|At least 270 injured in protests and clashes
Nearly 200 Palestinian civilians, including almost 80 youths, and nine Israeli soldiers were injured between 14 and 17 May in clashes that erupted during demonstrations commemorating what Palestinians refer to as the “An Nakba Day” (associated with the declaration of independence of the State of Israel on 15 May 1948, which was followed by a large scale displacement of Palestinians). During the clashes, demonstrators threw stones at Israeli forces, who responded in most cases by firing tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets. The most intense clashes took place around the Old City of East Jerusalem, around the checkpoints of Qalandiya (Jerusalem) and Beituniya (Ramallah), at the outskirts of Al Jalazun (Ramallah) and Al Arrub (Hebron) refugee camps, and in the villages of Al Khader (Bethlehem) and Silwad (Ramallah).
Additional clashes were reported on 17, 18 and 19 May in the town of Abu Dis (Jerusalem governorate), after Palestinian residents created a hole in a section of the Barrier, which separates the town from East Jerusalem, and attempted to gain access to Jerusalem. A total of 37 Palestinians were injured during the clashes, the majority of whom were minors, including five children who sustained serious injuries in the head and abdomen.
Overall, at least 270 Palestinians were injured this week, more than double the weekly average in 2013. More than half (54 per cent) of all the civilian injuries recorded this week were caused by rubber-coated metal bullets, a significant increase compared with the weekly average since the beginning of 2013 and in 2012 (42 and 25 per cent of all injuries, respectively). Approximately 30 per cent of this week’s injuries were the result of tear gas inhalation, 3 per cent by live ammunition, and the remaining were injuries resulting from physical assault by soldiers, or being hit by a tear gas canister.