One Palestinian killed and 58 injured by Israeli forces; Clashes in East Jerusalem
During the week, Israeli forces killed one Palestinian in the Jenin governorate and injured 58 Palestinians, the majority of them in East Jerusalem clashes. This is the highest number of injuries recorded since the last week of September 2010. Thus far in 2011, five Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank and 91 have been injured, compared to no fatalities and 56 injured in the same period of 2010.
On 20 January, Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man near Mevo Dotan settlement in the Jenin governorate. Various sources reported hearing shooting at the checkpoint, located on the road leading to the settlement, after which Israeli soldiers responded with gunfire.
This week, 40 Palestinian civilians were injured, including five pregnant women and a one-week-old infant, in separate clashes that took place between Israeli forces and the residents of Silwan (27) and Shu’fat Refugee Camp (13) in East Jerusalem. In Silwan, clashes occurred after Israeli forces occupied the roof of a Palestinian house, located next to the Israeli settlement of Beit Yonatan, during a protest against settler activities in the area, and during a search and arrest operation. In Shu’fat, two days of confrontations occurred between residents and Israeli forces staffing the checkpoint at the entrance of the camp.
Another nine Palestinian civilians were injured in clashes, which took place during search and arrest operations in the villages of Zabubu (Jenin) and An Nabi Saleh (Ramallah). Overall, during the week, Israeli forces conducted a total of 107 search and arrest operations throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, compared with a weekly average of 92 during 2010.
Also this week, three Palestinian civilians were injured in weekly demonstrations against settlement expansion (An Nabi Saleh) and Barrier construction (Ni’lin) in the Ramallah area. Another three Palestinians, including two children aged 15 and 17, were injured in separate incidents, after Israeli border police fired live ammunition at groups of Palestinian youths, who were allegedly throwing stones in the vicinity of the Barrier, next to the towns of Beituniya (Ramallah) and Qatanna (Jerusalem).
OCHA documented six settler-related incidents this week, all resulting in damage to Palestinian property, the same as the weekly average of incidents recorded in 2010. Another incident perpetrated by settlers led to the injury of two international activists near Karmel settlement (Hebron governorate), while they were escorting a Palestinian shepherd herding sheep in land near the settlement.
This week, settlers continued to take-over Palestinian land located near settlements, by leveling land and planting or uprooting trees belonging to Palestinians. Israeli settlers planted over 1,500 olive, pine and almond trees and grapevines on land belonging to Palestinians in the communities of Artas and Al Khader (Bethlehem) and Al Baq’a and Um al Kheir (Hebron). Also, settlers from Newe Danniyel settlement leveled four dunums of land belonging to the village of Al Khader (Bethlehem), damaging around 280 olive trees and grapevines.
Also this week, Israeli settlers from Maon settlement (Hebron) attacked a Palestinian shepherd, herding sheep near Maghayer Al Abeed village, and killed his dog and a sheep after forcing him off the land. In another incident, which resulted in no injuries, confrontations took place between Israeli settlers and Palestinians residents of Dura Al Qara’ village (Ramallah governorate), after the settlers gathered near a water spring in the area. Israeli forces arrived later at the scene and fired tear gas canister at the Palestinian civilians, forcing them to leave. In a separate incident, settlers from the settlement outpost of Gil’ad (Qaqiliya governorate) threw stones at farmers from the nearby village of Far’ata. Israeli forces evacuated the settlers and the farmers were able to access their land under the protection of Israeli forces.
Demolitions in East Jerusalem and Demolition Orders in Area C
This week, the Israeli authorities demolished five Palestinian-owned structures in the E1 area of Al ‘Isawiya village of East Jerusalem, due to the lack of Israeli-issued permits. The structures included three agricultural shacks, a water well and a fence surrounding eight dunums of land. Some 27 dunums of land were also leveled in the course of the demolitions. As a result, the livelihood of four people was affected. This week’s demolitions follow a trend of increased demolitions in the second half of 2010, particularly in East Jerusalem, in which 50 percent of all demolitions recorded in 2010 occurred in the last two months of the year. Thus far in 2011, 13 Palestinian-owned structures have been demolished in East Jerusalem, displacing 15 people, including seven children. Another 15 structures were demolished in Area C of the West Bank, displacing 33 people.
Also, in Area C, OCHA recorded the issuance of 17 demolition and stop-work orders, including 15 residences, a mosque and an animal shelter in the villages of Nahalin in the Bethlehem governorate (12) and the Bedouin community of Susiya in the Hebron governorate (5). The orders were issued due to lack of building permits.
One Palestinian Killed and Four Injured
This week, one Palestinian civilian was killed and another four were injured in three separate incidents in the vicinity of the fence dividing Israel and the Gaza Strip. Since the beginning of 2011, three Palestinians, and one Israeli soldier have been killed in the context of Israeli-Palestinian conflict-related violence in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel, and 11 Palestinians (all civilians) and four members of Israeli forces have been injured.
In one incident, on 22 January, a Palestinian worker was killed and two others were injured when a rocket, fired by armed Palestinian factions targeting southern Israel, landed short and exploded near a group of workers collecting rubble and scrap metal near the fence. There were no other reports of injury or damage to property (Israeli or Palestinian) from Palestinian rocket and mortar fire targeting southern Israel during the week.
In another two separate incidents near the fence, Israeli forces injured a Palestinian worker collecting rubble and scrap metal and a farmer working on land located in the proximity of the fence. Such incidents occur in the context of Israeli restrictions on access to areas up to 1,500 metres from the fence (17 percent of Gaza Strip’s territory in total). Since the beginning of 2011, two Palestinians have been killed and five others have been injured near the fence. In 2010, 52 Palestinians were killed and 189 others injured in the same context. Also, on two separate occasions, Israeli forces launched incursions with bulldozers and tanks a few hundred meters into the Gaza Strip and withdrew after conducting land leveling.
Access restrictions continue to be enforced on fishing areas beyond three nautical miles from the shore. In five separate incidents this week, Israeli naval forces opened fire towards Palestinian fishing boats, resulting in no injures.
Tunnels Continue to Claim Lives; Three Workers Injured
In three separate incidents this week, three Palestinian workers were injured while working inside tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border, including two workers injured while transporting construction materials and another one by electrocution. Also, the Egyptian border police located and sealed off four tunnels. Since the beginning of 2011, two Palestinians have been killed and eight others have been injured in such incidents. In 2010, 46 Palestinians were killed and 89 others injured in various tunnel-related incidents, including air strikes, tunnel collapses and electrocution. Tunnel activity has declined since the Israeli decision to ease the blockade on 20 June 2010; however tunnels are still the main source for a number of goods that continue to be prohibited through the official crossings with Israel, primarily building materials.
Wheat imports: Major Mills Able to Resume Normal Operations
Karni Crossing was opened for four days during the week (21, 23, 24 and 25 January), allowing the entry of 8,852 tonnes of wheat. As a result, the seven major mills in Gaza resumed normal operations. As of 25 January, wheat stocks inside Gaza are projected to last 15 days, up from 4.5 days during the previous week.
Wheat reserves began to decline following the resumption of the import of gravel for international projects through the conveyor belt at Karni Crossing in October 2010, thus reducing the time allocated for the transfer of wheat, from two to one day a week.
During 2010, the monthly average of wheat delivered was 9,600 tonnes, only 60 percent of the estimated monthly needs of wheat (16,000). This depleted reserves at Gazan mills, which normally maintain a 30 days reserve. The Israeli authorities have indicated that the Karni Crossing will shut down permanently in the coming weeks. An alternative facility is currently under construction at Kerem Shalom Crossing, to be used for the transfer of bulk materials (primarily aggregate and grains). In response to concerns expressed regarding additional gaps caused by the closure of Karni while facilities in Kerem Shalom have yet to be completed, Israeli authorities have pledged to find a solution which avoids further gaps in the supply of goods to Gaza. OCHA will continue to monitor this situation.
Overall this week, between 16 and 22 January, a total of 785 truckloads entered the Gaza Strip, 16 percent below the weekly average of 938 truckloads since the Israeli announcement to ease the blockade on 20 June 2010. This week’s figure represents approximately 28 percent of the weekly average of imports recorded before the imposition of the blockade in June 2007. Food items made up around 48 percent of the imports, compared to less than 20 percent prior to the blockade.
UNRWA reported that two of its 23 approved building projects have stopped as a result of the lack of gravel, which has not entered for the last two weeks.
Exports remained limited to few shipments of strawberries and cut flowers. Since the beginning of the season, from 28 November until 22 January, a total of 178 truckloads of strawberries (300 tonnes), cut flowers (2.75 millions stems), and sweet peppers (one truckload carrying one tonne) have been allowed to leave Gaza. The 8 December 2010 announcement by the Israeli authorities to allow additional types of exports (e.g. agricultural products, furniture and textiles) from Gaza remains unimplemented. Since the imposition of the blockade in June 2007, only 438 truckloads of exports (strawberries and cut flowers) have left Gaza, compared to a monthly average of 1,086 in the first five months of 2007.
Limited Shipments of Medical Supplies Entered
Daily Power Cuts Remain Up to 6 hours; Cooking Gas Shortages Continue
For the second consecutive week, no industrial fuel deliveries were requested by the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) Authority from Israel. Industrial fuel has been replaced by diesel fuel (normally used for cars), brought from Egypt through the tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border, and purchased at a lower price than industrial fuel. In the last five weeks, the GPP has continued operating two turbines, producing a total of 60 megawatts (MW) of electricity, up from 30 MW produced in previous months. The total provision of electricity throughout the Gaza Strip is less than 200 MW (including electricity purchased from Israel (120 MW) and Egypt (17 MW)); i.e. about 30 percent below the estimated daily needs. The majority of the population continues to experience power cuts of 4 to 6 hours a day, down from 8 to 12 hours per day during past months. According to some media reports this week, Israel is considering disconnecting the Gaza Strip from Israel's water and electricity grid.
This week, Gaza received reduced amounts of cooking gas (421 tonnes), estimated at only 35 percent of the required weekly amount of 1,200. These amounts are the lowest weekly quantities recorded in the last two months. According to the Gas Stations Owners Association, due to increased winter demand, a rationing scheme introduced in November 2008 remains in place, with less than 10 out of 28 cooking gas stations partially operated at any given time and priority given to hospitals and bakeries. The primary reason for cooking gas shortages remains the limited capacity of the Kerem Shalom crossing, which lacks a storage facility on the Palestinian side; such a facility existed at the Nahal Oz crossing, which was closed by the Israeli authorities at the beginning of 2010.