Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 13 - 19 June 2017
From 19 to 22 June, Israel progressively cut its electricity supply to the Gaza Strip from 120 to 72 megawatts (MW), according to the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company. This reduction has been compensated by the partial resumption of operations of the Gaza Power Plant (55MW), which has been shut down since 17 April, allowing electricity supply to remain at about four hours a day. The power plant was able to resume operartions after Egypt opened the Rafah crossing for two consecutive days for the entry of industrial fuel.
On 19 June, the Israeli electricity company began reducing its electricity supply to the Gaza Strip, extending blackouts in certain areas from 19-20 to 20-21 hours a day. This followed a decision by the West Bank-based Palestinian government to reduce its payments to Israel for this supply by 30 per cent. In a statement issued on 14 June, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), Robert Piper, warned of the “disastrous consequences” of such a development on the living conditions of the nearly two million residents of Gaza.
On 16 June, an Israeli female Border Police officer was stabbed and killed in a shooting and stabbing attack near of the Old City of East Jerusalem; the three Palestinian perpetrators, males between 18 and 19 years old, were shot and killed at the scene. Their bodies are being withheld by the Israeli authorities. Another three Palestinians and one Israeli police were injured in the same incident. The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, strongly condemned the attack. (link is external) The attack brought to six the number of Israelis killed by Palestinians since the beginning of 2017, all members of the security forces; the number of Palestinian perpetrators and suspected perpetrators of attacks killed during this period reached 13, including four children.
Following the attack, Israeli forces raided Deir Abu Mash’al (Ramallah), where the perpetrators came from, and blocked all entrances to the village. The raid triggered clashes with local youths, resulting in the injury of five Palestinians, and the confiscation of vehicles and documents. The exit of residents (about 4,500) from the village was still prohibited at the end of the reporting period, except for humanitarian cases coordinated in advance, including students and teachers who attended a matriculation exam in the nearby villages. The family homes of the perpetrators were reportedly surveyed by the Israeli authorities, in advance of their punitive demolition.
Also in connection to the attack, the Israeli authorities revoked some 200,000 entry permits for family visits in Israel, issued to Palestinians holding West Bank ID cards on the occasion of the month of Ramadan. However, permits issued to access East Jerusalem for the Friday prayers during Ramadan, as well as the temporary lifting of the permit requirement for males aged above 45 and females of all ages for that purpose, will reportedly be maintained.
Also on 16 June, for unspecified reasons, the Israeli authorities closed the main entrances to Beit Tammar, Jannatah and Marah Rabah villages in the Bethlehem governorate. Some 18,500 Palestinians have been forced to rely on long detours, disrupting their access to services and livelihoods, through the end of the reporting period.
Clashes with Israeli forces across the oPt resulted in the injury of 67 Palestinians, including nine children, and three Israeli policemen. The largest clashes took place on 18 June in the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount compound in East Jerusalem, after the Israeli police raided the site, resulting in 22 Palestinian and three Israeli injuries. Additional clashes leading to injuries were recorded during weekly protests next to the perimeter fence in the Gaza Strip, and in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya), and during search and arrest operations in Al Bireh (Ramallah), Silwan (East Jerusalem) and the abovementioned operation in Deir Abu Mash’al (Ramallah). Thirteen of this week’s injuries were caused by live ammunition, and the rest by rubber bullets, physical assault and tear gas inhalation requiring medical treatment.
In the Gaza Strip, on 17 occasions during the week, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinians present in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and at sea, with no injuries reported. In one of the incidents, a fishing boat was damaged.
Multiple incidents of stone-throwing at vehicles across the West Bank by both Palestinians and Israeli settlers resulted in the injury of an Israeli woman and damage to at least four Israeli and three Palestinian vehicles. On 17 June, an Israeli settler was physically assaulted and injured by a Palestinian man near the Gush Etzion junction (Hebron), reportedly in a stabbing attempt.
On the third Friday of Ramadan (16 June), about 95,000 West Bank Palestinians were allowed into East Jerusalem through the designated checkpoints for prayers, according to Israeli official sources. This is mostly due to the temporary waiving of permit requirements for West Bank ID holders, mentioned above. Additionally, about 100 Palestinians from Gaza above the age of 55 were allowed to enter East Jerusalem for the Friday prayers and another 300 during weekdays.
The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was closed in both directions during the entire reporting period. According to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza, over 20,000 people, including humanitarian cases, are registered to pass through the crossing. It was last exceptionally opened on 9 May, bringing to 16 the number of days it has opened so far in 2017.
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