Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 12 - 18 April 2016
On 18 April, 20 Israelis, including at least two children, were injured following an explosion in an Israeli public transportation bus in East Jerusalem. A 19-year-old Palestinian, from Ayda Refugee Camp (Bethlehem), suspected of detonating a device on the bus, was also injured, and died later of his wounds. Also this week, an Israeli vehicle, a bus and the Jerusalem light train sustained damage as a result of stone-throwing by Palestinians in the governorate of Hebron and in East Jerusalem.
Israeli forces shot dead a 54-year-old Palestinian man at the entrance of Al Arrub Refugee Camp (Hebron), after he reportedly attacked with an axe Israeli soldiers, none of whom were injured. The incident triggered clashes leading to the injury of 14 Palestinians, including a child, as well as an Israeli soldier.
Overall, 70 Palestinians, including 24 children, were injured across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) during clashes with Israeli forces. Most of these clashes erupted during protests, including against the fencing of a road serving settlements in the Salfit governorate, which separates farmers from Deir Istiya village from their land; the weekly demonstration in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya); and demonstrations near the fence separating Gaza and Israel. This week’s injuries include 19 female students treated for teargas inhalation, during two separate clashes that took place next to their school in Hebron city and in Jaba’ village (Jenin). A nine-year-old child was also injured during a search and arrest operation in Jit village (Qalqiliya).
On at least 12 occasions, Israeli forces opened fire in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) at land and sea in Gaza. On at least four occasions, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried out land- levelling and excavation activities.
Israeli forces conducted 104 search and arrest operations and arrested 140 Palestinians in the West Bank, with the Jerusalem governorate accounting for the highest portion of operations (23), and arrests (44), including 16 elderly people (ages 59 and above) who were arrested in connection to protests against the entry of Israeli and settler groups to the Haram al Sharif/ Temple Mount compound.
On 18 April, the Israeli army announced that it had discovered a tunnel running under Gaza into Israel. Following this development the Israeli authorities extended the prohibition on the entry of cement into Gaza for the private sector. This prohibition has been in place since 3 April 2016, pursuant to allegations about the diversion of cement from legitimate beneficiaries to members of armed groups. This is expected to further delay the reconstruction and repair of homes destroyed and severely damaged during the 2014 hostilities, prolonging the hardship of some 75,000 people still displaced.
On 14 April, a 64-year-old Palestinian bus driver from East Jerusalem was reportedly physically assaulted and injured by a group of Israeli civilians near the central bus station in West Jerusalem. At least five incidents involving Israeli settlers were reported during the week, including preventing Palestinian access to land, attempted theft, stone-throwing, and trespassing on Palestinian land in the Ramallah, Nablus, Qalqiliya and Hebron governorates, with none of the incidents resulting in casualties or damage to property.
During the week, Israeli forces lifted the ban, which was imposed on 22 March, on the entry of Palestinian males between 15 and 25-years-old through two checkpoints controlling access to the H2 area of Hebron city. Palestinian access to Ash Shuhada Street and Tel Rumeida areas continue to be restricted, since October 2015, to residents of that area, who are registered with the Israeli authorities. During the reporting period, the northern entrance to Aqraba village (Nablus), which has been closed since October 2015, was opened for several days, but then closed again following allegations of stone-throwing at Israeli vehicles. On the same grounds, Israeli forces ordered shops along the main road in Huwwara village (Nablus) to shut down from for one day (14 April).
The Israeli authorities demolished, seven structures, due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits.These include three residential houses under construction in Al Walaja village (Bethlehem), in an area within the expanded boundaries of the Jerusalem municipality; two livelihood structures in Barta’a ash Sharqiya (Jenin); a donor-funded park in Za’tara (Nablus), and a retaining wall near Al Arrub Refugee Camp (Hebron). As a result, 191 Palestinians, including 108 children, were affected.
In the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities delivered at least 30 stop work and demolition orders, most of them in an area planned by the Jerusalem Municipality for a tourist complex (Al Bustan). If this plan goes ahead, more than 1,000 Palestinians, residing in approximately 90 houses, will lose their homes. Palestinian residents of Silwan suffer from overcrowding, inadequate services, and threat of demolition and displacement due to unauthorized construction.
The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was closed in both directions during the reporting period. The crossing has been closed, including for humanitarian assistance, since 24 October 2014, except for 42 days of partial openings. Authorities in Gaza indicated that around 30,000 people with urgent needs, including around 3,500 medical cases, are registered to cross. The crossing was last open on 15 February 2016.