Protection of Civilians Report | 30 January – 12 February 2018
A 16-year-old Palestinian boy was killed by Israeli forces in Al Mughayyir village during a stone-throwing incident on 30 January (Ramallah). The boy was shot in the head with a rubber bullet, after he reportedly threw stones at Israeli military vehicles that had entered the village. The Israeli authorities announced the opening of a Military Police investigation. This is the fourth Palestinian boy killed since the beginning of 2018 in a stone-throwing incident in the oPt; the other children were killed in Iraq Burin (Nablus), Deir Nidham (Ramallah) and in Al Bureij refugee camp (Deir Al-Balah)
One Israeli settler and one Palestinian were killed in two separate stabbing attacks. On 5 February, a 29-year-old Israeli settler was stabbed and killed at Ariel junction (Salfit); the perpetrator, reportedly a 19-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel, fled the scene. On 7 February, an 18-year-old Palestinian youth stabbed and injured the security guard of Karmei Tsur settlement (Hebron), and was subsequently shot and killed by another security guard; his body was withheld by Israeli forces. On 12 February, two Israeli soldiers were injured after they unwittingly entered Jenin city, where they were surrounded and stoned by a large group of Palestinians, before they were rescued by Palestinian policemen.
Three Palestinian men were shot and killed by Israeli forces during three separate search and arrest operations. Two of these incidents, which took place on 3 and 6 February in Birqin and Yamun villages (both in Jenin), were reportedly aimed at arresting the suspected perpetrators of a shooting attack on 9 January that resulted in the killing of an Israeli settler. The fatality in Yamoun was reportedly armed when killed, and according the Israeli authorities, was involved in the 9 January attack. Another man accused of involvement in the same attack was killed by Israeli forces during a search operation on 18 January. The third fatality during this period, a 19-year-old man, was killed on 6 February during clashes with Israeli forces in Nablus city, which erupted during a search and arrest operation aimed at arresting the suspected perpetrator of the stabbing attack at Ariel junction (see above).
Overall, Israeli forces conducted 211 search and arrest operations across the West Bank, of which, at least seven triggered clashes resulting in injuries (see below). In total, 330 Palestinians, including at least 51 children, were detained during these operations. In Al ‘Isawiya neighborhood in East Jerusalem, residents have been holding demonstrations and performing Friday prayers at the entrance in protest against recurrent search and arrest operations by Israeli forces.
464 Palestinians, of whom at least 92 were children, were injured by Israeli forces in clashes throughout the oPt. 365 injuries, (78 per cent) were in the context of demonstrations against the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on 6 December 2017. Of the total injuries, 85 were reported near the Gaza perimeter fence and the rest were in the West Bank, with the largest numbers recorded in Al Bireh city near the Beit El DCO, followed by Huwwara checkpoint (Nablus), and near the northern entrance of Qalqiliya city. Most of the other injuries (147) were recorded during search and arrest operations, the largest of which took place in Nablus city and involved the killing of a 19-year-old Palestinian (see above), Beita village (Nablus), followed by Birqin and Al Yamun villages (both in Jenin). Similar to the previous reporting period, more than half of the injuries (245 or 53 per cent) were caused by tear gas inhalation requiring medical treatment, followed by injuries by rubber bullets (122 or 26 per cent).
On 7 February, 58 school children and two teachers were injured due to tear gas inhalation in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city (H2), and classes at five schools were disrupted. According to Israeli sources, Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters in response to stone-throwing by children at Israeli settler vehicles. Classes in the five schools were suspended for the rest of the day, affecting over 1,200 students. Also in the H2 area, three Palestinians were physically assaulted and injured by Israeli soldiers in confrontations that occurred at different checkpoints.
On 5 February, Israeli forces conducted a military training exercise next to the Al Farisiya Ihmayyer herding community in the northern Jordan Valley, damaging around seven dunums of cultivated land, and resulting in a four-month-old baby being transported to hospital. The community is located in an Israeli-declared ‘firing zone’ and is considered to be at high risk of forcible transfer. Firing zones cover almost 30 per cent of Area C and are home to around 6,200 people in 38 communities, who face high levels of humanitarian need.
On three separate occasions, Palestinian armed groups in Gaza reportedly fired three projectiles at southern Israel, all of which reportedly landed in open areas inside Israel. These incidents were followed by Israeli airstrikes, which resulted in damage to a military site reportedly belonging to Palestinian armed group, and five apartments in a nearby residential building.
On at least 46 occasions, Israeli forces opened fire at farmers and fishermen while enforcing access restrictions to land along the fence and to fishing areas along the Gaza coast; two fishermen were hit by rubber-coated bullets and detained, but were later released. Additionally, four Palestinian children were arrested by Israeli forces while attempting to cross into Israel through the fence. On one occasion, Israeli forces carried out land-levelling and excavation operations in the vicinity of the perimeter fence in Khan Yunis.
Israeli authorities demolished or seized 25 structures in Area C and East Jerusalem on the grounds of lack of building permits, including a donor-funded school. As a result, 33 Palestinians, including 18 children, were displaced and another 135 were otherwise affected. On 4 February, two classrooms serving 26 Palestinian school children, (3rd and 4th grade), were demolished in the Bedouin and refugee community of Abu Nuwar, in Area C on the outskirts of Jerusalem. This is one of the 46 Bedouin communities in the central West Bank at risk of forcible transfer, due to the coercive environment exerted on them, including relocation plans by the Israeli authorities. It is estimated that at least 44 schools (36 in Area C and 8 in East Jerusalem) have pending demolition or stop-work orders. Of the other structures targeted during the reporting period, 15 were in East Jerusalem (Silwan, Beit Hanina and Al ‘Isawiya) and nine were in Area C, including in the herding community of Um al Jmal (Tubas) and in Wadi Qana (Salfit).
One Palestinian was injured and property damage was reported in separate incidents involving Israeli settlers or near Israeli settlements. Israeli settlers physically assaulted and injured a Palestinian man near Qabalan (Nablus). Eight Palestinian vehicles were vandalized by settlers in the Silwan area of East Jerusalem and near Khirbet Zakariya (Bethlehem). In three separate incidents, according to local community sources, around 246 Palestinian-owned trees on lands belonging to Palestinians from Bitillu (Ramallah), Yasuf (Salfit) and Burin (Ramallah) villages were vandalized by Israeli settlers, reportedly from Nahliel, Rechalim, and Yitzhar settlements. Additionally, in three separate incidents, 12 Palestinians, including a child were injured in clashes with Israeli forces, after the latter intervened following confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli settlers. These incidents occurred after settlers trespassed onto private land in Madama village (Nablus); and following confrontations in Abu Dis (Jerusalem) and near Kokhav Ya’kov settlement in Jerusalem.
According to Israeli media reports, at least 14 incidents of stone-throwing by Palestinians against Israeli-plated vehicles were reported, resulting in the injury of three Israeli settlers, including one woman, and damage to five private vehicles. The incidents occurred on roads near Tuqu’a (Bethlehem), Beit ‘Ur at Tahta and Ni’lin villages (Ramallah), and Abu Dis town and Hizma village (Jerusalem). Since 1 February, the Israeli army has closed the main entrance to Hizma village, claiming that this was in response to stone throwing at Israeli settler vehicles travelling on Road 437, directly affecting the movement of some 7,000 Palestinians who live in the village.
During the reporting period, the Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was open in both directions for three days allowing 1,894 people to cross (890 exits, 1,004 entries). According to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza, more than 23,000 people, including humanitarian cases, are registered and waiting to cross Rafah.