|Widespread protests and clashes in East Jerusalem, following the death of a previously injured boy
This week, a Palestinian boy died of injuries he sustained last week during clashes with Israeli forces and at least 118 Palestinians, including 14 children and two women, were injured during clashes that erupted in the course of protests and search and arrest operations throughout the West Bank. The number of injuries increased by three fold compared to last week (38), and while consistent with the weekly average since the beginning of 2014, it marks an 84 per cent increase over the weekly average in 2013 (64). This week’s clashes also resulted in three injuries amongst Israeli forces.
On 7 September, a 16-year-old child died due to injuries he sustained on 31 August, when Israeli forces shot him with a rubber bullet in the head during clashes in the Wadi al Joz neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. According to family members, the boy did not take part in the clashes. The Israeli army’s open-fire regulations for crowd control situations allow the shooting of rubber bullets only at an individual’ s legs and not at children. The announcement of his death triggered protests and clashes throughout East Jerusalem, which continued the following day during the child’s funeral procession, resulting in the injury of total of 74 Palestinian protesters, including at least 23 children, mainly by rubber bullets and tear gas inhalation. In addition, during the reporting period, Palestinians threw stones at the light train in East Jerusalem in five separate incidents.
Another18 Palestinian injuries were recorded in clashes with Israeli forces during search and arrest operations in Ayda refugee camp (Bethlehem), Shuqba (Ramallah) and An Nassariya (Nablus) villages, and Nablus city. A total of 93 such operations were recorded during the week, a notable drop compared to a weekly average of 126 since 12 June 2014, following the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli youths and the launching of a massive arrest campaign, focused on the southern West Bank.
Also this week, on 5 September, nine Palestinians were injured in the village of Wadi Fukin (Bethlehem) during clashes with Israeli forces in the course of a protest against last week’s declaration by the Israeli authorities of nearly 4,000 dunums of land in the area as “state land”. Amongst the injuries was a young man whose leg was broken as a result of a physical assault by Israeli soldiers. Another three Palestinians, including an elderly man, were injured in Kafr Qaddum during the weekly village protest against the longstanding closure of one of the main routes into the village, which passes through the nearby settlement of Qedumim, as well as against settlement expansion in the area.
On 8 September, two Palestinians from Beit Ummar, including an elderly man (73) were injured by unexploded ordnance near Rachel’s Tomb, in Bethlehem city, while they were building retaining walls surrounding a private plot of land. Since the beginning of the second Intifada, this area has been a hot spot for clashes between Palestinians stone throwers and Israeli forces.
Continued settler attacks on agricultural areas
Three incidents of settler violence resulting in injury and damage to property were recorded this week compared to a weekly average of seven in 2014.
On 4 September, a group of Israeli settlers protected by Israeli forces toured the area of Joseph’s tomb in Nablus city without coordinating with the Palestinian DCO, triggering clashes with Palestinians, which resulted in the injury of three Palestinians. In a separate incident on the same day, a 40-year-old woman was injured after her vehicle was stoned on Road 60 near the settlement outpost of Giva’at Asaf (Ramallah).
On 7 September, Israeli settlers from Bat Ayin reportedly cut down 20 trees and grape vines on land belonging to Palestinians from the village of Beit Ummar (Hebron), after another 37 trees and grape vines in the same area were cut down during the previous reporting period. These incidents are taking place despite commitments by Israeli authorities, following an Israeli High Court of Justice decision in September 2013, to take to address systematic settler violence in this particular area. Since the beginning of 2014, 7,334 trees and grape vines were damaged, compared to 10,672 in 2013. In another incident on 3 September that did not result in injuries or damage, an armed Israeli settler chased a group of Palestinian children, and subsequently entered the As Sawiya- Al Lubban high school (Nablus), where the children sought refuge. According to the school headmaster, the settler identified himself as a security guard of the settlement Eli and claimed that he was verbally insulted by one of the students. Shortly after, Israeli forces raided the school and evacuated around 450 teachers and students. This and another two schools in the area have been repeatedly raided by Israeliforces following various allegations by settlers, with at least nine incidents so far this year and 11 in 2013.
According to Israeli media sources, there were four incidents of Palestinian stone-throwing at Israeli vehicles in the governorates of Jerusalem and Ramallah, resulting in the injury of two settlers and damage to two vehicles.
Israeli Authorities demolish 30 structures in Area C displacing 46 Palestinians
During the week, a total of 30 structures, including 10 residential structures and four water cisterns, were demolished by the Israeli authorities in Area C of the Nablus, Jerusalem and Hebron governorates for lack of Israeli-issued building permits. In total, 46 people, including 32 children, were displaced, and 121 others affected in addition to some 3,500 indirectly affected by the demolitions. Since the beginning of the year, a total of 384 structures were demolished in Area C nearly the same as in the equivalent period of 2013. Additionally, four stop-work orders for structures in Area C of Susiya (Hebron) and Ti’nnik (Jenin) were delivered on grounds of lack of Israeli-issued permits.
The majority of this week’s demolitions (24) took place in various communities in Area C of Jerusalem governorate, including Ma’azi Jaba’ bedouin community, AL Khalayla, Beit Hanina and Al Khan Al Ahmar-Wadi As Sider. One of the incidents on 3 September in Beit Hanina involved the demolitions of six structures, including two residential caravans. According to the owners, no demolition orders were issued for four of the structures, including the residential caravans, and they were not given sufficient time to evacuate their belongings. As a result, belongings, including two water-pumping machines and plastic water tanks, were damaged or lost under the rubble, and two horses were reportedly confiscated by the Jerusalem municipality from the side of the road following the demolition. On 2 September, the Israeliauthorities completely demolished a dairy factory and farm in Hebron city for lack of Israeli-issued building permits. Israeli forces had previously, on 2 July, raided the factory and confiscated 850,000 USD worth of equipment. According to the owner’s lawyer, the demolition took place despite ongoing court proceedings challenging the demolition order. The factory is owned by the Islamic Charitable Society, and generates the majority of funds supporting several orphanages and schools. Around 3,500 orphans are expected to be affected by the demolition, in addition to 20 employees who worked in the factory. Two other structures adjacent to the factory were demolished although they did not receive related demolition orders.
In Al Lubban ash Sharqiya village (Nablus), Israeli authorities demolished two shops which provided income to three families, comprising 22 people, half of them children.
Increasing access restriction to Al Aqsa Mosque Compound
This week, especially during morning hours, Israeli forces restricted access of Palestinians to Al Aqsa Mosque compound on five different days, whilst settlers and other Israeli groups, protected by Israeli forces, entered and toured the yards of Al Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem. Since 2013, the entry of Israeli settlers into the mosque compound have increased from weekly to semi-daily visits, in this connection, associated clashes with Palestinian worshippers have been increasingly reported. In the same vein, Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access into the compound have been increasingly reported, based on age, gender and occurrence of religious holidays. In addition, there have been many cases of certain individuals being prohibited from gaining access to the compound for periods ranging from a week to several months.