Settler attacks result in 11 Palestinian injuries and extensive damage to agricultural property. Communities around Yitzhar settlement (Nablus) are particularly vulnerable.
More than 60 people were displaced due to demolitions in Area C and East Jerusalem, and at least 100 others were directly affected; UN-funded emergency shelters targeted again.
Power cuts throughout the Gaza Strip remain as high as 12 hours per day, disrupting delivery of basic services and daily life in Gaza.
Clashes during weekly demonstrations continue; settler violence on the rise
As in previous weeks, the majority of the Palestinian injuries throughout the reporting period occurred during clashes in the weekly demonstration in Kafr Qaddum village in Qalqiliya (38). These protests are held against the prohibition on the use of the main road connecting the village to Nablus City and to agricultural land in the vicinity of the nearby Qedumim settlement. Three children (aged 11, 14 and 16) were also injured in another weekly demonstration in Nabi Saleh village (Ramallah) protesting the expansion of Hallamish settlement on private land belonging to the village.
Also this week, five Palestinians, including an elderly woman (65), were injured during clashes with Israeli forces in the course of a search and arrest operation in ‘Iraq Burin village (Nablus), and during a demolition in Wedadie community (Hebron).
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces
Injured this week: 52; 42 in demonstrations
Of whom children: 3
Injured in 2012: 1436
2012 weekly average of injured: 67
2011 weekly average of injured: 28
Search-and-arrest operations by Israeli forces this week: 89
Settler violence was on the rise during the week, resulting in the injury of eleven Palestinians (including five by Israeli forces) and extensive damage to agricultural property. In one of the gravest incidents, armed Israeli settlers from Yitzhar settlement set fire to 150 olive trees and ten dunums of land planted with wheat, belonging to farmers from the nearby village of ‘Urif in Nablus. The incident evolved into clashes with the village’s residents, in the course of which one Palestinian man was injured by live ammunition fired by settlers. Five other Palestinians suffered from suffocation after Israeli forces intervened in the clashes by firing tear gas canisters. Testimonies and video tapes released by the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem suggest that although the Israeli army deployed in the area in advance, soldiers failed to act in order to remove the settlers or prevent the burning of the fields. This follows a similar incident last week, during which Yitzhar settlers attacked people and property in ‘Asira al Qibliya village (Nablus). The lack of adequate protection affecting about 18,700 Palestinians living in six villages around Yitzhar settlement is of increasing concern. Since the beginning of 2011, OCHA recorded a total of 47 attacks resulting in Palestinian casualties or property damage perpetrated by residents of this settlement.
Five other Palestinians, including three children (aged 9,11 and 16), were physically assaulted and injured by Israeli settlers in four separate incidents in the Old City of Hebron, in the Silwan area of East Jerusalem and near Qedumim settlement (Qaqiliya). Also this week, three settlers were injured after Palestinians stoned a light train passing through Beit Hanina (East Jerusalem).
In two additional incidents Israeli settlers set fire to agricultural property, which included hundreds of dunums of grazing land belonging to Kafr Malik village (Ramallah), affecting the livelihoods of dozens of Bedouin families residing in the vicinity and relying on sheep herding for their livelihood, and 20 dunums of land planted with wheat belonging to Madama village (Nablus).
Settler-related incidents resulting in injuries or property damage:
This week: 7
2012 weekly average: 6
2011 weekly average: 8
Palestinians injuries by settler violence:
This week: 6
Injured in 2012: 63
2011 weekly average: 4
Israeli settlers injured by Palestinians:
This week: 3
Injured in 2012: 18
Injured in 2011: 37
In another settler-related development, reports from Jinsafut village (Qalqiliya) indicated that sewage leaking from the nearby settlement of ‘Imanu’el flooded into the village’s land, affecting around 500 dunums planted with olive trees. The problem is recurrent, although temporary solutions were provided in the past.
Over 60 people displaced due to demolitions; UN-funded emergency shelters targeted again
This week, in area C of the West Bank, the Israeli authorities demolished 17 Palestinian-owned structures, of which seven were residences, on the grounds that they lacked Israeli-issued building permits.
The structures demolished included four residential structures in Khirbet Ar Rahawa and Wedadie in Hebron, two in Fasayil Al Wusta in the Jordan Valley and one in ‘Arab Ar Ramadin Al Janubi in Qalqiliya, displacing around 60 people, including at least 40 children. The affected structures in the latter two communities had been provided by international NGOs and funded through the UN Humanitarian Response Fund (HRF), as emergency assistance following previous demolitions.
In addition, in East Jerusalem this week, two residential structures, including a house and the remainder of a house, were demolished by their owners in Sur Baher and the Old City respectively, after receiving demolition orders.
Palestinian-owned structures demolished in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem
Displaced: Over 60
Demolished in 2012: 296
Of which residences: 92
People displaced in 2012: 508
2012 vs. 2011 demolitions (weekly av.): 15 vs. 12
2012 vs. 2011 people displaced (weekly av.): 24 vs. 21
Eleven additional livelihood structures used for sheltering animals and for commercial purposes were demolished in the aforementioned communities of Fasayil Al Wusta, Wedadie and Khirbet Ar Rahwa, as well as in Hizma (Jerusalem) and Beit Nuba (Ramallah) villages. Consequently, the livelihoods of at least 100 people were affected. In the course of the demolitions in Hizma, the Israeli authorities confiscated equipment, including fuel pump machines and electricity generators, along with the fuel used to operate them.
Also this week, the Israeli authorities issued stop-work orders against two residences in Hajja village (Qalqiliya), and a requisition order against 30 dunums of land belonging to Deir Istiya village (Salfit), in the vicinity of ‘Imanu’el settlement, for security reasons. Palestinians have not been able to use the land since 1996, as it is inside the perimeter fence of the settlement.
One injured near the fence
On at least four occasions, Israeli forces patrolling areas in the vicinity of the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip opened fire towards Palestinian areas, injuring on 29 May a Palestinian man while he was in his house, located one-kilometer from the fence. Israeli restrictions on access to land in the vicinity of the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip and to fishing zones beyond three nautical miles from the shore continue. In this context, Israeli forces conducted at least two incursions into Gaza and left after conducting land leveling operations; according to the Israeli army, two soldiers were injured by Palestinian fire during one of the incursions. In addition, in two incidents this week, the Israeli navy opened warning fire towards Palestinian fishing boats and detained two fishermen; one of the arrested fishermen was released shortly thereafter while the other one remains under arrest.
For the fifth consecutive week there were no Israeli air strikes, however, a limited number of projectiles were fired by Palestinian armed factions towards southern Israel, resulting in no Israeli injuries or damages.
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip:
Killed this week: 0
Killed in 2012: 29
Injured this week: 1
Injured in 2012: 165
2012 weekly average of injured: 9
2011 weekly average of injured: 9
Concerns over shortages of power and fuel continue
The Gaza Strip has been experiencing power cuts as high as 12 hours per day almost since the beginning of the year, as the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) continues to produce at only one-third of its capacity (25 megawatts (MW) out of 80 MW), due to the lack of fuel supply. In this context, the Gaza authorities are raising concerns over the impact of electricity shortages on final exams for students, and coping with high temperatures during summer time.
Limited amounts of fuel continue to enter Gaza through the tunnels under Egypt-Gaza border. To compensate for the ongoing fuel shortage, Gaza private companies are importing fuel, including petrol and diesel, from Israel, although the price of fuel purchased from Israel is more than double the price of that transferred from Egypt. According to the Gas Stations Owners Association (GSOA), almost all 180 fuel stations throughout the Gaza Strip have remained closed or are functioning only partially due to the lack of fuel, with reports of long queues at the stations.
Movement of goods (Kerem Shalom Crossing)
Weekly average of truckloads (TL) entered this week: 1,220
TL carrying food: 40%
Weekly average of TL since the beginning of 2012: 990
Weekly average of TL before the blockade: 2,807
Truckloads this week: 0
Weekly average since the beginning of 2012: 8 Weekly average before the blockade: 240