Power cuts throughout the Gaza Strip remain as high as 12 hours per day, disrupting the delivery of basic services and daily life in Gaza.
Nearly 2,500 Palestinian prisoners remain on an open-ended hunger strike in protest of the Israeli authorities’ use of administrative detention (imprisonment without charge or trial) and against their conditions of detention.
Israeli settlers vandalized around 400 Palestinian-owned olive trees, bringing the total number of trees damaged by settlers since the beginning of 2012 to over 2,560.
Majority of injuries occur in a weekly demonstration against access restrictions; settler violence results in four injuries and damage to 400 trees
Over half of this week’s Palestinian injuries occurred in a weekly demonstration against the continued closure of the main entrance to Kafr Qaddum village in Qalqiliya, which also leads to the village’s agricultural land and to Qedumim settlement (32).
In addition, 21 Palestinians, including nine women and one child, were injured in clashes during two demonstrations at the Israeli Ofer Prison (Ramallah). The protests were held in solidarity with nearly 2,500 Palestinian prisoners who are on an open-ended hunger strike, protesting the practice of administrative detention (imprisonment without charges or trial) by the Israeli authorities and other issues related to conditions of detention. Human rights groups have raised serious concerns over the deteriorating health of two of the administrative detainees, Thaer Halahleh and Bilal Diyab, who have been on hunger strike for over 60 days. Also this week, four Palestinians were injured during a search-and-arrest operation conducted by Israeli forces inside the Qalandiya refugee camp.
A number of settler attacks against Palestinians and their property were reported. In three incidents, four Palestinians, including two ten-year-old children, were injured after being stoned or physically assaulted by settlers in the old cities of Hebron and East Jerusalem. Also, a settler was injured when he was stoned by Palestinians in the Old City of East Jerusalem. This week, settlers reportedly vandalized around 400 olive trees belonging to Beitillu and ‘Aqraba villages in Ramallah and Nablus governorates respectively; demolished a latrine in Khallet Zakariya village (Bethlehem); and leveled 2.5 dunums of land belonging to Qusra village (Nablus). A number of incidents of intimidation and access prevention by settlers affecting Palestinians were also reported this week.
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces
Killed this week: 0
Killed in 2012: 3
Killed in 2011: 11
Injured this week: 60; 33 in weekly demonstrations
Of whom were children: 6
Injured in 2012: 751
2012 weekly average of injured: 43
2011 weekly average of injured: 28
Search-and-arrest operation by Israeli forces this week: 65
Demolitions continue to undermine livelihoods of farming communities
This week, Israeli authorities demolished ten Palestinian-owned structures due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits.
In Khallet al Warda community near Bani Naim (Hebron), three residential rooms, three animal shelters (1.5 dunums) and a water pool were demolished. Consequently, the livelihoods of 51 people, including 35 children, were affected and 100 cows were left without shelter and water.
Additionally, Israeli authorities demolished two residences, one of which was a structure under construction, in the communities of ‘Izbat at Tabib and Arab Khouli in the Qalqiliya governorate, displacing a family of three. Also in Qalqiliya, an electric network consisting of 12 electric poles was demolished in An Nabi Elias village. The network was constructed to supply electricity to an artesian well used for irrigation. This is the third electric network that has been demolished in the West Bank in 2012. Also, a Palestinian man was forced to dismantle two tents and an animal shack belonging to his family in the Ein al Hilwa area (Tubas) when verbally ordered to do so by Israeli forces.
Israeli forces ordered eight Palestinian farmers from Wadi Qana community (Salfit) to uproot over 1,400 olive trees, planted on Palestinian privately-owned land on the grounds that the area is designated as a nature reserve. Israeli forces also issued this week demolition orders against 17 residential structures in East Jerusalem and the Hebron and Qalqiliya governorates.
Settler-related incidents resulting in injuries or property damage:
This week: 9
2012 weekly average: 6
2011 weekly average: 8
Palestinians injuries by settler violence:
This week: 4
Injured in 2012: 47
2011 weekly average: 4
Israeli settlers injured by Palestinians:
This week: 1
Injured in 2012: 15
Palestinian-owned structures demolished in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem
Demolished in 2012: 265
People displaced in 2012: 475
2012 vs. 2011 demolitions (weekly av.): 15 vs. 12
2012 vs. 2011 people displaced (weekly av.): 27 vs. 21
One civilian injured east of Khan Younis
On 1 May, Israeli forces conducted an incursion into an area approximately 200 meters inside the Gaza Strip, east of Khan Younis, and clashed with members of a Palestinian armed faction. One civilian bystander was injured and between two to three dunums of land, planted with wheat crops, was burnt when Israeli forces opened fire inside the area. On three more occasions, Israeli forces conducted incursions into areas approximately 300 meters inside the Gaza Strip, and withdrew after conducting land leveling operations. Also, Israeli forces arrested two Palestinians near the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip while they were reportedly attempting to infiltrate into Israel.
Also this week, the Israeli Navy intercepted and searched a Palestinian fishing boat and reportedly took six fishermen for interrogation inside Israel. The fishermen were later released without their boat. Incidents near the fence and inside the sea continue to take place in the context of Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to areas up to 1-1.5 km from the fence, and to fishing areas beyond three nautical miles from the shore.
In addition, two armed Palestinian men were killed and two others injured in two incidents - by an explosive device during a military training, and while digging a military tunnel in An Nuseirat refugee camp. A number of projectiles were fired by Palestinian armed factions at southern Israel, resulting in no injuries or property damages.
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip:
Killed this week: 0
Killed in 2012: 29
Injured this week:1
Of whom were children: 0
2012 weekly average of injured: 9
2011 weekly average of injured: 9 3
Power outages of up to 12 hours per day remain in place
The majority of the population throughout the Gaza Strip continues to experience power cuts of up to 12 hours per day, with the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) producing only some 25 megawatts (MW) of power, about one-third of its capacity (80 MW). Diesel to operate the plant is purchased from Israel and delivered through the Israeli-controlled crossing. Fuel (including petrol and diesel) continues to enter Gaza through tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border, although in limited amounts which constitute only ten percent of the quantities received before the onset of the fuel crisis (800,000-1 million liters). While the Egyptian authorities have recently increased the price of fuel by 14 percent, the price of fuel purchased from Egypt is lower than the price of fuel coming from Israel. Due to fuel shortages, almost all 180 fuel stations throughout the Gaza Strip remained closed or partially open for a few hours, with long queues of cars and people reported at the stations, as reported by the Gas Stations Owners Association.
Israeli authorities issue three-month permits for UN Gaza staff
This week, Israeli authorities issued three-month permits to exit Gaza for 60 UN national staff (out of 100 applications submitted to the Israeli authorities). In the past, although such permits had been available for UN Gaza staff, staff faced met with difficulties and delays in obtaining such long-term permits, rather than time-bound permits for specific events/activities, typically valid for several days to a week. This is the first time the UN has received so many long-term permits at one time, improving access for UN Gaza Staff and reducing the time and cost for UN agencies to obtain permits. The remaining 40 applicants were denied due to security reasons, or because they were deemed ineligible for long-term permits - the latter category will continue to apply for time-bound permits. An additional request for three-month permits to Gaza for 80 UN staff from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is currently under review with the Israeli authorities. In January of this year, Israel stopped issuing three-month Gaza permits to UN staff from East Jerusalem.
Movement of goods (Kerem Shalom Crossing):
Weekly average of truckloads (TL) entered this week: 841