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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
24 March 2016

Reporting period: 15 - 21 March 2016

Weekly Highlights

Latest Developments (outside of the reporting period):

On 24 March, two Palestinians stabbed and injured an Israeli soldier in Hebron city and were subsequently shot and killed by Israeli forces, according to initial media reports.

On 23 March, the Israeli authorities destroyed 53 structures, including 22 homes, in the Area C community of Khirbet Tana (Nablus), on grounds of lack of building permits; this is the third such incident in this community since early February.

● The Israeli authorities have suspended the entry of Palestinian permit holders to East Jerusalem and Israel between 23-27 March due to a Jewish holiday, except for humanitarian cases and UN and INGO employees.

Israeli forces killed four Palestinians, including a 17-year-old child, suspected perpetrators of three stabbing attacks, which resulted in the injury of two Israeli soldiers. The incidents took place in Hebron city, at the Gush Etzion junction (Hebron), and the entrance to Ariel settlement (Salfit). Since the beginning of 2016, Palestinian attacks and alleged attacks have resulted in the death of four Israelis, one foreign national and 45 Palestinians (all but one suspected perpetrators), including 13 children and three women.[1]

Following one of the above attacks and through the end of the reporting period, Israeli forces blocked or deployed checkpoints at the main routes into the Belt Fajjar village (Bethlehem), where the suspected perpetrators lived; only humanitarian cases and teachers were allowed in and out following prior coordination. On 17 March, the Israeli authorities re-opened the main entrance to Beit Ur at Tahta village (Ramallah), which had been closed since 11 March, following a Palestinian attack, restoring normal access to five other villages to the city of Ramallah.

On 15 March, a Palestine refugee died of wounds he sustained in late February 2016 in clashes that erupted during an Israeli military operation in Qalandiya Refugee Camp (Jerusalem), to rescue two Israeli soldiers who mistakenly found themselves inside the camp. Another Palestinian man was killed during that operation.

The Israeli authorities released the body of a Palestinian suspect in an attack in East Jerusalem that took place in December 2015. The release was preconditioned on the family limiting the funeral to 30 people and following the payment of 20,000 NIS guarantee for this arrangement. The bodies of 14 other Palestinians, suspected of perpetrating attacks against Israelis, which took place in the previous five months, continue to be withheld by the Israeli authorities.

Clashes with Israeli forces across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) resulted in the injury of 49 Palestinians, including 10 children. Seven of the injuries occurred next to the perimeter fence in the Gaza Strip and the rest were in the West Bank. Some 63 per cent of injuries were caused by tear gas inhalation requiring medical treatment, and the rest by rubber bullets, live ammunition and physical assault.

Two Israeli settlers were injured and a settler vehicle, a bus and a light train segment sustained some damage, in five incidents of stone-throwing in the Bethlehem area and in East Jerusalem.

A home in Duma village (Nablus) was set on fire, resulting in the injury of a couple due to smoke inhalation, as well as in extensive damage to the house, which was rendered uninhabitable. The man injured is the only eyewitness to the arson attack in the same village, in July 2015, which killed three members of the Dawabsheh family (an Israeli settler accused of that attack is being currently prosecuted). According to Palestinian sources, this week's arson too was carried out by Israeli settlers; however, the Israeli police, who launched an investigation into the incident, said that it was unlikely that settlers committed the attack. Also this week, two Palestinian vehicles sustained damage as a result of stone-throwing by Israeli settlers in the Ramallah and Nablus governorates.

The Israeli authorities demolished, or forced owners to self-demolish, a total of 20 structures, due to a lack of Israeli-issued building permits, affecting a total of 73 people, including 33 Palestine refugees. Half of these structures were located in the Jerusalem governorate (most within East Jerusalem); three in the Bethlehem governorate; and seven in the Nablus governorate. Additionally, Israeli forces closed by military order a vegetable shop in Hebron city belonging to the suspected perpetrator of a shooting incident in March 2015, and, in another incident, requisitioned machinery and vehicles in Khallet Hijeh and Beit Fajjar (Bethlehem) for working in Area C without a permit.

On 8 March, the Israeli authorities announced the updated boundaries of a previously issued declaration of 'state land', in an area where the settlement of Eli is established, with the stated goal of regularizing hundreds of settlement housing units built without permit. The declaration refers to around 2,200 dunums of land in Al Lubban ash Sharqiya, As Sawiya, and Qaryut (Nablus). In another incident, the Israeli authorities uprooted and confiscated 150 trees in Area C next to 3ayyus village (Qalqiliya), claiming the area is 'state land'. Nearly all 'state land' in Area C of the West Bank has been placed under the jurisdiction of Israeli settlements.

The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was closed in both directions during the reporting period. The crossing has been closed, including for humanitarian assistance, since 24 October 2014, except for 42 days of partial openings. Authorities in Gaza indicated that around 30,000 people with urgent needs, including around 3,500 medical cases, are registered and waiting to cross.

[1] The figures include a 17-year-old Palestinian bystander, and excludes three Israelis killed in an attack in Israel perpetrated by an Israeli citizen of Palestinian origin, who was subsequently also killed.

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