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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
20 March 2012



    UNITED NATIONS
    Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    occupied Palestinian territory



PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS WEEKLY REPORT

التقرير الأسبوعي لحماية المدنيين

14 - 20 MARCH 2012


Key issues

A total of 28 Palestinians were injured in one weekly demonstration against access restrictions in the Qalqiliya governorate. In 2012, most injuries reported in the West Bank have occurred in the context of demonstrations.

The Gaza Power Plant has been shut down for the last ten consecutive days due to the lack of fuel, triggering power outages of up to 18 hours per day. This continues affecting the delivery of vital services and the daily lives of 1.6 million people.

WEST BANK

Multiple injuries in a demonstration against access restrictions; more than 200 olive trees vandalized by settlers

Israeli forces injured 28 Palestinians during clashes that erupted in a weekly protest against the continued restrictions on access to Kafr Qaddum village and to adjacent agricultural land located in the vicinity of Qedumim settlement (Qalqiliya). One demonstrator was injured after being attacked by a military dog, while most of the rest were hit by tear gas canisters or suffered from asphyxiation.

In a landmark decision issued this week, indirectly related to this weekly protest, the Israeli High Court of Justice ordered the Israeli Civil Administration to evacuate an Israeli settler from a plot of land privately owned by a Palestinian from Kafr Qaddum. The settler had claimed ownership rights under the Ottoman Land Law, stemming from his continuous cultivation of the land for ten years.

An Israeli activist was also injured in another weekly protest against the expansion of Hallamish settlement (Ramallah). The demonstration was also held in solidarity with a female prisoner, Hana’ Shalabi, whose health has deteriorated after being on a hunger strike for more than 30 days. The hunger strike is in protest of her imprisonment without charge or trial under an administrative detention order.

A 14-year-old Palestinian child was injured after an unexploded ordnance (UXO) exploded while he was grazing his flock in the community of Khan Al Ahmar (Jordan Valley). He was transported to an Israeli hospital. Since the beginning of 2012, two children have been killed and another five Palestinians, including four children, injured in the same context.

Also this week, a female Israeli soldier was stabbed and injured by a Palestinian in the Pisgat Zeev settlement (East Jerusalem). This incident triggered a number of search and arrest operations in the adjacent Palestinian neighbourhoods of Shu’fat and Beit Hanina. Also in East Jerusalem, Israeli forces raided a school in Ras al Amoud neighbourhood allegedly for throwing stones.


Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces
Killed this week: 0
Killed in 2012: 2
Killed in 2011: 11

Injured this week: 29; 28 in demonstrations

Injured in 2012: 367
2012 weekly average of injured: 32
2011 weekly average of injured: 28
Search-and-arrest operations this week: 64

Israeli settler violence continued during the week. Settlers physically assaulted and injured three Palestinians in the Old City of Hebron, and near the settlements of Shave Shomoron (Jenin) and Yitzhar (Nablus). In another incident, settlers attacked Palestinian shepherds while they were grazing their sheep near Mikhmas village (Jerusalem), reportedly killing one of the sheep. Also, settlers reportedly uprooted or cutdown at least 260 olive trees belonging to the villages of Mas-ha (Salfit) and Duma (Nablus). This brings the total number of trees and other plants vandalized by settlers since the beginning of the year to over 1,400.

Communities in the Jordan Valley face multiple demolitions and displacement

Israeli authorities demolished 19 Palestinian-owned structures in the herding communities of Al Jiftlik, Khirbet Tana and Khirbet Tuwayel in the Jordan Valley, on the grounds that they lacked Israeli-issued permits. The majority of the structures (11) were residences, displacing around 60 people, including 26 children. Eight animal structures were also demolished in the latter two communities, bringing the total number of structures demolished there in less than a month to 32. Also, nine demolition orders were issued against residential and animal structures in the communities of Khan al Ahmar and Wadi al Qelt in the Jordan Valley and Halhul town in Hebron.

Settler-related incidents resulting in injuries or property damage:
This week: 9
2011 weekly average: 8
Palestinians injuries by settler violence:
This week: 3
Injured in 2012: 26
2011 weekly average: 4
Israeli settlers injured by Palestinians:
This week: 0
Injured in 2012: 5
Total in 2011: 21

Israeli forces leveled about 1,000 dunums from Kafr Ad Dik village land (Salfit) reportedly for the expansion of Ale Zahav settlement, claiming that the land is “state land”. Palestinians, however, claim ownership over the land. Also, at least 100 olive seedlings were uprooted by Israeli forces in Beit Dajan village (Nablus) allegedly due to their location in a closed military area.

Palestinian-owned structures demolished in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem
This week:
Demolished: 20, including 11 residences
Displaced: 61, including 25 children
Demolished in 2012: 147
People displaced in 2012: 310
2012 vs. 2011 demolitions (weekly av.): 13 vs. 12
2012 vs. 2011 people displaced (weekly av.): 27 vs. 21



GAZA STRIP

Calm agreement holds

This week, the situation inside the Gaza Strip has remained relatively calm after an Egyptian-brokered agreement between Israel and the armed factions in Gaza was reached on 13 March. The agreement ended a four-day long escalation, which left 24 Palestinians dead, and 75 Palestinians and 11 Israelis injured.

Also, a number of Israeli air strikes and Palestinian rocket firing were recorded during the week. A bamboo workshop and at least three houses in Gaza City were damages in one of the airstrikes, and a greenhouse was damaged in southern Israel. According to Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza, a 6-year-old child was shot and injured in unclear circumstances in the Rafah area.

Two children killed in incidents related to reckless handling of weapons

In three incidents during this week, three Palestinians, including two children (aged 7 and 17), were killed by shots fired by Palestinian factions during the funerals of Palestinians killed in Gaza City. In 2011, five Palestinians were killed (including 2 children) and 24 others (including 6 children) were injured by live ammunition in incidents related to reckless handling of weapons.

Four injured in tunnel-related incidents

In three incidents this week (14 and 19 and 20 March), four Palestinian men were injured after falling into tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border while they were working inside. So far in 2012, three workers have been killed and another four injured as a result of tunnel-related incidents. Overall in 2011, 36 Palestinians were killed and 54 others injured in tunnel-related incidents, including air strikes, tunnel collapse and electrocution. Tunnels remain the main 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 than in Israel.

Power cuts of up to 18 hours continue; basic services and daily lives of 1.6 million severely disrupted

Only limited amounts of fuel reached Gaza through the tunnels, as has been the case since February 2012. Since 10 March, the majority of the Gaza population has been experiencing power cuts of up to 18 hours per day after the Gaza Power Plant was forced to shut down due to a lack of fuel (for the third time in a month). These power cuts have severe humanitarian consequences on Palestinian households. The fuel and electricity shortages also disrupt the delivery of public services, including hospitals and water and wastewater treatment plants.

The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) reported that fuel reserves (estimated at 20,000 litres last week), used to operate backup generators at water and wastewater facilities, were depleted; 25 percent of the 190 water wells throughout the Gaza Strip are out of fuel stocks. Around two-thirds of WASH facilities are operating on standby generators that function on a daily basis depending on the availability of fuel. As a result, 40 percent of the Gaza Strip’s population, mainly in Gaza City, Rafah and Jabaliya, receives running water for only 6 to 8 hours every four days, 30 percent receives it every three days, 25 percent every two days, and five percent between 6 to 8 hours every day. Also, 80 million liters of raw or partially treated sewage are discharged everyday into the environment as a result of fuel shortages, posing public health risks.

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

Hospitals continue to rely heavily on backup generators that are dependent on the availability of fuel and spare parts and are vulnerable to breakdowns. As of 14 March, the available fuel in Gaza Hospitals is enough to operate the standby electric generators for two weeks; all hospitals, together, need almost 1,000 liters of fuel to operate their generators for one hour at a time.

On 19 March, the Gas Stations Owners Association (GSOA) reported that all the Gaza Strip fuel stations (180) are closed due to the lack of supply. Long queues of people were reported in front of gas and fuel stations. Local reports indicate that people are using cooking oil as an alternative fuel for cars, similar to the situation in 2008. Many fishing boats are currently in port due to the lack of fuel.

Movement of goods (Kerem Shalom Crossing):
Imports:
Weekly average of truckloads (TL) entered this week: 784

Exports:
Truckloads that left this week: 7
Cooking gas shortages

While more quantities of cooking gas entered Gaza this week than last week (around 600 vs. 250 tonnes), the amounts of cooking gas allowed in are estimated at around half of those required on a weekly basis (1,200 tonnes). Due to the lack of cooking gas, almost half of the cooking gas stations remain closed. The reasons behind these reduced amounts remain unclear. An estimated 2-5 tonnes of cooking gas are piped daily and more than 3,000 gas canisters are daily taken to Egypt, filled, and re-enter Gaza, partially covering the needs. Shortage of cooking gas, compounded with a shortage of power and fuel, is leaving Gaza’s population with insufficient amounts of energy to supply their daily lives.



For more information, please contact Mai Yassin at yassinm@un.org or +972 (0)2 5829962.

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