Quarterly Updates for (16 Aug 2016 — 15 Nov 2016)

The overall number of Palestinian and Israeli casualties rose slightly this quarter, following a yearlong trend toward falling casualty rates: 32 Palestinians were killed as a result of Israeli actions (up from 23 last quarter), and 2 Israelis were killed as a result of Palestinian actions (down from 6 last quarter). The comprehensive death toll since the beginning of the 2d intifada in 9/2000 reached 10,869 Palestinians (including 56 Palestinian citizens of Israel and 19 unidentified cross-border “infiltrators”), 1,254 Israelis (432 IDF soldiers and security personnel, 246 settlers, and 576 others), and 71 foreign nationals (including 2 British suicide bombers). These numbers include individuals who died in noncombat-related incidents if their death was a direct result of Israel’s occupation or of the ongoing conflict (e.g., ailing Palestinians who died while being denied access to medical care and Palestinians killed in smuggling tunnel accidents). Therefore, a Palestinian prisoner who died of a stroke on 9/25 as a result of complications related to a beating he received at the hands of Israeli prison guards in 2003 is included among the casualties. Excluded from this count is a Jordanian shot and killed by the Israeli police outside the Old City of Jerusalem on 9/16 after he allegedly attempted to stab a policeman.

Overview of the Violence

In keeping with the decreasing number of protests, clashes, and individual-scale attacks, there were relatively fewer Palestinian casualties in the West Bank and East Jerusalem this quarter, as compared to the peak of the habba in late 2015 and early 2016. Twenty-five Palestinians were killed, up from 15 the previous quarter. Of these, 18 were killed as a result of alleged or actual stabbings or ramming attacks, and 7 sustained fatal injuries in clashes with Israeli forces, including 3 from injuries sustained in 1992, 2002, and 2007. At the same time, the overall number of Palestinians injured in the West Bank and East Jerusalem dropped, according to OCHA, from 624 the previous quarter, to 521 this quarter.

Six Palestinians were killed as a result of Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip this quarter, the same total as during the previous 3 mos. Of these, 4 were killed in tunnel collapses or other tunnel-related accidents (9/29, 10/10, 10/22, and 10/24). IDF troops shot and killed 1 child on 10/12 (the IDF denied involvement in this incident after Hamas accused Israeli soldiers of responsibility); and the remaining person sustained (9/9) fatal injuries in clashes with IDF troops along the border fence. At the same time, the number of Palestinians injured in Gaza more than doubled, from 19 in the previous quarter to 61 between 8/16 and 11/14.

Continuing a trend that began with Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014, several intermittent bouts of cross-border violence erupted this quarter, disrupting the relative calm that has characterized the post-assault cease-fire. Seven days witnessed substantial cross-border attacks (8/21, 9/4, 9/6, 9/15, 10/5, 10/6, and 10/24), up from 5 last quarter. On each of those days, Gazan fighters launched rockets into Israel or fired on Israeli soldiers patrolling the border, and the IDF responded with air strikes and artillery fire on alleged Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad military sites. IDF strikes led to substantial damage and at least 10 Palestinian injuries (8/12 [7] and 9/4 [3]), while the Gazan fighters failed to inflict any damage or injuries inside Israel. On 8/20, the IDF shot down a Hamas drone flying off Gaza’s coast, explaining that it would “not permit any violation of its air space,” and that it would “act with determination against any such effort.” One Israeli fighter pilot was killed on 10/5 when his jet crashed on the return trip from a strafing mission in Gaza.

Meanwhile, lingering tensions between Hamas and the small Islamist groups that oppose its rule in Gaza came to the forefront. In the late spring and early summer of 2015, these groups had launched a series of rocket attacks on Israel as a means of directing Israeli firepower at Hamas, which the IDF holds responsible for all attacks emanating from Gaza (see JPS 45 [1]). Reviving this tactic, Islamist groups claimed the rocket attacks on 8/21, 10/5, and 10/6. After the 10/6 attack, a Salafi leader in Gaza, Abu Bakr al-Maqdisi, threatened (10/6) more rocket attacks against Israel unless Hamas released 5 imprisoned mbrs. of his group. It was not clear whether al-Maqdisi spoke for the organization responsible for the rocket attacks on 10/5 and 10/6, but his threat fit these groups’ established pattern since 2015.

The IDF continued its strict enforcement of Israel’s unilaterally defined buffer zone, or Access Restricted Areas (ARA), along the border fence and off of Gaza’s coast this quarter. IDF troops opened fire on Palestinian farmers, shepherds, and bird hunters working in the ARA on at least 16 occasions (down from 20 last quarter), injuring 3 Palestinians and killing 1, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza (as mentioned above, the IDF denied responsibility for this killing). The IDF also arrested 6 Palestinians attempting to cross into Israel (8/16 [4], 9/3, and 10/3), opened fire on Palestinian land or property at least 11 times (9/4, 9/11, 9/21, 10/2, 10/14, 10/15, 10/30, 11/1 [2], 11/11, and 11/13), and violently dispersed Gazan protesters gathering along the border fence at least 11 times (8/19, 8/26, 9/9, 9/16, 9/23, 9/30, 10/7, 10/14, 10/21, 10/28, and 11/11). As in each of the last 2 quarters, Israeli forces conducted 15 limited incursions to level land along the fence (8/24, 8/31, 9/7, 9/14, 9/15, 9/20, 10/6, 10/9, 10/19, 10/26 [2], 10/27, 10/31, 11/1, and 11/9) this quarter.

Finally, Israeli naval forces continued harassing Palestinian fishermen off Gaza’s coast purportedly to enforce the new 9 naut. mi. fishing zone (see “Movement and Access” below). They fired warning shots or otherwise confronted fishermen on 50 occasions (up from 36 last quarter and 22 the quarter before that). These incidents led to 5 Palestinian injuries (8/25, 9/19, 10/29, 11/1, and 11/6) and 23 arrests and detentions (8/21 [2], 8/25, 8/27 [2], 8/29 [2], 9/8 [6], 10/7 [2], 11/1 [6], and 11/15 [2]). Israeli naval forces also confiscated 5 fishing boats (8/27, 10/7, 11/1 [2], and 11/15) and damaged at least 3 (8/25, 9/19, and 9/24).

Movement and Access

The most significant impact on Palestinian movement and access under occupation stemmed from the Egyptian authorities more than doubling Rafah border crossing openings this quarter. Thus, the Egyptian authorities were able to give Gazans waiting for access to healthcare and those stranded in Egypt welcome relief. Egypt opened the crossing for 21 days (8/30, 8/31–9/1, 9/3–7, 9/18, 9/21–23, 10/15–16, 10/19–23, and 11/14–15), up from 9 and 5 respectively, in each of the previous 2 quarters. More than 8,429 Palestinians were able to leave Gaza and more than 8,809 were able to enter, according to OCHA. Conditions at the crossing, however, appeared to be deteriorating. According to Al Jazeera on 9/5, many travelers reported that adults paid around $3,000 in bribes to Egyptian border officers and Palestinian brokers to secure passage, and that some officials asked for bribes of up to $10,000 to get a single person off a “blacklist” of individuals barred, for whatever reason, from using the crossing.

Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement in Gaza did not change this quarter, effectively leaving the blockade in place. Furthermore, there were new indications that Israel’s claims about lifting restrictions in the wake of the 2014 assault were even hollower than they appeared. Amira Hass wrote (10/19) in Haaretz that the Shin Bet had revoked the permanent exit permits of 12 of 14 senior functionaries at the PA’s civil affairs commission in Gaza. All 14 of the senior officials had held their positions since 2007 or earlier, acting as mediators between Palestinian civilians and the Israeli authorities on issues relating to exit permits and the entry of construction materials. A spokesperson for the commission said that he believed the move was part of Israeli DM Lieberman’s new “carrots-and-sticks” policy to communicate directly with Palestinian citizens, rather than through Palestinian institutions (see “The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict” above). Officials at the commission said that COGAT had revoked their permits for “security reasons.” A COGAT spokesperson confirmed that report, saying “there has been no change in the COGAT policy in which we work opposite the Palestinian civil comm. in the Gaza Strip,” but that “it has recently been decided by the security bodies to reexamine entrance permits into Israel for everyone leaving the Gaza Strip, including mbrs. of the comm.” Hass reported that COGAT has been approving fewer Gazan applications for travel permits, by percentage, since 2013. Citing the Israeli NGO Gisha, she noted that 82% of exit permit applications were approved in 2013, while only 77%, 60% and 46% had been approved in each subsequent year (2016’s figures only cover the 1st 9 mos. of the year). Moreover, the monthly number of Palestinians exiting Gaza dropped this quarter to levels not seen since the aftermath of Israel’s summer 2014 assault on Gaza (see figure 1).

After temporarily extending the fishing zone off Gaza’s s. coast from 6 to 9 naut. mi. earlier in 2016 (see JPS 45 [4] and 46 [1]), the Israeli authorities considered a further temporary extension this quarter. According to a Palestinian official on 10/25, they planned to expand the fishing zone from 6 to 9 naut. mi. across the entirety of Gaza’s coast for all of 11/2016. COGAT confirmed this (10/26) and a spokesperson explained that the expansions were meant to “facilitate increased activity in [the] Gaza Strip’s fishing sector, which is an [important] source of income.” However, COGAT postponed the expansion 3 times, and by the end of the quarter, the fishing zone was still 6 naut. mi., denying Gaza’s fishermen access to the more bountiful waters further from the coast. After the 3d postponement, COGAT said (11/6) that the Palestinians had not fulfilled their commitments, specifically that they had yet to provide some kind of monitoring vessel “to ensure that there are no infractions in the enlarged fishing zone and to maintain order between the fishermen.”

Although the IDF continued to mount nr.- daily raids, house searches, and mobile checkpoints across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Israeli crackdown on the habba was most severe in Hebron, especially after the string of random individual attacks in the region in 9/2016 (see Chronology for details). Nevertheless, the Israeli authorities did lift some restrictions for Eid al-Adha (9/11–15): the Defense Ministry permitted 100,000 West Bank Palestinians to visit their families in Israel for the holiday, extended the hours at border crossings in and out of Gaza and the West Bank, and allowed married men aged 45 and over and women aged 30 and older to visit Haram al-Sharif.

In a related development, Israel indefinitely extended a ban on the entry of 2 Palestinian food companies’ products. One of the 2, Hamoda, was 1st banned from Israel in 3/2016 (along with 4 other Palestinian dairy companies) on the grounds that it did not adhere to Israeli labeling specifications. At the time, a Hamoda official said that since around 50% of the company’s goods were sold in Israel, the ban had a serious impact on company revenues. It was unclear when the ban on Pinar, the 2d company, came into force.

Settlement Growth

The right-wing Israeli govt. under PM Netanyahu continued developing and expanding Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem this quarter, drawing increasingly sharp criticism from the Palestinians and the international community.

In and around East Jerusalem, the Israel Land Authority and Ma’ale Adumim Economic Development Company opened (8/20) 4 tenders for leasing land, establishing a new hotel, and constructing a new park in the settlement. Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz revealed (11/1) plans for 4 new light rail stops in settlements nr. the city, including at Ma’ale Adumim. The PA’s Foreign Ministry complained (11/1) that Katz’s plan would “undermine territorial continuity of the West Bank and transform it into disconnected cantons, making it impossible for the Palestinians to continue to live there.” On 11/12, the Jerusalem Municipality approved the construction of 181 new residences in the Gilo settlement.

There were even more major announcements of new settlements and settlement growth in the West Bank. The Israeli NGO Peace Now reported (8/21) that renovations were underway at an IDF compound in Hebron to make way for the expansion of an Israeli settlement in the area. Israel’s Housing Ministry planned to build 28 new housing units nr. Hebron, allowing around 100 new settlers to move in, according to a follow-up report on 8/23. The following week, the High Planning Comm. of Israel’s Civil Admin. revealed (8/31) plans for the construction of 463 new settler residences in the West Bank, including approval for 234 homes in the Elkana settlement, 31 in Beit Arye, and 20 in Givat Ze’ev. The comm. also retroactively legalized 178 homes built in Beit Arye in the 1980s. Later in the quarter, Haaretz reported (11/2) that settlers from Ariel had recently erected 16 new buildings on territory that did not belong to the state, meaning that construction there should have been illegal under Israeli law. Meanwhile, a group of settlers began construction on a new illegal settlement outpost in the n. Jordan Valley in late 9/2016. COGAT said (10/20) it delivered a stop-work order to the site, but as of 11/5, the settlers had started construction on another unauthorized outpost in the area.

A change in Israeli policy accompanied the last major settlement announcement of the quarter. Hours after the IDF had dismantled (9/6) an Israeli settlement outpost nr. Hebron, displacing 10 families, the Israeli authorities initiated a new procedure, approved by Lieberman, requiring the DM’s office to oversee the dismantlement of any outpost. Previously, COGAT was able to carry out these operations without oversight. The newly instituted procedure will make it more difficult for the army to demolish and dismantle other illegally constructed outposts in the West Bank.


The Israeli govt. faced criticism and pushback on settlement policy from the right-wing flank of Netanyahu’s ruling coalition this quarter. The bone of contention was the High Court of Justice’s 12/2014 ruling that the Amona outpost nr. Ramallah had to be evacuated and demolished by 12/25/2016 because it was built on private Palestinian land. In the mos. leading up to the court-ordered evacuation date, Amona’s residents and their allies in the Knesset explored numerous avenues to reverse the High Court’s ruling and to preserve their outpost. Netanyahu, meanwhile, struggled to balance between the need to keep his ruling coalition together and the desire to rebuff international criticism. Netanyahu’s balancing act became more urgent in light of U.S. pres. Obama’s rumored end-of-term “peace push” (see “United States” below).

The conflict between Netanyahu’s govt. and the settlers started heating up in late 9/2016. As the govt. explored ways to relocate Amona’s residents to another settlement, the 40-odd families living in the outpost firmly refused to move. Then, 25 of Likud’s 30 MKs signed (9/18) a petition calling for legislation to retroactively authorize Amona. Education Minister Bennett, a staunch supporter of the settlement enterprise, called (9/25) the Likud MKs “weak and lazy” for merely signing a petition. He announced that he was drawing up a bill that would “legitimize in one thrust” all Israeli construction in the West Bank, effectively preempting any courtordered demolitions of outposts like Amona.

While Bennett and other right-wing MKs jockeyed for position as the pro-settlement vanguard, Netanyahu attempted to avert conflict. According to Peace Now on 10/1, Israel’s Civil Admin. had advanced plans to build a new settlement outpost nr. Nablus to relocate Amona’s residents in 98 new housing units. The international backlash to Peace Now’s report was swift. White House press secy. Josh Earnest offered (10/5) an uncharacteristically harsh rebuke, saying “We had public assurances from the Israeli govt. that contradict this new announcement—so when you talk about how friends treat each other— this is also a source of concern.” Netanyahu then called U.S. secy. of state John Kerry on 10/8 to respond, contending that the plan was not for a new settlement, but rather, for alternative housing for the Amona evacuees. He also said that the plan would not go forward unless he failed to find some other resolution to the Amona issue. While Netanyahu was assuaging U.S. fears, he was also telling a group of Likud activists, some of whom were residents of Amona, that any “unwise conduct” on Israel’s part prior to Obama’s departure from office in 1/2017 could “endanger the settlement enterprise,” implying that the Obama admin. might take steps to sanction the settlements (Israel’s Channel 2, 10/19). Netanyahu’s office denied (10/19) the report, but noted that U.S. presidents have in the past used their final mos. in office to make statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Bennett and the other partisans of Amona did not heed Netanyahu’s warnings. Throughout 10/2016, the settlers turned up the pressure as Netanyahu struggled fruitlessly to achieve a resolution. On 10/12, Bennett issued the PM an ultimatum: either stay the evacuation order, or the Jewish Home Party would leave the ruling coalition. Netanyahu then met (10/13) with Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Bennett’s chief lieutenant in Jewish Home, and promised to petition the High Court of Justice to delay the evacuation order by 6 mos., according to sources close to the meeting. By the end of the mo., however, Netanyahu had yet to formally petition the court. An Israeli source said (10/29) that he was delaying because Shaked, who was taking the lead on the issue, had not yet prepared an alternative housing option for Amona’s residents. Meanwhile, Bennett impatiently reiterated his support for a so-called regulations bill to retroactively legalize all 232 Israeli settlement outposts established in the West Bank with state support. He pledged to bring it to a Knesset comm. on 10/30, saying, “We’ve tried solving this crisis in other ways, but there’s been a constant foot-dragging . . . there is no other way to solve the crisis, so we’re going to submit the bill.”

Netanyahu scrambled to avert the so-called regulations bill in late 10/2016 and 11/2016, but was unable to achieve a compromise. Ahead of the Knesset Ministerial Comm. for Legislation’s preliminary hearing on a draft of the bill, Netanyahu pulled Bennett and Shaked aside to discuss it with Dep. Atty. Gen. Avi Licht, who informed them that Atty. Gen. Mandelblit would not defend the bill in front of the High Court if the comm. approved it. As Bennett and Shaked would not relent, Netanyahu postponed the comm.’s meeting by a week, purportedly to give the govt. time to finalize its alternative housing proposal (i.e., the 98 units nr. Nablus). The next day, in a speech marking the 1st day of the Knesset’s winter session, Netanyahu announced that he would “continue to take care of settlement in Judea and Samaria” and that Israel’s state attys. had petitioned the High Court that morning to suspend, for 7 mos., the Amona evacuation order to give the govt. time to secure bureaucratic approval for their alternative housing plan.

After Netanyahu postponed (11/6) the comm.’s consideration of the original regulations bill by an additional week, the comm. had had enough. Over his and Mandelblit’s objections, they unanimously approved a draft of the bill on 11/13 retroactively legalizing all 232 Israeli settlement outposts established with state support in the West Bank, such as Amona, and compensating Palestinian landowners by paying them 125% of what the govt. deemed their land’s worth. The High Court then rejected (11/14) the State’s petition for a postponement on its evacuation order, and both the Palestinians and the international community resumed their chorus of criticism.

As the quarter came to a close, both the Israeli govt. and the settlers were preparing for a potentially violent confrontation in 12/2016. At an emergency meeting on 11/14, Amona’s residents pledged to resist any attempt to demolish their homes and planned to erect a tent city outside their outpost to house others who might flock to their aid. Furthermore, their spokesperson pledged to “stand here like a bulwark,” and called for passage of the regulations bill. Meanwhile, Mandelblit said that the govt. must follow the High Court’s order rather than accept the unconstitutional regulations bill, and Lieberman called on Amona’s residents and protesters to avoid confrontations with the IDF.

Palestinian Prisoners

Two major legislative developments affected the status of Palestinian prisoners this quarter. First, Israel’s High Court of Justice upheld the law, passed 7/30/2015 (see JPS 45 [1]), allowing the Israeli authorities to force-feed hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners if the atty. gen., a district court, and a doctor agreed that the strike in question was causing irreparable damage or threatening the prisoner’s life. Second, the ruling coalition submitted a bill for consideration in late 10/2016 giving the DM expanded powers to detain citizens without charge. This new bill would replace an “emergency” regulation in place since Israel’s founding with a permanent law allowing the DM to indefinitely detain Israeli citizens without charge, ban them from certain professions, confine them to specific locales, and forbid them from contacting certain people. The bill was originally a part of the broad counterterrorism bill that passed in 6/15/2016 (see JPS 46 [1]).

These new developments came at a time of increasing urgency for Palestinians in Israeli prisons. According to the Palestinian prisoners’ rights NGO Addameer, the number of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel remained at 7,000 through the quarter, having 1st reached that threshold in 2/2016 (see JPS 46 [1]). One Palestinian prisoner died of a stroke on 9/25 in connection with injuries he sustained when Israeli guards assaulted him in 2003, drawing accusations of negligence from the Palestinians and the international community. At the same time, other prisoners undertook a series of short-term mass hunger strikes and long-term individual strikes to keep up the pressure on the Israel Prison Service (IPS). Their struggles brought renewed attention to the Israeli carceral system’s abuses and catalyzed Palestinian protests across the oPt.

As the quarter began, Bilal Kayed, 1 of the prison chapter leaders of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), had been on hunger strike for 2 mos. and his health had deteriorated dramatically. His struggle against the Israeli policy of administrative detention resonated with the Palestinian public—there were protests in Gaza City, outside Ofer Prison, and in Ramallah on 8/18 and 8/22. Robert Piper, the UN’s resident coordinator and humanitarian coordinator for the oPt, said (8/20) he was “deeply concerned” about the “egregious” treatment Kayed was receiving. In the end, Kayed’s lawyers made a deal with the IPS, announcing (8/19) that he had suspended his strike after 71 days in exchange for being released at the end of his 6-mo. detention in 12/2016.

As Kayed neared the end of his detention, 3 other Palestinian prisoners captured the public’s attention. Brothers Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Balboul, a dentist and a student at Al-Quds University, respectively, were arrested on 6/9 during a late-night raid on their home and sentenced to administrative detention. Protesting their detention without trial, as well as the detention of their sister on charges relating to an alleged stabbing attack in 4/2016, and the killing of their father, a Fatah official, in 2008, they began a hunger strike on 7/4 and 7/7. Malik al-Qadi, a journalism student at Al-Quds University, joined them on 7/16. He had been rearrested and held without trial on 5/23, shortly after being released from a previous 4-mo. detention.

As the quarter began, the health of the 2 brothers and al-Qadi began deteriorating. Muhammad al-Balboul was rushed to Wolfson Medical Center in Tel Aviv on 9/1, joining al-Qadi in emergency care. He then suffered a loss of vision for 5 days in early 9/2016. Mahmoud was moved to intensive care at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center on 9/4. Even after an Israeli court suspended his detention on 9/9, al-Qadi refused to end his strike and fell into a coma on 9/10. Israel’s High Court of Justice then rejected (9/13) an appeal to release al-Qadi, drawing renewed protests from the Palestinian public. More than 100 prisoners launched (9/14) a hunger strike in solidarity and hundreds of Palestinians gathered (9/16) in Jenin to demonstrate their support for the 3 men.

After coming out of his coma on 9/18, al-Qadi released (9/19) a statement addressed to PA pres. Abbas and the Palestinian people: “Don’t leave us alone! I ask Pres. Mahmoud Abbas to intervene as quickly as possible, and I ask every holder of a Palestinian identity document who has conscience to support us in this battle.” Two days later, the Israeli authorities opted not to renew the 3 men’s administrative detentions, and all 3 ended their hunger strikes. Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Comm. chair Issa Qaraqe said (9/21) that they were released “as a result of political efforts by Pres. Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership, and intense efforts on all levels.” Visiting al-Qadi in person on 9/30, Abbas stressed that the plight of Palestinian prisoners was a priority for his govt. Al-Qadi returned home to Bethlehem on 10/2, and the Balboul brothers were set for release on 12/8.

Although those 3 hunger strikes were the most dramatic of the quarter, they were not necessarily the most impactful. On 10/24, Samer al-Issawi, who ended his own 266-day hunger strike in 4/2013 (see JPS 42 [3, 4]), and Munther Snawbar went on hunger strike in solidarity with female Palestinian prisoners, who had been complaining about a lack of access to medical care and cumbersome trips from their prisons to court. Eleven days later, the IPS relented (11/6) and agreed to some of the female prisoners’ demands: said prisoners were transferred to a prison closer to the court where detainees are tried; and a ban on families visiting their incarcerated daughters loosened.

At the very end of the quarter, Shaykh Raed Salah, the head of the now-disbanded Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, which the Israeli govt. outlawed on 11/16/2015 (see JPS 45 [3]), announced (11/13) a hunger strike to protest his solitary confinement. He began serving a 9-mo. sentence in 5/2016 on charges of incitement to violence in connection with a speech he had given in 2007. Because Salah is such a prominent figure, his strike had the potential to significantly increase pressure on the IPS and the Israeli authorities.

Settler-Related Violence

In keeping with the general downward trend in violence across the oPt this quarter, settlerrelated incidents also fell: down from 35 the previous quarter, there were 28 instances of settler attacks on Palestinians or their property between 8/9 and 11/14, according to OCHA’s report. Of these, 24 led to property damage and 4 led to Palestinian injuries (see figure 2 and Chronology for details). The 2 fatal bouts of settler-related violence were otherwise typical incidents. An Israeli settler crashed his car into a Palestinian couple and their horse-drawn cart nr. Qalqilya on 10/25, fatally injuring the man. Another settler crashed his car into a 6-year-old Palestinian girl outside Bethlehem on 9/10, killing her on the spot. While witnesses of the latter incident said it appeared to be an accident, the driver’s intentions were unclear.

Demolitions and Displacement

Although Israel demolished more Palestinian structures this quarter than last, the overall pace of demolitions was much slower than at the height of the habba (between 11/17/2015 and 5/16/2016), when the IDF destroyed 654 structures in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. According to OCHA, Israeli forces destroyed a total of 267 Palestinian structures in the oPt (223 in the West Bank and 44 in East Jerusalem) between 8/9 and 11/14. These demolitions led to the displacement of 382 Palestinians, almost double the previous quarter’s 185.

While the overall pace of demolition picked up relative to the previous quarter, the percentage of demolitions carried out as collective punishment for individual Palestinians’ alleged crimes against Israelis decreased. There were only 2 reported punitive demolitions (8/30 and 10/11), and 1 partial demolition (9/26) this quarter (see Chronology for details). The IDF punitively demolished 13 homes in their entirety and parts of 4 others over the course of the previous 2 quarters.