A Year of Violations by the Occupation Forces and Settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territories during 2023

Saida Zaarir

The concluding quarter of 2023 witnessed an escalation in Israeli hostilities towards the Gaza Strip, starting on October 7. This period was marked by an observable rise in the issuance of settlement expansions by the Israeli government within the occupied West Bank, accompanied by a significant increase in the violations by the occupying forces and their settlers on Palestinian civilians, their lands, and possessions in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem, especially during the timeframe overlapping with the Gaza conflict.

The report to follow sheds light on the prominent offenses and breaches committed by the occupation forces against Palestinian territories and civilians throughout 2023.

MonthMartyrsInjuredDetaineesFirearm Incidents (Including Aerial Bombardment)
Violations by the Occupation Army in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem during 2023

In 2023, the Palestinian territories experienced a comprehensive array of violations from the Israeli forces spanning the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem. A total of 22,287 Palestinians were recorded as martyrs over the last year in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, of which 21,760 were from the Gaza Strip, fallen due to Israeli aggression since October, alongside approximately 7,000 individuals reported missing. The West Bank accounted for 527 of these martyrs, 318 occurring post-October 7.

The martyrs from Gaza included 9,280 children, 6,600 women, 326 medical personnel, 40 civil defense staff, 106 journalists, and 136 United Nations workers, indicating the wide-reaching impact of the hostilities. In contrast, the occupation resulted in the death of 74 children in the West Bank, alongside 5 elderly persons and 9 prisoners.

Detentions by the occupation forces amounted to 9,927 citizens, predominantly from the West Bank with 4,923 detainees, and 58 detainees from Gaza before October 7, escalating to 4,946 detainees from the West Bank and Jerusalem and approximately 2,600 from Gaza. Furthermore, there were 4,285 instances where the occupation forces discharged firearms, including aerial bombardments, towards Palestinian civilians and properties across the West Bank and Gaza Strip, demonstrating the extensive nature of military engagements. Moreover, about 65,000 tons of explosives were deployed by the occupation over the last three months of 2023, highlighting the severity of the conflict’s climax.

MonthRaids into Palestinian Towns and VillagesSudden Military CheckpointsHome DemolitionsDemolitions of Agricultural, Industrial, and Commercial FacilitiesProperty Destruction and ConfiscationAssaults on Places of Worship
Violations by the Occupation Army in the West Bank and Jerusalem during 2023

Throughout the year, the occupation army executed 9,696 raids into residential areas in Palestinian villages and cities within the West Bank and Jerusalem. These were aimed at arresting Palestinian citizens, demolishing their homes and facilities. Additionally, the occupation forces set up 4,879 sudden military checkpoints across the West Bank and Jerusalem, aiming to obstruct the movement of Palestinians, subject them to searches, and detain numerous individuals. These checkpoints also became sites where many Palestinians were injured or killed by the gunfire of occupation soldiers.

The past year saw the demolition of 346 homes, alongside the destruction of 298 Palestinian agricultural, industrial, and commercial facilities in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Furthermore, there were 1,255 instances where Palestinian properties were destroyed or confiscated. The occupation’s assaults against sacred and religious sites amounted to 355 incidents.

The aggression on Gaza during the year resulted in damage to over 290,000 housing units, with 65,000 completely destroyed, in addition to the destruction of 130 government headquarters and numerous public facilities. Education facilities were not spared, with 385 schools and universities targeted, 93 of which were completely destroyed. Approximately 332 mosques were affected, 120 of which were completely demolished and 212 partially damaged, along with targeting 3 churches and the destruction of 200 ancient archaeological sites.

During the aggression, 30 hospitals and 53 health centers in Gaza were rendered inoperative, along with the destruction of 104 ambulances due to targeting. The occupation also targeted 150 health institutions to some extent, further exacerbated by dozens of ambulances being put out of service due to fuel shortages amidst the siege on the sector.

According to the World Health Organization, since the onset of the crisis, over 180,000 cases of acute respiratory infections have been recorded, along with 136,400 cases of diarrhea, half of which were among children under the age of five. Additionally, there were 5,330 cases of chickenpox, 42,700 cases of rash, 4,683 cases of acute jaundice, and 126 cases of meningitis, amid concerns over the rise of infectious diseases in shelter centers due to severe overcrowding and the breakdown of health, water, and sanitation systems.

The sector has experienced a power outage since October 11, after the occupation cut off electricity and fuel supplies, leading to the depletion of fuel reserves at Gaza’s sole power generation station.

The bombardment has forced approximately 1.9 million citizens to flee their homes, constituting 85% of the sector’s population, with some being displaced multiple times. The Rafah governorate is witnessing severe overcrowding with displaced persons, following an escalation of Israeli aggression in the Khan Younis and Deir al-Balah governorates, where more than a million displaced individuals have congregated.

After 48 days of Israeli occupation aggression on the Gaza Strip, a temporary ceasefire began on November 24, lasting only seven days. During the days of the ceasefire, the occupation released 240 Palestinian women and children, and the Palestinian resistance handed over to the Red Cross 86 Israelis and 24 foreigners who were detained.

MonthSettler Terrorism CasesExclusions from JerusalemPalestinian Trees Cut or BurnedLand Bulldozed for Settlement Expansion (Dunams)
Settler Assaults in the West Bank and Jerusalem during 2023

Settlers carried out 1,969 attacks against Palestinian citizens, their lands, and properties, manifested in running over citizens, stone-throwing towards Palestinian vehicles, raiding villages, and physically assaulting inhabitants, in addition to burning trees and stealing crops.

The occupation authorities issued 70 expulsion orders from Al-Aqsa Mosque and certain neighborhoods in Jerusalem such as Sheikh Jarrah, the Old City, and the Silwan area, for periods ranging from 3 days to 6 months.

The number of trees that were cut down, vandalized, or had their fruits stolen reached 17,202, most of which were olive trees. In the year 2023, the areas that were bulldozed expanded to exceed 1,446 dunams in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

MonthNew Settlement Units ApprovedPalestinian Lands Confiscated (Dunams)New Settler Roads Constructed
Prominent Settlement Activities in the West Bank and Jerusalem during 2023

During the year 2023, the occupation forces approved the construction of 16,052 new settlement units on lands in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Additionally, 14 new settler roads were carved out at the expense of Palestinian lands. Meanwhile, the expanse of Palestinian territories that were confiscated exceeded 11,244 dunams.

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