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Occupation magazine - Settlements

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Dignity denied: Life in the settlement area of Hebron city
osted on 20 February 2020 as part of
The Monthly Humanitarian Bulletin | January - February 2020
https://www.ochaopt.org/content/dignity-denied-life-settlement-area-hebron-
city

Deterioration of situation in the year after the withdrawal of international
observers
In September 2018, following an attack by Israeli settlers, Suhad and Ahmad
concluded that their family could no longer stay in Tel Rumeida, located in
the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city (H2). Suhad and their three
children left for another part of the city, while Ahmad has continued living
in the same home, from where he runs his business. Buying a new apartment
was a huge economic effort, but I had to think of the welfare of my
children..

Some 33,000 Palestinians and 700 Israeli settlers live in the H2 of Hebron
city. In 2015, following a wave of Palestinian (mainly stabbing) attacks,
the Israeli authorities declared an area encompassing four settlement
compounds as a closed military zone, where access to Palestinians not
registered as residents has been restricted.[2] Vehicular, and in some
cases pedestrian, access to areas surrounding the closed zone has also been
restricted. It is estimated that about 7,000 Palestinians, 20 per cent of
the H2 population, reside in these access-restricted areas.

The living conditions of Palestinians in H2, particularly (but not only) in
the closed military zone, deteriorated during 2019, following an increase
in settler attacks and harassment, as well as in friction and clashes with
Israeli forces, affecting primarily school-children. A number of measures
have been undertaken by the Israeli authorities to ease access and improve
living conditions in H2 during the year. However, Palestinian movement
remains extremely constrained and unpredictable.

This largely coincided with the departure of the 65 international monitors
of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) on 31 January 2019,
following Israels unilateral termination of its mandate after 22 years.
TIPH was the only organization documenting incidents and providing a
protective presence that was authorized to access any part of the city on
foot and by vehicle, and it had direct channels to address urgent incidents
and concerns with the relevant authorities. The departure of TIPH has placed
increasing pressure on the other organizations providing a protective
presence in H2, which forced them to withdraw or to scale back.

In response, humanitarian and human rights partners have put together an
action plan aimed at mitigating the continuing deterioration in the
situation. Its implementation is contingent on the mobilization of the
necessary resources, estimated at some US$ 7 million.



Increased violence and harassment by settlers
In 2019, OCHA recorded 47 attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians
in the H2 area of Hebron, resulting in 52 injuries, including 16 children,
as well as damage to Palestinian homes, schools, vehicles, trees, crops and
other property.[3] The number of incidents recorded in 2019 doubled compared
to 2018 and tripled compared to 2017 (see chart).

Although many of these attacks were perpetrated by Israeli settlers carrying
weapons, all of the attacks recorded in 2019 resulted from other forms of
physical assault, including beatings, throwing of stones and bottles, and
pepper-spraying, among others. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for
Human Rights (OHCHR) has also documented several cases where threats and
intimidation were of extreme severity, including direct and repeated death-
threats.

During 2019, OCHA did not record any Palestinian attack against Israeli
settlers in H2 that resulted in either injury or property damage.

Incidents of settler violence against Palestinians
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