Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 3 - 17 October 2016
● On 19 October, a Palestinian woman from Asira ash Shamaliya was shot and killed by Israeli forces in an alleged stabbing attempt at Za’tara checkpoint (Nablus).
● On 9 October, a 40-year-old Palestinian man from Silwan (East Jerusalem) carried out a shooting attack, killing a 60-year-old Israeli woman and an Israeli police officer and injuring another five in the Sheikh Jarrah area of East Jerusalem. The perpetrator was shot and killed by Israeli forces during the incident. The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, condemned the attack. Additionally, in two separate incidents; an Israeli border police officer was injured, reportedly after being stabbed by a Palestinian man near the Barrier in Beit Surik village (Jerusalem); the perpetrator fled the scene. Also, a 26-year-old Palestinian man was injured as a result of being stabbed and physically assaulted by an Israeli man in West Jerusalem. Since the beginning of 2016, 68 Palestinians, including 20 children, and 16 Israelis, including a girl, were killed in attacks and suspected attacks carried out by Palestinians on Israelis. In a 19 October briefing to the UN Security Council, Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien said he continues “to be alarmed by Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians and the numerous responses to such attacks or alleged attacks by Israeli forces, many of which have raised allegations about excessive use of force.”
● On 11 October, Israeli forces shot and killed a 20-year-old Palestinian man and injured another nine during clashes that erupted in the course of a search and arrest operation in Silwan (East Jerusalem), targeting the house of the Palestinian who carried out the 9 October shooting attack (see above). According to Palestinian medical sources, the man was left bleeding for more than two hours before a medical team was allowed to treat him.
● A total of 115 Palestinians, including 22 children and three women, were injured across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in clashes with Israeli forces during the two-week period. Two of the injuries occurred during clashes in protests next to the perimeter fence in the Gaza Strip, near the closed Nahal Oz crossing. The rest of the injuries (113) were recorded in the West Bank, with the highest number recorded in the Jerusalem governorate (76), during search and arrest operations, the largest of which took place in the vicinity of Al Quds University in Abu Dis town, resulting in 52 injuries. Other clashes were reported during a punitive demolition in Nablus city, resulting in nine injuries. Three Israeli soldiers were injured by stone-throwing by Palestinians during the period.
● Overall, Israeli forces conducted 178 search and arrest operations and arrested 295 Palestinians in the West Bank. The Jerusalem governorate accounted for the highest portion of operations (70) and arrests (136); including the raiding of Dar al Aytam School in the Old City of Jerusalem, arresting 14 students and the head of the school, as well as the Director of Al Waqf schools in Jerusalem. Also, in Jerusalem, Israeli police handed out orders banning fifteen (15) Palestinians from entering the Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount compound, two for three month periods and the rest for at least two weeks. Meanwhile in the Gaza Strip, on two occasions, Israeli forces carried out land levelling and excavation operations in the vicinity of the perimeter fence.
● At least ten incidents involving Israeli forces’ opening fire at Palestinian civilians in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) at land and sea in the Gaza Strip were recorded. No injuries were reported, but two fishermen including a 17-year-old, were forced to take off their clothes and swim to Israeli naval boats, where they were detained and their boat and fishing nets seized. Also, one Palestinian merchant was reportedly arrested at Erez crossing. On at least two occasions, members of an armed group in Gaza reportedly fired a number of rockets towards Israel, two of which landed in southern Israel; no injuries were reported. In response, the Israeli authorities launched airstrikes and shelling on 5 October, resulting in damage but no injuries.
● Israeli authorities demolished or confiscated 70 structures in nine Palestinian communities in Area C on the grounds of lack of building permits, displacing 91 people, including 40 children and affecting the livelihoods of more than 88 others. Five of the incidents occurred in Palestinian Bedouin and herding communities at risk of forcible transfer, exacerbating the coercive environment pushing the residents to leave. Twenty-seven (27) of the targeted structures, including residential shelters, latrines and a water cistern, had been provided as humanitarian assistance in response to previous demolitions. This brings the total number of donor funded items destroyed or confiscated since the beginning of 2016 to 273, more than double the figure for all of 2015.
● On 11 October, in Nablus city, Israeli forces destroyed the family home of a Palestinian man accused of being part of an attack near Itamar settlement in October 2015, during which two Israeli settlers were killed. Eight people, including five children, were displaced as a result of the demolition. Since the resumption of this practice in July 2014, the Israeli authorities have demolished or sealed 58 homes on punitive grounds, displacing 345 people, including 153 children. In November 2015, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt, Robert Piper, called upon the Israeli authorities to halt this practice, which is a form of collective punishment, illegal under international law.
● On 10 October, a Palestinian man was electrocuted, while working inside a tunnel under the border between Gaza and Egypt. Smuggling activities along the border with Egypt have largely come to halt since mid-2013, following the Egyptian authorities’ destruction or blockage of the vast majority of tunnels in this area. Reportedly, only a few smuggling tunnels remain partially operational.
● Five Israeli settler attacks leading to Palestinian property damage were recorded during the two-week period, including the vandalism of 47 Palestinian-owned trees in the villages of As Sawiya (Nablus) and Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya), reportedly by Israeli settlers from Rechalim and Qadumim settlement respectively; three Palestinian-platedvehicles sustained damage after being stoned by Israeli settlers in three separate incidents in Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Nablus governorates. In addition (not included in the count), one Palestinian man was injured after being struck by an Israeli-plated vehicle, which fled the scene in Azzun (Qalqiliya).
● According to Israeli media reports, three Israelis were injured, including a 17-year-old boy, and damage to several Israeli-plated vehicles were reported, as a result of Molotov cocktails and stone-throwing by Palestinians in the Hebron and Bethlehem governorates. Additionally, the light train segment running in Shu’fat (East Jerusalem) sustained damage as a result of stone-throwing by Palestinians.
● The electricity supply in the Gaza Strip again deteriorated and blackouts increased from 12-16 to 18-20 hours per day on several instances during the reporting period This was due to a lack of fuel triggered by recurrent closures during the Jewish holidays, and to the continuing disputes between the Ramallah and Gaza authorities over a tax exemption for the fuel purchased for the plant. This forced the Gaza Power Plant to shut down one of its two operating turbines, affecting the delivery of basic services and undermining vulnerable livelihoods and living conditions.
● The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was exceptionally open for two days (15 and 16 October) in both directions; 1,368 Palestinians reportedly exited Gaza to Egypt and 1,296 entered. Approximately 27,000 registered people have been waiting to exit Gaza via Rafah since the beginning of 2016, according to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza.