The Month in Pictures: May 2016

Palestinians attempt to cross into Egypt via Rafah after Egypt opened the crossing for two days, southern Gaza Strip, 11 May.

Mohammed Dahman APA images

Israeli forces shot and killed two Palestinians in the occupied West Bank during the month of May.

Sawsan Ali Dawud Mansour, 19, was slain at a checkpoint north of Jerusalem on 23 May; an Israeli police spokesperson said she had attempted to stab a soldier before she was shot dead, but no Israelis were reported injured during the incident.

Riyad Shehadeh, 36, was killed by Israeli forces near the village of Beitunia after he allegedly ran over and injured three soldiers on 3 May.

Witnesses told a Palestinian news agency that it appeared Shehadeh had hit the soldiers by accident and that he was shot in his car while fleeing the scene, then pulled from his vehicle and fired on again.

Since the beginning of this year, more than 50 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces during attacks and alleged attacks; 89 were slain in such circumstances during the last three months of 2015, according to the United Nations monitoring group OCHA.

Gaza grandmother killed

Zaina Attia al-Amour, a 54-year-old grandmother, was killed by Israeli shelling while working on her farm in southern Gaza on 5 May.

An additional eight civilians, including six children, were injured during the incident.

Israeli forces fired on and detained fishermen throughout the month, according to OCHA monitoring.

Egypt opened the Rafah crossing — the sole point of exit and entry for the vast majority of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents — for two days during the month, following 85 consecutive days of closure. During the two days that the crossing was open, 739 Palestinians were able to exit and 1,220 entered Gaza, according to OCHA. The crossing has been closed with only rare exception since October 2014.

“At least 30,000 people, including around 9,500 medical cases, and 2,700 students, are registered and waiting to cross according to the Palestinian authorities,” OCHA stated at the end of the month. “Since the beginning of 2016, Egyptian authorities have opened Rafah crossing on only five out of 144 calendar days.”

On 6 May, a fire caused by a candle killed three young children in their home in Gaza’s Beach refugee camp.

The family was using candles during one of Gaza’s regular power outages; fuel shortages and infrastructure damage caused by Israeli bombing has resulted in electricity cuts lasting up to 20 hours per day.

Hamas authorities in Gaza carried out the death sentences of three Palestinians convicted of murder. The executions took place on 31 May, despite attempts by Palestinian human rights groups to stop the implementation of the death penalty.

Peril in Syria

In Syria, Palestinian refugees were in peril as camps across the country came under fire from government forces and their allies, and were the arena of fighting between armed opposition groups.

Casualties were reported in Neirab camp in Aleppo and Khan Eshieh camp in the outskirts of Damascus, and bombing caused destruction in the southern Deraa camp.

Meanwhile, civilians were cut off from basic supplies in areas of besieged Yarmouk camp near Damascus, where armed rebel groups Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State continued to vie for control. A refugee was reported killed as a result of the fighting.

Palestinians attend the opening ceremony of Minbar al-Hurriya radio station in the West Bank city of Hebron on 1 May. Israeli forces stormed the radio station and destroyed and confiscated equipment before shutting it down in November last year.

Wisam Hashlamoun APA images

Palestinian workers in Gaza City crush stones and cement blocks from houses destroyed by Israeli forces during the 51-day war on Gaza in the summer of 2014, on International Workers’ Day, 1 May.

Mohammed Asad APA images

Palestinians call for the release of prisoners in Israeli jails, including Sami Janazreh, seen in the poster in the foreground, in front of the Red Cross’ offices in Gaza City on 2 May. Janazreh embarked on a 70-day hunger strike in protest of his detention without charge or trial after his arrest by Israel. An Israeli court ordered Janzareh’s release later in the month.

Mohammed Asad APA images

Palestinians in the West Bank city of Nablus inspect a home belonging to Zaid Amer, accused of taking part in the killing of a Jewish settler couple in the West Bank last year, after it was destroyed by Israeli forces as a punitive measure, 3 May

Nedal Eshtayah APA images

The family of Zaina Attia al-Amour mourn during the woman’s funeral in eastern Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, 5 May. The 54-year-old grandmother was killed in Israeli airstrikes as she worked her farmland.

Ramadan Elagha APA images

Ismail Haniyeh, the most senior Hamas leader in Gaza, attends Friday prayers at a mosque in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip, on 6 May.

Ashraf Amra APA images

Palestinian children mourn during the funeral for three children who perished in a fire caused by a candle in their home, Beach refugee camp, Gaza City, 7 May.

Ashraf Amra APA images

Palestinian children in Fawwar refugee camp near the West Bank city of Hebron find relief during a heat wave on 15 May.

Wisam Hashlamoun APA images

Palestinians mark the 68th anniversary of the Nakba — the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionist forces and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 — in the West Bank city of Ramallah on 15 May. The key symbolizes the Palestinians’ right of return to their land and homes from which they were expelled. 

Shadi Hatem APA images

Palestinians in the West Bank city of Bethlehem ride a mock train symbolizing return to the homes and lands from which their families were expelled by Zionist forces nearly 70 years ago, on the occasion of Nakba Day, 15 May.

Oren Ziv ActiveStills

Relatives of murder victims call for the Gaza-based government to implement the death sentences against those convicted of the crimes, Gaza City, 17 May.

Mohammed Asad APA images

Children study during a power outage in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on 18 May.

Abed Rahim Khatib APA images

Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq is embraced by his father in the southern West Bank village of Dura upon his release from Israeli prison on 19 May 2016. The 34-year-old nearly lost his life during a 94-day hunger strike in protest of his detention without charge or trial after Israeli forces arrested him at his home in the West Bank city of Ramallah in November 2015.

Wisam Hashlamoun APA images

Palestinians call for the release of loved ones in Israeli jails in front of Red Cross’ offices in Gaza City, 23 May.

Mohammed Asad APA images

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls meets with his Palestinian Authority counterpart Rami Hamdallah in the West Bank city of Ramallah on 24 May. Hamdallah dismissed an Israeli proposal for direct negotiations in lieu of a French multilateral initiative towards a two-state solution, calling it an attempt by Israel to “buy time.”

Shadi Hatem APA images

Palestinians mourn over the body of Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif during his funeral in the West Bank city of Hebron on 28 May. The 21-year-old was shot by Israeli forces after allegedly stabbing a soldier. A soldier was caught on video firing at the head of al-Sharif as he lay on the ground, gravely wounded but still alive.

Wisam Hashlamoun APA images

Protesters march against the Israeli occupation in central Tel Aviv, calling for the government to resign, on 28 May. 

Oren Ziv ActiveStills

Palestinians mark the sixth anniversary of the Mavi Marmara massacre in the Gaza City port on 31 May. Nine humanitarian activists — eight Turkish nationals and a US citizen — were killed when Israeli commandos stormed the ship as it sailed in international waters on its way to break the siege on Gaza. A 10th victim died of his injuries in 2014.

Ashraf Amra APA images