Longstanding restrictions on the movement of people and goods to and from Gaza have undermined the living conditions of about two million Palestinians in that area. Many of the restrictions, originally imposed by Israel in the early 1990s, were intensified after June 2007, following the Hamas takeover of Gaza and the imposition of a blockade. These restrictions continue to reduce access to livelihoods, essential services and housing, disrupt family life, and undermine people’s hopes for a secure and prosperous future
In February, 53 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized, constituting a 40 per cent increase compared with the monthly average recorded in 2018 (38). The number of people displaced in February was more than double the monthly average in 2018 (105 vs. 39). In addition, thousands of people were affected by the demolition of parts of water distribution systems in three different areas. All the structures were demolished on the grounds of a lack of Israeli-issued permits, which are nearly impossible to obtain.
The international Commission of Inquiry into the protests in Gaza releases its initial report. Departure of TIPH mission increases protection concerns for H2 residents of Hebron. Palestinian access to land behind the Barrier increasingly rejected due to bureaucratic reasons. Improvements to Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism expected to improve its effectiveness.
In this document
- Overview: February 2019
- Israel terminates TIPH operations in H2: Further shrinking of humanitarian space leaves residents facing increased protection risks
- Fewer permits granted to access land behind Barrier
- Improvements to the mechanism for the import of restricted items to Gaza likely to facilitate implementation of humanitarian interventions
Friday demonstrations and clashes along the perimeter fence in Gaza, during the reporting period, resulted in the killing of two Palestinians, both aged 23, and injury to 556 others; one Palestinian, aged 22, also died of wounds sustained on a previous Friday, 22 February. The two Palestinians were shot with live ammunition during the protests in the Deir al Balah and Rafah area, respectively, on 1 and 8 March. Since the beginning of protests in the context of the ‘Great March of Return’ on 30 March 2018, 193 Palestinians have been killed and 26,625 injured. Of the injuries during the reporting period, 269 were hospitalized, including 79 people injured by live ammunition, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Following the launching of projectiles, incendiary balloons and explosive devices by Palestinians towards Israel, a number of Israeli air strikes and shelling targeted military sites, reportedly belonging to Palestinian armed groups, and ports, damaging two sites and three fishing boats.
One Palestinian boy was killed, during the Friday demonstrations and clashes at the perimeter fence in Gaza, and 449 Palestinians were injured; another boy died of wounds sustained previously. According to Israeli sources, on several occasions, protestors threw explosive devices, launched incendiary balloons and tried to breach the fence, resulting in injury to an Israeli Border Police officer. On 22 February, Israeli forces shot a 14-year-old Palestinian boy with live ammunition in the chest and killed him during a protest east of Gaza city. On 12 February, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy died of wounds sustained after being hit by a tear gas canister in the head by Israeli forces during a similar protest on 8 February in the Deir al Balah area. These incidents bring the number of Palestinian children killed in the context of the ‘Great March of Return’ to 40 since late March 2018. Five of these have been killed since the beginning of 2019. Of all the injuries during the reporting period, 228 were hospitalized, including 92 people injured by live ammunition, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
Longstanding restrictions on the movement of people and goods to and from Gaza have undermined the living conditions of about two million Palestinians in that area. Many of the restrictions, originally imposed by Israel in the early 1990s, were intensified after June 2007, following the Hamas takeover of Gaza and the imposition of a blockade, including restrictions on the movement of people and goods between Gaza and Egypt. These restrictions continue to reduce access to livelihoods, essential services and housing, disrupt family life, and undermine people’s hopes for a secure and prosperous future.
Two Palestinian children were killed by Israeli forces during the ‘Great March of Return’ protests in the Gaza Strip, another two Palestinians died of wounds sustained previously, and 530 were injured. The two boys (14 and 17-years-old) were shot with live ammunition and killed on Friday, 8 February in two incidents near the fence. According to human rights groups, both incidents occurred between 60-250 meters from the fence and the two boys posed no threat to Israeli forces. On the same day, according to Israeli sources, Palestinians threw explosive devices at Israeli forces and attempted to breach the fence into Israel, resulting in no Israeli injuries. The other two fatalities, both men, succumbed to wounds sustained in previous demonstrations on 18 and 29 January, including a demonstration at the beach held to protest the naval blockade; one of the fatalities was shot with live ammunition and the other one was struck by a tear-gas canister. These bring the number of Palestinian fatalities sustained during the Gaza protests since March 2018 to 263, including 49 children. Of those injured during the reporting period, 248 were hospitalized, including 64 people hit by live ammunition; the remainder were treated in the field, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza.
In January, 40 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized by the Israeli authorities, almost the same as the monthly average recorded in 2018, displacing 44 people and otherwise affecting some 200 others. One of the demolitions took place on punitive grounds and the remaining occurred due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, which are almost impossible to obtain.
Three Palestinians, including a child, were shot and killed by Israeli forces in three separate incidents in the West Bank. On 21 January, soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man at the Huwwara checkpoint (Nablus), reportedly after he attempted to stab a soldier; his body is still being withheld by Israeli forces. On 25 January, a 16-year-old boy was shot and killed, and another one injured, near Silwad village (Ramallah). According to Israeli sources the boys were throwing stones at Israeli vehicles when shot, while Palestinian sources indicated that they were playing. The same day, in East Jerusalem, the Israeli police opened fire and killed the driver of a vehicle suspected as stolen, reportedly after the driver, a 37-year old Palestinian man, did not abide by an order to stop. These incidents bring to 11 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank since the start of December 2018.