Protection of Civilians Report | 27 December 2016 – 9 January 2017

Latest Development

  • In the aftermath of the 8 January attack (see below), the Israeli authority’s demolished four structures in the Jabal al Mukabber area of East Jerusalem, and issued warning notices against dozens of homes belonging to the extended family of the perpetrator, citing lack of building permits. The Israeli Ministry of Interior also expressed its intention to revoke the family unification permits of at least 14 members of the extended family. The family home of the perpetrator was reportedly measured by the authorities in advance of its punitive demolition. These measures have placed dozens of Palestinians at risk of displacement.
  • On 10 January, during a search operation in Al Far’a refugee camp (Tubas), Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man; the circumstances remained disputed.

Biweekly highlights

  • On 8 January, a 28-year-old Palestinian man drove a truck into a group of Israeli soldiers gathered at the promenade viewpoint, next to East Talpiot settlement in East Jerusalem, killing three female and one male soldiers and injuring 15 other soldiers. The perpetrator, from the nearby Jabal al Mukabber area, was shot and killed on the spot and his body has been withheld by the Israeli authorities. The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, strongly condemned the attack. Also in East Jerusalem (Qalandiya checkpoint), on 30 December, Israeli forces shot and injured a 35-year-old Palestinian woman, who, according to Israeli sources, walked towards them with a knife and refused to stop. In 2016, 13 Israelis, along with 80 Palestinian perpetrators and alleged perpetrators, were killed in attacks and alleged attacks by West Bank Palestinians.
  • The Israeli authorities demolished or seized 86 structures in Area C and East Jerusalem on the grounds of the lack of building permits, displacing 160 Palestinians, including 91 children, and affecting more than 370 others. The largest incident took place in the herding community of Khirbet Tana (Nablus), involving the demolition of 49 residential and livelihood-related structures, including 30 structures previously provided as humanitarian assistance. The community is located in an area designated by the Israeli authorities as a “firing zone” for military training. Such areas constitute nearly 30 per cent of Area C and are inhabited by more than 6,200 Palestinians. The number of structures targeted in the first week of 2017 is over three times higher than the weekly average for 2016, which recorded more demolitions than in any year since OCHA began systematically monitoring in 2009.
  • Israeli forces injured 34 Palestinians, including eight children, during multiple clashes across the West Bank. These included clashes during four separate search and arrest operations; at the weekly demonstration in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya), Ni’lin and Bil’in (Ramallah); at the entrance of Ar Ram town (Jerusalem) and Tuqu’ village (Bethlehem); and in two funeral processions in Hebron city, following the return of the bodies of two Palestinians suspected of attacks against Israelis, which had been withheld for more than 100 days.
  • In total, the bodies of four Palestinians suspected of attacks against Israelis were handed over to their families during this period; the bodies of another eight suspected perpetrators are still being withheld by the Israeli authorities, some for up to eight months.
  • On 4 January, remains of the body of a Palestinian fisherman were found along the coast of Gaza, three days after Israeli naval forces reportedly collided and damaged his boat, causing it to capsize. Overall, on at least 22 occasions during the reporting period, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinians present in, or approaching the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and sea. On another occasion, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried out land-levelling operations
  • Israeli forces conducted 161 search and/or arrest operations and arrested 212 Palestinians in the West Bank, including 12 arrested at ‘flying’ checkpoints and during demonstrations. The Jerusalem governorate accounted for the highest portion of operations (44) and of people arrested (71, of whom 19 are children).
  • Israeli settlers moved into two empty buildings in the Silwan area of East Jerusalem, reportedly after they purchased the properties from their Palestinian owners. Silwan has been the target of intense settlement activity and initiatives, which include a plan for a tourist complex in the Al Bustan neighbourhood, which, if implemented, would displace more than 1,000 Palestinian residents; hundreds of additional residents are at-risk of displacement due to eviction cases initiated by settler organizations in the same area.
  • On multiple occasions during the reporting period, Israeli settlers and other Israeli groups entered various religious sites in the West Bank, triggering altercations and clashes with Palestinians, which ended with no injuries. The affected sites included the Al Haram Ash Sharif/Temple Mount compound in East Jerusalem, a shrine in Kifl Haris village (Salfit), and Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus city.
  • Israeli media reported nine incidents of stone-and-Molotov cocktail-throwing attacks by Palestinians at Israeli settler vehicles or houses, none of which resulted in casualties, but damages to several vehicles were reported.
  • The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was closed in both directions during the reporting period. During 2016, the crossing was partially opened for only 44 days. Over 20,000 people including humanitarian cases, are registered and waiting to cross, according to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza.