Posted on 25 April 2019

Protection of Civilians Report | 9 - 22 April 2019

Biweekly Highlights

  • In the Gaza Strip, one Palestinian, aged 15, was killed on 12 April, and around 450 others were injured, in protests that took place near Israel’s perimeter fence in the context of the ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations. Of all Palestinians injured in the protests during the reporting period, 200 were hospitalized, including 71 injured by live ammunition, according to Palestinian medical sources.   
  • On at least 35 occasions, outside of the protests and 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, causing one injury. A Palestinian child died of wounds sustained on 4 April, when he was shot, reportedly after trying to infiltrate into Israel. In separate incidents, the Israeli forces arrested nine Palestinians, including two children, reportedly while attempting to cross into Israel through the perimeter fence. Also, Israeli forces entered Gaza on one occasion and carried out land-levelling and excavation operations near the perimeter fence east of Rafah.
  • A total of 405 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces in multiple clashes across the West Bank, bringing to over 1,400 the number of Palestinian injuries since the beginning of the year. In one major incident in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city (H2) on 9 April, Israeli forces fired multiple tear gas canisters inside the compound of a boys’ school during clashes in the area. As a result, a total of 350 Palestinians, the majority of them students, required treatment after inhaling gas. An UNRWA girls’ school was also evacuated on 18 April after tear gas canisters landed inside the compound during clashes with Israeli forces at Qalandiya refugee camp (Jerusalem). In addition, 13 Palestinians were injured in search and arrest operations that were conducted by the Israeli army in Al ‘Eizariya and Hizma in Jerusalem, and An Nabi Saleh and Al Mazra’a al Qibliya in Ramallah. Overall, 170 search and arrest operations were conducted, during which 155 Palestinians were arrested. Another five Palestinians were injured in two weekly protests against settlement expansion in Kafr Qaddum village (Qalqiliya) and in Ni’lin village (Ramallah). 
  • Most of the remaining injuries are highlighted below in clashes that involved settlers. Overall, almost 90 per cent of the injuries from clashes in the reporting period were caused by tear gas inhalation requiring medical treatment, four per cent by rubber bullets, two per cent by physical assault and one per cent by live ammunition.  
  • Israeli settlers carried out 12 attacks that led to 23 Palestinian injuries and damage to Palestinian property. In two separate incidents in the H2 area of Hebron city, on 13 and 18 April, settlers attacked four Palestinians with pepper spray, including two women. In addition, 19 Palestinians were injured by settlers, or by the soldiers accompanying them, in clashes, after settlers entered the villages of two villages in the Ramallah Governorate (Turmus’ayya and Al Mazra’a al Qibliya) and two in the Nablus Governorate (Urif and Burin) and clashed with residents. Also, Israeli settlers vandalized four tractors in Qaryut village (Nablus), 23 cars in ‘Ein Yabrud (Ramallah); and sprayed graffiti on three houses in ‘Ein Yabrud. In ‘Asira al Qibliya (Nablus), settlers erected fences in an attempt to takeover some 50 dunums of Palestinian-owned land near Yitzhar settlement. Near the settlement outpost of Adei Ad (Ramallah), Palestinians reported that 55 olive trees were vandalized, in an area that requires prior coordination with the Israeli authorities to access. 
  • Since 21 April, Israeli soldiers have sealed off the road to an archeological site in Sabastiya village (Nablus), and taken over nearby rooftops as observation points, to facilitate the entry of settlers during the Passover holidays, forcing residents to use other alternative roads. Also during the reporting period, a Palestinian died after reportedly being struck by a vehicle driven by a settler near Tuqu’ village (Bethlehem, not included in the total above).  
  • A total of 28 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished, displacing 33 people and affecting over 100 others; all but three were demolished on the grounds of a lack of Israeli-issued building permits. Ten of the structures were located in Area C in five communities and 15, including seven homes, were in different locations in East Jerusalem. Also in East Jerusalem, a horse stable and a warehouse in the Silwan neighbourhood of Wadi Yasul were demolished, after the Israeli District Court rejected three appeals submitted by Palestinian residents challenging the demolition orders. The other demolitions during the period were carried out on punitive grounds, including two apartments in Area A of Hebron city, belonging to the family of a Palestinian who was accused of killing an Israeli settler on 7 February. The other was a house in Area B in Kobar village (Ramallah), that belonged to a Palestinian, who was accused of perpetrating an attack near Ofra settlement (Ramallah) that resulted in the death of a baby and injury to seven other Israeli settlers; he was subsequently killed by Israeli forces on 12 December. Clashes with Israeli forces erupted during the demolitions in Silwan and Kobar, during which two Palestinians were injured. In addition, on 15 April, Israeli forces confiscated a truck carrying materials for a donor-funded water project in the Tubas area. 
  • On 10 April, a settler travelling near Tuqu’ village in Hebron was injured after his vehicle was struck by a hammer thrown by a Palestinian. According to Israeli media reports, between 20 and 22 April, Palestinians stoned Israeli-plated vehicles travelling on Road 443 in the Ramallah area and on Road 60 in the Hebron and Bethlehem areas, causing damage to at least four vehicles.
  • During the reporting period, the Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt was open for five days in both directions and four days in one direction. A total of 3,387 people, including 1,510 pilgrims, entered Gaza, and 3,244 others, including 1,577 pilgrims, exited.