Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 15 – 28 November 2016
In two separate incidents on 22 and 25 November, Israeli forces shot and killed two Palestinians, including a 14-year-old boy, at Shu’fat and Qalandiya checkpoints in East Jerusalem, both of whom were suspected of stabbing attempts, according to Israeli sources. No Israeli soldier was injured in either of these incidents. The Israeli authorities withheld the corpses of the killed Palestinians, leaving a total six Palestinian corpses being held. Since the beginning of 2016, 73 Palestinians, including 21 children and eight Israelis, including a girl, were killed in attacks and suspected attacks carried out by West Bank Palestinians. Responses by Israeli forces to some of these incidents have raised concern about possible excessive use of force and extra-judicial executions.
Another Palestinian man 22-year-old, was shot with live ammunition and killed by Israeli forces during clashes in a demonstration next to the perimeter fence in the Gaza Strip on 18 November. Israeli forces also injured 34 Palestinians, including four children, during multiple clashes across the oPt. In the West Bank, clashes erupted during search and arrest operations, as well as during weekly demonstrations against the Barrier and settlements in Ni’lin (Ramallah) and Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya), and against the construction of a new settlement outpost in the northern Jordan Valley. Three Israeli soldiers were injured due to Molotov cocktail and stone-throwing by Palestinians.
A Palestinian woman was killed during a fire-exchange between Palestinian security forces and Palestinian civilians in the Balata Refugee camp (Nablus). The woman was not involved in the clashes, which erupted over the course of a search and arrest operation in the camp on 16 November. Three members of the security forces were also injured.
Forest fires broke out between 22 and 27 November in multiple locations across Israel and parts of the oPt, leading to large-scale displacement. The Israeli police launched investigations on possible arson cases and arrested a number of suspects. In the West Bank, some 380 families were temporarily evacuated from their homes in the settlements of Dolev, Talmon and Halamish (Ramallah); in the latter settlement 15 homes were burnt down entirely and another 25 were damaged, according to media reports. At least six people were reportedly injured due to smoke inhalation. Fires reached Huwwara town (Nablus), where ten dunums of cultivated land were damaged. Palestinian firefighting troops were deployed in both Israel and West Bank settlements to support Israeli efforts to fight fires.
Israeli forces conducted 252 search and arrest operations and arrested 243 Palestinians in the West Bank. The Jerusalem governorate accounted for the highest portion of arrests (103), of whom 35 are children, and operations (62), which included two operations in Al Quds University in Abu Dis (Jerusalem).
In Gaza, on at least 16 occasions, Israeli forces opened warning fire at Palestinians present in or approaching the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and sea. On another occasion, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried out a land-levelling operation. While no injuries were reported, the work of farmers and fishermen was disrupted. Six Palestinians were arrested, including two fishermen who were forced to take off their clothes and swim to Israeli naval boats, while their boat and fishing nets seized. Another four civilians were detained while trying to enter Israel illegally.
Citing the lack of building permits, the Israeli authorities demolished or requisitioned 18 structures, displacing 42 people, including 30 children, and affecting the livelihoods of more than 60 others. In Ma’azi Jaba, one of the affected communities in the Jerusalem governorate, the authorities demolished nine residential and livelihood-related structures previously provided as humanitarian assistance. This is one of 46 communities in the central West Bank at risk of forcible transfer due an Israeli plan to “relocate” them.
Citing usage for illegal construction, the Israeli authorities seized three tractors and two bulldozers in five Area C communities - Khirbet ar Ras al Ahmar and Ibziq (both in Tubas), Jit (Qalqiliya) and Ash Shuyukh (Hebron). In Ya’bad village (Jenin), Israeli forces seized four vehicles and 150 tons of wood from workshops producing coal, citing the violation of environmental regulations, affecting the source of livelihood of at least 1,000 workers.
On five occasions, Israeli forces temporarily displaced 147 people, including 84 children, from two herding communities in the northern Jordan Valley (Khirbet ar Ras al Ahmar and Ibziq) for several hours each time, during Israeli military training. The two communities face regular demolitions and access restrictions, giving rise to concerns over the risk of forcible transfer. On another three occasions, Israeli forces conducted military training exercises in the vicinity of the Palestinian herding community of Khirbet Tel al Himma in the same area, which has had demolitions two times since late September 2016, resulting in property damage and access constraints.
Three Israeli settler attacks leading to Palestinian injuries or property damage were recorded, including: the physical assault and injury of three Palestinian men in two separate incidents in the H2 area of Hebron city; and the stoning and damaging of a Palestinian – plated vehicle in Hebron. Additionally, not included in the count, at least three incidents of attack and intimidation were reported against Palestinians, in East Jerusalem, Hebron and Tubas.
According to Israeli media reports, there were eight incidents of stone-throwing by Palestinians against Israeli-plated vehicles, which resulted in the injury of one Israeli settler and damage to at least six vehicles, as well as the Jerusalem light rail.
The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was exceptionally opened for three days (16–18 November) enabling 1,702 Palestinians to leave and 947 to return to the Gaza Strip. Approximately 20,000 people have previously registered and been waiting to exit Gaza via Rafah since the beginning of 2016, according to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza.