RAMALLAH, PALESTINOW.COM — Two Palestinian children were killed by Israeli forces during the ‘Great March of Return’ protests in the blockaded Gaza Strip without posing a threat to the soldiers, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported.
The two boys (14 and 17-years-old) were shot with live ammunition and killed on Friday, 8 February in two incidents near the fence.
According to human rights groups, both incidents occurred between 60-250 meters from the fence and the two boys posed no threat to Israeli forces. On the same day, according to Israeli sources, Palestinians threw explosive devices at Israeli forces and attempted to breach the fence into Israel, resulting in no Israeli injuries.
OCHA said another two Palestinians died of wounds sustained previously, and 530 were injured.
The other two fatalities, both men, succumbed to wounds sustained in previous demonstrations on 18 and 29 January, including a demonstration at the beach held to protest the naval blockade; one of the fatalities was shot with live ammunition and the other one was struck by a tear-gas canister.
These incidents bring the number of Palestinian fatalities sustained during the Gaza protests since March 2018 to 263, including 49 children, OCHA added.
Of those injured during the reporting period, 248 were hospitalized, including 64 people hit by live ammunition; the remainder were treated in the field, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza.
On at least 40 occasions outside of the protests, Israeli forces opened warning fire on land and at sea in Gaza. One Palestinian was injured in one of the incidents. Additionally, five Palestinian boys were detained, reportedly as they were attempting to infiltrate into Israel. On three other occasions, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried out land-leveling and excavation operations in the vicinity of the perimeter fence.
In the West Bank, two Palestinians, including a girl, were shot and killed, and one boy was injured, by Israeli forces in two alleged attacks near Israeli checkpoints. On 30 January, an Israeli private security guard shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian girl at the al-Zaayyem checkpoint (Jerusalem), allegedly after she attempted to carry out a stabbing attack; her body has been withheld by Israeli forces.
On 4 February, Israeli forces shot and killed a 20-year-old man and injured a 16-year-old boy. Since the start of 2019, three Palestinians, including one child, have been killed by Israeli forces in alleged anti-occupation attacks carried out in the West Bank.
In the West Bank, 35 Palestinians, including at least eleven children, were injured by Israeli forces during protests and clashes. Almost half of the total injuries (16) were recorded during the weekly demonstration against settlement expansion on Palestinian land in al-Mughayyir village (Ramallah).
Of the total injuries during the reporting period, 34 per cent were caused by live ammunition, 31 per cent by tear gas inhalation requiring medical treatment, 31 per cent by rubber bullets, and the remaining 4 per cent by other means.
At the same time, fifteen structures were demolished or seized in occupied Jerusalem and Area C on the grounds of a lack of Israeli-issued building permits, displacing 39 Palestinians and affecting the livelihoods of some 70 others. Seven of the ten structures targeted in occupied Jerusalem, all residential, were demolished by their owners following the receipt of final demolition orders, reportedly to avoid incurring additional fines. The other five structures were located in Area C. Overall, 48 structures have been demolished or seized by Israel in the West Bank since the start of 2019.
On 6 February, Israeli forces displaced, for up to 14 hours, some 400 Palestinians in the northern Jordan Valley during Israeli military training exercises. This disrupted the livelihoods and access to services of two herding communities located in an area designated as a “firing zone”: Khirbet al-Ras al Ahmar and Hammamat al Maleh. Communities located in such zones are affected by a coercive environment placing their residents at risk of forcible transfer.
Also in Area C of the northern Jordan Valley, the Israeli authorities uprooted approximately 500 trees, leveled four dunums of cultivated land and caused damaged to an irrigation network, on the grounds that the area is ‘state land’.
Around 425 additional trees and 14 vehicles were vandalized, and one Palestinian was injured, in attacks by Israeli settlers, OCHA further stated.