The Rafah crossing, the principal gateway from Gaza for 1.6 million people, has been closed indefinitely, following a deadly attack in Sinai (Egypt). Due to the crossing’s closure, , the situation of a monthly average of 800 patients from Gaza, who need medical treatment abroad and cross Rafah into Egypt for this purpose, is of immediate concern.
In the West Bank, Palestinian injuries during clashes with Israeli forces and demolitions in Area C decline. For the fourth consecutive week, no one has been displaced as a result of a house demolition.
Decline in Palestinian injuries; clashes during demonstrations and settler violence
This week recorded a significant decline in the number of Palestinians injured by Israeli forces: less than a third of the weekly average of injuries reported since the beginning of the year. The majority of the injuries (15) were sustained during a weekly demonstration in Kafr Qaddum village (Qalqiliya) 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. The weekly demonstrations at Kafr Qaddum account for around 40 percent of the Palestinian injuries in the West Bank since the beginning of 2012.
Also this week, one Palestinian, two international activists and one Israeli policeman were injured in two other weekly demonstrations, against the expansion of Hallamish settlement on Nabi Saleh land and against the Barrier in Bil’in village, both in the Ramallah area.
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces
Killed this week: 0
Killed in 2012: 4
Injured this week: 18 (16 in demonstrations)
Injured in 2012: 1,953
2012 weekly average of injured: 62
2011 weekly average of injured: 28
Search and arrest operations by Israeli forces this
The number of settler attacks recorded this week also declined. In one of the incidents, settlers stoned a bus, which was travelling on Road 60 in the Ramallah area, injuring nine Palestinian passengers. In the Nablus area, Palestinians threw stones at Israeli-plated vehicles travelling near Yitzhar settlement, injuring two Israeli settlers. Reports from Duma village (Nablus) indicate that a settler vehicle ran into ten sheep belonging to the village, killing them. In the remaining two incidents, settlers cut down eight trees in Burqa village, and sprayed anti-Arab graffiti on the walls of a house in the village of Sinjil (both in the Ramallah area).
No displacements recorded as a result of demolitions for the fourth consecutive week
While some demolitions were carried out in Area C during the week, no Palestinian has been displaced in these circumstances for the fourth consecutive week. This week, the Israeli authorities demolished two structures, including a restaurant and a room, and bulldozed a road in Al Makhrour area of the Bethlehem governorate, due to the lack of building permits. The restaurant, which is a source of income for a family of eight, was demolished for the second time this year. The road provided four families with access to 50 dunums of land.
In Nabi Elias village, the Israeli authorities prevented Palestinian workers from continuing their work on the upgrading of an artesian well, used for irrigating 300 dunums of land belonging to 60 farmers, due to the lack of building permit. Some equipment, including a bulldozer and an electric generator, was confiscated. In addition, in the Beit Hanina neighourhood of East Jerusalem the Israeli authorities distributed demolition orders against two emergency shelters funded by the UN Humanitarian Response Fund.
Also in Area C of the Jordan Valley, the Israeli authorities seized around 140 cows belonging to the community of Khirbet Samra and arrested three herders. According to the Israeli DCL, the cows were allegedly wandering without shepherds and endangering the lives of drivers travelling in the area. The herders can claim the return of the cattle once fines are paid. Palestinian herders in the Jordan Valley face serious challenges in maintaining their livelihoods, due to the severe restrictions on access to grazing lands, most of which have been declared as “firing zones” and nature reserves.
Increased access to East Jerusalem for Ramadan prayer; age criteria continue to apply
On the third Friday of Ramadan (3 August), the Israeli authorities continued applying the same age criteria that they used in the first two Fridays since the onset of Ramadan, to regulate West Bank ID holders’ access to Friday prayers in Al Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem. Men and women above the age of 40 and children below 12 were allowed to enter East Jerusalem without permits, while males and females between the ages of 12 and 40 continued to require permits. The population of the Gaza Strip remains barred from entering East Jerusalem.
Settler-related incidents resulting in injuries or property damage:
This week: 4
2012 weekly average: 6
2011 weekly average: 8
Palestinian injuries by settler violence:
This week: 9
Injured in 2012: 89
2011 weekly average: 4
Israeli settlers injured by Palestinians:
Injured in 2012: 26
Injured in 2011: 37
According to the Israeli authorities, approximately 174,700 Palestinians entered East Jerusalem on 3 August through four authorized checkpoints (Qalandiya, Gilo, Shu’fat Camp and Az Zeitoun) along the Barrier. This is an increase compared to the second Friday, when around 156,800 crossed into East Jerusalem. Access through the checkpoints was reportedly smooth, with few access-related incidents occurring. Flying checkpoints were deployed by Israeli forces on roads leading to East Jerusalem.
Palestinian-owned structures demolished in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem
Demolished in 2012: 398
Of which residences: 120
People displaced in 2012: 615
2012 vs. 2011 demolitions (weekly av.): 13 vs. 12
2012 vs. 2011 people displaced (weekly av.): 21 vs. 21
Attack in Sinai triggers the closure of Rafah Crossing and a halt of tunnel activity
In the wake of an attack against a military base in Sinai (Egypt), next to the border with Gaza and Israel, the Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah Crossing indefinitely. The attack was perpetrated on 5 August by an unknown armed group and resulted in the death of 16 members of the Egyptian security forces and the injury of seven others. Given the ongoing restrictions on the exit of people from Gaza via Israel (through the Erez crossing), the Rafah crossing is the main gateway to the outside world for the over 1.6 million Gazans. In July, a daily average of 1,000 Palestinian travelers, including medical cases (along with their accompaniers) and students enrolled in universities abroad, crossed into Egypt. The World Health Organization reports that over 800 patients seeking medical treatment abroad cross into Egypt each month. Over 20,000 Gazans are now registered and waiting to cross out of Gaza through Rafah. The Ministry of Health in Gaza issued a statement, raising concerns over the impact of the Rafah Crossing’s closure on the health of many medical cases requiring treatment abroad.
Also, after the attack, the Hamas authorities halted the activity of tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border, which has been the main source for the transfer of goods whose import through the official crossing has been restricted after the commencement of the blockade on Gaza, in 2007, primarily basic construction materials. An estimated 200 truckloads of goods are transferred each day through tunnels. The Israeli authorities also closed the Kerem Shalom Crossing for only one day. On average, 260 truckloads of goods, of which over 40 percent carry food supplies, enter Gaza each day through Kerem Shalom.
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip:
Killed this week: 1
Killed in 2012: 47
Injured this week: 1
Injured in 2012: 243
2012 weekly average of injured: 8
2011 weekly average of injured: 9
Israeli casualties by Palestinian fire from Gaza
Injured this week: 0
Killed in 2012: 1
Injured in 2012: 18
One killed and another injured in an air strike
After a three-week period of relative calm, with no reports of Israeli air strikes inside the Gaza Strip, on 5 August west of Rafah City, the Israeli air force targeted and hit a motorcycle carrying two men reportedly affiliated with armed groups, , killing one of them and injuring the other. Also this week, Palestinian armed groups launched a number of projectiles towards Israeli military positions near the fence separating Gaza and Israel and southern Israel. No injuries or damage were reported.
Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to areas along the fence and to fishing zones beyond three nautical miles from the shore continued. Reportedly, Israeli forces conducted one incursion inside Gaza near the fence, and withdrew after leveling land. Also, the Israeli navy opened warning fire towards Palestinian fishing boats on at least one occasion, forcing them ashore. No injuries or damage were reported.
Also in two incidents this week, one man was killed and two others injured when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) exploded near a vehicle inside Gaza City, and another armed man was injured in the same context during military training in the Rafah area.
Power crisis continues; power daily cuts throughout the Gaza Strip reach up to ten hours per day due to fuel shortages
Between 1 and 7 August, the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) has operated four turbines for the first time since 2006. This improvement took place following the installment of four electrical transformers, which should enable the plant to produce 120 megawatts (MW). However, due to fuel shortages, the plant is only able to produce 80 MW of electricity during the day and 110 MW at night. On 8 August, the GPP was forced to shut down one of the turbines due to the lack of fuel, triggering power cuts lasting between 10 and 12 hours per day, up from 8-10 hours per day in the previous days.
To operate at full capacity, the power plant requires over 3.5 million liters of fuel a week. The amounts of fuel for the plant have dropped since 6 August, when the transfer of the Qatari fuel, which has been transported from Egypt into Gaza since June, was blocked by the Egyptian authorities, and the tunnels were closed.
Movement of goods (Kerem Shalom Crossing)
Number of truckloads (TL) entered this week: 1,138
TL carrying food: 44%
Weekly average of TL since the beginning of
Weekly average of TL before the blockade: 2,807
Truckloads this week: 0
Weekly average since the beginning of 2012: 5
Weekly average before the blockade: 240
The shortages of fuel and electricity continue to disrupt the daily life of around 1.6 million Gazans, as well as the functioning of public services, including hospitals and water and wastewater treatment plants, further exacerbating difficult conditions inside the Gaza Strip, principally caused by the Israeli blockade, which has been in place for over five years.
For more information, please contact Mai Yassin at firstname.lastname@example.org or +972 (0)2 5829962.