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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
3 March 2014

Key issues

Israeli forces kill a man in the West Bank and a woman near the fence in Gaza Strip, and injure 53 other civilians in the oPt.

Four Palestinian families self-demolish their homes in East Jerusalem after receiving demolition orders.

The Gaza Power Plant is at risk of shutting down again due to imminent depletion of its fuel reserves.


One Palestinian killed in a military operation; subsequent clashes result in multiple injuries

During a military operation carried out on 27 February in Birzeit town (Ramallah), Israeli forces shelled the house of a 24-year-old Palestinian man, who refused to surrender killing him. No exchange of fire was reported. Military sources said to the Israeli media that the man planned to commit an attack against Israelis. Six Palestinians from the village, including four children, were injured in clashes that erupted during the operation, and another two were arrested. The shelled house has sustained severe damage. The incident triggered widespread clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian stone throwers in the Ramallah governorate during the following day, resulting in the injury of 16 Palestinians, including nine children; 11 of these injuries were hit with live ammunition and the rest with rubber-coated metal bullets.

Earlier in the week, on 25 February, Israeli forces raided the yards of the Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in East Jerusalem, and clashed with a group of Palestinians, injuring 12 of them. According to local media sources the people had spent the previous night inside the compound protesting the Israeli authorities’ intention to hand over the administration of an archeological site adjacent to the compound to an Israeli settler organization.

Another 16 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces during various clashes in other areas across the West Bank, including four in Bi’lin village (Ramallah) during the weekly demonstration against the construction of the Barrier on the village’s land and five in Nablus governorate during search-and-arrest operations, and during clashes that erupted
when a group of Israelis escorted by Israeli forces entered Nablus city to pray in the Joseph Shrine, among others.

On multiple occasions this week, Israeli forces raided two secondary schools in Ya’bad (Jenin) and As Sawiya (Nablus), and fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs around and inside the schools’ compounds. This included attempting to break into classrooms, assaulting teachers, and arresting one student from As Sawiya school. These incidents occurred allegedly after students threw stones or Molotov cocktails at Israeli military jeeps. At least three similar raids were recorded last week in Burin secondary school (Nablus), and resulted in the injury of a student and a teacher.

Four Palestinian farmers and herders injured by Israeli settlers During the week, there were several incidents of attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinian farmers and herders; two of which resulted in the injury of four Palestinians. The first incident took place on 28 February, when a group of masked and armed Israeli settlers, reportedly arriving from the direction of Yitzhar settlement, physically assaulted and beat with iron pipes two Palestinian farmers who were working their land next to Huwwara village (Nablus). On the following day, a 41-year-old Palestinian and his 6-year-old son, were stoned and hit with sticks by settlers from the same settlement while grazing their sheep in Einabus village.

On 2 March, 155 olive seedlings owned by a Palestinian farmer from Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya) were found uprooted or cut down allegedly by Israeli settlers from the adjacent Qedumim settlement.

In the village of Silwad (Ramallah), Israeli settlers set an uninhabited Palestinian house on fire and sprayed anti-Arab slogans on a wall in the area, on 28 February.

Also this week, Israeli settlers bulldozed a piece of land privately owned by a Palestinian family from Jalud village (Nablus) near the Shvut Rahel settlement outpost, to which they have been denied access since the establishment of the outpost in 1991. Local sources indicated that the land leveling is aimed for expansion of the outpost on a private Palestinian land.

The establishment and expansion of Israeli settlement outposts on Jalud’s land has encroached onto a significant part of the villages’ land in Area C. In recent years, the main modality of expansion of the six settlement outposts has been the takeover and subsequent cultivation of Palestinian land. Moreover, systematic attacks and intimidation by residents of these outposts have resulted in a gradual reduction in Palestinian farmers’ access to land that has not been expropriated or taken over.

According to Israeli media sources, on 26 February, three Israeli settlers were injured as a result of a Molotov cocktail thrown by Palestinians at the bus in which they were travelling, on a road between Osarin and Beita villages (Nablus). The following day, Israeli forces carried multiple search-and- arrest operations in the aforementioned villages. In one of the incidents, in Osarin, Israeli forces physically assaulted and injured a 24-year-old Palestinian during clashes that erupted over the course of the operation, and detained 17 Palestinians, including two 16-year-old boys. Another 17-year old boy was arrested.

Four Palestinian families self-demolished their homes in East Jerusalem

This week, four Palestinian families demolished their own homes, or structures added to them, in different areas in East Jerusalem (Shu’fat, Jabal Al Mukabbir, Beit Hanina, and At Tur), after receiving demolition orders from the Israeli authorities on the grounds that the structures lacked building permits. A total of 13 people, including at least seven children were displaced, and 19 others including ten children were affected as a result.

The phenomenon of self-demolition has become widespread, particularly among Palestinians in East Jerusalem, as a means to avoid payment of high fines that Israeli authorities would alternatively impose on them, in addition to the demolition of the home. During 2013, 16 Palestinian structures were self-demolished in East Jerusalem. It is almost impossible for Palestinians in East Jerusalem to obtain building permits due to inadequate planning, alongside extensive allocation of land for Israeli settlements.

Also during the week, Israeli authorities handed at least ten new demolition and stop-work orders against Palestinian residential and livelihood structures built without Israeli-issued building permits in Area C in Nablus, Jenin, Jerusalem and Tubas governorates.

Forty-four (44) Palestinian families (260 people, including 130 children) from three Jordan Valley herding communities in the Tubas governorate were forcibly evacuated or confined to their homes to make way for Israeli military training carried around their residences, on 26 and 27 February. During the trainings, the Israeli army fired live ammunitions and used tanks, reportedly causing panic among the residents, especially among children. A fourth affected community in the area (Al Aqaba village) reported that Israeli forces damaged their agricultural fields during the training.


Increase in shooting incidents in the ARA: one woman killed

The tense situation recorded since mid-December 2013 in the Access Restricted Area (ARA) along the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip continued during the week. On 28 February, Israeli forces shot and injured a 57-year-old mentally ill woman, who approached the fence in Khuza’a area, east of Khan Younis. According to Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, the woman bled to death after several hours, as rescue teams faced difficulties locating her. Later on the same day, Israeli forces shot and injured a 19-year-old civilian man east of Jabaliya, who reportedly entered the ARA to collect gravel. On several other occasions during the week, Israeli forces opened “warning fire” with live ammunition at other people present in the ARA, including farmers and people collecting gravel, forcing people to leave without causing injuries. In one incident, Israeli forces arrested three civilians who tried to cross into Israel, reportedly seeking work, after opening warning fire at them.

Since the beginning of the year, four civilians including a child were killed, and another 56 including seven children were injured in the ARA along the fence by Israeli forces. This week, the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem raised concerns about evidence indicating the use of opening fire regulations that “permit the use of live fire even in cases which pose no mortal danger to members of the security forces”.

Similarly, on at least four occasions, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats approaching or exceeding the Israeli-imposed six-nautical-mile fishing limit, forcing them back to the shore; no casualties or damage was reported.

Also this week, on 3 March, a Palestinian child and a woman were injured during an Israeli air strike targeting members of a Palestinian armed group east of Beit Hanoun, during which two suspected members of the armed group were killed. According to the military, the group was about to launch a rocket towards Israel. During the week, a few rockets were shot towards southern Israel. Most of them fell short in Gaza, causing no injuries or damages.

Rafah Crossing update

Rafah Crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt opened on two consecutive days this week, starting on 25 February, allowing the entry of 1,072 people, mainly pilgrims returning from Mecca. By contrast, only as few as five people with exceptional conditions were allowed to depart to Egypt this week. During February, the Rafah Crossing operated on 10 days only, seven of which were dedicated for the crossing of pilgrims. The crossing was last opened for regular travelers on 6 February. About 6,000 people are registered and waiting to travel to Egypt and elsewhere.

Prior to July 2013, Rafah functioned as the primary exit and entry point to the Gaza Strip for Palestinians, due to the long-standing restrictions imposed by Israel on movement via Erez Crossing; an average of 1,860 people crossed Rafah in both directions per day during the first half of 2013.

Gaza Power Plant at risk of shutting down again

FBetween 25 February and 2 March, some 1.7 million liters of fuel funded by the Government of Qatar, were imported from Israel through Kerem Shalom crossing for the Gaza Power Plant (GPP). This represents only 40 percent of the required amounts per week to operate the GPP at full capacity (4.2 million liters). The Gaza Energy Authority estimated that the fuel reserves will be depleted around 10-12 March, without alternative future funding prospects in sight. The power outage average is expected to increase to up to 16 hours per day (currently 12 hours) if the GPP shuts down again.

Prior to July 2013, about 400,000 liters of diesel were transferred to the GPP per day through the illegal tunnels under the Gaza Strip-Egypt border, with over eight million liters of fuel reserves available. The destruction of the vast majority of the tunnels led to severe shortages in fuel available for the GPP, which decreased its operational capacity and increased electricity outages up to 18 hours per day. This impacted the provision of basic services, including health, water and sanitation, among others.

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