Posted on 27 August 2020

Protection of Civilians Report | 11 - 24 August 2020

Latest development

  • 26 August: An Israeli civilian was stabbed to death in the town of Petah Tikva, in Israel, where the police subsequently arrested a Palestinian suspect.

Biweekly highlights

  • Two Palestinians, including a child, were shot and killed, and three others were injured, by Israeli forces in two separate incidents in the West Bank. On 17 August, Israeli forces shot and killed a 30-year-old Palestinian after he stabbed and injured an Israeli Border Police officer at one of the gates leading to Al Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem. Following the incident, Israeli forces restricted movement inside the Old City, which Palestinian medical sources report, prevented them from reaching the area where the assailant was shot. A Palestinian woman bystander was also injured by a stray bullet. In a separate incident in Deir abu Mash’al (Ramallah) on 19 August, a 16-year-old Palestinian child was killed and two other children injured. While the circumstances in which the boy was killed remain unclear, Israeli military sources indicated that the children were preparing to launch Molotov cocktails and were shot after soldiers saw them laying tires on the ground, in order to set them on fire. According to Palestinian eyewitnesses, there were no clashes or burning of tires in the area. Both bodies are still withheld by Israeli forces as of the end of the reporting period. The two deaths bring to 19 the number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank since the beginning of the year. 
  • Escalated hostilities in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel led to the injury of 12 Palestinians and six Israelis. Tensions have escalated since 12 August, when Palestinians launched incendiary balloons from Gaza into Israel, resulting in the burning of farmland in southern Israel, according to Israeli sources. Palestinian armed groups have also fired a number of rockets into Israel, some of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome Defence system. As a result, six Israelis were injured and property damaged. Subsequently, Israeli forces targeted several open areas and military positions belonging to armed groups, leading to the injury of four children and a woman and damage to the targeted sites and adjacent civilian property, including at least nine houses and a school. Also, one Palestinian was injured by shrapnel from a rocket. In addition, six people were injured in clashes with Israeli forces near the fence. The Israeli authorities have also halted the entry of most goods to Gaza, including fuel through the Kerem Shalom Crossing with Gaza, and reduced the permissible fishing area along Gaza’s coast, initially to eight nautical miles, and, later, to zero. The halt to the entry of fuel caused the complete shutdown of the Gaza Power Plant on 18 August, triggering power cuts of up to 20 hours per day across Gaza, impacting the provision of basic services.
  • Israeli forces injured 81 Palestinians in multiple clashes and incidents across the West Bank. The bulk of these, 45, were wounded in a demonstration in Turmus'ayya village (Ramallah) as part of a public event held protesting the United Arab Emirates-Israel deal, announced on 13 August. An additional twenty Palestinians, all medical staff, were injured in the At Tur neighbourhood (East Jerusalem), after Israeli forces were summoned to disperse a gathering at the entrance of Al Maqased hospital in At Tur neighbourhood and fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs in the hospital compound.  In a separate incident, Israeli forces raided the hospital to arrest a Palestinian who was injured during a clash in the course of a demolition in Jabal al Mukkabir (see below). Ten other injuries were recorded while Palestinians were attempting to cross informal openings in the Barrier in the Tulkarm, Qalqiliya and Jenin governorates. Another four Palestinians were injured in four search-and-arrest operations, conducted in the Tulkarm and Ramallah governorates and in East Jerusalem, out of 153 such operations recorded across the West Bank during the reporting period. Also, a Palestinian was injured by shrapnel from a box that exploded when he touched it and which was located near the area where the weekly demonstrations take place in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya); this is one of three devices that were found located on the route to the demonstrations and near a public park, which Israeli media report were placed by Israeli forces. Two additional Palestinians were injured, including one after he reportedly threw a Molotov cocktail, near Bethlehem city, and another, who was suspected of carrying a knife at the Qalandiya checkpoint (Jerusalem). In the latter incident, the man suffered from hearing problems and could not hear the soldiers’ order; Israeli media sources indicated later that he was not carrying a knife. Ten of the overall injuries were by live ammunition, nine by rubber bullets and two by physical assault, with the rest cases of medically-treated tear gas inhalation.   
  • On at least 26 occasions, Israeli forces opened fire near Israel’s perimeter fence with Gaza, and off its coast, presumably to enforce access restrictions, resulting in one injury to a fisherman, damage to a boat and the loss of fishing nets. Also, on one occasion, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried out land-levelling and excavation operations near the perimeter fence, north of Beit-Lahiya.  
  • A total of 25 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized for the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, displacing 32 Palestinians and otherwise affecting around 160 others. Fifteen of these structures, all but two of which were livelihood-related, were demolished in eight communities in Area C, including two in the communities of Mughayyir al Abeed and Al Fakheit (both in Hebron), which are located in areas closed by the Israeli military for training. An additional six livelihood structures were demolished in one incident in Area C of Al ‘Isawiya (Jerusalem). The rest of the structures were located in East Jerusalem, including an under-construction residential building in the Jabal al Mukkabir neighbourhood, which triggered clashes resulting in one injury. Five of the structures in East Jerusalem were demolished by their owners, who were forced to do so to avoid fines. So far this year, about half of all demolitions in East Jerusalem (118) were carried out by the owners, following the issuance of demolition orders by the Israeli authorities.
  • One Palestinian was injured, and 650 trees and saplings and other Palestinian-owned property were vandalized, by assailants believed to be settlers. In one incident, settlers stoned and injured a Palestinian worker on a land registration project in Huwwara (Nablus). In four other incidents, settlers uprooted 400 olive and almonds saplings in ‘Asira ash Shamaliya and six vine saplings in Qaryut (both in Nablus); cut down 244 olive trees in Khirbet at Tawamin (Hebron); and damaged 16 dunums of wheat and barley crops, by grazing sheep on cultivated land near Sa’ir village (Hebron). Also, settlers damaged seven cars in Yasuf village (Salfit) and a quarry near Urif village (Nablus), where they also sprayed graffiti, while throwing stones at cars driving near the settlements of Yitzhar (Nablus) and Kiryat Arba’ (Hebron). The remaining two incidents were in Hebron, where assailants believed to be settlers damaged an animal shelter and fences and stole property in At Tuwani and the H2 area of Hebron city. Additionally, a 21-year-old Palestinian man died during the period after reportedly being struck by a vehicle driven by settler, near Kafriat checkpoint south of Tulkarm, as he was crossing Road 557 on the Israeli side of the Barrier (not included in the total above). 
  • One Israeli girl was injured and 17 vehicles were damaged as a result of stone-throwing by Palestinians at Israeli-plated vehicles driving on West Bank roads, according to Israeli sources.