10 injured by Israeli forces
This week, Israeli forces injured ten Palestinians in various incidents throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Thus far in 2011, 850 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces, around half of them during protests. This is around one-quarter above the number of injuries reported during the equivalent period in 2010.
Israeli forces clashed with Palestinians in a number of protests, including three separate protests against settler violence in ‘Iraq Burin village in the Nablus governorate, against the expansion of Hallamish settlement in the Ramallah governorate, and against the continued closure of the main entrance of Kafr Qaddum village in the Qalqiliya governorate. As a result, seven Palestinians were injured. In the latter demonstration, 140 olive trees were damaged by tear gas canisters fired by Israeli forces.
Additionally, in two separate incidents in the Nablus governorate, one Palestinian was injured when Israeli forces intervened in a clash between Palestinian firefighters and Israeli settlers in the village of Burin (also reported below), and another was injured when he clashed with Israeli forces at ‘Awarta checkpoint, at the southern entrance to Nablus City.
In East Jerusalem, a 16-year-old boy sustained injuries by live ammunition from Israeli forces during a stone-throwing incident at Shu’fat checkpoint, located at the main entrance of Shu’fat refugee camp. In addition, two Palestinians were injured during a search-and-arrest operation in Jabal al Mukaber village.
Overall this week, Israeli forces conducted over 70 search-and-arrest operations throughout the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, a decline compared to the weekly average of such operations since the beginning of 2011 (around 90).
Settler violence leaves ten injured and hundreds of plants damaged
During the reporting period, OCHA documented eight settler attacks that resulted in ten Palestinian injuries and damage to at least 1,500 olive trees and grapes and cucumber vines. Thus far in 2011, OCHA has recorded 226 settler-related incidents that resulted in Palestinian injuries and damage to property, an increase of around 57 per cent compared to the same period of 2010. Two other incidents led to the injury of two settlers by Palestinians.
In two separate incidents in the Nablus governorate, Israeli settlers from Yitzhar settlement clashed with Palestinians in the villages of Burin and Madama, resulting in the injury of two Palestinians, including one firefighter. The clashes erupted after the settlers set fire to land, damaging 500 olive trees (in Burin) and 200 dunums of uncultivated land (in Madama). In another incident near Yitzhar settlement, Israeli settlers physically assaulted and injured two Palestinians. Also, settlers threw stones at Palestinian farmers who were working their land near Suseya settlement, injuring five of them, two of whom were women.
In East Jerusalem, a six year-old girl and a settler were injured in a clash that erupted between settlers and residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood. Another Palestinian boy, aged nine, was injured when a settler vehicle ran over him on Road 90 near Marj Na’ja village (Jericho governorate).
In addition, a settler was injured during confrontations between Palestinian farmers and settlers in Khallet al Fahm village (Bethlehem governorate), while settlers were planting olive trees on Palestinian land.
In three separate incidents, Israeli settlers set fire to olive trees in the villages of ‘Aqraba village (Nablus governorate) and Mikhmas (Jerusalem governorate), damaging around 440 of them, and uprooted over 570 cucumber and grape vines in Khallet Zakariya (Bethlehem governorate). Since the beginning of the year, OCHA has documented 37 settler-related incidents involving mainly uprooting and setting fire to agricultural produce, damaging around 4,700 trees.
Two structures demolished in Area C
This week, the Israeli authorities demolished two structures, including a house and a cistern, in the villages of Khallet Zakariya and Al Khader (Bethlehem governorate), respectively, located in Area C of the West Bank due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits. As a result, a family comprising 14 people was displaced. These demolitions follow a spike in demolitions over the past three weeks, when an average of 44 demolitions took place weekly. Since the beginning of 2011, 354 Palestinian-owned structures have been demolished in East Jerusalem and Area C, displacing 705 people. This represents more than three times the number of demolitions compared to the equivalent period in 2010. More people have been displaced thus far in 2011 than in all of 2010 (606)
Also during the period, Israeli forces issued an order declaring 189 dunums of land belonging to 30 families in Qaryut village (Nablus governorate) as “State Land.” The order gave the families 45 days to object.
Two militants killed and another two injured in Israeli air strikes
After four weeks of calm inside the Gaza Strip, during which no casualties were reported, Israeli Air Force strikes killed two armed Palestinians and injured another two. An Israeli man was also injured. Since the beginning of 2011, 53 Palestinians (22 civilians) and two Israelis (one civilian) have been killed in the context of Israeli-Palestinian violence in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel, and 285 Palestinians (255 civilians), and ten Israelis (five civilians) have been injured. A total of 35 Palestinians were killed and 130 others were injured in the same period in 2010.
On 5 July, the Israeli Air Force targeted a group of armed Palestinians near Al Maghazi refugee camp, approximately 600 meters from the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip, killing two men and injuring another. The two fatalities are the first to take place since late May 2011. The same day, another air strike hit a grain storage, east of Gaza City, injuring an armed Palestinian and causing some damage to the building and to a number of nearby houses. Also on 5 July, the Israeli army reported that an Israeli driver of an army vehicle was shot and injured by armed Palestinians on the Israeli side of the fence. Also during the period, Palestinian armed factions fired two rockets from Gaza, one of which landed in an open field in southern Israel and the other dropped short inside Gaza. No injures or damage to property were reported.
Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to areas up to 1,500 meters from the fence continue to affect and disrupt the lives of thousands of Palestinians living inside or near the restricted areas. In one incident, Israeli forces opened fire towards Palestinian farmers working on their land, forcing them to leave the area. Similar restrictions are enforced on access to fishing zones beyond three nautical miles from the shore. In two incidents, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats, damaging one boat.
Movement through Rafah Crossing remains limited
During the reporting period, a daily average of 488 people left Gaza to Egypt and another 796 entered Gaza per day, with around 100 denied entry to Egypt for unclear reasons. Passing into Egypt through the crossing remains limited to specific categories of people, including patients, students, foreign passport holders and those with visas to other countries. According to the Border and Crossing authorities in Gaza, due to the ongoing travel limitations, there is now a backlog of approximately 20,000 Gazans registered and waiting to travel through the crossing in the coming months. The local authorities in Gaza announced that 4.5 million dollars are allocated to upgrade the Rafah Crossing on the Palestinian side, with upgrading works to start next week.
Gaza crossings with Israel; 13 new humanitarian construction
A total of 951 truckloads of goods entered Gaza this week (26 June-2 July), slightly above the weekly average of truckloads that has entered since the beginning of the year (922). This weekʹs figure, however, represents only 34 per cent of the weekly average of truckloads that entered Gaza during the first five months of 2007, prior to the imposition of the blockade. Most goods that enter Gaza continue to be consumer products, with food constituting around 52 per cent of imports, compared to less than 20 percent before the blockade.
Around 95 truckloads carrying over 6,570 tonnes of gravel entered through the new facility recently opened at the Kerem Shalom Crossing. Entry of basic construction materials, including aggregates, cement and steel bars, remains restricted to a limited number of international humanitarian projects approved by Israel. Restricted construction materials continue to be transferred into Gaza in considerable quantities via tunnels under the border with Egypt.
Following the approval of 20 new humanitarian projects by the Israeli authorities last week, further approvals were granted for another 13 projects this week. These included two housing projects and urban gardens run by USAID, five projects for road construction and neighbourhood development by UNDP, and six projects, including the construction of classrooms for existing schools and a medical center, by UNRWA.