|Four Israelis killed and another 21 injured by Palestinians in various attacks
During the week, three Israelis were killed by Palestinians in separate incidents across the West Bank, including a policeman, a woman and a child, and another 21 Israelis were injured, including in incidents involving stone throwing at passing vehicles. This brings the total number of Israeli fatalities by Palestinians in the West Bank since the beginning of 2014 to nine. An Israeli soldier was also killed this week by a Palestinian in Israel.
On 5 November, a Palestinian man from Shu’fat Refugee Camp, allegedly affiliated with Hamas, ran his vehicle into a station of the light train around the boundary of East and West Jerusalem and subsequently attacked bystanders with an iron bar, killing a border policeman and injuring 12 other Israelis, including a 17-year-old boy, who died of his wounds on 7 November. The driver was killed by Israeli forces during the incident, triggering severe clashes in East Jerusalem (see below).
In a similar incident on 10 November, a Palestinian man from Hebron ran his vehicle into a bus station at the entrance to the Gush Etzion settlement block in Bethlehem governorate. He subsequently dismounted the vehicle and stabbed an Israeli settler woman, who later died of her wounds, and injured another two settlers. The Palestinian was shot and injured by a settlement security guard and taken into custody.
In another incident earlier on the same day, an Israeli soldier was stabbed in Tel Aviv, and later died of his wounds, and an Israeli civilian was injured. The suspected assailant, an 18-year-old Palestinian youth from the Askar Refugee Camp in Nablus, who entered Israel without a permit, was injured during efforts to apprehend him, and was subsequently taken to a hospital for treatment.
Also this week, according to Israeli media sources, there were at least seven incidents involving stone throwing by Palestinians towards Israeli vehicles and busses travelling on West Bank roads, including in East Jerusalem, resulting in injury to three Israeli settlers, including a three-year-old child, and in damage to vehicles. In another incident on 9 November, Palestinians hurled a Molotov cocktail at a settler house located in the Silwan area, which resulted in minor damage.
Over 350 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli forces, the majority in East Jerusalem
Heightened tensions and clashes across East Jerusalem continued during the week resulting in the injury of 328 Palestinians, the largest number of injuries recorded in a single week since early August Confrontations with Israeli forces were recorded on a daily basis, sometimes at multiple sites simultaneously, particularly in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, Shu’fat Refugee Camp, Qalandiya checkpoint, and in the neighborhoods of Shu’fat, At Tur, and Al ‘Isawiya. Israeli forces, in many cases, fired tear gas canisters excessively in densely populated areas. In one such incident, in At Tur on 7 November, 35 Palestinians, who were gathered for a party, suffered from severe tear gas inhalation when Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters, which landed in an apartment on the fourth storey.
The largest and most violent clashes took place on 7 November near Shu’fat Refugee Camp, following the earlier killing of a resident of the camp that perpetrated the above-mentioned attack on the light train station. According to Israeli media reports, Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails and fireworks towards Israeli forces, while Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition, rubber bullets, tear gas canisters and sound grenades towards the Palestinians. The majority of the Palestinian injuries (around 70 injuries) were with rubber bullets to different parts of the body. Shu’fat Refugee Camp is located in the Israeli-declared municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, but is separated from the city, along with other communities from East Jerusalem, by the Barrier. As a result, residents suffer from impeded access to services on the ‘Jerusalem’ side of the Barrier, lack of municipal services, a security vacuum and increasing lawlessness and crime.
Following the incidents that day, Israeli forces closed with concrete blocks some of the access routes connecting the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of At Thuri (Abu Tor), Al ‘Isawiya and Jabal al Mukabbir areas to West Jerusalem; these closures continued to be in place as of the time of reporting, hampering the movement of residents.
The escalation in tension in East Jerusalem in recent weeks has been driven, largely by Palestinian concerns over the potential introduction of new permanent arrangements to Al Aqsa Mosque compound. These concerns are connected to a recent tightening of restrictions on the access of Muslims to the compound, alongside the more frequent entry of settlers and other Israeli groups, including public figures, to the compound. This week, on 9 November, Israeli forces prevented all Muslim women from entering the compound and conditioned the entry of males on them leaving their ID’s with Israeli forces at the entrance gates, while access on another four days was restricted to men above 50 years of age, and on one day, to men above 35. One of the Israeli tours to the compound this week involved an Israeli Minister.
In one such protest against the entry of settler and other Israeli groups to the compound which took place prior to the afore-mentioned attack on the light train station on 5 November, Israeli forces fired rubber bullets, tear gas canisters and sound grenades towards Palestinians in the compound as well as inside Al Aqsa Mosque, injuring at least 50 Palestinians and causing damages inside the mosque.
Another 11 Palestinian injuries by Israeli forces were recorded during the week in the Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah and Nablus governorates, in the context of demonstrations protesting the aforementioned events and against the construction of Barrier-related infrastructure and settlement expansion.
Also this week, on 7 November, a 14-year-old Palestinian child was injured following the detonation of an unexploded sound bomb, while he was tampering with it in Al Jab’a village (Bethlehem), the third such incident in this area since four weeks, where clashes are known to take place in the context of protests against the blocking of the road between Surif and Al Jab’a villages since 2000.
Reduced scope of settler violence continues
Four incidents of settler violence were recorded this week, bringing the total number of incidents resulting in Palestinian injuries or damage to their property in 2014 to 282, compared to 371 in the equivalent period of 2013.
On 6 November, Israeli settlers physically assaulted and injured a 24-year-old Palestinian man who was working in the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim; the man was transported to the hospital for medical treatment.
During the week, there were several incidents involving stone throwing as well as hurling of Molotov cocktails by settlers at Palestinian vehicles, one of which, on 6 November, resulted in the injury of a Palestinian near Al Jalazun Refugee Camp (Ramallah) and another, on 10 November resulting in damage to at least 30 Palestinian vehicles at the junction near Yitzhar settlement in Huwwara village (Nablus).
In various areas of the West Bank, Palestinians farmers continued accessing their land within, or in the vicinity of Israeli settlements under the “prior coordination” system implemented by the Israeli authorities during the olive harvest season, mostly without disruption. However, in one incident on 8 November, Palestinian farmers from Burin picking olives near Yitzhar settlement during the coordination period, were harassed by the security guard of the settlement, who also prevented other farmers from accessing their land in this area.
Around 160 people displaced by demolitions and military trainings
During the reporting period, the Israeli authorities demolished or confiscated a total of 28 structures in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank, in addition to two self-demolitions, all due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits. This week’s demolitions led to the displacement of some 90 people and affected 60 others.
Five of the structures demolished, including three residential buildings, one of which was under construction, and two animal shelters, were in the neighborhoods of Silwan, At Tur and Al ‘Isawiya in East Jerusalem. Additionally two Palestinian families, including a registered refugee household, were forced to self-demolish two residential structures (caravan and extension to a house) in Beit Hanina on 8 November in order to avoid incurring additional costs if the structures were to be demolished by the Israeli authorities. According to the family forced to demolish the extension to their house, the Israeli Ministry of Social Affairs and social services had advised the family to secure more space to meet the needs of three children with severe disabilities, as the original house lack the needed space, the extension was built to meet their needs. A total of 22 houses were demolished in East Jerusalem since the Israeli mayor of Jerusalem ordered, on 28 October, the municipality to strengthen ‘enforcement’ measures against Palestinians in East Jerusalem, including house demolitions for building without permits, with the objective of pressuring the Palestinian population to act against young demonstrators.
Another 17 structures were demolished in the Jordan Valley, bringing the total number of structures demolished in this part of the West Bank since the beginning of the year to over 240, compared to 316 in the equivalent period of 2013. The vast majority of the structures, including 13 residential and two agricultural, were located in the community of Bardala, displacing around 40 people, half of whom were children. An additional two structures, including a residential tent and an animal shelter, were demolished in the community of Al ‘Aqaba, located in an area designated as a “firing zone”.
Also in the Jordan Valley, two communities, Khirbet Ras al Ahmar and Ibziq, were affected as a result of military training conducted by Israeli forces. In the former community, nine Palestinian families (51 people, including 20 children) were temporarily displaced between 12:00pm on 9 November and 6:00am on 10 November, and in the latter, children were unable to reach their schools as a result of training that took place between 10pm on 4 November and 6am on 6 November.
The remaining four affected structures in Area C (residential tents) were dismantled and confiscated in the Bedouin community of Umm al Kher, displacing four families comprising 22 people, including nine children. These donor-funded structures were erected in response to previous demolitions that took place on 28 October. In addition, the Israeli authorities delivered demolition orders against water cisterns and residential, commercial and agricultural structures in the Hebron, Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Qalqiliya governorates; some of the structures were donated as humanitarian assistance.