JERUSALEM (The Inside Palestine) – Israeli soldiers have caused the death of three elderly Palestinian men within two weeks in three separate military activities, according to the biweekly Protection of Civilians report published today by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory and covering the period between 11 and 24 January.
On 12 January, during a search operation in Jilijliya village in the Ramallah district, Israeli forces detained, blindfolded and handcuffed Omar Asaad, an 80-year-old man, for about an hour. Shortly after the withdrawal of the Israeli forces, as he was showing no movement, he was taken to hospital and pronounced dead.
An autopsy published by the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday said Asaad has died from a stress-induced heart attack caused by the circumstances of his detention by Israeli soldiers.
On 17 January, a 65-year-old Palestinian activist, Suleiman Hathalin, died of injuries sustained on 5 January, when he intervened and was run over by an Israeli-operated tow truck which did not stop, during an Israeli army operation in Umm al Kheir community in the Hebron district.
On 24 January, Israeli forces in Qalandia refugee camp, north of Jerusalem, fired live ammunition, rubber bullets and teargas canisters as Palestinians threw stones at them; six Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets. Multiple canisters landed near an UNRWA health center, where a 57-year-old patient, Fahmi Abdelraouf Hamad, inhaled tear gas and while in an ambulance during his transfer to hospital; he died some hours later. In a statement issued on 26 January, UNRWA called upon the Israeli authorities to investigate the incident, reporting that health staff had appealed to the Israeli authorities to halt the shooting and to allow patients to exit the facility safely.
A total of 135 Palestinians, including 22 children, were injured by Israeli forces in clashes across the West Bank, said the OCHA report. Most injuries, 46 people, including at least six children, were in three incidents in Burqa and Beita, both in the Nablus district, where Israeli settlers had raided and attacked the communities, following which stone-throwing with Palestinians ensued, and Israeli forces intervened on behalf of the settlers and fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets at the Palestinians.
Israeli forces carried out 88 search-and-arrest operations and arrested 148 Palestinians across the West Bank, said OCHA. Most of the operations took place in the Jerusalem and Hebron governorates.
On 18 January, Israeli forces raided a school in Deir Nitham village, near Ramallah, and physically assaulted and arrested two 17-year-old students. According to the principal, Israeli forces damaged school windows, chairs and tables, during physical confrontations between school staff, students and Israeli forces. Classes were suspended for the remainder of the day, affecting over 210 pupils.
Israeli forces continued to block with earth mounds the main entrances to the villages of Sabastiya, Burqa, and al-Mas’udiya, all in the Nablus district, in the vicinity of which an Israeli settler was shot and killed on 16 December; these measures have forced about 8,000 Palestinians to rely on long detours, disrupting their access to livelihoods and services.
In addition, Israeli forces continued to intermittently staff a checkpoint near the Israeli settlement of Shavei Shomron, checking Palestinian vehicles causing long delays. Israeli forces also leveled lands and placed earth mounds on agricultural roads in Deir al Ghusun, near Tulkarm, and Mount Sabih in the Nablus district, denying access of Palestinians to farmlands.
In the early hours of 19 January, Israeli forces forcibly evicted an extended family, comprising 12 people including two children, from their home in Sheikh Jarrah area of East Jerusalem, and demolished the house. The operation started on 17 January when Israeli forces demolished commercial structures in the compound but did not evict the people. According to the Jerusalem Municipality, the land has been allocated for the construction of a school for children with disabilities. About 20 people were arrested during the operation, including family members and activists.
Concerns have been raised by Member States at the UN Security Council regarding the physical measures used by Israeli forces during the operation.
The Israeli authorities demolished or forced owners to demolish 20 Palestinian-owned structures, citing the lack of Israeli-issued building permits. As a result, 39 people were displaced, including 19 children, and the livelihoods of 38 others were affected. Fifteen of the structures were in Area C and five in East Jerusalem.
Israeli settlers injured three Palestinians in three incidents, and damaged Palestinian property in 14 instances across the West Bank. During a raid on Huwwara town south of Nablus, on 24 January, settlers injured one Palestinian and smashed the windows of at least five cars and at least two shops.
On 21 January, settlers physically assaulted and injured five Israeli human rights activists, set fire to one of their vehicles and damaged another, in farmland next to Burin village near Nablus.
At least 550 Palestinian-owned trees and saplings were uprooted or vandalized in Deir Sharaf and Qaryut (Nablus), Yassuf (Salfit), Massafer Yatta (Hebron), and Mazra’a al Qibiliya (Ramallah).