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April month saw Israelis violently rampage against Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem

Palestinians celebrate the removal of metal barriers installed by Israeli occupation forces the previous week at the entrance to the Damascus Gate to Jerusalem’s Old City, 25 April. The barriers were installed to prevent Palestinians from congregating during Ramadan. ActiveStills

Israeli occupation forces shot and killed a Palestinian motorist in the occupied West Bank during April. The month also saw Israelis violently rampage against Palestinians in Jerusalem amid Ramadan while hundreds of lives were lost to COVID-19 in both the West Bank and Gaza.

In the early hours of 6 April, an Israeli soldier stopped Osama Mansour and his wife Sumaya while they were traveling in their car near the Jerusalem-area village of Bir Nabala.

The couple told the soldier that they were on the way to a medical clinic. The soldier permitted the pair to drive off but when they did, occupation forces sprayed bullets at the car, fatally injuring Osama. Sumaya was wounded by a bullet in her back but survived.

Israel claimed that the soldiers opened fire after an attempted car-ramming attack.

The incident occurred at a checkpoint that had been set up during an arrest operation, which are nightly occurrences in the occupied West Bank as Israel seeks to stamp out any and all resistance to its military rule.

“There’s a very trigger-happy approach in the West Bank in which Palestinians are guilty until proven otherwise,” Roy Yellin, spokesperson for the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, told media.

Mansour was the sixth Palestinian killed by Israeli occupation forces and settlers in the West Bank so far this year.

Child’s body returned

On 22 April, Israel returned the body of Yousif Abu Jazar, 15, who was killed by soldiers while he approached the Gaza-Israeli boundary fence nearly three years ago. Last September, Al Mezan, a human rights group in Gaza, petitioned Israel’s high court to demand the return of the child’s body.

“Al Mezan deplores Israel’s long-held policy of withholding Palestinian bodies for use as leverage in political exercises of the state, at the expense of anguished families,” the group said.

As of September last year, Israel was holding the bodies of 67 Palestinians killed by its forces since 2015. Israel’s high court has approved the withholding of bodies to be used as bargaining chips in negotiations with Hamas, which is believed to be holding the remains of two Israeli soldiers killed during the 2014 invasion of Gaza.

Hamas is the Palestinian resistance faction that governs Gaza’s internal affairs.

Al-Haq, a prominent Palestinian human rights group, says that the “practice of withholding bodies amounts to a policy of collective punishment,” which is prohibited under international law.

It is one of many forms of collective punishment that Israel imposes on Palestinians.

Another example of a punitive measure that Israel imposes on Palestinians is additional restrictions on where Gaza fishers are allowed to sail, or banning them from practicing their trade entirely.

On 25 April, Israel reduced the permitted fishing area off of Gaza’s southern coast from 15 to nine nautical miles. The following three days, fishers were “prohibited [from] sailing at any distance from the shore,” the United Nations monitoring group OCHA stated.

Israel admitted that the restrictions were a form of collective punishment following rocket fire from Gaza, which has been under a severely tightened blockade since 2007.

The restrictions were lifted on 29 April after being challenged by human rights groups.

COVID-19 spikes in Gaza

Meanwhile, around 1,000 new COVID-19 cases per day were being reported in Gaza at the close of the month, accounting for the majority of all cases in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip. New cases were slowly subsiding “but numbers are still high with deaths in the last week at record levels,” the World Health Organization stated on 29 April.

As of that date, nearly 2,900 Palestinians had died from COVID-19 in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. In Gaza, nearly 900 people have died from the disease.

Muslims worldwide began observing the second consecutive Ramadan during the pandemic in mid-April.

Just as in past years during Ramadan, Israeli occupation forces escalated their violent repression of Palestinian worshippers in Jerusalem.

Police used water cannons and stun grenades against Palestinians who protested against fencing installed around the steps leading to the Old City’s Damascus Gate, traditionally a bustling and festive gathering place during the fasting month.

Palestinians celebrated after the barriers were removed following nearly two weeks of nightly protests.

The removal of the barriers also came after mobs of ultranationalist Israelis rampaged through Jerusalem chanting “death to the Arabs” and attacking Palestinians and their property.

More than 150 Palestinians and 20 Israelis “were injured in multiple violent incidents across Jerusalem” since the beginning of Ramadan, according to OCHA.

Also during April, the US government resumed funding to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees – though to less than half of the annual amount provided before the Trump administration slashed assistance to the Palestinians.

April closed with the deaths of at least 45 people in a stampede during a Jewish religious festival in the Upper Galilee. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the disaster was “one of the worst” in the state’s history.

Nidal al-Daour, who lost part of his arm while working as a medic during Israel’s 2008 assault on Gaza, trains at a gym he owns in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza, on 12 April. Mohammed SalemAPA images

Worshippers attend an Easter vigil mass on Holy Saturday in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, traditionally believed to be the site of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, in Jerusalem’s Old City on 3 April. Afif AmiraWAFA

Palestinians attend an exhibition aimed to help children overcome their fear of domestic animals in Gaza City on 5 April. Mohammed SalemAPA images

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh visits Mansour al-Shahatit, recently released after 17 years of Israeli imprisonment, at his home in Dura village near the West Bank city of Hebron on 10 April. Al-Shahatit reportedly lost his memory while in prison. (Prime Minister’s Office)
A Palestinian farmer picks Valencia oranges at a farm in the southern Gaza Strip on 12 April. Ashraf AmraAPA images
Palestinians march through the ruins of al-Lujjan, a village destroyed and depopulated during the 1948 Nakba, on 15 April. The march was held while Israelis celebrated the creation of the Zionist state. Heather Sharona WeissActiveStills

Palestinians wait to cross the Qalandiya checkpoint separating the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Jerusalem to attend the first Friday prayers of Ramadan at al-Aqsa mosque, 16 April. Israel allows only a limited number of Palestinians in the West Bank who hold both a travel permit and a vaccination document to worship at al-Aqsa mosque. APA images

Palestinians protest against evictions planned to make way for Israeli settlers in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah on 16 April. Heather Sharona WeissActiveStills
Palestinian and Israeli activists gather in front of a home taken over by Israeli settlers during a demonstration against the expulsion of Palestinian families from their homes in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, 16 April. Jamal AwadAPA images

Palestinians celebrate Ramadan in the Old City of Jerusalem on 15 April. Jamal AwadAPA images

Palestinians mark Palestinian Prisoners Day by protesting in solidarity with prisoners in Israeli jails in front of the offices of the Red Cross in Gaza City on 18 April. Mahmoud AjjourAPA images

The al-Aqaraa family breaks their Ramadan fast in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza, on 20 April. Ashraf AmraAPA images

A Palestinian farmer tends to his crops as Israeli occupation forces level farmland along the Gaza-Israel boundary east of Gaza City on 21 April. Ashraf AmraAPA images

The family of Mohammad El Halabi, a Palestinian charity worker imprisoned by Israel since 2016, at their Gaza City home on 22 April. Mahmoud AjjourAPA images
A vendor sells fresh produce during Ramadan in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on 22 April 22 amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Ashraf AmraAPA images
Palestinians protest against settlement outposts established on their lands in the occupied West Bank town of Beit Dajan, near Nablus, on 23 April. WAFA

Palestinian fighters fire rockets towards the sea during a military drill in Gaza City on 24 April. Ashraf AmraAPA images

Palestinians of Jaffa who hold Israeli citizenship and Israeli left-wing activists protest against the ongoing takeover of Palestinian properties in the city by settlers on 24 April. Israel classifies these homes as “absentee properties.” Keren ManorActiveStills

Israeli police disperse Palestinian youth during confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli forces after the latter used violence to prevent congregating at Damascus Gate during Ramadan, 22 April. Keren ManorAPA images

Palestinians mourn over the body of Yousif Abu Jazar during the 15-year-old’s funeral in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on 25 April. Abu Jazar was fatally shot by Israeli forces while approaching the Gaza-Israel boundary in 2018. It took nearly three years before Israel returned the boy’s body to his family. Ashraf AmraAPA images

Members of the Palestinian resistance organization Islamic Jihad carry the body of resistance movement leader Ahmad Abu Hasira, who died from COVID-19, during his Gaza City funeral on 25 April. Dawoud Abo AlkasAPA images

Palestinians in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip, rally in solidarity with Palestinians resisting occupation forces in Jerusalem on 25 April. Ashraf AmraAPA images

Palestinian workers harvest wheat to prepare freekeh — a cereal made from roasted and rubbed green durum wheat — at a field in the West Bank city of Jenin on 26 April. Shadi Jarar’ahAPA images

A Palestinian woman participates in a private cycling event for women at Gaza City’s Yarmouk Stadium on 27 April. Mohammed SalemAPA images

Palestinians protest against the anticipated canceling of the legislative and presidential elections in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza, on 29 April. Ashraf AmraAPA images

Israeli troops and medics gather at the spot where a Palestinian man was shot and seriously wounded by occupation forces at an entrance to the Efrat settlement, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on 30 April. Israel said that soldiers fired on the man after he approached them carrying a piece of broken glass and ignored their orders to stop. Mosab ShawerAPA images

Hamas supporters in Jabaliya, northern Gaza Strip, demonstrate against the indefinite postponement of parliamentary and presidential elections as announced by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, 30 April. Mohammed SalemAPA images

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