The Gaza Power Plant has been shut down on 25 March for the fourth time within the last five weeks, triggering power outages of up to 18 hours per day. This continues to affect the delivery of vital services and the daily lives of 1.6 million people in the Gaza Strip.
Five Palestinians, including three children, were injured by unexploded ordnance (UXOs) in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, bringing the total of such injuries in 2012 to 18, including 13 children. Three other children have been killed by UXOs this year.
The majority of injuries continue to take place in demonstrations against access restrictions and settlement activities
Around 60 percent of Palestinian injuries by Israeli forces this week (25 out of 41) took place during the weekly demonstration against the continued restrictions on access to Kafr Qaddum village and its adjacent agricultural land, located in the vicinity of Qedumim settlement (Qalqiliya). Two children (aged 15 and 16) were injured in another weekly protest against the expansion of Hallamish settlement in Ramallah.
Eleven (11) Palestinians were injured during search-and-arrest operations conducted by Israeli forces in the villages of Qatannah (Jerusalem; 1) and Zububa (Jenin; 10). In Rammun village (Ramallah), three brothers were shot and injured when Israeli forces entered their house during a military operation. Palestinian sources indicated that the brothers thought they were thieves trying to rob them and so they attacked them. According to Israeli sources, two of the brothers stabbed and injured one soldier and the third brother was holding a fake gun. The soldiers responded by shooting at the brothers; they were transferred by the army to an Israeli hospital. Israeli media reported that another Israeli soldier was physically assaulted and injured by Palestinians in East Jerusalem.
Also this week, an 8-year-old Palestinian child was injured by unexploded ordnance (UXO) while he was playing near Shilo settlement (Nablus). Since the beginning of 2012, two children have been killed and another seven Palestinians, including six children, injured in the same context.
In another incident, eight Palestinian workers from East Jerusalem were physically assaulted and injured this week by a group of Israelis in West Jerusalem.
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces:
Killed this week: 0
Killed in 2012: 2
Killed in 2011: 11
Injured this week: 41; 25 in demonstrations
Of whom were children: 2
Injured in 2012: 408
2012 weekly average of injured: 32
2011 weekly average of injured: 28
Search-and-arrest operations this week: 100
A slight increase in settler violence leading to Palestinian injuries and damage to property was recorded this week, compared to the weekly average since the beginning of 2012 (8 vs. 5 incidents). In four incidents, Israeli settlers attacked and injured six Palestinians while they were working land or grazing sheep near the settlement outpost of Gilád (Qalqiliya) and the settlements of Bet El (Ramallah), Yitzhar (Nablus) and Homesh (Jenin), which was evacuated in 2005. Also, settlers vandalized over 230 Palestinian-owned olive trees belonging to Al Khader village near Danniyel settlement (Bethlehem); set fire to a Palestinian-plated car in Mikhmas village (Jerusalem) and stoned and damaged another car near Yitzhar settlement (Nablus).
This week, the Israeli human rights organization, Yesh Din, released the findings of its monitoring of police investigations of complaints filed by Palestinians against Israeli civilians in the West Bank. Of around 780 complaints between 2005 and March 2012, less than 9 percent resulted in indictments being served against the alleged perpetrators, and more than 84 percent of cases were closed either due to police failure to locate the perpetrator or because of “lack of criminal culpability”.
Around 25 Palestinian prisoners are currently on hunger strike in protest of their imprisonment without charge or trial under administrative detention. One of these prisoners, Hana’ Shalabi, has been on hunger strike for over 40 days, with the others ranging from eight to around 30 days.
Jordan Valley communities remain vulnerable to demolitions and displacement
The Israeli authorities carried out a wave of demolitions in the Jordan Valley for the second week in a row, on the grounds that the buildings concerned lacked Israeli-issued building permits.
Six residential structures, three animal shelters and three storage rooms were demolished in the herding communities of Tel El Hemeh and Frush Beit Dajan, displacing 36 people, including 13 children. Another 12 animal shelters were demolished in Al Farisiya and Humsa Al Farsheh communities. Overall, the livelihoods of 40 people, including 17 children, were affected. These demolitions took place in already vulnerable farming and herding communities, which live in basic structures and have very limited access to infrastructure and services, such as water, electricity and sanitation. All have been the site of previous demolitions affecting homes and other livelihood structures. In 2012, one-third of all demolitions and 22 percent of displacement occurred in the Jordan Valley. Five of the 10 affected/displaced households experienced demolitions in January 2012 in these communities and one of the communities had property demolished in November 2011.
Incidents resulting in Palestinian injuries or property damage:
This week: 9
2012 weekly average: 5
2011 weekly average: 8
Palestinians injuries by settler violence:
This week: 6
Injured in 2012: 32
2011 weekly average: 4
Israeli settlers injured by Palestinians:
This week: 1
Injured in 2012: 6
Total in 2011: 21
Moreover, the Israeli authorities issued demolition and stop work orders against five residential structures and two commercial shops in the Bethlehem governorate and East Jerusalem. An evacuation order against one dunum of an agricultural land was issued in Husan, Bethlehem.
Palestinian-owned structures demolished in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem
Demolished: 24, including 6 residences
Displaced: 36, including 13 children
Demolished in 2012: 171
People displaced in 2012: 346
2012 vs. 2011 demolitions (weekly av.): 14 vs. 12
2012 vs. 2011 people displaced (weekly av.): 27 vs. 21 3
Calm in Gaza continues
For the second consecutive week, the situation inside the Gaza Strip has remained calm, with no reports of casualties or military strikes by Israeli forces. On two occasions, however, Israeli bulldozers and tanks entered approximately 150-300 meters inside the Gaza Strip, withdrawing after conducting land leveling operations. Also, two Palestinians were arrested by Israeli forces while reportedly trying to cross the fence into Israel. In three other incidents, the Israeli navy fired warning shots towards Palestinian fishing boats, forcing them ashore. Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to land and sea continue to affect the lives and undermine the livelihoods of the Gazan population.
A number of projectiles were fired by Palestinian armed factions towards southern Israel and military bases located along the fence separating Gaza and Israel, resulting in no injuries or damage to property. A member of a Palestinian armed faction was accidently killed during military training on 22 March in Nusairat Camp.
Four injured by UXOs
In two separate incidents this week, four Palestinians, including two children (aged 6 and 9), were injured by unexploded ordnance (UXO). Two workers were injured in Al-Maghazi Camp (Middle Gaza) on 22 March while they were collecting scrap metal; and the two children were injured while they were playing in an area in Al Shujaeyah, east of Gaza City. Since the beginning of 2012 in Gaza, one child has been killed and 11 others injured, including seven children.
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip:
Killed this week: 0
Killed in 2012: 29
Injured this week: 0
Of whom were children: 0
Injured in 2012: 100
2011 weekly average of injured: 9
Over 80 people detained by Gaza authorities
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), the Gaza authorities have summoned and detained approximately 80 Palestinian political activists, allegedly affiliated with the Fateh political party, for activities during the power crisis last month. While the detainees were released the same day, they report that their conditions of detention were humiliating and degrading. Local reports also indicate that a number of taxi drivers allegedly affiliated with Fatah were detained for the same reason.
Power plant remains shut down due to the lack of fuel; basic services and the daily lives of 1.6 million severely disrupted
By the end of the reporting period, the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) had been forced to shut down completely for the fourth time in the past five weeks, as a result of the lack of fuel entering Gaza via the tunnels, triggering daily power cuts of up to 18 hours per day. On 23 March, exceptional amounts of industrial fuel of approximately 430,000 litres, enough to operate the GPP until 25 March, were purchased from Israel and entered the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom Crossing. This was the first such import of fuel from Israel since January 2011. Power outages continue to have severe humanitarian consequences on the population, disrupting the daily life of 1.6 million Gazans as well as the delivery of public services, including hospitals and water and wastewater treatment plants.
Around two-thirds of WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) facilities are operating on standby mobile generators that function on a daily basis depending on the availability of fuel. Also, up to 80 million liters of partially treated sewage are discharged everyday into the Mediterranean Sea, due to inappropriate wastewater treatment as a result of electricity deficiency and fuel shortages, posing environmental health risks. Hospitals continue to rely heavily on mobile generators that are dependent on the availability of fuel and spare parts and are vulnerable to breakdowns. Gaza hospitals have fuel stock enough to operate the standby electric generators for a few days only; all hospitals together need almost 1,000 liters of fuel to operate their generators for one hour at a time.
This week, limited amounts of fuel reached Gaza through the tunnels, as has been the case since February 2012. On average, between 21 and 27 March, less than 140,000 liters of fuel entered Gaza each day compared to 800,000-1,000,000 liters daily during the previous months. According to the Gas Stations Owners Association (GSOA), almost all 180 fuel stations throughout the Gaza Strip are closed due to fuel shortages. Additional amounts of fuel were purchased this week from Israel by the private sector (including 81,000 liters of petrol and 35,000 liters of diesel), which was purchased at more than double the price of fuel purchased from Egypt.1
Cooking gas shortages
Less cooking gas entered Gaza via Kerem Shalom this week compared to the previous one (430 tonnes vs. 609 tonnes), estimated at around 36 percent of the weekly needs (around 1,200 tonnes). According to the GSOA, due to the shortage, cooking gas is being rationed among the 28 gas stations in Gaza, with almost all of them reported either closed or operating for only a few hours during the week. The reasons for these reduced amounts remain unclear. Approximately 3,000 gas canisters are refilled in Egypt. Shortages of cooking gas, compounded by a shortage of power and fuel, are leaving Gaza’s population with insufficient amounts of energy to meet their daily needs.
Movement of goods (Kerem Shalom Crossing):
Weekly average of truckloads (TL) entered this week: 1,044