Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 4 - 17 July 2017
● On 18 July, a Palestinian man drove his vehicle into a group of Israeli soldiers at the Beit ‘Enoun junction (Hebron), injuring two soldiers, and was shot and killed by Israeli forces, according to media reports.
● On 14 July, three Palestinian citizens of Israel shot and killed two Israeli policemen at one of the entrances to the Haram Ash Sharif/ Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, and were subsequently killed in an exchange of fire inside the compound. Another policeman was also injured during the incident. The bodies of the perpetrators have been withheld by the Israeli authorities. Additionally, two ramming attacks targeting Israeli soldiers were recorded on 9 July, at the entrance of Tuqu’ village (Bethlehem), and on 17 July in the H2 area of Hebron city: the former, which reportedly included also a stabbing attempt, resulted in the injury of an Israeli soldier and the killing of the perpetrator, a 23-year-old Palestinian man, while the latter ended with the injury and arrest of the perpetrator.
● Measures adopted by the Israeli authorities following the attack in East Jerusalem triggered tensions and clashes. Israeli forces raided the Haram Ash Sharif/Temple Mount compound, reportedly to search for weapons, and closed it entirely, including for Friday prayers, for the first time since 1969; all entrances to the Old City of Jerusalem were also blocked, except to those residing inside it. The compound was reopened on 16 July, following the installation of metal-detectors at some of the gates leading to the compound for security checking. Palestinian authorities and the Muslim Waqf protested this measure and called people not to enter the compound, as long as the metal-detectors remain in place. Multiple confrontations and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces were recorded across the Old City and other parts of East Jerusalem (primarily Silwan) resulting in the injury of 58 Palestinians and three Israeli policemen.
● Four Palestinians, including a child, were shot and killed by Israeli forces during three separate search and arrest operations. Two of the fatalities, a 21 and 17-year-old man and boy, were killed on 12 July during a search and arrest operation in the Jenin refugee camp; according to Israeli sources the two were involved in an exchange of fire. An 18-year-old youth was killed on 14 July during clashes involving stone throwing at Israeli forces in Ad Duheisha refugee camp (Bethlehem). The other fatality, a 34-year-old man, was killed on 15 July in An Nabi Saleh village (Ramallah), reportedly after he resisted an attempt to arrest him; according to the Israeli authorities, the man was involved in an opening fire incident a few hours earlier and pulled out a home-made gun before he was shot by the soldiers.
● On 7 July, a one-year-old Palestinian baby boy died of wounds sustained on 19 May 2017, as a result of severe tear gas inhalation. During the incident, Israeli forces fired tear gas canister towards Palestinian stone-throwers at the main entrance of ‘Abud village (Ramallah), one of which landed inside the baby’s house.
● Overall, 102 Palestinians, including nine children, were injured by Israeli forces during multiple clashes across the oPt. Thirty of the injuries, occurred during clashes that erupted following search and arrest operations (including those mentioned above). The remaining injuries, mostly by rubber bullets and tear gas inhalation, were recorded during protests and related confrontations next to the perimeter fence in the Gaza Strip; during the weekly demonstration in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya); and in the abovementioned clashes in East Jerusalem. One of the latter clashes, in Silwan, also resulted in the injury of three Israeli settlers residing in the area, due to tear gas inhalation.
● On 17 July, the Israeli police entered and stayed in Al Maqased Hospital in East Jerusalem overnight searching for a patient, a 19-year-old Palestinian who was injured with live ammunition the same day during clashes in the Silwan area of the city. The forces left the hospital the following day, after the father of the patient committed to hand him over to the Israeli police after he is released from the hospital.
● On at least ten occasions, Israeli forces opened warning or direct fire into Gaza’s Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and sea, resulting in the injury of two Palestinian fishermen. On another two occasions, Israeli forces carried out levelling and digging inside Gaza, near the perimeter fence.
● Electricity outages across the Gaza Strip continued for 18-20 hours a day amid instability in the sources of supply, with a severe impact on services and livelihoods. Electricity supply from Egypt halted during most of the reporting period due to malfunctioning of the feeder lines, while the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) shut down for over a day following an exhaustion of fuel reserves. Over 108 million litres of almost totally untreated sewage are being discharged into the sea every day due to electricity and fuel shortages; according to the latest test conducted by the Water Quality Department in Gaza, 73 per cent of Gaza beaches are contaminated, posing high environmental and public health risks. The Israeli authorities issued a swimming prohibition in a few beaches in southern Israel, due to the contamination of the water.
● The Israeli authorities demolished 23 Palestinian-owned structures in East Jerusalem and Area C on the grounds of lack of building permits, displacing 15 people, and affecting the livelihoods of 96 others. Sixteen of the targeted structures were in East Jerusalem, bringing the total number of structures demolished there since the beginning of 2017 to 94, compared to 85 in the same period of 2016. The remaining seven structures demolished were in the Area C communities of Khirbet Tell al Himma in the Jordan Valley and Wadi Abu Hindi and Al Muntar in the Jerusalem governorate.
● In the same context, the Israeli authorities issued at least thirteen demolition and stop-work orders against thirteen donor-funded structures provided as humanitarian assistance to communities in Area C. These included twelve residential structures in Jinba, a community in the Massafer Yatta area of Hebron and a primary-school in ‘Arab ar Ramadin al Janubi, in the closed area behind the Barrier (Qalqiliya). Additionally, eight orders were issued against a part of an electricity network in Jayyus village (Qalqiliya) and seven structures in Jabal al Baba (Jerusalem).
● Two Palestinians were injured and 40 Palestinian-owned trees were reportedly set on fire in three separate incidents involving Israeli settlers. Israeli settlers physically assaulted and injured two Palestinian men in the Israeli-controlled H2 area of Hebron city and near Kifl Haris village (Salfit). Farmers from Burin village (Nablus) reported that 40 Palestinian-owned trees were set on fire by Israeli settlers from Yitzhar or its adjacent outposts; since the beginning of 2017, at least 1,400 trees were reportedly vandalized by settlers, mostly in the Nablus area, compared to 361 in the entire 2016.
● Five incidents of stone-throwing by Palestinians at Israeli vehicles were reported by the Israeli media, near Bethlehem, Hebron and Ramallah, with at least one resulting in damage to vehicles.
● The Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing was exceptionally open during the reporting period, only for the entry of fuel, primarily for the GPP, but remained closed for the movement of passengers. According to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza, over 20,000 people, including humanitarian cases, are registered to pass through the crossing. It was last exceptionally opened for passengers on 9 May, bringing to 16 the number of days it has opened so far in 2017.