Protection of Civilians Report | 16-29 May 2017

Biweekly highlights

  • The Gaza electricity crisis deepened, with Palestinian authorities in Ramallah reportedly announcing a cut in funding for electricity delivered from Israel. If implemented, this would further extend the existing scheduled power cuts of 18-20 to over 22 hours a day. In the meantime, the Gaza Power Plant, which shut down on 16 April after exhausting its fuel reserves, has remained closed. The Ministry of Health in Gaza announced that at least a third of surgeries are now being postponed, due to the worsening electricity crisis and the growing shortage of medical supplies. Also, Gaza is expected to suffer a lack of necessary food items, combined with a stark rise in some food prices during the upcoming summer season, due to lack of power and/or fuel for irrigation. The situation continues to undermine the delivery of essential services, which are operating at minimal levels and rely primarily on backup generators.
  • On 25 May, the Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip executed three men convicted by a special “field military court” of involvement in the murder of a Hamas senior member on 24 March 2017, as well as on charges of “collaboration with an enemy party”. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights strongly condemned the executions and stated that they amount to an “arbitrary deprivation of life”.

  • Two Palestinian attacks and alleged attacks resulted in the killing of two suspected perpetrators, including a child, and the injury of an Israeli policeman. On 22 May, Israeli forces shot and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian boy at a checkpoint southeast of Jerusalem (“the Container”), allegedly after he attempted to stab a border policeman, resulting in no injuries. On 23 May, a 45-year-old Palestinian man stabbed and injured an Israeli policeman in the city of Netanya (Israel) and was subsequently shot and injured; he died of his wounds two days later. Also, a 14-year-old girl was apprehended at Qalandia checkpoint (Jerusalem) for allegedly carrying a knife.
  • A 16-year-old Palestinian girl died of gun-shot wounds sustained on 15 March, after she crashed the car she was driving into a settler bus stop at the Gush Etzion junction (Hebron). This brings the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the context of Palestinian attacks and alleged attacks, as well as clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank in 2017 to 18, including eight children.
  • On 18 May, a 21-year-old Palestinian man was shot and killed by an Israeli settler, who also injured another Palestinian. The incident occurred during a demonstration in solidarity with Palestinians prisoners, in a section of Road 60, crossing the built up area of Huwwara village (Nablus). Video footage indicates that the settler ran over demonstrators who blocked his vehicle, following which, Palestinians threw stones at the vehicle and the settler opened fire. The Israeli Police announced that no investigation will be opened into this case. A day before, another Palestinian youth was shot and injured by an Israeli settler in similar circumstances on Road 60 near Silwad village (Ramallah).
  • Following the killing incident in Huwwara, settlers from Yitzhar settlement set on fire 250 olive trees and one bulldozer, physically assaulted a Palestinian herder, and threw stones at Palestinian vehicles, damaging at least four of them. The livelihoods and security of some 20,000 Palestinians living in six villages surrounding Yitzhar (Burin, Urif, Huwwara, Madama, Asira al Qibliye, and Ein Abus) have been undermined in recent years due to settler violence and intimidation.
  • Six Israeli settlers were injured and at least 16 vehicles damaged in multiple incidents of stone-throwing by Palestinians near Jerusalem, Ramallah, Hebron and Bethlehem, according to Israeli media reports.
  • 293 Palestinians, including 54 children, were injured in clashes with Israeli forces across the oPt, mainly during demonstrations in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike. The strike, carried out to demand improved prison conditions and family visit arrangements, ended on 27 May, after 40 days. At least 33 of the injuries (11 per cent) were caused by live ammunition, while most of the remainder were caused by tear gas inhalation (nearly 50 per cent) and rubber bullets (almost 30 per cent).
  • Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces next to Gaza’s perimeter fence, resulting in the injury of 16 Palestinians; another two Palestinians present in the Access Restricted Area (ARA) near the fence were also shot and injured. Overall Israeli forces opened fired in the ARA at land and sea on 27 occasions during the reporting period.
  • The Israeli authorities announced the easing of access restrictions on the occasion of the Muslim month of Ramadan, which started on 27 May. These include the issuing of some 200,000 family visit permits for East Jerusalem and Israel for Palestinians for the duration of Ramadan without age limits and without requirement of a magnetic card. On Fridays as well as Leylet al-Qadr, men above the age of 40, children under 12, and women of all ages will be allowed to enter East Jerusalem without permits. Broader openings and easing of restrictions will be applied at key checkpoints leading to East Jerusalem, and 500 permits will be issued for West Bank ID holders to use the Ben Gurion Airport. Regarding Gaza residents, up to 100 permits will be issued to reach the Friday prayers in East Jerusalem, for people above 55 years of age, and up to 300 permits will be issued for ‘special groups’ for the duration of Ramadan.
  • The decline in demolitions and seizures in Area C and East Jerusalem continues, with only one incident recorded. A Palestinian family was forced to self-demolish an extension of their house, in the area of Beit Hanina, in East Jerusalem, on grounds of lack of an Israeli-issued building permit, displacing three children, and affecting the livelihoods of three others.
  • The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was closed in both directions during the entire reporting period. According to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza, over 20,000 people, including humanitarian cases, are registered and waiting to pass through the Crossing. The Crossing was last exceptionally opened on 9 May, bringing to 16 the number of days it was opened in 2017.