Posted on 14 May 2020

Protection of Civilians Report | 28 April - 11 May 2020

Latest development

  • 12 May: the Rafah Crossing with Egypt has been reopened for three days, to allow the return of people to Gaza.
  • 12 May: an Israeli soldier was killed during a search and arrest operation in Ya’bad village (Jenin), after being hit by a stone thrown by Palestinians from a roof.
  • 13 May: a 15-year-old Palestinian boy was shot and killed by Israeli forces in clashes that erupted during a search and arrest operation in Al Fawwar refugee camp (Hebron).

Biweekly highlights

  • Fifty-nine (59) Palestinians, including four children, were injured in multiple incidents and clashes with Israeli forces across the West Bank. Of these injuries, 35 were treated after inhaling tear gas, 13 were shot with live ammunition, eight hit by rubber bullets and three were physically assaulted. Nine of the live ammunition injuries were Palestinian men shot in various incidents near the Barrier, in the Qalqiliya and Tulkarm governorates, reportedly while trying to smuggle themselves into  Israel for work. Three children were also shot with live ammunition near Al Fawwar refugee camp (Hebron), reportedly following stone throwing, and another child near ‘Aqbet Jaber refugee camp (Jericho), in unclear circumstances. Most of the tear gas inhalation cases were recorded during search-and-arrest operations and during a punitive demolition (see below). Other injuries by rubber bullets and physical assault took place during the weekly demonstrations in Kafr Qaddum village (Qalqiliya) and in altercations at the Huwwara and Hamra checkpoints (both in Nablus). 
  • Overall, Israeli forces carried out 87 search-and-arrest operations across the West Bank and arrested over 100 Palestinians, including seven children. As in previous weeks, the majority of the operations (41) occurred in East Jerusalem, particularly in Al ‘Isawiya neighbourhood, in the Hebron governorate (15) and in the Tulkarm governorate (13). On 11 May, senior UN officials in the oPt issued a joint statement expressing serious concern over continued detention of Palestinian children by the Israeli authorities, underlying that children in detention face heightened  risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • On 28 April, a Palestinian man stabbed and injured an Israeli woman in Kfar Sava city, in Israel, and was subsequently shot and injured by a security guard. Following the incident, Israeli forces conducted a search-and-arrest operation in Tulkarm refugee camp, where the perpetrator lives, triggering clashes with the residents. The man was held in detention and has been indicted.
  • In the Gaza Strip, on at least 36 occasions, Israeli forces opened warning fire in the areas adjacent to Israel’s perimeter fence, and off the sea coast, while enforcing access restrictions. As a result, two fishermen were injured in one incident and two boats sustained damage. In one occasion, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried out land-levelling and excavation operations near the perimeter fence, east of Khan-Younis. 
  • After a period of relative calm, on 6 May, a Palestinian armed group in Gaza fired a rocket towards Israel, after which Israeli tanks shelled a number of military sites in Gaza. No casualties were reported, but a number of military facilities reportedly sustained damage.
  • On 11 May, Israeli forces punitively demolished the upper floor of a two-story house in Kobar village (Ramallah), displacing two Palestinians. The targeted home belongs to the family of one of the Palestinians accused of killing an Israeli girl and injuring her brother and father in August 2019. The forces also destroyed a water well and damaged 20 trees. The incident triggered clashes with the residents. This is the fourth punitive demolition since the start of the year.
  • Eleven Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized by the Israeli authorities in Area C, and one by its owner in East Jerusalem, due to the lack of building permits, affecting over 100 people; no displacements were recorded. Six of these structures were targeted based on Military Order 1797, which provides for the expedited removal of unlicensed structures deemed as “new”.  Since the start of the Muslim month of Ramadan, on 24 April, 19 structures have been the targeted of demolitions/seizures, compared to 13 in the whole Ramadan period in 2019, one in 2018 and zero in 2017.
  • Six Palestinians were injured, and around 130 trees and 30 vehicles damaged, by assailants believed to be Israeli settlers. Five of the injuries, including an 11-year-old boy, were caused by physical assault in farming areas near Far’ata (Qalqiliya), Burqa (Nablus) and Turmus’ayya village (Ramallah), and in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city (H2). In the Pisgat Zeev settlement of East Jerusalem, an Israeli settler unleashed his dog towards a Palestinian bus driver, causing him various injuries. Some 130 olive trees were vandalized by settlers in Al Mughayyir (Ramallah), As Sawiya (Nablus), Kafr Qaddum and Far’ata (both in Qalqiliya) villages. In Sarra village (Nablus), masked assailants believed to be settlers were caught on camera while vandalizing 30 vehicles and writing Hebrew graffiti on the walls of houses. Farmers from Bir al ‘Idd herding community (Hebron) reported that settlers from the nearby Mitzpe Yair outpost stole two tonnes of harvested seasonal crops. 
  • Several incidents of stone, Molotov and paint bottle-throwing by Palestinians at Israeli-plated vehicles travelling on West Bank roads were reported. No injuries occurred, but damage to 14 vehicles was reported, in the Hebron, Nablus and Ramallah governorates, according to an Israeli NGO.