Rafah, bringing the total number of Palestinians killed in the protests since late March 2018 to 184. Of all injuries during the reporting period, 319 were hospitalized, including 83 people injured by live ammunition, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health and human rights organizations.
Also in Gaza, a member of an armed group was killed, and four others, as well as an Israeli soldier, were injured in incidents near the fence. Theincidents which took place on 22 January, east of Al Bureij refugee camp, involved Palestinian open-fire and Israeli airstrikes targeting a number of military sites and observation posts in the northern and southern areas.
On at least 27 occasions, outside of the demonstrations, Israeli forces opened warning fire in the Access Restricted Areas at land and sea in Gaza. As a result, a civilian (a teacher) and a member of an armed group were injured. On four occasions, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried out land-levelling and excavation operations in the vicinity of the perimeter fence, east of Gaza city and Rafah.
In the West Bank, the Israeli authorities demolished 20 Palestinian-owned structures, displacing 26 Palestinians, and affecting the livelihood of 54 others. Nineteen of the structures were demolished due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, six in East Jerusalem and 13 in Area C. The remaining structure was an apartment in Yatta town (Area A), that was exploded and destroyed on punitive grounds. The apartment was home to a Palestinian who stabbed and killed an Israeli settler in September 2018, and was subsequently, arrested after he was shot and injured.
The Israeli authorities uprooted 1,250 Palestinian-owned olive trees on grounds that they were planted in an area declared as ‘state land’, affecting the livelihood of six families. The incident occurred on 22 January in a farming area next to Safa village (Hebron), in the vicinity of the Bat Ayin settlement. The uprooted trees were between five and nine years old. An objection against the uprooting of the trees, filed by two of the families with an Israeli military court was previously dismissed.
On 28 January, Israel announced that it will not renew the mandate of international monitors in the Israeli-controlled part of Hebron city (H2). The Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), established in 1994, is the only actor with an explicit and dedicated mandate to document incidents in H2, and the only organization authorized to access on foot and with vehicles any part of the city, at any time. There is concern that its departure will generate a vacuum that may lead to an increase in settler violence and a deterioration in the living conditions of an already vulnerable population.
Palestinians threw stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli-plated vehicles in 11 incidents during the reporting period, causing damage to four cars, according to Israeli media reports. The incidents took place on the main roads in the Jerusalem, Ramallah, Nablus, Bethlehem and Hebron governorates.
The Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt remained closed for the exit of people. The partial closure is ongoing since 7 January, following the removal of the staff of the Palestinian Authority from the crossing due to disputes with Hamas. During the reporting period, the crossing was open in one direction (into Gaza) five days a week, allowing 1,485 people to enter. Between May and December 2018, the crossing has opened five days a week on a regular basis.