|West Bank clashes: 19 fatalities and 2,000 injuries recorded since the beginning of Gaza military operation
During the week, Israeli forces killed four Palestinians and injured at least 150 others, including 71 children and two women. Two members of Israeli forces were also injured. The use of live ammunition accounted for approximately a third of all Palestinians injuries, with the majority of the remainder injured by rubber and metal-coated rubber bullets, or treated due to tear gas inhalation.
Two of the fatalities and nearly 80 per cent of the injuries occurred in the context of clashes during ongoing protests against the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip. Both fatalities took place on 8 August in two separate incidents in the Bab Az Zaweya area of Hebron city and Al Bireh city (Ramallah),where two Palestinians aged 42 and 19 were shot and killed with live ammunition during clashes. According to eyewitnesses, the 19-year-old was shot and apprehended by Israeli soldiers. His corpse was later handed over by the Israeli army to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS). Protests resulting in large numbers of injuries were recorded in Bethlehem (46 injured) and Hebron (27 injured).
These incidents bring the casualty toll among Palestinians in the West Bank since the beginning of the Gaza military operation to 19 fatalities, including of two children, and at least 2,000 injuries.
The other two fatalities were recorded in the context of search and arrest operations. On 10 August in Al Fawwar camp (Hebron), Israeli forces shot and killed an 11-year-old boy, with live ammunition, in his back. According to eyewitnesses, the incident occurred as Israeli forces were leaving the camp, following a search and arrest operation, and no stone throwing or clashes were ongoing at the time. The Israeli authorities indicated that a Military Police investigation has been opened into the case.
The other incident occurred on 11 August, in the village of Qabalan (Nablus), during an operation aimed at arresting a 24-year-old Palestinian. The latter refused to surrender and opened fire at the Israeli forces, following which the forces fired rockets at the house he was hiding in, killing him. Six people, including three children (5, 7, and 13) and two women, in adjacent houses were injured. The house was severely damaged by the rocket fire and subsequently demolished by Israeli forces with a bulldozer, while two adjacent houses were partially damaged. Initial assessments indicate that 21 Palestinians including eight children were displaced by the demolitions.
Also this week, an 18-year-old Palestinian died and his 12-year-old brother was injured in the village of Tammun (Tubas) when unexploded ordnance (UXO) detonated while they were herding sheep.
Settler-related incidents: concern over ongoing tension in the Jerusalem area
In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, a total of five Israeli settler attacks resulting in the injury of Palestinians or in damage to Palestinian property were recorded during the reporting period, less than the weekly average since the beginning of 2014. Additionally, there were three incidents resulting in injuries or property damage to settlers.
Two of this week’s incidents involved Israeli settlers from the Bracha settlement in Nablus. On 9 August, a group from this settlement gathered next to the eastern side of Burin village and began throwing stones at nearby houses. Israeli forces that arrived to the site were stoned by Palestinian residents; the forces responded by shooting rubber-coated bullets, injuring one of the residents. The following day, another group of settlers from Bracha apprehended a 15-year-old child from the nearby village of ‘Iraq Burin (Nablus), took him around 200 meters away from where he was herding his sheep and released him an hour later following the intervention of Israeli forces. Reports about kidnapping attempts of Palestinian children by Israeli settlers have been on the rise over the past two months, particularly in East Jerusalem. Recently, an Israeli settler, who was arrested in connection to the kidnapping and burning alive of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir from Shu’fat (Jerusalem) on 2 July, was charged with murder.
Two additional incidents resulting in injuries were recorded in East and West Jerusalem, one involving the physical assault of a 20-year-old Palestinian (5 August) and the other involving stone throwing at Palestinian vehicles in the area of Silwan, resulting in the injury of a one-year-old baby girl (6 August). There has been a rise in clashes between Palestinians and Israelis, including settlers, in East Jerusalem. Since the beginning of the year, 34 settler-related incidents were reported against Palestinians in East Jerusalem, of which 13 were reported since 1 July, resulting in the injury of 11 Palestinians as a result of physical assault. According to Israeli media reports on 11th of August, the Israeli Ministry of Housing, which is responsible for guarding Israeli settlements in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, indicated that since the beginning of July 2014 there has also been a sharp increase in the frequency of Palestinian attacks against these settlements. During the reporting period, two Israeli settlers were injured by Palestinians near Ma’ale Adummim settlement: a 63-year-old settlement security guard stabbed on 5 August; and a bus driver hit by stones while driving. Following the first incident, Israeli forces carried out a search and arrest operation and arrested three Palestinians.
Another four incidents during the week resulted in damage to Palestinian property, one entailing the uprooting of 45 trees and setting a water tank on fire in the village of Deir Nidham, by settlers from the settlement of Hallamish (Ramallah), and three causing damage to vehicles in Salfit, Hebron, and Jerusalem. Additionally, in Qaryut (Nablus), settlers from Shilo settlement cut five trees, began erecting a fence around 3.5 dunums of land and planted 15 olive saplings on Palestinian privately-owned property. Since the beginning of the year a total of 7,201 trees have been damaged/uprooted by Israeli settlers. Since 2009, around 50,000 trees have been damaged/ uprooted by settlers.
Israeli forces demolished three structures and israeli High court rejects petition to prevent punitive demolitions
During the week, a total of three structures were completely demolished in Hebron and Jenin, and17 stop-work orders for residential structures were delivered to residents in the southern West Bank. In total, 174 people including 62 children were affected.
In Qabalan (Nablus), Israelis demolished a two-storey home and partially damaged two others in the context of a military operation (see above). In addition, two livelihood-related structures were demolished in Area C, in Barta’a ash Sharqiya (Jenin), for lack of Israeli issued building permits. Nine civilians, included four children, were affected.
Stop work orders for 15 structures in Area C due to lack of building permits were delivered to residents of Al Khader (Bethlehem) and two others were delivered to residents in Khashem ad Daraj Bedouin community, south of Yatta (Hebron). If demolitions are carried out, a total of 107, including 63, children will be affected.
In addition, Israeli forces delivered requisition orders for around 12 dunums of land planted with olive trees near the settlement of Ma’ale Shomron, in Qalqilya. Israeli authorities stated that the requisition is grounded on ‘security reasons’ for the maintenance and fortification of the Barrier near the village.
On 11 August 2014, the Israeli High Court of Justice rejected a petition against the Israeli military’s decision to demolish the family homes of three Palestinians suspected of the abduction and subsequent killing of three Israeli youths in Hebron in June 2014. The families were given until 13:00 on Thursday 14 August to submit an engineer’s opinion on how the demolitions will affect nearby houses. Israeli forces are still searching for two of the three suspects and none have been tried or charged in connection to the incident. If implemented, the demolitions will result in the displacement of 28 people, including 13 children.
Tight restrictions on access to East Jerusalem continued after Ramadan
Incidents of restrictions on access of Palestinians to Al Aqsa Mosque continues, in conjunction with a rise in the number of incidents of settlers and other Israeli groups, entering the compound, under the protection of Israeli forces. Twice this week, Israeli authorities restricted the access of Palestinians, including Jerusalem ID holders, to men over 50 and women over 40 years of age. Concurrently, on five different days, Israeli settlers and other Israeli groups, protected by Israeli forces, entered and toured the compound. Protests, and subsequent clashes, in this context continued during the reporting period, with the latest taking place on 8 August between Israeli forces and Palestinians.