Civilian protection in the occupied Palestinian territories
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs publishes the Protection of Civilians report each week. The current report covers the period between 27 October – 2 November 2015. To view the complete version of the report, including a series of charts with the main indicators, please click here.
Latest Developments (outside of the reporting period):
- On 4 November, a Palestinian man who ran over Israeli forces standing at the northern entrance of Halhul (Hebron) was shot dead by Israeli forces. Two members of Israeli forces were reportedly injured, one seriously.
- The wave of violence across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) continued during the reporting period (27 October and 2 November) resulting in 12 Palestinian fatalities, and another 1,036 Palestinian and 11 Israeli injuries. In addition, one Israeli died from injuries he sustained on 13 October 2015 during a Palestinian attack in the West Bank. Between 1 October and 2 November, 71 Palestinians and eight Israelis were killed, and 7,490 Palestinians and over 126 Israelis were injured in the oPt and Israel. The number of Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank between 1 October and 2 November this year (48), constitutes 90 per cent of the total number of fatalities in the whole of 2014 in the West Bank (53) , while the number of Palestinian injuries in the West Bank during the same period (6,552 has already exceeded the number of injuries in the whole of 2014 (5,868).
- During the reporting period, 11 Palestinians, including two children, were killed; four Palestinians as well as six Israelis, including one soldier, were injured in the course of 14 stabbing and alleged stabbing attacks by Palestinians, and one by an Israeli, in the West Bank and Israel. Additionally, three Israeli border policemen were injured after being struck by a vehicle driven by a Palestinian who later turned himself in to the Israeli authorities. The circumstances of several incidents are disputed. Eleven incidents occurred in the West Bank including seven in the Hebron governorate, two at the Jalameh checkpoint in Jenin governorate, one in each of the governorates of Jerusalem and Nablus. Three incidents occurred in the Israeli cities of Rishon Lezion, Netanya and near Be’er Sheva.
- On 30 October in Beit Fajjar village (Bethlehem), a Palestinian infant died as a direct result of tear gas inhalation, according to medical sources. As reported by the media, Israeli authorities confirmed that gas canisters were fired “several dozen metres” away from the family home, at “rioters who blocked the main route with rocks,” but believe that “there is no direct link between IDF activities in the area and the tragic death of the Palestinian baby.”
- During the reporting period, the Israeli authorities handed over the bodies of three Palestinians killed between 1 October and 2 November. To date, 14 out of 36 Palestinians killed within this period have been returned with the reminder still withheld.
- During the week, another 1,032 Palestinians, including at least 139 children and 12 on-duty Palestinian Red Crescent Society medical staff, were injured in the oPt, the vast majority in protests and confrontations with Israeli forces. Of these, 111 injuries (ten per cent) were recorded in the Gaza Strip. In the West Bank, the highest number of injuries was recorded in the Jerusalem governorate (320 injuries), followed by Hebron governorate (209 injuries), Ramallah governorate (190 injuries), and Bethlehem governorate (105 injuries). At least 13 percent of the injuries in the West Bank and 28 percent of those in the Gaza Strip were caused by live ammunition, while most of the remainder were caused by rubber bullets or tear gas inhalation.
- In Gaza, on 30 October, an 11-year-old Palestinian child was injured as a result of unexploded ordnance which detonated northeast of Jabalia Refugee Camp.
- In East Jerusalem, three hospital employees were injured by Israeli forces who fired sound grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at medical staff, employees and other Palestinians holding a sit-in at the entrance inside Al Makassed hospital in East Jerusalem. The sit-in was in protest of the repeated forcible entry of Israeli forces into the hospital to obtain medical files and surveillance camera footage from the hospital. On 2 November, United Nations agencies called for respect of health premises and the right to health care. The Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, Robert Piper emphasized that “Actions that undermine the ability of health workers to provide care to those in need are violations of international law. The conduct by the Israeli Security Forces during several entries into Makassed hospital this past week is unacceptable and must not be repeated.”
- On 2 November, the Israeli authorities passed a temporary law setting the minimum penalty for “dangerous” stone throwing at three years in prison. The law also stipulates that anyone convicted of stone-throwing will be deprived of National Insurance Institute benefits while serving his/her sentence, and that the parents of a child convicted of a security crime or stone-throwing will also be deprived of National Insurance Institute benefits for the duration of their child’s sentence.
- On 29 October, members of Palestinian armed groups opened fire at an Israeli repair team carrying out maintenance work on the fence surrounding the Gaza Strip, east of Al Bureij Refugee Camp, and on 30 October, opened fire at southern Israel, causing damage to a shop. No injuries were reported in both incidents.
- On 29 October, a 50-year-old Palestinian, who had suffered a heart attack, died while en route to hospital when his ambulance was delayed for around 40 minutes due to the obstacles recently placed by Israeli forces in East Jerusalem. As of 2 November, there were 34 obstacles, directly impacting nine neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem with an estimated population of 138,000, and over 110 ad-hoc “flying” checkpoints placed on main roads in the rest of the West Bank. During the week Israeli forces installed a new gate at the main entrance of Ni’lin (Ramallah), and closed the gate at the entrance to ‘Ein Yabrud, one of the main access routes between Ramallah villages and Road 60. Search and checking procedures at the checkpoints, particularly in East Jerusalem, have resulted in long queues, which disrupted the access of people to services, including educational and health facilities, places of work and holy sites.
- Israeli forces carried out over 90 search and arrest operations across the West Bank and arrested 218 Palestinians, with the highest number of arrests recorded in Jerusalem (38 per cent). Additionally, two Palestinians were arrested by Israeli forces during an unauthorised attempt to cross from Gaza into Israel.
- Two structures were demolished in East Jerusalem for lack of Israeli-issued building permits, including a three-floor extension in Beit Hanina and a house in As Sawahira al Gharbiya. As a result, four households comprising 15 Palestinians, including six children were displaced, bringing to 66 the number of structures demolished and to 84 the number of Palestinians displaced, in East Jerusalem, since the beginning of the year. Also in East Jerusalem, a refugee family of six, including four children, have been displaced since 29 October after Israeli settlers prevented them from gaining access to their house in Batan al Hawa area of Silwan. While the mother and children were eventually allowed by the settlers to enter their house, they refused to do so in fear of settler harassment and as the father was prevented from entering the house. The family’s lawyer is following up on the case in the Israeli courts.
- On 2 November, 13 Palestinian families of 86 people, including 46 children, were temporarily displaced from their homes to make way for Israeli military training in Humsa al Buqai’a (Tubas), located on agricultural land in an area designated by the Israeli authorities as a closed zone for military training (“firing zone”). The Israeli authorities issued a stop-work order against the donor-funded rehabilitation of a road in Saadat Tha’lah, near the Israeli settlement of Carmel, south of Hebron governorate.
- At least three Israeli settler attacks, involving stone throwing at Palestinian-plated vehicles and, in one case, vandalism to five Palestinian owned trees was recorded. Additionally, a 52-year-old woman was injured and transported to an Israeli hospital, after being run-over by an Israeli settler near Um Safa village. A dozen other incidents were reported, involving attacks on property, trespassing, acts of intimidation against Palestinians as they harvested olives, most notably in the Hebron and Nablus governorates.Five Palestinian attacks on Israeli settlers and their property were reported (apart from the above stabbing incidents). In one incident, a Palestinian physically assaulted an Israeli tour-guide in the Old City of Jerusalem. The remaining incidents involved stone throwing at Israeli-plated vehicles in Hebron and resulted in two Israeli injuries.
- The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was closed in both directions during the reporting period. The Crossing has been closed, including for humanitarian assistance, since 24 October 2014, except for 37 days of partial openings.