Posted on 2 July 2020
Protection of Civilians Report | 16 - 29 June 2020
- Due to the sharp increase in the number of people with COVID-19, the Palestinian Authority (PA) announced a five-day full lockdown of the West Bank, starting on 3 July, 08:00. All shops, except supermarkets, bakeries and pharmacies, will be closed, and only essential movements will be allowed. For updated indicators see OCHA’s COVID-19 portal.
- An eight-month-old baby boy, who needed a heart surgery at an Israeli hospital, could not exit Gaza and died on 18 June. Since 21 May, the PA has not accepted or transferred applications for exit permits from Gaza to the Israeli authorities, as a response to Israel’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank. Since then, only few patients referred for medical treatment in the West Bank or Israel managed to exit Gaza, with the help of NGOs or international agencies.
- On 23 June, a Palestinian man drove his car into an Israeli Border Police officer at a checkpoint, injuring her, and he was subsequently shot and killed. The Wadi an Nar checkpoint (Jerusalem governorate), where the incident took place, is used by the Israeli authorities to control Palestinian traffic between the southern and northern West Bank. A video recording of the incident suggests it was an intentional attack. Family members of the driver claimed that he may have lost control over the vehicle and that after his shooting he was left bleeding on the ground. So far this year, Israeli forces have killed seven Palestinians during attacks or alleged attacks they carried out against Israelis.
- Israeli forces injured 121 Palestinians in multiple clashes across the West Bank. Seventy-three of those Palestinians were injured in Abu Dis (Jerusalem) during three-day-long clashes that followed the abovementioned killing. Twenty other Palestinians were injured in the Jordan Valley, in three separate demonstrations against the expected annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel. Another seven were injured during the weekly demonstrations in Kafr Qaddum village (Qalqiliya). A 15-year-old boy was shot with live ammunition and injured in Deir Abu Mash’al (Ramallah), allegedly after throwing a bottle towards Israeli vehicles. The rest were injured during various incidents in East Jerusalem, the Qalandiya and Al Jalazun refugee camps and Nablus city. Of those injured, 63 were medically treated for tear gas inhalation, 44 were hit by rubber-coated metal bullets, eight were physically assaulted, and six were hit by live ammunition.
- Israeli forces carried out 125 search-and-arrest operations and arrested 156 Palestinians across the West Bank, slightly above the 2020 average so far.
- On 26 June, a Palestinian armed group fired two rockets towards southern Israel, one of which fell short inside Gaza and the other hit an open area in southern Israel. Subsequently, Israeli forces carried out air strikes, reportedly targeting an armed group’s position located in a populated area. While no one was injured in any of the attacks, the targeted position and four nearby homes sustained minor damage.
- On at least 26 occasions, Israeli forces opened fire near Israel’s perimeter fence around Gaza and off the coast, presumably to enforce access restrictions; no injuries were reported. On three other occasions, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried out land-levelling and excavation operations near the fence, east of Gaza city, Beit Hanoun and Rafah.
- Twenty-one Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized for the lack of Israeli-issued building permits; 30 people, including 13 children, were displaced and the livelihoods of more than 90 others were affected. Ten of the structures, of which three were inhabited homes, were demolished in East Jerusalem; four of these structures, including one of the inhabited homes, were demolished by their owners to avoid fees and damage to their belongings. In Area C, 11 structures were demolished or seized in eight communities, including Al Khadr (Bethlehem), where two structures were demolished on the basis of Military Order 1797, providing for the expedited removal of unlicensed structures deemed as “new”. The demolition of homes and sources of livelihoods amid the ongoing pandemic remains of serious concern.
- Ten Palestinians were injured, hundreds of olive trees were set on fire and six vehicles were vandalized by assailants believed to be Israeli settlers. Of all those who sustained injuries, seven were pepper-sprayed by settlers in two separate incidents near Beitillu village (Ramallah) and in the Silwan neighbourhood of East Jerusalem; two, including a 14-year-old girl, were stoned in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city (H2) and south of Nablus; and one was physically assaulted while herding sheep in Deir al Qilt (Jericho). Hundreds of olive trees were reportedly set on fire by Israeli settlers in four separate incidents in the villages of Burin, Qaryut (both in Nablus) and Wadi Fukin (Bethlehem). In Burin, the fire extended to nearby lands belonging to Palestinians from Kafr Qalil and Huwwara, where more trees caught fire. So far in 2020, at least 4,000 olive and other trees have been damaged in reported settler attacks.
- According to an Israeli NGO, four Israeli-plated vehicles travelling on West Bank roads were damaged when Palestinians threw stones at them; no injuries were reported.