Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 7 – 13 June 2016

Weekly Highlights

  • On 8 June, two 21-year-old Palestinians from the West Bank town of Yatta (Hebron) shot and killed three Israelis, and injured another seven in a shopping mall in Tel Aviv (Israel). Another Israeli woman died over the course of the incident due to a heart attack, according to Israeli media reports. The Israeli police arrested the two attackers, one of whom was previously shot and injured. The UN Secretary-General strongly condemned the attack. This incident brings the number of Israelis killed in attacks by West Bank Palestinians since the beginning of 2016 to nine, compared to 23 in the last four months of 2015.[1]
  • Following the attack, Israeli forces closed-off all entrances to Yatta for three days, preventing all movement to and from the town, except for humanitarian cases coordinated in advance. Additionally, some 350 permit holders with the same family name of the suspected perpetrator of a stabbing attempt on 2 June in Tulkarem area, who was killed during the incident, were prevented from entering Israel or the closed area behind the Barrier (the “Seam Zone”) for the entire week.
  • In the same context, the Israeli authorities suspended over 83,000 permits issued to West Bank Palestinians and to a few hundreds of Gaza residents on the occasion of the month of Ramadan, the majority for family visits in Israel. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who also condemned the attack, expressed concern that the cancellation of the permits may amount to collective punishment.
  • Additionally, from 10 to 12 June, on the occasion of a Jewish holiday (Shavuot), the Israeli authorities imposed a 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.
  • Despite the abovementioned measures, at least 30,000 Palestinians holding West Bank IDs were allowed into East Jerusalem during the first Friday of Ramadan (10 June) for prayers. This is mostly due to the previously-announced waiving of permit requirements for West Bank Palestinian males aged above 45 and below 12, and females of all ages.
  • On 11 June, in Beit ‘Amra (Hebron), Israeli forces destroyed the family home of a 15 year-old Palestinian boy, currently being prosecuted for the stabbing and killing of an Israeli woman in the  settlement of ‘Otni'el in January 2016. Six people, including a child, were displaced as a result. Since the resumption of this practise in July 2014, the Israeli authorities demolished or sealed 48 homes on punitive grounds, displacing 288 people, including 133 children. In November 2015, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, Robert Piper, called upon the Israeli authorities to halt this practice, which is a form of collective punishment, illegal under international law.
  • Israeli forces shot with live ammunition and seriously injured a mentally disabled Palestinian man at the ‘Awarta checkpoint (Nablus), during an alleged stabbing attempt; no Israeli soldier was injured. The man was reportedly left bleeding on the ground for about one hour until an Israeli ambulance evacuated him for medical treatment. Overall, Israeli forces injured 15 Palestinians, including two children, in various incidents across the West Bank. This represents an 82 per cent decrease from the weekly average of Palestinian injuries since the beginning of 2016.
  • On 8 June, Palestinian security forces injured five Palestinians during clashes that erupted in a protest against the entry of Israelis to a religious shrine in Nablus city (Joseph’s tomb); these visits had previously lead to clashes with Israeli forces and had caused the death of a Palestinian youth on 6 June. A similar protest leading to clashes between demonstrators and Palestinian forces took place on 4 June and resulted in ten injuries from tear gas inhalation.
  • During a search operation in Qalqiliya city, Israeli forces shot flares that set on fire and damaged at least 50 olive trees. In total, Israeli forces conducted 87 search and arrest operations and arrested 128 Palestinians in the West Bank including East Jerusalem; approximately 30 per cent of the detainees were from the Hebron governorate.
  • Israeli settlers sprayed pepper gas in the face of a 13-year-old Palestinian child in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city (H2). Additionally, there were at least five Israeli settler attacks resulting in damage to Palestinian property, including the vandalizing of 13 olive trees in Turmus'ayya (Ramallah); stone-throwing at and vandalizing of at least 21 vehicles in two incidents in East Jerusalem and Nablus areas; levelling of 15 dunums of land in Al Khadr (Bethlehem); and running over and killing of 30 Palestinian-owned sheep in Az Zubeidat village (Jericho).
  • Five Israelis, including a child, were injured, and one vehicle was damaged in four separate incidents of stone-throwing by Palestinians at Israeli-plated vehicles in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, according to Israeli media reports.
  • In the Gaza Strip, on ten occasions during the week, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinians present in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and at sea, with no injuries reported. In one of the incidents, a fishing boat was damaged and three Palestinians were detained.
  • The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was closed in both directions during the reporting period. Since the beginning of 2016, the crossing has been partially opened for only nine days. Over 30,000 people, are registered and waiting to cross according to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza.

[1] Another three Israelis were killed in January 2016, and one in October 2015 in attacks perpetrated by two Palestinian citizens of Israel, who were also killed.