The Month in Pictures: March 2016

The son of grassroots resistance leader Iyad Burnat blows out a birthday candle his brother made out of tear gas canisters fired by the Israeli army in the West Bank village of Bilin, 12 March.

Bryan MacCormack

Israeli forces killed 23 Palestinians in March as a surge in deadly confrontation that began last October continued for the fifth consecutive month.

Nearly all were shot dead during what Israel alleges were attacks or attempted attacks, mostly targeting occupation forces in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Four of those shot dead during alleged attacks were children and two were women. Several were killed during incidents in which no Israelis were injured, and in multiple cases wounded Palestinians were denied or prevented from receiving first aid before they died.

A video recording showed an Israeli soldier shooting at the head of an incapacitated Palestinian in Hebron, killing him.

Other videos that emerged after shootings in March showed Israelis taunting and cursing a dying Palestinian boy; police shooting and killing a Palestinian at the urging of an Israeli crowd; and youths lying on the ground, bleeding, while no attempt is made to save their lives, and, in one case, as a less seriously wounded soldier is treated.

One US citizen was killed by a Palestinian attacker during March.

Since the current phase of confrontation began in October, 136 Palestinians, including 32 children, were killed during what Israel alleges were attacks, according to the United Nations monitoring group OCHA. Nearly 30 Israelis were slain during the same period.

Two Palestinians suffered fatal wounds during an Israeli army raid on Qalandiya refugee camp, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, at the outset of March.

Children killed

In Gaza, two children died after their house collapsed on them while they were sleeping as a result of an Israeli airstrike.

A toddler in Gaza died from cold exposure, and his sister was hospitalized in critical condition, as a result of extreme winter weather and lack of adequate heating in the caravan their family was living in after their home was destroyed in Israel’s summer 2014 offensive.

Approximately 1,150 families are living in such caravans donated as humanitarian aid to those whose homes were destroyed, according to OCHA.

The Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing — the sole point of exit and entry for the vast majority of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents — remained closed throughout the month. The crossing has been closed since late October 2014, except for 42 days of partial opening.

“Authorities in Gaza indicated that around 30,000 people with urgent needs, including around 3,500 medical cases, are registered and waiting to cross,” OCHA reported.

West Bank land grabs

Meanwhile, Israel announced two sweeping land grabs in the West Bank — the biggest in decades.

Israeli authorities demolished dozens of structures belonging to Palestinians on the pretext that they were built without permits, which Israel rarely grants to Palestinians. OCHA reported that in one week alone, such demolitions displaced 95 Palestinians, including 40 children. Israeli forces also took over a home under construction in a Jerusalem-area village and converted it into a military observation point.

Israel has destroyed approximately 400 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank so far this year, eclipsing the number demolished in the whole of 2015.

Israeli forces also destroyed and handed demolition orders against homes belonging to families of Palestinians who carried out attacks or alleged attacks on Israelis.

More than a dozen Palestinians were killed in a road accident in Jordan after returning from pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

And in Syria, on the fifth anniversary of the protests that preceded the civil war, more than 100,000 of the 560,000 Palestinian refugees previously living there have since fled and half of the 450,000 estimated to remain have been displaced at least once inside the country.

Of those who remain, 95 percent are dependent on sustained humanitarian aid. “This includes tens of thousands of Palestinians who are trapped in areas of active conflict, such as Yarmouk or Khan Eshieh in Damascus or Muzeirib and Jillin in Deraa, with extremely constrained access to humanitarian assistance,” according to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees.

“Of those who have been forced again into exile, around 42,000 have fled to Lebanon and more than 17,000 to Jordan. The vast majority are living a precarious, marginalized existence, unable to regularize their legal status or access civil registration procedures and basic social services. They are largely dependent on UNRWA for basic subsistence needs, including food and shelter, as well as basic education and health care,” the agency adds.

Mourners carry the body of Iyad Sajadiyya, a university student who was killed overnight during an Israeli raid on Qalandiya refugee camp, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, 1 March.

Shadi Hatem APA images

A Palestinian man observes the damage inside a burned home belonging to the sole witness of an arson attack last July in which a toddler and his parents sustained fatal injuries, Duma, West Bank, 20 March. Palestinians suspected Israeli settlers of attacking the witness’ home; Israeli police said it was unlikely settlers committed the attack.

Oren Ziv ActiveStills

Palestinian Authority security forces display their skills during military training in the West Bank city of Hebron on 2 March.

Wisam Hashlamoun APA images

Palestinians encounter an earth barrier imposed by the Israeli military at the entrance to the villages of Tel and Iraq Burin near the West Bank city of Nablus on 3 March. Israeli forces closed all roads leaving Nablus and shut the entrances to nearby villages after two Israeli soldiers were stabbed and injured in an attack near Burin village south of Nablus the evening prior.

Nedal Eshtayah APA images

Youths protest against the plan to forcibly transfer the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, which is not recognized by the Israeli government, in the city of Bir al-Saba in the Naqab (Negev) desert, 3 March. In May last year, Israel’s high court approved the removal of Bedouin residents from the village to enable the construction of a Jewish town.

Oren Ziv ActiveStills

Israeli forces inspect a car operated by Amani Husni Sabatin who, the military said, rammed it into a soldier before she was shot dead at the Gush Etzion junction at the entrance of the West Bank settlement bloc on 4 March.

Wisam Hashlamoun APA images

A Palestinian man rushes towards a boy who was injured during confrontations with Israeli forces following a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land in the village of Kufr Qaddum, near the West Bank city of Nablus, 4 March.

Nedal Eshtayah APA images

Palestinian teachers protest in front of the Palestinian Authority government offices in the West Bank city of Ramallah on 7 March. Tens of thousands of teachers in the West Bank went on strike for weeks, calling on the Palestinian Authority to raise salaries.

Oren Ziv ActiveStills

Israeli forces frisk a Palestinian boy in Jerusalem’s Old City on 11 March.

Mahfouz Abu Turk APA images

A Palestinian boy inspects a bedroom where two children were sleeping when they were fatally injured after the roof of their home collapsed during an Israeli airstrike in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, 12 March.

Mohammed Asad APA images

Goats walk past a destroyed tank in an Israeli army firing zone near Nabi Musa, between Jerusalem and Jericho, in the West Bank on 14 March.

Oren Ziv ActiveStills

Damage in a Palestinian house following an Israeli army night raid in Iraq Burin village, near Nablus, northern West Bank, on 17 March. A 15-year-old was arrested during the raid.

Ahmad Al-Bazz ActiveStills

Ahmad Dawabsha, 5, who suffered severe burns in an arson attack by suspected Jewish settlers last July which killed his baby brother Ali and their parents, is surrounded by relatives at his grandfather’s home in the West Bank village of Duma after returning from Spain at the invitation of the Real Madrid football club, 22 March.

Nedal Eshtayah APA images

A Palestinian laborer works on a Turkish-funded project to build 320 housing units for families who lost their homes during Israel’s summer 2014 assault on Gaza, east of Gaza City, 23 March.

Ashraf Amra APA images

A general view of the community of Khirbet Tana, demolished by Israel, east of Nablus, West Bank, 23 March. The community’s facilities have been demolished three times this year under the pretext of building without a license. Khirbet Tana is not connected to water or electricity networks and its residents use two local springs for water.

Ahmad Al-Bazz ActiveStills

A Palestinian worker restores the Maqam al-Khader in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip, on 24 March. The archaeological site is being restored with funding from the United Nations cultural organization UNESCO.

Ashraf Amra APA images

Israeli forces carry the body of a Palestinian who allegedly stabbed an Israeli soldier before he was shot dead in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of West Bank city of Hebron on 24 March. Two young Palestinians were shot dead in the incident; video released by a human rights group showed a soldier shooting at the head of one of the men as he lay on the ground, killing him.

Wisam Hashlamoun APA images

A settler makes an obscene gesture at a Palestinian woman filming a parade of Israelis celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim in Shuhada Street in the West Bank city of Hebron on 24 March. Hours earlier, an Israeli soldier was videotaped executing an incapacitated Palestinian in nearby Tel Rumeida.

Yotam Ronen ActiveStills

Right-wing protesters shout in front of an Israeli military court in Kiryat Malakhi on 29 March during a rally to support a soldier who was suspended after being caught on video shooting a wounded Palestinian assailant in the head, killing him.

Oren Ziv ActiveStills

A Palestinian man displays jewellery at his Gaza City store on 30 March. The director of the Palestinian Authority’s borders and crossings department said that Israel announced the suspension of importation and exportation of gold in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Ashraf Amra APA images

Palestinian youths take a selfie in front of a model of Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock during a rally marking Land Day in Gaza City on 30 March. Land Day is the annual commemoration of the slaying of six Palestinians protesting Israel’s land confiscation in the Galilee region of historic Palestine in 1976.

Ashraf Amra APA images

The leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, Raed Salah, wearing a white cap, helps a child plant an olive tree in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran before a protest marking Land Day and against Israel’s plans to demolish the village in the Naqab (Negev) desert, 30 March.

Oren Ziv ActiveStills