For the second time in two weeks, an Israeli court has ordered the eviction of another Palestinian family in the Silwan area of East Jerusalem, by the end of the month. Both orders were issued in the context of settler activity in the area.
Power cuts throughout the Gaza Strip increased to around eight hours per day. This is further disrupting the functioning of households, including adequate food refrigeration and the provision of essential services, including water supply, sewage removal and treatment, and medical services.
Significant decline in settler attacks;
clashes between Israeli forces and
Palestinians result in 11 injuries
Settler violence and clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians this week resulted in a lower number of casualties and less damage to property compared to previous weeks. This week’s decline can be attributed, at least partially, to the ending of the olive season.
Four Palestinians, including a child (aged 13), were injured during the weekly protest against the expansion of the Hallamish settlement in the Ramallah governorate. Another seven Palestinians, including a child (aged 15), were injured in clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians that took place in a variety of circumstances: at Beit Furik checkpoint (Nablus); during a search-and-arrest operation in the Tel Rumeida area (Hebron City); near the Barrier in Qatanna village (Jerusalem
governorate); and during the demolition of a water cistern in Al Udeisa village in the Hebron governorate (see also the next section).
This week, OCHA documented two settler-related incidents that led to three Palestinian injuries and damage to olive trees. This is significantly below the weekly average of settler-related incidents that have been recorded since the beginning of the olive harvest in early October (8).
Israeli settlers physically assaulted and injured three Palestinian farmers, including an elderly woman (aged 70), while they were collecting olives near Efrat settlement (Bethlehem). In another incident that resulted in no injuries, settlers from the Gid’onim outpost raided ‘Aqraba village (Nablus) and fired sound bombs, intimidating the residents.
A settler was also injured this week by a stone while he was driving during a clash between Palestinians and Israeli forces near the entrance of Beit Ummar village (Hebron). Also this week, settlers cut down around 15 olive trees belonging to Burin village (Nablus), significantly below the weekly average for the number of trees vandalized by settlers since the beginning of the olive harvest (190). In 2011, around 10,000 Palestinian-owned fruit trees were vandalized or destroyed by Israeli settlers.
Also, sewage that leaked from Revava settlement damaged dozens of olive trees belonging to Deir Istiya village (Salfit). The problem is ongoing.
Demolitions and land leveling continue to undermine livelihoods
This week, the Israeli authorities demolished two Palestinian-owned structures in Area C of the West Bank, both in the Hebron governorate, due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits.
The affected structures included a water pool and a water cistern in the villages of Al Baqa’ and Al Udeisa, respectively. As a result, the livelihoods of 29 people, including 14 children, who used the structures for irrigation, were affected. This week’s demolitions bring the total number of water-related structures demolished since the beginning of 2011 to 43. Also this week, the Israeli authorities delivered stop-work orders against a mosque, 11 residences and a stone factory in the Hebron and Bethlehem governorates.
In the context of the re-routing of the Barrier southwest of Azzun Atmeh village (Qalqiliya), which began the past week, Israeli bulldozers continued leveling land along the new route. So far, approximately 130 dunums of cultivated land belonging to 100 farmers were bulldozed, including the uprooting of some 500 trees. In addition, farmers
were forced to dismantle nine greenhouses and approximately 7,000 metres of irrigation networks located along the new route. Once complete, this section of the Barrier will isolate some 400 dunums of land that will be located in the closed area between the Barrier and the Green Line, requiring farmers to obtain permits to access the area.
During the period, the Israeli authorities also bulldozed 18 dunums of land, cultivated with corn by a Palestinian farmer from the Jericho area, and 400 dunums of uncultivated land close to Kafr ad Dik village (Salfit). In both cases the Israeli authorities claimed that the land is “state land”.
Also this week, an Israeli court issued an eviction order against a Palestinian family comprising six people (including four children) living in the Silwan area in East Jerusalem, in the context of a litigation between the family and a settler organization over the ownership of the house. The family has been given until the end of November 2011 to evacuate their house and hand over the keys to the court. This is the second eviction order issued within two weeks in the Silwan area. Also in Silwan, the Israeli authorities requisitioned land belonging to a Palestinian family and the Greek Orthodox Church (850 square-meters) in order to build a public parking lot.
Calm in Gaza
This week, Gaza remained calm following an escalation over the last three weeks, which resulted in 16 Palestinian deaths and 32 injuries. There were, however, incidents of air strikes launched by the Israeli air force inside Gaza and rockets fired by Palestinian armed factions towards southern Israel, resulting in no injuries or damage to property.
Israeli restrictions on access to areas near the border fence continue to undermine the safety and livelihoods of thousands of Palestinians. On one occasion, Israeli forces launched an incursion 300 meters into the Gaza Strip and withdrew after conducting land leveling. Also, restrictions continue to be enforced on fishing zones beyond three nautical miles. In two incidents, the Israeli navy fired warning shots towards Palestinian fishing boats, forcing them ashore.
Tunnels continue to claim
On 18 November, a Palestinian worker was killed after being electrocuted inside a tunnel under the Gaza-Egypt border. Since the beginning of 2011, 34 Palestinians have been killed and 50 others injured in tunnel-related incidents, including air strikes, tunnel collapses and electrocution. Tunnel activity remains a main source for the transfer of goods and construction materials that are still restricted through the official crossings with Israel, as well as fuel that is significantly cheaper to buy from Egypt than from Israel.
Electricity blackouts throughout
the Gaza Strip increased
Following an increase in the electricity demand due to the cold weather, power cuts experienced by the majority of the population throughout the Gaza Strip increased to between six and eight hours per day, up from four hours daily in previous weeks. The current power supply is estimated to be 30 per cent below the current needs of 300 MW.
While Gaza has experienced electricity deficits for many years, the situation is compounded as a result of an attack by the Israeli air force on the plant’s transformers in 2006, which has resulted in an over 40 percent drop in the productive capacity of the plant.