Protection of Civilians Report | 23 October – 5 November 2018
7 November: A Palestinian fisherman was shot and killed reportedly by Egyptian naval forces, while sailing west of Rafah.
Friday demonstrations near Israel’s perimeter fence around Gaza continued, resulting in the killing of four Palestinians and the injury of 531 others by Israeli forces. All fatalities occurred on 26 October, when hundreds of demonstrators reached the fence and, according to Israeli sources, threw a relatively large number of Molotov cocktails, homemade grenades and incendiary balloons, alongside various attempts to breach the fence. By contrast, the following Friday, 2 November, witnessed a dramatic reduction in violent clashes and ended without fatalities. Israeli sources indicated that no incendiary kites or balloons were launched during that day and that no attempts to breach the fence were recorded. Of the injuries recorded, 405 were hospitalized, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH).
Another two Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces and 112 were injured during other demonstrations and activities taking place as part of the ‘Great March of Return’ during other days. On 23 October, a Palestinian man was shot and killed near the fence, while participating in a demonstration held in the Deir al Balah area. On 29 October, another man was shot and killed during a demonstration supporting efforts to break the naval blockade, in the northern Beit Lahiya area.
Three other Palestinians died of wounds sustained during protests in previous weeks. For cumulative casualty figures and breakdowns since the beginning of the ‘Great March of Return’, see here.
On late 26 October and early 27 October, a Palestinian armed group fired dozens of rockets and mortar shells at southern Israel. Subsequently, the Israeli air force attacked multiple sites across Gaza. There were no reports of injuries, but the ‘Indonesian hospital’ in northern Gaza sustained damage, disrupting its functioning, and an uninhabited five story building in Gaza city, reportedly used by an armed faction, was targeted and destroyed; several houses were also damaged. All rockets fired at Israel fell in open areas, including a few inside Gaza, or were intercepted in the air, resulting in no casualties. The armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad assumed responsibility for the rocket fire, claiming it was in response to the killing of four Palestinians during that day’s protests, and announced a unilateral ceasefire on 27 October.
On 28 October, three Palestinian children, aged between 13 and 15, were killed by an Israeli airstrike, near the perimeter fence, east of Deir el Balah. According to Israeli sources, the children were killed after spotted attempting to plant an improvised explosive device at the fence. According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza, the children were not holding anything and did not pose any threat. A Palestinian medical crew was able to evacuate the bodies one hour after the incident.
On 4 November, a 17-year-old child died of wounds he sustained the previous day, after he was shot, reportedly when approaching the fence; his body remains withheld by the Israeli authorities. On at least seven occasions, Israeli forces opened warning fire in the Access Restricted Areas on land and at sea in Gaza, resulting in no injuries. In two separate incidents on 23 October, Israeli naval forces detained four fishermen and confiscated their two boats. On two occasions, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried out land-levelling and excavation operations in the vicinity of the perimeter fence, east of Gaza city and the northern areas.
Since 28 October, electricity supply across the Gaza Strip increased to 12-16 hours a day, up from 4-5 hours in previous months, following the provision of additional fuel to operate the Gaza Power Plant (GPP). The increase is attributed to fuel, funded by the government of Qatar, which has been entering Gaza since 9 October. As a result, the GPP began operating three of its four turbines, compared with one turbine previously. This development is expected to significantly improve living conditions. Despite this, basic health, water and hygiene facilities continue to rely on UN-assisted emergency fuel to operate backup generators and vehicles, during power cuts.
In the West Bank, two Palestinian men were shot with live ammunition and killed by Israeli forces in two separate incidents. On 24 October, confrontations erupted during a search and arrest operation in Tammun village (Tubas) and resulted in the death of a 22-year-old Palestinian man. On 26 October, a 33-year-old man was shot and killed in Al Mazra’a al Qibilya village (Ramallah), during clashes with Israeli forces that erupted following a raid by Israeli settlers into the village, during a demonstration against settler violence and settlement expansion.
In total, 62 Palestinians, including nine children, were injured by Israeli forces in multiple clashes across the West Bank. Of 153 search and arrest operations by Israeli forces, 50 triggered clashes with residents, resulting in 30 injuries. In one operation, Israeli forces entered the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Jerusalem Governorate Office in Ar Ram village, clashed with employees, injuring five, and confiscated materials; in a separate incident in East Jerusalem the PA’s Governor of Jerusalem was arrested. Another 27 Palestinians were injured in Al Mazra’a al Qibilya village (Ramallah) during abovementioned protests. Three other Palestinians were injured in the weekly demonstration against access restrictions and settlement expansion in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya). Other similar weekly demonstrations and clashes have continued in Bil’in and Ni’lin villages (both in Ramallah) and Madama (Nablus), ending with no injuries during the reporting period.
A Palestinian man was shot and injured, and, subsequently, arrested, reportedly after he attempted to stab an Israeli soldier. The incident occurred on 5 November near the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba’ (Hebron).
13 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized in Area C of the West Bank, on grounds of lack of Israeli-issued building permits, displacing 14 people and affecting the livelihoods of 34 others. Seven of the targeted structures were in the herding community of Al Hadidiya in the Jordan Valley and had been previously provided as humanitarian assistance. Also, the Israeli authorities delivered stop-work or demolition orders against five donor-funded structures, including a school and four residences, in two communities located in ‘Firing Zone 918’ in the Massafer Yatta area of the southern West Bank.
Following the postponement of the demolition of Khan al Ahmar-Abu al Helu Bedouin community, the Israeli authorities dismantled structures they had installed at the proposed relocation site (Al Jabal West); despite these developments, concerns about the possible demolition and forcible transfer of the community remain.
Israeli settlers injured five Palestinians, including three children, in two separate incidents. A four-year-old child was injured in the head on 4 November, when Israeli settlers threw stones at a Palestinian vehicle travelling on Road 60, near Havat Gilad Israeli outpost (Nablus). The other four Palestinians were physically assaulted and injured on 2 November, in clashes with a group of dozens of Israeli settlers marching in the Old City of Hebron; Israeli forces intervened and fired tear gas canisters, injuring a Palestinian (included in the total above). Also during the period, a Palestinian store in the Old City of Hebron was vandalized by settlers. In addition, Israeli settlers assaulted or intimidated Palestinians in a number of other attacks, including: farmers while harvesting their olives in Jit village (Qalqiliya) and the Tel Rumeida area (Hebron); workers while rehabilitating an agricultural road in Qaryut village (Nablus); and international and Palestinian activists in the Old City of Hebron.
550 Palestinian-owned trees were uprooted by the Israeli authorities, on grounds they were planted on ‘state land’, and eight dunums of land was seized for a road serving a settlement. The uprooting incident, which targeted 200 olive and 350 almond trees, took place on 29 October in an Area C section of Beit Ula village (Hebron). The land seizure was done to make way for a new access road to the Israeli settlement of Qedumim (Qalqiliya); construction works resulted in damage to 35 olive trees.
On three occasions, Palestinians threw stones at Israeli-plated vehicles in the West Bank near Hebron, Ramallah and Jerusalem, causing damage to at least one private vehicle, according to Israeli sources. No injuries were reported. In Nablus, Israeli forces closed the main entrance of Al Lubban ash Sharqiya/As Sawiya school, reportedly in response to repeated stone-throwing by students at Israeli vehicles. The school was closed by military order for one day during the previous reporting period, on the same grounds.
The Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt was opened in both directions throughout the reporting period, except for four days. A total of 1,454 people entered Gaza and 2,644 exited. The crossing has been almost continuously open five days a week since 12 May 2018.