Protection of Civilians Report | 20 June – 3 July 2017
Amid fluctuations in the sources of electricity supply, outages in the Gaza Strip continued during the reporting period for 18-20 hours per day, disrupting living conditions and undermining the provision of essential services. Since 21 June, fuel imported from Egypt has been entering Gaza via the Rafah crossing, allowing the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) to resume partial operation, after being shut down for the previous two months. However, this resumption only compensated for the 30-35 per cent reduction in electricity supply from Israel that began after 19 June, which was done at the request of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA). The restarting of the GPP did not result in an overall gain in the provision of electricity. Additionally, between 30 June and 2 July, the electricity supply from Egypt via feeder lines (15-20 per cent of the overall supply to Gaza) was not working, due to a technical malfunctioning.
On 3 July, humanitarian agencies in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) appealed to the international community to provide US$25 million in new humanitarian funding to stabilize the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. In a document presented to diplomats, agencies identified top-priority, life-saving interventions in the health, water, sanitation and hygiene, and food security sectors. “The coping capacities of Gaza’s families to deal with these types of shocks are seriously depleted as the cumulative impact of 10 years of isolation, division and insecurity take their toll,” said the Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt, Robert Piper.
On 26 June, a Palestinian armed group fired a projectile that landed in an open area inside Israel, resulting in no casualties or damage; this was followed by a series of Israeli airstrikes, which damaged two military sites inside Gaza. Also, on at least 15 occasions during the reporting period, Israeli forces opened warning fire at Palestinians present in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and at sea, with no injuries reported. Additionally, one Palestinian civilian was arrested by Israeli forces and another by the local Palestinian police in Gaza, allegedly while attempting to cross illegally into Israel.
Two Palestinian men were shot and killed by Israeli forces in two separate incidents in Jerusalem and Hebron, reportedly after they attacked Israeli forces; no Israeli injuries were reported in either incident. On 20 June, Israeli forces shot and killed a 23-year-old Palestinian man at the Jaba’ junction, northeast of Jerusalem, reportedly after he attempted to stab Israeli soldiers. His body is being withheld by the Israeli authorities, along with another five Palestinians killed in similar incidents in the previous months. Another 23-year-old Palestinian was killed by an Israeli undercover unit on 28 June in the H2 area of Hebron city, during a search and arrest operation; according to Israeli sources, the man carried an improvised weapon and was shot during an exchange of fire.
A total of 70 Palestinians, including ten children, were injured by Israeli forces during multiple clashes across the oPt. Eight of the injuries, including one child, occurred during protests and related confrontations next to the perimeter fence in the Gaza Strip. The rest of the injuries occurred in the West Bank in the context of six search and arrest operations; the weekly demonstration in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya); clashes at the entrance to Shu’fat refugee camp (East Jerusalem); and a funeral procession in the Old City of Jerusalem. Additionally, four Israeli soldiers were injured by Palestinians in two separate stone-throwing incidents in Al ‘Isawiya (Jerusalem) and in Beit Ummar village (Hebron), according to Israeli media reports.
On 27 June, Israel reduced the fishing zone along the southern Gaza coast back to six nautical miles (NM), after extending it to nine NM since 3 May on the occasion of the sardine season. The temporary expansion had led to a significant increase in the quantity and quality of the fishing catch, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture. Over 35,000 Palestinians depend on the fishing industry for their livelihoods.
The Israeli authorities dismantled and seized a solar panel system, and demolished, or forced owners to demolish, four other structures on the grounds of a lack of Israeli-issued building permits. The solar system, composed of 96 panels, was provided by an international humanitarian organization to the Area C community of Jubbet adh Dhib (Bethlehem) to supply electricity to its 27 families. Three other structures were demolished in the Jabal al Mukkabir and Al ‘Isawiya areas of East Jerusalem and one in the Area C community of Az Zayyem (Jerusalem governorate), displacing three Palestinians and affecting another 177.
In the same context, the Israeli authorities issued at least 38 demolition and stop-work orders against residential and livelihood-related structures in seven communities in Area C and East Jerusalem. Seven of these orders targeted Jabal al Baba (Jerusalem), one of the 46 Palestinian Bedouin communities in the central West Bank at risk of forcible transfer due to Israeli policies that create a coercive environment. Another seven structures targeted in the Shi’b al Butum community (Hebron) had been provided as humanitarian assistance and funded by the oPt Humanitarian Fund.
Some two hundred trees and saplings belonging to two Palestinian families from Burin (Nablus) were burned in two separate incidents by settlers from Yitzhar settlement, according to Palestinian sources. The livelihoods and security of some 20,000 Palestinians living in six villages surrounding Yitzhar, including Burin, have been undermined in recent years due to systematic settler violence and intimidation. Another seven trees belonging to a family from Turmus’ayya (Ramallah) were reportedly set on fire by settlers from Adei Ad settlement. Also during this period, a Palestinian man was physically assaulted and injured by Israeli settlers in the Old City of Jerusalem.
According to Israeli media reports, one Israeli settler woman was injured and four Israeli vehicles were damaged in four incidents of stone-throwing by Palestinians near Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem. An agriculture area was also set on fire by Palestinians who threw Molotov-cocktail at Karme Tzur settlement (near Hebron).
About 46,900 Palestinians with West Bank IDs entered East Jerusalem on the fourth Friday of Ramadan (23 June), and 56,500 for the Laylat al Qadr (Night of Destiny) celebration (21 June) through the four designated checkpoints along the Barrier, according to Israeli official figures. The criteria for access without permits remained the same as in the previous weeks; men above 40 years of age and women of all ages were allowed to enter Jerusalem without permits.
The Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing was exceptionally open during the reporting period, only for the entry of fuel, primarily the GPP (see above), but remained closed for the movement of passengers. According to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza, over 20,000 people, including humanitarian cases, are registered to pass through the crossing. It was last exceptionally opened for passengers on 9 May, bringing to 16 the number of days it has opened so far in 2017.