Posted on 1 August 2019
Protection of Civilians Report | 16 - 29 July 2019
- On 26 July, a 23-year-old Palestinian was shot and killed with live ammunition in the Gaza Strip during the weekly ‘Great March of Return’ (GMR) demonstration near the perimeter fence with Israel. This was the first fatality recorded in the GMR demonstrations since 10 May 2019. Another 473 Palestinians were injured in the GMR demonstrations and related activities during the reporting period, of whom 188 were hospitalized. For cumulative casualty figures and breakdowns, see here.
- On at least 12 occasions, in the context of enforcing access restrictions, Israeli forces opened warning fire in the areas adjacent to the perimeter fence and off the coast of Gaza. Two fishermen were detained and their boat confiscated in one incident; in another, a man was arrested while he was reportedly attempting to infiltrate through the fence into Israel. Israeli forces carried out two incursions and land levelling operations near the fence, and on another occasion fired flares, causing damage to a house in the Middle Area.
- Between 17 and 23 July, the Israeli authorities handed back 35 fishing boats, which had been confiscated by the Israeli navy in the context of enforcing access restrictions. This brings to 66 the total number of fishing boats returned since the beginning of 2019, according to the Palestinian Fishing Syndicate.
- Overall, a total of 146 search and arrest operations were carried out by Israeli forces in West Bank villages and towns, of which 36 were in Hebron and 30 in Jerusalem, mainly in Al ‘Isawiya. At least 200 Palestinians were arrested during these operations.
- A total of 75 Palestinians, including 22 children, were injured by Israeli forces across the West Bank, due to tear gas inhalation and rubber and live bullets, and as a result of physical assault. In Al ‘Isawiya, where Israeli forces have entered almost daily over the past two months, triggering confrontations with residents, two Israeli border policemen were injured by stones during the clashes. Thirty-three Palestinians were injured in search and arrest operations, including 24 in Al ‘Eizariya and Al ‘Isawiya in Jerusalem, five in the refugee camps of Ad Duheishah (Bethlehem) and Jenin, and three in separate locations. Six other Palestinians were injured in clashes in Sur Bahir neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, triggered by the demolition of ten structures on 22 July (see below). In addition, in the weekly protest against settlement expansion in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya), 31 Palestinians were injured, mainly by rubber bullets and tear gas inhalation. Also five protesting Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli forces in Fasayil community in Jericho in a protest against the lack of electricity in the area.
- A 31-year-old Palestinian detainee died on 16 July in an Israeli prison. The man was detained in June 2019, after which his health deteriorated and according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, he died because of medical negligence. According to Israeli media reports, the Israeli Prison Service provided medical care to the detainee and is investigating his death.
- In one incident on 16 July, an Israeli settler physically assaulted and injured a 6-year-old child in the Batn al Hawa area of Silwan neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. In four other incidents, Palestinian farmers and residents reported that suspected Israeli settlers vandalized around 150 olive trees belonging to residents of Yasuf and Wadi Qana in Salfit, and Susiya and Ash Shuyukh in Hebron. In addition, during the reporting period, the Israeli High Court of Justice rejected a petition by Palestinians to vacate a house taken over by settlers in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron (H2); settlers installed a caravan near the house after the ruling.
- During the reporting period, a total of 44 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished across the West Bank, displacing 38 people and affecting over 6,000 others. Of the structures demolished, 34 were due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, of which 32 were in Area C and two in East Jerusalem. The demolitions in Area C included 14 donor-funded structures, among which were four water cisterns, affecting the communities of Umm al Kheir and Khashem ad Daraj (est. population 1,750). Similar to other communities located in south Hebron, both communities already face severe water shortages. Also, over 4,000 residents of the Asira ash Shamaliya village in Nablus were affected after the Israeli authorities levelled sections of four donated roads leading to agricultural land; the roads were reopened by the residents the following day.
- The remaining ten structures were demolished on 22 July, citing security concerns. These included nine residential buildings, of which three were inhabited, all except one are located on the ‘Jerusalem’ side of the Barrier in areas A, B and C of Sur Bahir neighbourhood; this resulted in the displacement of four families, comprising 24 people, including 14 children. The demolitions followed a ruling by the Israeli High Court of Justice, based on a military order that designates a security buffer zone in the proximity of the Barrier in which all building is prohibited. In response to the incident, a UN statement was issued, declaring that “Israel’s policy of destroying Palestinian property is not compatible with its obligations under international humanitarian law.”
- On three occasions, according to Israeli sources, Palestinians threw stones, fireworks and cans of paint at Israeli-plated vehicles travelling on West Bank roads near Jerusalem, Hebron and Ramallah. At least three cars were damaged.