Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 28 June – 4 July 2016
Two Israelis were killed and six others were injured in four Palestinian attacks and alleged attacks across the West Bank and Israel; three of the suspected perpetrators were killed on the spot. On 30 June, a Palestinian youth stabbed and killed a 13-year-old Israeli girl in the settlement of Kiryat Arba’ (Hebron), and was subsequently shot dead by settlement guards. The same day, a Palestinian man stabbed and injured two Israelis in Netanya (Israel), and was then shot dead by an Israeli civilian. On 1 July, Israeli forces shot and killed a 27-years-old Palestinian woman who allegedly attempted to stab one of them in the H2 area of Hebron city. Later that day, unknown assailants opened fire at an Israeli-plated car on Road 60 (Hebron), killing an Israeli settler and injuring his wife and two children (15 and 13 years old), and escaped the scene.
Following the attacks, Israeli forces blocked several junctions leading to and from Palestinians villages and towns in the Hebron and Tulkarm governorates. Those junctions still accessible are now controlled by checkpoints, where Israeli soldiers check/search vehicles and passengers. These measures have forced people to use detours to reach the passable junctions, and queue there for time periods ranging from a few minutes to over one hour. As a result, the access of some 890,000 people across the two affected governorates to services and livelihoods has been significantly disrupted.
In Bani Na’im town in Hebron (population 26,500), the place of residence of several suspected perpetrators of recent attacks, all entrances were blocked for vehicular movement, including one where only emergency cases are allowed through, subject to prior coordination. Israeli officials also announced the revocation of work/trade permits to 2,800 residents of the town, which, if implemented for long, is expected to have a significant economic impact.
Also in connection with the attacks, media outlets reported that Israel had approved the planning of some 800 new homes in various Israeli settlements, and announced a tender for the construction of 42 housing units in Kiryat Arba settlement, where one of the attacks took place. At the same time, according to media reports the Israeli authorities approved plans for the construction of some 600 housing units for Palestinians in East Jerusalem.
A 63-year-old Palestinian man died as a result of tear gas inhalation, and another 21 were injured by Israeli forces on 1 July at the Qalandiya checkpoint (Jerusalem). The incident occurred when large numbers of men and boys, who did not meet the age criteria set up by the Israeli authorities to access East Jerusalem without permit for the Friday prayers of Ramadan, gathered at the checkpoint area and refused to leave, to which Israeli forces responded by shooting tear gas canisters and sound grenades. At least 16 other Palestinians were also injured after falling-down while fleeing the area. A few cases of stone throwing by Palestinians, resulting in the injury of one Israeli soldier, were also reported. Overall, it is estimated that on the fourth Friday of Ramadan until 12 pm, around 73,000 Palestinians holding West Bank IDs were allowed into East Jerusalem to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque.
Another 58 Palestinians, eleven of them children, were injured by Israeli forces during clashes in other areas of the West Bank. In the largest incident, which took place in the Qalandiya Refugee Camp (Jerusalem) prior to a punitive demolition (see below), 26 Palestinians were injured, including 20 by live ammunition. The remaining injuries were reported during the weekly demonstration in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya) and during search and arrest operations, with the largest number of injuries reported in Dura (Hebron).
In total, Israeli forces conducted 89 search and arrest operations and arrested 162 Palestinians in the West Bank, with the Jerusalem governorate accounting for the majority of people arrested (95, including 27 children), and the Hebron governorate accounting for the highest number of operations (28).
In Qalandiya Refugee Camp (Jerusalem), Israeli forces destroyed on punitive grounds the homes of two Palestinians who were killed whilst carrying out a stabbing attack in December 2015 in East Jerusalem, where two Israeli settlers were killed, one of them by “friendly fire”. As a result, two refugee families comprising nine people were displaced.
On 29 June, three Palestinian men were killed and 14 were injured over the course of an armed clash between Palestinian families in the town of Ya’bad (Jenin). On the same day, unknown gunmen killed two members of the Palestinian security forces and severely injured a Palestinian woman in Nablus city, in unclear circumstances.
On 1 July, a Palestinian armed group fired a rocket at the Israeli city of Sderot, damaging one building. The following day, reportedly in response to this attack, the Israeli army carried out a series of airstrikes targeting sites reportedly belonging to Palestinian armed groups, as well as a store in eastern Gaza city, injuring two Palestinians and causing damage to property. Also this week, on at least fifteen occasions, Israeli forces opened warning fire at Palestinians present in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and at sea, with no injuries reported, although the work of farmers and fishermen was disrupted.
Dozens of Palestinian-owned trees, a plot of cultivated land, and two greenhouses were vandalized, reportedly by Israeli settlers, in three separate incidents in Burin (Nablus), Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya) and Wadi Fukin (Hebron). Also this week, a Palestinian man was stoned and injured by a group of Israeli settlers near Huwwara (Nablus), and his vehicle sustained damage. Additionally, on several occasions this week, armed Israeli settlers gathered at the entrances of Salfit and Nablus cities, disrupting access and intimidating Palestinian bystanders.
Three incidents of stone-throwing by Palestinians at Israeli-plated vehicles were reported on Road 60 and 463 (Ramallah), and in East Jerusalem, resulting in the injury of four Israelis and damage to three vehicles. In two additional incidents Palestinians threw Molotov-cocktails at Israeli-plated vehicles near Bethlehem and Hebron, with no damage reported.
The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was exceptionally opened in both directions for five days - 29, 30 of June and 2, 3, 4 of July - allowing nearly 3,000 people to exit and over 1,600 to enter Gaza, out of approximately 30,000 people previously registered to cross, according to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza.