Level of Palestinian injuries remains less than average
During the reporting period, Israeli forces injured eight Palestinians throughout the West Bank, down from 11 Palestinians injured last week and a weekly average of 18 since the beginning of 2009. No Israeli casualty occurred this week, compared to one in the previous week.
One Palestinian was wounded when Israeli forces shot in the air to disperse a group of youths while they threw stones towards an Israeli checkpoint in the Israeli controlled area of Hebron City (H2). Another injury occurred when a Palestinian man was physically assaulted by Israeli forces at a flying checkpoint near Ad Dhahiriya town (Hebron). The remaining six Palestinians sustained wounds during confrontations with Israeli forces at the weekly anti-Barrier demonstrations in Ni’lin (Ramallah) and Al Ma’sara (Bethlehem), after being shot with rubber-coated metal bullets and physically assaulted. Another anti- Barrier demonstration took place this week near the Qalandiya Barrier checkpoint, at the main entrance to East Jerusalem from the north, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. During the protest, Palestinians pulled down a section of the Barrier, after which clashes erupted between the protesters and Israeli forces, who used tear gas to disperse them; no injures were reported. Another two peaceful protests against Israeli policies of house evictions and demolitions ended without violence this week in the East Jerusalem neighbourhoods of Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah.
Israeli forces conducted 138 search operations inside Palestinian villages, the majority of which took place in the north (100), resulting in the arrest of 63 Palestinians. This compares to a weekly average of 96 operations and 60 arrests since the beginning of 2009.
More demolition orders distributed in East Jerusalem and Area C
During the reporting period, the Jerusalem Municipality issued 17 demolition orders against houses in the Silwan neighborhood lacking the requisite building permits. Some of the affected houses are located in Al Bustan area, designated by the municipality as a "green" area, where all construction is prohibited. Approximately 90 houses in Al Bustan have received demolition orders in the past years, putting more than 1,000 Palestinian residents at risk of displacement. Since the beginning of 2009, 57 Palestinian-owned structures have been demolished in East Jerusalem, displacing 269 people, including 131 children; 28 of the demolitions were carried out since the beginning of October.
In Area C, the Israeli Civil Administration issued stop work orders (the step preceding the issuance of a final demolition order) against four buildings in the area of Al Dahiya in Nablus City, due to the lack of building permit. Three of the buildings are inhabited by four families comprising 19 persons, nine of whom are children. Since the beginning of 2009, 180 Palestinian-owned structures have been demolished in Area C, with the last demolition taking place on 15 July.
This week, the Israeli group “Rabbis for Human Rights”, sent a letter to the Israeli Minister of Defense, demanding him to adopt a number of drastic measures to stop the ongoing “planning failure” in area C of the West Bank, which results in the inability of Palestinian communities to address their housing needs.
During the week, a total of 15 settler-related incidents were reported throughout the West Bank, nine incidents affecting Palestinians and their property and six others affecting Israeli settlers. Incidents affecting Palestinians included stone-throwing, property damage, trespassing, prevention of access and intimidation perpetrated by Israeli settlers. In addition, Palestinians hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli-plated vehicles driving on West Bank roads, resulting in the injury of four settlers.
Of this week’s incidents, settlers from Efrata settlement uprooted about 70 grape vines belonging to a Palestinian farmer in Al Khader village (Bethlehem). In four separate incidents, Israeli settlers threw stones at Palestinians picking olives (Bethlehem) and at Palestinian houses in the H2 area of Hebron city, in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem and in Burin village (Nablus); in each incident, Israeli forces subsequently intervened and evacuated the settlers. In addition, Israeli settlers from Halamish settlement began land levelling works on land belonging to Deir Nizam village (Ramallah); the settlers were later evacuated by Israeli forces.
Israeli setters from Beit Yatir settlement prevented Palestinian herders living in a nearby area, isolated between the Barrier and the Green Line, from grazing their sheep (Hebron). In another incident, Israeli forces prevented Palestinian farmers from Yasuf village from accessing olive groves (approximately 140 dunums) in the vicinity of the Tappuah settlement (Salfit). According the head of Yasuf village council, despite prior coordination with the Israeli DCL, the soldiers requested the farmers to prove ownership over the land, which has been used also by settlers as a herding area.
Also this week, Israeli forces removed seven structures at Maoz Ester outpost (three) and Ramat Migron outpost (four), near the settlements of Kokhav Hashahar and Kokhav Ya’kov, both in the Ramallah area. Two Israeli settlers from the latter outpost were arrested while trying to prevent the soldiers from removing the structures.
Al Jalama checkpoint opened to vehicles of Palestinian citizens of Israel
This week, for the first time in eight years, the Israeli authorities began allowing Palestinians with Israeli citizenship to drive their vehicles through the Al Jalama checkpoint, located on the Green Line in the Jenin governorate. This step will enable this group to access Jenin City with their private cars, thus contributing to the social and economic life of the whole governorate. Previously, only commercial trucks and Palestinian pedestrians with permits were allowed to cross this checkpoint.
Protection of Civilians: 4 - 10 November 2009 3
UN OCHA oPt
No direct conflict fatalities for the fifth week in a row; access restrictions to land and sea continued
During the reporting period, there were no reports of Palestinian fatalities for the fifth consecutive week; two Palestinians, including one fisherman, were injured. In addition, the number of rudimentary rockets and mortar shells fired by Palestinian factions towards southern Israel, including military bases, continued to be low, resulting in no Israeli injury or damage to property. Since the end of Israel’s “Cast Lead” offensive, a total of 51 Palestinians and one Israeli were killed and another 123 Palestinians and seven Israelis were injured in Gaza and southern Israel.
This week, Israeli forces continued to prohibit Palestinian access beyond three nautical miles from the seashore and within a 300-metre-wide strip of land near the border fence, through firing warning shots towards people approaching these areas. In one incident, Israeli patrol boats opened fire targeting Palestinian fishing boats in the Rafah area, injuring a fisherman. In a separate incident, Israeli forces shelled an area near the border fence, next to Nahal Oz Crossing, wounding a Palestinian man. According to Israeli sources, the man was suspected of planting an explosive device. Also during the week, Israeli forces entered with tanks and bulldozers for a few hundred meters into the border areas on four separate occasions, conducting levelling operations. One of these incidents, east of Al Maghazi, entailed a search operation inside the houses.
Humanitarian organizations call for an immediate opening of crossings before winter
In a statement released on 9 November, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator, together with the NGO Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) called for an immediate opening of Gaza crossings before the beginning of winter. The expected rains and cold weather exacerbate the need for construction materials to build and repair thousands of houses that were destroyed or incurred damage in the last Israeli offensive. Moreover, there is an urgent need to facilitate the entry of adequate supplies of industrial fuel for electricity generation as well as items essential to repair or replace water, sanitation and electricity networks in Gaza, particularly those that sustained damage during the Israeli offensive.
New UN report reveals that around 60 percent of households in Gaza are food insecure
This week, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) released findings of a joint survey conducted between April and June 2009 on socioeconomic and food security trends in the Gaza Strip. The survey found that around 60 percent of Palestinian households in Gaza were food insecure. An additional 16.2 percent were found to be “vulnerable to food insecurity” and the remaining 23 percent were “marginally food secure” and food secure. The survey also indicates that, in contrast to the West Bank, food insecurity levels are higher among non- refugees (64.2 percent) in comparison to refugees (58.1 percent) and are more prevalent among households in rural areas (67 percent), compared to their counterparts in refugee camps (62 percent) and urban areas (60 percent). Moreover, 68 percent of female-headed households are food insecure; nine percent of total households in Gaza are headed by women. According to the report, food insecurity in the Gaza Strip is primarily due to the high levels of poverty, rather than unavailability of food in the market.
UN OCHA oPt
Significant decline in the amounts of cooking gas and industrial fuel
Fuel pipelines at Nahal Oz and Kerem Shalom Crossings operated on one day and three days, respectively, during the week. The limited opening of Nahal Oz, coupled with low capacity of the recently-installed pipelines at Kerem Shalom, led to a significant reduction in the amounts of cooking gas and industrial fuel that entered Gaza during the week; the latter is used exclusively to operate the Gaza power plant. The quantities of cooking gas and industrial fuel constituted a 30 percent and 32 percent decline, respectively, compared to the previous week.
No petrol or diesel entered this week through the official crossings, with the exception of 179,000 litres of diesel for the use of UNRWA. Egyptian petrol and diesel, which is transferred through the tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border, remain available on the open market with nearly 100,000 litres of diesel and another 100,000 litres of petrol transferred into Gaza per day.
Weekly average of imported truckloads remains below needs (0I-07 Nov 2009)
This week, a total of 597 truckloads of goods, including 70 truckloads (12 percent) designated for aid agencies, entered Gaza, constituting an approximately three percent decline, compared to the number of truckloads that entered during the previous week (612). This week's figure constituted around only 21 percent of the weekly average of the number of truckloads that entered during the first five months of 2007 (2,807), before the Hamas takeover.
N OCHA oPt
The entry of other major essential goods including materials for reconstruction (cement, steel bars, glass, wood and others), spare parts for water and sanitation projects, packaging material, industrial and electrical materials, IT equipment and vehicles remain either restricted to limited quantities, or barred from entry. No exports were allowed out of Gaza this week. Exports from Gaza were last allowed out on 27 April 2009.