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Palestinian civilians across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) are subject to threats to their lives and physical safety from conflict-related violence, and from policies and practices related to the Israeli occupation, including settler violence. In the Gaza Strip, three large rounds of hostilities between Palestinian armed groups and Israel since 2008, have left thousands of civilian deaths and injuries. In the West Bank, casualties have also been on the rise in recent years, mainly in the context of confrontations with Israeli forces and increasing frustration over continued occupation. Throughout the oPt, concerns have been raised over excessive use of force. Although the specific contexts in which civilians are killed or injured varies, there is a pervasive crisis of accountability, with no effective remedy for the vast majority of alleged violations of international law, to ensure justice for the victims and to prevent future violations.
OCHA monitors casualties in its Protection of Civilians reports.
Articles, statements and press releases
On 26 September 2019, the cleaner at Al Bahrain Elementary Boys School in Gaza city found a suspicious object in the school backyard. The school is run by UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.
On 16 April, 40-year-old Issa Qattash and his brother were severely beaten and injured by a group of Israeli settlers, while having a picnic with their families in a forest outside of Jibya village (north of Ramallah). “One of the settlers carried a rifle and another an axe”, Issa explained. “My brother Moussa managed to escape to call for help… I laid some time injured on the ground and then the settlers began dragging me out of the area… but then Israeli soldiers arrived and released me, while letting the settlers go.” Fatima Qattash, Issa’s 70-year-old mother, who witnessed the event added: “we were all shocked and scared… the children are still having nightmares!”
Mohammed, 35 and father of three, from Beit Hanoun, was shot with a live bullet in the leg during the first “Great March of Return” (GMR) demonstration on 30 March 2018. “I went through 25 surgeries, but I’m still in pain,” he told OCHA. As a result of his disability, Mohammed lost his job as a construction worker and the economic situation of his family began to deteriorate. “My wife couldn’t bear with my situation and with the poverty, so we got divorced. My life is nothing, but a misery.”
The new year has witnessed increased tension in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), particularly in Gaza. The most serious escalation occurred on 23 and 24 February, following the killing, by Israel, of a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), who was attempting to place an explosive device along the perimeter fence with Israel; in an incident caught on camera, his body was subsequently retrieved by an Israeli bulldozer, in a manner that triggered widespread outrage across the Gaza Strip.
In 2019, Israeli forces killed 135 Palestinians, mostly by air-launched explosive weapons or live ammunition: 108 were killed in the Gaza Strip and 27 in the West Bank. Another 15,369 Palestinians were injured during the year by Israeli forces: 42 per cent required medical treatment after inhaling tear gas, 16 per cent were hit by rubber bullets and 13 per cent were shot with live ammunition.
“I have been fishing since I was ten years old and fishing is the only source of income for my wife, myself and our 10 children,” said Fadi, a 44-year-old fisher from Gaza city.
On 1 April 2019, the Israeli authorities expanded the permissible fishing area along the southern and central parts of Gaza’s coast from six up to 15 nautical miles (NM) offshore, the furthest distance that Gaza’s fishers have been permitted to access since 2000. Access to the northern areas along the coast remain more limited at up to 6 NM, well below the 20 NM agreed under the Oslo Accords