Posted on 20 February 2020

Protection of Civilians Report | 4 - 17 February 2020

Latest development

  • On 18 February, reportedly in response to a recent decline in the launching of rockets and incendiary balloons from Gaza, the Israeli authorities expanded the permissible fishing zone from 10 to 15 nautical miles off the southern coast, and reactivated 500 exit permits for people categorized as “businessmen”. 
  • On 19 February, the Jerusalem Municipality announced that it will freeze the demolition of houses in Al Isawiya neighborhood of East Jerusalem for six months. Since August 2019, thirteen (13) structures, including seven residential structures have been demolished in Al Isawiya, and dozens more are facing demolition orders.

Biweekly highlights

  • Two Palestinians were killed and 14 Israeli soldiers were injured in three separate Palestinian attacks and alleged attacks on 6 February. In Jerusalem’s Old City, a 45-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel was shot and killed by Israeli police forces after he opened fire and injured a border police officer. In West Jerusalem, a Palestinian man ran his car into a group of Israeli soldiers, injuring 12 of them; the driver was arrested at the Gush Etzion junction (Hebron). Also on 6 February, Palestinians reportedly opened fire at Israeli soldiers near Deir Ibzi’ village (Ramallah), injuring one of them; on 17 February, the Israeli military reported that it found the body of the alleged perpetrator, who apparently died of wounds sustained during the original incident by Israeli fire. In an additional incident on 17 February, a Palestinian man attempted to stab Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city and was arrested; no injuries were reported.
  • On 6 February, Israeli forces shot and killed two Palestinians and injured another nine, in clashes that erupted during a punitive demolition in Jenin city. One of the fatalities was a 19-year-old youth and the other a Palestinian policeman, who was reportedly present inside the police station at the time of the clashes. According to Israeli sources, during the clashes, Palestinian opened fire and threw explosive devices at the soldiers; no Israeli injuries were reported.
  • Another two Palestinians were killed and over 100 injured by Israeli forces during multiple clashes across the West Bank in response to the US plan for the Middle East that was announced on 28 January. The two fatalities are a 17-year-old child, killed in Hebron city on 5 February, and a 19-year-old male, killed on 7 February, next to a Barrier gate near Qaffin village (Tulkarm). Other clashes resulting in large numbers of injuries were recorded near the Beit El/DCO checkpoint (Ramallah), at the entrance of Jericho city, in Beita village (Nablus), and in Al 'Eizariya and Abu Dis towns in the Jerusalem governorate. The injuries include 21 children. Over 70 per cent of the injuries were treated for tear gas inhalation, 24 per cent were hit by rubber bullets and 2 per cent by live ammunition. 
  • An additional 138 Palestinians, including seven children, were injured by Israeli forces in other clashes recorded during the reporting period. Over 60 per cent of these injuries (88) occurred during clashes that erupted during three search and arrest operations carried out in Beit Jala (Bethlehem), in the aftermath of the alleged ramming attack on 6 February; 24 per cent occurred during the weekly protests in Kafr Qaddum village (Qalqiliya); and the rest in other clashes, including at the funeral of the policeman killed in Jenin city. These incidents bring the number of Palestinian fatalities by Israeli forces in the West Bank and Israel since the beginning of 2020 to six and the number of injuries to 623.
  • On 15 February, a 9-year-old Palestinian boy was hit in the eye by a rubber bullet shot by an Israeli policeman, while he was on his way back home from school, in Al Isawiya neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. The boy was seriously injured and lost his eye. No clashes were recorded at the time of the incident. The Israeli authorities announced the opening of a criminal investigation. Intense police operations have been ongoing in Al Isawiya since mid-2019, resulting in heightened tensions and disruption of the lives of at least 18,000 residents.
  • Israeli forces carried out 135 search and arrest operations across the West Bank, and arrested 132 Palestinians, including eight children. The majority of the operations were in the Ramallah Governorate (34), followed by Hebron (30) and Jerusalem (26) governorates. 
  • The launching of projectiles, as well as bundles of balloons tied to explosive devices, from Gaza towards Israel continued. The projectiles and balloons either landed in open areas inside Israel, or were intercepted in the air. Two Israelis were injured while running to a shelter in Netivot city. These incidents were followed by Israeli airstrikes targeting military facilities across Gaza, resulting in no casualties; a pipeline used as an outlet to discharge storm water from Beach Refugee Camp into the sea was damaged. 
  • On at least 53 occasions, Israeli forces opened warning fire in the areas adjacent to Israel’s perimeter fence and off the coast of Gaza; one Palestinian fisherman was injured, and two boats were damaged by Israeli naval forces. On three occasions, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried out land-levelling and excavation operations near the perimeter fence, in Beit Lahia, Al Maghazi camp and Khan Younis. 
  • Citing the lack of building permits, the Israeli authorities demolished, or forced Palestinians to demolish, 24 structures in Area C and East Jerusalem, displacing 23 people and affecting 88 others. Thirteen of the targeted structures, including three previously provided as humanitarian aid, were located in Area C. Two of the largest incidents occurred near Hebron city (Al Hijra) and Deir Qaddis (Ramallah) and involved the demolition of three livelihood structures, two agricultural rooms and two latrines. Also in Area C, in Hebron city, the Israeli authorities destroyed one home and one latrine provided as humanitarian assistance, displacing one family comprising seven people. The remaining eleven structures targeted were in East Jerusalem, including five demolished by their owners following the receipt of demolition orders. 
  • On 6 February, the Israeli authorities demolished for the second time a house in Jenin city on punitive grounds, displacing seven people, including two children. The house belonged to the family of the Palestinian, currently imprisoned, who participated in an attack in January 2018, in which one Israeli settler was killed. It had been rebuilt after it was initially demolished on 23 April 2018.
  • Five attacks attributed to Israeli settlers resulted in the injury of three Palestinians and damage to Palestinian property. On 16 February, armed Israeli settlers raided Ein ar Rashash village (Ramallah), where they assaulted and injured three Palestinians residents and damaged their home. In two separate incidents, Israeli settlers vandalized at least 50 dunums of cultivated land in Iskaka village (Salfit), affecting the livelihoods of seven families, and 30 olive trees in Beitillu village (Ramallah), according to Palestinian local sources. In Deir Dibwan and Beitin villages (both in Ramallah), Israeli settlers vandalized 15 Palestinian-owned vehicles and two houses. 
  • Three Israelis, including one girl and two women, were injured and at least 12 Israeli-plated vehicles were damaged, following stone and Molotov cocktail throwing by Palestinians at cars travelling along West Bank roads, according to Israeli sources.