Posted on 16 August 2018

Protection of Civilians Report | 31 July – 13 August 2018

Latest developments

On 15 August, Israel reversed the restrictions at the Kerem Shalom crossing with Gaza that were imposed on 9 July, and increased the permissible fishing zone from 3 back to 6-9 nautical miles from the coast, depending on the area.

Biweekly Highlights

  • A new round of hostilities in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel resulted in five Palestinian fatalities, including a pregnant woman and her 18-month-old daughter; 50 Palestinians and 28 Israelis were injured.[1] On 8 August, two members of the Hamas armed wing were killed by Israeli tank fire. Beginning that evening and continuing through 9 August, Palestinian armed groups fired some 180 rockets and mortars at Israeli communities surrounding Gaza; a few rockets hit built-up areas, resulting in the Israeli injuries and in damage to several buildings, including a kindergarten in the city of Sderot. The Israeli Air Force carried out extensive airstrikes across Gaza, firing over 110 missiles, one of which killed the Palestinian woman and her child, in Deir al Balah; six water facilities serving over 30,000 people, as well as dozens of houses and a number of vehicles, were damaged. Later on 9 August, a Palestinian faction fired a medium-range rocket at the Israeli city of Beersheba, resulting in no injuries or damage. Subsequently, Israel targeted and completely destroyed a five-storey building in the centre of Gaza city, which housed a cultural centre, and, according to the Israeli military, was a facility used by Hamas’ internal security. The latter two attacks were the first of their kind since the 2014 hostilities. An informal ceasefire was reached on the evening of 9 August.
  • Friday demonstrations and clashes in the context of “the Great March of Return” in Gaza continued, resulting in four Palestinians killed by Israeli forces, including a first responder and a child, and 580 injured; three other Palestinians died of wounds sustained in previous protests. The first responder was killed in a demonstration on 10 August, and is the third health worker fatality on duty in these circumstances. About 60 per cent of all injuries (338) were hospitalized, including 165 people hit by live ammunition. No Israeli casualties were reported. As part of the protests, on 11 August, a rally of 40 boats attempted to break the naval blockade and were stopped by the Israeli navy, which opened fire towards the boats and injured one Palestinian. For cumulative casualty figures and breakdowns since the beginning of the demonstrations on 30 March 2018, see here.
  • On 2 August, the Israeli authorities reinstated the ban on the entry of fuel to the Gaza Strip, bringing critical services to the brink of collapse; import of emergency fuel resumed on 12 August. The ban was reportedly adopted in response to the continuation of the launching of incendiary kites and balloons towards Israel. In a statement issued on 8 August, the Humanitarian Coordinator called on the Israeli authorities to immediately allow the entry of UN-purchased emergency fuel to ensure the functioning of main hospitals and essential water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. Since 9 July, Israel has tightened the blockade on Gaza, through banning the entry of a range of items, including building materials, furniture, wood, electronics and fabric, as well as prohibiting the exit of all goods.
  • A significant decline in the launching of incendiary kites and balloons from Gaza to Israel was reported following the ceasefire on 9 August. According to the Israeli authorities, since late April, 1,364 fires have been recorded burning cultivated land and nature reserves, but resulting in no Israeli casualties.
  • Since 5 August, a new arrangement has allowed the import of cooking gas to Gaza from Egypt, through the Salah ad Din Gate. This arrangement compensates for possible shortages of cooking gas in Gaza, due to the Israeli restrictions. During the reporting period, around 830 tons of gas entered Gaza.
  • On at least 17 occasions outside of the mass demonstrations, Israeli forces opened fire in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and at sea in the Gaza Strip, resulting in three Palestinians injured, and forcing farmers and fishers to leave the area. In one incident, Israeli naval forces intercepted a fishing ship and detained five fishermen, including a child, for a short while. Since 16 July, Israel has reduced the fishing zone accessible for Palestinians from 6 to 3 nautical miles from the coast, further undermining fishing livelihoods.
  • In the West Bank, 55 Palestinians, including nine children, were injured by Israeli forces in multiple clashes. Seventeen Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli forces, who were escorting a group of Israeli settlers visiting a religious site in Nablus city. Another three injuries were recorded in a Palestinian protest that took place in Bardala village, in the northern Jordan Valley, protesting water shortages for agricultural use in the area. Overall, Israeli forces conducted 100 search and arrest operations, three of which triggered clashes, resulting in nine injuries among Palestinian and three among soldiers.
  • On 9 August, one Palestinian man was killed by Palestinian Authority (PA) forces during clashes in Al Eizariya town (Jerusalem governorate) during a law enforcement operation. Additional clashes between Palestinians and PA forces, resulting in no casualties, were recorded in the Balata Refugee Camp (Nablus) on 11 August, during protests following the death of a resident of the camp in a PA prison.
  • A total of 13 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized in Area C and East Jerusalem on grounds of lack of building permits, displacing 12 Palestinians. Eight of these structures, including six homes were in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Sur Bahir, Jabal al Mukkaber, Shu’fat and Beit Hanina. In an Area C part of the Al Aroub camp (Hebron), the Israeli authorities destroyed a number of graves built without permit (counted as one structure).  
  • Israeli settlers demolished two residential structures in the Beit al Barakeh settlement compound, next to Al Aroub camp (Hebron), displacing a Palestine refugee family of four living in the compound for the past 45 years. The demolition took place despite an Israeli court injunction preventing the eviction of the family. In 2012, a settler organization secretly purchased the land and buildings in this compound from a Swedish Christian organization, and, in 2015, the area was annexed to the Gush Etzion settlement Regional Council.
  • On 6 August, Israeli forces displaced four Palestinian families from the herding community of Khirbet Yarza, in the northern Jordan Valley, for seven days, to make way for military trainings. The community is located in an area designated as a ‘firing zone’. Along with demolitions and access restrictions, this practice enhances the coercive environment on the community, placing it at heightened risk of forcible transfer.
  • The demolition of the Palestinian Bedouin community of Khan al Ahmar-Abu al Helu is still on hold due to ongoing proceedings at the Israeli High Court of Justice. In a submission to the Court, the Israeli authorities confirmed their intention to demolish the community and remove the residents from the site, and committed to advance an alternative relocation site near Jericho, if the residents agree to peacefully relocate to the current relocation site (Jabal West) temporarily. The community’s lawyer requested the Court to receive an assessment of the environmental and health risks of the new relocation site, which is located near a sewage treatment plant, before submitting an answer.
  • On 2 August, Israeli settlers vandalized ten Palestinian-owned vehicles, and sprayed “price tag” graffiti on one of the vehicles, in ‘Ein Yabrud village (Ramallah). Residents of the ‘Ein al Hilwe herding community in the northern Jordan Valley reported that two solar panels providing electricity to the community were stolen, and attributed that to residents of the adjacent Maskyiot settlement. A number of additional incidents involving intimidation and harassment by Israeli settlers that did not result in property damage were also reported.   
  • On at least six occasions, Palestinians threw stones at Israeli-plated vehicles in the West Bank near Hebron, Bethlehem and Ramallah, causing damage to three private vehicles, according to Israeli sources; one Israeli settler was injured in one of these incidents in Ramallah.
  • The Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt has opened in both directions for seven days, and in only one direction for another five days (to allow exit of pilgrims to Hajj in Mecca) throughout the reporting period. A total of 1,934 were allowed to enter Gaza and 5,492 exited (including 3,216 pilgrims). The crossing has been almost continuously open since 12 May 2018.

Palestinian casualties in the occupied Palestinian territory (including East Jerusalem)

Palestinian fatalities by Israeli forces in the oPt Palestinian injuries by Israeli forces in the oPt
  • Gaza
  • West Bank
 
Israeli casualties by Palestinians in the oPt and Israel
Israeli fatalities by Palestinians in the oPt and Israel

  • Israel
  • oPt

Israeli injuries by Palestinians in the oPt and Israel

 
Demolitions and related displacements

Palestinian-owned structures demolished

Palestinians displaced due to demolitions

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Settler-related violence in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem)
 
Israeli military operations in the occupied Palestinian territory (including East Jerusalem)
Israeli military incursions into Gaza*

* excluding the period of hostilities (7 July- 26 August
2014)

Total for two weeks In 2018 (to date) Total 2017
0
53
67

Israeli military search and arrest operations into the West Bank

 
Movements of goods into and out of Gaza through Kerem Shalom Crossing
Truckloads leaving Gaza
 
240
Jan-May 2007 weekly average (before the blockade)

Truckloads entering Gaza

 
2807
Jan-May 2007 weekly average(before the blockade)
 
Movement of People via Rafah crossing
Please note that the figures in this report are subject to changes upon the receipt of additional information.


For more information, please contact us at ochaopt@un.org

[1] Israeli injuries include those evacuated to hospitals by the ‘Magen David Adom’ society.