Protection of Civilians Report | 5-18 June 2018
The night between 19 and 20 June witnessed an escalation in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and Palestinian rocket fire at southern Israel, which ended without casualties. In a report submitted to the Security Council on 14 June, the UN Secretary General warned that the situation in Gaza is “close to the brink of war”.
Israeli forces killed four Palestinians, including a 14-year-old child, and injured 618 other Palestinians during the mass demonstration that took place on 8 June along Israel’s perimeter fence with Gaza. Another two Palestinians died during the reporting period of wounds sustained in previous weeks’ demonstrations. Over 40 per cent of the reported injuries were hospitalized, including 117 people hit by live ammunition. While the ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations were expected to end on 8 June, it appears that they may continue on future Fridays. For cumulative casualty figures and breakdowns since the protests began on 30 March, see here.
Palestinians in Gaza have intensified the launching of paper kites and gas balloons loaded with flammable materials towards southern Israel, setting agricultural fields and forests on fire. Israeli sources also reported that a number of kites and balloons were loaded with explosive devices, which were neutralized before they exploded. According to the Israeli authorities, since the start of this practice in late April, firefighters have dealt with more than 400 fires that have burned more than 6,000 acres, with the damage estimated at over US$1.9 million.
The Israeli Air Force carried out a series of airstrikes targeting military sites, open areas and an empty vehicle in Gaza, resulting in two injuries. The attacks were reportedly carried out in response to the launching of the incendiary kites and balloons.
On three separate incidents, Palestinian armed groups fired rockets at Israel. One of these fell short inside Gaza, and the rest fell in open areas in Israel; no damage was reported, according to Israeli media reports.
Also in Gaza, on 18 June, one Palestinian man was killed and a child injured by an Israeli missile, reportedly as they were attempting to damage security infrastructure at the former Karni crossing, near the perimeter fence.
On at least twelve occasions outside of the mass demonstrations, Israeli forces opened fire in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) at land and sea in Gaza with no injuries reported. On two occasions, Israeli forces entered Gaza, and carried out land-levelling and excavation operations near the perimeter fence east of Gaza and Khan-Yunis.
The night between 19 and 20 June witnessed an escalation in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and Palestinian rocket fire at southern Israel, which ended without casualties. In a report submitted to the Security Council on 14 June, the UN Secretary General warned that the situation in Gaza is “close to the brink of war”. .
In the West Bank, Israeli forces shot and killed one Palestinian and injured another 69, during multiple clashes. The fatality, a 21-year-old man, was shot with live ammunition during a search and arrest operation in An Nabi Saleh village (Ramallah) on 6 June. According to an Israeli statement, he threw a rock at an Israeli soldier who subsequently shot him. This brings to five the number of Palestinians killed in demonstrations and clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank since the beginning of 2018. Most injuries (60) were reported during clashes in the course of twelve search and arrest operations, the largest number of injuries was reported in Al Lubban ash Sharqiya (Nablus) followed by an operation in Nablus city and Al Am'ari refugee camp (Ramallah). Another two Palestinians were injured by live ammunition as they were trying to cross the Barrier without a permit in two separate incidents, near Bethlehem.
On 11 June, a Palestinian man reportedly stabbed and injured an 18-year-old Israeli woman in the Israeli city of Afula (Israel), and was subsequently shot and injured by Israeli forces. The suspected perpetrator, a resident on Jenin who reportedly entered Israel without a permit, was arrested.
Palestinian security forces injured 22 Palestinians, including two children, during clashes that erupted in a demonstration held in Ramallah city on 13 June, protesting the punitive measures imposed by the Palestinian Authority on the Gaza Strip and calling for to end the internal divide. At least 40 Palestinians and two foreign journalists were reported detained for a couple of hours. A similar demonstration was held in the Gaza Strip on 18 June, resulting in one injury. All the injuries resulted from physical assaults and tear gas inhalation.
Around 100,000 Palestinians holding West Bank IDs entered East Jerusalem on the fourth Friday of Ramadan (8 June) through the four designated checkpoints along the Barrier, according to Israeli official figures. As in the previous weeks, men above 40 years of age and women of all ages were allowed to enter Jerusalem without permits.
Residents of Gaza were not eligible for Ramadan permits.
On 13 and 17 June, in compliance with Israeli Supreme Court rulings, the Israeli authorities evacuated two Israeli settlement outposts in Hebron and Salfit governorates and subsequently demolished 28 structures built on privately-owned Palestinian land. Clashes over the course of the evacuations resulted in the injury of 24 members of Israeli forces, according to Israeli media reports. Following protests held by settler groups, Israeli forces closed nearby roads, forcing local Palestinians to rely on long detours, and disrupting their access to services and livelihoods.
No demolitions or seizures of Palestinian structures by the Israeli authorities were recorded during the reporting period. This has been the case since the beginning of Ramadan, on 17 May, and is consistent with the practice recorded in previous years when demolitions are largely halted during this month.
For the fifth time in six weeks, Israeli forces displaced five families from the herding community of Humsa al Bqai’a, in the northern Jordan Valley, for six hours, to make way for military trainings. This community faces regular demolitions, access restrictions and temporary displacement, all of which raise concern over the risk of forcible transfer. Israeli forces also conducted military training nearby and inside the village of Yanun (Nablus) during nighttime, with no injuries or damage reported.
Six Palestinians were injured and nearly 1,200 trees and five vehicles were vandalized in eleven incidents involving Israeli settlers. Israeli settlers accompanied by Israeli forces raided the house of a human rights activist in the Israeli-controlled H2 area of Hebron city, where settlers physically assaulted the man and injured his wife; his camera and cellphone were confiscated by Israeli forces. Another four Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces who intervened in clashes between Palestinians and Israeli settlers, following the entry of settlers into Burin (Nablus) and Kafr Laqif (Qalqiliya) villages. Around 1,200 olive and grape trees were vandalized by Israeli settlers in five separate incidents in Turmus’aya (Ramallah), Sa’ir (Hebron) and Khalet Sakariya (Bethlehem), where “price tag” graffiti were found on rocks and walls, according to local community sources. This brings the number of trees damaged by settlers since the beginning of 2018 to nearly 3,700. In addition, five Palestinian vehicles, including a school bus, sustained damage as a result of stone throwing by Israeli settlers in five separate incidents on West Bank roads.
At least four incidents of stone-throwing by Palestinians against Israeli-plated vehicles were reported, resulting in damage to two private vehicles near Hebron, Ramallah and Jerusalem, according to Israeli media reports. No injuries were reported.
The Egyptian-controlled crossing between Gaza and Egypt was open in both directions during the entire reporting period, allowing a total of 2,083 people to enter and another 4,375 to exit Gaza. The crossing has been continuously open since 12 May, the longest such period since 2014. According to local sources in Gaza, Rafah will remain open until further notice.