Posted on 22 August 2019
Protection of Civilians Report | 30 July - 19 August 2019
- Nine Palestinians, all reportedly armed, were killed in a series of armed clashes with Israeli forces on both sides of the perimeter fence between Gaza and Israel. Two separate incidents on 1 and 11 August, involving exchanges of fire, resulted in the killing of two Palestinians and the injury of three Israeli soldiers. Another four Palestinians were killed on 10 August, east of Deir al Balah, during an armed clash with Israeli forces positioned at the fence. On 17 August, Israeli forces opened fire from the air at a group of Palestinians, some of whom were reportedly armed and who were approaching the fence, north of Beit Lahiya, killing three and injuring two. In a number of additional incidents, Israeli forces arrested four Palestinians who breached the fence and entered Israel.
- On 17 August, Palestinians fired rockets from Gaza towards southern Israel; two Israeli civilians were injured, while running to a shelter in the town of Sderot. An additional rocket fired the previous day was intercepted in the air. According to Israeli sources, the period also witnessed an increase in the launching of incendiary balloons from Gaza towards southern Israel, some of which triggered fires in agricultural areas. Despite the surge in the number of incidents and clashes, the calm understandings between Israel and Hamas have largely held.
- The ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations near the fence have continued, resulting in the injury of 268 Palestinians by Israeli forces. The demonstrations were cancelled on 9 August due to the Muslim Al Adha feast. Of the injuries during the reporting period, 191 were hospitalized, including 97 children, and 62 were shot with live ammunition. Israeli sources reported that a number of Molotov cocktails and explosive devices were thrown at Israeli forces and there were several attempts to breach the fence. No Israeli casualties were reported.
- On at least 39 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. As a result, a fisherman was detained and a boat was confiscated in one incident, and a child was injured in another. Israeli forces carried out three incursions and land levelling operations near the fence.
- In the West Bank, an off-duty Israeli soldier was killed, and three other Israelis were injured, by Palestinians in three separate incidents; two of the perpetrators, including a child, were killed, and another two Palestinians were injured. On 8 August, the body of an Israeli soldier was found near the Gush Etzion junction (Hebron), with signs of stabbing; he was off duty and not in uniform when killed. Two Palestinians suspected of the stabbing were arrested during an operation in Beit Kahil village. Also at the Gush Etzion junction, on 16 August, a Palestinian driver ran his car into a group of Israeli settlers waiting at a bus stop, injuring two siblings, aged 17 and 19 years old; an Israeli policeman shot and killed the driver, as soon as he exited the vehicle. A day earlier, two Palestinian children stabbed and injured an Israeli policeman in Jerusalem’s Old City and were subsequently shot: one of them, 14 years old, was killed, and the other, 16 years old, was seriously injured and transferred to a hospital, where he remains under police custody; a Palestinian bystander was also injured during the shooting.
- Israeli forces injured a total of 173 Palestinians in multiple clashes across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Around 40 per cent of the injuries (67) occurred in clashes that erupted following the entry of a group of Israelis to the Haram Ash Sharif/ Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem on 11 August, when the Muslim feast of Al Adha and the Jewish Tisha B’av holiday coincided. A third of the injuries were sustained during two search and arrest operations in Al ‘Eizariya town (Jerusalem), where the boys involved in the above stabbing attack lived. Another 32 people were injured in a clash with Israeli forces escorting a group of Israelis visiting a religious site (Joseph’s Tomb) in Nablus city, and during a protest against settlement expansion in Ein Samiya village (Ramallah). Of all injuries, over half were treated for tear gas inhalation, over a third were shot with rubber bullets, six with live ammunition, and the rest were injured by other means.
- A total of 178 search and arrest operations were carried out by Israeli forces in West Bank villages and towns. Of these, 37 were in Jerusalem, 35 in Hebron and 26 in Ramallah governorates. At least 190 Palestinians were arrested during the operations.
- In 14 separate incidents, assailants believed to be Israeli settlers injured four Palestinians, including a child and damaged Palestinian property. In three incidents in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city (H2), Israeli settlers physically assaulted and injured two Palestinians and one international activist; the activist affected by the assault was banned from entering the area for 15 days. In four incidents, assailants believed to be settlers set fire to 100 dunums of land and to dozens of trees in the villages of Burqa and ‘Urif (Nablus) and to a number of hay bales in Ar Rifa’iyya (Hebron), and cut down 20 trees in Dar Faza’a village (Ramallah). Around 20 cars were vandalized in five other incidents in the villages of Nahhalin and Al Manshiya (Bethlehem), Yatma (Nablus), Az Zawiya (Salfit) and Turmus’ayya (Ramallah). Settlers also stoned a house in ‘Urif and raided another in Nahhalin, where they damaged furniture and other belongings.
- 24 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished across the West Bank on the grounds of lack of Israeli-issued permits. As a result, nine people were displaced and at least 80 others affected. The number of people displaced due to demolitions so far this year (at least 480) has already exceeded the same figure in all of 2018 (472). Ten of the structures were demolished in East Jerusalem, and the remaining demolitions were carried out in four Area C communities. Thirteen of the targeted structures in Area C had been provided as humanitarian aid, including seven in a herding community in the northern Jordan Valley at risk of forcible transfer (Khirbet ar Ras al Ahmar).
- On three occasions, according to Israeli sources, Palestinians threw stones at Israeli-plated vehicles travelling on West Bank roads near Jerusalem, Hebron and Ramallah. At least three cars were damaged. A Molotov cocktail was reportedly thrown at an Israeli shopping centre in East Jerusalem, causing light damage.