Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 24 May - 6 June 2016
On 8 June, two Palestinians from Yatta city (Hebron) opened fire at a shopping mall in Tel Aviv (Israel), killing four Israelis and injuring more than ten others; the perpetrators were subsequently arrested. Israeli forces blocked all entrances to Yatta, except for humanitarian cases, and carried out a search and arrest operation.
On 9 June, following the Tel Aviv attack, the Israeli authorities announced the suspension of approximately 83,000 permits issued for Palestinians to access East Jerusalem for the Friday prayers of Ramadan, as well as for family visits into Israel.
On 2 June, a 24-year-old Palestinian woman, mother of two children, was shot dead by Israeli forces while approaching the ‘Enav Checkpoint (Tulkarm), allegedly after she attempted to stab a soldier. In a separate incident on 30 May, a 17 year-old Palestinian child stabbed and injured an Israeli soldier in Tel Aviv (Israel) and was later on apprehended. Since the beginning of 2016, 53 Palestinian suspects, including five women and 13 children, were killed in attacks and alleged attacks on Israelis, compared to 89 in the last quarter of 2015. The circumstances of many incidents have given rise to concerns over excessive use of force.
The Israeli authorities handed over the corpses of two Palestinians, including a 17-year-old girl, suspected of perpetrating attacks against Israelis, to their families. The corpses of another nine Palestinians are still being held.
On 2 June, a 20-year-old Palestinian was shot by Israeli forces during clashes in Nablus city, and subsequently died of his wounds; the clashes erupted following the entry of a group of Israelis to visit a religious shrine (Joseph’s tomb) and resulted in the injury of another eleven Palestinians.
A total of 97 Palestinians, including 30 children and one woman, were injured in the West Bank in clashes with Israeli forces during the two-week period. The vast majority of clashes occurred during demonstrations and protests, including in Ni’lin and Al Jalazun Refugee Camp in Ramallah governorate; Azzun and Kafr Qaddum in Qalqiliya governorate; and Abu Dis, Al ‘Eizariya and Silwan in the Jerusalem governorate. In Gaza, two Palestinians were shot by live ammunition and injured during demonstrations near the Israeli perimeter fence.
On at least 25 occasions during the two weeks, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinians present in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and sea. In one of these incidents, five fishermen were arrested by Israeli naval forces, and two of their boats were confiscated.
Israeli forces conducted 167 search and arrest operations and arrested 240 Palestinians in the West Bank during the two-week period, with the Jerusalem governorate accounting for the highest portion of arrests (35 per cent). In the Gaza Strip on six occasions, Israeli forces carried out land-levelling and excavation operations in the ARA on land.
On 5 June, the Israeli authorities dismantled and confiscated six residential shelters and two caravans used as a kindergarten in the Area C Palestinian Bedouin community of Sateh al Bahr (Jericho), on grounds of lack of permits. The targeted structures had been provided as humanitarian assistance and funded by the oPt Humanitarian Fund. Six families were displaced and thirteen children served by the kindergarten were affected. This is one of 46 Bedouin communities in the central West Bank at risk of forcible transfer due to an Israeli 'relocation' plan. Since the beginning of 2016, a total of 180 aid structures were demolished or confiscated, compared to 108 in all of 2015. Another five structures were demolished during the reporting period on the same grounds in East Jerusalem, affecting 19 people.
Two Palestinian families, comprising seven people, became at-risk of displacement from their homes in the Old City of East Jerusalem, due to an eviction order issued by the Israeli authorities. This follows an Israeli court ruling in favor of a settler organization claiming ownership over their homes.
Three herding communities in the northern Jordan Valley (Khirbet ar Ras al Ahmar, Humsa al Bqai’a and Hamamat Al Maleh), comprising approximately 360 people, including 205 children, were temporarily displaced during three consecutive days, for more than 14 hours a day, to make way for an Israeli military training exercise. There are 38 Palestinian herding communities located in areas designated by the Israeli authorities as “firing zones”, which cover some 18 per cent of the West Bank. Many of these communities, which are among the most vulnerable in the West Bank, have resided in these areas since before they were declared a ‘firing zone’.
Three Israelis, including one woman, were injured and four Israeli-plated vehicles were damaged in the context of seven incidents of stone-throwing by Palestinians, in the Hebron and Jerusalem governorates, according to Israeli media reports.
Four incidents of vandalism against Palestinian property, reportedly carried out by Israeli settlers, were recorded during the reporting period, including two stone-throwing incidents, resulting in the damage to two vehicles near Salfit and Bethlehem; the setting on fire of 15 olive trees in ‘Urif (Nablus); and damage to seasonal crops in Al Khadr (Bethlehem).
The Israeli authorities announced that during the Muslim month of Ramadan, which started on 6 June, all Palestinian females holding West Bank IDs, as well as all men over the age of 45 and boys below 12, will be allowed to access East Jerusalem on Fridays without permit; men and boys not included in these categories can be eligible for permits.
The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was exceptionally opened for four days during the period (1-2 and 4-5 June), allowing 3,142 Palestinians to exit and 894 to enter Gaza. There are over 30,000 people, including around 9,500 medical cases and 2,700 students, who are registered and waiting to cross, according to Palestinian authorities. Rafah crossing has been opened for only nine days since the beginning of 2016.