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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
4 August 2014

Key issues
3 Palestinians killed and nearly 1,200 injured in clashes during protests against Israeli military operations in Gaza.

One Palestinian killed and five injured by an Israeli settler in Nablus area, and one Israeli killed and five others injured by a Palestinian in West Jerusalem.

Tight restrictions on access to East Jerusalem continued.

Gaza Crisis: Click here for the daily reports and updates on the Gaza emergency.


Severe escalation in clashes during protests against the Israeli offensive in Gaza

Clashes between Palestinian civilians and Israeli forces in the context of protests against the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip escalated throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Over the past two weeks, Israeli forces killed 13 Palestinians, the largest number of fatalities recorded in such a period in the West Bank since May 2006, and injured at least 1,173 others, including 127 children. Fifteen members of Israeli forces were also injured. This brought the casualty toll among Palestinians in the West Bank since the beginning of the Gaza offensive to 15 fatalities and 1,846 injuries.

The number of demonstrations and people participating in them over the past two weeks, particularly during the last week of Ramadan (21-27 July), was among the highest recorded in recent years. The demonstration held at the Qalandiya checkpoint in Jerusalem on 24 July, for example, was reportedly attended by as many as 10,000 people. In many communities, these were the first protests held in years. Moreover, unlike clashes recorded on a regular basis across the West Bank, which primarily involved children and youth, a large proportion of demonstrators and of those injured were adults.

In many cases, Israeli forces reportedly employed lethal force from the outset of demonstrations, including reports about shooting by snipers. Throwing of Molotov cocktails and fireworks at sraeli forces was reported in some of the clashes, alongside intense stone throwing. Opening of fire at Israeli forces was also reported in two cases.

In one of the most serious incidents that took place on 25 July during a demonstration in Beit Ummar village (Hebron) that evolved into clashes with soldiers, three Palestinian men were killed and another 52, including 29 children, injured.

According to eyewitnesses, the three fatalities were shot by snipers positioned on a rooftop adjacent to a military tower. One of the men killed was a 45 year old father of three children and staff member of Defense Children International, who was not, according to several sources, engaged in stone throwing.

The other ten fatalities, the majority of which took place in the context of clashes in protest against the Israeli military operation in Gaza, were recorded in the following incidents:

1. On 22 July, in Husan village (Bethlehem), Israeli forces shot a 34-year-old man with live ammunition in front of his shop, next to the site of clashes with Israeli forces. He died the following day of his wounds.

2. On 23 July, in Husan village (Bethlehem), a 19-year-old youth died of injuries sustained in the head by a gas canister earlier on the same day, during clashes with Israeli forces, which erupted following the funeral of the previous fatality.

3. On 24 July, at Qalandiya checkpoint (Jerusalem), Israeli forces killed a 25-year-old man with live ammunition during clashes.

4. On 25 July, at the entrance of Al Arrub refugee camp (Hebron), Israeli forces killed a 27-year-old man with live ammunition to the chest and legs following a brawl, after being prevented from reaching his home.

5. On 25 July, at Al Jalama checkpoint (Jenin), Israeli forces killed a 19-year-old youth with live ammunition during clashes.

6. On 25 July, in Huwwara village (Nablus), Israeli forces killed a 22-year-old man with live ammunition during clashes that erupted after a settler killed a 19-year-old Palestinian and injured five others in the village.

7. On 25 July, at the entrance of Beit Fajjar village (Bethlehem), a 14-year-old child was shot in the chest with live ammunition during clashes and later died of his wounds.

8. On 29 July, at the main entrance to Idhna village (Hebron), a 21-year-old man died of injuries sustained the previous day during clashes.

9. On 1 August, in Saffa village (Ramallah), Israeli forces killed a 19-year-old youth with live ammunition during clashes.

10. On 1 August, near the Barrier in Tulkarm, a 22-year-old man was killed with live ammunition, during clashes.

The use of live ammunition by Israeli forces recorded in previous weeks continues to rise, accounting for at least 45 per cent of all injuries during the reporting period (532 out of 1173), with the majority of the remainder injured by rubber and metal-coated rubber bullets, or treated due to tear gas inhalation.

Of note, while most protests in East Jerusalem were of similar intensity as in the rest of the West Bank, crowd control measures used there by the Israeli Police, were limited to firing of rubber bullets, tear gas canisters, and ‘skunk’ water, with no reports of the use of live ammunition. Many of these demonstrations taking place in East Jerusalem were held in protest of the access restrictions to Al Aqsa mosque (see further details below), as well as against the Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip. In one incident a police station near Al Aqsa Mosque was set on fire.

Also in East Jerusalem, on 4 August, an Israeli soldier was shot with live ammunition and severely injured. The perpetrator, whose identity remains unknown, reportedly fled the scene on a motorcycle. Israeli forces conducted multiple search operations in the area; erected many flying checkpoints and intensified checking procedures across all checkpoints leading to East Jerusalem.

An upward trend in clashes and casualties throughout the West Bank has been ongoing since the end of April 2014, following the failed round of peace negotiations.

Settler violence: one Palestinian killed and 13 injured

Over the past two weeks a total of 12 settler attacks resulting in Palestinian casualties and damage to property were recorded. Overall, one Palestinian was killed and 12 others, including two children, injured, alongside several incidents resulting in damage to agricultural property.

The Palestinian fatality and five of the injuries occurred in two incidents involving opening fire by Israeli settlers. The gravest incident took place on 25 July on the main road of Huwwara village (Nablus), when a settler dismounted from his vehicle and opened fire at a group of residents, allegedly after his vehicle was stoned, killing a 19-year-old Palestinian youth and injuring four others, including one child. The incident triggered clashes with Israeli forces that resulted in the killing of an additional 22-year-old resident (see previous section). The main road leading to three settlements in the northeastern part of Nablus governorate passes through the center of the village.

In another incident on 31 July next to Al Khadr village (Bethlehem), an Israeli settler shot a 19-year-old Palestinian in the back and injured him, following stone-throwing at Israeli vehicles, during a protest against the Israeli military operation on Gaza.

Unlike Palestinian civilians, a significant portion of Israeli settlers are authorized by the Israeli authorities to carry fire arms. Since the beginning of 2014, nine Palestinians were shot and injured by Israeli settlers and one was killed, compared to four injuries and no fatalities in 2012 and in 2013, each. Seven of this year’s casualties took place in July 2014.

Another eight Palestinians were physically assaulted and injured by Israelis, mostly settlers, in the West Bank and in West Jerusalem in various incidents. This includes one incident that took place on 1 August, when two Palestinians boys aged 14 were physically assaulted by settlers in the Israeli controlled area of Hebron city (H2).

During the reporting period, 85 olive trees were reportedly burnt or otherwise damaged by Israeli settlers. In one such incident, eyewitnesses reported settlers throwing a Molotov cocktail onto Palestinian land located near Al Minya (Bethlehem), and causing damage to 30 olive trees.

Residents of Shu’fat neighborhood in East Jerusalem reported three failed attempts to kidnap children and youth, including a four-year-old child, allegedly by Israelis, during the reporting period. These bring the number of such reports in the past two months to five, increasing anxiety and fear amongst residents of this neighborhood.

Furthermore, concerns regarding increased public incitement, including through social media, to violence against Palestinians was expressed by Navy Pillay, the High Commissioner on Human Rights on 23 July, and again by the Special Advisers of the Secretary General on the Prevention of Genocide and Responsibility to Protect on 24 July.

One Israeli killed and five injured in an attack in West Jerusalem; eight settlers injured in the West Bank

During the reporting period, one Israeli was killed and five injured in one attack by a Palestinian in West Jerusalem, and another eight Israeli settlers were injured by Palestinians in various incidents across the West Bank.

On 4 August, one Israeli was killed and five others injured by a Palestinian, who attacked a bus with a mechanical digger in West Jerusalem. The Palestinian driver ran over the Israeli fatality before upturning the bus. The Palestinian driver was shot dead on the spot by a prison security guard. The bus driver was injured along with four other pedestrians.

According to Israeli media, on 22 July, an Israeli settler was shot with live ammunition and injured while driving along Road 60 near Rechalim settlement in Nablus. In another incident that took place on 1 August on Road 375, near Husan village, Bethlehem, a settler was injured as a result of a Molotov cocktail thrown at his vehicle. The remaining six Israeli settler injuries were caused in various incidents due to stoning of Israeli-plated vehicles travelling on roads in the southern West Bank by Palestinians.

Three demolitions recorded, execution of punitive demolitions pending court decision

Three demolitions were recorded during the reporting period in Area C. On 4 August, Israeli forces demolished three agricultural rooms in Qilqis village, Hebron, citing lack of required Israeli issued building permits. The demolitions affected two families, comprising 14 persons, including seven children.

A petition against the demolition of the family homes of three Palestinians suspected of the kidnapping and subsequent killing of the three Israeli youths in Hebron, in June 2014, is pending before the Israeli High Court of Justice.

Tight restrictions on access to East Jerusalem continued

The estimated number of Palestinian Muslims who crossed the Barrier checkpoints around East Jerusalem (Qalandiya, Gilo, Shu’fat, Zeytoun, As Sawahira ash Shariqiya and Ash Sheikh Sa’d) to access Al Aqsa mosque on the fourth Friday of Ramadan was significantly lower this year compared to last year. The Israeli authorities estimate that some 8,000 people crossed on Friday, 25 July, less than half of those who crossed during the previous Friday (16,300), and approximately eight per cent of those who crossed on the same occasion last year (104,500).

Access to Al Aqsa Mosque was restricted to Palestinian men over 50 and women over 40, regardless of whether they were Jerusalem or West Bank ID holders. Also, as was the case last week, Palestinians under 50 who managed to cross the checkpoints with work or commercial permits were turned back at multiple flying checkpoints in the vicinity of the Old City of Jerusalem. As a result, thousands prayed in the streets surrounding Jerusalem’s Old City in the heavy presence of Israeli forces. Israeli authorities continued to impose stringent access restrictions to East Jerusalem as well as to Al Aqsa mosque, including on the night of 24-25 July (Laylat al Qader), which is a holy occasion for Muslims. During that night, only a few thousand, from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem were able to reach Al Aqsa mosque compared to around 400,000 on the same night last year.

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