Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 13 - 26 December 2016
● Israeli forces shot and killed two 19-year-old Palestinians during two separate clashes. One of the clashes erupted on 17 December in the Qalandiya refugee camp (Jerusalem), after a punitive demolition (see below), and the other during a search and arrest operation on 22 December in Beit Rima village (Ramallah).
● Additional clashes resulting in Palestinian injuries erupted after funeral processions in Beit Ummar village (Hebron) for the bodies of two Palestinians which were withheld by Israeli forces; during search and arrest operations; and the weekly demonstrations in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya) and Ni’lin village (Ramallah). Overall, during the reporting period, Israeli forces injured 72 Palestinians, including at least eight children.
● Six Palestinian attacks and alleged attacks were recorded during this period, resulting in the killing of one Palestinian perpetrator and the injury of two Israeli settlers. On 14 December, Israeli forces shot and killed a 21-year-old Palestinian in the Old City of Jerusalem after he stabbed an Israeli border policeman with a screwdriver; a 13-year-old Palestinian bystander was injured during this incident. Additionally, two Israeli settlers were injured in two separate stabbing and shooting attacks next to Efrat (Bethlehem) and Hallamish (Ramallah) settlements, respectively, the two perpetrators fled the scene. Finally, three attempted attacks, a stabbing at Jaljuliya checkpoint (Qalqiliya), an alleged vehicle ramming at Qalandiya checkpoint (Jerusalem), and a shooting attack at Al Jalama checkpoint (Jenin), ended with no injuries.
● So far in 2016, 101 West Bank Palestinians were killed in conflict-related incidents, including 80 in attacks and alleged attacks against Israelis, down from 145 in 2015.
● On 23 December, a 15-year-old Palestinian child died of wounds sustained in Al Jalazun refugee camp (Ramallah) after Israeli forces shot him during clashes at the entrance of the camp in October 2016.
● The Israeli authorities returned the corpses of 16 Palestinians suspected of perpetrating attacks against Israelis to their families; some of the bodies had been withheld for several months. At present, the bodies of another 11 suspected Palestinian perpetrators are still being withheld by the Israeli authorities, some for up to eight months.
● According to Israeli media reports, nine Israeli soldiers were injured in two separate stone throwing incidents near Beit Ummar village (Hebron) and in Shu’fat refugee camp (Jerusalem).
● Israeli forces conducted nearly 180 search operations and arrested more than 240 Palestinians in the West Bank, including a search operation inside Birzeit University (Ramallah) and a media association (Hebron); several computers were reportedly confiscated in the two locations. The Jerusalem governorate accounted for the highest portion of operations (46) and of arrests (100). Three Palestinian merchants were also arrested at Erez crossing while returning to Gaza.
● The Israeli authorities demolished or seized eleven structures in Area C and East Jerusalem on the grounds of the lack of building permits, displacing one Palestinian and affecting more than 250 others. One of the seized structures was a caravan provided by a humanitarian organization to the community of Al Mirkez in Masafer Yatta, to be used as a primary health centre. The community is located in an area designated by the Israeli authorities as a “firing zone” for military training. Such areas constitute nearly 30 per cent of Area C and are inhabited by more than 5,000 Palestinians.
● Israeli forces temporarily displaced around 90 people, including 40 children, from the Ibziq herding community in the northern Jordan Valley for several hours on two different days, during a military training exercise. This is the fourth displacement for the community during the past two months. A similar training during this period resulted in damage to a water connection to the herding community of Khirbet Yarza, which had been previously provided as humanitarian assistance, affecting 65 Palestinians. These exercises further exacerbate a coercive environment, which is putting pressure on affected communities to leave their areas of residence.
● On 22 December, in Kafr 'Aqab in area of East Jerusalem, Israeli forces destroyed the family home of a Palestinian man who carried out an attack last October in Sheikh Jarrah, during which two Israelis were killed. One Palestinian woman and five children were displaced and two other were affected. This demolition triggered clashes near Qalandiya refugee camp, in which Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian (noted above). The Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt, Robert Piper, called upon the Israeli authorities to halt the practice of punitive demolitions, which is a form of collective punishment, illegal under international law.
● Israeli settlers physically assaulted a Palestinian farmer from Deir Istiya village (Salfit) while he was farming privately-owned land near Immanuael settlement, damaging his tractor. Also, Israeli settlers and other groups entered various religious sites, including Al Haram Ash Sharif/Temple Mount compound in East Jerusalem, a religious shrine in Kifl Haris village in Salfit and Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus city.
● Israeli media also reported eleven incidents of stone throwing and shooting attacks by Palestinians at Israeli-plated vehicles during the two week period, none of which resulted in casualties but damage to several of the vehicles was reported. Additionally, an Israeli settler was reportedly injured by Palestinians in a separate stone throwing incident at Israeli-plated vehicles near Gush Etzion settlement near Bethlehem.
● Following the incidents of shooting and stone throwing by Palestinians at Israeli settlers mentioned above, Israeli forces temporarily blocked seven main routes, impeding vehicular access for thousands of Palestinians to services and markets: Hizma village (Jerusalem), An Nabi Saleh, Deir Nidham, Rantis, Deir Ibzi’, Umm Safa villages and the route between Al Bireh city and Al Jalazun refugee camp (all in Ramallah). Some of these routes were still blocked at the end of the reporting period.
● The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was exceptionally opened on three days during the reporting period (17-19 December) for humanitarian cases, allowing 1869 Palestinians to leave and 466 to return to the Gaza Strip. Approximately 20,000 people are registered to exit Gaza via Rafah, according to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza.