Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 16 - 22 August 2016
Armed clashes between Palestinian security forces and Palestinian civilians in Nablus city on 18 August resulted in the killing of four men, including two members of the security forces; another twenty people were injured due to tear gas inhalation. The clashes erupted over the course of a search and arrest operation, reportedly targeting illegal weapons’ possession. Two men suspected of opening fire at the security forces were subsequently arrested.
On 21 August, the Israeli military carried out dozens of air strikes and fired tank shells targeting military training sites and facilities across the Gaza Strip, resulting in the injury of four Palestinians, including two civilians, one of them a boy. The targeted sites, as well as an unused water reservoir, were severely damaged. The attacks, which were the most intensive since the 26 August 2014 ceasefire, followed the firing of one projectile into southern Israel by a Palestinian armed group, which resulted in no injuries or damage.
Also in Gaza, Israeli forces shot with live ammunition and injured four Palestinian civilians, including a 17-year-old boy, during clashes that erupted in two protests near the perimeter fence. Additionally, on at least seven occasions, Israeli forces opened warning fire at people in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and at sea, with no injuries reported, although the work of farmers and fishermen was disrupted. Two fishermen were detained at sea, and their boat seized, while another four civilians, including two boys, were detained while trying to enter Israel illegally.
Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian youth and injured another 88 Palestinians, including 14 children, during multiple clashes across the West Bank. The largest incident, which led to the fatality and to 52 of the injuries (including 32 by live ammunition) took place during a large military operation in Al Fawwar refugee camp (Hebron). The majority of the remaining injuries were recorded during demonstrations near Beituniya checkpoint (Ramallah), Huwwara checkpoint (Nablus), and Abu Dis town (Jerusalem), in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
The Israeli authorities returned the corpse of a Palestinian suspected of committing an attack against Israelis to his family; the body had been withheld for more than five months. At present, the bodies of 15 suspected Palestinian perpetrators are still being withheld by the Israeli authorities, some for several months.
In Area C and East Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities demolished 28 Palestinian-owned structures for the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, displacing 55 people, including 20 children, and otherwise affecting around 800 others. Among the targeted structures were seven homes, eight latrines and an animal shelter in the herding community of Jurat al Kheil (Hebron), as well as an agricultural road in Qusra (Nablus), serving some 120 families. Six of the structures destroyed had been funded by international donors and were previously provided as humanitarian assistance.
Citing the lack of necessary permits, the Israeli authorities confiscated Palestinian-owned equipment and trees in separate incidents in Area C, affecting five communities. A water tank, a digger, an electricity generator and a welding machine were confiscated in the villages of Duma (Nablus), Turmus’ayya (Ramallah) and Al Jiftlik (Jericho). In Shufa (Tulkarm) and Beit Ula (Hebron) the Israeli authorities uprooted and confiscated approximately 330 olive and grape vines, claiming they were planted in areas designated as “state land”.
Also in Area C, the Israeli authorities cut off an unlicensed connection to a pipeline, supplying drinking water to 41 families in four Bedouin communities in the Jerusalem governorate; this connection has been reportedly in place for the past ten years. Another two Bedouin communities in the same area, Sateh al Bahr and Abu Nuwwar, received 15 demolition and stop-work orders against homes, livelihood related structures and a kindergarten. Following a visit to the latter community this week, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt, Robert Piper, stated: “repeated rounds of demolitions, restrictions on access to basic services and regular visits by Israeli security personnel promoting ‘relocation plans’ are all part of a coercive environment,” heightening the risk of forcible transfer facing vulnerable Palestinians.
An Israeli settler was reportedly injured and three properties damaged as a result of stone-throwing by Palestinians near Husan (Bethlehem), Hizma, and Shu’fat (both in Jerusalem).
The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing remain closed in both directions during the reporting period. Since the beginning of 2016, the crossing has been partially opened for only 14 days. Over 27,000 people are registered and waiting to cross according to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza.