Around 160 Palestinians, including 60 children, are at imminent risk of forced displacement in the community of Susiya in south Hebron, after receiving final demolition orders against their residential and livelihood structures. This is equivalent to around 40 percent of the community’s population.
Power cuts throughout the Gaza Strip remain as high as 12 hours per day with the entry of limited fuel shipments, disrupting delivery of basic services and daily life in Gaza.
Majority of injuries in a weekly demonstration in Qalqiliya; settlers damage over 200 trees
Almost all of this week’s Palestinian injuries 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 main road has been reserved for Israeli settlers’ use since 2002. Another Palestinian was physically assaulted and injured by Israeli forces while he was working his land with a group of international activists near the Karmei Tzur settlement (Hebron).
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces
Injured this week: 21; 20 in demonstrations
Injured in 2012: 1,481
2012 weekly average of injured: 63
2011 weekly average of injured: 28
Search-and-arrest operations by Israeli forces this week: 70
Villages in the vicinity of settlements continue to bear the brunt of settler violence. Settlers set fire to or cut down approximately 215 trees, including 100 olive trees belonging to Nahhalin village (Bethlehem). The remaining trees belonged to the villages of Halhul and At Tuwani in the Hebron governorate, and Deir ‘Ammar in the Ramallah governorate. In addition, settlers set fire to 36 dunums of land planted with wheat belonging to Khirbet Shuweika community (Hebron), and two additional dunums belonging to As Sawiya village (Nablus). The lack of adequate law enforcement by the Israeli authorities against settlers continues to raise serious concerns and contributes to further violence.
Settler-related incidents resulting in injuries or property damage:
This week: 7
2012 weekly average: 6
2011 weekly average: 8
Palestinians injuries by settler violence:
This week: 0
Injured in 2012: 63
2011 weekly average: 4
Israeli settlers injured by Palestinians:
This week: 0
Injured in 2012: 19
Injured in 2011: 37
Demolitions in Jenin affect water supply for hundreds of residents
This week, the Israeli authorities demolished 17 Palestinian-owned residential and livelihood structures due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, or authorization from the Israel-Palestinian Joint Water Committee (JWC).
Of these demolitions, six artesian wells were demolished in Beit Qad and Deir Abu Da’if (Jenin governorate), which are located in Area B, where the Palestinian Authority has responsibility for planning and zoning issues. The wells were reportedly constructed without authorization from the JWC, required since the 1995 Interim Agreement for the digging of any well in any area of the West Bank. The demolitions affected the only source of water for drinking and domestic use for hundreds of residents who are not connected to the municipality’s water network, as well as a the provision of water for a chicken farm and the irrigation of around 250 dunums of land. Residents are now forced to purchase water from Jenin City, at a higher price of 15 NIS per cubic meters (m3), compared to 3 NIS per m3 before the demolitions. These are the first demolitions tcarried out by the Israeli authorities in Area B this year. In 2011, nine wells were demolished in Area B in similar circumstances.
Also this week, five residential structures, along with a mechanical workshop, were demolished in a Bedouin community near ‘Anata village in the Jerusalem governorate, displacing five families of 28 people, including 14 children. Four other animal shacks and one commercial building, comprising six shops, were demolished in Jabal al Makabbir village and Beit Hanina neighbourhood, respectively, both in East Jerusalem. The livelihoods of more than 75 people were affected. Overall this year in East Jerusalem, demolitions have increased by around 60 percent compared with 2011(30 vs. 19).
During the period covered by this report, demolition and stop work orders were also issued against eight residential structures, two animal shacks and one electricity network in the Qalqiliya, Hebron, Tulkarm, and Ramallah governorates.
Palestinian-owned structures demolished in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem
Demolished in 2012: 324
Of which residences: 100
People displaced in 2012: 536
2012 vs. 2011 demolitions (weekly av.): 14 vs. 12
2012 vs. 2011 people displaced (weekly av.): 23 vs. 21
Around 40 percent of Susiya residents at risk of immediate displacement
On 12 June, the Israeli authorities issued final demolition orders against 51 structures in the Susiya community (Hebron), representing around half of the community’s structures. The orders come in the context of a petition filed by a settler group (Regavim) to the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ), demanding the State to take action against structures issued with outstanding demolition orders in a number of Palestinian communities in Area C. The affected structures in Susiya include residences, animal shelters, cisterns, a health facility and a solar electricity system, some of which were funded by international donors. If the demolitions take place, some 160 Palestinians, including 60 children, will be displaced. The Palestinians were given three days to submit an injunction to the Israeli Civil Administration.
Susiya families, who have lived in the community since before 1948, suffer some of the worst living conditions in Area C. The community has a population of 350, including 120 children, and faces a high risk of forced displacement due to the Israeli authorities’ lack of adequate planning and its proximity to the Israeli settlement of Suseya. Like most Area C communities, in Susiya too the Israeli authorities have never approved a “master plan” for the community, making it impossible for residents to obtain a construction permit. Since the early 1990s, the Israeli authorities have carried out multiple waves of demolitions targeting residential and livelihood structures, including water cisterns.. Residents’ access to land has been progressively reduced due to settlement construction and settler violence with a negative impact on livelihoods and security as space for herding and cultivation continuously shrinks.1
Access delays for Palestinian Fire Brigades exacerbate damages
In one incident this week, the Israeli authorities delayed the access of Palestinian Fire Brigades to agricultural land located in the closed area between the Barrier and the Green Line. The Fire Brigades were held for more than an hour, for unclear reasons, at a Barrier gate next to the village of ‘Akkaba (Tulkarm), where they were summoned following the outbreak of fires on land planted with olive trees. According to the Palestinian Civil Defense assessment, delays further exacerbated the damages, with at least 300 dunums set on fire, damaging around 90 olive trees. Two weeks ago a similar incident, in the Khirbet Jubara community (Tulkarm), resulted in extensive damage to land and trees.
The access of ambulances and civil defense forces to areas behind the Barrier requires prior coordination with the Israeli authorities. While the existing mechanism is supposed to facilitate smooth access, in practice, delays of emergency vehicles at Barrier gates and checkpoints are frequently reported. Except in East Jerusalem, Palestinian communities in the closed area behind the Barrier depend to a large extent on emergency services located in the rest of the West Bank.
Also in Tulkarm governorate, Israeli forces delayed the access of the Palestinian Fire Brigade to an agricultural area between Deir al Ghusun and Bal’a villages for around 20 minutes. The Brigades were called to respond to an outbreak of fires that occurred as a result of the Israeli military training in the area. Around 100 dunums of land were set on fire, damaging around 300 olive trees.
Two injured in an air strike; structures and trees damaged during incursions
On 6 June, an Israeli air strike targeted two armed Palestinians in the Beit Lahiya area, injuring them. A factory, a wheat flour mill and one house also sustained damages during the incident. The rest of the week was relatively calm inside Gaza, with no casualties reported. Armed Palestinians fired a number of projectiles at southern Israel and military bases near the fence separating Gaza and Israel, resulting in no injuries or damage to property.
Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to areas in the vicinity of the fence and to fishing zones beyond three nautical miles from the shore continued. Israeli forces fired one tank shell and opened fire on at least two occasions towards Palestinian areas, setting fire to a wheat crop; and conducted two incursions, damaging approximately 40 dunums of land planted mainly with olive and palm trees and grapevines, and destroying an irrigation network, a water pool and a warehouse. Also, on at least nine occasions the Israeli navy fired warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats, forcing them ashore. In one of the incidents, the Israeli navy arrested a 17-year-old fisherman and confiscated one boat.
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip:
Killed this week: 0
Killed in 2012: 32
Injured this week: 2
Injured in 2012: 178
2012 weekly average of injured: 8
2011 weekly average of injured: 9
One killed and another injured in a tunnel-related incident
On 7 June, a Palestinian worker died and another was injured when a tunnel collapsed while they were working inside. In 2012, seven workers have been killed and 14 others were injured as a result of tunnel-related incidents. Overall in 2011, 36 Palestinians were killed and 54 others were injured in tunnel-related incidents, including air strikes, tunnel collapses and electrocutions. Tunnels remain a significant source for the transfer of certain goods, including construction materials, that are restricted through the official crossings with Israel, as well as fuel, that is significantly cheaper to buy from Egypt than from Israel.
Continued electricity crisis amid entry of limited fuel supplies
On 6 June, the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) was again forced to shut down due to lack of fuel, triggering long power cuts of 16 hours per day throughout the Gaza Strip. The plant resumed operating one turbine the following day, and continued to do so for the rest of the week, upon receiving shipments of fuel donated by the Qatari government (a total of 509,000 liters from 7-12 June). Although the Qatari fuel shipments had arrived to Suez in Egypt on 20 April, their delivery to Gaza had been delayed for two months in Egypt, as they were awaiting clearance by all relevant authorities (including Egyptians, Israelis and Palestinians). Gaza received a shipment of 133,000 liters of fuel each day, although the plant needs over 500,000 litres to operate at full capacity. Following the deliveries, power cuts were reduced to 12 hours per day. On 11 June, the power plant exceptionally increased electricity production to 50 megawatts (MW), or around two-thirds of its capacity (80 MW), using fuel reserves to operate two turbines, to aid in the preparation for final exams in the Gaza schools. This is the first time since mid- February 2012 that the plant has produced such high quantities of electricity.
Fuel supplied through the tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border is estimated this week at less than 30 percent of the amount (800,000 – one million liters of diesel and benzene) that entered regularly each day prior to the onset of fuel crisis in December 2011. Gaza private companies continue to import fuel, including petrol and diesel, from Israel, to compensate for the ongoing fuel shortage, although the amounts imported continue to decline when compared to previous months. This week, the GSOA stated that almost all of the 180 fuel stations in the Gaza Strip are partially functioning, but long queues of cars and people waiting for diesel are still reported.
Movement of goods (Kerem Shalom Crossing)
Weekly average of truckloads (TL) entered this week: 1,213
For additional background on Susiya, see OCHA oPt Fact Sheet Susiya: At Imminent Risk of Forced Displacement, March 2012, available for download at: http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_susiya_factSheet_march_2012_english.pdf.