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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
4 October 2011



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



PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS WEEKLY REPORT

التقرير الأسبوعي لحماية المدنيين

28 SEPTEMBER - 4 OCTOBER 2011


Key issues

Area C demolitions continued this week, displacing 19 people and undermining the livelihoods of over 100 others due to the destruction of water cisterns and other agricultural structures. Since the beginning of 2011, 823 people have lost their homes due to demolitions, more than double than in the same period of 2010. The communities targeted are among the most vulnerable, and many of them have already exhausted their coping mechanisms.

West Bank

Area C: 26 structures
demolished
Demolition of Palestinian-owned structures in Area C due to a lack of Israeli-issued building permits resumed this week, after a one-week lull. Overall, the Israeli authorities demolished 26 structures in the villages of Kafr ad Dik (Salfit governorate) and Beit Ula (Hebron governorate).

The structures demolished in Kafr ad Dik include ten animal shelters, four seasonal residential tents, two agricultural rooms and a water cistern. As a result, the livelihoods of 55 people, including at least 20 children, were affected. In three different locations in the Beit Ula village, the Israeli authorities demolished two agricultural rooms, two animal shelters, a residential tent and four water cisterns. These demolitions displaced 19 people, including 16 children, and affected the livelihoods of around 60 others, including 40 children. Since the beginning of the year, at least 40 water-related structures have been demolished throughout the West Bank, which severely affects livelihoods and further restricting access to scarce water supply.

Also in the Beit Ula village, the Israeli authorities uprooted 300 olive and almond trees claiming that the land is defined as “state land” and was seized illegally by a Palestinian family; the latter, however, argue that they own the land.



In addition this week, the Israeli authorities delivered demolition and stop-work orders against eight Palestinian-owned residential structures in the Jericho and Tulkarm governorates. Also, the Israeli authorities issued requisition orders against 20 vacant commercial structures and 5.5 dunums of land belonging to a Palestinian family near the Shu’fat Barrier checkpoint in East Jerusalem, citing security reasons.

Injuries in clashes with Israeli forces
decline
While weekly demonstrations and associated clashes continued, the number of Palestinian injuries significantly declined compared to the previous week (over 60). This week, Israeli forces injured 12 Palestinians during protests held against the expansion of the Hallamish settlement in the Ramallah governorate and the continued closure of the main entrance of Kafr Qaddum village in the Qalqiliya governorate. A number of additional demonstrations were carried out throughout the oPt in solidarity with over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in protest against detention conditions in Israeli prisons. Most demonstrations ended peacefully.



In three separate incidents this week, Israeli forces physically assaulted and injured six Palestinians: four during a dispute at a flying checkpoint in the Jericho governorate and two (both children) during search-and-arrest operations in the Silwan area of East Jerusalem and in As Simiya village (Hebron governorate). Overall this week, Israeli forces conducted over 40 search-and-arrest operations in West Bank cities and villages, well below the weekly average for such operations since the beginning of the year (90).


Decrease in number of settler
attacks
After three weeks of escalation, the number of settler-related incidents declined. In one incident in ‘Anata village (Jerusalem governorate), dozens of Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians and Israeli activists protesting the take-over of Palestinian privately-owned land by Israeli settlers from the nearby settlement of Anatot. As a result, at least 20 Israeli activists and two Palestinians sustained injuries after being stoned and physically assaulted by the Israeli settlers. Settlers clashed with another Palestinian near the ‘Awarta village (Nablus governorate) and injured him by spraying pepper gas in his face.

Also this week, two Palestinian young women were injured when hit by a settler vehicle in the Huwwara village (Nablus governorate). A similar incident near Hebron city two weeks ago resulted in the death of a Palestinian boy. Since the beginning of 2011, OCHA recorded the death of one Palestinian boy and the injury of 21 Palestinians (including 14 children), hit by vehicles driven by Israeli settlers.

In four separate settler attacks this week, Israeli settlers cut down or set fire to around 250 Palestinian-owned olive trees in the Ramallah, Hebron and Nablus governorates. A number of incidents involving attempts to close roads and intimidation by settlers were also reported, resulting in no injuries. Also, an Israeli-plated bus sustained damage after being stoned by Palestinians in East Jerusalem.



Gaza Strip

Israeli air strikes resumed;
four Palestinians injured
After two weeks of calm, with no reports of casualties or air strikes, four Palestinians were injured as Israeli forces launched an air strike and opened fire in two separate incidents in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian factions also continue to fire rockets at southern Israel, resulting in no injuries or damage to property.

On 1 October, the Israeli Air Force launched an air strike against a house in the Beit Hanoun area, where allegedly members of a Palestinian armed faction were present, injuring three Palestinians, including an elderly woman and two allegedly armed men. The house and a house nearby sustained damage as a result.

Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to areas up to 1,500 meters from the fence continue to result in casualties and hinder the livelihoods of thousands of people. In at least four separate incidents this week, Israeli forces opened warning fire towards a group of workers collecting scrap metal near the fence, injuring a 17-year-old boy. Restrictions on access to sea beyond three nautical miles from the shore also continued to affect the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Palestinian fishermen. The Israeli Navy opened fire towards Palestinian fishing boats on at least three occasions, forcing them ashore. No injuries or damage were reported.

Tunnels continue to claim
lives; one killed
In one incident on 2 October, a Palestinian worker died as a result of electrocution while he was working in one of the tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border. Since the beginning of 2011, 31 Palestinians have been killed and 51 others injured in tunnel-related incidents, including air strikes, tunnel collapses and electrocution. The Egyptian security forces also located and sealed off three tunnels. While tunnel activity has declined since the Israeli decision to ease the blockade on 20 June 2010, it remains a main source for the transfer of construction materials that are still restricted through the official crossing with Israel, as well as fuel that is significantly cheaper to buy from Egypt than in Israel.



Movement through Rafah
Crossing
During the reporting period, around 3,870 people left Gaza through the Rafah Crossing controlled by Egypt, and 2,087 others entered Gaza. While this is an increase compared to recent weeks, the number of people who crossed this week remains below the average number of people who crossed per week in the first five months of 2006, before the partial closure of the crossing, when an average of 650 people crossed daily each way. Also this week, a total of 207 people were denied entry to Egypt for unspecified reasons. Despite the overall increase in the volume of people leaving Gaza through Rafah, there are thousands of travelers registered with the Border and Crossing authorities in Gaza waiting to exit in the coming months due to the backlog generated as a result of access restrictions.



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