Protection of Civilians Report | 20 August - 2 September 2019
On 31 August, a Palestinian died of wounds he sustained from live ammunition fired by Israeli forces in a ‘Great March of Return’ (GMR) demonstration held the previous day, near Israel’s perimeter fence with Gaza. During the reporting period, 483 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces in the GMR protests, of whom 236 were hospitalized, including 96 children; 99 people were shot with live ammunition. Israeli sources reported that a number of Molotov cocktails and explosive devices were thrown at the Israeli forces. One Israeli soldier was injured.
On 23 August, a 17-year-old Israeli girl was killed and her father and brother were seriously injured by an improvised explosive device near a natural spring close to the Israeli settlement of Dolev (Ramallah). Israeli forces carried out extensive search operations in the nearby villages, especially Deir Ibzi’, erected flying checkpoints in the area, and arrested a number of Palestinians in relation to the incident.
Palestinian armed groups fired ten rockets and mortar shells from the Gaza Strip towards Israel. Israeli sources indicated that a house under construction in Sderot town in southern Israel was damaged and two people were injured. The Israeli air force carried out a series of air strikes in Gaza targeting open areas and military sites, resulting in no casualties. Also in response to the rocket firing, Israel reduced the amount of fuel allowed into Gaza for the Gaza Power Plant by half; normal entry of fuel resumed on 1 September.
On at least 23 occasions, in the context of enforcing access restrictions within Gaza, Israeli forces opened warning fire in the areas adjacent to Gaza’s perimeter fence and off the coast of Gaza; one injury was reported. Israeli forces carried out two incursions and land-levelling operations near the fence, and arrested four Palestinians while they reportedly attempted to breach the fence.
On 27 August, three Palestinian police officers were killed and nine other people, including two children and a woman, were injured, following explosions at two police checkpoints in Gaza city. According to media reports, the explosions are attributed to suicide bombers, however, no party has claimed responsibility; a police investigation is ongoing.
Israeli forces injured a total of 146 Palestinians in multiple clashes across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Almost 90 per cent of injured individuals were treated for tear gas inhalation, and the rest by rubber bullets or as a result of physical assault. Most of the injuries (120) were sustained in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city (H2), when Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters towards Palestinian houses on two occasions, in reaction to stone-throwing by Palestinians. Also, 11 Palestinians were injured during search and arrest operations in Al ‘Eizariya town (Jerusalem governorate), Al ‘Isawiya neighbourhood (East Jerusalem), Tulkarm refugee camp and Anabta village (the latter two in Tulkarm). The remaining injuries were sustained in two protests, against settler violence and settlement expansion in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya), and in support of prisoners in Abu Dis (Jerusalem).
A total of 166 search and arrest operations were carried out by Israeli forces in West Bank villages and towns. The majority were in Ramallah (46), Jerusalem (33) and Hebron (31). Around 150 Palestinians were arrested during the operations.
One Palestinian was injured and extensive damage to property was recorded, in attacks carried out by Israeli settlers, or persons believed to be so. On 30 August, a Palestinian farmer was physically assaulted and injured by a security guard at El’azar settlement (Bethlehem), while he was working his land near the settlement. In an incident near Efrata settlement (Bethlehem), settlers cut down 70 grapevines belonging to the village of Khallet Sakariya. Following the killing of the Israeli girl (see above), dozens of settlers gathered at Huwwara junction (Nablus) and stoned Palestinian cars, damaging at least 20. In another four incidents, 14 cars were vandalized in the villages of Rafat and Haris (Salfit) and Al Lubban ash Sharqiya and Sinjil (Ramallah). Also in Haris, settlers were caught on cameras spraying graffiti on the walls of the village council, health clinic and a mosque. In the H2 area of Hebron city, settlers took over a Palestinian house, from which they were evacuated last year by a court order.
Eight Palestinian-owned structures were demolished in Area C and East Jerusalem on the grounds of the lack of Israeli-issued permits. As a result, 19 people were displaced, half of them due to the demolition of a residential house in the Beit Hanina neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. Almost 700 Palestinians were affected by the demolition of a water reservoir in Tubas, which supplied five Palestinian Bedouin communities, and a mosque and a residence under construction near Hebron city.
On two occasions, according to Israeli sources, Palestinians threw stones at Israeli-plated vehicles travelling on West Bank roads near Jerusalem, causing damage to a car and a bus.