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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
11 February 2016

Reporting period: 2 - 8 February 2016

Weekly Highlights

Latest Developments (outside of the reporting period):

Between 9 and 11 February the Israeli authorities destroyed at least 80 homes and livelihood-related structures in seven Palestinian communities in Area C, all but one in the Jordan Valley, displacing approximately 60 people, half of them children.

On 10 February, Israeli forces shot and killed a 15 year old Palestinian boy during clashes at the entrance of Al Arrub refugee camp (Hebron).

On 3 February, three Palestinian men carried out a stabbing and shooting attack against Israeli forces near Damascus gate in East Jerusalem, killing an Israeli policewoman and injuring another one. The three perpetrators (19 and 21-years-old), all from Qabatiya village (Jenin), were shot and killed during the incident; none of them reportedly belonged to any faction. Despite the gravity of this incident, this week marked the lowest number of attacks against Israelis in the West Bank since October. This brings the total number of Palestinians killed in attacks against Israelis since the beginning of 2016 to 18, including five children.

Following the attack, Israeli forces blocked all the routes to and from Qabatiya village (population 23,300) for three consecutive days. Access of residents to services and workplaces outside the village was severely disrupted, and about 300 work permits given to residents employed in Israel were revoked. Several clashes and search and arrest operations were recorded during these days resulting in the injury of 61 Palestinians, including 28 children.

Three additional stabbings, reportedly linked to the conflict, took place during the week inside Israel, resulting in the injury of an Israeli woman and two soldiers. One of the assailants, a foreign national, was shot and killed; another two, both 13-year-old Palestinian girls with Israeli citizenship, were arrested; and a third assailant, whose identity remains unclear, fled.[1]

A 14-year-old Palestinian boy was shot with live ammunition and killed by Israeli forces next to the entrance of Halhul village (Hebron), allegedly after throwing a Molotov cocktail; a 13 years old boy was also shot and injured by live ammunition in the same incident.

Multiple clashes with Israeli forces across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) also resulted in the injury of 138 Palestinians, including 45 children. Eight of the injuries occurred next to the perimeter fence in the Gaza Strip and the rest in the West Bank. Most of the injuries in the West Bank were recorded in the context of clashes that erupted during the weekly demonstrations in Ni'lin (Ramallah) and Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya); and during search and arrest operations in Qabatiya (Jenin), Salfit city, Qabalan (Nablus) and Al Fawwar Refugee Camp (Hebron).

On 8 February, a Palestinian civilian man died as a result of the collapse of a smuggling 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 tunnels have remained partially operational.

At least 13 incidents involving Israeli forces opening warning fire at Palestinian civilians in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) at land and sea in the Gaza Strip were recorded, resulting in no casualties. Four fishermen were detained at sea, after Israeli forces reportedly forced them to take off their clothes and swim towards the navy's boat, and two boats were confiscated. Additionally, Israeli forces entered Gaza on one occasion and levelled land East of Rafah city.

On 3 February, the Israeli authorities destroyed or dismantled and confiscated 31 structures in two herding communities in southern Hebron (Jinba and Halaweh), displacing 139 people. These and another ten communities (approx. 1,300 people) are at risk of forcible transfer due to the designation of the area in the 1980s as closed for military training. Some of the communities were established prior to the Israeli occupation and possess ownership documentation over the land. The incident follows the end without agreement of a mediation process in the context of petitions filed with the Israeli Supreme Court against the destruction and eviction of these communities.

Another 36 Palestinian-owned structures were also demolished, or dismantled and confiscated, during the week in the West Bank for lack of Israeli-issued building permits, including 29 donor-funded structures. As a result, 26 people were displaced, including 15 children, and 26 people were otherwise affected. Four of the targeted structures were located in East Jerusalem in areas designated by Israeli authorities as a national park. The number of structures destroyed or dismantled and confiscated from the start of 2016 until 8 February (157), constitutes 29 per cent of the structures targeted in the whole of 2015.

Also this week, the Israeli authorities issued nine demolition and seizure orders against the family homes of nine suspected perpetrators of attacks against Israelis, placing the families at risk of displacement. Punitive demolitions are a form of collective punishment and, as such, are illegal under international law.

A Palestinian man was physically assaulted and injured by Israeli settlers near the settlement of Kiryat Arba (Hebron). In another incident, farmers from Iraq burin (Nablus) reported the steeling of two donkeys by Israeli settlers from Bracha settlement. In addition, Israeli settlers from Ma'on farm outpost prevented Palestinian pupils from reaching their school in At Tuwani village (Hebron).

On 6 February, unknown assailants set on fire a tent erected by Israeli settlers and used as a synagogue next to Karmei Tzur settlement (Hebron), on land privately owned by Palestinians. A previous structure erected on the same site was demolished by the Israeli authorities in 2015, following a court petition by the land owners. The UN Secretary-General condemned the arson and called on all sides to respect the sanctity of holy sites.

Israeli media reported on five incidents of stone throwing by Palestinians on Israeli-plated vehicles, resulting in damages to three vehicles and to the Jerusalem light rail.

The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was closed in both directions during the reporting period. The crossing has been closed, including for humanitarian assistance, since 24 October 2014, except for 39 days of partial openings. Authorities in Gaza indicated that over 25,000 people with urgent needs, including around 3,500 medical cases, are registered and waiting to cross.

[1] OCHA Protection of Civilians data includes incidents that occurred outside of the oPt only if they involved residents of the oPt as either victims or perpetrators.

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