Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 23 August - 5 September 2016
On 24 August, a 26-year-old Palestinian man stabbed and injured an Israeli soldier at the Yitzhar junction (Nablus), and was subsequently shot and killed. Since the beginning of 2016, 61 Palestinians, including 16 children, and 11 Israelis, including a girl, were killed in attacks and suspected attacks carried out by West Bank Palestinians on Israelis.
Another two Palestinian men were shot and killed by Israeli forces in two separate incidents. In one of the cases, a 38-year-old man, who reportedly suffered from a mental health problem, was shot while approaching a military tower at the entrance of Silwad village (Ramallah) after refusing to stop. The Israeli military opened a criminal investigation. In the other incident, Israeli soldiers opened fire at a vehicle in Shu’fat refugee camp, reportedly after believing it was about to ram them; the Israeli Police, however, indicated that the driver was drunk and the case was not a deliberate attack.
The Israeli authorities returned the corpses of three Palestinians suspected of committing attacks against Israelis to their families; two of the bodies had been withheld for more than eleven months. At present, the bodies of another 12 suspected Palestinian perpetrators are still being withheld by the Israeli authorities, some for up to seven months.
A total of 66 Palestinians, including two children and a woman, were injured in the West Bank in clashes with Israeli forces during the two-week period. The majority of clashes occurred during search and arrest operations, the largest of which took place in Ayda refugee camp, resulting in 24 injuries. Other clashes were reported during the weekly demonstrations in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya), resulting in eleven injuries. Five Israeli soldiers were injured by stones.
Overall, Israeli forces conducted 186 search and arrest operations and arrested 239 Palestinians in the West Bank. The Jerusalem governorate accounted for the highest number of operations (49) and arrests (95). Several of the operations took place on 23 and 25 August at seven metal workshops in Bethlehem and Hebron cities, suspected of manufacturing weapons; five of the workshops were closed and equipment was confiscated. Additionally, Israeli forces forcibly entered a radio station in Dura town (Hebron), confiscated all transmission equipment and issued a military order closing the station for three months; five staff members were also arrested.
On at least eighteen occasions, Israeli forces opened warning fire at people in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and at sea, injuring a fisherman before detaining him and a herder. Two other fishermen were forced to take off their clothes and swim to Israeli military boats, where they were detained, and their boat and fishing nets seized.
Israeli authorities demolished or confiscated 28 structures in seven Palestinian communities in Area C and East Jerusalem on grounds of lack of building permits, displacing 55 people and affecting the livelihoods of more than 200 others. Eleven of the targeted structures, including residential shelters, latrines and a water cistern, had been previously provided as humanitarian assistance. This brings the number of aid items destroyed or confiscated since the beginning of 2016 to 223, more than double the figure for all of 2015.
On 30 August, in Dura town (Hebron), Israeli forces exploded on punitive grounds the family home of a Palestinian, currently in detention, accused of assisting the killing of an Israeli settler on 1 July; a family of three, including two children was displaced. A water cistern was severely damaged as a result of the explosion.
Israeli authorities uprooted 300 Palestinian-owned olive trees in Jayyus and Ras Atiya (both in Qalqiliya) on grounds that these areas are designated as “state land”. Farmers had previously been denied access to the latter area due to the route of the Barrier, until 2014, when a re-routing of the Barrier was completed. Nearly all ‘state land’ in Area C has been placed under the jurisdiction of Israeli settlements.
Israeli forces blocked five roads connecting Huwwara town (Nablus) to four nearby villages, severely disrupting the access of people to services and livelihoods. According to Israeli sources this followed several incidents of stone-throwing at Israeli settlers’ vehicles. During this period, the military reopened one of the entrances to Hizma town (Jerusalem), which had been blocked for vehicular movement since 28 July in a similar context, while the closure of another two routes into the town has remained in place.
Two Palestinian men were injured by Israeli settlers; one physically assaulted in the old city of East Jerusalem and another, a farmer, attacked by dogs unleashed by settlers next to Deir Istiya (Salfit). Tens of Palestinian-owned trees were damaged when Israeli settlers from Betar Illit reportedly pumped sewage onto land belonging to farmers from Husan village (Bethlehem).
Two Israelis were injured and four Israeli-plated vehicles damaged as a result of stone-throwing by Palestinians, in the Hebron and Jerusalem governorates, according to Israeli media reports.
The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was exceptionally open for six days for pilgrims to leave Gaza including two days for humanitarian cases; 2,816 Palestinians reportedly exited Gaza Strip and 2720 entered. According to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza it is estimated that over 27,000 people are registered and waiting to cross.