Protection of Civilians Report | 7 - 20 November 2017
On 17 November, a 17-year-old Palestinian boy drove his vehicle into Israeli settlers in two separate, but sequenced incidents, first at the Efrata junction and then at Gush Etzion junction (Bethlehem), injuring two Israelis, and was, subsequently, shot and severely injured by Israeli soldiers. In the latter incident, the driver stepped out of the car and attempted to stab a soldier before being shot. The Gush Etzion junction has witnessed 20 Palestinian attacks and alleged attacks since October 2015, resulting in the killing of four Israelis and 12 Palestinians, all but one perpetrators or alleged perpetrators.
21 Palestinians, ten of them children, were injured by Israeli forces during clashes across the West Bank, including six by live ammunition. The largest clashes erupted during search and arrest operations in the villages of Tuqu’ (Bethlehem), Deir Nidham (Ramallah), Fahma (Jenin) and Azzun (Qalqiliya); ad-hoc confrontations at Al Jalazun refugee camp (Ramallah); and the weekly demonstration in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya) and next to one of the entrances to the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city (H2, Bab az Zawiya).
In the H2 area of Hebron city, on 9 November, Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters into the yard of a school compound, injuring five children. According to Israeli sources, this followed the throwing of stones from the compound at Israeli settler vehicles. Two teachers were also arrested and classes were suspended for the rest of the day, affecting over 1,200 students. Additionally, a 13-year-old Palestinian child was physically assaulted and injured by Israeli settlers while en route to his house in the H2 area. Finally, in three incidents at checkpoints in the H2 area, three Palestinians, including a 17-year-old boy and a woman, were arrested for carrying knives. Over the past two years, thousands of Palestinians residing next to the settlement compounds in Hebron city have been subject to intensified movement restrictions and an increasingly coercive environment, placing them at risk of forcible transfer.
On at least 27 occasions, Israeli forces opened fire towards farmers and fishermen while enforcing access restrictions to land along the fence and to fishing areas along the Gaza coast; one fisherman was injured. On two occasions, Israeli forces entered Gaza, near Beit Lahiya and Jabalia (Gaza North), and carried out land-levelling and excavation operations in the vicinity of the perimeter fence.
The Israeli authorities demolished an apartment and damaged two others in a building in Beit Surik (Ramallah), and sealed a home extension in Yatta (Hebron), all on punitive grounds, displacing 11 people, including seven children. The former was home to the perpetrator of an attack in September 2017, in which three members of Israeli security forces, as well as the perpetrator, were killed. The sealed structure belonged to the perpetrator of a June 2016 attack, where four Israelis were killed. Since the beginning of 2017, eight homes have been demolished or sealed on punitive grounds, displacing 44 Palestinians.
Another 17 structures were demolished or seized in Area C and East Jerusalem on grounds of lack of building permits, displacing 49 Palestinians, including 25 children, and affecting another 81. Eleven of the targeted structures, all but one non-residential, were in East Jerusalem, including three structures demolished by their owners to avoid fines. The remaining six structures were in three communities partially or totally located in Area C, including Ni’lin village (Ramallah), Al Jiftlik ash Shuneh, and Frush Beit Dajan, the latter two in the Jordan Valley.
The Israeli army issued military orders demarcating areas where three Palestinian herding communities are located, and ordering the “removal of all properties” from them. The affected communities are: Ein al Hilwe and Um al Jmal in the northern Jordan valley, and Jabal al Baba, in the Jerusalem governorate. The latter is in the area of the E1 settlement plan, designed to link Ma’ale Adumim with Jerusalem. As a result, a total of 520 structures, including 130 previously provided as aid, are at risk of destruction or seizure, and 419 people, about half of them children, are at heightened risk of forcible transfer.
On 10 November, the Israel military blocked, through the end of the reporting period, three of the four dirt roads connecting 12 communities in southern Hebron (Massafer Yatta) to the rest of the West Bank. As a result, some 1,400 Palestinians have been forced to rely on long detours, disrupting their access to services and livelihoods. This area has been designated as ‘firing zone’ for military training, placing the residents at risk of forcible transfer.
Three settler-related incidents in the context of the ongoing olive harvest were recorded. In one of them, a group of Israeli settlers attacked farmers from Urif village (Nablus), injuring two of them, who were hit with stones in their heads. The farmers were picking their olives near the settlement of Yitzhar, after receiving special authorization from the Israeli authorities to do so; following the incident, another 40 families working in the area were ordered to leave. In the other two incidents, settlers reportedly harvested olive trees belonging to Burin farmers, also next to Yitzhar, and stole a donkey belonging to farmers from Jit village (Qalqiliya). A number of additional incidents involving stone-throwing by settlers at Palestinian farmers were also reported.
Groups of Israeli settlers entered, under the protection of Israeli forces, religious sites in Palestinian areas, triggering clashes which ended without injuries. The affected sites included the Haram ash Sharif/Temple Mount compound in East Jerusalem, and two other sites, in the H1 area of Hebron city and in Halhul village (Hebron).
According to Israeli media reports, three Israeli settlers, including one woman, were injured, and several vehicles were damaged as a result of stone-throwing by Palestinians in the Old City of Jerusalem, and on roads near Sinjil and Deir Nidham (both in Ramallah), Tuqu’ (Bethlehem) and Al ‘Arrub refugee camp (Hebron).
In Gaza, the Rafah Crossing, controlled by Egypt, was exceptionally open for three days (18-20 November) for urgent humanitarian cases, allowing 3,837 people to cross in both directions. This is the first time since June 2007 that the Gaza side of the crossing was staffed by Palestinian Authority personnel, who were deployed on 1 November as part of the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas. The crossing has been officially closed since 24 October 2014, with sporadic openings for specific categories of people, including 31 days since the beginning of 2017