The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Highlights from December 22, 2020 to January 4, 2021
On 26 December, following the shooting of two rockets towards Israel from Gaza, Israeli forces carried out a series of airstrikes in Gaza city, resulting in the injury of three Palestinians, including a six year-old girl, and significant damage to civilian structures. According to official Israeli sources, the airstrikes targeted an underground facility and a site used to manufacture rockets. Adjacent structures damaged included two schools, two factories, a hospital, a mosque, electricity towers and a water carrier; damage to the latter disrupted water supply to about 250,000 people. The Palestinian rockets were intercepted in the air and resulted in no Israeli casualties or damage. This is the first escalation resulting in injuries and significant property damage since mid-August.
On at least 45 occasions, Israeli forces opened warning fire near the perimeter fence or off Gaza’s coast. In a separate incident, Egyptian naval forces opened fire at a Palestinian boat off the coast of Rafah and arrested three fishermen. None of these incidents resulted in injuries. Shooting in these areas usually take place to enforce access restrictions.
On 1 January, a 24-year-old Palestinian man was shot in the neck by an Israeli soldier while trying to prevent the seizure of an electricity generator lacking the required permit, and was left with a complex paralysis. Ar Rakeez, where the incident took place, is one of 14 herding communities in the Massafer Yatta area of southern Hebron, which is designated closed for Israeli military training and whose residents are at risk of a forcible transfer.
Clashes that erupted during Israeli search-and-arrest operations next to two West Bank hospitals, resulted in the injury of two Palestinians, including a pregnant woman, and disruption of hospital activities. In one incident, on 27 December in Ramallah city, two people staying in the yard of a hospital were hit by rubber bullets shot by Israeli forces from outside; an ambulance was also damage. In the other incident, on 4 January in Tulkarem city, Israeli forces entered a hospital and fired stun grenades inside; the circumstances remain unclear.
Additional 89 Palestinians, including 16 children, were injured during clashes with Israeli forces across the West Bank. Forty-six injuries occurred during the continuation of protests against settlement activities, including the establishment of a new settlement outpost, near Al Mughayyir village (Ramallah). Another 30 Palestinians were injured during a home demolition in Al Karmel community in southern Hebron. Search-and-arrest operations in Nablus city, Beituniya and Al-Bireh in Ramallah, and the refugee camps of Aqbet Jaber (Jericho) and Ad Duheisheh (Bethlehem) triggered clashes with Israeli forces resulting in 11 injuries. Of all injuries, 65 were treated for inhaling tear gas, 13 were hit by rubber bullets, six were physically assaulted, and five were shot with live ammunition.
On 24 December Israeli forces arrested in Tura village (Jenin) a Palestinian man suspected of the killing of an Israeli woman, whose body was found on 20 December, near the Tal Menashe settlement. According to the Israeli authorities, the man confessed that he had killed the woman for nationalistic motives. Four other Palestinian men were also arrested in connection with this incident.
On 3 January, an Israeli woman was stoned and seriously injured by a Palestinian while driving near the village of Deir Nidham (Ramallah). Subsequently, Israeli forces conducted a series of search operations in the village, detaining nine Palestinians, reportedly including the suspected perpetrator. Three Israelis were injured and 14 Israeli-plated vehicles were damaged in additional stone-throwing incidents across the West Bank, according to Israeli sources.
Thirty-four Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized due to a lack of Israeli-issued building permits, displacing 22 people and otherwise affecting over 170. All but two of the targeted structures and all displacements were recorded in Area C, affecting 12 Palestinian communities. Two structures were demolished by their owners in East Jerusalem to avoid higher expenses and fines.
In two separate incidents, Israeli forces bulldozed agricultural land and uprooted about 850 Palestinian-owned trees, on grounds that the land had been declared ‘state land’. Near Al Jab’a village (Bethlehem) some 15 dunums of land were levelled and 350 olive trees and 150 grapevines were uprooted, undermining the livelihoods of at least three families. During a demolition in the Bedouin community of An Nuwei’ma Al Fauqa (Jericho), Israeli forces uprooted 350 olive trees.
In multiple incidents, Palestinian were stoned or otherwise attacked by assailants believed to be Israeli settlers. In two separate incidents in East Jerusalem and Al Lubban ash Sharqiya (Nablus), a boy and a man were physically assaulted and injured. Settlers stoned and damaged vehicles, houses and olive trees in the villages of At Tuwani (Hebron), Huwwara and Jalud (Nablus), and Kifl Hares and Sarta (Salfit); in the latter incident the assailants threw a sound grenade inside one home, resulting in no injuries. Dozens of stone-throwing incidents at Palestinian-plated cars were recorded across the West Bank, three of which resulted in damage to vehicles. Some of the incidents occurred while Israeli settlers reportedly protested the death of an Israeli boy in a car crash while being chased by Israeli forces; a number of these protests involved clashes between settlers and the Israeli Police.