Protection of Civilians Report | 21 May – 3 June 2019
A total of 234 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces during the reporting period in demonstrations held in the context of the ‘Great March of Return’ (GMR), which have been taking place near the perimeter fence with Israel since 30 March 2018. Over 16 per cent of those injured were hospitalized. For cumulative casualty figures and breakdowns, see here.
On at least seven occasions outside of the GMR protests, Israeli forces opened warning fire near the perimeter fence and off the coast of Gaza, injuring two Palestinian men and disrupting the work of farmers and fishermen, in apparent attempts to enforce access restrictions. No incursions were reported.
In the West Bank, two Palestinians, including a 16-year-old boy, were shot and killed by Israeli forces on 31 May in two separate incidents in and around Jerusalem. The Palestinian boy was shot near An Nu’man checkpoint (Bethlehem) when Israeli forces opened fire at a group of Palestinians, who were attempting to cross the Barrier without permits to enter Jerusalem. Earlier that day, a 19-year-old Palestinian man stabbed and injured two Israelis, including a 16-year-old boy, in two different locations in the Old City of Jerusalem, and was subsequently shot and killed by Israeli police. The body of the Palestinian, a resident of Abwain village (Ramallah), who had reportedly entered East Jerusalem without a permit, was withheld by the Israeli authorities through the end of the reporting period. Since the beginning of 2019, two Israelis and five Palestinian perpetrators and alleged perpetrators have been killed in Palestinian attacks and alleged attacks.
Also in the West Bank, Israeli forces injured 114 Palestinians, including 53 children, during protests and multiple clashes, a significant increase compared with the two previous reporting periods (44 injuries on average). Twenty-three of the injuries were recorded on 2 June, in clashes that erupted in two separate protests held in the Old City of Jerusalem against the entry of Israeli settlers and other Israeli groups into Al Aqsa Mosque/Temple Mount compound, during Israel's annual commemoration of what it refers to as the "reunification of Jerusalem". Another 70 Palestinians, including 30 children, inhaled tear gas and required medical treatment after Israeli forces fired tear gas at Palestinians trying to cross the Barrier near Qalandiya checkpoint (Jerusalem) to enter East Jerusalem without permits and attend Friday noon prayers. Another three injuries were sustained in clashes that erupted in two search and arrest operations; overall, Israeli forces conducted 110 such operations, arresting over 146 Palestinians, including at least eight children. Another nine Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli forces, following the entry of Israeli settlers to a religious site (Joseph’s Tomb) in Nablus city. Nearly 71 per cent of the injuries involved tear gas inhalation requiring medical treatment, 20 per cent were caused by physical assault, seven per cent by rubber bullets and two per cent by live ammunition.
On four occasions, Israeli forces temporarily displaced 141 Palestinians (80 per cent women and children) in the Jordan Valley to make way for military trainings. Residents of Tell al Khashaba, Lifjim and Humsa al Bqai’a herding communities were forced out for 12 hours each time, leaving their livestock behind and, in most cases, spend the night out in the open or in neighboring communities. Repeated displacements for military trainings are part of a coercive environment applied on such communities, exposing them to the risk of forcible transfer.
Citing the lack of building permits, the Israeli authorities demolished or seized twelve Palestinian-owned structures, all in Area C, including eight structures provided as humanitarian assistance. As a result, 19 people, including nine children, were displaced and 107 people were otherwise affected. Eight of the donated structures, including three residences and four animal tents, were in response to previous demolitions in the herding communities of Al Hadidiya and Khirbet ar Ras al Ahmar, in the northern Jordan Valley, in an area designated as a 'firing zone' for military trainings; one was a section of a newly constructed pipeline, intended to supply the Khallet al Foron area in south Hebron with water. The remaining demolished structures included an under-construction home in Khallet al Louza, an agricultural structure in Al Khader (both in Bethlehem), as well as a storage structure in Az Za’ayyem (Jerusalem) and one animal pen in Khirbet ar Ras al Ahmar, in the northern Jordan Valley.
On the third and fourth Fridays of Ramadan, the Israeli authorities allowed 61,597 and 90,254 Palestinians holding West Bank IDs, to cross into East Jerusalem for prayers, according to official Israeli sources. Overall during Ramadan, an average of 79,946 Palestinians crossed one of the three checkpoints leading to East Jerusalem each Friday, compared with an average of 87,075 Palestinians last year. Males over 40 or under 16, and females of all ages, were allowed to cross checkpoints without permits. This year, residents of Gaza were not eligible for Ramadan permits.
Seven incidents involving Israeli settlers resulted in the injury of four Palestinians and damage to Palestinian property. Three Palestinians were physically assaulted and injured by settlers in two separate incidents in the H2 area of Hebron city. Another Palestinian was injured in a stone-throwing incident by settlers in the Old City of Jerusalem. In a separate incident, according to local Palestinian sources, Israeli settlers from Kiryat Arba destroyed a section of a 200-metre stone fence surrounding an agricultural land, set crops on fire, and vandalized three olive and one fig tree in the Wad Al Hussain area (Hebron). In two other incidents, Israeli settlers reportedly damaged an uninhabited house owned by Palestinians and sprayed “price tag” graffiti on the walls of a Palestinian gas station in Kafr Laqif village (Qalqiliya).
On at least one occasion, Palestinians threw stones at and damaged a private Israeli-plated vehicle near Jerusalem, according to Israeli sources. One Israeli settler was injured in a stone-throwing incident by Palestinians in the Old City of Jerusalem.