Protection of Civilians Report | 9 – 22 October 2018
24 October: Israeli forces shot and killed a 22-year-old Palestinian man, during a search and arrest operation in Tammun village (Tubas). A day before, Israeli forces seized two structures in a school in the nearby herding community of Ibziq.
On Friday, 12 October, seven Palestinians, including a 17-year-old child, were killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, during the ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations and clashes at Israel’s perimeter fence. According to Israeli sources, there was a significant increase in the throwing of Molotov cocktails, homemade grenades and incendiary balloons towards Israeli forces during demonstrations, as well as in damage to the fence, with four of the fatalities shot after they breached the fence and reached a military post inside Israel. The scope of confrontations reportedly declined during the demonstrations held the following Friday, 19 October, which ended with no fatalities. In total, 831 people were injured during both Fridays, of whom 590 were hospitalized, including 271 hit by live ammunition, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
In the context of other activities taking place as part of the ‘Great March of Return’, one Palestinian was killed and 181 were injured in clashes with Israeli forces. A Palestinian man was shot and injured on 15 October, during a maritime rally and a demonstration protesting the naval blockade; he died the following day of wounds sustained. Night gatherings involving the use of fireworks, sound bombs and burning tires, continued. For cumulative casualty figures and breakdowns since the beginning of the ‘Great March of Return’, see here.
Following events on 12 October, the Israeli authorities imposed a ban on the entry of fuel and cooking gas to the Gaza Strip. The ban also applied to the entry of emergency fuel distributed by the UN to critical health, water and sanitation facilities in order to operate backup electricity generators and vehicles. The restriction was lifted on 21 October.
On 17 October, a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip hit a home in the Israeli city of Beer Sheva; subsequently, the Israeli military carried out a number of airstrikes across Gaza, closed almost completely the Israeli-controlled crossing points, and reduced the permissible fishing area at sea from six to three nautical miles. The Israeli home hit was severely damaged, but no casualties were reported; no armed group claimed responsibility. A member of an armed group was killed during the Israeli airstrikes in Gaza and three others were injured. The restriction on the fishing area was lifted on 23 October, and the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings were reopened on 21 October.
On at least ten occasions outside of the “Great March of Return” events, Israeli forces opened warning fire in the Access Restricted Areas on land and at sea in Gaza, resulting in one injury. Four fishermen were detained in one incident. On three occasions, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried our land-levelling and excavation operations in the vicinity of the perimeter fence, east of Gaza city and the northern areas.
Two suspected Palestinian perpetrators were killed and two Israeli soldiers injured during three reported stabbing attacks targeting soldiers in the West Bank. The fatalities include a 22-year-old man shot on 15 October near Barqan settlement in Salfit, and a 42-year-old man, father of seven, shot on 22 October at a checkpoint in the Old City of Hebron, after he injured an Israeli soldier. Palestinian sources indicated that, in the latter incident, paramedics were prevented from accessing the scene, while the injured man was left bleeding on the ground; the body has been withheld with the Israeli authorities. On 11 October, a Palestinian man stabbed and injured an Israeli soldier, next to Huwwara checkpoint (Nablus), and was subsequently arrested.
Also in the West Bank, 162 Palestinians, including six children, were injured by Israeli forces in multiple clashes. Almost half of the injuries, the vast majority by tear gas inhalation, were sustained in clashes in Al Lubban Asharqiya village (Nablus), following the Israeli military’s closure of the village’s secondary school on 15 October, reportedly in response to repeated stone-throwing by students at Israeli vehicles; the school was reopened the following day. Another 24 Palestinians were injured in clashes that erupted in Khan al Ahmar-Abu al Helu (Jerusalem), a community at risk of demolition and forcible transfer, and 20 in weekly demonstrations against access restrictions and settlement expansion in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya) and Bil’in (Ramallah) villages. Overall, Israeli forces conducted 206 search and arrest operations, the majority in the Jerusalem and Tulkarm governorates, around 60 of which triggered clashes with residents.
38 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized in Area C and East Jerusalem on grounds of lack of Israeli-issued building permits, displacing 35 Palestinians and affecting the livelihoods of 120 others. These included two residences in East Jerusalem, and 36 structures, including 14 homes, in nine Bedouin and herding communities in Area C. Six of the structures targeted in three of the latter communities had been previously provided as humanitarian assistance.
On 13 October, a Palestinian woman, mother of seven, was killed after sustaining a deadly injury in the head by a stone thrown at her vehicle, reportedly by Israeli settlers. The incident occurred near the Za’atra/Tappuah checkpoint (Salfit). The woman’s husband and one of her children were injured lightly. The Israeli Police has launched an investigation into the incident.
Settler violence and vandalism in the context of the olive harvest season continued, alongside other attacks and raids. Olive harvest-related incidents include the physical assault and injury of two Palestinian farmers in Deir al Hatab (Nablus) and damage to around 700 olive trees and theft of produce in five incidents in the villages of Al Mughayyer (Ramallah), Burqa and Tell (Nablus), Al Khader (Bethlehem) and Far’ata (Qalqiliya). So far this year, over 7,000 trees have been damaged by Israeli settlers. In three additional incidents, settlers physically assaulted and injured three Palestinians in the Old City of Hebron, and a student in a school in ‘Urif village (Nablus). In Al Mazra’a al Qibliye (Ramallah), Marda (Salfit) and Qaryut (Nablus) villages, settlers punctured the tires of 40 vehicles and sprayed offensive graffiti on some of vehicles and in a mosque in the latter village. Also in Al Mazra’a al Qibliye, Palestinians clashed with Israeli soldiers, who intervened after Israeli settlers attempted to enter a newly-constructed park near the village; five Palestinians were injured (included in the total above).
On at least 17 occasions, Palestinians threw stones or Molotov cocktails at Israeli-plated vehicles in the West Bank, near Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah and Jerusalem, causing damage to three private vehicles, according to Israeli sources. No injuries were reported.
The Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt was open in both directions throughout the reporting period, except for four days. A total of 1,524 people entered Gaza and 3,064 exited. The crossing has been almost continuously open during five days a week since 12 May 2018.