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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
23 January 2015

Key issues
Israeli forces kill one child and injure 25 Palestinians in the West Bank.
Four structures demolished in Area C due to lack of Israeli-issued permits.
Israeli settlers damaged 33 Palestinian-owned olive trees and saplings.
Gaza Power Plant resumes operation of third turbine following receipt of Qatari-funded fuel.


First fatality, a Palestinian boy, in 2015

On 14 January, near the Gush Etzion settlement area, Israeli forces shot with live ammunition and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian boy from Yatta (Hebron). According to the Israeli media, the incident occurred during a car-theft attempt, while the boy, together with another Palestinian, was escaping from a parking lot. The Israeli authorities reportedly opened an investigation into the case. This is the first Palestinian fatality recorded in the West Bank in 2015; in 2014, Israeli forces killed 56 West Bank Palestinians (including three in West Jerusalem), including 12 children, the largest fatality toll since 2007.

Also this week, Israeli forces injured 25 Palestinians, including ten children and three women, in various clashes across the West Bank, a marked decrease compared to a weekly average of 113 injuries during 2014.

Ten (40 percent of the injuries) of this week’s injuries occurred during clashes erupting in the context of three separate protests against the construction of the Barrier in Bil’in (Ramallah) and the longstanding closure of the entrance to Kafr Qaddum village (Qalqiliya), and of the road linking Surif with Al Jab’a villages (Hebron).

An additional ten injuries by Israeli forces took place in the context of clashes triggered by search and arrest operations in Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah and Hebron. One of the largest such clashes occurred on 13 January in Beit Ummar village, resulting in the injury of three children and a woman, and the arrest of 18 Palestinians, including three children. Overall, Israeli forces conducted 92 such operations during the week, compared to a weekly average of 75 during 2014.

The remaining injuries include four boys (between 16 and 17-years-old) shot in four separate incidents involving stone throwing at Israeli forces near the Beituniya checkpoint (Ramallah), Ayda Refugee Camp (Bethlehem); in Beit Ummar (Hebron), and in Silwan (East Jerusalem).

Also this week, Israeli forces sealed/welded two shops on Ash Shuhada Street in the Israeli controlled part of Hebron City (H2), in response to the alleged throwing of a Molotov cocktail from the shop; Palestinians have denied this accusation. Palestinian access to this street has been prohibited or restricted by the Israeli authorities since 2002 and most shops closed by military order, citing the need to protect the Israeli settlements established in this area.

Over 33 trees saplings and trees vandalized by Israeli settlers; decrease in incidents of Palestinian violence against settlers recorded

Five Israeli settler attacks were recorded this week, all of which resulted in damage to Palestinian property and none of them in casualties.

Two of these incidents involved vandalism against 33 olive trees and saplings, including 12 in Assirah al Qibliye village (Nablus) on 18 January, where price tag graffiti was sprayed on a donor-funded water tank, and 21 in Al Mughayyir village (Ramallah). The latter attack was allegedly perpetrated by settlers from the ‘Adei ‘Ad settlement outpost. Since 2010, over 13,000 trees and saplings have been uprooted and damaged on both Turmus’ayya and Al Mughayyir land by Israeli settlers.

In the same area, on 13 January, according to community sources in Turmus’ayya village (Ramallah), Israeli settlers from Shilo settlement entered a nearby agricultural farm and vandalized private property, including the main gate to the farm and furniture.

On 14 January, an Israeli settler ran over two sheep belonging to a Palestinian herder from the village of Salim (Nablus), who was herding sheep on land near the settlement of Elon Moreh. The herder filed a complaint claiming that the settler intentionally ran over the sheep while Israeli forces were present at the site of the incident.

Also this week, in the At Tur area of East Jerusalem, Israeli forces and settlers stormed and fired tear gas canisters in a Palestinian school, searching for children allegedly involved in stone throwing; no casualties or damage to property was reported.

According to Israeli media reports, at least three incidents involving stone throwing by Palestinians towards Israeli vehicles took place during the week in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; one of which resulted in the injury of an Israeli settler driving near the ‘Atarot junction on 16 January, and two which resulted in damage to a bus and a vehicle, travelling near ‘Anata (Jerusalem) and Sinjil (Ramallah) villages, respectively.

Four structures demolished in Area C

During the reporting period, Israeli authorities demolished four Palestinian structures in Area C of the West Bank and delivered 15 stop work orders, due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits. No demolitions were recorded during the reporting period in East Jerusalem.

On 14 January, Israeli authorities demolished three structures, including one uninhabited residential structure and two animal shelters, in the community of Maghayyir Al Dir Bedouin community (Ramallah). During the demolition, Israeli authorities seized 35 zinc panels. In total, 19 Palestinians (three families) were affected. On the same day in Deir Jarir village (Ramallah), Israeli authorities demolished a residential structure under construction, affecting a registered refugee family of four Palestinians.

On 19 January, in Khallet al Wardeh (Hebron), Israeli authorities dismantled and seized a barracks used as an animal shelter, affecting 51 Palestinians (6 families). The barracks was previously demolished in 2012 and subsequently rebuilt. Unlike demolitions, the seizure of structures built without permits is carried out without prior notice, denying affected families the possibility to appeal the action in Israeli courts; this practice has been on the rise since 2014.

Israeli authorities delivered 13 stop-work orders with a seven-day notice against donor-funded prefabricated, residential structures housing 13 families (60 Palestinians) in Tublaas community (Jerusalem) for being built without Israeli-issued permits in Area C. This is one of 46 Bedouin communities (approximately 7,000 people) in the central West Bank at risk of forcible transfer in the context of an Israeli “relocation” plan.

An additional stop work order was issued against a residential house, a fence, and agricultural structure in Shufa (Tulkarem) in addition to evacuation orders for six families to evacuate 100 dunums of land in Shufa and Kafa villages (Tulkarem), on the grounds that the areas are designated as “State land” Zone’.

On similar grounds, in Bethlehem governorate, Israeli forces demolished 30 dunums of cultivated land in Khirbet an Nahla on 15 January, and levelled three dunums of land located between Al Khader and Husan villages (Bethlehem), on 17 January, uprooting 185 saplings and demolishing a 250 meter retaining wall.


One civilian injured by Israeli forces in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA)
Incidents involving Israeli forces opening fire into the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and at sea have continued on a daily basis, with at least 19 such incidents reported during the week. In one incident on 16 January, Israeli forces positioned along Gaza’s perimeter fence east of Jabalia, opened fire towards a group of Palestinians who threw stones at them, injuring one Palestinian civilian. In another incident on 15 January, Israeli forces arrested three Palestinians, reportedly during an attempt to infiltrate into Israel. In at least three incidents, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats reportedly sailing within the Israeli declared six-Nautical-Mile (NM) fishing limit, forcing them ashore.

Restrictions imposed by Israel on access to land along Gaza’s perimeter fence and to fishing areas along Gaza’s coast undermine the security and livelihoods of Palestinians. These restrictions prevent access to large farming and fishing areas and their enforcement places civilians at serious physical risk.

The Gaza Power Plant (GPP) resumed operation of a third turbine

On 16 January, the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) operated the third turbine out of four, following the receipt of financial assistance from the government of Qatar for the purchase of fuel, increasing the production level to 90 megawatts. This is the first time in over 18 months that the GPP is able to reach this level of production, leading to a decrease in the daily scheduled power outages across the Gaza Strip from a high of 18 to 12 hours.

To run the three turbines the GPP requires over 450,000 liters per day. The operation at this level is challenged by the current shortage of fuel storage capacity, which is limited to less than 1.5million liters. Two large fuel tanks with capacity of 10 million liters each were destroyed by Israel during the July-August conflict. According to the Gaza energy authorities, it remains unclear whether the Palestinian Ministry of Finance will continue to exempt the GPP fuel from tax; the removal of this exemption will significantly increase the cost of fuel, further limiting the amount of fuel that could be purchased.

Power cuts continue to disrupt the routine provision of basic services, which are forced to depend on back-up generators, also run by fuel. On 14 January, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provided fuel for seven days to four main hospitals, including Shifa, Al Aqsa, Nasser and the European Gaza hospital, in order to support the operation of basic services in these facilities during the hours of the power cuts.

Israeli authorities halted the delivery of strawberries to the West Bank

On 6 January, the Israeli authorities banned the exit of strawberries from Gaza to the West Bank, claiming that some of previous deliveries were diverted into Israel without authorization. Gazan merchants have denied this claim. The Israeli authorities later agreed to allow one truck of strawberries per day (6-7 tons), into the West Bank; an arrangement which was refused by the Palestinian authorities.

The trade restriction will affect the profitability of Gaza’s strawberry production, especially considering that export season to European markets is about to conclude.

Between 6 November 2014 and 16 January 2015, a total of 120 truckloads were permitted entry into the West Bank in the context of relaxation measures implemented by the Israeli authorities following the ceasefire. Since the imposition of the blockade in June 2007, Israel had banned almost completely the exit of goods from Gaza to the West Bank and Israel, which are the main markets for Gaza products. According to Israeli media, in mid-October Israel announced plans to allow specific produce from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank to support Gaza’s economic situation. However, the Palestinian crossing coordination committee reported that a detailed operational framework for the transfer of goods has not been communicated.

Rafah crossing remained closed in both directions

The Rafah crossing has remained closed during the entire reporting period. The closure began on 24 October 2014, following an attack in the Sinai during which 30 Egyptian soldiers were killed. However, the crossing was exceptionally and partially opened for travel into Gaza between 26 November and 1 December, and in both directions between 21 and 23 December. During that time, according to the Director of Border Crossings in Gaza, some 1,516 people, mainly patients and students, left Gaza and a total of 4,078 returned. Around 17,000 registered people, including medical patients, waiting to exit Gaza, in addition to an estimated 37,000 others who wish to exit Gaza, including to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage. During 2014, the Rafah crossing was closed for 207 days, or 57 per cent of the year. This has exacerbated the impact of the longstanding Israeli restriction on people’s movement through Erez Crossing with Israel. The vast majority of Palestinians in Gaza remain unable to cross through either Rafah or Erez crossings.

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