|Relative calm continues; two injured near the fence
The relative calm in Gaza and southern Israel continued during the reporting period, with no reports of armed clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups or rocket firing at southern Israel. As in previous weeks, there were, however, a number of incidents in which Israeli forces opened fire on Gazans in the areas along Gaza’s perimeter the fence and at sea.
In two incidents near the fence, Israeli forces shot and injured two civilians: a worker collecting rubble approximately 100 meters from the fence (10 June) and a farmer working approximately 400 meters from the fence (14 June). During the reporting period, Israeli forces also conducted five land-leveling operations on the Gazan side of the fence. Four Palestinian civilians were detained by Israeli forces, allegedly after attempting to cross illegally into Israel through the fence.
On a number of occasions during the period, Israeli naval forces opened warning fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing near the 6 Nautical Miles (NM) limit. While no injuries were reported, two fishermen were detained and their boat was confiscated in one incident; and one boat and some fishing equipment were damaged in another incident.
Sharp decline in the availability of fuel and construction materials following the destruction of tunnels
During the reporting period the Egyptian authorities destroyed a number of tunnels operating under the Gaza-Egypt border.
In the context of long-term restrictions on imports through official crossings with Israel, the tunnels have become the primary source for the transfer of construction materials into Gaza, for which entry via Israel remains restricted, and for fuel, which is cheaper to purchase from Egypt.
The destruction of tunnels resulted in an over 60 percent decline in the amount of fuel received (including petrol and diesel) during this reporting period, compared to prior weeks. While, long queues of vehicles have been seen at petrol stations, this development has so far not affected the operation of the Gaza Power Plant (GPP). The latter has continued to operate at two-thirds of capacity by relying on fuel reserves, which at the current levels of fuel supply and production levels are expected to last for approximately two additional weeks.
In addition, the Palestinian Federation of Industries indicates that the volume of construction materials declined to less than 2,000 tonnes a day during this reporting period, compared to over 7,000 tonnes which entered each day through the tunnels in past weeks. As a result, the prices of cement, aggregates and steel bars have increased by 20-30 percent in the last few days.
On 6 June, armed clashes between local police (dressed in civilian clothes) and residents in Beit Lahiya took place when the police raided the house and attempted to arrest alleged criminals. As a result, one man was killed and around 18 other people, including a child, a woman and four policemen, were injured. Human rights organizations called for an opening of an investigation into the event.
Also in another incident on 14 June, two men immolated themselves in Khan Younis in protest at the demolition of their factory by the local authority and were severely wounded. The factory was reportedly demolished in order to expand a main road in Khan Younis city.