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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
27 October 2014

Key issues
Tensions in East Jerusalem on the rise; attack by a Palestinian kills an Israeli infant and woman. One Palestinian killed and 62 Palestinians injured in clashes and search operations.
Israeli forces kill a Palestinian child in the Ramallah governorate.
15 structures demolished and 49 displaced in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Gaza death toll from July-August hostilities continues to rise, reaching 2,194 Palestinians.
Following two days of partial operation, Gaza Power Plant shuts down due to lack of fuel.

Escalation in West Bank clashes

On 22 October, a 30 year-old Palestinian man from Silwan ran his car into a station of the light train on Road 1 in East Jerusalem, ramming into passengers dismounting the train, killing an Israeli infant and injuring eight others, including an Israeli woman who later died of her wounds. The driver was shot and injured by the Israeli police, and died shortly after of his wounds.

This incident further fueled tensions and clashes across East Jerusalem, resulting in the majority of this week’s Palestinian injuries (62 out of 73 including 14 children) and four of the Israeli forces’ injuries. The most serious clashes took place in Al ‘Isawiya, Silwan, Shu’fat, Wadi al Joz, At Tur and the Old City. Five of the Palestinian injuries, including of two children (five and eleven-years-old) reportedly occurred during a search operation at the house of the perpetrator of the attack in Silwan. Both children were injured with rubber bullets in their faces. In another incident on 24 October, a Palestinian family of seven, including two children (5 and 6-years-old), and three women suffered from severe tear gas inhalation as a result of a tear gas canister, fired by Israeli forces, landing in their house in Al ‘Isawiya. Overall, at least 62 Palestinians, including 17 children, were arrested this week in East Jerusalem.

Clashes in East Jerusalem have been on the rise for the past several weeks in the context of restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities on the access of Palestinians to the Al Aqsa Mosque, alongside the increasing entry of Israeli settlers and other groups to the Mosque’s compound. During the week, 13 Palestinian women were arrested along with one man for verbally protesting such entries. This is coupled with concerns over potential changes in the status quo in this sensitive area, and renewed settlement activities in Silwan just outside the Old City walls.

Also this week, on 24 October, the Israeli army shot and killed a 14-year-old Palestinian child (who is also an American citizen) and injured a young Palestinian man in the village of Silwad (Ramallah), in the context of protests against the presence of Israeli forces at the village’s entrance, as well as against attacks by Israeli settlers. According to medical sources, the child was shot with live ammunition in the neck. Israeli military sources, cited in the Israeli media, claimed that the boy was about to throw a Molotov cocktail when shot; Palestinian eyewitnesses refuted this claim. According to local community sources, following the shooting, Israeli forces surrounded the body for about 40 minutes before paramedics reached the area, and were seen taking photos of the child. The Israeli Military Police reportedly opened an investigation into this case. This incident brings the total number of Palestinians fatalities by Israeli forces in the West Bank in 2014 to 45, of whom 12 were children, compared to 26 fatalities, including four children in the whole of 2013.

Five settler attacks against Palestinians; increase stone-throwing at Israeli-plated vehicles continues

Five incidents of Israeli settler violence resulting in Palestinian injuries or damage to their property were recorded this week, bringing the total number of such incidents in 2014 to 276, compared to 358 in the equivalent period of 2013.

Two incidents were recorded during the week in the context of the olive harvest, which officially began on 3 October 2014. On 22 October, five olive saplings belonging to a Palestinian family from Al Mughayyir village (Ramallah) were found uprooted near Adei Ad settlement outpost, affecting a Palestinian family of nine. On 23 October, near the village of Burin (Nablus) settlers reportedly stole a donkey and drove off with the donkey tied to the back of their vehicle while its owner was picking olives.

On 16 October, during the previous reporting period, according to community members, contractors hired by settlers sawed down 100 olive trees in land belonging to farmers from the village of Az Zawiya (Salfit) that is located inside the settlement of Elqana. Palestinians’ access to this area requires prior coordination with the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA).

Additionally two of the incidents occurred in East Jerusalem following the attack at the light train station, and involved stone throwing by Israeli settlers, injuring a Palestinian woman in the Old City and incurring damage to a house in Sheikh Jarrah.

According to Israeli media, in addition to the Israeli fatalities reported above, a total of 14 incidents of violence against Israelis were reported, all involving stone throwing by Palestinians towards vehicles. Three of the incidents resulted in injury and the remaining to damage. Ten of the incidents took place in the Jerusalem governorate and one in the Bethlehem governorate. In addition, one Israeli settler was reportedly injured by Palestinian stone throwing, during clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians at the Beit Orot settlement in At Tur area in East Jerusalem.

Nearly 50 people displaced as a result of demolitions

During the reporting period, Israeli authorities demolished 15 structures, including four donated structures, in Area C of the West Bank, due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits, bringing to 489 the number of structures demolished since the beginning of the year compared to 549 in the equivalent period of 2013. As a result at least 47 Palestinians, including 14 children were displaced, and almost 60 were otherwise affected.

Five of the structures, including three residential, were demolished on 21 October in At Tur Bedouin community located in Area C on the “Jerusalem” side of the Barrier. On 22 October in the same community, the Israeli authorities dismantled and confiscated another two donor-funded residential tents, provided as post-demolition humanitarian assistance. Also on 22 October, another tent was demolished and confiscated, which was provided by the Palestinian authority to a family of 10 members in Al Walaja village (Bethlehem) following the demolition of their structures by Israeli authorities in August 2014.

Six other residences and one oven structure were demolished on 27 October in the Um al Kher Bedouin community east of Yatta (Hebron). The targeted structures included one prefab donated by international donors through the Emergency Relief Fund (ERF) as humanitarian assistance in response to a previous demolition. So far in 2014, the Israeli authorities have demolished a total of nine structures funded by the ERF in Area C; issued demolition or stop work orders against another two such structures; and seized or confiscated three ERF-funded items. An ERF-funded residential structure was also demolished by its owner upon receiving an order from the Israeli authorities.

On two separate occasions during the period, the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) ordered residents of the community of ‘Ibziq’ (Tubas) to evacuate their homes to make way for military training by Israeli forces and confiscated agricultural tools and tractors. This is the eighth time this community has faced temporary displacement due to Israeli military trainings since the beginning of the year. Additionally, the community members were later verbally ordered to leave the area permanently by 2 November or the ICA will demolish their structures. ‘Ibziq, located in an Israeli-declared “firing zone” in the northern Jordan Valley, is home to 30 households comprising 176 persons, including 86 children.

Similarly, in Khirbet Ras al Ahmar in the northern Jordan Valley, Israeli forces conducted a military training for three consecutive days from 26 until 29 October. As a result nine Palestinian families were temporarily displaced during the duration of the training. Of note, a tractor, vehicle and three other agricultural tools were confiscated during the military training.

Additionally, ten demolition and stop-work orders were delivered on 21 October against 11 structures, including two residential tents and two animal shelters in Masafer Yatta (Hebron) due to their presence in the “918 firing zone” . At least 1,300 people currently live in 14 Palestinian communities in the Masafer Yatta area of the south Hebron Hills, many since before the Israeli occupation began in 1967. These communities are at continuous risk of forcible transfer from the area, due to its designation as a closed military zone for training, and have been subject to a range of policies and practices that have undermined their physical security, lowered their standard of living, and increased their poverty levels and dependence on humanitarian aid.

Finally, on 22 October, Israeli forces confiscated two agricultural caravans in Tuqu’ (Bethlehem) belonging to a Palestinian from Jerusalem, as they are placed without permit on a land located in Area C.

While calm holds, war death-toll continues to grow

During the reporting period, one Palestinian died of wounds sustained during the July-August hostilities and the body of another was found under the rubble of a destroyed mosque. According to the latest figures provided by the Protection Cluster, the cumulative death toll among Palestinians during the conflict was 2,194, of whom at least 1,523 are believed to be civilians, including 519 Palestinian children and 287 women.

The ceasefire agreed on 26 August, largely continues to hold, with no reports of rocket or air strikes coming into the Gaza Strip. However, eight incidents involving the opening of fire by Israeli forces were recorded in the context of access restrictions at land and sea.

In seven incidents, Israeli naval boats opened fire towards Palestinian fishing boats reportedly sailing within the Israeli declared 6-Nautical-Mile (NM) fishing limit, injuring one fisherman and forcing them ashore. In two separate incidents on 22 October, Israeli naval forces detained seven fishermen, and seized their two boats. The fishermen were later released following questioning inside Israel, however their boats were not released. In one incident that took place on 25 October, Israeli forces positioned at the perimeter fence fired warning shots towards Palestinians east of Khan Younis forcing many farmers to leave the area.

Access restrictions to fishing areas beyond 6 NM from the coast, and to farming land approximately 300 meters from Gaza’s perimeter fence continues to undermine the fishery and agricultural sector in Gaza which is the primary source of income for thousands of fisherman and farmers and their families.

A four-year-old boy killed by an of UXOs

On 22 October, a four-year-old child was killed when a UXO exploded east of Beit Hanoun. The presence of unexploded ordnance (UXOs) continues to pose a high risk to civilians, particularly children. Following the July-August hostilities, the risk of UXO and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) became significantly high. Since the ceasefire on 26 August, five Palestinians have been killed in UXO incidents, and six others injured.

According to the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), children, rubble-removal workers, scrap collectors, construction workers, IDPs returning to their damaged homes and farmers working and/or living in the access restricted areas have been identified as the most exposed groups to UXO hazards.

Prolonged power outages continue to take place across Gaza as power plant suspends operations for lack of fuel

After seven consecutive weeks of not being in operation since its repair, Gaza’s sole power plant (GPP) operated on 26 October for less than two days, following the receipt of around 350,000 liters of diesel from the Palestinian Energy Authority. During the two days, the GPP worked at half capacity and generated around 60MWs which in turn, reduced the daily power outages from 18 to around 12 hours per day. In order to operate at half capacity, the GPP requires around 270,000 liters of fuel per day. Electricity shortages have been adversely impacting the delivery of essential services, including health, water, sanitation and schooling, all of which consequently depend on the operation of backup generators. In order to sustain critical services, most service providers have been depending on electricity generators which consumes a very large amount of fuel.

Rafah Crossing closed following deadly attack in the Sinai

On 24 October, Egyptian Authorities announced that Rafah Crossing with Gaza is closed until further notice following attacks in the northern Egyptian City of Al Arish, claiming the lives of 30 Egyptian military personnel. Egyptian security forces launched a military campaign in northern Sinai with the aim of destroying the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt and creating a buffer zone on the Egyptian side of the border with Gaza.

Since July 2014, the Rafah crossing was opened and operated on most days, despite significant restrictions on the number of passengers allowed to cross with an average of 13,000 people crossing between July through September; by contrast, during the first six months in 2014, the crossing was closed on an average of 22 days per month with an average of 6,400 crossing per month between January through June.

Currently, there are several thousands of people registered and waiting to travel to Egypt and other destinations via Egypt, including medical cases and students, as indicated by the Border and Crossing Authority in Gaza. Rafah crossing remains the primary exit and entry point to the Gaza Strip for Palestinians, due to the long-standing restrictions imposed by Israel on movement via the Erez Crossing.

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