The Month in Pictures: February 2016

Palestinian child stands in a home raided by the Israeli army during a
search-and-arrest operation in the West Bank city of Hebron on 29

Wisam Hashlamoun
APA images

least 17 Palestinians were killed, including seven children, during the
month of February and three Israelis were slain as an unprecedented
phase of violence in the occupied West Bank that began last October
showed no signs of ebbing.

Most Palestinians were slain during what Israel alleges were attacks
or attempted attacks, mainly targeting occupation forces. But in several
cases, no Israelis were injured during the alleged attacks in which
Palestinians — including children Qusay Abu al-Rub, Nihad Waqed, Fuad WaqedNaim Ahmad Yousif Safi and Mahmoud Shaalan — were shot dead.

Six Palestinians were slain at the Damascus Gate to Jerusalem’s Old
City during February, five of them during two separate armed attacks on
Israeli Border Police, during which one officer was fatally wounded. Another man was killed by Border Police in a third incident; his apparent execution after an alleged stabbing was caught on video by an Al Jazeera camera crew who were filming in the area.

An off-duty Israeli soldier was killed by friendly fire
during an alleged stabbing at the entrance to the Gush Etzion
settlement bloc – the site of several other attacks in recent months.
Another off-duty Israeli soldier who held US citizenship was fatally stabbed
in a supermarket in a West Bank settlement; the alleged attackers, both
14, were shot and seriously wounded. They are the youngest Palestinians
to have killed an Israeli since October.

Two Palestinians, including a 16-year-old boy, were shot dead when Israeli soldiers opened fire on demonstrators during February.

Gaza Strip

Israeli forces fired at Palestinians on Gaza’s coast and along the boundary with Israel throughout the month.

A 5-year-old boy was killed
and his brother, 6, seriously injured by unexploded ordnance that
detonated in the Jabaliya area of northern Gaza. There are more than
7,000 explosive weapons across the territory left over from Israel’s
military assault on Gaza in summer 2014.

An 11-year-old Palestinian boy in Gaza died of wounds he sustained in an Israeli air strike in 2011.

Egypt opened Rafah crossing — the sole point of exit and entry for
the vast majority of the 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza — for three days
during February, allowing more than 1,000 Palestinians into Gaza, and
nearly 2,500 Palestinians, mainly patients and students, to exit the

“The crossing has been closed, including for humanitarian assistance,
since 24 October 2014, except for 42 days of partial openings,”
according to OCHA. “Authorities in Gaza indicated that over 25,000
people with urgent needs, including around 3,500 medical cases, are
registered and waiting to cross.”

Home demolitions, arrests

In the West Bank, Israel demolished the highest number of Palestinian
structures in a single month since 2009, according to the United
Nations monitoring group OCHA, which reported  235 such demolitions.

More than 500 Palestinians have been displaced by home demolitions this year, as of 22 February.

“The number of structures demolished and people displaced since the
start of 2016 is equivalent to more than half of the demolitions and
displacement in the entire 2015,” OCHA stated during the middle of February.

“More than a third of the structures targeted since the beginning of
the year were provided as humanitarian assistance to families in need,”
OCHA added.

Israel meanwhile arrested more than 600 Palestinians, including 140 children, in the West Bank and Gaza during the month of February, according to Palestinian rights groups.

More than 4,000 Palestinians have been arrested since October.

Syria bombings

Seven children were among dozens of Palestinians killed in a bombing in Damascus on 21 February. More than 140 people were killed that day during explosions in the capital and the city of Homs; the Islamic State claimed responsibility.

Workers were able to distribute humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees in the southern suburbs of Damascus for the first time in seven months during February.

But UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees, has been
unable to access Yarmouk camp on the outskirts of the capital since
late March; fighters with the Islamic State infiltrated the camp at the
beginning of April 2015.

UNRWA meanwhile stated its concern for 20,000 “inaccessible”
Palestinians in southern Syria which its staff is unable to reach to
distribute humanitarian aid.

Palestinians living in several areas of active hostilities risk being
shot and must navigate checkpoints operated by government forces and
various armed groups to seek out assistance.

“In the course of the war in Syria, several Palestine refugee camps
have been engulfed by the armed conflict, as armed groups have
approached or entered the camps, triggering armed responses from
government forces,” UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness told The Electronic

“The affected camps include Ein al-Tal in northern Syria, Yarmouk,
Khan Eshieh, Khan Dannoun in rural Damascus, and Deraa camp, Muzeirib
and Jilin in southern Syria. All sides have deployed in and around
Palestine refugee camps heavy weapons with indiscriminate effect,” he

Of the approximately 450,000 Palestinians believed to remain in
Syria, 95 percent are in need of sustained humanitarian assistance, according to UNRWA.

in Gaza City protest in solidarity with hunger-striking journalist
Muhammad al-Qiq, held without charge or trial by Israel, 2 February.

Mohammed Asad
APA images
Palestinian woman walks next to the remains of her home after it was
demolished by Israeli bulldozers in the village of Khirbet al-Halawah,
south of the West Bank city of Hebron, on 2 February. Israeli forces
demolished approximately two dozen buildings the area, leaving several
families homeless. The area was declared a military zone in the 1970s
and for decades Israel has tried to force out Palestinian residents.

Oren Ziv
Border Police arrest an Israeli member of Combatants for Peace during a
protest against the occupation on the Jerusalem-Hebron highway in full
view of Israeli settlers, Beit Jala, West Bank, 5 February.

Oren Ziv
display their dogs during the first show organized by local breeders in
Gaza City, 5 February. More than 30 breeds were represented at the

Mohammed Asad
APA images
confront Israeli forces in the northern West Bank town of Qabatiya,
near Jenin, on 6 February. Days earlier, three young men from the town
attacked a Border Police patrol in Jerusalem, killing an officer. The
youths were all shot dead during the incident and the Israeli military
raided Qabatiya and subjected it to several days of closure.

Nedal Eshtayah
APA images
the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees, distributes blankets
to Palestinian families at Yalda near Damascus during the second week of
February. Blankets were in critical need during low winter

Al-Qiq, a Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike, is seen in a hospital
the town of Afula in northern Israel on 8 February. Al-Qiq launched his
strike in late November after he was arrested from his West Bank home;
Israel held him without charge or trial until Israel’s high court froze
his detention order on 4 February after al-Qiq’s health deteriorated.
Despite this, the court did not allow him to go free and Al-Qiq
continued his hunger strike for three more weeks, demanding transfer to a
Palestinian hospital, before reaching a deal with the Israeli

Oren Ziv
Palestinian woman in the West Bank city of Ramallah donates money
during a fundraising campaign to rebuild the homes of Jerusalemite
Palestinians slain during alleged attacks on Israelis, 8 February.
Israel has demolished the homes of several such families throughout the
West Bank, an act of collective punishment that constitutes a war crime.

Shadi Hatem
APA images
citizens of Israel call for the release of hunger-striking Palestinian
prisoner Muhammad al-Qiq outside HaEmek hospital in the northern Israeli
town of Afula on 9 February.

Oren Ziv
with the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, carry the body of
their comrade Marwan Maarouf, 27, during his funeral in Khan Younis,
southern Gaza Strip, on 9 February. Maarouf died when a tunnel collapsed
in the Gaza Strip, Hamas said, in the fourth such incident over the
past few weeks, killing more than 10 fighters.

Abed Rahim Khatib
APA images
woman from the small community of Ein Kurzliya in the West Bank’s
Jordan valley prepares bread amid her scattered belongings following an
Israeli demolition of houses and animal shelters in the area, 10

Oren Ziv
forces use a mechanical digger along the boundary with the southern
Gaza Strip in an attempt to discover tunnels, 11 February.

Yasser Qudih
APA images
mother (center) of Palestinian youth Omar Jawabreh mourns during her
son’s funeral at al-Arroub refugee camp on 11 February. The 16-year-old
was slain by a bullet when Israeli soldiers fired on youths who were
throwing stones at invading forces in the camp two days earlier.

Wisam Hashlamoun
APA images
await permission to enter Egypt at the Rafah crossing in the southern
Gaza Strip on 13 February. Egypt partially opened the crossing for two
days; the sole point of exit and entry for the vast majority of the 1.8
million Palestinians in Gaza has been closed since late October 2014,
with only rare exception.

Mohammed Dahman
APA images
forces recover the belongings of Kilzar al-Uweiwi, 18, who was shot
dead after allegedly attempting to stab an Israeli soldier in the West
Bank city of Hebron on 13 February.

Wisam Hashlamoun
APA images
relatives of Palestinian Kilzar al-Uweiwi, a Palestinian teenager who
was shot dead by Israeli forces a day earlier during an alleged stabbing
attack, mourn over her body ahead of her funeral in the West Bank city
of Hebron on 14 February. A Palestinian public prosecutor said that the
18-year-old could have survived her wounds sustained a day earlier had
she not been left to bleed to death.

Wisam Hashlamoun
APA images
An Israeli police sniper installed at the top of the Damascus Gate to Jerusalem’s Old City on 17 February.

Oren Ziv
protester sits on top of an Israeli army jeep during a protest marking
11 years of popular struggle against the wall in the West Bank village
of Bilin, near Ramallah, on 19 February.

Oren Ziv
Israeli flag hangs from a building in the Palestinian neighborhood of
Silwan in East Jerusalem on 21 February. An Israeli government-backed
group has seized Palestinian properties in the neighborhood to convert
them into settler homes and tourist facilities.

Oren Ziv
APA images
Palestinian man surveys a ransacked home after it was raided by Israeli
soldiers during an arrest operation in al-Askar refugee camp, near the
northern West Bank city of Nablus, on 23 February.

Nedal Eshtayah
APA images
carry the bodies of Omar Ahmad Omar and Mansour Yasser Abdulaziz
Shawamra, both 20 years old, during their joint funeral in the West Bank
village of al-Qubeiba, near Ramallah, on 23 February. The two were
killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli Border Police at the Damascus
Gate to Jerusalem’s Old City on 14 February. No Israelis were injured
during the incident. Shawamra was reportedly an officer with the
Palestinian Authority security forces.

Shadi Hatem
APA images
sit in a house after it was partially demolished by Israeli forces in
the West Bank village of Deir Samit, south of Hebron, on 23 February.
The army demolished two houses belonging to the families of two
Palestinian prisoners who allegedly carried out attacks against Israelis
in Tel Aviv and Gush Etzion.

Wisam Hashlamoun
APA images
Palestinian boy looks at the Israeli settlement of Carmel from the
Bedouin village of Umm al-Khair, in the Hebron area of the southern West
Bank, on 23 February.

Oren Ziv
graffiti in the shuttered Old City of the West Bank city of Hebron
reads: “For clearing away settlements, we will kill Arabs!” 24 February.

Oren Ziv
Palestinian worker waits to cross the Israeli-controlled Qalandiya
checkpoint between the West Bank cities of Ramallah and East Jerusalem
in the early hours of 25 February.

Oren Ziv
Israeli Border Police search a Palestinian youth at the Damascus Gate to Jerusalem’s Old City on 25 February.

Oren Ziv
Palestinian man argues with Israeli Border Police during a protest
against the closure of Shuhada street in the heart of the Old City in
the West Bank city of Hebron, 26 February. Some 150 protesters gathered
to mark the 22nd anniversary of the closure of the street by the Israeli
army in 1994, following the Ibrahimi mosque massacre perpetrated by
Baruch Goldstein, an American-born Israeli settler who killed 29
Palestinian worshippers.

Oren Ziv
in Gaza City take part in a symbolic funeral for Omar Nayef Zayed on 29
February. The former prisoner who escaped from Israeli captivity more
than two decades earlier was found dead inside the Palestinian mission
in Sofia, Bulgaria, days earlier. His family alleges the man, who was
facing extradition by Israel, was assassinated.

Mohammed Asad
APA images