Power cuts throughout the Gaza Strip decreased slightly from 18 to 16 hours per day, after a limited amount of fuel imported from Israel entered Gaza through Kerem Shalom crossing, allowing the Power Plant to resume operations. However, high power outages continue to disrupt basic service provision and daily life inside Gaza.
No demolitions or displacement were recorded in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, for the first time in six months. In 2012, 184 Palestinian-owned structures have been demolished, displacing 388 people.
A round 30 injuries in weekly demonstrations against access restrictions and settlement-related activities
The majority of Palestinians injuries this week (26) occurred in the weekly demonstration against the continued closure of the main entrance to Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya) village, which also leads to the village’s agricultural land in the vicinity of the nearby Qedumim settlement. Israeli forces raided the village in the aftermath of the protest, detained 20 residents, including two children, and damaged some furniture and water tanks in five houses. Residents of one house claim that some jewelry was missing after the raid.
Another five Palestinians, including two children, and an international activist, were injured in the weekly protests against the construction of the Barrier in Bil’in village and the expansion of Hallamish settlement in Ramallah, and against restrictions on access to agricultural land near Karmei Tzur settlement in Hebron. Almost 40 percent of the total Palestinian injuries in 2012 have taken place in weekly demonstrations. Another Palestinian child (aged 16) was injured this week during clashes with Israeli forces in Ar Ram (Jerusalem).
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces:
Killed this week: 0
Killed in 2012: 3
Killed in 2011: 11
Injured this week: 33; 31 in demonstrations
Of whom were children: 3
Injured in 2012: 613
2012 weekly average of injured: 42
2011 weekly average of injured: 28
Search-and-arrest operations this week: 92
In two incidents, Palestinians stoned Israeli-plated vehicles driving in the Ramallah and Qalqiliya areas, injuring two Israeli settlers, including a child. While there were no reports of Palestinian injuries this week, in one incident, settlers from Yitzhar settlement levelled a piece of land belonging to the village of Burin (Nablus), in an attempt to take over a nearby spring, which serves the residents of the village (estimated at 2,284). A survey conducted by OCHA in 2011 found that there are 56 springs in the West Bank that have become targets of Israeli settler activity: 30 of the springs are under full settler control, while Palestinians access is impeded at the remaining springs due to settler violence or physical obstacles. Most of the springs are situated on privately-owned Palestinian land.
In two incidents that resulted in no injuries, settlers threw stones and unleashed dogs on Palestinian farmers from ’Aqraba village (Nablus) while they were working their land near Itamar settlement, and physically assaulted a woman in the Old City of Hebron. Also in Hebron, Israeli forces prevented Palestinian access to Al Ibrahimi mosque / “Cave of the Patriarchs” for two days, allowing only Israelis to pray at the site during the Jewish holidays.
No demolitions or displacement for the first time in six months
For the first time since mid-October 2011, there were no reports this week of demolitions of Palestinian-owned structures by the Israeli authorities, compared to a weekly average of 13 structures demolished since the beginning of the year. In total in 2012, the Israeli authorities have demolished 184 Palestinian-owned structures, displacing 388 people, including 191 children. Nearly half of the demolished structures and people displaced this year have been in the Jordan Valley.
During the week, Israeli forces issued an eviction order against a farming family living on 250 dunum of agricultural land planted with almond and olive trees in Wadi Fukin (Bethlehem), claiming the land to be “state land”. Also, Israeli authorities issued a stop-work order against an agricultural road used by Raba village (Jenin), due to the lack of an Israeli-issued permit, and confiscated two bulldozers.
Collapse of “fabric of life” road results in long detour for Ramallah area residents
The road connecting Beit Ur Al Fauqa and Beitunia, which provides access for some eight villages to their service center of Ramallah, has collapsed. Because Palestinian access to the traditional routes to Ramallah city has been prevented by Israeli-imposed movement restrictions erected during the second Intifada, the approximately 26,300 affected residents are now forced to take a long detour, which is more than twice the distance for many. This road is one of many “fabric of life” roads that were built following Palestinians’ exclusion from much of the main road network in the West Bank. The quality of these roads is, at least in some cases, inferior. The Beit Ur Al Fauqa - Beitunia road, for example, has collapsed multiple times in the past as a result of heavy rains, leaving the road closed for months at a time for repairs, while Palestinian traffic is diverted through a longer detour.
Settler-related incidents resulting in injuries or property damage:
This week: 2
2012 weekly average: 5.2
2011 weekly average: 8
Palestinians injuries by settler violence:
This week: 0
Injured in 2012: 35
2011 weekly average: 4
Israeli settlers injured by Palestinians:
This week: 2
Injured in 2012: 11
Total in 2011: 21
Palestinian-owned structures demolished in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem
Demolished in 2012: 184
People displaced in 2012: 388
2012 vs. 2011 demolitions (weekly av.): 13 vs. 12
2012 vs. 2011 people displaced (weekly av.): 29 vs. 21
Three Palestinians injured
Three weeks after an agreement was reached between Israel and Palestinian armed factions in Gaza, two alleged members of an armed group were injured when the Israeli air force fired two missiles at motorcycle they were riding on 7 April in Rafah city.
In a separate incident near the fence separating Gaza and Israel, Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian worker while he was collecting scrap metal on 9 March. In three other incidents, Israeli forces fired warning shots towards farmers, forcing them to leave their land in the area. Also, on two occasions, Israeli bulldozers and tanks entered approximately 300 meters inside Gaza, withdrawing after conducting land leveling operations. These incidents come in the context of Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to areas up to 1,500 meters from the fence. Israeli restrictions continue to prohibit access to the sea beyond three nautical miles from the shore. In four incidents, the Israeli navy opened warning fire towards Palestinian fishing boats. No injuries or damage were reported. Also, a Palestinian man was detained by Israeli forces at the Erez crossing when he came for an interview as part of a procedure to obtain a permit to visit his two sick children in a hospital in the West Bank.
Additionally, a number of projectiles were fired by Palestinian armed factions towards southern Israel and military bases located close to the fence separating Gaza and Israel, resulting in no injuries or damage to property.
Authorities in Gaza executed three Palestinian prisoners
The Ministry of Interior in Gaza stated on 7 April that three Palestinian men had been executed by hanging. One of whom was executed after being convicted of treason and involvement in murder, another of premeditated killing, and the third of premeditated killing, abduction, and child rape. Several human rights groups in Gaza expressed concern over the executions. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), these death sentences were implemented without the ratification of the President of the Palestinian Authority. PCHR reports that since 2006, the government in Gaza has implemented 11 death sentences, six of which were implemented for collaboration with foreign bodies and the other five for criminal offences. Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, a total of 24 death sentences have been implemented in the occupied Palestinian territory.
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip:
Killed this week: 0
Killed in 2012: 31
Injured this week: 3
Of whom were children: 0
Injured in 2012: 147
2011 weekly average of injured: 9
Three children injured by UXOs
On 7 and 10 April, three Palestinian children (aged 4, 5 and 7) were injured by unexploded ordnance (UXOs) in the Rafah city and the Jabaliya area. Since the beginning of 2012, one child has been killed and 18 others, including eight children, have been injured in incidents related to UXOs in Gaza. In 2011, two children were killed and 20 others, including nine children, injured in similar incidents.
After ten consecutive days of complete shutdown, the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) resumed partial operations after receiving a limited amount of industrial fuel (purchased from Israel and entering through Kerem Shalom crossing) on 4 April, which enabled it to operate one or two of the four turbines (producing 30-60 megawatts (MW)). Despite this, the majority of the population in Gaza has continued to experience power cuts of up to 16 hours a day, down from 18 hours a day during February and March, due to the lack of fuel. On 9 April, the United Nations Development Programme / Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (UNDP/PAPP) was able to deliver four electrical transformers for the Gaza Power Plant to replace those destroyed by an Israeli air strike in 2006. These transformers should enable the GPP to raise its operating capacity to around 120 MW, up from current capacity of 80 MW. On 10 April, the GPP had to shut down one of the two turbines due to an anticipated lack of fuel during the upcoming Israeli holidays, during which the Kerem Shalom crossing is expected to be closed.
The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) reported that around two-thirds of WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) facilities continue to operate on standby mobile generators that function on a daily basis, depending on the availability of fuel. The CMWU reports that the fuel subsidy financed by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) will be finished by May 2012 (at the beginning of the expected summer peak in water demands), instead of by September 2012, if the electricity shortages remained at the current level. Now, 30 percent of the Gaza Strip’s population receive running water for six to eight hours once every four days only; 20 percent receive water for six to eight hours once every three days; 35 percent once every two days for six to eight hours; and 15 percent for six to eight hours once a day. As of 10 April, Gaza Hospitals have up to 40.6 percent capacity of fuel reserves for their back-up generators, following the recent delivery of 150,000 litres from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on April 2.
The Gas Stations Owners Association (GSOA) indicated that almost all 180 fuel stations throughout the Gaza Strip remained closed or only partially operating for a few hours each week due to the fuel shortage, with long queues of cars and people reported at the stations. An estimated daily average of less than 150,000 liters of fuel entered through tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border for the private sector this week in comparison to between 800,000 and one million liters that entered each day during the previous months. Also this week, an increased amount of fuel was purchased from Israel by the private sector (around 206,300 liters of petrol and 269,400 liters of diesel vs. 120,600 liters and 115,000 liters of petrol and diesel, respectively, which entered last week). Fuel purchased from Israel is more than double the price of fuel purchased from Egypt.
Movement of goods (Kerem Shalom Crossing):
Weekly average of truckloads (TL) entered this week: 1,007
TL carrying food: 41%
Weekly average of TL since the beginning of 2012: 971
Weekly average of TL before the blockade: 2,807
Truckloads this week: 6
Weekly average since the beginning of 2012: 10 Weekly average before the blockade: 240
Cooking gas shortages
Increased quantities of cooking gas entered Gaza this week compared to last week (902 tonnes vs. 566 tonnes), estimated at around 75 percent of the weekly required quantities (around 1,200 tonnes). According to the GSOA, as a result of cooking gas shortages, almost all the 28 gas stations throughout Gaza remained closed or open for only a few hours.