UN Protection of Civilians report-Jan. 12-25
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs publishes as regular Protection of Civilians report. The current report covers the period between 12 – 25 January 2016. To view the complete version of the report, including a series of charts with the main indicators, please click here.
- The two-week reporting period recorded eight Palestinian attacks and alleged attacks resulting in the killing of two Israeli settler women and eight of the Palestinian perpetrators and alleged perpetrators, including four children (a 13-year-old girl and three 17-year-old boys). Another two Israeli women, one of them pregnant, were injured. Only one of the suspected perpetrators, a 16 year-old boy, escaped the scene and was subsequently arrested. All the incidents occurred in the West Bank, including four at military checkpoints in the Nablus and Hebron governorates, and another four inside or at the gate of Israeli settlements (‘Otniel, Teqoa, Anatot and Beit Horon). In an additional incident, Palestinians reportedly opened fire at an Israeli vehicle near Dolev settlement (Ramallah), resulting in no casualties. Since 1 October 2015, 105 Palestinians, including 25 children, and 25 Israelis were killed in Palestinian attacks and alleged attacks against Israelis in the oPt and Israel.
- The bodies of 12 Palestinians, suspected of perpetrating attacks against Israelis, are currently being withheld by the Israeli authorities; some of them have been held for up to 110 days. Earlier this month, the Israeli authorities returned dozens of bodies being withheld, except for East Jerusalem residents.
- Israeli forces shot with live ammunition and killed three Palestinian men in two separate clashes that erupted in the context of a search and arrest operation in Beit Jala (Bethlehem) and during demonstrations east of Al Bureij Camp near the fence surrounding Gaza. Another Palestinian boy (17 years old) was killed during clashes with Israeli forces near Al ‘Eizariya town, when an explosive device he was handling exploded prematurely.
- A total of 400 Palestinians, including 130 children, were injured by Israeli forces across the oPt during protests and clashes. While this represents a two-fold increase compared to the previous two weeks, it is a fifth of the biweekly average of injuries in the last quarter of 2015 (2,090). Thirty of the injuries occurred during protests and clashes next to the perimeter fence in the Gaza Strip. The rest of the injuries (370) were recorded in the West Bank, during the weekly demonstrations in Bil’in and Ni’lin (both in Ramallah) and Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya); ad-hoc clashes near the Barrier in Adu Dis town (Jerusalem) and at the entrance of Silwad (Ramallah); and during twelve separate search and arrest operations. Three Israeli soldiers and border policemen were also injured in two of the latter operations, including one being shot. At least twenty of the injuries in the West Bank (5 per cent) and eight in the Gaza Strip (27 per cent) were by live ammunition, while most of the remainder were by rubber bullets and tear gas inhalation (only people receiving medical assistance are counted as injured).
- On 13 January, Israeli forces fired a missile at a site near Beit Lahiya town, killing one member of an armed group and injuring another two members, as well as one civilian. On at least one occasion, an armed group in Gaza reportedly fired a rocket towards Israel, which resulted in no injuries or damage. Also, on three separate occasions, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried out levelling and excavation activities, and, on another occasion, arrested two fishermen and requisitioned their boat.
- In 24 separate incidents, the Israeli authorities demolished, or dismantled and confiscated, 58 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C and East Jerusalem on grounds of lack of Israeli issued building permits; 39 people, including 21 children, were displaced and another 333 were otherwise affected. Three of the incidents took place in the Bedouin communities of Jabal al Baba and Abu Nuwar, to the east of Jerusalem, and Al Mashru’, in Jericho, involving the destruction or confiscation of 16 structures, the majority (14) provided as humanitarian assistance in response to previous demolitions. These communities are at-risk of forcible transfer as a result of a “relocation” plan advanced by the Israeli authorities. The former two communities are located within an area slated for the E1 settlement plan to connect Ma’ale Adumim settlement with East Jerusalem. On 19 January, following a visit to the Abu Nuwar community together with a large group of diplomats, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the (oPt), Robert Piper, and the Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank, Felipe Sanchez, condemned the destruction of humanitarian assistance and called for an immediate end to Israeli plans to forcibly transfer Palestinian Bedouins in the Jerusalem area.This call was reiterated on 26 January by the UN Secretary-General.
- In separate incidents across Area C, Israeli forces requisitioned vehicles and equipment, on grounds that they were used to carry out “unauthorized works”. These included two construction vehicles in Tayaseer village (Tubas) used for a donor-funded agriculture project; three privately-owned tractors in Jenin, Nablus and Bethlehem, and excavation equipment in Um Fagarah in south Hebron.
- Israeli settlers, supported by the military, took over two buildings in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city (H2), claiming ownership over them, and forcibly evicted a family of nine residing in one of the buildings; on the next day, following complaints by the Palestinian owners, Israeli forces evacuated the settlers from these properties. Also during the reporting period, Israeli soldiers occupied for several hours the roof of the ‘Awarta village Secondary School for Boys to protect a group of Israeli settlers that entered the village to visit a religious site, and caused damage to the school’s doors. In the Old City of Jerusalem, suspected Israeli settlers sprayed offensive graffiti on the walls and doors of a church.
- In four separate incidents on West Bank roads during this period, two Israeli bus drivers were injured following stone-throwing by Palestinians, and two Palestinian vehicles were damaged as a result of stone-throwing by Israeli settlers.
- Israeli forces have deployed hundreds of ad hoc ‘flying’ checkpoints across the West Bank, hampering Palestinian movement. New road gates and earth-mounds were installed at the entrances to the villages of Nahalin (Bethlehem), ‘Awarta and Odala (Nablus), and Beit Imra (Hebron). The majority of main routes into Hebron city and other localities across the governorate, which were opened in early January, have remained open. Palestinian access to the settlement area within Hebron City has remained severely restricted, including a ban on the entry of males between 15 and 25 years of age to some areas (Shuhada Street and Tel Rumeida), except for residents whose names are registered with Israeli forces.
- Electricity supply in the Gaza Strip saw further deterioration during the reporting period, due to repeated breakdowns in the Israeli and Egyptian feeder lines. Blackouts reached up 20 hours per day, in harsh winter weather conditions. The longstanding energy crisis continues to heavily disrupt the provision of basic services.
- 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.