Protection of Civilians Report | 30 May - 12 June 2017
In a statement issued on 14 June, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), Robert Piper, warned of the “disastrous consequences” of a further reduction in the power supply to the Gaza Strip on the living conditions of its two million residents.
Following the decision of the Palestinian government in Ramallah to reduce its monthly payments to Israel for its supply of electricityto the Gaza Strip by 30 per cent, on 11 June the Israeli cabinet approved a cut in that supply. If implemented, electricity will be reduced to about two hours per day, down from four hours currently, which is likely to lead to a collapse of basic services. In mid-April, Gaza’s sole power plant, which previously provided about one third of Gaza’s electricity, shut down after a dispute between the Ramallah and Gaza authorities over the taxation of fuel and revenue collection.
On 1 June, a 15-year-old Palestinian girl was shot and injured after stabbing and injuring an Israeli soldier at the entrance of Mevo Dotan settlement (Jenin): she died of her wounds the following day in an Israeli hospital. This brings to nine, the number of Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces in attacks, alleged attacks and clashes since the beginning of 2017.
Two Palestinians were killed and 58, including six children, were injured in various clashes with Israeli forces across the oPt. Both fatalities (20 and 25 years old men), as well as 39 of the injuries, including five children, were recorded near Gaza’s perimeter fence, during protests against the blockade. This is the highest number of injuries by Israeli forces in Gaza since December 2015. The remaining 19 injuries were recorded in the West Bank, mainly in the context of search and arrest operations. One Israeli soldier was injured by stones thrown during one of the clashes in Hebron city.
Eight Palestinians, including three children, were injured when one of the children detonated unexploded ordnance (UXO). The incident occurred on 4 June in Al Mughraqa area, south of Gaza city.
Eight Israeli settler attacks resulting in damage to Palestinian property were recorded during the reporting period. Three of the incidents, attributed to settlers from Yitzhar and Bracha settlements (Nablus), entailed setting land on fire, damaging 30 dunums of crops and at least 20 trees, belonging to farmers from Asira al Qibliya, Burin and Huwwara. A series of attacks in the same area, resulting in a Palestinian injury and extensive property damage was reported the previous week. In four incidents in East Jerusalem, 17 Palestinian vehicles had their tires slashed or windows, mirrors or windshields broken and offensive graffitis were sprayed next to them. A family from the Khirbet Samra herding community (Tubas), reported that Israeli settlers entered the community and vandalized an animal shelter and around 20 water barrels.
One Israeli man was injured and three Israeli vehicles sustained damage, in three incidents of stone-throwing by Palestinians, near the settlements of Adora and Kiryat Arba’ in Hebron.
Around 65,000 Palestinians were allowed into East Jerusalem through the surrounding checkpoints for prayers on first Friday of Ramadan and 85,000 for the second Friday, according to the Israeli official sources. This followed the temporary lifting of the permit requirement for Palestinians holding West Bank ID cards: males above the age of 40, and for all females. Additionally, around 100 Palestinians from Gaza above the age of 55 were allowed to enter East Jerusalem for the Friday prayers and another 300 during the week days.
The Israeli authorities demolished three structures belonging to a traditional charcoal factory in the Area B town of Ya’bad (Jenin), citing the violation of environmental regulations, and confiscated over 150 tons of wood, affecting the livelihoods of 24 families. During the incident a large fire broke up on the site and it took several hours to put out. Three similar demolitions and confiscations have taken place in the same location since November 2016. Additionally, the Israeli authorities cut down 27 olive trees in Husan (Bethlehem), claiming they had provided cover for Palestinians throwing stones at passing Israeli vehicles.
On 1 June, UNRWA discovered part of a tunnel under two of the agency’s schools in the Maghazi Refugee Camp, in the Gaza Strip, and announced that it intends to seal it as an immediate priority.The agency condemned the existence of the tunnel under its premises, and protested to the Hamas authorities, stating that it is “unacceptable that students and staff are placed at risk in such a way” and that “the sanctity and neutrality of UN premises must be preserved at all times”.
The Israeli authorities extended the expansion of the fishing limits along the southern coast of Gaza from six to nine nautical miles off shore, for another three weeks. Citing security concerns, Israel has been enforcing a six-nautical-mile fishing limit along the entire Gaza coast since 2013, severely undermining fishing livelihoods.
The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was closed in both directions during the entire reporting period. According to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza, over 20,000 people, including humanitarian cases, are registered to pass through the Crossing. The Crossing was last exceptionally opened on 9 May, bringing to only 16 the number of days it has opened so far in 2017.