Protection of Civilians Report | 29 August – 11 September 2017
A 21-year-old Palestinian man, who was shot and injured by Israeli forces on 9 August during clashes in Ad Duheisha refugee camp (Bethlehem), died of his wounds. The Israeli authorities withheld his body for five days before releasing it for burial. This brings the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces during violent clashes in the West Bank since the beginning of 2017 to 19, of whom six were children.
64 Palestinians, including eleven children, were injured by Israeli forces during clashes in the West Bank (61 injuries) and Gaza (three injuries). At least six of the injuries were by live ammunition, 26 by rubber bullets, and most of the rest by tear gas inhalation that required medical treatment. Most of the clashes resulting in injuries occurred during search and arrest operations, the largest of which took place in Al ‘Ezariya town (Jerusalem); in the context of weekly protest against access restrictions, mainly in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya) and near the Israeli perimeter fence in Gaza; and following the entry of Israeli settlers and other worshippers to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus City. Additionally, Israeli forces shot and injured, and subsequently arrested, a 60-year-old Palestinian woman after she reportedly attempted to stab soldiers at the Ni’lin checkpoint (Ramallah); no Israeli injuries were reported.
Rolling power cuts between 18 and 20 hours per day continued throughout the reporting period across the Gaza Strip, disrupting routine life and undermining the provision of basic services.Distribution of some 950,000 liters of emergency fuel by the UN to support the operation of more than 200 critical health, WASH and solid waste facilities during September, began. This is funded by the oPt Humanitarian Fund (HF) and UN Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF).On 31 August, two out of the three electricity feeder lines from Egypt resumed operation after two months of malfunctioning, increasing electricity supply to the southern area of the Gaza Strip.
On 31 August, the Israeli Military Commander for the West Bank issued a military order establishing a new municipal body to administer the Israeli settlements established in the centre of Hebron City. Since the end of 2015, this area has been declared a closed military zone, isolating the approximately 2,000 Palestinians living there from the rest of the city, severely undermining their living conditions. There is concern that the recent development will further tighten the coercive environment on Palestinians residents, heightening the risk of forcible transfer.Also during the reporting period, Israeli forces closed and seized broadcasting equipment of a radio station in Hebron city, and delivered a closure order for six months.
On 5 September, following protracted legal proceedings, Israeli forces forcibly evicted a Palestine refugee family of eight, including one child and a disabled, elderly man, from their home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, where they had been living since 1964. Immediately after, the property was handed over to Israeli settlers, who claimed ownership from before 1948, based on an Israeli law legislated for that purpose. Over 800 Palestinians in East Jerusalem are at risk of eviction from their homes due to legal cases filed at Israeli courts, primarily by Israeli settler organizations.
In Area C of the West Bank, four Palestinian-owned structures, including a shelter provided as humanitarian assistance, were demolished or confiscated on grounds of lack of Israeli-issued building permits, which are almost impossible to obtain. As a result, four people were displaced, including three children, and 61 people were otherwise affected. Citing usage for illegal construction, the Israeli authorities also seized three bulldozers working on two donor-funded rehabilitation projects in two communities in Hebron (Khalet Athaba’a and As Samu’).
Also in Area C, the Israeli authorities issued at least 25 demolition and stop-work orders against residential and livelihood-related structures in four communities. Two of these orders targeted Khirbet al Fakhit, one of the 46 Palestinian Bedouin communities in the central West Bank at risk of forcible transfer. Another eight structures targeted in the community of Birin (Hebron) had been provided as humanitarian assistance and funded by the oPt Humanitarian Fund.
On at least five occasions, Israeli forces opened warning fire at farmers and fisher men in Gaza’s Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and sea, resulting in no injuries, but disrupting their livelihoods. On two separate occasions, Israeli forces carried out levelling and excavation activities along the perimeter fence inside Gaza. The Israeli authorities also arrested at the Erez Crossing a patient travelling for medical treatment and a university lecturer travelling to participate in a scientific project.
Four Israeli settler-related incidents resulting in Palestinian injury or property damage were recorded during the reporting period. A 15-year-old Palestinian child was physically assaulted, stripped of his clothes and injured by a group of about 20 Israeli settlers, while he was playing next to his house in Burqa village, close to the evacuated settlement of Homesh (Nablus); the child was found unconscious and evacuated to a hospital. A 55-year-old Palestinian woman was stoned by Israeli settlers and injured in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city (H2).At least 43 Palestinian-owned olive trees were vandalized, reportedly by Israeli settlers from the Rechelim settlement(Nablus), in an area next to the settlement, where Palestinian access requires prior-coordination with the Israeli authorities. In Jalud (Nablus), Israeli settlers accompanied by Israeli forces bulldozed a plot of cultivated land belonging to Palestinians.
Nine incidents of stone-throwing at Israeli vehicles in the West Bank resulted in damage to at least four vehicles, without injury, according to Israeli media reports.
During the reporting period, the Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing opened on three days in one direction, allowing 2,055 Palestinian pilgrims to return back to the Gaza Strip. During 2017, the crossing was partially opened for only 26 days. Over 20,000 people including humanitarian cases are registered and waiting to cross, according to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza.