|One Palestinian killed in clashes and another died in custody
This week, Israeli forces killed one Palestinian and injured at least another 36 Palestinians, including 12 children, during clashes that erupted in the context of protests and search and arrest operations throughout the West Bank. The number of injuries is approximately a third of the figure last week (118) and the weekly average since the beginning of 2014 (115). This week’s clashes also resulted in one injury amongst Israeli forces.
Over the reporting period, Israeli forces carried out a total of 87 search and arrest operations, down from a weekly average of 100 since the beginning of the year, of which five evolved into clashes resulting in casualties. In one of these clashes, on 9 September in Al Am’ari refugee camp (Ramallah), Israeli soldiers shot a 22-year-old Palestinian man in the chest with live ammunition and killed him, bringing the total number of Palestinians killed so far this year in the West Bank to 41.
Another Palestinian was injured in an operation that took place on 12 September in Marda village (Salfit), when Israeli forces fired a tear gas canister into a supermarket in the village, after searching it and damaging some of the goods. The shop was displaying a poster advocating for the boycott of Israeli products.
Three of the Palestinians injured during the week resulted from physical assault by Israeli forces. Among them is a 10-year-old child injured in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem and later detained for several hours along with another three children, in the context of clashes with Israeli forces involving stone throwing by Palestinians. At least three Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets in the head in three separate incidents in Beitunia, Al Bireh, and Silwad in the Ramallah governorate, in the context of clashes involving stone throwing by Palestinians.
The Israeli army’s open fire regulations for crowd control situations, allow the shooting of rubber bullets only at individuals’ legs and not at children. Last week, a 16 year-old child died of injuries sustained after being reportedly shot with a sponge bullet or rubber bullet in the head in East Jerusalem.
In another incident on 10 September, Israeli forces fired tear gas and sound grenades at Zeita Boys School (Tulkarm) following clashes with Palestinians in the vicinity of the Barrier. As a result, 350 students, aged 6-18, were evacuated from the school around noon. According to the school headmaster, this is the third incident of this type in two weeks. No casualties were reported.
Also this week, on 9 September, a 37-year-old Palestinian detainee from Hebron was transferred from Eshel prison in Beer Sheva to Soroka Hospital where he was announced dead. The circumstances of his death were contested by the Palestinian Prisoners Club and the High Committee for Prisoners Affairs, who claimed that the detainee died as a result of being physically assaulted while in custody and that he did not commit suicide as was communicated to them by the Israeli Prison Authorities. The detainee had turned himself in to Israeli police for running over and injuring a settler near Gush Etzion in late July. Based on the father’s petition to the Israeli District Court in Beer Sheva, an autopsy was carried out in the presence of a Palestinian physician, to determine the cause of death, the results of which can only be released following a Court decision.
Two children hospitalized following settler attack in H2 area of Hebron
Two incidents of settler violence resulting in injury to Palestinians or damage to their property were recorded this week in addition to a settler violence incident against two international human rights activists. The scope of settler violence has been in decline in recent months, with a weekly average of six incidents since the beginning of year compared to eight incidents in 2014 and eight in 2013.
On 13 September, settlers sprayed chemicals into the face of two children, aged 10 and 12, near Al Ibrahimi Mosque in the H2 area of Hebron. The children were subsequently hospitalized.
In the same area, on 14 September, a seven-year-old boy was hospitalized after being run over by a settler vehicle (not counted as an attack). Since the beginning of the year, five similar incidents were reported in Hebron, in addition to 11 throughout the West Bank. Of note, the majority of such incidents in Hebron take place on roads that are prohibited for Palestinian vehicle movement, and where safety measures for pedestrians, especially school children, are lacking.
On 14 September, two international human rights activists were attacked, injured, and stripped of their cameras by Israeli settlers in near At Tuwani in southern Hebron.
The same day, in Kifil Haris village (Salfit) Israeli settlers leveled two dunums of land, uprooting eight trees, near an electricity station servicing the settlement of Ariel. According to eye witnesses more electricity infrastructure was installed on the land.
On 10 September, a group of settlers from the settlement of Suseya planted a number of trees on land which a Palestinian farmer claims as private property. Over the past 10 days, in the same area, settlers from Suseya have been trespassing on land owned by a second farmer. The settlers sit in a tent they erected, for several hours every day.
In another trespassing incident, on 12 September, group of Israeli settlers from Adie Ad settlement outpost entered a piece of land belonging to Palestinians from Turmus’ayya village and started to plough the land. Tens of Palestinians from Turmus’ayya village gathered and verbally clashed with the Israeli settlers. The Israeli army intervened and evacuated the settlers from the area. No injuries or arrests were reported.
According to Israeli media sources, there were seven incidents resulting in injury or damage to settler property by Palestinians, in the Jerusalem and Hebron governorates. Six of the incidents involved Palestinian stone-throwing at Israeli vehicles, resulting in the injury of four settlers and damage to a bus. In one incident, Palestinians threw a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli settler’s house in At Tur area of East Jerusalem causing damage to the building.
Israeli authorities demolish eleven structures in Hebron
In a single incident on 10 September, Israeli authorities demolished 11 structures in Area C of the village of Khashem ad Daraj in Hebron governorate for lack of Israeli-issued building permits. These included three residential structures, three animal sheds, two donated latrines, two kitchens and a storage room. In total, 14 people, including seven children, were displaced and 23 otherwise affected. The community is one of 38 communities located in an Israeli-declared “firing zone”. Approximately 18 per cent of the West Bank has been designated as “firing zones”. Since the beginning of the year, a total of 398 structures were demolished in Area C nearly the same as in the equivalent period of 2013.
Additionally, a total of five demolition and stopwork orders were issued against five structures in the communities of Khirbet Yarza in Tubas (two agricultural structures), Yasuf in Salfit (an uninhabited house and agricultural road) and Humsa Basaliyeh in the Jordan valley (2 animal sheds). A total of 34 people, including at least 15 children, are affected by the orders. Of note, in Khirbet Yarza, 24 structures have been demolished since the beginning of the year.
Furthermore, on 11 September, Israeli forces requisitioned around 1,350 meters of water pipes in Khirbet Atuf village (Tubas) to prevent their installation in the absence of Israeli-issued permits in Area C. The pipes are part of a joint project between the Ministry of Agriculture and UNDP.
Rerouting of a section of the Barrier in Jayyus village completed.
Re-routing of a section of the Barrier in the village of Jayyus (Qalqiliya) was completed on 7 September. Farmers can now access around 2,488 dunums of land and two artesian wells (one unused) which were previously located on the ‘Israeli’ side of the of the Barrier. However, this amendment was in compliance with a decision issued by the Israeli High Court of Justice rather than the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion of 2004, leaving the re-routed sections still within the West Bank rather than along the Green Line or in Israel. As a result, around 6,000 dunums of prime agricultural land and five artesian wells remain isolated behind the re-routed barrier, including two that will be connected to Jayyus for domestic consumption. Farmers will continue to require permits to access this land and passage is channeled through a designated gate. The limited allocation of permits, combined with the restricted number and opening times of the Barrier gates, have curtailed agricultural practice and undermined rural livelihoods. Data collected by OCHA in the northern West Bank since 2010 show that olive trees in the area between the Barrier and the Green Line have an approximately 60 per cent reduction in yield compared to their equivalents on the ‘Palestinian’ side of the Barrier, where the essential activities can be carried out on a regular and predictable basis.
Four Palestinians including two children died of wounds
Four Palestinians, including two children aged five and 11, died of wounds sustained during the July-August hostilities. According to the latest figures provided by the Protection Cluster, the cumulative death toll among Palestinians during the conflict was 2,153, of whom at least 1480 are believed to be civilians, including 504 Palestinian children and 260 women.
While the ceasefire reached on 26 August has continued to hold, on at least four occasions during the reporting period, Israeli naval forces opened warning shots towards Palestinian fishing boats approaching or exceeding the Israeli-imposed six nautical-mile fishing limit. In one of the incidents, five Palestinian fishermen were arrested and their boat was confiscated west of Beit Lahia. Also, on two occasions, Israeli forces entered between 100-200 meters into Gaza and conducted land clearing operations. In one incident, Israeli forces positioned near the fence opened fire towards a Palestinian who was attempting to enter Israel east of Al Qarara area. The Palestinian was arrested.
Number of IDPs continues to fluctuate and thousands remain in UNRWA schools
The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the recent conflict continues to fluctuate. As of 13 September, there were 64,864 IDPs sheltered in 20 UNRWA schools of whom half are children. Another estimated 50,000 IDPs remain with host families, according to the Shelter Cluster. All government facilities which had been sheltering IDPs have been closed. In Beit Hanoun, nearly 10,000 students could not attend school due to the continued presence of displaced families in their
Rafah Crossing remains open but travel is restricted
Gaza’s Rafah crossing with Egypt remains partially open for the movement of Palestinians. Around 250 prioritized and authorized people are reportedly exiting and over 350 entering the Gaza Strip per day on average. Since July 2013, access of Palestinians to Egypt via Rafah crossing has been severely restricted, with the number of travelers declining from over 1,600 to around 600 per day on average. The impact of access restrictions at Rafah is exacerbated by the long-standing restrictions on access to Israel via Erez crossing. According to the Border and Crossing Authority in Gaza, at least 10,000 people are registered to cross into Egypt, mainly medical patients, students and persons with visas to third countries.
Resumption of Gaza Power Plant pending fuel supply
While significant repairs to the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) have been accomplished, resumption of operations is contingent on securing the necessary fuel. However, even if fuel is secured it will be difficult to service the areas worst affected from the July- August offensive, such as Beit Hanoun, Ash-Shuja’iyeh, Khuza’a and eastern Rafah. After being hit several times, the GPP was shut down on 29 July, rendering Gaza exclusively dependent on electricity purchased from Egypt and Israel. Even in areas where service has resumed, outages exceed 18 hours per day, severely disrupting the provision of basic services including health and water throughout Gaza.
Hundreds of Palestinians are being smuggled out of Gaza
According to Palestinian, Israeli and international media sources, hundreds of Palestinians have been fleeing the Gaza Strip trying to reach Europe with the aid of Egyptian smugglers. This was discovered when two migrant boats sank off the coast of Malta (10 September) and off the Egyptian coast near Alexandria (12 Sep), resulting in the drowning of hundreds of passengers, the majority of whom were Palestinians. Reports indicate that most of those who drowned, or still missing were young people, but there were also whole families.
The ongoing blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip combined with the recurrent rounds of hostilities over the past eight years have led hundreds of Palestinians, especially the youth, to leave the strip in pursue of a normal living conditions and a better future. They paid thousands of dollars to reach the Egyptian side of Rafah through the tunnels and from there to Europe by sea.