Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 7 – 20 February 2017
On 21 February, an Israeli military court issued a prison sentence of 18 months to an Israeli soldier, who, in March 2016 in Hebron city, shot dead a wounded Palestinian after he carried out an attack. According to the court ruling, the injured man was lying on the ground without posing any threat, when he was killed.
On 9 February, a 19-year-old Palestinian from Beita village (Nablus) injured five Israeli civilians in a shooting and stabbing attack in a market in Petah Tikva city (Israel), and was subsequently arrested. Since the beginning of 2017, four Israeli soldiers were killed and 23 other Israelis were injured in attacks by Palestinians.
On 10 February, a 25-year-old Palestinian from Tulkarm died in an Israeli hospital, where he was treated for wounds he sustained after being shot by Israeli forces on November 2016, in an alleged stabbing attempt. According to Palestinian sources, the man, a cancer patient, was shot while rushing to board a taxi next to the Huwwara checkpoint (Nablus), while en route to Nablus hospital to take chemotherapy. His body was withheld by the Israeli authorities for a week before it was handed over.
29 Palestinians were injured including nine children across the West Bank during multiple clashes with Israeli forces. Most of the injuries occurred during search and arrest operations and the weekly demonstrations in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya) and Ni’lin (Ramallah); the latter demonstration commemorated the 12th anniversary of anti-Barrier protests in this community. In two separate incidents, in Qalqiliya city and Bizzariya village (Nablus), clashes near schools resulted in the injury of five students.
Three Palestinian workers were killed and six were injured in four separate incidents involving the collapse of underground smuggling tunnels under the border between Gaza and Egypt. Goods smuggling activities in this area have significantly reduced since mid-2013, following the Egyptian authorities’ destruction or blockage of tunnels on the Egyptian side. Additionally, on 7 December, two Palestinian members of an armed group died, and another one was injured, following the collapse of a military tunnel, east of Gaza City.
On at least 40 occasions, Israeli forces opened warning or direct fire at Palestinians present in, or approaching the Israeli-imposed Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and sea in Gaza. While no injuries were reported, the work of farmers and fishermen was repeatedly disrupted. Four Palestinians were arrested by Israeli forces, including a merchant while crossing the Israeli – controlled Erez crossing, and the others after attempting to cross illegally into Israel. On another two separate occasions, Israeli forces entered inside Gaza and carried out levelling and excavations near the perimeter fence.
The Israeli authorities demolished 29 Palestinian-owned structures in East Jerusalem and Area C on the grounds of lack of building permits, displacing 32 people, including 20 children, and affecting the livelihoods of 87 others. Among the affected structures was a donor-funded water network serving two herding communities, Humsa al Bqia'a and Al Hadidiya, in the Northern Jordan Valley; this is the second demolition in less than two months, targeting the same network. In a separate incident, Israeli forces destroyed an agriculture structure in Hebron city, during a search and arrest operation, affecting a family of seven.
On 19 February, the Israeli authorities delivered stop work orders against nearly all structures in the Palestinian Bedouin community of Khan al Ahmar-Abu al Helu (140 people), located in Area C of the Jerusalem governorate. Among the targeted structures is a donor-funded primary school made of tires and mud, which serves around 170 children from five Palestinian Bedouin communities. The community leader was told that they have no choice but to move to one of two “relocation sites” planned for the transfer of the 46 Bedouin communities in the central West Bank (approximately 7,000 people at-risk of forcible transfer). The Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt, Robert Piper, visited Khan al Ahmar and called on Israel to stop the pressure on the community and respect international law.
Israeli settlers moved into a part of a Palestinian house in the Silwan area of East Jerusalem, reportedly after they purchased the property from Palestinian owners. Silwan has been the target of intense settlement activity, placing hundreds of residents at risk of displacement. During the same week, the Israeli authorities delivered demolition orders against eight buildings in Silwan, home to some 120 people, for lacking Israeli building permits, which are near impossible to obtain.
Three Palestinians injured, and significant property damaged recorded in various incidents involving Israeli settlers. These include the physical assault and injury of a 14-year-old Palestinian girl, in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city, and a of a Palestinian journalist, near Ofra settlement (Ramallah); also, a Palestinian man was hit and injured by an Israeli settler vehicle near Beit Ummar (Hebron), in what according to Palestinian sources relying on video footage, was a deliberate ramming attack. Vandalism of Palestinian property was reported in three separate incidents, including: the killing of one sheep and injury of another two in Tell al Himmeh (Tubas); the vandalizing of more than 350 Palestinian-owned trees and saplings in Al Khadr village (Bethlehem); and the damaging of a water well serving more than 50 farmers in Deir Istiya (Salfit).
Israeli media reported at least 18 incidents of stone and Molotov cocktail-throwing by Palestinians at Israeli vehicles, which resulted in the injury of four Israeli settlers, including one woman, near Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem; damage to several Israeli vehicles was also reported.
The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was exceptionally opened for three days for entry and one day to exit, allowing 1527 Palestinians to leave and 1373 to return to the Gaza Strip. According to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza, over 20,000 people, including humanitarian cases, are registered and waiting to cross, according to the Palestinian authorities in the Gaza Strip.
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