Over 40 Palestinians injured in clashes, the majority by rubber-coated metal bullets
A total of 43 Palestinians were injured during the week by Israeli forces in multiple clashes across the West Bank, with nearly 70 percent of the cases caused by rubber-coated metal bullets. At least two of the people injured by this ammunition during the week, were hit in the head. The Israeli army's rules of engagement allow the shooting of these bullets only at the lower part of the body. In 2013, the number of Palestinian injuries by rubber-coated metal bullets in the West Bank doubled compared to 2012 (1,518 vs. 757 people, making for 41 percent of the injury cases in 2013 compared to 25 percent in 2012.
The most serious clashes took place on 21 February in Hebron City, in a protest against the longstanding closure of the main street in the Old City (Ash Shuhada Street) for Palestinian use. During the incident, protestors threw stones at Israeli forces staffing one of the checkpoints controlling access to the street, while the soldiers responded by shooting rubber-coated metal bullets, injuring 14 Palestinians, including three children (aged 8, 13 and 14). The Israeli authorities impose severe restrictions on Palestinian movement in Hebron's Old City to provide security to Israeli visitors, as well as settlers residing in the city. These restrictions have contributed to the displacement of thousands of Palestinian residents from this area in the past 13 years, and the deterioration of the living conditions of those who stayed.
Stone throwing at Israeli forces positioned next to Al Jalazun refugee camp (Ramallah), and subsequesubsequent clashes, continued during this week. In one of the incidents, on 21 February, Israeli forces injured nine Palestinians, four of whom were shot with live ammunition, and three with rubber-coated metal bullets, including one head injury. The frequency and intensity of clashes in this location have intensified in recent months, following Israeli forces' killing of a 15-year-old boy resident of the camp in December 2013 and a worker from the camp in January 2014.Clashes also took place this week in An Nabi Saleh village (Ramallah), resulting in the injury of six Palestinians, including five children aged between 12 and 17 years. Over the past few years, residents of the village have been holding weekly demonstrations, protesting the expansion of the adjacent settlement of Halamish on private Palestinian land.
Tensions and clashes continued to run high during the week on the main road next to Tuqu' village and Teqoa settlement, in the eastern part of the Bethlehem governorate. Two of this week's clashes resulted in the injury of two men by Israeli soldiers, one of whom was hit with live ammunition in his leg and the other who lost an eye after being shot in the head with a rubber-coated metal bullet. Many of the incidents in this area recorded in recent weeks involve stone-throwing by Palestinian children at Israeli vehicles and soldiers along the main road, as well as clashes around settler attempts to take over land.