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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
5 February 2013

Key issues

In the West Bank, 20 Palestinians, including two children, were injured during violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces and some Israeli settlers, during the forced evacuation of a protest tent compound in Burin village (Nablus).
In the Gaza Strip, a family of six, including four children, died when their home caught fire from a candle lit during a power outage.1


    Several Palestinians injured during the forcible evacuation of a protest camp

    On 2 February, violent clashes that erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces and some Israeli settlers, during the forced evacuation of a tent compound in Burin village (Nablus), resulted in the injury of 20 Palestinians, including an infant (tear gas inhalation) and a 17 year old youth who was injured by live ammunition fired by an Israeli settler. The compound (named “Al Manatir”) was erected by Palestinian activists in the Area B section of the village in protest against restrictions on their freedom of movement and at settler violence. The forced evacuation took place on grounds that the site was declared a closed military area. Following the evacuation, Israeli civilians dismantled the remaining tents and took them and other items belonging to the Palestinian activists away; the identity or affiliation of these civilians remain unclear. This is the third protest compound of this kind established by Palestinians activists and dismantled by Israeli forces since the beginning of 2013.

    Additional clashes erupted on the same day in the nearby village of ‘Urif (Nablus) during a search-and-arrest operation where six Palestinians were injured.

    Settler attacks undermine Palestinian livelihoods

    This week, OCHA recorded five settler-related incidents that resulted in injury to Palestinians or damage to their property; this is consistent with the weekly average of such incidents recorded in 2012.

    As reported above, during the forced evacuation in Burin village, an Israeli settler (reportedly from Bracha settlement) shot and injured a Palestinian youth. As the clashes between the Israeli forces and the Palestinians were ongoing, Israeli settlers from Yitzhar raided another area of Burin village, clashed with the residents and cut down over 50 trees. Earlier in the week (29 January), settlers from Yitzhar entered the nearby village of ‘Urif in Nablus and hurled stones at the secondary school; the incident ended without casualties or damage.

    Also in Burin village on 4 February, Israeli settlers from Bracha fenced in a privately owned Palestinian parcel of land, to which Palestinian access is restricted by Israeli forces, and commenced cultivation. The owners petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice demanding the evacuation of the settlers.

    In two separate incidents during the week, Israeli settlers entered the villages of Deir Jrir (Ramallah) and Al Khader (Bethlehem), sprayed “price tag” graffiti on the walls of several Palestinian houses and in Al Khader they also set fire to two cars. In another incident on 1 February in the Old City of East Jerusalem, Israeli settlers allegedly punctured the tires of 19 Palestinian vehicles.

    A number of additional incidents involving Israeli settlers, which resulted in no casualties or property damage were also reported during the week. In one such incident, two Palestinian herders were threatened by settlers while grazing their sheep at the Al Auja water spring near Jericho.

    Also this week, raw sewage from Betar Illit settlement flooded 50 dunums of agricultural land in the nearby Wadi Fukin village (Bethlehem). According to the Wadi Fukin village council, the Israeli Environmental Protection Ministry has recently warned the settlement’s local council Israeli-issued building permits; five families were displaced as a result. These demolitions bring the total number of structures demolished in East Jerusalem since the beginning of 2013 to 20, including seven residences, and the number of people displaced to 41, including 22 children.

    In the first incident, on 5 February the Jerusalem Municipality demolished a two-storey building containing four apartments (220m² each) in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of East Jerusalem, resulting in the displacement of 27 people, including 13 children. On the same day in another location in Beit Hanina, a house (170 m²) was demolished, displacing a family of six people, including four children.

    While no demolitions were carried out in Area C of the West Bank this week, demolition and stop-work orders were issued against at least 30 residential structures in the communities of Jaba’ and ‘Anata (Jerusalem), Dura and Tuba (South Hebron), and Sabastiya (Nablus).


    Two children injured by IDF fire in the vicinity of the fence

    Live fire incidents by Israeli forces in areas along the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip continued this week. In one incident on 4 February, Israeli forces shot and injured two Palestinian children (aged 15 and 16) who were present with a group of people in an area at approximately 100 meters from the fence. Three other incidents involving warning shots by Israeli forces at farmers, workers collecting scrap metal and other civilians present near the fence were reported this week but did not result in any injuries.

    Following the 21 November 2012 ceasefire agreement, Israeli forces have indicated that they will allow Palestinian access into areas up to 100 meters from the fence, on foot only, and up to 300 meters with vehicles. Since that date, four Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli forces, and 97 others injured, including 21 children, in incidents near the fence; most of the casualties (fatalities and injuries) occurred in areas up to 100 meters from the fence.

    Additionally, this week Israeli forces detained 11 Palestinian civilians, including two children, after reportedly spotting them attempting to illegally cross the fence into Israel; two other Palestinians holding exit permits were arrested at the Erez crossing though the reasons are as yet unclear. During the reporting period Israeli forces undertook a land leveling operation a few hundred meters inside Gaza Strip, east of the Johr Edik area.

    One killed in a tunnel related incidents

    On 3 February, one Palestinian worker was killed when a tunnel under the Gaza - Egypt border collapsed. Since the beginning of 2013, six workers have been killed and 11 others injured in tunnel collapses. In 2012, at least eight workers were killed and 25 others injured in tunnel-related incidents. On 1 February, the Ministry of Interior and National Security in the Gaza Strip restricted access to the tunnels area due to heavy rainfall and the subsequent unsafe conditions prevailing there.

    Tunnels, which are poorly built, remain the primary source for the transfer of a wide variety of goods into the Gaza Strip. This includes construction materials, for which entry via Israeli-controlled crossings remains restricted, as well as fuel, which is cheaper to purchase from Egypt via the tunnels.

    Please note that the figures in this report may be subject to change upon receipt of additional information.

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