Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 21 March - 3 April 2017
Latest developments from 6 April
● The de facto authorities in the Gaza Strip executed three Palestinian men convicted of “collaboration with Israel”, according to media reports.
● The Ministry of Interior in the Gaza Strip announced the lifting of all access restrictions in place since 26 March.
● A Palestinian man run his vehicle on a bus stop next to Ofra settlement (Ramallah), killing an Israeli soldier and injuring another, and was subsequently detained, according to media reports
● Three stabbing attacks resulted in the killing of the two Palestinians and the injury of four Israelis. On 29 March, a 49-year-old Palestinian woman, who allegedly attempted to stab an Israeli border policeman in the Old City of Jerusalem, was shot and killed; no Israeli injuries were reported and the Israeli authorities have launched an investigation into the incident. Also in the Old City, on 1 April, a 17-year-oldPalestinian boy stabbed and injured an Israeli policeman and two Israeli youths and was subsequently shot and killed. On 27 March, a Palestinian youth from the town of Halhul (Hebron) stabbed and injured an Israeli woman in the city of Lod in Israel, and was later arrested, according to Israeli sources.This brings the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in attacks and alleged attacks since the beginning of 2017 to12.
● Another two Palestinian boys were killed by Israeli forces in two separate incidents near Ramallah and east of Rafah (Gaza). On 17 March, Israeli forces shot and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian boy, and injured another three boys, near a military watchtower next to Al Jalazun Refugee Camp; according to Israeli military sources, the shooting took place in response to the throwing of firebombs towards Beit El settlement, with no injuries or damage reported. On 21 March, Israeli forces fired tank shells towards an open area east of Rafah city, at approximately 300 meters from the perimeter fence, killing a 16 year old Palestinian civilian and injuring another civilian; the circumstances of the incident remain unclear.
● Overall, 124 Palestinians, 14 of them children, were injured by Israeli forces in multiple clashes in the West Bank, representing a significant increase compared with the equivalent figures since the beginning of 2017. Most of the injuries occurred during clashes in the context of demonstrations commemorating the 41th anniversary of “Land Day”, marking a mass expropriation of land from Palestinian citizens of Israel. Other clashes were reported over the course of multiple search and arrest operations; at a funeral of the boy killed in Al Jalazun Refugee Camp; and during clashes in various locations across the Jerusalem and Ramallah governorates. Four Israeli soldier were reportedly injured by stones.
● Following the killing of a Hamas member in Gaza City on 24 March by unknown assailants, the Palestinian de facto authorities in Gaza have imposed severe access restrictions, citing security needs.Exits through the ‘Arba-‘Arba checkpoint - which controls access to the Erez Crossing between Gaza and Israel – has been particularly affected, further reducing the already small number of people permitted to leave due to pre-existing Israeli-imposed restrictions. As of 4 April, over 100 patients who had been referred for medical treatment outside Gaza had missed their appointments and operations and will have to reapply for an exit permit, with no guarantees of receipt and with possible risk of deterioration in their medical condition. While most staff of humanitarian organizations were also banned from exiting Gaza via Erez, since 1 April international staff employed by the UN and the ICRC have been allowed passage.
● In the same context, since 26 March, the de facto authorities are preventing the access of Palestinian fishermen to the sea along Gaza’s coast. The Gaza Fishermen’s Syndicate has estimated the resulting losses at two to three tons of fish per day, triggering rises in the price of imported fish. These restrictions, which came at the beginning of the sardine season, are further undermining fishing livelihoods weakened by the longstanding access restrictions imposed by Israel.
● Prior to the imposition of the restrictions by the de facto authorities, the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing operated as scheduled, while the Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing remained closed. Over 20,000 people, including humanitarian cases, are registered and waiting to cross Rafah, according to the Palestinian authorities in the Gaza Strip.
● Also in the Gaza Strip, in addition to the incident east of Rafah, on at least 28 occasions, Israeli forces opened warning or direct fire into the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and sea, disrupting the work of farmers and fishermen. On two occasions, Israeli forces also carried out levelling and digging operations inside Gaza, near the perimeter fence, and arrested a Palestinian civilian, allegedly after he attempted to cross illegally into Israel.
● In the West Bank, the Israeli authorities demolished or seized 17 Palestinian-owned structures on grounds of lack of building permits, displacing 22 Palestinians and affecting the livelihoods of over 90. Five of these structures were in East Jerusalem and the remaining 13 structures were in five communities in Area C. Additionally, in the Jabal al Mukabber area of East Jerusalem, the family home of the perpetrator of an attack in January 2017, which killed four Israeli soldiers, was punitively sealed displacing a woman and her four children.
● The Israeli authorities declared various non-contiguous plots of land in the Nablus governorate, amounting to nearly 1,000 dunums, as “state land”, for the establishment of a new Israeli settlement and the retroactive “legalization” of three existing settlement outposts. This is expected to impact on the access to land by farmers from four adjacent villages (Sinjil, Qaryut, As Sawiya and Al Lubban Ash Sharqiya), further undermining their agricultural livelihoods. According to an Israeli Cabinet decision, the new settlement will serve for the relocation of settlers recently evacuated from the Amona settlement outpost; the decision also includes limitations to future settlement expansion.
● On four separate incidents, armed Israeli settlers attacked or threatened Palestinian farmers and forced them out of their land in the vicinity of settlements. In one of these incidents, a Palestinian farmer was physically assaulted and injured near Beit Furik village (Nablus). The other three incidents involved threats and intimidation of farmers who accessed their land in Nablus and Qalqiliya, following prior coordination/authorization by the Israeli authorities. This mechanism is meant to secure access of farmers to areas affected by settler violence twice a year, during the ploughing and harvest season. Additionally, three Palestinian– plated vehicles were damaged by settlers in stone-throwing incidents.
● Four Israeli settlers, including a woman, were injured and several vehicles damaged in at least 13 incidents of stone and Molotov cocktail-throwing by Palestinians at Israeli-plated vehicles, near Jerusalem, Ramallah, Hebron and Bethlehem, according to Israeli media reports.