OCHA: Protection of Civilians Report | 14 – 27 July 2020

United Nations Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Twenty Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces in various clashes across the West Bank. This is around 80 per cent below the average of such injuries since the beginning of 2020. Fourteen of the injuries were sustained during clashes that erupted in two separate protests against the establishment of two settlement outposts in the vicinity ‘Asira ash Shamaliya and Beita villages (both in Nablus); the outposts were subsequently dismantled by the Israeli authorities. The other six Palestinians, including a child, were injured during clashes triggered by search and arrest operations in the refugee camps of Balata (Nablus), Al Jalazoun (Ramallah) and Jenin, and in Tulkarem city.

On 21 July, two Palestinian boys (ages 11 and 14 years) were burned and injured, one of them severely, after handling an object that fell from an Israeli aircraft, reportedly during a military training, and ignited.The incident occurred in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city (H2) near the boys’ home.

On 25 July, Palestinian security forces shot and killed a Palestinian man, and injured several others, during clashes in Nablus city.The clashes erupted after the Palestinian forces attempted to close shops and arrest the owners, while enforcing the lockdown regulations imposed in the context of the pandemic. The Palestinian authorities announced the opening of an investigation.

In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces carried out 26 search and detention operations, including two at the premises of cultural institutions, and one at a Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) storage center.In the latter incident, the forces requisitioned some 100 food boxes, reportedly planned for distribution to families in home quarantine due to COVID-19; the reason remains unclear. In a statement issued following the operation at the two cultural centers and the arrest of their directors, a network of Palestinian NGOs called on the international community to defend civic space and provide protection to Palestinian civil society organizations. In one of the operations in Al-‘Isawiya neighbourhood, an undercover unit physically assaulted and abducted a 12-year-old Palestinian boy.

On at least 22 occasions, Israeli forces opened warning fire near Israel’s perimeter fence around Gaza, and off its coast, presumably to enforce access restrictions, resulting in no injuries or damage to property. On two occasions, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried out land-levelling and excavation operations near the perimeter fence.

Thirty Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized in Area C and East Jerusalem for the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, displacing 25 people and otherwise affecting around 140 others. In one incident on 21 July, the Israeli authorities demolished a structure on the outskirts of Hebron city, which, according to the Hebron Municipality, was planned to be used as a COVID-19 testing centre; this claim is contested by the Israeli authorities. This and three other structures were demolished using Military Order 1797, which allows the removal of unauthorized buildings within 96 hours from the delivery of a notice. Humanitarian and human rights organizations have repeatedly raised concern about this procedure, which largely prevents affected people from being heard before a judicial body.

Since the start of the COVID-19 emergency on 5 March, citing the lack of building permits, the Israeli authorities demolished or seized 19 inhabited homes that were in place prior to that date, displacing 104 Palestinians. This follows a commitment by the authorities to suspend the demolition of such structures during the pandemic. An additional seven inhabited homes were demolished during this period by their owners, following the issuance of demolition orders. Since the start of the emergency, 282 Palestinian structures of all types have been demolished or seized due to lack of building permits, in contravention to international humanitarian law.

Assailants, believed to be Israeli settlers injured three Palestinians and vandalized a mosque, some 30 trees and other properties. The injuries include two Palestinian men physically assaulted with sticks and stoned in Turmus’ayya village (Ramallah) and another in the H2 area of Hebron city. On 27 July, a mosque in Al Bireh city (Ramallah) was set on fire, damaging parts of it, and Hebrew graffiti was painted on its walls; the Israeli police reportedly opened an investigation. Some 30 olive trees were set on fire or cut down in Turmus’ayya, Burin, Qaryut (both in Nablus) and Sa’ir (Hebron) villages. Other properties vandalized include bulldozers and other tools at a quarry in Jamma’in village (Nablus) and closed shops in the H2 area of Hebron city.

One Israeli settler was physically assaulted and injured by Palestinians in the H2 area of Hebron city and, according to Israeli sources, four other Israelis were injured after their vehicles were stoned by Palestinians, while traveling on West Bank roads. A total of six Israeli-plated vehicles reportedly sustained damage as a result of stone-throwing and one as a result of Molotov cocktail throwing by Palestinians.

(Source / 31.07.2020)

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