UN: Protection of Civilians, October 6 – 12, 2015
Each week, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories publishes the Protection of Civilians report. The current report covers the period between 6 – 12 October 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 13 and 14 October, three Israelis were killed and at least 26 others injured in six separate stabbing attacks perpetrated or attempted by Palestinians, according to Israeli media. Four of the perpetrators and alleged perpetrators of the attacks were killed by Israeli forces and another three were severely injured. The incidents include a shooting and stabbing attack on a bus in the East Talpiyot settlement (East Jerusalem); two stabbing attacks in West Jerusalem, one of which involved the ramming of civilians; two separate stabbing attacks in the town of Ra’anana (Israel); and an alleged stabbing attack in East Jerusalem.
- On 13 October, Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man and injured 53 others during clashes at the northern entrance to Bethlehem city.
- On 13 October, the Israeli Security Cabinet approved a series of additional measures to deal with Palestinian attacks. These include the deployment of military forces in cities inside Israel; expediting punitive demolitions; revoking the residency rights of perpetrators; and granting the Israeli police authority “to impose closure on, or to surround” Palestinian residential areas in East Jerusalem. A number of these measures, including placing cement blocks at the entrances to Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and introducing intensive checking for entry/exit were implemented in the evening of 14 October.
- Sporadic demonstrations and breaches of the security fence between Israel and Gaza continued on 13 and 14 October, but remained largely controlled. A number of people were injured. The media reported that the Israeli authorities are expected to approve the construction of a reinforced fence along the Gaza Strip.
- The escalation in attacks and violent clashes in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Israel continued and further expanded to include serious incidents in the Gaza Strip. Overall, during the reporting period (6-12 October) a total of 23 Palestinians were killed, and another 2,311 Palestinians and 32 Israelis were injured across the oPt and Israel.1 According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, since 1 October a total of 1,300 Palestinians have been treated in hospitals in connection with the confrontations. The number of Palestinian deaths (12) and injuries (2,074) in the West Bank and Israel is the highest such figure recorded in a single week since 2005, when OCHA began documenting casualties. The High Commissioner for Human Rights stated on 8 October that “the high number of casualties, in particular those resulting from the use of live ammunition by Israeli security forces, raises concerns of excessive use of force, and violations of the right to life and security of the person”.
- The reporting period witnessed a sharp increase in attacks by West Bank Palestinians against Israelis (17), including 13 stabbing and alleged stabbing attacks which resulted in the injury of 19 Israelis, including two children, and five members of Israeli security forces. These also resulted in the killing of eight Palestinian perpetrators and alleged perpetrators, including two children, and the injury of another three, including one child. Seven of these incidents occurred in East Jerusalem, three in West Jerusalem, three near the settlement of Kiryat Araba’ (Hebron), one in Tel Aviv and one in Kiryat Gat (both in Israel). None of these Palestinians reportedly belonged to any faction or armed group. Another three Israelis were injured in stone-throwing attacks by Palestinians.
- In the West Bank, violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces during protests and spontaneous gatherings at checkpoints and other friction points, as well as following search and arrest operations, have further escalated, resulting in the killing of four Palestinians. The fatalities include a 28-year-old man killed on 8 October in Beit Ummar (Hebron); two men, 20 and 24 years-old, killed on 8 and 9 October in Shu’fat Refugee Camp (East Jerusalem); and a 13-year-old boy killed on 11 October near the Beit El/DCO checkpoint (Ramallah).
- During clashes in the West Bank alone, 2,071 Palestinians, including at least 170 children, were injured, along with at least 13 members of Israeli forces. The highest number of Palestinian injuries was recorded in the Qalqiliya Governorate (492 injuries), followed by Ramallah (432), Jerusalem (316 injuries), Hebron (285), Nablus (186) and Bethlehem (175). Over 13 per cent of the injuries were caused by live ammunition and the vast majority of the other injuries were caused by rubber bullets and tear gas inhalation (only people receiving medical assistance are counted as injured).
- In the Gaza Strip, in three separate incidents on 9 and 10 October, Israeli forces shot and killed nine Palestinian civilians, including one child, and injured another 237, including at least 31 children, during protests against recent developments in the West Bank. The protests took place near Erez and Nahal Oz Crossings with Israel, near the perimeter fence, east of Al Bureij Camp, east of Khan Younis, east of Jabaliya and east of Rafah city, despite reported attempts by the local police to prevent or contain them. In another two incidents during the reporting period, Israeli forces opened fire at groups of Palestinian civilians who crossed the perimeter fence into Israel injuring seven of them; another four civilians were arrested.
- On 11 October, the Israeli air force fired missiles at a military training site south of Gaza city, resulting in the collapse of an adjacent house and damage to another, which killed a 26-year-old pregnant woman and her 3-year-old daughter and injured another five civilians. This attack reportedly came in response to Palestinian armed groups’ firing of several rockets towards southern Israel on the same and the previous day. One of the rockets was reportedly intercepted, while another three rockets landed in southern Israel, with no injuries or damage reported. In another incident, members of an armed group opened fire at Israeli forces carrying out repairs on the fence surrounding Gaza, to which the Israeli forces responded by opening fire; no casualties were reported.
- On 6 October, Israeli forces blew up two Palestinian homes and partially sealed a third one, all in East Jerusalem, belonging to families of Palestinian perpetrators of attacks against Israelis during 2014.The explosions in the first two cases severely damaged another three homes, rendering them uninhabitable, and caused damage to another three apartments. A total of 30 Palestinians, including 20 children, were displaced as a result of the demolitions, excluding the residents of one of the homes (a woman and her children), who were previously expelled from East Jerusalem The families of three of the suspected perpetrators of the attack that killed a settler couple on 1 October received verbal warnings that their homes will be demolished soon. The Israeli authorities indicated that punitive demolitions will be expedited to deter future terror attacks. On 8 October the High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that “collective punishments such as house demolitions are both illegal and counterproductive”.
- At least eight Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians resulting in injury or property damage were recorded this week, compared to 29 during the previous reporting period. TThe attacks involved shooting, physical assault, and stoning. At least 13 Palestinians, including three children, were injured. One of the incidents affected an extended Palestinian family (80 people) residing in a multi-story building next to Kiryat Arba’ settlement (Hebron), who was repeatedly attacked by settlers causing damage to their house. On the first day, some children residing in the house responded to the Israeli settler attacks by throwing stones, this was followed with Israeli forces firing of tear gas canisters at the house; ambulances were prevented from reaching the property to treat children, who reportedly suffered from tear-gas inhalation. Additionally, Israeli settlers blocked the main road leading to several herding communities in the Masafer Yatta area (Hebron), severely affecting their access to services. Also (not included in the count), an 11-year-old boy was injured in a hit and run incident in the H2 area of Hebron city.
- Israeli forces intensified their presence and checking procedures at West Bank checkpoints. Sixteen (16) out of 25 checkpoints across the West Bank, which were previously only occasionally staffed, became regularly staffed and additional ad-hoc (flying) checkpoints were deployed in 152 locations. The majority of checkpoints remained open, except for short periods of time during confrontations; however, Israeli forces carried out more rigorous checking procedures, leading to longer delays than usual. The main entrance to Bani Na’im (Hebron) and Deir Nidham (Ramallah) villages, as well as the road connecting Al Jalazun refugee camp to Ramallah, were blocked. Metal detectors were installed at various entrances to the Old City of Jerusalem. Restrictions on Palestinian access to Haram al Sharif / Temple Mount continued, while the entry of any member of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) to the site was banned, with the stated goal of reducing tensions.
- The Rafah Crossing was exceptionally opened on 7 and 8 October for Palestinian pilgrims travelling back from Mecca, Saudi Arabia, allowing around 2,218 Palestinians to return to Gaza. The Crossing has been continuously closed, including for humanitarian assistance, since 24 October 2014, except for 36 days of partial openings.