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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
4 September 2015

Reporting period: 25 - 31 August 2015

Weekly Highlights

32 Palestinians, including six children, were injured across the West Bank in multiple clashes with Israeli forces. One of the largest clashes was recorded in the course of a search and arrest operation in the Jenin refugee camp (Jenin), which involved an exchange of fire between Israeli forces and armed Palestinians and resulted in the injury of 13 Palestinians and one soldier, reportedly by "friendly fire". Overall, Israeli forces carried out a total of 68 search and arrest operations, three of which involved violent clashes. Other Palestinian injuries were recorded during the weekly demonstrations in An Nabi Salih, Bil'in (both in Ramallah) and Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya); and during ad-hoc clashes near the Barrier in Adu Dis town (Jerusalem) and at the entrance of Silwad (Ramallah). Two Israeli border policemen were also injured in two separate incidents (stabbing and Molotov cocktail throwing) in East Jerusalem.

During the abovementioned military operation in Jenin refugee camp, Israeli forces destroyed a two-floor building located in Area A, home to one of the wanted Palestinians, displacing four people, including two children, and damaged another adjacent home. Since the beginning of 2014, Israeli forces destroyed at least thirteen homes over the course of military operation in the West Bank.

Additionally, the Israeli authorities demolished 30 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C and East Jerusalem for lack of Israeli-issued building permits, displacing 19 people and otherwise affecting at least 120 others. This brings the number of Palestinian structures demolished during August 2015 to 143, the highest such figure in five years. The largest demolition (22 structures) took place in the Palestinian Bedouin community of Ma'azi Jaba', which is one of the 46 communities in the central West Bank at risk of forcible transfer due to a "relocation" plan advanced by the Israeli authorities.

Around 100 Palestinians, half of them children, were displaced from their homes in Khirbet Ras al Ahmar in the northern Jordan Valley for six hours to make way for an Israeli military training exercise. This is the second instance since the beginning of the year that this herding community has been temporarily displaced. This practice negatively affects the livelihoods and access to services of already vulnerable communities, and often results in damage to their property.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces opened fire towards civilians in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and at sea, on at least six occasions. No casualties were reported. On two occasions, Israeli forces entered and leveled land inside Gaza, forcing farmers to flee the area. Israeli forces also arrested four Palestinians at the Erez Crossing who arrived to the crossing after receiving permits to travel into the West Bank, and another three while trying to smuggle themselves into Israel.

Members of armed groups in Gaza fired at least two rockets, one of which landed in southern Israel and the other dropped short inside Gaza; no injuries or damage were reported. In response, the Israeli air force attacked and destroyed/damaged a military facility with no casualties reported.

For five days during the week, Israeli forces prevented Palestinians from accessing the Al Aqsa Mosque Compound; women were not allowed to enter in the morning hours until 11:00am, and men were ordered not to stay more than one hour inside the compound, in order to facilitate and secure the entry of Israeli groups into the compound. This prevented over 500 students from accessing three schools operating inside Al Aqsa Mosque compound, as well as the conduct of regular prayers.

Restrictions on Palestinian access to Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in 2014 led to a marked escalation in confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinians in East Jerusalem, alongside a sharp rise in casualties.

One Israeli settler attack resulting in damage to Palestinian property was recorded in Mazra'a Al Qibliya village (Ramallah) involving the setting of fire to a quarry truck belonging to a Palestinian from the village.

On 27 August, in the Silwan area of East Jerusalem, Israeli settlers moved into a building comprising twelve apartments after reportedly purchasing it from the Palestinian owner. All the Palestinian tenants of the building evacuated their homes in advance, except one family residing in the basement, who remained there. This is the sixth building in the Silwan neighborhood occupied by Israeli settlers since 2000. The settlements established in recent years in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem have been a constant source of tension and undermined the safety and freedom of movement of Palestinian residents.

At least one Israeli settler was injured by Palestinians, including a man shot when traveling near the JR junction (Qalqiliya).

The Rafah Crossing was closed in both directions by the Egyptian authorities during the week. The crossing has been continuously closed, including for humanitarian assistance, since 24 October 2014, except for 29 days of partial openings.

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