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

Key issues
Israeli forces injure 32 Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
45 structures demolished in Area C and East Jerusalem due to lack of Israeli-issued permits.
Four civilians injured by Israeli forces in Access Restricted Areas in Gaza.
Failed attempt by displaced person to set himself on fire in Gaza.
Rafah crossing exceptionally opened in both directions for three days.

Israeli forces injure 32 Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem

This week, Israeli forces injured 32 Palestinians, including eight children and two women, in various clashes across the West Bank, well below the weekly average of 113 injuries during 2014. Nine of this week’s injuries occurred during clashes that occurred at two separate protests against the Barrier in Bil’in (Ramallah) and against the longstanding closure of the entrance to Kafr Qaddum village (Qalqiliya). Additionally, a 10-year-old child was shot and injured by Israeli forces with a rubber bullet during clashes that took place in the context of a Palestinian protest against the erection of a flying checkpoint in the At Tur area of East Jerusalem.

Overall, Israeli forces conducted 128 search and arrest operations during the week, compared to a weekly average of 75 during 2014. Of these, four triggered clashes resulting in eight injuries, including a 16-year-old, who was injured by live ammunition in Qalandiya Refugee Camp (Jerusalem), a 12-year-old injured by shrapnel from a sound grenade in the At Tur area of East Jerusalem, and a man injured in the face with a rubber bullet fired by Israel forces, also in At Tur.

One of the largest search and arrest-related clashes occurred on 21 January in Askar and Balata Refugee Camps (Nablus), resulting in injury to five Palestinians, including an 11-year-old girl and a woman who received medical attention following physical assault by Israeli forces. Over the course of this and another search operation carried out the following day in Bruqin (Salfit), damage to houses has been reported, alongside allegations of theft of money and personal belongings.

In another incident on 23 January, in Susiya (Hebron), Israeli forces reportedly physically assaulted five Palestinians, including a woman, and arrested four others, during an intervention to disperse settlers and Palestinian farmers and activists who were engaged in verbal clashes. The clashes came about when settlers from Suseya settlement came to prevent a tree-planting event organized by local and international activists in solidarity with farmers, on privately-owned land near the settlement, from taking place.

Of the remaining injuries, eight took place in six separate incidents involving stone throwing at Israeli forces in Beit Ummar (Hebron) at the Beituniya checkpoint; in Al Jalazun Refugee Camp and Silwad (Ramallah), and in ‘Anata (Jerusalem).

On three different occasions during the week, Israeli forces issued orders banning five Palestinian women from entering Al Aqsa Mosque Compound for a period ranging between 15 to 60 days following verbal protests against the entry of Israeli settlers into the compound.

Settler attacks continue apace with 2014 average; settlement council issues order demanding a Palestinian pay property tax

Three Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians were recorded this week, all of which resulted in injury to Palestinians. Thus far this year, there has been a weekly average of six such attacks on Palestinians, compared to six in 2014.

On 24 January, an Israeli settler shot and injured a Palestinian man with live ammunition, while he was cultivating his land near Khirbet an Nahla village (Bethlehem), where Israeli settlers have erected a settlement outpost near an agricultural settlement. Israeli settlers have opened a road connecting the area to the settlement of Efrata in July 2014, without obtaining a permit or official authorization from the Israeli authorities.

On 22 January, the council of Kiryat Arba settlement (Hebron) issued a bill demanding a Palestinian family pay 88,200 NIS as property tax (Arnona). In 2003, settlers established a synagogue on part of the land, and the man has been challenging this takeover in Israeli courts since then. According to the council, the bill was issued in response to the man’s claim in court that he owns the land. Kiryat Arba is one of over 250 settlements and settlement outposts that have been established in the West Bank in violation of international law, and, in the case of outposts, Israeli law, as well.

On 24 January, Israeli settlers kidnapped and physically assaulted a Palestinian man from Sa’ir (Hebron) near the junction of Roads 60 and 35, northeast of Hebron. The man was reportedly waiting on Road 60 when a vehicle stopped and an Israeli settler sprayed a chemical in the man’s face, rendering him unconscious. He was then abducted and beaten and, according to eyewitnesses, left by settlers on Road 60 from where he was transported to the hospital.

On 25 January, Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian man near Silat adh Dhahr (Jenin). According to the man, settlers broke the back window of his vehicle and tried to stab him, injuring his hand, but fled when other Palestinians arrived.

In a hit-and-run incident (not included in the count), an Israeli settler vehicle ran over a five-year-old boy on the main road near Shufa village (Tulkarem). This is the first such incident in 2015. During the whole of 2014, 23 Palestinians, including 17 children were injured, in addition to two fatalities, were recorded in traffic-related incidents.

According to Israeli media reports, four incidents involving stone throwing by Palestinians at Israeli vehicles took place during the week resulting in damage to two vehicles and injury to three Israeli settlers, including an Israeli woman and her child, who were injured by glass on Road 60 near Sinjil village on 23 January, and a settler man who was injured near Beit Hanina (East Jerusalem) on 24 January.

Wave of demolitions and displacement in the West Bank

During the reporting period, Israeli authorities demolished 41 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C and four structures in East Jerusalem, due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits, displacing a total of 81 Palestinians. This represents a sharp increase compared to a weekly average of 12 structures demolished and 23 people displaced during 2014. Additionally, 45 stop work orders and two demolition orders were delivered.

In East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities demolished four structures, including three uninhabited residential structures, one of which is an apartment building, for lack of Israeli-issued building permits, in the neighbourhoods of Al ‘Isawiya, Jabal al Mukabbir, Shu’fat and Ras al ‘Amud. A total of 38 Palestinians, 21 of them refugees, were affected.

During the week, a total of nine structures, including five residential, were demolished in the Bedouin communities of Ras at Tin (Ramallah) and Deir al Qilt (Jericho), displacing a total of 28 Palestinians, including 17 refugees and 16 children. All three demolished structures in Deir Al Qilt were donor funded.

Also in Jericho, on 19 January, Israeli authorities demolished 19 structures, including five residential structures, three kitchens and 11 animal structures (sheltering 1,000 sheep) belonging to Palestinians from the Qarzaliya area of Al Jiftlik Abu al ‘Ajaj. Of these seven structures were donor funded. A total of 29 people, including 14 children, were displaced. In addition, a caravan belonging to a family in Al Jiftlik al Musaffah was demolished and confiscated on 22 January.

Six of the demolitions took place in Hebron on 20 January, including a water cistern for domestic and agricultural use near Halhul, and four structures, including two houses in Ar Rifa’iyya (Hebron).

On 22 January, six structures, including three residential, were demolished in Beit Iksa (Jerusalem), displacing three registered refugee families (14 people, including eight children).

Also during the week, Israeli authorities delivered stop work orders against a total of 45 structures in Area C: a donor-funded park south of Yatta (Hebron); 32 structures in Khirbet ad Deir community (Tubas); and 12 houses in Kharbatha Bani Harith village (Ramallah).

In the Jordan Valley, two communities, Al Jiftlik Abu al ‘Ajaj and ‘Ibziq, were affected as a result of military training conducted by Israeli forces this week. In the former community, five families (29 Palestinians) were temporarily displaced between 6:00am on 26 January and 2:00pm on 27 January. In ’Ibziq, 17 families (135 Palestinians) were evicted following a verbal order between 8:00am and 1:00pm, every day between 26 and 29 January. ‘Ibziq, which is located in an Israeli-declared closed military zone for training, also referred to as a “firing zone” and is home to 30 families (176) Palestinians, has faced repeated temporary displacement as a result of military training in the area.


Four civilians 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 29 such incidents reported during the week. In one incident on 23 January, Israeli forces positioned along Gaza’s perimeter fence east of Jabalia, opened fire at a group of Palestinian stone throwers, injuring one civilian. In at least 13 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. In two separate incidents on 21 and 26 January, the Israeli navy opened fire at Palestinian boats west of Beit Lahia, injuring two fishermen by life ammunition, in addition to a fisherman who was injured after falling out of the boat. Three other fishermen and two children, ages 13 and 16 years, were detained on 26 January when the Israeli navy fired warning shots towards their Palestinian fishing boat west of Beit Lahia. According to Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Israeli naval forces forced all five, to take off their clothes and jump into the sea and swim towards the Israeli naval boat, before detaining them. Their boat was sunk.

During the week, Israeli forces arrested four Palestinians, reportedly while they were attempting to infiltrate into Israel through the perimeter fence. In one incident on 23 January, Egyptian naval forces opened fire at a Palestinian boat that reportedly infiltrated inside the Egyptian territorial waters, injured one Palestinian and arrested another. Their boat was confiscated.

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

Failed attempt by displaced Palestinian to set himself on fire in protest against the inability to rebuild his house: UNRWA warns that ‘the quiet’ is at risk

A 50-year-old internally displaced person (IDP) tried to set himself on fire on 25 January, inside an UNRWA collective center in Khan Younis, in protest against the harsh living conditions and his inability to reconstruct his home, following its destruction during the July-August 2014 hostilities. The Palestinian civil defense and police successfully intervened, preempting the attempt.

The man is one of around 12,000 IDPs currently sheltering in UNRWA administered collective centers across the Gaza Strip since the July-August 2015 hostilities, during which Israeli forces destroyed or damaged over 100,000 homes.

In a statement on 27 January 2015, UNRWA warned that only US$ 135 million out of US$ 720 million requested for repairs and rental subsidies has been received, and that all the received funding is already exhausted. The UNRWA director in Gaza, Robert Turner, added that the inability to continue the programme will have “… grave consequences for affected communities in Gaza. People are desperate and the international community cannot even provide the bare minimum – for example a repaired home in winter – let alone a lifting of the blockade, access to markets or freedom of movement. We’ve said before that quiet will not last, and now the quiet is at risk.”

The Gaza Power Plant (GPP) forced to shut down one turbine

On 21 January, the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) was forced to shut down one of three operating turbines due to lack of fuel, reducing the production level from 80 to around 60 megawatts. The daily scheduled power outages across the Gaza Strip reverted to up to 18 hours a day. Power cuts continue to disrupt the routine provision of basic services, forcing them to depend on back-up generators, also run by fuel. Between 19 and 26 January, around 145,000 liters of emergency fuel were delivered to around 12 prioritized basic facilities including hospitals.

To run the three turbines, the GPP requires over 450,000 liters per day. In addition to a lack of fuel, the GPP faces a current shortage of fuel storage capacity, which is limited to less than 1.5 million liters. Two large fuel tanks, with capacity of 10 million liters each, were destroyed by Israel during the July-August conflict.

Rafah Crossing exceptionally opened in both directions for three days

The Rafah Crossing between Gaza and Egypt was exceptionally opened in both directions, between 20-22 January, including for a humanitarian convoy of medical and food supplies. According to the Director of Border Crossings in Gaza, some 1,507 people, mainly patients and students, left Gaza and a total of 1,265 returned, including 45 Palestinians released from prison after being detained for either entering Egypt illegally or attempting to illegally enter Europe from Egypt by sea. In addition, 114 people were denied access to Egypt for unknown reasons.

On 21 January, a humanitarian convoy of 13 truckloads (175 tons) of medical and food supplies from the United Arab Emirates was allowed to enter Gaza via Rafah Crossing.

The most recent closure of Rafah crossing began on 24 October 2014, following an attack in the Sinai during which 30 Egyptian soldiers were killed. Since then, 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 people, including medical patients, are registered to exit Gaza, in addition to an estimated 37,000 others who wish to exit, 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 leave through either Rafah or Erez crossings.

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