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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
7 August 2015

Reporting period: 28 July - 3 August 2015

Weekly Highlights

On 31 July, an 18-month old Palestinian baby was burned to death, and the parents and sibling critically injured in Duma village (Nablus), after suspected Israeli settlers, threw firebombs into the house, while the family was asleep. Graffiti reading "revenge" was widely interpreted by media to indicate that the attack was carried out "in response" to the Israeli authorities' demolition of two buildings in the settlement of Beit El, constructed without an Israeli-issued permit on privately-owned Palestinian land. The attack was strongly condemned by Israeli officials, including Israel's President and Prime Minister, as well as by senior UN officials. In this regard, the Secretary General stated that "(c)ontinued failures to effectively address impunity for repeated acts of settler violence have led to another horrific incident involving the death of an innocent life. This must end".

The arson attack triggered wide-spread protests across the West Bank, some of which evolved into clashes with Israeli soldiers, resulting in the killing of a 17 year-old Palestinian boy at Atara checkpoint (Ramallah) on 31 July, and the injury of another 93 Palestinians, including 26 children. Another 13 Palestinians, including two children, were injured in a range of other clashes, including in the context of protests against Israeli imposed restrictions on Palestinian entry into Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in East Jerusalem, which in several instances coincided with the entry of settlers and other Israeli groups into the compound; search and arrest operations; and Israeli forces' interventions in clashes between settlers and Palestinians.

In the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) near the fence surrounding Gaza, Israeli forces shot dead an unarmed, 17-year-old Palestinian child, reportedly after tampering with an Israeli security camera. In a separate incident, Israeli forces shot at a group of civilians, mostly children, playing near the fence and injured an unarmed, 19-year-old Palestinian civilian. On at least 13 other occasions, Israeli forces opened fire towards civilians in the ARA on land and at sea, resulting in no casualties and, on two occasions, entered and leveled land inside Gaza. On one occasion a rocket fired by a Palestinian armed group landed on the Israeli side of the fence; nno injuries or damage was reported.

In addition to the arson attack, five Israeli settler attacks resulting in Palestinian injuries or damage to their property were recorded, including a settler who reportedly ran his vehicle over a Palestinian fireman who was extinguishing a fire near the settlement of Belt Hagai (Hebron), injuring him; two incidents involving stone-throwing at vehicles near Jaba' village (Jenin) and Turnus'ayya (Ramallah); and setting fire to Palestinian land in Turmus'ayya and Al Mughayir on two separate occasions.

Seven Palestinian attacks against Israeli settlers and other Israelis and their property were reported by the Israeli media. These involved stone throwing, and, in five cases, the hurling of Molotov cocktails, at settler houses and vehicles traveling in the West Bank. In one incident, the hurling of a Molotov cocktail set a passing vehicle in Beit Hanina (East Jerusalem) on fire, causing injury to a 27-year-old Israeli female settler.

Israeli authorities demolished ten structures, mostly commercial, in the areas of Silwan and Belt Hanina in East Jerusalem for lack of Israeli-issued building permits, affecting 43 Palestinians. On similar grounds, Israeli authorities delivered stop-work orders against at least 26 structures, mainly residential, in communities located in Masafer Yatta in an area declared closed by the Israeli military for training, "firing zone" (Hebron); the village of Al Farisiya and a donor-funded cistern in the village of Kardala (Tubas); and in the community of Jabal al Baba (Jerusalem). The latter community is one of 46 Palestinian Bedouin communities in the central West Bank at-risk of forcible transfer due to an official Israeli "relocation" plan.

The Rafah crossing was closed in both directions by the Egyptian authorities during the week. So far in 2015, 7,504 Palestinians have exited Gaza via Rafah compared with 19,806 Palestinians in the equivalent period in 2014.

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