OCHA Protection of Civilians Weekly: Jan. 26-Feb. 2, 2016

The Protection of Civilians report is published weekly by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories.  The current report cover the period between 26 January - 2 February 2016. 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 3 February, Palestinians carried out a stabbing and shooting attack in East Jerusalem resulting in the killing of an Israeli policewoman and of the three suspected perpetrators; at least one additional policewoman was injured.
  • On 2 February, Israeli forces destroyed 24 homes in two communities in southern Hebron (Massafer Yatta), which are at-risk of forcible transfer due to the previous designation of the area as a “firing zone”; 134 people were displaced as a result of the demolitions.
  • On 2 February, access to and from Ramallah city returned to normal.

Highlights:

  • Five Palestinian attacks and alleged attacks against Israelis were recorded during the week, resulting in the injury of five Israelis, including three soldiers and a child (17-years-old); two of the suspected Palestinian perpetrators were shot and killed on the spot, one was injured, and another four arrested. One of the incidents, on 31 January, involved a Palestinian police officer who opened fire at Israeli soldiers staffing one of the checkpoints controlling access to Ramallah city (DCO checkpoint). The other incidents included a car ramming at a checkpoint west of Ramallah, and three stabbings and alleged stabbings next to the Barrier in Tulkarm governorate and in East Jerusalem (two incidents).
  • Following the above mentioned shooting attack at the DCO checkpoint, the Israeli army severely restricted access to and from Ramallah city, disrupting significantly the access of people to services and places of work. These included the complete closure of the DCO checkpoint and erecting checkpoints restricting movement through the two tunnels connecting the city to its eastern villages, via Ein Yabrud and Yabrud, as well as along one of the main routes onto Road 60 (through ‘Ein Siniya village). Earlier this week, another two routes connecting a number of villages in western Ramallah to the city (through Beit ‘Ur at Tahta and Deir Ibzi’ villages) were also blocked, funnelling traffic through longer detours.
  • The bodies of ten Palestinians, suspected of perpetrating attacks against Israelis, are currently being withheld by the Israeli authorities, all of them residents of East Jerusalem. Earlier this week, the Israeli authorities returned two of the bodies being withheld.
  • 46 Palestinians, including 16 children, were injured by Israeli forces during the week in protests and clashes across the oPt. This represents the lowest number of injuries reported in one week since the start of the recent escalation in October 2015. Six of the injuries occurred next to the perimeter fence in the Gaza Strip and the rest in the West Bank. The West Bank clashes took place in the context of the weekly demonstrations in Bil’in and Ni’lin (both in Ramallah) and Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya); search and arrest operations in Ya’bad (Jenin) and Al Quds university in Abu Dis (Jerusalem); and ad-hoc confrontations near in Abu Dis (Jerusalem), Silwad (Ramallah) and the H2 area of Hebron city. Clashes in the latter area, resulted in the injury of ten students attending an adjacent school, due to tear gas inhalation.
  • Seven members of a Palestinian armed group were killed following the collapse of a military tunnel north east of Gaza city, according to media reports.
  • At least 17 incidents involving Israeli forces’ opening of warning fire at Palestinian civilians in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) at land and sea in the Gaza Strip were recorded, resulting in no casualties but forcing farmers and fishermen to leave.
  • The Israeli authorities demolished 42 Palestinian-owned structures in three communities in Area C and East Jerusalem on grounds that they lack Israeli-issued building permits, including 32 residences, seven water cisterns and one agriculture structure. As a result, 168 people, including 94 children, were displaced and another 24 were otherwise affected. One of the affected communities, Ein Ayoub Bedouin community located in Ramallah governorate, was entirely demolished in December 2013.
  • The Israeli authorities informed the Supreme Court about their intention to execute, without additional warning, demolition orders in the Palestinian herding community of Susiya (Hebron); the orders were issued against structures that were allegedly built in contravention of a previous court injunction. According to information provided by the Israeli authorities verbally, this decision would affect up to 40 structures. The authorities committed to provide a 45 day prior warning if they intend to demolish any other structure in the community.
  • All the residents of the Palestinian herding community of Khirbet ar Ras al Ahmar (Tubas), 11 families, including 23 children, were temporarily displaced from their homes, for nine hours, to make way for an Israeli military training exercise on 27 January. This is one of 38 Palestinian Bedouin and herding communities (6,224 residents), located in areas designed by the Israeli authorities as a closed zone for military training (firing zones).
  • In two separate incidents across Area C, Israeli forces seized trucks and construction materials, on grounds that they were used to carry out “unauthorized works”. These included three trucks working on a rehabilitation project funded by a humanitarian donor in Ad Deir community in the northern Jordan Valley (Tubas).
  • The Israeli Supreme Court dismissed pending petitions against the route of the Barrier next to the town of Beit Jala (Bethlehem). The petitioners argued that the Barrier will undermine their agricultural livelihoods, damage the fabric of their communities and cause environmental damage to historic agricultural terraces.
  • Four incidents of stone-throwing by Palestinians against Israeli-plated vehicles were reported by the Israeli media, resulting in the injury of one Israeli settler and damages to two Israeli vehicles, as well as to the Jerusalem light rail. Also, during the reporting period, one settler attack, resulting in damage to Palestinian property, was recorded in Arraba (Jenin) involving the cutting of at least ten almond trees.
  • Power cuts of up to 20 hours per day were reported across the Gaza Strip during the week, compared to 12-16 hours previously, due to breaks in the feeder lines from Israel and Egypt and insufficient fuel supply to operate the Gaza Power Plant. A 53 year old man suffocated to death after inhaling toxic smoke while heating his home using charcoal.
  • 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 39 days of partial openings. Authorities in Gaza indicated that over 25,000 people with urgent needs, including around 3,500 medical cases, are registered and waiting to cross.

 


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