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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
17 March 2016

Reporting period: 8 - 14 March 2016

Weekly Highlights

Latest Developments (outside of the reporting period):

On 17 March, two Palestinians stabbed and injured an Israeli soldier next to Ariel settlement and were subsequently shot and killed by Israeli forces, according to media reports.

On 12 March, two siblings (9 and 6 years old) were killed and two of their brothers (2 and12) were injured , when debris from an nearby military training site east of Beit Lahia (Gaza), targeted in an Israeli airstrike, struck their home, resulting in the collapse of the home ceiling. Another child was also injured in a separate airstrike on the same day. According to the Israeli media, the attacks were in response to rocket shooting by Palestinian factions towards southern Israel the day before, which resulted in no injuries or damage.

● Ten ramming, stabbing and shooting attacks and alleged attacks by Palestinians were recorded during the week, resulting in the death of a tourist and the injury of 19 Israelis. Israeli forces shot and killed ten of the suspected perpetrators, including two children (16 and 17 years old) and a woman, and injured a bystander. Two of the incidents took place in Israel and the rest in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem. Additionally, an Israeli settler was injured and a vehicle damaged in two incidents involving throwing stones and a firebomb. Since the beginning of 2016, Palestinian attacks and alleged attacks have resulted in the death of four Israelis,[1] one foreign national and 41 Palestinian suspected perpetrators, including 12 children and three women.

Following four of the attacks, Israeli forces blocked, or deployed checkpoints at the main entrances to the villages where the suspected perpetrators lived, including: Az Zawiya (Salfit), Hajja (Qalqiliya), Qabalan (Nablus), and Beit Ur at Tahta (Ramallah); the latter closure also blocked the main route to Ramallah for another five villages. The restrictions lasted for 4-5 days, disrupting access to services and workplaces.

Following one of the attacks in East Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities forced the perpetrator's family (10, including 7 children) out of East Jerusalem, and informed them that their family unification application was rejected. The four eldest sons and daughters, along with their mother, were transported by the Israeli police to the Qalandiya checkpoint and ordered to leave, while the father is under police custody.

In Hebron city, the Israeli authorities demolished the family home of the perpetrator of an attack that took place in November 2015, displacing a family of six, including three children. The homes of the perpetrators of three of this week's attacks were issued punitive demolition orders or underwent preliminary surveys, in the villages of Hajja (Qalqiliya), Az Zawiya and Mas-ha (the latter two in Salfit). In November 2014, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt called for an end to punitive demolitions, noting that "punitive demolitions are a form of collective penalty", which are prohibited under international law. "

● The bodies of 13 Palestinians, suspected perpetrators of attacks against Israelis, are currently being withheld by the Israeli authorities, including the bodies of the four Palestinians killed during the reporting period, and the rest are from incidents that took place during the previous five months.

● Clashes with Israeli forces across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) resulted in the injury of 119 Palestinians, including 28 children. Three of the injuries occurred next to the perimeter fence in the Gaza Strip and the rest were in the West Bank. Over 40 per cent of all injuries were reported in a single incident near Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem. Some 70 per cent of injuries were caused by tear gas inhalation requiring medical treatment, and the rest by rubber bullets, live ammunition and physical assault.

● A 15-year-old child was injured as a result of tampering with unexploded ordnance (bullets) left behind by Israeli forces during military training near the herding community of Ibziq (Tubas).

● Three Israeli settler attacks leading to injury or property damage against Palestinians were recorded during the week: an arson attack on a house near Al Khadr village in Bethlehem (the second attack in a week); and the damage of over 70 trees by settlers who released cattle to graze on Palestinian land in Aqraba village (Nablus). Also, a 40-year-old Palestinian was physically assaulted by a group of Israelis while he was at work in West Jerusalem.

On 10 March 2016, the Israeli authorities declared 2,342 dunums of land south of Jericho city as "state land". Nearly all 'state land' in Area C of the West Bank has been placed under the jurisdiction of Israeli settlements. The designated land is adjacent to the Israeli settlement of Almog. Following this declaration, the UN Secretary General urged Israel to halt settlement activities.

● Two Palestinian tunnel workers died when a smuggling tunnel, running under the border with Egypt, collapsed; another seven workers were rescued during the week by the Palestinian Civil Defense, in the context of the alleged Egyptian authorities' flooding of the tunnels. In a separate incident, a member of an armed group died in a tunnel east of Gaza.

● 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 42 days of partial openings. Authorities in Gaza indicated that around 30,000 people with urgent needs, including around 3,500 medical cases, are registered and waiting to cross.

[1] Excluding three Israelis killed in an attack in Israel perpetrated by an Israeli citizen of Palestinian origin, who was subsequently also killed.

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