Protection of Civilians Report | 21 February - 6 March 2017
In the Gaza Strip, three Palestinian workers died and eleven were injured following the collapse of a smuggling tunnel under the border with Egypt on 24 February. Although most smuggling tunnels have been destroyed or blocked by the Egyptian authorities since 2013, some have reportedly remained operational. In the West Bank, a 22-year-old Palestinian man died after he jumped off the top of the Barrier and fell into a deep hole at a quarry, near Azzun Atma village (Qalqiliya), while Israeli forces were chasing him; the man was reportedly attempting to cross into Israel for work, without a permit.
On 1 March, an Israeli settler shot dead a 24-year-old Palestinian man who broke into his home in the Mor Farm settlement outpost (Hebron), after the Palestinian stabbed and injured him, according to Israeli media reports.
A 33-year-old Palestinian man was killed by Israeli forces during the course of an exchange of fire during a military operation, on 6 March in Al Bireh town (Ramallah). The incident triggered clashes that resulted in the injury of two Palestinians with live ammunition.
Overall, 57 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces across theWest Bank, including nine children and three women. Most of the injuries were recorded in the context of clashes during search and arrest operations, in protests held in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, and in the weekly demonstrations in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya) and Ni’lin villages (Ramallah). Also, in two separate incidents, two Palestinians, a man and woman, were shot and injured with live ammunition at Qalandiya checkpoint and at a flying-checkpoint at the entrance of Hizma village (both in Jerusalem), allegedly after they refused to stop when ordered by soldiers to do so. An Israeli soldier was also shot and injured while patrolling near Efrat settlement (Bethlehem).
In Gaza, on 27 February, four Palestinians, one of whom was a civilian, were injured during multiple Israeli air and land strikes east of Rafah, reportedly in response to the firing of a projectile by an armed group, which landed in an open area in southern Israel, causing no casualties or damage. Another projectile reportedly shot towards Israel fell short and landed inside Gaza.
Also in Gaza, on at least 44 occasions, Israeli forces opened warning or direct fire into the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and sea, leading to the injury of two Palestinian civilians, near the fence separating Israel and Gaza, reportedly while trying to infiltrate Israel. In the context of Israel’s enforcement of access restriction into the sea, five fishermen were detained by Israeli naval forces and their boat and fishing nets were seized. On two separate occasions, Israeli forces entered and carried out levelling and excavations inside Gaza, near the perimeter fence.
Between 28 February and 1 March, Israeli forces evacuated and demolished nine houses in the Ofra settlement (Ramallah), which were built on privately-owned Palestinian land, in compliance with an Israeli Supreme Court ruling. Clashes over the course of the evacuation resulted in the injury of 11 members of Israeli forces and 17 settler youths, according to an Israeli media report.
Six Palestinians were physically assaulted and injured by Israeli settlers in three separate incidents: four of them, including two children, while herding their sheep near ‘Otniel settlement (Hebron); one while working on his land next to Gilad Farm settlement outpost (Nablus); and another man while waking in the street in Huwwara town (Nablus). At least three incidents of stone-throwing by Israeli settlers were reported, resulting in damage to three Palestinian-owned vehicles.
One Israeli settler was injured and several vehicles damaged in at least 18 incidents of stone and Molotov cocktail-throwing by Palestinians at Israeli-plated vehicles, near Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem, according to Israeli media reports.
Also in the West Bank, four Palestinians, including two boys and two men were injured in three separate incidents involving the explosion of unexploded ordnance (UXO) left on the ground. The children, aged 14 and 15, were injured while herding their sheep near Al Mughayyir (Ramallah) and Khashm ad Daraj (Hebron) communities, while the two men when tampering with an UXO near Taffuh village (Hebron).
The Israeli authorities demolished two Palestinian-owned structures in Area C in the Hebron governorate and two in East Jerusalem, on the grounds of lack of building permits, displacing 23 Palestinians and affecting 50 others.
On two occasions, Israeli forces displaced for several hours each time, 30 families from two herding communities in the northern Jordan Valley (Khirbet Tana and Lifjim), during an Israeli military training exercise. In another community in the same area (Khirbet ar Ras al Ahmar), the authorities seized four agricultural vehicles, used for farming and for water supply. All these communities are located in an area designated as a “firing zone” for military training.
On 5 March, the Israeli authorities issued final demolition orders against almost all 140 structures in the Palestinian Bedouin community of Khan al Ahmar-Abu l Helu (Jerusalem governorate), including a donor-funded primary school serving around 170 children. This is one of the 46 Bedouin communities in the central West Bank, which Israel is seeking to relocate to three designated sites. Also, final demolition orders were issued against 13 structures in four communities in the Massafer Yatta area (Hebron), and against a donor-funded school in the Khirbet Tana community (Nablus).
The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was exceptionally opened for one day in both directions, allowing 581 Palestinians to leave and 566 to return to the Gaza Strip. According to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza, over 20,000 people, including humanitarian cases, are registered and waiting to cross, according to the Palestinian authorities in the Gaza Strip.