Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 12-18 July 2016

Latest developments

  • Overnight on 19 July, unknown assailants set  fire to a home in Duma village (Nablus); although the residents managed to escape uninjured, the house was extensively damaged. A similar arson attack carried out by Israeli settlers in July 2015 in the same village killed an infant and both his parents.
  • On 19 July, a twelve-year-old Palestinian boy was shot  with rubber bullet and killed during clashes with Israeli forces near the northern entrance of Ar Ram town (Jerusalem).
  • On 19 July, a man was sentenced to death, and two previously-issued death sentences were upheld by a Palestinian military court in the Gaza Strip, all on the grounds of “collaboration with Israel”.
  • One of the three entrances to Bani Na'im village (Hebron) was re-opened on 19 July, following more than three weeks of a tight closure.

Weekly highlights

  • In the West Bank, Israeli forces shot and killed two Palestinian men in two separate incidents. On 18 July, a Palestinian man stabbed and injured two Israeli soldiers at the entrance of Al Arrub refugee camp (Hebron) and was subsequently shot and severely injured; he died of his wounds the following day. On 12 July, during a search and arrest operation in Ar Ram town (Jerusalem), Israeli forces opened fire at a vehicle and killed a 22-year-old Palestinian and injured two others; according to Israeli media reports, the soldiers suspected that the Palestinians were about to ram them, a version denied by local Palestinian sources.
  • In Qabatiya (Jenin), Israeli forces destroyed the family home of a man suspected of assisting the perpetrators of a stabbing attack on February 2016 that killed an Israeli policewoman; a family of ten, including a child, was displaced as a result. Prior to the demolition, residents of the town clashed with Israeli forces, including opening fire at the forces, during which eight Palestinians were shot and injured. Since the beginning of 2016 the Israeli authorities have demolished or sealed on punitive grounds 22 homes, displacing a total of 110 people, compared to 25 houses demolished and 157 people displaced on the same grounds in all of 2015.
  • In total, Israeli forces injured 44 Palestinians, including 13 children, across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). 42 of these injuries were recorded in the West Bank, including 10 in the abovementioned incidents in Ar Ram and Qabatiya, and 29 during search and arrest operations, the largest of which took place in Al Mazra’a al Qibliya (Ramallah) and Ayda refugee camp (Bethlehem). Two Palestinians were shot and injured in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) in the Gaza Strip, one during a protest and another reportedly while hunting birds. On another five occasions during the week, Israeli forces opened warning fire at Palestinians present in the ARA on land and at sea, with no injuries reported.
  • On 17 July, in West Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian man carrying explosive devices and knives, which, according to the Israeli Police, he intended to use to carry out an attack on the Jerusalem Light Rail system.
  • The movement restrictions which were imposed across the Hebron governorate since the beginning of July, following two Palestinian attacks, remained in place during the week, disrupting the access of hundreds of thousands of residents to services and livelihoods. The most affected community is Bani Na’im (population 26,500), where the three main entrances have remained blocked for vehicular movement, with the partial exception of one where emergency cases are allowed through, subject to prior coordination. Economic activity across the Hebron governorate has been significantly impacted, among other reasons due to the restrictions on commercial vehicle movement, according to the Palestinian Chamber of Commerce.
  • In four incidents in Area C and East Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities demolished 23 Palestinian structures due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, displacing 43 people, including 25 children, and affecting another 43 people. The largest incident, which accounted for all this week’s displacement, was recorded in a Bedouin community north of ‘Anata town (Jerusalem), where the Israeli authorities demolished 14 structures, including one previously provided as humanitarian assistance. This is one of the 46 Bedouin and herding communities in the central West Bank at risk of forcible transfer due to a “relocation” plan advanced by the Israeli authorities.
  • On the same grounds, the Israeli authorities delivered at least 13 demolition and stop-work orders against homes, commercial structures and water cisterns in Area C and East Jerusalem. The affected communities included Frush Beit Dajan, Qusra (both in Nablus), Susiya (Hebron), and Silwan (East Jerusalem).
  • Nine attacks by Israeli settlers resulting in Palestinian injuries or property damage/losses were reported this week, representing the highest number of settler related incident in a single week since the beginning of 2016. Three Palestinians were physically assaulted and injured by Israeli settlers in three separate incidents in Al Khadr (Bethlehem), Haris (Salfit), and Hebron city. Another three incidents involved the  burning of 150 mature olive trees in Bethlehem, the uprooting of  sorghum planted on five dunums close to Huwwara (Nablus), and the stealing of more than 50 sacks of hay and wheat grain in Qusra village (Nablus) reportedly by Israeli settlers. In addition, six Palestinian vehicles sustained damage after being stoned by settlers in Qalqiliya, Salfit and Hebron governorates, in three separate incidents.
  • On 14 July, the Gaza Power Plant was forced to shut down one of the two operating turbines due to a shortage of fuel, triggering rolling power cuts of 18-20 hours per day, up from 16-18 hours previously. This has had a significant impact on the provision of basic services, water supply and health in particular. The fuel shortage is reportedly attributed to the continuing disputes between the Ramallah and Gaza authorities over a tax exemption for the fuel purchased for the plant.
  • The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing remained closed in both directions during the reporting period.