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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
15 February 2011

    Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    occupied Palestinian territory

9 - 15 February 2011
حماية المدنيين

    17 February: Israeli forces killed three Palestinians near the fence in the Beit Lahiya area of the Gaza Strip. Circumstances surrounding the incident remain unclear.

West Bank

Nine Palestinians injured by Israeli forces

This week, Israeli forces injured nine Palestinians, including four children in the West Bank and in Israel. In addition, two Israeli Border Policemen were injured by Palestinians. Thus far in 2011, five Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank and 136 have been injured, compared to one fatality and 96 injured in the same period in 2010.

Of this week’s Palestinian injuries, four, including three children, occurred in a clash with Israeli forces during a search and arrest operation in Beit Ummar village (Hebron governorate). Another boy (17-year-old) was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet when Israeli forces raided ‘Urif village (Nablus governorate) and confronted students near a school. Also this week, one Palestinian was physically assaulted and injured by Israeli forces after being apprehended inside Israel without a permit.

Overall this week, Israeli forces conducted 95 search and arrest operations throughout the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, slightly above the weekly average of 92 such operations during 2010.

Settler-related incidents

During the reporting period, OCHA documented five settler-related incidents that resulted in a Palestinian injury and damage to property, the same as the weekly average incidents recorded since the beginning of 2011.

In one incident, Israeli settlers shot and injured a 17-year-old boy while en route from his land to Jalud village (Nablus governorate). Since the beginning of 2011, settlers have killed two Palestinians and injured another 14 in various incidents. In four separate incidents during this week, Israeli settlers uprooted over 260 olive trees and seedlings in the Al Buweira area and Khirbet Safa village in the Hebron governorate, in Yasuf village in the Salfit governorate and in An Nabi Saleh village in the Ramallah governorate. Also this week, Israeli settlers clashed with Palestinians near a spring in Dura al Qara’ village (Ramallah governorate); no injuries were reported.

One Palestinian killed and another injured in West Jerusalem

On 11 February, a group of Israeli youths stabbed and killed a 24-year-old Palestinian and seriously injured another man in West Jerusalem, while the two were en route from work to their homes in East Jerusalem. While circumstances of the incident remain unclear, it is believed to be racially motivated.

17 February: Israeli forces killed three Palestinians near the fence in the Beit Lahiya area of the Gaza Strip. Circumstances surrounding the incident remain unclear.
Demolitions and demolition orders in Area C continue

During the week, the Israeli authorities demolished 28 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C of the West Bank due to the lack of building permits. On 9 February, Israeli forces demolished six residential shelters and 21 animal pens in Khirbet Tana village in the Nablus governorate due to its location in an area defined by the Israeli military as a “firing zone”. As a result, six families comprising 52 people, including 30 children, were displaced. Overall 106 people were affected by the demolitions. This is the third time since January 2010, and the fourth time since 2005, that this community has suffered extensive demolitions. The Israeli authorities demolished another structure (a nursery) in Hizma village (Jerusalem governorate), affecting the livelihood of three families. Since the beginning of 2011, 58 Palestinian-owned structures have been demolished in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank, displacing 122 people, including 70 children.

Also this week, stop-work and demolition orders were delivered against 17 Palestinian-owned structures in the communities of Khirbet Yarza in the Tubas governorate, and Al Mughayyer in the Ramallah governorate due to the lack of building permit.

A checkpoint into Nablus City not longer staffed

This week, the Israeli authorities announced that the Huwwara checkpoint, controlling access into Nablus City, will no longer be staffed. Shortly after the beginning of the second Intifada in 2000, Huwwara became one of the most problematic checkpoints in the West Bank, involving various restrictions, prolonged delays and high levels of friction. Since June 2009, however, Israeli forces have been conducting only random checks of cars entering and exiting the city, with traffic and movement of people generally flowing without delay. Access to and from Nablus City has been gradually improving for the past two years, positively affecting access to services and livelihoods.

Gaza Strip

Four Palestinians injured near the fence

This week, Israeli forces injured four Palestinians near the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip, compared to a total of 17 Palestinians injured last week. Since the beginning of 2011, three Palestinians (two civilians) and one Israeli soldier have been killed in the context of Israeli-Palestinian violence in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel, and 33 Palestinians (31 civilians) and four members of the Israeli forces have been injured. Nine Palestinians were killed and 13 others injured in the same period in 2010.

In four separate incidents this week, Israeli forces injured four Palestinian workers, including a 16-year-old boy, who were collecting rubble and scrap metal in the vicinity of the fence, bringing the total number of Palestinian workers injured near the fence since the beginning of 2011 to 13. Incidents near the fence continue to take place in the context of Israeli restrictions on access to areas up to 1,500 metres from the fence (17 percent of the Gaza Strip’s territory). Also this week, Israeli forces launched two incursions with bulldozers and tanks a few hundred meters into Gaza and withdrew after conducting land leveling.

Access restrictions continued to be enforced on fishing areas beyond three nautical miles from the shore; in one incident (on 13 February), Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats, resulting in no injuries or damage to the boats.

This week, a number of rockets were launched by Palestinian armed factions targeting southern Israel, resulting in no injuries or damage to property.

Update on the humanitarian impact of Egypt’s events on Gaza

Tunnels: operations continue

Since 6 February, tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border have continued their normal operations, following a significant decline in tunnel activity immediately after recent developments in Egypt, which impeded the transfer of goods to the border area. According to the Palestinian General Petroleum Corporation, approximately 200,000 litres of petrol and 600,000 litres of diesel are entering Gaza per day through the tunnels, allowing almost all the 120 fuel stations throughout the Gaza Strip to resume operations at levels prior to 24 January. Also, according to the Palestinian Industries Federation (PIF), on average, 300 tonnes of cement and 400 tonnes of gravel are entering through the tunnels each day. However, these quantities have remained below the daily amounts of cement (800 tonnes) and gravel (700 tonnes) that entered before the recent events in Egypt.

Rafah Crossing closure continues

The Rafah Crossing, controlled by the Egyptian authorities, has remained closed since 30 January, the longest closure period since Rafah was completely closed in early July 2008 for almost one month. According to the Crossings and Border authorities in Gaza, it is estimated that over 3,000 authorized travellers are waiting to exit or enter Gaza through Rafah. Since the closure, no patients have left Gaza through Rafah, compared to a monthly average of 500 patients who exit per month previously, mainly those with chronic diseases and also those who have had permits refused by the Israeli authorities to leave through Erez Crossing. Since its partial re-opening in June 2010, a daily average of around 360 people have crossed through Rafah in each direction, compared to 650 people who crossed each way daily in the first five months of 2006, before the partial closure of the crossing.

Crossings with Israel: update on imports and exports

This week, 1,833 tonnes of wheat grain entered Gaza through the Karni conveyor belt. As of 15 February, wheat stocks inside Gaza were sufficient to last less than ten days, down from 15 days last week and the 30 days the amount normally held in reserve by Gazan mills. While entry of construction materials for the private sector remains banned, this week, 113 truckloads of building materials entered for approved projects supervised by UNRWA, UNDP and the Palestinian Water Authority. Also, during the last two weeks, Gaza received two shipments (on 5 and 10 February) of medical supplies, including drugs, disposables and laboratory equipment. As a result, the number of drug and disposable items that are at zero level dropped from 183 to 150 (of 480 drug items) and from 165 to approximately 138 items (of 700 disposables).

This week, a total of 21 truckloads of strawberries and cut flowers were allowed to exit Gaza. Since the beginning of the season, from 28 November until 12 February, a total of 244 truckloads of strawberries (398 tonnes; 206 truckloads), cut flowers (5.3 millions stems; 35 truckloads), and sweet peppers (6 tonnes; 3 truckloads) have been allowed to leave Gaza. Since the imposition of the blockade in June 2007, only 504 truckloads of exports (mainly strawberries and cut flowers) have left Gaza, compared to a monthly average of 1,086 in the first five months of 2007. The 8 December 2010 announcement by the Israeli authorities to allow additional types of exports (e.g. agricultural products, furniture and textiles) from Gaza remains largely unimplemented.

Daily power cuts remain up to 6 hours; cooking gas shortages

The Gaza Power Plant (GPP) has continued to rely on diesel (normally used for vehicles) that is transferred through the tunnels to operate its two turbines, producing a total of 60 megawatts (MW) of electricity (70 percent of the estimated need). No industrial fuel has been requested from Israel since 5 January 2011. During this period, the majority of the population has experienced power cuts of 4 to 6 hours a day, down from 8 to 12 hours per day during past months.

This week, around 294 tonnes of cooking gas entered Gaza, a 57 percent decrease compared to a weekly average since the beginning of 2011. This quantity of gas also represented approximately one-quarter of the estimated needs (1,200 tonnes). According to the Gas Stations Owners Association, due to increased winter demand, a rationing scheme remains in place, with less than five out of 28 cooking gas stations partially operating at any given time, down from ten stations that have been operating since the beginning of 2011; priority is given to hospitals, chicken hatcheries, and bakeries. The primary reason for cooking gas shortages remains the limited capacity of the Kerem Shalom crossing, which lacks a storage facility on the Palestinian side; such a facility existed at the Nahal Oz crossing, which was closed by the Israeli authorities at the beginning of 2010.

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