Month in Pictures: August 2015

Palestinians carry the body of Saad Dawabsha during his funeral in the West Bank village of Duma on 8 August. Dawabsha died in hospital about a week after an arson attack on his home by suspected Israeli settlers, during which his 18-month-old son Ali was burned alive. Dawabsha’s wife and another son continued to fight for their lives after suffering severe burns.

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During the month of August, the father of an 18-month-old baby who died when his family’s home was attacked in late July by suspected Israeli settlers succumbed to his injuries. Saad Dawabsha died in hospital about a week after the arson attack in the occupied West Bank village of Duma; his wife and 4-year-old son remained in critical condition.

Israeli forces shot and killed three young Palestinian men in the occupied West Bank who the military said attacked soldiers or settlers.

Twenty-year-old Anas Muntaser Taha was killed after he allegedly stabbed and injured an Israeli settler at a gas station on Road 443 west of the Palestinian city of Ramallah. Another Palestinian man was shot and injured after allegedly stabbing an Israeli soldier in the same area several days later.

Israeli forces shot and killed two young Palestinian men in separate alleged stabbing incidents at military checkpoints near the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian ran his car into a group of Israeli soldiers, injuring three, two of them severely, near the West Bank settlement of Shilo. Israeli soldiers opened fire at Muhammad Badwan’s overturned car; he was taken to a hospital in critical condition and his family’s home in Biddu village near Jerusalem was searched and ransacked.

In the northern West Bank’s Jenin refugee camp, 13 Palestinians were injured as fire was exchanged during an Israeli search and arrest raid late last month. An Israeli soldier was also injured, reportedly by friendly fire. During the same operation, Israeli forces destroyed a two-story building, displacing four persons, including two children.

Israeli forces destroyed 143 structures in the occupied West Bank in August, the highest monthly figure in five years, according to the United Nations monitoring group OCHA. As of 24 August, a total of 417 structures had been demolished since the start of the year, displacing a total of 495 Palestinians, including 277 children.

Gaza Strip

Palestinians in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip continued to come under Israeli fire on a daily basis during the month of August and military forces entered and leveled land inside the territory on multiple occasions.

Rafah crossing, the sole point of exit and entry for the vast majority of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents, was opened by Egypt for four days in August. The crossing has been continuously closed since late October, except for 29 days of partial openings, according to OCHA.

Five members of the Abu Naqira family were killed when unexploded ordnance detonated in a house in Rafah, southern Gaza; more than 50 were injured in the incident.

Since the ceasefire that ended 51 days of intensive Israeli bombardment in Gaza last summer, 16 Palestinians, including a child, have been killed in unexploded ordnance incidents, and more than 170 have been injured, including 24 children.

The Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, announced that one of its members was killed in a tunnel accident in Gaza.

Armed groups in Gaza fired several rockets towards Israel during August, causing no injuries or damage. Four Palestinian fighters were injured when Israeli forces fired a missile at a military site west of al-Bureij refugee camp in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza.

A UN study released at the end of the month found that conditions in Gaza, where infant mortality has soared after eight years of siege, have only gotten worse since a 2012 report stated that the coastal territory would be “unlivable” by the year 2020.

New school year

Five hundred students were prevented from accessing their schools as Israeli forces restricted Palestinians from entering the al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem.

But half a million children were set to begin the school year on time after UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, was able to meet a budget shortfall that would have otherwise forced suspension of its education program.

UNRWA service cuts were met with vigorous protest during August, and Palestinians rallied in solidarity with Muhammad Allan, a Palestinian lawyer from a village near Nablus who was on hunger strike in protest of his detention in Israel without charge or trial.

Allan suspended his protest after Israel’s high court froze his detention order when a medical scan showed that the prisoner had suffered brain damage after refusing food and consuming only water for two months.

Meanwhile, the UN reported an outbreak of typhoid in Yarmouk refugee camp south of the Syrian capital Damascus.

At least 30 camp figures, including politicians, activists and humanitarian workers, have been assassinated in the camp since April, when it was invaded by the Islamic State, according to activists. Access to Yarmouk has been cut off by Syrian government forces and allied groups since July 2013 and only several thousand of the camp’s previous population of 150,000 residents are believed to remain.

Palestinians who fled Yarmouk to Ein al-Hilweh refugee camp in southern Lebanon were among the thousands displaced after fighting broke out there in late August, killing six and injuring 70.

Palestinian youths enjoy the warm weather at a Gaza City beach on 2 August.

Mohammed Asad APA images

Palestinians protest outside a United Nations-run school in Rafah, southern Gaza, on 3 August, to mark the first anniversary of the killing of their relatives who were taking shelter there when it was hit in an Israeli air strike last summer.

Abed Rahim Khatib APA images

Palestinians with Israeli citizenship and Jewish Israeli activists hold a vigil for Ali Dawabsha, the 18-month-old baby killed in an arson attack on his West Bank home on 31 July, in the coastal town of Jaffa on 4 August.

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Palestinian folk dancers perform during the Palestine International Festival for Dance and Music in the West Bank City of Ramallah on 5 August.

Shadi Hatem APA images

Israeli forces take position around a car following a suspected attack by a Palestinian motorist near the West Bank city of Ramallah on 6 August. Israeli forces shot and critically wounded the driver, Muhammad Badwan, after he ran into a group of soldiers.

Shadi Hatem APA images

Palestinians hold posters of Muhammad Allan, who was on hunger strike in protest of his detention in Israel without charge or trial, during a rally outside the United Nations headquarters in Gaza City on 8 August.

Ashraf Amra APA images

Nasser Badran, a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, is received in his hometown of Arara in the north of present-day Israel after his release from Israeli prison on 11 August. Badran spent 14 years in prison.

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A Palestinian man inspects his tent which was burned by Jewish extremists in the West Bank village of Ein Samiya north of Ramallah, on 13 August. A group of Israeli settlers raided the Bedouin village and fire-bombed the tent before being chased off by residents.

Shadi Hatem APA images

Palestinian youths take part in a military-style exercise during a summer camp organized by the Islamic Jihad movement in Gaza City, 13 August.

Ashraf Amra APA images

Players and fans celebrate after Hebron’s al-Ahli club beat out Gaza’s Shujaiya club in a football match in the West Bank city on 14 August that would determine which team would represent Palestine in international competitions organized by FIFA, the sport’s world governing body.

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Israeli police block Palestinian activists on their way to a 16 August protest in solidarity with Muhammad Allan, who had slipped into a coma after a lengthy hunger strike in protest of his detention without charge or trial. Police prevented Palestinian and Israeli supporters from arriving to the hospital in Askalan, southern Israel, where Allan was being held, arresting eight activists and using pepper spray and a “skunk” water cannon against them.

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Relatives mourn 21-year-old Rafiq al-Taj during his funeral on 16 August. The young man was shot dead by Israeli forces after allegedly stabbing a soldier at a military checkpoint near Nablus the day prior.

Ahmad Talat APA images

Palestinian students and teachers protest in Gaza City on 17 August after UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees, said that a budget shortfall would necessitate the increase of pupils per classroom in its schools and potentially delay the start of the academic year.

Mohammed Talatene APA images

The mother of Muhammad Amsheh, 22, who was shot to death by Israeli forces earlier that day, mourns her son at the Forensic Medical Institute in the West Bank city of Nablus on 17 August. An Israeli army spokesperson alleged that the man attempted to stab an Israeli officer near Nablus, while Palestinians denied the allegation, saying that he was killed in cold blood.

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Palestinian gather at Rafah crossing in the southern Gaza Strip as they wait for permission to enter Egypt on 17 August. Egypt opened the crossing on three days last month.

Ashraf Amra APA images

An Israeli-operated bulldozer carries an uprooted olive tree to make way for Israel’s West Bank wall in the town of Beit Jala near the Jewish settlement of Gilo and adjacent to the Palestinian town of Bethlehem on 20 August.

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Palestinians take cover during clashes with Israeli soldiers in the village of Qusra near the West Bank city of Nablus on 22 August. Clashes erupted near the village after settlers from a nearby outpost tried to attack a Palestinian shepherd.

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Palestinian schoolgirls, seen through a hole in the roof of a classroom damaged by Israeli shelling last summer, on the first day of the academic year at Shuhada Khuzaa school in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on 24 August.

Ashraf Amra APA images

A Palestinian examines the damage in his home after an Israeli army night raid in the village of Salem, near the West Bank city of Nablus, on 26 August.

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Palestinian competitors take part in a horse race in the West Bank city of Jenin on 28 August.

Ahmad Talat APA images

Members of the Tamimi family prevent an Israeli soldier from arresting Muhammad Tamimi, 12, during the weekly protest against the occupation in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on 28 August.

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Palestinian girls participate in a military graduation ceremony organized by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a leftist group, in Gaza City on 29 August.

Ashraf Amra APA images

Relatives of four Palestinians who were abducted of by gunmen is Egypt’s Sinai peninsula carry posters of their disappeared relatives in Gaza City on 30 August. On 19 August, gunmen boarded a bus carrying Palestinians from Cairo to Gaza and seized four of the passengers before letting the others continue on their journey, Hamas officials in Gaza said.

Mohammed Asad APA images