Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 2 - 15 May 2017
On 18 May, an Israeli settler shot and killed a 23-years-old Palestinian man during a protest at Huwwara town (Nablus), and injured a Palestinian photographer, according to initial media reports.
Four stabbing attacks and attempted attacks against Israeli forces resulted in the killing of two suspected perpetrators, including a Palestinian child and a national of Jordan, and the injury of one Israeli and two Palestinians. On 7 May, Israeli forces shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian girl in the Old City of Jerusalem, who, according to Israeli official sources, attempted to stab a group of policemen. The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem stated that although the girl brandished a knife, she “stopped several meters away from the officers, [and] did not pose a danger to them.” This is the sixth Palestinian child killed by Israeli forces in the context of attacks, alleged attacks and clashes in the West Bank so far in 2017. Also in Jerusalem, on 13 May, a 57-year-old Jordanian man (a Palestine refugee) stabbed and injured an Israeli policeman and was subsequently shot and killed. Additionally, in two separate incidents on 10 and 15 May, two Palestinian youths were shot and injured by Israeli forces near Salem checkpoint (Jenin) and in the H2 area of Hebron city, after they attempted to stab Israeli soldiers, according to Israeli media reports.
Violent protests and clashes with Israeli forces across the West Bank escalated during the period: one Palestinian youth was killed and another 255 Palestinians, including 26 children, were injured. The majority of the clashes occurred during demonstrations commemorating the 69th anniversary of what Palestinians refer to as the “An Nakba” (15 May), as well as demonstrations in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, who have been on hunger strike for more than 30 days, protesting their conditions of detention. The fatality was a 22-year-old Palestinian shot with live ammunition during clashes that erupted at the weekly demonstration against the takeover of land by Israeli settlers in An Nabi Salah village (Ramallah). At least 35 of the injuries (14 per cent) were caused by live ammunition, while most of the remainder were caused by tear gas inhalation (nearly 40 per cent) and rubber bullets (almost 30 per cent).
Long delays were reported at multiple checkpoints across the West Bank, disrupting access to services and livelihoods. In the context of increasing tensions and violence, Israeli forces deployed at least 160 ‘flying’ ad-hoc checkpoints during the reporting period, more than double the bi-weekly average since the beginning of the year. These included ‘flying’ checkpoints at the main entrances to Qalqiliya, Hebron and Bethlehem cities. Additionally, 40 partial checkpoints (checkpoints not regularly staffed) were staffed on several occasions during this period, with soldiers stopping Palestinian vehicles and conducting checks and searches.
On 15 May, Israeli naval forces opened fire at a fishing boat on the sea, northwest of Gaza City, and killed a 23 year-old fisherman. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, the incident occurred at approximately three nautical miles from the coast. On at least 22 other occasions, Israeli naval forces opened warning fire towards fishermen sailing in the access restricted areas (ARA) on the sea, with one of the cases resulting in the injury of one fisherman. Earlier this month, the Israeli military extended the permitted fishing area from six to nine nautical miles in the southern part of Gaza, until 7 June, on the occasion of the sardine season, while access beyond six miles along the northern coast has remained barred. So far in 2017 there have been at least 133 shooting incidents at sea, resulting in the above fatality and eight injuries.
The Israeli authorities demolished 13 Palestinian-owned structures in East Jerusalem and Area C on the grounds of lack of building permits, displacing 22 people, and affecting the livelihoods of 40 others. Nine of the targeted structures were in East Jerusalem, including six of them in the community of Al Walaja, in the part that was illegally annexed to Israel and where the Israeli authorities have recently resumed construction of the Barrier. The remaining four structures demolished were in the Area C communities of Al Jiftlik in the Jordan Valley and Ar Ram in the Jerusalem governorate.
Two Palestinians injured and agricultural structures vandalized in incidents involving Israeli settlers. Israeli settlers physically assaulted and injured the headmaster of Qurtuba primary school in the H2 area of Hebron city, and a Palestinian man was injured with glass shards following stone-throwing by Israeli settlers at his vehicle near Kiryat Arba settlement (Hebron). Farmers from Al Khadr (Bethlehem) and Qusra (Nablus) villages reported that two water tanks and one fence were vandalized by Israeli settlers from Alon Shevut and Ahiya, respectively.
Five Israeli settlers were injured and at least ten vehicles damaged in multiple incidents of stone and Molotov cocktail-throwing by Palestinians near Jerusalem,
Ramallah, Hebron and Bethlehem, according to Israeli media reports.
The Gaza Power Plant, which shut down on 17 April after exhausting its fuel reserves, has remained closed, with ongoing rolling power cuts of 20-22 hours a day. While electricity supply from Egypt temporarily resumed on 7 May, following the repair of malfunctioning lines, it was interrupted again on 12 May through the end of the reporting period. This situation continues to undermine the delivery of essential services, which are operating at minimal levels and rely primarily on backup generators.
The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was exceptionally opened in one direction for four days during the period (6-9 May), allowing 3,068 Palestinians to enter Gaza.
According to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza, over 20,000 people, including humanitarian cases, are registered and waiting to pass through the Crossing.
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