On 30 July, Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian at a checkpoint outside East Jerusalem. This is the first conflict-related Palestinian fatality that has occurred in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in four months.
The Israeli authorities demolished three Palestinian-owned structures, a significant decline compared to the weekly average of structures that have been demolished since the beginning of the year (13). Another community in south Hebron is at risk of forced displacement.
A steady improvement in the electricity situation continues, with power cuts throughout the Gaza Strip reduced from 12 (in previous weeks) to between eight to ten hours per day.
One Palestinian killed in East Jerusalem; settler violence continues
In an incident that occurred in the early hours of 30 July, Israeli forces staffing Az Za’ayyem checkpoint leading to East Jerusalem opened fire at a Palestinian vehicle transporting a group of Palestinian workers without permits. As a result, a 48-year-old Palestinian man was killed and three other Palestinians were injured. According to the Israeli DCL, Israeli forces at the checkpoint opened fire at the vehicle since the driver refused to stop when ordered to do so. According to eyewitness reports provided to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Israeli forces “could have used less lethal force” by surrounding the vehicle and arresting the passengers. According to Israeli media, an Israeli policeman was also lightly injured by shrapnel during the incident.
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces
Killed this week: 1
Killed in 2012: 4
Injured this week: 61; 30 in demonstrations
Injured in 2012: 1,935
2012 weekly average of injured: 65
2011 weekly average of injured: 28
Search and arrest operations by Israeli forces this week: 64
Of this week’s remaining injuries, 28 Palestinians were injured during a weekly demonstration in Kafr Qaddum village (Qalqiliya) against the prohibition on the use of the main road connecting the village to Nablus City, and to agricultural land in the vicinity of the nearby Qedumim settlement. In addition, two Palestinians were injured during a weekly protest against the expansion of Hallamish settlement on Nabi Saleh village’s land in the Ramallah governorate. Twenty-six other Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli forces during search-and-arrest operations, including 21 people injured in Nablus City, three in Nabi Saleh (Ramallah), and the remaining two in Beit Ummar and Khirsa villages (both in Hebron). In the Nablus City incident, Israeli forces arrested four Palestinians and caused damage to one house, displacing its residents (5).
Also this week, a 16-year-old boy was physically assaulted and injured in an incident with Israeli forces stationed at a checkpoint that leads to Ash Shuhada Street (closed since 2000) inside the Old City of Hebron, which is the main road leading to the Al Ibrahimi Mosque (the Cave of the Patriarchs).
This week, Israeli settlers perpetrated seven attacks against Palestinians and their property. In three separate incidents, three Palestinians were injured when settlers threw stones at Palestinian vehicles driving near Dolev settlement (Ramallah); sprayed pepper gas at a man inside the Old City of Hebron; and physically assaulted a shepherd near Khirbet Twanin community (Hebron).
Settler-related incidents resulting in injuries or property damage:
This week: 7
2012 weekly average: 6
2011 weekly average: 8
Palestinians injuries by settler violence:
This week: 3
Injured in 2012: 80
2011 weekly average: 4
Israeli settlers injured by Palestinians:
This week: 0
Injured in 2012: 24
Injured in 2011: 37
In a number of additional incidents, Israeli settlers cut down or uprooted around 90 olive trees and saplings, including 40 saplings belonging to Ar Rihiya community (Hebron), 35 trees in Nabi Saleh village (Ramallah) and seven in Husan village (Bethlehem). In the Ar Rihiya community, settlers also damaged a fence surrounding 12 dunums of land and partially damaged a water cistern. In addition, Israeli settlers from an outpost near Efrata settlement (Bethlehem) installed ten mobile houses on Palestinian-owned land belonging to Al Khader village.
Significant decline in demolitions; another community at risk of forced displacement
This week’s number of structures demolished by the Israeli authorities (3) was well below the weekly average of demolitions due to a lack of building permits that have taken place since the beginning of the year (13). The Israeli authorities demolished two animal structures in Bani Na’im village (Hebron), affecting the livelihoods of around 50 people, including 35 children, and a dirt road connecting the communities of Um Lasafa and Ad Deirat that facilitates access for 35 families.
In addition, a room, which was an extension to a house, was demolished by its owner in the Silwan nieghbourhood of East Jerusalem after the owner received a verbal demolition order.
Palestinian-owned structures demolished in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem
Demolished in 2012: 395
Of which residences: 120
People displaced in 2012: 615
2012 vs. 2011 demolitions (weekly av.): 13 vs. 12
2012 vs. 2011 people displaced (weekly av.): 21 vs. 21
Israeli authorities also confiscated two tractors and a water tank from the Bedouin community of Hammamat al Maleh (Jordan Valley).
Also this week, on 30 July the High Court of Justice (HCJ) held a hearing in response to a petition submitted by the residents of Khirbet Zanuta community (estimated population: 180) in south Hebron, against the Israeli authorities’ decision to evict the community. The court gave the State of Israel 30 days to find a solution for the residents. Similarly, last week, the Israeli Minister of Defense submitted to the HCJ his ministry’s position on a petition against the eviction of eight communities in south Hebron, located in an area designated as a “firing zone”.
In addition, the Israeli authorities delivered around 20 stop-work orders against residences, animal shelters and portable latrines in Hammamat el Maleh al Meita and Hammamat el Maleh in the Jordan Valley. On 26 July, in Kafr Qaddum village (Qalqiliya), Israeli forces issued an evacuation order against 200 dunums, which entails the uprooting of 80 olive trees as the land is designated by the Israeli army as “state land”. The order stated that the area, reportedly owned by a family of 11, should be evacuated within 45 days.
Update on access to East Jerusalem on the second Ramadan Friday prayer; new closures installed in south Hebron
On the second Friday of Ramadan (27 July), the Israeli authorities applied the same age criteria used last week to regulate access of West Bank ID holders to Friday prayers in Al Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem. Men and women over the age of 40 and children under 12 were allowed to enter East Jerusalem without permits, while males and females between the ages of 12 and 40 were still required to obtain permits. This represents an expansion of the categories of people exempted from the permit requirement compared to last year, which included men over 50 and women over 45. The population of the Gaza Strip remains barred from entering East Jerusalem.
According to the Israeli authorities, approximately 156,810 Palestinians entered East Jerusalem on 27 July through four authorized checkpoints (Qalandiya, Gilo, Shu’fat Camp and Az Zeitoun) along the Barrier. This is an increase compared to the first Friday, when around 25,000 crossed into East Jerusalem. Access through the checkpoints was reportedly smooth, with few access-related incidents occurring. Flying checkpoints were deployed by Israeli forces on roads leading to East Jerusalem.
Also last week, in south Hebron the Israeli authorities closed three dirt roads with earthmounds, forcing around 620 residents of the villages of Imneizil, Haribat an Nabi, Khirbet al Kharaba and Khirbet Ghuwein al Fauqa to travel an additional ten kilometers to reach As Samu’ town, their main economic and services hub.
One farmer injured
While the overall situation inside the Gaza Strip remains relatively calm, with no reports of armed clashes or air strikes, on 25 July Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian farmer near the fence separating Gaza and Israel in the context of restrictions on access near the fence. Also near the fence, Israeli forces conducted at least two incursions inside the Gaza Strip, withdrawing after leveling land. Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access beyond three nautical miles from the shore also continued. In at least three incidents, Israeli navy opened warning fire at Palestinian fishing boats, forcing them ashore. No injuries or damage were reported.
During the same period, Palestinian armed factions in Gaza fired a number of projectiles at Israeli military bases at the fence in southern Israel. An Israeli woman was injured in Sderot town (southern Israel) when she fell while seeking shelter following a warning siren.
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip:
Killed this week: 0
Killed in 2012: 46
Injured this week: 1
Injured in 2012: 242
2012 weekly average of injured: 8
2011 weekly average of injured: 9
Israeli casualties by Palestinian fire from Gaza
Injured this week: 0
Killed in 2012: 1
Injured in 2012: 18
A steady improvement in power production continues
Since 26 July, the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) has been operating on four turbines for the first time since 2006, following the installation, last week,of electrical transformers , delivered by the UN Development Programme/Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (UNDP/ PAPP) in April this year. These replace the turbines destroyed by an Israeli air strike in 2006. This enabled an increase in electricity production from 80 megawatts (MW) during the day to 110 MW at night (compared to 50 MW and 80 MW respectively, the previous week and 30 MW and 55 MW respectively, since the onset of the electricity crisis in February 2012). Despite this improvement, electricity cuts throughout the Gaza Strip have remained as high as eight-ten hours per day - below the 12 hours per day reported during the previous months.
The newly installed transformers should enable the GPP to raise its operating capacity to around 120 MW (up from 80 MW), should more fuel be delivered to the GPP. To operate at full capacity The GPP needs over 3.5 million liters of fuel a week. However, in the last few weeks it received less than 2.2 million liters of fuel a week from two sources: a donation from Qatar, and transfer through the tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border.
Fuel supplied through the tunnels to the private sector, including petrol stations, has reportedly increased by up to 60 percent of the amount (800,000 – one million liters of diesel and benzene) that entered regularly each day prior to the onset of fuel crisis in December 2011.
The fuel and electricity shortages continue to disrupt the daily life of around 1.6 million Gazans as well as the delivery of public services, including hospitals and water and wastewater treatment plants, further exacerbating difficult conditions inside the Gaza Strip, principally caused by the Israeli blockade, which has been in place for over five years.
Gaza Land authority demolishes around 200 residences to reclaim “State Land”
On 8 July, the Gaza authorities demolished approximately 200 residential structures (180 of which belonging to one clan), in the Abu ‘Amrah residential area in the Gaza City, reportedly due to its location on “state land”. Some of the affected families were offered modest compensation, while the majority of the families have remained displaced. Further assessments of the needs of the displaced families are underway.
Movement of goods (Kerem Shalom Crossing)
Weekly average of truckloads (TL) entered this week: 1,060