The Month in Pictures: March 2017

Mourners gather around the body of Yousif Shaaban Abu Athra, 15, during his funeral in Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip on 22 March. Abu Athra was killed by Israeli shelling east of Rafah near the boundary between Israel and Gaza.

Ezz Zanoun ActiveStills

Seven Palestinians, including three children, were killed by Israeli forces and armed civilians during the month of March.

Saadi Mahmoud Ali Qaisiya, 25, was shot dead after allegedly stabbing and lightly injuring a man in a settlement in the occupied West Bank on 1 March.

Bassel al-Araj, 33, was shot and killed during a raid on a home in al-Bireh, next to the West Bank city of Ramallah, on 6 March. Al-Araj was a prominent activist wanted by Israel who had been in hiding for several months.

Ibrahim Matar, 25, was killed by Israeli police in Jerusalem’s Old City on 13 March. The police claimed Matar was waging an attack when he was shot dead. Two Border Police officers were moderately wounded during the incident.

Siham al-Nimir, 49, was shot and killed by police in Jerusalem’s Old City on 29 March after brandishing a pair of scissors at a group of officers. Her son had been killed by police months earlier in what they admitted was a “mistaken” shooting. The Israeli rights group B’Tselem stated that “In both cases, the security forces’ trigger happy policies with regard to Palestinians have resulted in needless death.”

Children killed and injured

Murad Yousif Abu Ghazi, 17, died after he was shot in the chest by soldiers in al-Arroub refugee camp near the West Bank city of Hebron on 17 March. Israel accused Abu Ghazi and his companions of throwing Molotov cocktails at passing cars. A 16-year-old was shot with live fire during the incident and was in moderate-to-critical condition, according to Defense for Children International - Palestine.

Muhammad al-Hattab, 17, was killed on 23 March after Israeli forces shot up the car in which he and his friends were traveling. An army spokesperson told media that the youths had thrown firebombs towards a food stand near a settlement adjacent to Jalazone refugee camp. Israel claimed the youths had been shot outside the car, but video and photo evidence contracted this. Three survivors of the Ramallah-area shooting were left in critical condition.

Yousif Shaaban Abu Athra, 15, was killed by Israeli fire on Gaza on 21 March. An Israeli army spokesperson told media that Abu Athra and the two adults he was with were behaving in a suspicious manner near the boundary with Israel in the south of the Gaza Strip. A 25-year-old was seriously injured during the same incident.

A critically injured Palestinian girl was being detained by Israel after she was wounded by Israeli soldiers at a junction near the Gush Etzion settlement bloc in the southern West Bank. The army claimed Fatima Taqatqa, 16, was attempting to carry out a car ramming attack when she was shot. No Israelis were injured during the incident.

Also under Israeli detention was Jihad Hammad, 17, who was shot in the head with a live bullet during confrontations in the central West Bank village of Silwad on 10 March.

Gaza assassination

Mazen Fuqahaa, a 35-year-old Hamas leader in Gaza, was shot dead by unknown persons on 24 March. Hamas accused Israel of carrying out the assassination. Following Fuqahaa’s killing, Hamas authorities in Gaza began limiting the entry and exit of people through the Erez checkpoint with Israel, affecting dozens patients who have been referred to treatment outside Gaza.

The Rafah crossing on Gaza’s southern boundary – the sole point of exit and entry for the vast majority of Gaza’s two million residents, “was exceptionally opened for two days in both directions, allowing 1,473 Palestinians to leave and 1,370 to return,” the United Nations monitoring group OCHA reported. An additional 20,000 residents were registered and waiting to cross.

Palestinian Authority security forces officer Hassan Ali Abu al-Hajj died after he was shot in the head during armed confrontations in Balata refugee camp in the northern West Bank city of Nablus on 19 March. Security forces had raided the camp to search for “wanted fugitives.”

Ghalib Abdullah Daraghma, 48, was reported to have died from health complications on 5 March after two days on hunger strike in Palestinian Authority detention.

Hundreds protested brutality by Palestinian Authority police forces after they injured a dozen Palestinians during a 12 March demonstration in Ramallah following the killing of Bassel al-Araj.


Israel issued final demolition notices against almost all 140 structures in the Jerusalem-area Palestinian Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar, “including a donor-funded primary school serving around 170 children,” OCHA reported. Khan al-Ahmar is one of nearly 50 Bedouin communities in the central West Bank that Israel seeks to forcibly transfer from the land.

Thirty Palestinians were left homeless after a building in the Issawiya neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem was demolished without warning, and the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Naqab desert of southern Israel was razed for the 110th time. The Israel Land Authority destroyed crops planted by Palestinian Bedouins in the Naqab desert, claiming the land was the property of the state.

Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, passed a law that would forbid entry into Israel and the Palestinian territories under its control to foreign nationals who advocate for a boycott of Israel.

Three Palestinians were killed in the latest episode of sporadic violence that has claimed several lives this year in Ein al-Hilweh, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. A Palestinian was killed and a Hamas official was injured during an exchange of fire in the Burj al-Barajneh refugee camp in southern Beirut.

Refugees killed in Syria

Nineteen Palestinians were registered as having died as a result of the ongoing war in Syria during the month of March.

Four infants passed away after their families were unable to access medical treatment as a result of government checkpoints preventing movement from Yalda, a neighborhood near Yarmouk refugee camp on the southern outskirts of Damascus.

Two Palestinians were reported to have been beheaded by Islamic State-aligned groups in southern Syria and Yarmouk camp. Another two were killed during the 15 March bombing of the Justice Palace in central Damascus that claimed 32 lives.

Two Palestinians, one from Aideen camp in Homs and the other from Yarmouk camp near Damascus, were registered as having died under torture in government prison. Several Palestinian fighters in government-allied militias were killed during battle. Two Palestinians were killed by mortar fire and shelling on Deraa camp in southern Syria.

The family of a Palestinian man from southern Gaza announced that he had been killed while fighting in Aleppo.

A view of the Modi’in Illit settlement colony during the weekly protest against the occupation in the West Bank village of Bilin, 3 March.

Anne Paq ActiveStills

The Walled Off Hotel, newly opened by the reclusive British artist Banksy, faces Israel’s concrete wall in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on 3 March. The hotel offers what Banksy describes as the “worst view in the world.”

Anne Paq ActiveStills

A Palestinian man walks near a retired Boeing airplane that once belonged to an Israeli airline but now stands on vacant land in the West Bank city of Nablus, 7 March.

Wisam Hashlamoun APA images

Palestinians wait for permission to cross into Egypt via Rafah in southern Gaza after it was exceptionally opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, 7 March.

Ashraf Amra APA images

Palestinian women take part in a protest against violence towards women and for an end the Israeli occupation on International Women’s Day in Gaza City, 8 March.

Ashraf Amra APA images

Palestinian artist Mohammed Totah, whose leg was amputated, poses behind a sand sculpture marking Wounded Palestinians’ Day in Gaza City, 12 March.

Ashraf Amra APA images

Palestinians call for an end to the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip, now entering its 10th year, outside the UN offices in Gaza City on 13 March.

Ashraf Amra APA images

Palestinian women mourn Bassel al-Araj during his funeral in al-Walaja, a village near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on 17 March. Bassel al-Araj, a well-known activist and intellectual, was killed during an Israeli raid on 6 March. Thousands attended his funeral.

Anne Paq ActiveStills

Palestinians take part in a protest against the Israeli military’s 17-year closure of the main entrance to Qalqas village, south of the West Bank city of Hebron, 17 March.

Ahmad Al-Bazz ActiveStills

Palestinian workers queue at an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank city of Bethlehem while heading to their work in Israel, 19 March. Thousands of laborers from the southern West Bank gather before dawn to await the opening of the checkpoint to get to the other side as early as possible.

Ahmad Al-Bazz ActiveStills

Palestinian activists gather in front the Representative Office of Switzerland in the West Bank city of Ramallah to protest a Swiss bill that would prevent public funds from going to organizations that have programs supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign in support of Palestinian Rights, 20 March.

Ahmad Al-Bazz ActiveStills

Palestinians call on Israel to Israel transfer the bodies of several slain Palestinians during a protest in front of a checkpoint in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, 22 March. Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets, sound bombs and tear gas at the crowd, injuring several. In late 2015 Israel began to withhold the bodies of slain Palestinians who are alleged to have attacked Israelis, preventing their families from commissioning an independent autopsy and holding a prompt burial.

Faiz Abu Rmeleh ActiveStills

Police use a water cannon to disperse ultra-Orthodox Jews during a protest in Jerusalem against the arrest of three yeshiva students held in military prison after refusing to serve in the Israeli army, 23 March.

Oren Ziv ActiveStills

A mural at the Erez checkpoint in northern Gaza, on the boundary with Israel, shows an Israeli intelligence officer attempting to recruit a Palestinian as an informant, 26 March. The Palestinian side of Erez was closed by the Hamas authorities after the assassination of Mazen Fuqahaa.

Mohammed Asad APA images

A Palestinian woman holds a placard near Israeli forces during a protest against Jewish settlements in the West Bank city of Hebron on 26 March.

Wisam Hashlamoun APA images

The son of Hamas official Mazen Fuqahaa, who was shot dead by unknown gunmen, sits on the shoulders of Yahya Sinwar, the new leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, during a memorial service in Gaza City for the assassinated leader on 27 March.

Ashraf Amra APA images

Israeli troops detain a Palestinian demonstrator during a protest marking Land Day in the West Bank city of Hebron, 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.

Wisam Hashlamoun APA images