UN Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | May 3 – 9, 2016
Each week, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories publishes a Protection of Civilians report. The current issue covers the period between May 3-9, 2016. To view the complete version of the report, including a series of charts with the main indicators, please click here.
- On 12 May, Egypt opened the Rafah crossing with Gaza in both directions for two days. This follows 85 consecutive days of closure – the longest such period since 2007
- A 54-year-old Palestinian woman was killed while farming her land east of Khan Younis, and another eight Palestinian civilians, including six children, were injured, in a series of Israeli air strikes and tank shelling across the Gaza Strip. Violence escalated on 4 May as Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried out military operations, reportedly after the discovery of a tunnel running from Gaza into Israel. Palestinian armed groups responded with mortar fire towards Israeli forces; no Israeli injuries were reported. On five occasions, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried out land-levelling and excavation operations during the week.
- On 3 May, a 36-year-old Palestinian man ran over Israeli soldiers staffing a flying checkpoint near Deir Ibzi’ (Ramallah), injuring three of them, and was subsequently shot and killed by other soldiers. The body of the Palestinian was handed over to his family later the same night. This brings the number of West Bank Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in attacks and alleged attack since the beginning of 2016 to 51.
- On 5 May, the Israeli authorities indicated that they intend to soon hand over the corpses of Palestinians suspected of perpetrating attacks against Israelis in the past six months. During the reporting period, one such corpse was released in East Jerusalem, on the condition that the funeral be limited to 30 people, with a 20,000 NIS deposit to guarantee this condition. The Israeli authorities continue to hold 15 such bodies.
- 86 Palestinians, including ten children, were injured across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) during clashes with Israeli forces. Most of these clashes erupted during protests, including the weekly demonstrations in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya) and near the fence separating Gaza and Israel, or during search and arrest operations. Among the injuries, was a 15-year-old boy shot with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the head, during clashes between Israeli forces and a group of children near a school in Al Khader village (Bethlehem). Also, three Palestinian journalists were injured by shrapnel from sound grenades fired by Israeli forces during a demonstration held on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day at Beituniya checkpoint near Ofer Prison (Ramallah).
- Israeli forces re-opened two metal gates blocking Palestinian traffic through a key road junction in the Hebron governorate, next to Beit Einoun village. Since its closure in October 2015, this junction witnessed multiple attacks and alleged attacks against Israeli forces deployed there, which resulted in the killing of eight Palestinians and the injury of six Israeli soldiers. Its opening is expected to reduce tensions and ease the movement of 35,000 people, including employees, students and patients, who were previously forced to take longer and more expensive detours.
- In Nablus city, the Israeli authorities punitively demolished the family home of a Palestinian man currently in detention and under prosecution for the killing of two Israeli settlers on 1 October 2015.As a result, a pregnant woman and Palestine refugee, was displaced, and eight other Palestinians, including two children, were affected, due to damage caused to two adjacent apartments, during the demolition.
- On 6 May, a 36-year-old Palestinian woman, and mother of three, was forcibly evicted by the Israeli authorities from East Jerusalem, where she has been living for years, on grounds of lack of a residency permit. The woman, who holds a West Bank ID, is married to a Jerusalem ID holder currently serving a prison sentence for an attack he perpetrated in 2002, following which their home was sealed.
- On 9 May, a group of Israeli settlers, reportedly from the settler organization of ‘Ateret Cohanim, moved into a three-storey building in the Old City of East Jerusalem; no displacement was reported. Israeli laws and practices since 1967 have facilitated the takeover of properties and establishment of settlements in the heart of Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem. In 2015, Israeli settlers took over four homes displacing 17 Palestinians.
- Four settler attacks against Palestinians were recorded this week, including the physical assault of a human rights defender in Hebron city; theft of livestock in Shufa (Tulkarem); and two incidents of vandalism of property near Deir Istiya and in Kifl Haris (both in Salfit). In the latter incident, Israeli settlers, accompanied by Israeli forces, reportedly entered the village to visit a religious shrine, and vandalised property while preventing villagers from returning homes.
- In the Gaza Strip, three children (9 months, 2 and 4 years old) died of a fire that broke out in their home, due to the mishandling of candles used to cope with the severe electricity shortage. At least five other accidents, resulting in the injury of three people, were reported in the same context during the week. Electricity outages lasting up to 18-20 hours per day have been ongoing for seven consecutive weeks, rendering the delivery of basic services contingent on the availability of emergency fuel. A number of protests against this situation have taken place throughout Gaza during the week.
- The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing has remained closed in both directions during the week , bringing the period of uninterrupted closure to 84 days, the longest such period since 2007. Authorities in Gaza have indicated that over 30,000 people, including, around 9,500 medical cases, and 2,700 students, are registered and waiting to cross.