UN OCHA Protection of Civilians Weekly Report: February 9 – 15, 2016
This Protection of Civilians report covers the period between 9 – 15 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 17 February, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), Robert Piper, calls on Israel to halt demolitions in the occupied West Bank immediately and to respect international law.
- Access to and from ‘Araqa village (Jenin) returned to normal from 16 February.
- Seven Palestinian attacks and alleged attacks against Israelis were reported during the week, resulting in the injury of one Israeli settler; six of the suspected Palestinian perpetrators were shot and killed on the spot, including four children and one woman, and another Palestinian woman was injured. The incidents included three shooting attacks in East Jerusalem, near the Barrier in the Jenin governorate, and at the Beit El settlement near Ramallah; and four stabbings and alleged stabbing attempts in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city (two incidents), at the An Nu’man Barrier checkpoint, and next to Neve Daniel settlement, the latter two in Bethlehem. One of the suspected perpetrators reportedly served in the Palestinian Authority’s National Security. Since the beginning of the year 24 Palestinians, including eight children, and two Israelis were killed in attacks and suspected attacks carried out by Palestinians.
- Following the stabbing attack next to Neve Daniel settlement on 9 February, Israel forces closed off the village of Nahhalin (10,500 people), to which the suspected perpetrator reportedly fled, for six consecutive days. Only exceptional humanitarian cases were allowed through one of the routes to the village, which was controlled by a checkpoint, severely disrupting access to services and workplaces. A similar closure has been enforced on Al ‘Araqa village (Jenin) since 14 February, following the shooting incident near the Barrier. Finally, following the shooting incident at Beit El settlement (15 February), the Israeli army blocked the old route of Road 60, near Al Jalazun Refugee Camp, forcing Palestinians to use a long detour to reach Ramallah city.
- The bodies of nine Palestinians, suspected of perpetrating attacks against Israelis, are currently being withheld from their families by the Israeli authorities, all of them residents of East Jerusalem. Earlier this week, the Israeli authorities returned one of the bodies being withheld.
- A 16-year-old Palestinian boy was shot with live ammunition and killed by Israeli forces, during clashes near Al ‘Arrub refugee camp (Hebron). Clashes across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) also resulted in the injury of 232 Palestinians, including 69 children. Ten of the injuries occurred next to the perimeter fence in the Gaza Strip and the rest in the West Bank. The majority of clashes took place in the context of search and arrest operations, with the largest number of injuries reported in Al Am’ari refugee camp (Ramallah) and Tuqu’ village (Bethlehem). In total, Israeli forces conducted 103 search and arrest operations and arrested 133 Palestinians. The remaining injuries were reported during clashes in demonstrations in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, particularly Mohammad al Qiq, who has spent more than 80 days on hunger strike. This brings the total number of Palestinians killed in clashes since the beginning of 2016 to four, three of them children, and 892 injuries, including 305 children.
- On 13 February, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy was injured with second-degree burns as a result of unexploded ordnance which detonated near his house in Tayaser village (Tubas), after an Israeli military training took place on 9 February near the village. Also this week, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy died of wounds he sustained in an Israeli air force attack on Gaza in 2011.
- At least eight incidents involving Israeli forces opening warning fire at Palestinian civilians in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) at land and sea in the Gaza Strip were recorded, none of which resulted in casualties. Four Palestinians, including three children, were detained near the border fence surrounding Gaza, after crossing into Israel without Israeli authorization.
- The Israeli authorities destroyed 13 structures in twelve Area C and East Jerusalem communities for lack of Israeli-issued building permits, including four structures previously provided as humanitarian assistance. As a result 114 people were displaced, including 59 children and 203 persons were affected. The largest incident affected the Palestinian Bedouin community of Ein ar Rashash (Ramallah), which is located in a “firing zone” and which was almost entirely destroyed (43 structures). The number of structures demolished and people displaced since the start of 2016 is equivalent to more than half of the demolitions and displacement in the entire 2015. More than a third of the structures targeted since the beginning of the year were provided as humanitarian assistance to families in need.
- Three Israeli settler attacks resulting in Palestinian casualty or property damage were recorded. These include the physical assault of a 65-year-old Palestinian man, near Yatta (Hebron); stone-throwing at Palestinian-plated vehicles near Azzun village (Qalqiliya), resulting in damage to one vehicle; and the uprooting of five olive saplings and land-levelling in Kafr Sur village (Tulkarm).
- The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was exceptionally open in both directions, for three days, allowing 1,122 Palestinians into Gaza, and 2,439 Palestinians, mainly patients and students, to exit Gaza. The crossing has been closed, including for humanitarian assistance, since 24 October 2014, except for 42 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.