Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 18 April - 01 May 2017
On 3 May, Israel expanded the fishing zone along the southern Gaza coast from six to nine nautical miles until 7 June.
The Gaza Power Plant, which shut down on 17 April after exhausting its fuel reserves, has remained not operational through the end of the reporting period. Additionally, on 24 April, electricity supply from Egypt came to halt due to a malfunctioning of the lines, which has yet to be repaired. With electricity being supplied only from Israel, power cuts of 20-22 hours a day continued during the period, severely undermining the already precarious living conditions. To avoid further deterioration, on 27 April the oPt Humanitarian Fund allocated US$ 500,000 for the purchase of emergency fuel to maintain the delivery of essential services at hospitals and other emergency medical facilities.
A Palestinian perpetrator was killed and six Israelis and three Palestinian suspected perpetrators were injured during one ramming and four stabbing attacks and alleged attacks. On 19 April, a 21-year-old Palestinian man drove his vehicle into an Israeli settler at the Gush Etzion junction (Hebron), injuring him, and was subsequently shot and killed by Israeli forces. On 23 April, a Palestinian youth from Nablus, who reached Tel Aviv city with a valid visitor permit, stabbed and injured four Israelis and was then shot and injured; following the incident the Israeli authorities froze a number of similar permits, according to Israeli media reports. On 24 April, a Palestinian woman stabbed and injured an Israeli female soldier at Qalandia checkpoint (Jerusalem) and was arrested. In two separate incidents next to Huwwara checkpoint (Nablus), on 25 and 26 April, two Palestinian cousins, one of them 17 year-old, allegedly attempted to stab Israeli soldiers and were shot and injured; no Israeli injuries were reported.
191 Palestinians, including 45 children, were injured by Israeli forces across the West Bank, the vast majority in clashes during demonstrations in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike (see below). This is the largest number of injuries recorded in a two week period since the beginning of 2017. At least ten percent of these injuries were caused by live ammunition, while most of the remainder were caused by rubber bullets or tear gas inhalation. The highest number of Palestinian injuries was reported during demonstrations in Sabastiya, Beita (both in Nablus) and near the Beit El/DCO checkpoint (Ramallah). Twenty-five injuries were recorded over the course of nine search and arrest operations.
On 17 April, more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails began a hunger strike protesting their conditions of detention, which was ongoing at the end of the reporting period. Their demands include ending the practices of solitary confinement and administrative detention (detention without charge or trial), increase in the frequency and length of family visits, and an improvement in the provision of medical care.
In the Gaza Strip, on at least 23 occasions, Israeli forces opened warning fire into the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and sea; while no injuries were reported, the work of farmers and fishermen was reportedly disrupted. In the context of Israel’s enforcement of access restriction at sea, two fishermen were detained by Israeli naval forces and their boat was seized.
On 27 April, a Palestinian armed group reportedly opened fire at Israeli forces patrolling near the fence east of Deir al Balah, with no injuries reported. Following this, Israeli forces fired a number of shells towards a Hamas military site; damage to the site was reported, but no injuries.
Nine Palestinians, including a woman, were injured and over 100 trees burned in separate incidents involving Israeli settlers. Eight of these Palestinians were injured in four separate stone-throwing incidents near Huwwara and Urif villages (Nablus). Also in Nablus, a Palestinian farmer was physically assaulted and injured by Israeli settlers near Deir Sharaf village. Israeli settlers also set on fire more than 100 trees in Al Fureidis (Bethlehem) and an animal structure in Deir Dibwan (Ramallah).
Three Israeli settlers were injured and at least eight vehicles damaged in multiple incidents of stone and Molotov cocktail-throwing by Palestinians near Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, according to Israeli media reports.
In the West Bank, Israeli authorities demolished nine Palestinian-owned structures on the grounds of lack of building permits. Eight of these structures, including a home, were in East Jerusalem (Al Isawiya and Jabal al Mukabbir) and the remaining structure was a shelter provided as humanitarian aid following a previous demolition in the Jabal al Baba community in Area C of the Jerusalem governorate. Overall, 14 Palestinians were displaced and 19 others affected.
On two occasions, Israeli forces displaced for several hours each time 12 families from Khirbet ar Ras al Ahmar herding community in the northern Jordan Valley to make way for military training. According to community representatives, however, no actual training took place. The Israeli authorities also seized a tractor, on grounds that it was used for illegal construction. In recent years, the community has faced regular demolitions and access restrictions, giving rise to concerns over the risk of forcible transfer.
Israeli authorities seized 45 tons of wood from two workshops producing coal in an Area B part of Ya’bad village (Jenin), citing the violation of environmental regulations. The source of livelihood of three families and six workers was affected as a result. Additionally, next to Bardala village, in the northern Jordan Valley, the Israeli authorities shut-down and damaged eight separate connections to the water network, on the grounds that the connections were illegal. As a result, irrigation of over 2,500 dunums of agriculture land came to halt.
From 30 April to 2 May, during Israeli holidays, the Israeli authorities tightened the closure on the West Bank and Gaza, preventing permit holders from entering Israel and East Jerusalem, except for humanitarian workers, staff of international organizations and holders of family unification permits. Kerem Shalom crossing for goods between Israel and Gaza was also closed.
The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was closed in both directions during the entire reporting period. According to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza, over 20,000 people, including humanitarian cases, are registered and waiting to pass through the Crossing. Rafah Crossing has been opened exceptionally on only 12 days in 2017; it was last opened on 9 March.