On 21 January, three Palestinians from Gaza, including one child, who breached Israel’s perimeter fence and reportedly threw an explosive device at Israeli forces, were shot and killed by Israeli forces.
On 19 January, a Palestinian man died of wounds he sustained on 14 May 2018 from live ammunition fired by Israeli forces during a ‘Great March of Return’ (GMR) demonstration, according to the Ministry of Health. This brings to 213, the total number of fatalities, and 36,134, the number of injuries, since the demonstrations began on 30 March 2018. On 26 December, the organizing committee of the GMR announced that the weekly demonstrations would stop until 30 March 2020, and then continue on a monthly basis and on ad-hoc occasions.
On a number of occasions, balloons loaded with an explosive device were launched from Gaza and landed in southern Israel. The devices exploded while being neutralized by Israeli forces, resulting in no casualties or damage. Following that, Israeli forces carried out a number of airstrikes in Gaza targeting armed groups’ facilities, with no casualties reported.
On at least 45 occasions, Israeli forces opened warning fire in the areas adjacent to Israel’s perimeter fence and off the coast of Gaza; no injuries were reported. Also, Palestinian farmers reported that on 14 and 15 January, Israeli airplanes sprayed herbicides on Palestinian agricultural land near the fence, for the first time since 2018. In two separate incidents, seven Palestinians were arrested while attempting to infiltrate into Israel and two were arrested at Erez crossing.
In the West Bank, 40 Palestinians, including at least six children, and two women, were injured by Israeli forces during various clashes. More than half of the injuries (25) occurred in clashes that erupted during two search and arrest operations in Aqbat Jaber refugee camp (Jericho) and in Al 'Eizariya (Jerusalem). Another thirteen Palestinians were injured in a weekly protest against settler violence and settlement expansion in Kafr Qaddum village (Qalqiliya). Another two Palestinians were injured in clashes during a demolition in Ar Rifa'iyya village (Hebron); see details below. During the reporting period, Israeli forces carried out 115 search and arrest operations across the West Bank and arrested 128 Palestinians, including six children.
Citing the lack of building permits, the Israeli authorities demolished, or forced Palestinians to demolish, 19 structures in Area C and East Jerusalem, displacing 22 people and affecting 130 others. Ten (10) of the targeted structures, including three previously provided as humanitarian aid, were located in Area C. So far in 2020, 35 structures have been demolished or seized in the West Bank, of which ten were donor-funded. In a separate incident, clashes erupted during the demolition of a residential structure in Ar Rifa’iyya village (Hebron) (mentioned above). The remaining nine structures demolished were in East Jerusalem. In three separate incidents in the Jabal al Mukabbir neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, three Palestinian families were forced to demolish their homes, displacing three households, comprising twelve (12) people. Another five of the targeted structures were in the communities of Bir Onah and Al Walaja village, both lying within the Israeli-declared Jerusalem municipal border, but separated from the rest of East Jerusalem by the Barrier. Additionally, a residential structure was demolished in Beit Hanina, displacing one family of four, including two children.
On 19 January, an extended Palestinian refugee family, comprising three households, is at heightened risk of forced eviction from its three-apartment home in Silwan neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, following an Israeli court ruling in favour of a settler organization claiming ownership over the land. Over 80 Palestinian families in this area have pending eviction cases filed against them by the same settler organization.
On 15 January, Israeli forces removed two Israeli settler homes that were built in the Kumi Ori settlement outpost (Nablus). This followed a ruling by the Israeli High Court of Justice, which ordered the removal of the settlers and demolition of the outpost, as it was established on Palestinian privately-owned land in Area B. The ruling did not include arrangements to enable the landowners to regain access to the land.
Eight settler attacks resulted in nine Palestinian injuries and property damage and one international injury. In Madama village (Nablus), a group of around 30 Israeli settlers, reportedly from Yitzhar settlement, attacked and threw stones at a house, injuring a pregnant Palestinian woman and causing damage to the house. In another incident, on Road 60 near Hebron, a Palestinian man and a family of seven, including five children and one woman, were injured when Israeli settlers threw stones at their vehicles. In two separate incidents, according to community sources, Israeli settlers vandalized at least 67 olive and other trees in As Sawiya village (Nablus). In two other incidents, in the villages of Battir (Bethlehem) and Yasuf (Salfit), Israeli settlers reportedly caused damaged to two houses and punctured the tires of two vehicles. Also, in a separate incident, settlers physically assaulted and injured an international volunteer accompanying Palestinian herders in At Tuwani village (Hebron).
Palestinians threw stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli-plated vehicles in four incidents during the reporting period, causing damage to four cars, according to Israeli media reports. The incidents took place on main roads in the Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron governorates.